The results for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame come out today. There are really only two candidates worth mentioning who deserve to be elected, one of whom most certainly will be and that is Ricky Henderson.
I'm not going to make a debate about why Ricky should be in. His credentials as the greatest leadoff hitter in MLB history attest for themselves and he is a lock to be elected today.
That being said, lets talk about some of the other candidates for whom arguments are being made. The are Bert "be home" Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Jack Morris and Lee Smith.
To me the first four are relatively easy arguments. None of them have the numbers that are worth of The Hall. Blyleven has 287 wins. That's a nice number but lets look as his career. He only won 20 games once. That's one more 20 win season than I have. He is 37 games over .500 for his career. That means he won 1.5 more games than he lost for a season for 22 years. Not even close in my book. Blyleven is a perfect example of a guy who was a decent pitcher/ballplayer who also stayed relatively healthy for a long time so that he amassed decent career numbers, but a dominant pitcher? Not even close. He wasn't an ace on any staff and although hitters knew he was above average, I don't think too many of them were afraid of him.
Morris is almost the opposite. A shorter career so less stellar numbers. A very pedestrian .390 ERA and only three 20 win seasons. Morris is best know for his great world series game against the Braves where he pitched a complete 10 inning shutout to clinch the series for the Twins. I still remember listening to that game on the radio and it was ultra thrilling and Morris had balls that clanked that night but if a decent career and one great game put you in the Hall then they'd better start adding on. He was intimidating on the mound and was the ace of the staff wherever he went but still the numbers just aren't there as attested by his ERA. He is 60 games over .500 for his career and struck out twice as many batters as he faced. Between Bert and Jack, if I was forced to vote for one (and by forced I mean a gun in my mouth or I'm dead and nothing less) I'd vote for Morris. A much stronger case can be made for him but I still don't think he is deserving.
The argument against Rice and Dawson is very simple. They don't have the numbers. Not even friggin close and if Dawson doesn't spend a few years in Chicago and Rice doesn't play in the softball park in Boston, their names aren't even going to be mentioned. Playing in media centers is always better for a players career and they get more accolades than they deserve (see Sandberg, Ryan) and these two guys are no exceptions. Between the two of them they only have 7 seasons of 30+ home runs. Seven. Ken Griffey Jr. has nine all by himself. This shouldn't even be an argument. They were good ball players. They weren't great even for the time they played and if Rice played in Kansas City and Dawson never leaves Montreal than I would be blogging about something else.
The case for Lee Smith is this. He was absolutely dominating as a pitcher in his time and was money in the bank. When Smith retired, he was the all time leader in saves and that record stood for several years. Like Goose Gossage, Smith didn't come into a game to face one man and get a save. He pitched in 50+ games 13 times in his career and pitched more than 70 innings 11 times in that span including 90+ innings six times and averaged one strike out per inning for his career. He is third on the all-time save list behind Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/SV_career.shtml) both of whom are still playing. Those numbers are worthy and Smith became the prototype for the relievers we see today. I would take Lee Smith in his prime over ANYONE who has been a reliever including the two guys mentioned. He was that good.
So good luck to everyone on the ballot today. I hope the voters use common sense and rational thought when making their selections. Afterall, this isn't Canton. Art Monk? Really?