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The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced three new inductees, none of them (thank goodness) Pete Rose. I'm glad they excluded him, though I believe he belongs in Cooperstown. His supposed connection to Canadian baseball (he got his 4,000th hit during a half-season as an Expo) was a cheap publicity stunt.

Joe Carter was elected, for his memorable moments as a Blue Jay -- didn't he hit a clutch HR or something? Kirk McCaskill also got the nod, presumably for being born in Kapuskasing, and hanging around the bigs for 12 years as a mediocre pitcher. Quebec administrator Richard Belec is the other new addition to the Hall. Mark June 28 on your calendar if you want to attend the ceremony and give Joe one last round of applause.

That's two Carters in St. Mary's -- Gary was enshrined last year -- and it opens up the door for other great American players who spent significant time with Canadian MLB teams. Dave Stieb and Rusty Staub should be next, but Tommy Lasorda's incredible pitching for the AAA Montreal Royals in the 1950's has been unjustly overlooked. The standards for admission are, to say the least, confusing.

Carter In, Rose Out | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Craig B - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 10:52 AM EST (#95655) #
Kirk McCaskill? I could be sick. A guy who disclaimed being a Canadian throughout his career, and we give him our highest honor? An awful decision.
Mike D - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 11:18 AM EST (#95656) #
I'm with Craig. Who's next -- Greg Rusedski?
_Jordan - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 11:23 AM EST (#95657) #
For the sake of the Canadian Baseball HOF, I'm so very glad Rose wasn't elected. "Travesty" wouldn't have begun to describe what that would have engendered. Hopefully, the person who nominated Rose has been tossed from the committee, and we'll never have to go through this again.

The two players who were elected, however, reveal the fundamental problem facing the CBHOF. Joe Carter had a fine career with the Blue Jays, but it really was nothing terribly special: slightly over 1,000 games played, ranking no higher than second (HRs) on any list of all-time Blue Jays leaders and usually no higher than fourth in others (GP, R, H, 2B, RBI, TB, XBH). Here are some of the players who rank ahead of Carter in those various categories:

Tony Fernandez
Lloyd Moseby
George Bell
Carlos Delgado
John Olerud
Willie Upshaw
Ernie Whitt
Rance Mulliniks(!)

Joe's nowhere to be found on the BB or SB leaderboard, though he's fifth in Ks. Aside from slugging percentage, he's also off the leaderboard in the rate stats too.

Now, is this to say that Joe isn't a worthy selection for the CBHOF? Not necessarily, because he is a consistent presence on most of the offensive leaderboards and he did hit a very famous and important home run. But Fernandez, Moseby and Bell, to name three, deserve enshrinement just as equally on this basis. Which leads to the larger question, of course, of whether this criterion -- performing well while playing for a Canadian-based team -- is a worthy one.

For example, I don't think Randy Bass or Tuffy Rhodes are likely to gain enshrinement one day to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, if there is such an institution. If there were a Canadian Scientist Hall of Fame, I'm not sure it would include American or British scientists who published important papers or made key discoveries while employed by Canadian universities. The idea of a nation-based HOF, I would think, is to honour the best and brightest of your home-grown talent and the glorious moments they produced -- not to honour those people and achievements that were within your borders at the time they hit the jackpot.

The dilemma for the CBHOF, of course, is that if it did adopt this stricter criteria, it would soon be cast into utter irrelevance, because it would be electing only the likes of Kirk McCaskill, a league-average pitcher if ever there was one (99 ERA+ lifetime). What, precisely, are we celebrating with McCaskill's enshrinement? That we, as a country, can produce replacement-level talent? No doubt the same honour awaits Matt Stairs (851 OPS and dropping) and Rheal Cormier (98 ERA+) someday. There's nothing wrong with recognizing and applauding the efforts of Canadians who set aside the national mantra of hockey and made a career in the ultra-difficult major leagues. But to "enshrine" them in a "Hall of Fame" seems to be making a mountain out of a pleasant rise in the ground's elevation.

I don't know what the right course of action is for the CBHOF, whether to continue to elect all the members of the '83 Expos and '92 Blue Jays, or whether to hope people will actually visit the Terry Puhl Wing. But I'm at least glad that they didn't cross the line into full-fledged shamefulness by adding Pete Rose to their motley mix.
Coach - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 12:30 PM EST (#95658) #
Well said, Jordan. The person who nominated Rose is Tony Riviera, the president of the Canadian Baseball League. He has a thirst for publicity, but apparently no conscience. In the BB thread where we discussed his nomination, I said BJ Birdy and Youppi! were more deserving.

The comparison of McCaskill to Cormier and Stairs is apt, and his "true patriot love" is questionable, so why bother? Here's Kirk, from the CBHOF official release:

"I am stunned by this wonderful news. I can't wait to tell my family and my parents. I am very proud of my Canadian heritage, and this is going to be an honour of a lifetime."

Yeah, right. His previous career highlight was serving up back-to-back jacks to Griffey pere et fils.

It's too late to complain anyway, but I'm OK with the Hall's policy of admitting non-Canadians if they had an impact on baseball in this country. I suppose Joe Carter did, but no more so than the others on Jordan's list, or Robbie Alomar, or any number of Expos including Andre Dawson. Pat Gillick and Cito Gaston belong; someone should nominate Tom Cheek, Jerry Howarth and Dave Van Horne.
Dave Till - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 03:36 PM EST (#95659) #
I have no problem with Joe Carter in the CBHOF; it is the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, after all, and Joe did do some extremely memorable things. That home run off Mitch is permanently etched in my retinas.

I'd like to see all the players on Jordan's list in the CBHOF, including Mulliniks (who was a pretty good hitter in his prime). Besides, I want future generations to know that there once was a man named Rance Mulliniks. That name rolls off the tongue; in fact, I don't think it's possible to be truly unhappy after saying "Rance Mulliniks" over and over again, especially if you say it the way Murray Eldon used to.

I don't see the point of electing McCaskill - he never thought of himself as Canadian, he didn't play for a Canadian team, and he didn't have a memorable career. Does he still have relatives in Canada? Though I do recall reading that he loved to play hockey as a kid, so perhaps something of Canada stuck with him. Does he like donuts? Vinegar on his fries? Real beer? (Vinegar in his beer?)
_rodent - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 04:33 PM EST (#95660) #
This discussion prompted me to vist the Canadian Baseball HOF website, and further to wonder about the missing names in the builder category. Three huge contributors deserving consideration: Bob Abate, Matty Eckler and Jack Domenico. That's just Toronto. Any ideas?
Craig B - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 11:40 PM EST (#95661) #
Weird... McCaskill's fourth most-similar player by Similarity Scores is fellow CBHOF member Reggie Cleveland.
Craig B - Monday, February 24 2003 @ 11:47 PM EST (#95662) #
Jordan, it's worth pointing out that Stairs and Cormier are among the best players this country has ever produced. I don't mind celebrating that. We should honour our best.

McCaskill is different... he was just born here, had no other real connection. It was like honouring Blackie O'Rourke... who also does not belong in the CBHOF, even though he *was* born in Hamilton and therefore is particularly touched by God's grace.

The CBHOF would be well-advised to slow down to one enshrinee a year... but they have a business to keep in the black. It's hard to say no when more enshrinees bring more people to St. Mary's for induction ceremonies.
Coach - Tuesday, February 25 2003 @ 08:21 AM EST (#95663) #
Hey Craig, you know how advertisers take out-of-context fragments from negative movie reviews and make them seem positive? It works both ways:

born in Hamilton and therefore is particularly touched

Rodent's right -- those Toronto icons and many other deserving builders are being ignored; some of the OBA (Baseball Ontario) brass have volunteered for decades at the so-called grass roots level. But electing relative unknowns doesn't generate media coverage or spin the turnstiles, which seem to be the Hall's primary objectives lately. As they neglect their mandate and juggle priorities in pursuit of income, the "C" in CBHOF is fading.
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