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2019 Today's Game Committee Elects Harold Baines and Lee Smith

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  • Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
    . If we quash all counterpoints to a pure numeric value, then baseball would lose some of its magic (to me at least).
    it would lose all of the magic.

    This week's Giant

    #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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    • Originally posted by Cougar
      I guess my problem with Canseco as heroic truth-teller is that he reported on a scandal that was to a substantial degree one of his own making.
      Canseco's tell-all was all about self-interest.

      In 1988, Jose Canseco was on top of the world. He was the first 40/40 man in baseball history. He won the AL MVP Award. He had just played in his first World Series (and would win it the very next year). Many fans considered Canseco the best player in baseball. His "Bash Brother", Mark McGwire, was a one dimensional slugger and played second fiddle to the headline-grabbing Canseco.

      A decade later, McGwire was the toast of the game, having resurrected his career after some injury-plagued seasons to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record.

      Three years later, after the 2001 season, Mark McGwire hung up his cleats having clobbered an impressive career resume. Jose Canseco's career just fizzled out, having been off the radar of baseball fans for years by that time. McGwire was a future Hall of Famer. All that remained was the five-year wait before his name would be called (along with Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn). Fans could mark their 2007 calendars. Canseco? He struggled to get back to the majors, something he did not achieve.

      One year later, Eddie Murray was elected to the Hall of Fame, making every member of the 500 HR club a member of Cooperstown except Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, who was then at the height of his own home run hitting prowess. Sammy Sosa (499) and Fred McGriff (478) were on the cusp of joining the 500 club, which was as sure a ticket to Cooperstown as 3,000 hits were up to that time.

      Canseco's 462 home runs were 26th all-time through the 2002 season, one year removed from playing at the major league level. Canseco had spent the year struggling (.172 batting average) with the White Sox' AAA affiliate. The door to a return appeared closed for the 38 year-old designated hitter.

      What to do?

      Looking around him, Canseco had to understand that, historically speaking, his contemporaries Bonds, Mac, McGriff and Sosa were on course for baseball's highest honor while his own journey to Cooperstown would be an uphill struggle with a press he had spent his career having run-ins with.

      How could Canseco make himself relevant again? How could he portray himself in a positive - to his mind - light? How could Canseco level the playing field between his career HR total and those of his contemporaries?

      He wrote a tell-all. Well, Steve Kettmann (his ghostwriter) did. But you know what I mean. Boston Herald columnist was writing the first history of the steroid era for publication during the 2005 season. Canseco's tell all was pushed up to have an earlier publication date (during Spring Training) to hit the shelves first. As a result of the book's explosive claims, the U.S. Congress asked Canseco to testify alongside active players like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

      Canseco then joined the Golden Baseball League, a small independent league based in Southern California, for the 2006 season - Rickey Henderson had played there in 2005 - to resurrect rumors of a return to the big leagues and generate additional publicity for Canseco Inc.

      The man did nothing to elevate his own reputation, but used his infamy to tear down others of whom he was clearly jealous. Congratulations, Jose. You successfully contributed to a situation where Mark McGwire will not be in the Hall of Fame while you aren't.

      Canseco is the only (known) player to financially profit from steroids even after he stopped playing. While Canseco's book was a contribution to the national conversation, he is not a whistleblower and certainly not an innocent. Canseco receives zero credit from me, at least, for publicly pointing fingers because he couldn't stand the thought of other men gaining the recognition that he, himself, could not earn.

      I suppose that Canseco's desperation to remain relevant, and to financially profit from a reputation as an authoritative voice isn't much different than John Dean after all.
      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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