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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Basic Biittner: Deck the Halls

Monday, December 4, 2006

With Christmas coming this month, many people think about Halls, as in Deck the Halls...Me, I'm different (I know, not a news flash). Don't get me wrong - I love Christmas - not shopping, overeating, the emphasis on commercialism - but I do celebrate "the reason for the season," as they say, and enjoy family gatherings.

But - for me, the Halls about which I get excited this time of year are my two favorite Halls of Fame - Baseball and Rock and Roll. Both have selected their candidates for election/induction this year, and the experts who vote are in the process of doing so now. The results for both Halls will be announced in January.

Here are baseball's eligible candidates for induction:

Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Dante Bichette, Bert Blyleven, Bobby Bonilla, Scott Brosius, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, Tony Fernandez, Steve Garvey, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Orel Hershiser, Tommy John, Wally Joyner, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Paul O'Neill, Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Bret Saberhagen, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Devon White, Bobby Witt.

Baseball has no minimum or maximum number of people who can be elected each year. All it takes is receiving 75% of the vote from the baseball writers - not all that easy. Many of the men on this list of eligibles have been on that list for a lot of years. The opinion this year is that Ripken and Gwynn, both first-time eligibles (retired 5 years), are shoo-ins for induction on their first try. A couple of years ago, McGwire was included in this "shoo-in" group, but his performance at the Congressional hearings on steroid use a couple of years ago lost him a lot of supportt, as he basically shot himself in the foot with his non-testimony. Some people feel he will eventually get elected, unless it can be proved that his home run records were earned under the influence of banned substances.

A lot of the players in the list were considered major stars for a considerable period of time while they were active - Rice, Mattingly, Dawson, Garvey and Gossage in particular - but haven't received enough support to get elected. Rice and Gossage have come the closest. "Local favorite" Blyleven has had a lot of backers in recent year, due to some pretty impressive career totals, but with Bert, the question is, did he just achieve such gaudy numbers because he played so long and was healthy? He was never really a dominant pitcher. Of course, pretty much the same could be said about Hall-of-Famer Don Sutton. Probably the best thing about these annual votes is the debate they spark among fans - all part of baseball's traditional "Hot Stove League" - what we fans do while waiting for next season.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is relatively young - only 20 years old - and they have tinkered a bit with their induction process this year. There are nine candidates this year, but it has been decided by the powers-that-be that this year the five highest vote-getters will be inducted - no matter how many votes any candidates received. It's also not known is this is a one-year experiment or will be the way it goes from now on.

The nine candidates this year- and again, only five will be elected - are Van Halen, R.E.M., Patti Smith, Joe Tex, The Dave Clark Five, Chic, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Stooges, and The Ronettes. Not a real impressive group. R & R artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first record, by the way, and the "hot stove league" that has developed around debating the merits of Hall candidates has copied that of baseball fans.

My choices are : Baseball- Gwynn, Ripken, Dawson, and Gossage; Rock Hall- REM, Dave Clark Five, Ronettes,Van Halen, Chic.

Feel free to send me your picks from the choices listed here. Vote for 5 Rock and Roll candidates and any number of Baseball candidates. Send your thoughts to me at sports@ctimes.biz.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner