So as reported yesterday by Murray Chass (and commented about my interest in the Negro Leagues), the ballot results are announced today. And MLB will surely go to great lengths to highlight that the first woman ever was elected to the Hall.
But to me, this is a freaking travesty. The ballot included, but did not elect, either Minnie Minoso or Buck O'Neill. This is unbelievable. I just don't get it. The reasoning for not including these guys is because their careers did not justify the recognition. But in the case of both guys, their playing career is only a fraction of what each has meant to the game. And for the guys who *earned* it, it was all based on some pretty sketchy stats (mostly because they did not keep stats). Its a damn shame that the only two living members on the 94 man ballot did not get elected. For Christ's sake, give them some bonus points just for being alive.
Orestes "Minnie" Minoso was a true pioneer - coming from Cuba, barnstormed a bit and then debuted with white sox as their first black player. A bit of trivia - in Minoso's first game, he hit a HR (I believe in his first AB). what other player hit their first HR in that game? Frankly I'm too pissed off to play trivia, the answer is Mickey Mantle. He had a pretty decent career almost 2,000 hits and a .300 hitter - even though debuted when he was about 30. Not to mention he is the only person on the list that the average baseball fan HAS EVER HEARD OF.
Buck O'Neill. As I wrote earlier, he is a real ambassador for the game. Anyone who has ever heard him spin his tales of playing in the old days, will just as surely as I did, have a great appreciation for this wonderful man. If I were him, I would tell them to take their placques and shove them, because the things Buck does have a far more valuable than any bronze plauque in upstate NY - memories of playing with some of the greats, being the first black coash (for I beleieve the Cubs), the love of his family, universal respect in the baseball world and, probably most importantly, absolutely no bitterness or resentment for the difficult road that he was forced to travel solely because of the color of his skin.
So the HOF will get what it deserves. Which is nothing. I guess we can not accuse them of kowtowing to the media and PR, because they are about to get it - and in an extremely negative way. It could have been a feel good story for them. O'Neil and Minoso on the podium this summer, spinning tales playing with Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell and accepting on the behalf of the 17 (deceased) candidates. Hell MLB and the Hall could have thrown some chump change (for them) the way of the widows and/or surving players. It would have been quite a group hug/love fest. And they blew it. So now, let the barrage of stories begin.
And frankly I wouldn't be surprised if they do yet another special election next year to "reverse this wrong" but also to draw some attention away from the impending McGwire ballot. I am one pissed off dude today. And on top of it, it rains about 8 days a year here and today it is pouring.