Hello to 2011 and to all the possibilities for the Yankees and everyone out there.
The Orioles should continue to at least be more competitive under Buck Showalter, and they should get some more power at first base now that they have agreed with Derrek Lee on a one-year deal contingent on a physical.
And the other new transaction in the division involves the Red Sox, according to ESPN.com. It appears lefty Hideki Okajima is coming back for another season in the bullpen after a strong finish to a mostly down year.
The writers’ Hall of Fame votes were due in by New Year’s Eve. There were 33 former players on the ballot. I voted for one, Roberto Alomar, who received 73.7 percent in the balloting last year, his first year eligible, and he needed 75 percent for baseball immortality. Yes, I know he wasn’t great with the Mets and spit once. But he was a .300 lifetime hitter, with 2,724 hits and 474 steals; batted .313 in 11 postseason series; made the All-Star team 12 straight seasons; and won 10 AL Gold Gloves at second.
I do consider myself a hard marker when it comes to the subject. I’m old enough to have seen everybody play. But this is obviously a subjective evaluation.
I couldn’t bring myself to vote for the names associated with steroids. We are told in the instructions to also consider integrity.
There are some borderline cases that I thought hard about, although if you have to think about them, are they really Hall of Famers? That group includes Bert Blyleven — I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get in this year, his 14th out of a possible 15 on the ballot after finishing .8 percent short last year — Jeff Bagwell and Fred McGriff. Maybe I’ll reevaluate in the coming years, but right now I don’t see it.
I’m sure there will be a good deal of support again for Barry Larkin and Jack Morris.
Besides the ones mentioned, the notable names on the ballot included: Harold Baines, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.
The results will be announced this month. So who would you vote for?