January 19, 2009

Grade Inflation Comes to Baseball?

You see it so many places. Professors routinely giving As and Bs, bosses giving out only "meets" or above...

Every baseball fan has a certain gut instinct about whether someone should be in the Hall of Fame or not. It might be wrong, giving too little credence to defensive skills or what have you, but while Jim Rice was a feared slugger during the 1970s it just doesn't feel like he should be in the Hall. Back watching these guys you knew, instinctively, who was special. Clemente, Aaron, Mays, Gibson, Seaver...You just knew. But guys like Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dale Murphy, well, you knew there was that tissue-thin difference between greatness and immortality, as one writer put it on the Costas show. There were great players, but not deserving of the immortality of the Hall.

It was a decision we took not lightly. My friend and I, avid baseball card collectors, had a limited number of plastic sheets in which to encase the immortals, the ones we felt had a legitimate chance to make the HOF and thus whose cards would increase greatly in value. Dawson, Rice and Lynn and Murphy? Nope. But Bert Blyleven did make the cut for me.


Jim Curley said...

I agree with the assessment. Rice followed Yaz in left field, and even though Rice's offensive numbers may have better than Yaz's, there was an overall difference (as well as the fact that Yaz played in a different era for most of his career.) Of the Bosox of that era, I always thought the order of greatness over their career was Fisk, Burlson (although cut short), Lynn, and then Rice-and only Fisk, if any deserving of the Hall.

TS said...

Yeah Yaz and Fisk seemed to me the true HOF'rs in that BoSox crowd.

Rice wasn't known for his defense, so that makes it all the more amazing that someone who didn't even hit 400 HRs, let alone 500 (which used to be the standard) could be considered a HOF'r. And though he had a lot of hits, he didn't make it close to 3000.

Your humble author said...

I know that what should keep me going during days of deep snow and wicked wind chills is the hope of Easter and our certain and glad resurrection from this tribulation of inner and outer winter.

But, in fact, much of my immediate comfort comes from thoughts of how close we are to the opening of spring training.


TS said...

Well said Roz. I can't claim to be the baseball fan you are but I like the weather the baseball season is associated with!