By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, a couple of days after getting a vaccine shot and for once, and once only, it pays to be 80 years old.
—Nobody was voted into the baseball Hall of Fame this year. Nobody received the necessary 75 per cent of the votes.
And that’s OK by me. . .for one reason.
I feared that Barry Bonds might make it, which to me would be an insult to the good name of Hank Aaron. Bonds, an admitted cheater, broke Aaron’s all-time home run record, aided late in his career with performance enhancement drugs.
Aaron died this week and what a shame it would be for Bonds to be elected to the Hall of Fame a couple of days later.
Bonds admitted, under oath, to taking PEDs, but his mea culpa was that he didn’t know what his personal training was giving him.
And the same goes for Roger Clemens, named as a PED user in the Mitchell Report.
Pitcher Curt Schilliing missed by 16 votes, most likely because he has alienated many with his political views on social media. In one posting he endorsed a photo of a tree, a noose and a journalist with the phrase, “Some assembly required.”
Schilling is eligible to be on the ballot one more year, but he sent a letter to the Hall of Fame requesting that his name be removed from next year’s ballot. He said he’ll entrust his fate to a Veterans Committee.
There are those who believe a player should be judged solely for his on-field accomplishments. But the ballot clearly states that integrity, character and sportsmanship should be considered.
—When a young Hank Aaron played for the Jacksonville Braves in the Sally League, he was not permitted to stay in the same hotels on the road as his white teammates.
This prompted a Jacksonville sports writer to pen: “Hank Aaron led the league in everything but hotel accommodations.”
Some of Aaron’s accomplishments are mind-boggling, number that had nothing to do with home runs.
He is the only player who owns a career batting average above .300 against both Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. His stolen base percentage was higher than both Lou Brock and Maury Wills. He was in the Top Ten in MVP balloting 19 times.
—With the death of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, there is a petition on social media saying the Atlanta Braves should change their name to the Atlanta Hammers. It would honor Aaron and remove Atlanta’s politically-incorrect nickname.
Some other baseball nicknames to consider to honor team icons:
The Cleveland Fellers (Bob Feller), the New York Terrifics (Tom Seaver), the Minnesota Killers (Harmon Killebrew), the Cincinnati Little Joes (Joe Morgan), the New York Fords (Whitey Ford). The Chicago Play Twos (Ernie Banks), the Baltimore Robins (Frank Rohinson), the San Francisco Say Heys (Willie Mays), The St. Louis Gibbys (Bob Gibson), the Los Angeles Blue Bloods (Tommy Lasorda), The Washington Trains (Walter Johnson), the Texas Express (Nolan Ryan),the Boston Splinters (Ted Williams), the Detroit Mr. Tigers (Al Kaline)
—Reports indicate that the Major League Baseballs Players Association (A lot of words to say ‘union’) has turned down MLB’s proposal for a universal DH and another year of expanded playoffs for 2020.
That means no DH for the National League. . .a big hoo-ray.
It would seem curious that the MLBPA (union) would turn dow the universal DH. It would mean more jobs.
The DH and expanded playoffs are tied together in the proposal and the MLBPA (union) recognizes that expanded playoffs means more money for the owners and nothing more for the players.
As always, money doesn’t talk. It screams. And the Cincinnati Reds say, “Oh, please, please, please. We need the expanded playoffs.”
—It isn’t true that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been re-classified to Triple-A and assigned to the International League.
But they should be. The Pirates are dumping players at the rate of commuters fleeing a New York subway at 5 p.m.
In the last month, the Pirates traded starting pitchers Joe Musgrave and Jameson Taillon, plus first baseman Josh Bell, for a school bus full of 11 prospects.
As of now, the Pittsburgh rotation is Chad Kuhl, Mitch Keller, Steven Brault, J.T. Brubaker, Cody Ponce and a suspect to be named later.
—The Philadelphia Phillies signed J.T. Realmuto to a five-year $115.5 million deal, largest contract in MLB history for a catcher.
Makes one wonder how much Johnny Bench would have been worth on today’s market? For sure he wouldn’t have had to sell his memorabilia for more than $1 million to put his hoys through college?