The Rockies’ Brandon Barnes hit an inside-the-park home run last night. Here it is:
I offer this thought from time to time and every time I offer it people tell me I’m a regular Buzz Killington, but I’ll offer it again: most inside-the-park home runs are kinda lame.
If the center fielder here plays this one more conservatively, the ball doesn’t ricochet back into the outfield like this and Barnes has at most a triple, but probably just a double. We don’t call errors on outfielder who take bad routes or pay caroms incorrectly, but if we did I’d say that over half of all inside-the-park homers would be errors or, at the very least, doubles with a two-base error. We could maybe critique the relay throw home here too if we wanted to.
Basically, most inside-the-park homers are functions of outfielder mistakes or freak things like an outfielder getting hurt or something. And for that reason they don’t interest me all that much. Give me a clean triple with a fast dude simple beating out a well-executed fielding play and relay throw. Way, way more exciting.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.