Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
I agree with your column that Harold Baines is below the standard for the Hall of Fame. But is there a benefit to this in that some deserving players that have been overlooked might now get a second chance? I’d love to see Luis Tiant and Dwight Evans make it, for instance. Are the other former Red Sox players that should get further consideration now that the bar is lowered? – Pat R.
First, though there are probably dozens of hitters more qualified than Baines for induction, I don’t think that means that the bar has been lowered and, say, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, and Tony Oliva are suddenly going to be enshrined. Baines, at least by the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be looked at as the outlier who pretty clearly got in because of cronyism on the Today’s Game Committee (a 16-person panel that included the owner of the first team he played for and his first manager, Tony La Russa, who embarrassed himself talking about this Thursday on the MLB Network.) Baines was a very good hitter who should be remembered well, but he doesn’t belong.
I do think this could open the doors to Cooperstown for a couple of players who should be in and who have been overlooked. Tiant might be one. His statistics are very similar to the last Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter. Hunter is another player who is on the fringes of the Hall, but it’s not an egregious choice.
Tiant should be on the ballot for the Modern Baseball Committee (those who were at their best from 1970-87) at the 2019 Winter Meetings. Evans should be on that ballot too. I’d like to see both get in. There are other ex-Red Sox who had better careers than Baines because they were more complete players – Fred Lynn, Reggie Smith, and Ellis Burks, to name three very statistically similar former outfielders – but they’re not Hall of Fame caliber. I presume that still matters.
But what does everyone else think? Is there an ex-Red Sox player who belongs in the Hall? I’ll hear you in the comments.