It seems like just yesterday I watched the news come in that my childhood baseball hero Mike Piazza would be inducted into the baseball hall of fame. Okay, it was just last season. It was pretty cool finally being at the point where you got to see players you grew up watching and admiring get into the Hall. As opposed to legends you only heard about but never got to actually see play.
I remember as a kid, my dad pitching to me in my grandfather’s backyard. I was wearing my black Mike Piazza jersey tee and just belting “homers” over my sisters head. My Aunt watching from the upstairs window. “You gonna play for the Mets, ya?” she shouted in her Brooklyn Italian accent, and I truly believed I would.
Being called into the Hall of Fame is one of baseball’s highest honors. And through the years there have been so many controversies regarding PED use and whether or not this should keep players out of the Hall. Much like the gambling situation with Pete Rose, I believe yes, this definitely disqualifies you from a spot there. There have been plenty of arguments and investigations made in the late 90s early 2000s on whether or not players had been using PEDs. The most famous of course being Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire. All whom have been kept out of the hall. Forget the fact that these guys would belt homers like they were hitting a whiffle ball, if you just looked at them on an aesthetic level, you could tell they seemed a bit….top heavy?
I always thought he was an odd shape. Even for a muscular ball player. Sure, Mike Piazza had his accusations over the years as well, but I’m guessing the fact that they had no real hard proff against him like they did with Canseco and McGwire is what left little road blocks for him to be inducted the previous year.
Canseco was furious upon hearing Jeff Bagwell as part of this years induction class. Raving and ranting about how Bagwell took his own share of PEDs at the time. But at this point, such information just makes Canseco come off as childish and hysterical.
But the real story of this year’s induction is Tim Raines. It was his final year on the ballot, and many thought the Hall of Fame would forever be lost to him. I love Tim Raines. He’s the “Joe Everyman” of this ballot.
Raines put in nothing but hard work in a career that spanned from 1979 to 2000. Not many players can say that they’ve had that type of longevity in baseball. Raines came up around the time Ricky Henderson was blowing everyone’s minds so it was easy for him to be lost in his shadow. He wasn’t a home run hitter, he never reached a 3000 hit mark in his career, but he always put in the work for his team when it seemed to matter most. Stats show that Raines reached base about 38.5% of the time in his plate appearances throughout his career and scored more than a hundred runs of value as a base runner.
Raines is the perfect opposite to what the steroid era of baseball was. Which is why in his last year it’s so great to see a player with his skill and work ethic to finally be recognized. I’ll take a guy like Raines over McGwire or Bonds any day.