By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while wondering when a Veterans Committee will vote Mario Mendoza into the baseball Hall of Fame.
—Harold Baines is going into baseball Hall of Fame, but Harold Baines is not a Hall of Famer.
If he is, then so is Dave Concepcion, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibson and about 100 more former players more qualified than Baines.
The writers got it right. When Baines was on the BBWAA ballot, he never received more than 6.5 per cent of the vote. It takes 75 per cent for enshrinement.
This is nothing more than stark cronyism. There are 15 members on a Veterans Committee, so it takes 12 votes for election.
Two members of this year’s committee were Tony LaRussa and Jerry Reinsdorf. LaRussa managed Baines when both were with the Chicago White Sox and Reinsdorf was White Sox owner.
It goes without question that those two heavily impacted discussions in that closed room — and I know how that works.
I served on a Veteran Committe a couple of times. I thought former Cincinnati Reds president Bob Howsam belonged in the Hall of Fame.
So I brought up his name and cited him as the architect of the Big Red Machine. Also on that committee was somebody close to Bill DeWitt, Reds president before Howsam.
The man stood up and said, “The Big Red Machine was there before Howsam got there. Bill DeWitt built most of that team because Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Pete Rose already were there.”
And it carried the day, kept Howsam out, despite my pleas that Howsam was the man who traded for Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo and Jack Billingham, the final pieces of The Big Red Machine.
Did anybody ever dispute that politics is a big part of baseball, even in Hall of Fame voting?
—QUOTE: From actor Jack Nicholson: “I’m against cronyism and I had to learn that early on. Like, I don’t have an entourage, because I saw the negative effects of those things.” (Can you imagine the Veteran C0mmittee voting Harold Baines into the Hall of Fame if Nicholson was in the room and against it?)
—Has anybody mentioned that the Cleveland Browns (5-7-1) own a better record than the Cincinnati Bengals (5-8), who now occupy last place?
That isn’t all, though. The Browns also own a better record than 11 NFL teams: 49ers (3-10), Cardinals (3-10), Raiders (3-10), Jaguars (4-9), Bills (4-9), Jets (4-9), Falcons (4-9), Buccaneers (5-8), Giants (5-8),Lions (5-8), Bengals (5-8).
And the Browns are the same as the Packers (5-7-1).
Prediction: The Browns make the playoffs next year. Super Bowl? Well, one step over the line, first, one step over the line.
QUOTE: From Cleveland Browns founder and coach Paul Brown: “I was a silent loser, believing that if you won you said little and if you lost you said even less.” (Over the past three seaons P.B. would have been Chairman of the Silent Majority.)
—So when does the Ohio State basketball team play Michigan so the Buckeyes can take care of that unbeaten record, if the Wolverines are still among the unbeatens then?
QUOTE: From former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown : “There is n0body more boring than the undefeated.” (So how boring is Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Central Florida?)
—Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry showed uncommon sportsmanship and team camraderie last week during his team’s 30-9 win over Jacksonville.
Henry was a human steam roller on this night. He ran for a 99-yard touchdown. He rushed for a team record 238 yards. He scored four touchdowns, tying a team record.
And he could have made it a team record five TDs. The Titans had a first down at the Jags’ 2-yard-line late in the game.
He took himself out of the game. The crowd was screaming, “Henry, Henry, Henry.” The coaches on the sidelines were telling him to go back in. He refused.
Why? “I had 238 yards and four touchdowns,” he said. “That was enough. The other backs on our team work just as hard as I do and they should have a chance to score, too.”
—QUOTE: From former Dallas running back Emmitt Smith: “Football is a team sport and there is no one individual who is bigger than the next person.” (Bigger? Guess he never stood next to former Chicago Bears defenive tackle William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, all 382 pounds of him. But we get the point, Emmitt.)