One In, Four Out, One Waits
The FYC would like to wish a sincere congratulations to (or as the kids now like to say "mad props to, dawg") former Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter for finally making the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sutter's most memorable moment as a Redbird was striking out Gorman Thomas to end the 1982 World Series. That strikeout will probably be the definitive lasting image from Ol' Busch II for a few generations worth of Cardinals fans ("Ol' Busch II?" Why do I sound like an old prospector when I talk about a stadium that was torn down just two months ago? "Awww...Peaches! Cinnamon and Gravy!")
Nobody rocked the Baby Blues/Crazy Beard quite like you did, Bruce, and for that, I say it's time to celebrate...Kool and the Gang style!
While one Cardinal made it into the Hall this year, four former Redbirds are now off of the ballot forever. My new best friend Will Clark received only 4.4% of the votes and will not be on next years ballot. Neither will longtime FYC fave Sweet Willie McGee who dropped from 5 to 2.3% of the vote.
Will Clark not getting 5% of the vote surprises and disturbs me, and not just because we're buds (which we are.) For a nice little stat comparison between Will the Thrill and Jim Rice (who, if you listen to some is the best player not in the Hall, though I believe that distinction belongs to Dale Murphy) check out this thread at VEB.
With fewer and fewer of the baseball stars whom I had idolized as a youngster making it into the Hall (Will, Willie, Doc Gooden, Donnie Baseball, Ivan DeJesus, etc.), I'm beginning to think that maybe there should be a Hall of Very Good opened up somewhere (Memphis, perhaps?)
If there's not a HoVG, than my kids are going to think that I'm crazier than Ol' Doc Brown explaining the flex capacitor while I'm regaling them with tales of Andy Van Slyke, Eric Davis, Shawon Dunston and the like. I'll even donate my 1991 Score complete set to the HoVG (actually, it's a complete set minus the Tom Pagnozzi card which I destroyed after he tried to gain carnal knowledge of my sister.)
Two other former Cardinals were on the ballot for the first time this year: Gary Gaetti, who received four votes; and Gregg Jefferies, who received two.
Which really makes me wonder: There were two writers out there who honestly think that Gregg Jefferies should be in the Hall? Two baseball writers?
Greggie is a borderline HoVG member, let alone HoF. It's incidents like this, among many other reasons, that help show how much the HoF voting process stinks.
And here is the weirdest page about Gary Gaetti I could find. (immediate sound. enjoy.)
One other Cardinal was on this year's HoF ballot, former closer Lee Smith. Smith, MLB's all time Saves leader, has been on the ballot for a few years now and received only 45% of this year's votes. Perhaps with Sutter's inclusion into the Hall, the voters may be more likely to vote for relief pitchers. That, however, seems unlikely and chances are Big Lee Smith will end up in the HoVG.
Big Lee was one of my absolute favorite players as a child, but I didn't like him in the way I did, say, a Bill Madlock or Steve Trout (which is to say in a quasi-sexual manner. Look, I was a very confused six year old.)
I liked him because he scared the living shit out of me.
Hell, he scared the shit out of most grown men.
In fact, if Lee Smith really wanted to get into the HoF next year, he should spend the next twelve months going door to door to the homes of each and every baseball writer who votes for the Hall and hand them a note reading:
"If you don't vote for me to make the Hall of Fame, I will punch your fucking lights out. I'm Lee Smith."
And I would be willing to bet that Lee Smith would get 100% of next year's votes
The man's scary. That's really all I'm saying.