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Luis Tiant does not want to be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame

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Indians, Red Sox and Yankees (and Twins, Pirates and Angels) great Luis Tiant topped out at a little over 30% of the vote his first time on the Hall of Fame ballot. From there he fell pretty sharply, getting as little as 9.2% of the vote within a few years and never again going above 18%, which is what he garnered in his 15th and final year of eligibility.

Since then he has been considered by the Veterans Committee, in its various forms, multiple times, but has again not gained induction. He’s eligible again this coming December. If he doesn’t make it in 2017, Tiant could be inducted years from now, even after his death.

Graham Womack of the Sporting News talked to Tiant recently, however, and Tiant wants no part of that:

“I already told my family, ‘They put me after I die, don’t go anywhere. Don’t go to the Hall of Fame, don’t go to Cooperstown, don’t go no god— place,’” Tiant said. “’Cause I think it’s wrong what they do.”

Tiant doesn’t see the benefit of posthumous induction.

“What good is that they put you after you die?” Tiant said, adding, “You can’t do nothing with your family and your friends.”

A lot of veterans feel similarly due to the fact that, as Womack notes, the Veterans Committee has hardly inducted anyone in years. All of the living inductees have been executives and managers. The few players have long since died. To some, it feels like a slap in the face.

As for Tiant: I’m not sure it would be an objective injustice if he did not make it in. He was great when at his best. He was always entertaining and he played a key part on a few very memorable clubs. On the other hand, when he was bad he was not so great, resulting in career numbers that aren’t nearly as close to his peak as other Hall of Fame pitchers’ career numbers are close to theirs. He also pitched in pitcher-friendly era in which there were many, many better pitchers than he. That low vote total he received is mostly due to the fact that, for most of his years on the ballot, he was up against guys like like Seaver, Palmer, Carlton, Sutton, Jenkins, Niekro and Fingers. There is no real argument to be made that Tiant was the best or even one of the handful of best pitchers of his era, and that makes one’s Hall of Fame case really hard.

Still, it’s hard not to agree with Tiant’s sensibility about all of this. Whether he is owed a plaque or not may be an open question, but there is no doubt that the Veterans Committee, in whatever form it has taken, has been unduly harsh in judging player qualifications. More players in the Hall of Fame is not a bad thing, but the VC seems uninterested in doing so. In light of that, why give them the satisfaction of your relatives on the stage if the Hall decides to change its mind years after you’re in the ground?

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 13, Orioles 8: Leonys Martin hit a grand slam out of the leadoff spot and the two-slot hitter, Jeimer Candelario, drove in three via a two-run homer and an RBI single. They play for the Tigers, by the way. Figure a lot of you were not aware of that. Heck, outside of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos, figure most of us don’t know most of the guys on the Tigers anymore. You do know that Manny Machado plays for the Orioles. Know that he hit two homers in a losing cause. Know that, given how the Orioles are doing these days, he won’t be with the Orioles too much longer, I reckon.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 5: Chicago built an early 6-1 lead on a bunch of singles and sac flies and stuff and Jason Heyward capped the Cubs scoring with a two-run homer in the fifth. Jon Lester allowed only an unearned run over six. Every Cubs starter had at least one hit. Anthony Rizzo had three. Heyward, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez had two a piece. After the game Joe Maddon said:

“This is so much fun to watch. Keep your launch angles, keep your exit velocities, give me a good at-bat. Seeing inside the ball, using the whole field. With that you’ll see better situational hitting, better batting average. That’s just good hitting.”

Without looking, I’m going to guess that the Cubs’ eight-run outburst was, at least in part, a function of good launch angles and exit velocities. Not that Maddon would be the first person to engage in the fallacy of assuming mutual exclusivity where it does not exist.

Astros 9, Mariners 2: Charlie Morton tossed seven shutout innings, dropping his ERA down to 0.72 in his three wins. He has also struck out 33 guys in 25 innings and has walked only six. At this rate he’s going to be in a three-way race with two of his teammates — Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander — for the Cy Young. Seattle dropped three of four in the series and, as a team, went 15-for-100 against Dallas KeuchelLance McCullers Jr., Cole and Morton.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: Aaron Judge homered and, while the Jays threatened late when David Robertson couldn’t find the strike zone and loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but he got out of the jam with only one run scoring. Judge — who a lot of you wise acres thought would struggle this year now that everyone is ready for him — is hitting .339/.481/.629 and is on a 48-homer, 152-walk pace. So, yeah.

Phillies 7, Pirates 0: OK, I think Jake Arrieta has finally finished his late spring training. Here he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out ten. Rhys Hoskins homered, Odubel Herrera singled in runs in the second and the fifth, J.P. Crawford and Cesar Hernandez knocked in runs on singles as well. More importantly, look at the photo on the top of this post and acknowledge how spiffy Philly looked in these blues. Their only fault is that teams that do this should, like the White Sox the other day, wear the blues on the road as originally intended.

Braves 12, Mets 4: Matt Wisler was called up from Triple-A to make a spot start. Guessing he’s going to get a bit more than that after allowing only two hits in seven innings. Matt Harvey, meanwhile, allowed six runs in six innings and after the game Mickey Calloway would not commit to him making his next scheduled start. He’s just not the guy he used to be. Preston Tucker drove in five with a bases loaded double and a two-run double. Kurt Suzuki had three hits and drove in three runs, including a two-run homer. The Braves offense leads the NL in runs scored. We were all expecting that heading into the season, yes?

Brewers 12, Marlins 3: It was close until the sixth, when Milwaukee put up a seven-spot. Lorenzo Cain homered, doubled twice and scored four times and Ryan Braun hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer. Those three runs gave him 1,000 RBI on his career. Lewis Brinson — who came over to the Marlins from the Brewers in the offseason trade for Christian Yelich — hit his first two career homers.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1: Zack Greinke held the punchless Giants to one run over seven innings, with a Brandon Belt homer being his only blemish. The Snakes got homers from Ketel Marte and A.J. Pollock. The Giants have scored only 51 runs in 18 games. That’s the lowest run total in baseball, tied with the Royals, who have only played 16 games. It ain’t 2014 anymore, is it?

Red Sox 8, Angels 2: And the Red Sox never lost again. Homers from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Eight runs on 14 hits against six pitchers. A fine outing from Eduardo Rodriguez. Seven wins in a row and, heck, even though it covers the whole season, 16 of 18 for Boston.