Tracy Ringolsby makes a point that I find to be eminently reasonable:
There is a strong feeling among some that amphetamines actually enhance performances over a broader base than steroids. What it all underscores is that over time, athletes, in any sport, are always looking for ways to gain an edge on the competition. When one advantage becomes commonplace or is outlawed, the search intensifies for a newer and better aid.
With the advancements in science over time, the methods for gaining that edge have become more sophisticated, which makes it more difficult to detect the usage. As a result, in evaluating greatness of athletes — in baseball and other sports — it is always wiser to evaluate who were the elite of their era, and not try to draw firm statistical comparisons from one era to another because the conditions change so drastically.
That’s why to blindly eliminate anyone even suspected of using steroids from Hall of Fame consideration is inconsistent from previous evaluations.
Good point. Of course, how one can overlook steroids yet still find Mark McGwire lacking is a bit curious, but maybe like me Ringolsby is a “discounter” when it comes to known PED users (i.e. we don’t bar them, but we grade them downward).
Oh, and John Franco gets Ringolsby’s vote. I can’t say I recall seeing him get any other support. I’m not gonna go crazy about this. I don’t like it when unworthy candidates get bona fide campaigns behind them like Jack Morris is getting, but I think the random votes to random people like Franco are kinda fun. I’m just waiting to see if Lenny Harris gets a vote.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?