A new Hall of Fame voter considers his ballot

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe has been a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for ten years now.  As a result, he just received his first-ever Hall of Fame ballot.  He has a column up today in which he talks about his approach.  He doesn’t name his picks yet — he’s still working on it — but he does lay out his criteria:

1. If a player is a Hall of Famer in my estimation, he’ll get my vote the first time he’s eligible. I see no point in having a waiting period. Nobody is getting any better or worse at this point.

2. It’s not my job to correct the mistakes of the past. Just because the Veterans Committee put Phil Rizzuto in doesn’t mean I need to vote for middle infielders who had a career OPS+ of 93.

3. I’ll be judicious in selecting players. The Hall of Fame should not be the Hall of Very Good. Cooperstown needs to be a special place.

4. I’ll solicit opinion and information from many sources when I have doubts or questions. If you feel strongly for or against somebody, feel free send me an e-mail with your reasons.

I get the sense that, if I had the vote, I’d be a bit more lenient than Pete — I think I’d be a “medium-sized Hall” guy as opposed to a small-hall guy — but I think he articulates a great way to approach it.

There’s no reason to withhold a first-year vote for someone you know to be a Hall of Famer simply because Babe Ruth or whoever wasn’t unanimous. If he’s worthy, vote him in.  Likewise, just because Frankie Frisch perverted the Veteran’s Committee into a way to reward his mediocre old buddies back in the day doesn’t mean that we must now elect mediocre players. And I love that Pete is soliciting reader opinions.  Even if someone in Pete’s position does know more about baseball than almost anyone, that doesn’t mean he has a monopoly on wisdom.

Good luck, Pete.  And make sure you include Blyleven and Raines!

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.