As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were each elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame earlier today, and while the latter’s election is sure to set off wild celebrations in
mothers’ basements bastions of higher intellect all over this great land, the dissing of another legend will inspire much sadness in taverns, bowling alleys and social clubs throughout the borough of Queens. Former Mets closer John Franco received just 4.6 percent of the total vote, thus eliminating him for future consideration, and MLB’s Marty Noble provides the Captain with a shoulder to cry on.
“It is disappointing,” Franco said from his home. “I was hoping for at least 5 percent. I thought I’d get five. Anyone who has the fourth-most of anything — hits, RBIs, wins, saves — you figured it had to mean something. But it’s another one of those things that you have no control over. So you just have to take it.
“Everyone has their opinion of a player and the job that he’s done.”
The only pitchers with more career saves are Trevor Hoffman (601), Mariano Rivera (559) and Lee Smith (478). Billy Wagner has retired with 422.
“I know there are a lot of guys who vote who have problems with saves. … the saves rule,” Franco said. “But you have to be a pretty good pitcher to become the closer. And saves are the only thing we have to measure how a closer does.
“I know I had a good career. I’m proud of what I accomplished. I’m proud I was on the ballot.”
Noble helpfully points out that Franco amassed 276 saves as a Met, 116 more than Armando Benitez. We’ve read countless versions of historian/expert criteria for admission to the Hall, but I think we’ve finally come up with one that no one can argue with. If a reliever has saved that many more games than Armando Benitez, he oughta have his number retired in every ballpark in the country, never mind earn a lousy plaque in Cooperstown.