Hurrah for Jeff Passan, national baseball writer for Yahoo.com. In covering the Manny Ramirez retirement story today (Saturday, April 9), Jeff was the first writer to eliminate Ramirez from Hall of Fame consideration. After all, a 50-day chemical suspension in 2009 followed by a 100-day chemical suspension in 2011 are not the credentials for the Hall of Fame.
It brought to mind a conversation I had in 1996 with Dan O’Dowd, who was the Indians’ assistant general manager, as we walked along the basement concourse near the Tribe’s lockerroom.
“Do you realize how many future Hall of Famers are on this club right now?” O’Dowd said with a sense of wonder in his voice.
He listed the names of Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Baerga, Sandy Alomar and Eddie Murray, whom the Indians had picked up at the end of his career. That was one of the most potent lineups ever assembled. Murray already is in the Hall of Fame.
We can start crossing off some of the others. Belle’s hip injury ended his career before he could put up Hall of Fame statistics. He’ll never get my vote. Manny may have killed his chances with his chronic use of performance enhancing drugs, which is now well-known. Baerga’s partying ruined his career. He’s off the board. Not a chance.
That leaves Thome and Vizquel, who are automatic Hall of Famers. Lofton also has a chance but he’s not automatic. Alomar is a longshot but, unlike Lofton, he was popular with the writers and he’ll get all the Cleveland votes.
O’Dowd actually had a good percentage in picking Hall of Famers. One is in. Two are automatics, two will get some attention and three self-destructed.
That’s all for now. Don’t change the station.