Former major-leaguer Rico Brogna will be writing for WFAN during the MLB season. This is his debut column.
By Rico Brogna
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As a former MLB player, pro scout, field manager and front office personnel executive, I feel like I have a unique perspective on almost everything baseball (or at least I should say that I have an opinion on everything baseball). Honestly, perhaps the most frustrating and annoying thing I hear and listen to is arguments by people, both pro and con, regarding entry into the pro baseball HOF.
First of all, you are either a Hall of Famer or you are not. Period! This leads to my argument regarding the phantom “levels” of the Hall. How in the world are there first ballot HOF players, second and third ballot guys and then finally there’s a group of baseball people that decide on their own if someone should get in if he’s been on the outside looking in forever. What in the world are we talking about people? You are a Hall of Famer or you are not! If nobody is worthy of entry into the Hall that particular year, than no one goes in. Make sense to me. If there are seven eligible and worthy people in a given year, then congratulations, you are being inducted into the Hall.
Barry Bonds in recent years has been a heated debate. Should he or shouldn’t he get in the HOF? And if the answer is yes, should Barry be a first ballot HOF? C’mon man! This guy was unbelievable, PED’s or whatever! There is one thing you need to ask yourself, “Is Barry Bonds and his performance on the field during his career worthy of HOF entry? As my son would say (he’s 8 years old), “Duh!” ‘Nuff said. Barry is simply one of the best to ever play this great game. No maybe, no but what about the help he might have gotten, and no, well, lets put him in but make him wait. I see clearly now, the powers that be are playing HOF God? C’mon man! If Barry is not an automatic, in any era, no matter what help he might have gotten, Hall of Fame baseball player, than I’m done with this Cooperstown thing.
Listen, Mike Piazza, best known probably for his monster seasons in New York as a Metropolitan, is a HOF baseball player. He is either in the hall or not in the Hall. It’s a no-brainer for this MLB alumnus. The political aspects involved with the HOF are exactly what are wrong with its processes. People, powerful baseball people, decide official entry on what criteria? Is it statistics? Is it championships? Is it longevity and strong character and personal make-up? The now famous saying in our technologically consumed world, “At the end of the day, the player is either a HOF player, or he is not!
There are no levels in the Hall, no, no and no. There are no gold-stamped first ballot HOF players either, no, no and no. It’s a simply yes he is, or no he is not! Personally, I dislike individual awards in team sports anyway. Most positive and productive accomplishments by athletes in team sports are either helped or hindered by the teams that he or she played on. Last thing, when people mention that Keith Hernandez is one of the best all-time 1B, ever, doesn’t that mean he is a HOF caliber baseball player? I think so. And the same exact argument can be made for “Donnie Baseball” (Mattingly). Hall of Fame baseball players are easily sighted and easily identified. C’mon man!
Are there levels of Hall of Famers? Leave a comment below.