Chuck Knoblauch: “a man both buoyed and wounded by the game of baseball”

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We haven’t heard much about Chuck Knoblauch in the nine years since he retired from baseball.  He was named in the Mitchell Report and had to testify in front of a grand jury about it, but otherwise, he’s been an invisible man.

Today there’s a feature story on him in the Star-Tribune.  It’s not the easiest read.  No, Knoblauch is not some tragedy case like some ex-players. He hasn’t lost all of his money or found himself on skid row.  He has had some legal problems — domestic violence — but that’s in the past now and he seems to have a happy home life.

But there’s a fine line between a guy who can walk away from baseball and never look back and a guy walks away from baseball and can’t bear to look back.  Whatever he says about his current state of contentment in the article, Knoblauch seems to be in the latter camp, and one can’t escape the feeling that he’s a man with a lot of darkness about him.

Maybe it’s just me, but I came away from the article rather troubled and concerned.  You feel the same way?

The 2019 Hall of Fame Class will be announced this evening

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This year’s Hall of Fame ballot was released just over two months ago. This evening at 6:15 PM Eastern, all of the arguing stops. Well, actually, it doesn’t stop, because it never stops. Not really. It just transforms into something more pointless, because as of then, the 2019 Hall of Fame class will be officially announced live on MLB Network.

The entire ballot can be found here. Two weeks ago I went through it, candidate-by-candidate, in order to determine who I would vote for if, in fact, I had a vote. For what it’s worth, I ended up with Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Manny Ramirez. and Scott Rolen.

No, not all of those guys will be elected. I strongly suspect we’ll get three, with an outside chance at a fourth. Based on the best Hall of Fame voting tracker out there, Mariano Rivera is a lock. So too, it seems, is Roy Halladay. Edgar Martinez — on the ballot for is tenth and final time — likewise seems to have the support to finally make it. He was 20 votes short last year and, so far, he has picked up more than 20 new votes among voters who have revealed their ballots. Assuming that previous Martinez voters who have not released their ballots do not backtrack — a safe assumption — Edgar should, at long last, finally make it into Cooperstown.

The last guy who, at present, is trending above the required 75% is Mike Mussina who, at present, is included on 81% of public ballots. There is a tendency for the non-public voters to be stingier with their support, however, so there’s a pretty decent chance that Mussina will fall just under the threshold and will find himself back on the ballot next year. A jump from last year’s 63.5% support to something in the 70s, however, would bode very well for his 2020 chances. If he somehow makes it this year’s class will rival last year’s four-person BBWAA-elected class as one of the better ones in living memory.

Who will join Harold Baines and Lee Smith on the stage in Cooperstown in July? We find out this evening, just after 6 PM.