Baseball’s Hall of Fame is sports’ most exclusive; it excludes some players more deserving than those inducted. But it beats the alternative.
Imagine if induction required only 50 percent of the vote instead of 75, and in most years there were five to seven inductees? Imagine … it’s easy if you try, because that is the Roll and Rock Hall of Fame.
And as much as it vexes me that Bruce Sutter was chosen for baseball immortality Tuesday as worthier candidates Bert Blyleven and Goose Gossage were bypassed again, it is better to honor only the best rather than lower standards so those who were merely good may meet and further diminish them.
Otherwise you get a Hall of Fame that bestows its most prestigious honor on Ritchie Valens (how much musical influence can a boy with a small body of work who dies at 17 exert?), Gene Pitney, and the Pretenders, all of whom didn’t sustain greatness — if they ever achieved it.
And even though it irritates me that Gossage, who may be the best reliever ever (as amazing as Mariano Rivera is, he hasn’t pitched even half as many innings as Gossage did), was bypassed once again, I consider this the cost of honoring the most excellent excellence.
In Gossage’s 10-year peak from 1975-85, he made nine All-Star games, posted a 2.06 ERA and struck out 923 in 975 innings, whereas Sutter was a superb reliever for only eight seasons who would never post an ERA lower than 4.34 because of a bum shoulder once he turned 32.
Baseball Hall voters make wrongheaded decisions such as this, but when Jose Canseco becomes eligible in 2007 you may rest assured he won’t make the cut.
But Paul Revere and the Raiders? Journey? Grand Funk Railroad?
They may have just accomplished not enough to get in.
(once again, Mark Farner’s wild, shirtless lyrics, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drum work of Don Brewer are the punchline for some self-styled expert. And unlike Tom Glavine, these guys could sell out Shea Stadium).