The Hall of Fame announced Sunday night that Harold Baines and Lee Smith are being inducted into the Hall of Fame via the Today’s Game ballot.
This is wrong on so many different levels.
Now, before we take more of an in-depth look at this, let’s just preface it with this: the Baseball Hall of Fame is officially becoming watered down. How many different ballots and committees does there have to be to get the vote right? Guys like Jack Morris should have been voted in on the regular ballot, had to wait until after the fact to get in. It is a complete joke.
Harold Baines had a 22-year career with five different teams. He finished with a .289 batting average with 384 home runs, and 1,628 RBIs. He also finished his career with a 38.7 WAR. He was the first big designated hitter that ultimately turned the “position” into what it is today, but what about defensively? He never won a Gold Glove Award, and never was an everyday fielder. On top of that, Baines never finished higher than 10th in the MVP voting.
Those stats make the case for Keith Hernandez to be inducted next. the former first baseman finished his 17-year career with a .296/.384/.436 slash line with 162 home runs and 1,071 RBIs. His WAR was a resounding 60.4—just four points lower than Mike Trout. He also has compiled a great track record of awards. Mex finished with 11 Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and an MVP in 1979. He also finished top five in MVP voting three separate times.
Another aspect that needs to be looked at between the two is the affect they’ve had on their teams in the postseason. Baines never won a World Series, but in the one he appeared in, he batted .143. Hernandez, on the other hand, is a two-time World Series champion and was an intricate piece to the Cardinals run in 1982 and the Mets 1986 championship. Without Hernandez, there is a good chance the Mets do not win in 1986.
Although Baines may have the power numbers, he was not the all-around player that Keith Hernandez was. Hernandez was one of the best first basemen in the league from when he stepped foot into the league to when he hung up those spikes. Keith Hernandez should be a Hall of Famer.
*Photo: New York Post