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.)
Cardinal fans put on quite the party after their team won the 1926 World Series against the New York Yankees. Tim O’Neill wrote an article in Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the city’s first championship. “It was like a city-wide detonation.” the Post-Dispatch reported at the time.
The Redbirds beat the Yankees in seven games. Grover Cleveland Alexander, near the end of his storied career, threw two-complete game victories for St. Louis. He also recorded a big out in Game 7 in relief.
Babe Ruth was at his mightiest and most befuddling in the Series. The Babe hit three home runs in Game 4 and another in Game 7 after belting 47 in the regular season. Of note, he only stole 11 bases during the campaign and was caught nine times. That didn’t stop the not-so-fleet-footed Bambino from trying to steal second base with two outs in the ninth inning and the Yankees trailing 3-2. Bob Meusel was up to bat, and the great Lou Gehrig was on deck. Redbird catcher Bob O’Farrell nailed Ruth at second base to end the Series.