Is Pudge a first ballot hall of famer?
He certainly deserves it, but Canseco's accusations and a surly electorate could hurt his chances when it comes time to vote in 2017.
- So, Ivan Rodriguez called it a career after 21 years in the league, going out in style at the Ballpark in Arlington on Monday:
- And it seems rather appropriate that the "first pitch" was a throw from home to second - one Pudge made no less than 1,000 times in his career.
The final line of his career: Six different teams (Texas, Florida, New York Yankees, Houston, Washington and Detroit), 14 all-star selections, 13 gold gloves, seven silver sluggers, and the MVP award in 1999, a year in which he slugged 35 home runs and batted .332 (but also led the league in double plays grounded into and had an on-base percentage just a hair above his batting average.)
If you want to see his year-by-year statistics, go here.
But the question is, in five years are we going to be celebrating his career in Cooperstown. I have a feeling we won't, not that Rodriguez doesn't deserve it. And there's two reasons why:
- 1) Jose Canseco gave him the kiss of death in his book.
Let me throw in right now that Jose Canseco is not exactly the most reputable of sources. And yet, he has really yet to be wrong on his steroid accusations. The one thing that Pudge has going for him is that he's not in the Mitchell Report, the standard by which many of the hall of fame voters judge candidates by.
But that only scratches the surface of Pudge's voter-related hall-of-fame chances.
- 2) The BBWAA are a fickle and moody breed who like to moralize a lot and use unrealistic standards to judge players.
And they are the type of people who, even without real basis for doing so, will hold the accusations of people like Canseco over Pudge's head when it comes time to vote. Or, if those accusations have been disproven by that point, the fact that he didn't achieve any of the hitting milestones most expect from hitters against him.
The Baseball Writers Association of America is not known for its ability to get it right the first time. (See: Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk) Or the second time. Or ever.
Rodriguez has outstanding numbers for a catcher, but he doesn't have 500 home runs or 3,000 hits, the two key benchmarks for a person at the plate. And, it's worth noting, that gaudy numbers weren't enough to get Carlton Fisk or Gary Carter into the hall of fame on the first ballot.
The test case for this will come on the 2013 ballot, when Mike Piazza, a deserving player and a potential first-ballot hall of famer, gets in. If he makes it or gets really close, it could signal a shift from the standards that catchers were evaluated by the BBWAA.
The baseball writer's association operates under weird rules were potential candidates get punished for not shining bright enough, or -- as is likely the case for Barry Bonds next year -- being a total dick to the media on a regular basis.
Yes, I work in the same profession. That doesn't mean I don't believe that these people aren't wrong a lot when it comes to putting players in. Players/Executives who didn't deserve it in recent years have made it in. Players who do are not in yet.
There's no doubt, barring some kind of startling revelation about what he did or if he did anything during his 21 year career, Ivan Rodriguez should be a hall of famer come 2017. But the specter of steroids and a fickle voting body that has no basis for the subjective way its members judge candidates could derail a celebration five years from now.
And that's a shame.
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