Today on Season Ticket, guest host Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) welcomes Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy for a spirited debate about their recently submitted 2018 Baseball Hall Of Fame ballots. They dive into the controversy, including players on the bubble, the real reason Curt Schilling can't get in, and what to do about those suspected of steroid use.
On Curt Schilling's candidacy
Chad Finn: Bob, you have him on your ballot. Why do you have him on your ballot?
Bob Ryan: I think the only time he wasn’t—not just good—great was when he was injured. If you check his career, I think his body of work was astonishing. He struck out 300 for two different teams, his postseason is one of the best postseason resumes since World War II. I just think he was a great pitcher and, to me, I don’t understand not voting for Curt Schilling.
Dan Shaughnessy: Well, my friend Bob Ryan, today, wrote a ridiculous sentence [in the Boston Globe]: “His right wing bluster must be the reason people don’t vote for him. I can’t come up with any other intellectually defensible explanation.” That is disappointing to me, Bob Ryan, you’ve got to be kidding me. Less than half the people that vote have voted for him in his six years on the ballot. You think that 250 people every year don’t vote for him because of his political leanings? Give me a break! It’s only come to light in the last two years how much of a nut-job he is. You could easily make the case to not vote for Curt Schilling, who was with four teams before he was 32 years old ... He’s a legitimate bubble guy and he is using this political stuff to say that’s why people aren’t voting for him and it’s nonsense.
Bob Ryan: Clearly, he is a bubble guy. He’s proven to be a bubble guy and I don’t understand that ... I’m going to stand with what I said: the only time he wasn’t good was when he was hurt. We’re going to have to agree to disagree.
"I just think he was a great pitcher and I don’t understand not voting for Curt Schilling."Bob Ryan
On the threshold for gaining entry into the Hall of Fame
Bob Ryan: It’s been the "Hall of the Very Good" since the Veteran’s Committee screwed things up in the 40s.
Dan Shaugnessy: Only 38% of the people in the Hall of Fame were voted in by the writers. Are we supposed to lower our standards to accommodate the Veteran’s Committee and other committees that put these people in?
Bob Ryan: It’s hard when you get into the “Well, he’s in so why isn’t he in?” thing. How can Luis [Tiant] be denied when Catfish Hunter’s in and Don Drysdale’s in and so forth?
On whether closers like Trevor Hoffman should get in
Bob Ryan: The closer thing is one of the most interesting aspects of voting for the Hall of Fame. I feel, in general, that they should not be eligible for the Cy Young. It’s [meant] for starting pitching ... And the save is a joke; the one-inning three-out save with a three-run lead is a joke ... I just don’t buy Trevor Hoffman, I’m sorry.
Dan Shaughnessy: He’s not as much of a lock as I thought because he was like six votes shy last year and I’m not seeing the spike.
Bob Ryan: Wouldn’t it be historic if he were not to get in? He may be the closest to getting in to end up not getting in.
"I guarantee you there are guys in Cooperstown already who people think are clean who were outright dirty."Chad Finn
On Edgar Martinez
Bob Ryan: We have a distinctly different version of what Edgar Martinez was because, in my mind, he was without question the most respected hitter—right-handed for sure—in the American League for that 10-year period or so ... I think he was an extremely dangerous hitter.
Dan Shaughnessy: He was the third best player on his team, which wasn’t his fault necessarily. He’s playing on a team with Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. No one ever said, “Oh, Edgar’s coming to town. I gotta go to that series this weekend.” He’s just not that kind of hitter. I thought he's a little bit short on power numbers. I don’t hold the DH thing against any hitter, whether that’s David Ortiz or Vladimir Guerrero or Edgar, that doesn’t bother me ... I’m close to cracking on Edgar and I know I’ve only got one year left.
On Omar Vizquel
Bob Ryan: Vizquel will never get in ... But, this guy was an unbelievable fielder and somehow or another sneaked in 2,700+ hits ... He was overshadowed.
Dan Shaughnessy: It helps to be dominant at your position in the time you play. That’s hard to do if there are great people at your position at the time you play. That did happen to Vizquel—I mean, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, A-Rod.
On the steroid era and the Hall of Fame
Chad Finn: What stinks is you really don’t know ... You can speculate and you’ll probably be right in a lot of cases, but I guarantee you there are guys in Cooperstown already who people think are clean, who were outright dirty. It just has to be the case.
Bob Ryan: This is what frustrates me. It has taken so much of the fun out of doing this for me. It is wearing me out.
Dan Shaughnessy: I was close to coming off the "Steroid Wall" last year and I was surprised by the amount of support there was to stay up there because, certainly, it’s not popular with young people. A lot of people voting now didn’t even cover [baseball] at the time of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa ... I know its unfair and it gets into cherry-picking and cheating.
Bob Ryan: I’ve been saying for years that someday I might wake up and say, “The hell with it, I can’t tell which juiced pitchers pitched to which juiced batters. I give up, I’m letting them all in.” I’ve been saying that now—that’s my mantra—for four, five years and that day hasn’t come yet. But it’s conceivable I will cave.