On Monday the Baseball Hall of Fame announced its annual Veterans Committee ballot, this one highlighting players from the Modern Era (1970-1987). While it is an impressive group, one missing name sticks out like a sore thumb — former Mets great and current broadcaster Keith Hernandez.
Before we get to arguably the greatest defensive baseman of all time, let’s check out the ballot:
First of all, does Mattingly even belong on his ballot? He played the bulk of his career after 1987; shouldn’t he be on the Today’s Game ballot?
As far as Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, they both recently fell off the writer’s ballot. Can’t we consider other players before we start debating them again?
Hernandez could easily have replaced any of those players, in addition to his former teammate Ted Simmons — an excellent hitter, but who has a far inferior Hall of Fame argument than Hernandez.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith and especially Bill Mazeroski are in the Hall and are considered the best fielders at their positions, then Keith Hernandez deserves to be in, too. And Smith and Mazeroski were not even remotely close to the hitter Hernandez was.
Hernandez has a high profile as a Mets announcer; that usually helps a player’s candidacy (see Ron Santo and Bert Blyleven). For some reason it did not play in Hernandez’s favor. So now we have to wait another three years for Hernandez to get a shot.
As far as the rest of the ballot, Marvin Miller should have been inducted years ago, and I think he will finally get his due this year. He changed modern baseball more than just about anyone.
I would be surprised if any of the players get in. It’s funny — when I used to watch Steve Garvey and Dave Parker play, I used to think “he’s a Hall of Famer.” But the career numbers just do not add up. You can make a case for Garvey as the dominant player at his position for a decade or so. As for Parker, he was basically the Jim Rice of the National League; one of the most feared sluggers in the game. I wouldn’t be upset to see either of them get in, but it is doubtful, at best.
The rest of the ballot consists of fine ballplayers who fall just short of Cooperstown, in my opinion. Keith Hernandez, though, would have been more than deserving.