Monday, November 26, 2007

2008 Hall Of Fame Potentials

There are four ex-White Sox players on the ballot for 2008. Tim Raines is a first time nominee. Rich Gossage almost got in last year. Other holdovers are Tommy John and Harold Baines.

Tim Raines looks like a safe bet to get in. Mostly for his days with the Montreal Expos. Tim was a force to be reckoned with on the base paths. He was the instigator that helped Montreal hold steady, but not quite harbor success on those great Expos 80's teams. It wasn't really Tim's fault that the Expos couldn't afford their gifted players when they came close to free agency. They had a pool of talent back then that the Yankees could only dream of.

Rich "Goose" Gossage should get in this time. He was a few votes shy of getting in last ballot. I have a feeling he should get those extra votes this time. Hardly anyone but die hard White Sox fans realizes that Rich started his career with the Sox. His later success casts a huge shadow over the beginning of his career.

I'm not sure about Tommy John. He was a gifted pitcher and was an important factor in prolonging the careers of pitchers all over baseball. Yes, he's that Tommy John. The one the surgery was nicknamed after. That may be enough to warrant his inclusion into the Hall. My guess is it won't be quite enough.

The real tragedy of this ballot is Harold Baines. Even though I hope and wish that he will be selected, his slim amount of votes last ballot do not give me a lot of confidence. I know that Harold would go in with a Sox cap, even though he played in Baltimore for a good chunk of time. Harold really was able to use the DH position to his advantage. His career probably should have been over around 1989, when his knee problems started to effect the time he played in right field. He extended the DH role into a career that lasted another 12 years. Harold wasn't the best player around, but he always seemed to deliver in the clutch.

My plea to anyone voting on this ballot is not to waste a write-in vote on Pete Rose. Use that vote for Harold Baines. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. There is a reason why the White Sox retired his number in 1989. He was such a fan favorite, that the talk wasn't about how the Cubs were going to the playoffs in 1989. It was how could they trade away Harold Baines and who are these scrub players Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez? Fred Manrique for Scott Fletcher was understandable. There is a reason why playoff bound teams wanted to trade for him in July. It wasn't to sit on the bench and look at a packed house. It was to give their team the best chance at winning.

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