Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Harold Baines

Baines

To say I was shocked when I clicked on the White Sox Cards blog this morning would be an understatement. It took a moment to register that Steve was talking about the actual National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cooperstown, and not a team Hall of Fame or perhaps the St. Michael’s High School Hall of Fame. While I have said in the past that I would not be upset by Harold Baines‘ induction, I never expected it to actually happen.

I’m still not mad.

Baines was a solid player for twenty-two seasons. He collected 2866 hits, good for #46 all-time and just 134 short of the “magic number.” As his former manager Tony La Russa said, “If it wasn’t for the strikes, he would have had 3000 hits.” The same argument is made by Fred McGriff apologists, so why shouldn’t it apply to Baines?

Every player ahead of Baines on the all-time hits list is in the Hall of Fame, save the permanently ineligible (Pete Rose), still active or recently retired (Adrian Beltre, Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols), or steroid-implicated players (whose names I would rather not mention).*

I’m not mad that Baines will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, and I hope that his induction may pave the way for other borderline cases such as Dale Murphy and Dave Parker.

* Update: Omar Vizquel actually has 11 more hits than Harold, and I had overlooked him initially. Vizquel received 37% from BBWAA voters last year, and is eligible for nine more ballots as long as he does not drop below 5% support.

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About JT

Preacher. Author. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Posted on December 10, 2018, in baseball, baseball cards and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. When you frame it like that, Baines’ selection certainly does make a lot more sense. Plus, the more Chicago representation in Cooperstown the better!

  2. I made that mistake too about Baines having the most hits and not being in. Viquel does have 11 more hits. But Baines did have the most RBI and total bases for a player not in the hall (excluding the ineligible and the steroid accused, that is). The fact that he was so high up on the career leaders for those 3 categories is probably the best argument to be made for his induction. Certainly better than Larussa’s GWRBI argument, which is the hitting equivelant of the Jack Morris “pitching to the score” argument.

    • I missed the GWRBI quote. That’s funny.

      Morris was in my HOF shoebox when I was a kid. Baines never was. It was a gut thing back then, with no access to b-r and sortable stat lists. How did we survive back then?

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