Congratulations to Goose Gossage for his election to the baseball Hall of Fame. He has no business there. In fact, the only relievers who belong and aren’t already in are Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, and that’s because they’re still playing.

Jim Rice just missed and should make it next year. He shouldn’t, but he will. It’s not because he wasn’t a great player, he was terrific–“feared,” the people making his case keep saying–but there are plenty of great players who aren’t quite Hall of Fame material. Dick Allen, Ron Santo, Tony Oliva, Rico Carty, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Andre Dawson…you could build a team around any one of them. But would you travel to Cooperstown to see the memorabilia?

The only two position players I can see getting in are Gil Hodges and Joe Torre, but it’s really their managerial success that separates them from the pack.

And don’t get me started on the lackluster assortment of pitchers. Someone’s always making a case for Bert Blyleven. But was he ever an ace you would put up against Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton (or even Luis Tiant) in a big game? I hate that Don Sutton is already in the Hall of Fame. But to use that as an excuse to let in more glorified number two starters only compounds the error.

There was only one player on the ballot this year who stands head and shoulders above the rest. He got twenty-something percent of the vote and probably won’t ever get in. That giant of a man with a shriveled scrotum is Mark McGwire. He was amazing to watch in his prime, I’d never seen anything like it, and those pitchers were juiced too. I’m not a McGwire fan, I hated his stupid salutes to his fat son after his home runs and his testimony before Congress was pathetic. But I think he belongs. Which means maybe it’s time to start talking about Pete Rose.

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