Marc Maturo’s official sports column.
Leaving no Hall vote unturned: one scribe’s opinion
Unlike last year when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect anyone into the Hall of Fame in upstate Cooperstown, this year’s balloting is almost certain to produce at least one or two new inductees and perhaps three and more.
The expansion era committee has already guaranteed a banner induction day ceremony on July 27, by unanimously voting in managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.
The venerable BBWAA came up empty last year as the election resulted in no selections for the first time since 1996 and just the third time since 1960. The ballot showcased a number of solid candidates, but the result was seen as a counterpunch to the deeply held suspicions of steroid and PED (performance enhancing drug) use.
This year’s ballot again features such players (chiefly Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens), but generally recognized “clean” performers such as pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are eligible for the first time and likely to receive strong support, especially Maddux.
Members of the BBWAA are permitted to vote for as many as 10 players. This scribe, for the first time ever, has taken that opportunity – not to mention my perfunctory if unrecognized “write-in,” Mr. Pete Rose, the banished all-time hits leader and one of the game’s greatest ambassadors across his storied career.
Here then, in alphabetical order with no regard to chance of election, are my 10 – count ’em, 10 – official selections:
- Craig Biggio: Played 20 seasons, all with the Astros, compiling 3,060 hits including 668 doubles (first among right-handed hitters). Second year on the ballot.
- Barry Bonds: Won seven National League MVP awards, the most of any player all-time. Holds career big-league records in home runs (762), walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688). Eight-time Gold Glove Award winner as a left fielder. Second year on the ballot.
- Roger Clemens: Five 20-win seasons, with 200-plus innings in 15 seasons and 12 campaigns with at least 200 strikeouts. Won American League pitching Triple Crown in 1997 and 1998, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Second year on the ballot.
- Tom Glavine: Won 305 games with lifetime 3.54 ERA and five 20-win seasons. Pitched at least 200 innings in 14 seasons, winning two Cy Young Awards. Named to 10 All-Star teams, leading the NL in complete games once and shutouts once. First year on the ballot.
- Jeff Kent: One of the game’s greatest offensive second baseman of all-time, with his 351 home runs standing as the most ever at the position. Defensively, led all NL second baseman in assists once and double plays once. Had eight seasons with 20 home runs and 100 RBI, the most of any second baseman in Major League Baseball history. First year on the ballot.
- Greg Maddux: Compiled a stellar 355-227 lifetime mark, with a record 17 straight seasons with at least 15 wins and four NL ERA titles. Ranks fourth all-time in games started (740), eights in wins, 10th in strikeouts (3,371) and 13th in innings pitched (5,008). One of only four pitchers with more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks. First year on the ballot.
- Edgar Martinez: Won two AL batting titles, named to seven All-Star Games, and compiled a.312 lifetime batting average over 18 seasons, all with the Mariners. A feared designated hitter, he won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004, the same year that MLB renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in his honor, presented annually. Fifth year on the ballot.
- Jack Morris: Amazingly perhaps, this is his 15th and final year on the ballot. Pitched 18 seasons, with three 20-win seasons and 11 seasons with 200-plus innings. Always tough in the clutch, the durable right-hander is remembered well for his 10-inning, 1-0 victory for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Finished what he started, with a remarkable 175 complete games.
- Mike Piazza: Ranks as one of the game’s greatest offensive catchers, and might be the best other than another Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench. Played 16 seasons, named to 12 All-Star Games and is a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Unanimous choice as 1993 National League MVP, and recorded at least a .300 batting average in nine seasons with a lifetime mark of .308. Hit 396 home runs as a catcher, the most in major-league history. Also led NL catchers in putouts four times
- Tim Raines: Played 23 seasons, leading the league in stolen bases four times and ranking second all-time for highest stolen-base percentage (300 or more attempts) with 84.7. Ranks fifth all-time in stolen bases (808) and 53rd all-time in runs (1,571). Another guy who seemed to get better in the toughest situations, he batted .294 lifetime, with seven seasons hitting .300 or better. Led NL outfielders with 21 assists in 1983. Seventh year on the ballot.
For point of interest, other well- known names on the ballot include Mark McGwire, Curt Schilling, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas.
ON THE RUN
Winslow Dorsainvil of Spring Valley, a redshirt freshman on the St. Thomas Aquinas College track and field team, set a school standard in the 60-meter dash at the Bill Ward Invitational hosted by St. John’s University. Dorsainvil, who provisionally qualified for Division II nationals, was clocked in 6.83, breaking the existing mark of 6.86 held by Ramapo HS alum Mike Abelard.
Freshman Stephen McNiff of Pearl River placed sixth in the mile with a time of 4:44.05 while senior George Erazo of North Babylon, took second in the 400 with a time of 50.18. Freshman Anthony Henry of Suffern took sixth in the 200 with a time of 23.84.
At the Boston University Season Opener, Erazo ran a national qualifying time running second in the 400 with a time of 48.88. Garvenchy Nicolas of Brooklyn finished third in the 800, clocking 1:56.28 that set an indoor school standard. Also hitting a school record was freshman Tristan Holmgren of Valhalla, clearing 6-feet, 2 and three-quarter inches in the high jump.
The Spartans next compete on January 4 at the Tigers Open at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Mass.
QUICK HITTERS: Senior guard Jessica Bullock of Thiells played just 14 minutes and was held scoreless as the Purchase College women’s basketball team fell to visiting Farmingdale, 78-62, snapping a three-game win streak. Bullock, hampered by foul trouble, had two assists and a steal for the Panthers, who visit Mitchell College in New London, Conn., on Dec. 12 in their last game before the holiday break. … Junior co-captain Meghan King of New City, a volleyball standout at The College of New Rochelle, was a first-team choice by The Association of Division III Independents (AD3I). Georgia Efthalitsides received coach of the year accolades as the Blue Angels became the first volleyball team in school history, and just the third in any sport, to reach the 20-win plateau. … The men’s hockey team at Army returns to action December 20 against nationally fourth-ranked Providence College (11-2-3) at Tate Rink in West Point at 7:05 p.m. … The Dominican College men’s basketball team puts its unbeaten record on the line December 14, visiting Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference foe Felician (N.J.) College. The Chargers lifted their mark to 7-0 following a 77-67 win against visiting Holy Family University as sophomore Joe Clinton of Pearl River scored eight points, adding a team-best five assists and three steals. Justin Turner of Trumbull, Conn., came off the bench and led all scorers with a career-best 23 points, and pulled down 12 rebounds.
THIS & THAT
Tickets for this season’s NYRR Millrose Games, scheduled February15, are on sale. Call the New Balance Track and Field Center, at 212-923-1803 ext. 7200, or visit NYRRMillroseGames.org. The Games begin at noon and conclude at 6:30 p.m.
The Manhattan Classic, one of the largest international amateur gymnastics events in North America, will be held on Pier 94 on the west side January 25-26. The event, expected to draw more than 10,000 young women and families, is seeking brand partners. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIP: Former Clarkstown North HS track coach Gerald (Jerry) F. Buckley of New City passed away on December 7 at the age of 71 following a long, courageous battle with Lupus. Buckley is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sheila, three children – Jerry, Patrick and Colleen — and 10 grandchildren, affectionately known as “The Big Ten.”