Today is one of those days.
This afternoon at 3 ET, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce its selections for the Hall of Fame. Barry Larkin is returning to the ballot after narrowly missing election last year, and he’s expected to get in. Bernie Williams is in his first season of eligibility and he’s expected to fall far short, joining Don Mattingly as one who sparks ferocious debate about who belongs and who doesn’t.
Of course, there are two future Hall of Fame decisions that are already generating buzz heading into today’s announcement.
1. Next year’s class is sure to be one of the most controversial we’ve ever seen. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens are among those who become eligible next season, and it’s hard not to at least slightly look ahead.
2. Jorge Posada won’t be eligible for election for another half decade, but with his retirement announcement on the way, his Hall of Fame potential is part of the conversation. Tom Verducci tackled the topic as well as anyone:
Among all catchers since 1901, Posada ranks third in walks (936), seventh in doubles (379), sixth in OPS (. 848), eighth in OBP (. 374) and home runs (275), ninth in slugging (. 474) and 11th in RBI (1065). He was named to five All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers. Posada’s OPS+ is 121. Only seven other catchers retired with a better OPS+ with at least 5,000 at-bats: Mike Piazza, Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, Johnny Bench, Ernie Lombardi, Gabby Hartnett and Yogi Berra.
Numbers, though, never defined Posada quite well enough. If somebody needed to play bad cop in the Yankees clubhouse, it would be Posada. It was how Posada played that defined him: with intense emotion. How do you put a number on a will to win?
If today’s Hall of Fame announcement doesn’t intrigue you, there’s not harm looking ahead a few years to one that will.
Associated Press photo