I was reading Philadelphia Inquirer baseball writer Jim Salisbury’s Baseball Notes column today. Salisbury (unlike David Aldridge and 67 other Philly newsroom employees) still has a job at the Inky. For better or worse.
Salisbury notes in his Notes that tomorrow is the day we find out which players will be in the 2007 Hall of Fame class. And for his part, Salisbury voted for nine guys, none named McGwire:
Nine players got a check mark next to their names on this scribe’s ballot – Ripken, Gwynn, Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven and Albert Belle. McGwire didn’t get one. He remains under review until we learn more about the steroid era and his place in it.
Whoah, take a step back there, Jim. Albert Belle? Really?
Here’s the thing about Albert Belle: I think there’s a legit argument to be made that Belle belongs in the Hall. But I’m not sure you can withhold a vote for McGwire, because you suspect he used steroids, but vote for Bell, who we know corked his bat, stalked his girlfriend, and, come to think of it, probably also used steroids (as the Sports Guy points out, all the signs were there).
Belle was a cheater and a total delinquent. He embarrassed the game on a regular basis. How can one possibly argue in favor of Bell, but against McGwire? It’s impossible. It can’t be done.
On a random note, Salisbury’s column includes one totally awesome tidbit. Apparently the Phils have a pitching prospect in their system named Josh Outman. Is that not one of the all-time great names for a pitcher? Just one question: When Outman makes it to the bigs, what will his fan club be called? We had Wolf’s Wolves, Thomie’s Homies, and Sal (Fasano)’s Pals. Is Outman’s Outmen too obvious?