So last night I'm minding my own business, browsing the interwebs when I see this pop up. Harold Baines elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame. No way it's THAT Hall Of Fame, right? Not the one in Cooperstown. Maybe I was thinking of a different Harold Baines? Nope, turns out it is THAT Harold Baines headed to Cooperstown.
First off, congrats to Harold, it's a great accomplishment for you to get the call and forever be enshrined. He'll become the third 1-1 pick to be inducted into Cooperstown joining Ken Griffey Jr and Chipper Jones. But let's be real. Harold Baines is NOT a Hall Of Fame player. Over his 21 years he played some good baseball for the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians, but I don't think anyone would consider him to be a Hall Of Fame player. He's in the Hall Of Good with guys like Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Aubrey Huff, and Jose Bautista.
They also announced closer, Lee Smith will be inducted. The decision was the result of a vote taken by the Today's Game Era Committee, where you need 12 out of the 16 votes to be inducted. Smith got all of them and Baines got 12. I'm going to be honest, I've never heard of the Today's Game Era Committee, and it's because it's the Veterans Committee renamed. Okay, whatever, but how about some announcement for that? Regardless, I think the Veterans Committee thing is strange, why is someone a Hall Of Famer now if they weren't 10 years ago? Nothing changes for their cases over that time. I hate MLB voters, they're so strange.
Over Baines' 22 season career, he posted a 38.7 WAR (Mike Trout passed this WAR in May….of 2016), 2,866 hits, a .289 average, 384 homers, 1,628 RBI,a .356 OBP, slugging % of .465, and an .820 OPS. Good numbers…but do they belong in Cooperstown? Hell no. He did make 6 All Star teams, but only won 1 Silver Slugger, and never finished higher than 9th in the MVP voting. He's been up for induction 5 other times and has never got more than 6.1% of the vote. So why the hell is he in now? I'm so damn confused about this.
I mean how is he in over ANY of those guys above? Yeah some of the guys above have been rumored to be involved with steroids, but guys like McGriff, Vizquel, Helton….Come on. I mean how do you explain this to Edgar Martinez, a MUCH better DH than Baines. He got in over George Steinbrenner…how?!
Baines got less than 5% of the vote in 2011 and now in 2018 he got 75% of the votes needed from the 16 votes to get in. Are we being Punk'd? We now live in a world where Barry Bonds isn't in the Hall Of Fame, but Harold Baines is. Actually hilarious.
Don't get me wrong, I loved watching Baines in Baltimore. He's a Maryland boy, but I didn't sit in Camden Yards and think to myself, "There goes Harold Baines, Hall Of Famer." I did go to college with his son, Harold Baines Jr, guy was sick at NHL 07, so maybe that helped his case.
Looking at some active players with WAR comparable or right around Baines, do they get in?
- Josh Donaldson (38.5) NO
- Ryan Zimmerman (38) NO
- Alex Gordon (35.2) NO
- Ben Zobrist (45.3) NO
Congrats to Baines though. I don't mean to be a hater. It's more funny than anything because nobody ever expected to see the words "Harold Bains" and "Hall of Famer" in the same setnence. Buy good for him…see you in Cooperstown!