And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Rays 5, Indians 2: Cleveland was done in yesterday by two homers for
Carl Crawford, a strong start from Wade Davis and a
sociopathic heel-turn from LeBron James
.  Cleveland is a tough city, though.  They handled a burning river. They handled the implosion of basically the entire economy. They handle about ten feel of snow every winter.  They’re hurt and angry today, but they’ll get over this. It takes a hell of a lot more than the vicissitudes of some rude young basketball player to keep Cleveland down.

Yankees 3, Mariners 1: Alex Rodriguez took well to his first night of no longer being sports’ most hated figure, hitting a two run RBI single in the ninth which proved to be the game winner.

Padres 7, Nationals 1: Mat Latos shut out the Nats over seven innings and went 2 for 3 with a home run. Four homers in all for the Padres.

Rockies 4 Cardinals 2: Look on the bright side Cardinals fans: the pen didn’t blow this one. And hey, you probably penciled in the Ubaldo Jimenez start as the one you’d drop in this series anyway, right?

Giants 9, Brewers 3: Nothing like a trip to Milwaukee to cure what ails an offense. The Giants busted out the whuppin’ sticks in sweeping the Brewers this week. Four RBI for Aubrey Huff and another home run for Buster Posey. Only bad part: Barry Zito was staked to a 6-0 lead but couldn’t even last the five innings necessary to claim the win.  The Z-man — which no one has ever called him to my knowledge, but why the hell not? — hasn’t won a game in a month.

Phillies 4, Reds 3: Both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge blow leads in the late innings, but the pen held once the game went into extras and Philly won it on a walkoff bomb from Brian Schneider. Newly-named All-Star Joey Votto stayed hot, hitting a homer of his own.

Orioles 6, Rangers 4: A day after I give them the Detective Munch treatment the O’s show some friggin’ moxie. Down 4-0 in the fifth, Baltimore claws back. They had help in the eighth though, with Frank Francisco plunking a guy to load the bases, Darren Oliver coming in and  plunking the very next guy to force in a run and then walking the guy after that to force in yet another run. Oh, and Nolan Ryan is telling reporters he might not be the next owner of the Rangers now, so all in all a pretty craptacular day for Texas fans.

Astros 2, Pirates 0: I hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Roy Oswalt did nothing to discourage the many scouts following him around.

White Sox 1, Angels 0: Aaron hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Torii Hunter is not a happy camper.

Blue Jays 8, Twins 1: The Twins get bombed and are now two back of the Tigers and a game and a half behind Chicago.  Are they getting desperate to trade for Lee yet?

Dodgers 3, Cubs 2: Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 and Rafael Furcal went 3 for 3 with a homer and 2 RBI.  Fact from the game notes: “The Dodgers took a 1,019-1,017 lead in the all-time series between the
teams that began in 1890.” What people don’t know is that the Dodgers had a distinct advantage in the series for a while, but that in 1911 it began to even up when the Cubs called up a young starting pitcher named Jamie Moyer.

Diamondbacks 10, Marlins 4: Smallest crowd in Diamondbacks’ history at 16,664. The Marlins were impressed, though.  They can’t draw that on Free Money and Donuts Night.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.