Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bruce Almighty

Bruce Sutter, former relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Don’t worry, I will answer your question before you ask it. Bruce Sutter was the father of the fork ball and the closer for the World Series championship St. Louis Cardinals team in 1982. As far as other credentials that make him worthy of enshrinement into baseball’s immortal Hall – well I can’t find many. He won the Cy Young award once, in 1979, and finished in the to 10 in MVP voting five times (which is a new statistic used to help bolster the record of marginal Hall of Fame candidates).

Basically, what it boils down to is that it was a very weak field this year, and the Baseball Writers Association of America were unwilling to have one summer go by without at least one inductee. In most other situations, the secret ballot is a must, allowing voters the freedom to vote their conscience without fear of humiliation or retaliation. Baseball should reconsider using it though. It allows people who should know better to cast votes for Gregg Jefferies and Walt Weiss (along with a host of other undeserving players).

By the way, this reader poll from ESPN was one of the most difficult opinion polls I have ever had to fill out. Questions like, “What do you think about the Baseball Hall of Fame? – Too exclusive; Just right; not exclusive enough,” and “Would you vote for Mark McGwire if you had a vote?” are questions I had refused to come to definitive conclusions on until now. I guess I can avoid it no longer. I must have an opinion on these issues; it's time for a little soul searching.