Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sammy Sosa Failed A Drug Test; Tiny Tim Had Curly Hair

Was anyone really shocked to hear Sammy Sosa failed a drug test for steroids? Look, I liked Sosa as a player and as a personality in the game. But, he didn't look natural and was also one of the players who shrank noticeably when baseball strengthened its testing program (which means he probably wasn't taking the really good stuff).

The debate always drifts to whether or not he and other fingered or suspected juicers should be in the Hall of Fame. Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens all become eligible in the same year (for the 2013 induction). It will be interesting to see how the BBWAA handle the voting. I've never been a big fan of that group as they seem incapable of analyzing players in the context of their era and of baseball history. They seem to look primarily for "magic numbers" like 3,000 hits, 500 home runs or 300 wins.

Two players who are on the current ballot who get pathetically little support are Alan Trammell and Tim Raines. Trammell is not compared to players in his era or to past shortstops. Instead, he is compared to shortstops who player in the offensive explosion of the 1990s and beyond. He is not far beyond the unanimously-elected Cal Ripken Jr. if you take the Streak out of the equation. Raines was a dominant leadoff hitter for a long time. One of the best players in his league for more than a decade. Quite possibly one of the top five leadoff hitters of all time. My hope is that writers who are so bombastic in their rejection of the phony numbers of the past decade will give a fresh look to players who were truly great when compared to the era in which they played.

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