By Glen Sparks
Just about every good baseball fan can make at least one decent Hall of Fame argument. Usually, the argument begins something like this: “If Catfish Hunter (or Orlando Cepeda, etc.) is in the Hall of Fame, Luis Tiant (or Tony Oliva, etc.) should be in there, too.”
Then, this follows: a rattling off of memorized statistics, a summary of comparative notes, an impassioned plea and, more often than not, a few insulting remarks hurled at the guy who actually is in Cooperstown.
Some fans argue for a “small” Hall of Fame. Membership should go to Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron, Walter Johnson and a few dozen other guys. Others argue for just about any pitcher with a winning record and any hitter who batted above .285 for at least a dozen years.
The Hall of Fame includes more than 300 members. This is how the induction process work, in brief: A player with at least 10 years of service is eligible. He must wait five years after retiring before going on the ballot.
If a player gets less than 5 percent of the vote, he goes off the ballot. If he gets 75 percent of the vote, he makes it to Cooperstown. He has 20 years to win eligibility. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) do the voting.
A new group, the 16-member Golden Era Veterans Committee, will be voting “yea” or “nay” soon on nine former players and one executive. Like usual, candidates will need 75 percent to get into the Hall of Fame. Results of the vote will be announced Dec. 8.
The group of eligible players is made up of Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Oliva, Billy Pierce, Tiant and Maury Wills. The executive is Bob Howsam.
Bernie Miklasz, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, makes a great case for Boyer. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting some thoughts about the other candidates. I hope you enjoy the analysis.
(Miklasz also wrote a pointed column about the Oscar Tavares tragedy. If you haven’t read or heard, the rookie outfielder for the Cardinals was driving drunk when he and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelos, died Oct. 26 in the Dominican Republic. This accident was such a terrible and unnecessary waste.)