Baines, Smith voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Harold Baines, Lee Smith elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Today’s Game ballot

Harold Baines, Lee Smith elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Today’s Game ballot

The vote by the Today's Game Era Committee was sure to spark renewed cries of cronyism at Cooperstown.

Baines spent almost all of his first 10 seasons with the White Sox and now serves as a team ambassador in their community relations department. Not even close. But the attention he never craved is now his-with the most stunning Hall of Fame selection I have seen. "I wasn't expecting this day to come". He and Baines are only the third and fourth living former players voted into the Hall of Fame by the eras committees, joining former Tigers teammates Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, who were voted in by the Modern Game Committee previous year. "He's a great player and a great human being", Reinsdorf said.

Smith held the Major League Baseball record for career saves (478) at the time of his retirement, having since been surpassed by Trevor Hoffman, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018 and Mariano Rivera, who will debut on the ballot next year. "I am so honoured that I was a member of the committee". The committees are made up of Hall of Famers, executives, and historians.

Longtime manager Lou Piniella fell just short with 11 votes, while the seven other candidates on the ballot (Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, George Steinbrenner) each received four or fewer votes.

Baines never had 200 hits, never scored 90 runs, never hit 30 homers, never hit 40 doubles, never finished in the top five in OPS, never finished in the top eight in MVP voting, rarely played defense for his final 15 seasons, and had a.313 OBP against lefthanded pitching. "You look at those things, well, OK, who's on the ballot this year?" In his five years on the BBWAA ballot his best showing was 6.1 percent of the total votes. Without exception, every year they were on the writers' ballot with Baines all of them out-polled Baines.

Smith joins Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Hoyt Wilhelm as the only primary relievers in the Hall of Fame.

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Due to knee injuries, Baines spent most of his career as a designated hitter. DHs have struggled to gain backing from Hall voters. Baines was not deemed by a Hall of Fame player by any analytic criteria, and the fact he was a DH only added to the pile-on.

"Everything I hear or read is DH is really not part of the game, I guess". "I don't agree, but maybe this will open up the door for more DHs".

A Sports Illustrated post on the news, headlined "Harold Baines's Stunning Hall of Fame Election is an Embarrassment", suggested Mark McGwire was "a hundred times the hitter Baines was, steroids or not", and argued that Baines getting in "before (Edgar) Martinez or (Barry) Bonds or (Roger) Clemens or a dozen other more qualified eligible players is ludicrous".

Induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 21 at Cooperstown, New York.

Between now and then, there's certain to be more discussion about who else should be in the Hall.

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