Gatekeep it clean
While the Crime Dog deservedly gets into the Hall, others are arbitrarily kept out
Here at Oddball, we’re absolutely thrilled that Fred McGriff is headed to Cooperstown. We know that he won’t be wearing a Blue Jays cap on his plaque, but here’s hoping that the National Baseball Hall of Fame will do the right thing and picture him in an ill-fitting Baseball World cap.
Of course, with any Hall of Fame announcement about who got in, there are the stories about who didn’t. If you somehow missed it, both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were shortlisted for consideration by the Contemporary Era selection committee but not elected.
No effort was spared to highlight the fact that McGriff was selected unanimously by the committee. It was as if to they wanted to make sure we knew that he was worth a resounding “yes” and everyone else on the shortlist, especially Bonds and Clemens, was not. (The talk of being voted in unanimously by 16 of his peers is rich; he only got in via committee because the writers didn’t vote for him when he was on the actual ballot.)
Many observers see this as the Hall of Fame slamming the door on the most high-profile cheaters of the steroid era, which to me still seems hypocritical. There are known PED users that are already in the Hall of Fame. Maybe the PEDs they used weren’t as technologically sophisticated as steroids, but they were still being used with the same intent. Steroids weren’t banned from baseball until 2005, so even if Bonds and Clemens were using, it wasn’t against the rules during their alleged use. You could make the argument that neither of them were exactly good people, especially toward the media. But we know that people who hated the media get in too (just ask Contemporary Era committee member Jack Morris). And if you’re going to use the so-called “morality clause” (baseball’s version of the notwithstanding clause) to keep them out, then point to things like Clemens’s inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old during his MLB career.
NB: personally I think Bonds deserves to be in there, less so for Clemens.
As more time passes, I’m sure the Hall of Fame (and, by extension, the baseball establishment) will pat itself on the back for keeping out the likes of Bonds and Clemens. I can’t wait to see will be kept on the outside looking in in the decades to come. Maybe it’ll be players who wear their caps askew. Maybe it’ll be players who make bad TikTok videos. Maybe the Hall will put the kibosh on vegans. The possibilities are endless!
It has been said that politeness is the most acceptable form of hypocrisy, but we all learned at an early age that it’s rude to slam doors.
In the film He Got Game, Jake Shuttlesworth (played by Denzel Washington) explains to his son (played by Ray Allen) the origin story of his unusual name. It was derived from the nickname of an NBA legend who starred in the same city as the junior Shuttlesworth, and who was often known by another nickname. What is that other nickname?
Two pitchers, both born in Hawai'i, made their MLB débuts within two weeks of each other. Three years later they won a World Series as teammates in the same starting rotation. Who are they?
Who is the highest-drafted NFL player born in Hawai'i? Hint: he’s currently active.
The Arizona Coyotes' worst shelling (post-move from Winnipeg) came last year, when they lost by eight goals to a team that had four 30-goal scorers. All four players scored against the Coyotes that night. Who are they?
Answers from last week’s issue (link in title)
Frans Nielsen holds the record for career NHL goals by a Danish-born player. That record is likely to be eclipsed by the end of this season. Name either of the two Danish players who trail Nielsen in career goals.
As of the time of writing, Nikolaj Ehlers is three off the pace, and Lars Eller is ten goals away from Nielsen’s record. Related: don’t ask Detective Boyle how to pronounce Ehlers’s first name.
Who is the only Tunisian-born player in NBA history?
The 7’2” centre Salah Mejri played for four seasons with the Mavericks before stops in Spain, China, Kuwait, and Lebanon.
Who is the only active Australian-born NFL player to be named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team? It occurred during his first season, when he was one of nine (!!!) rookies to make All-Pro that year.
Seahawks punter Michael Dickson is only the second Aussie to make All-Pro, following Darren Bennett, who played for the Chargers and Vikings over his 11-year career.
Fernando Valenzuela is the all-time leader for many pitching stats, among Mexican-born pitchers — including wins, losses, starts, innings pitched, and runs surrendered. One pitcher is second to Fernandomania in all of those categories. Who is he?
Convicted felon (and former Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day starter) Esteban Loaiza is second in all of these categories. Noted Blue Jay killer Teddy Higuera is second to Valenzuela in a whole bunch of other categories.
Many thanks to Catarina Macário for being named her name and to you for being named your name, unless your name is Jon Heyman, whose fumbling fingers managed to spark the hot stove that turned out to be a false alarm.
Until next week, be the Ezequiel Carrera you wish to see in the world.