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11 Questions with Chuck Todd
5. Should Players Campaign for the Hall of Fame?
Posted On 05.17, 2013

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RCS: Not sure you’re aware, but Bert Blyleven has recently started writing for NBCSports.com. With more shutouts than Bob Gibson; more strikeouts than Tom Seaver; more complete games with four hits or less than Jim Palmer, Blyleven has been campaigning for over a decade to be elected into the Hall of Fame.

Todd: Which makes me uncomfortable.

You are an expert on campaigns. As a player on the Hall of Fame bubble for 11 years, is it possible that Bert Blyleven’s candidacy suffers from a tragically unmarketable name?

Todd: The thing is you can’t campaign for yourself. You know Jim Rice had others campaigning for him. That’s what I think finally got Jim Rice in.

You have to have others do it for you, number one. I am surprised for instance that there isn’t more of a campaign for all of these power hitters of the 80’s to get new respect, in that their numbers in the pre-steroid era are pretty impressive now when you look back on it. The problem those guys suffered from, these power hitters from the 70’s and 80’s, is that when the time came up for the voting in the early 90’s their 32-home run, 100-RBI seasons that they had didn’t seem that impressive when we saw Brady Anderson pop 50 home runs.

Blyleven shouldn’t be doing his own campaigning, but I do think there should be different campaigns out there for how to deal with the hall of fame. For instance, I like Bill Simmons' idea for the Hall of Fame, which is to create that whole pyramid idea. The Hall of Fame is to honor the most interesting, and sometimes it’s not only the best moments in baseball but also the biggest moments, and it’s the history. The Baseball Hall of Fame is the history of baseball. They either have to figure out how to deal with the steroid era or how to also keep people within their eras.

And this is totally biased, but I want my boy Steve Garvey in the Hall of Fame. It kills me. That’s who I grew up idolizing. There was no better clutch hitter in the late 70’s and early 80’s than Steve Garvey, other than Johnny Bench. I’ve been to the Hall of Fame. How is Garvey not there? He was one of the most feared hitters. It kills me as a Dodgers fan that he’s not in the Hall of Fame because he was the best player on the Dodgers. Don Sutton is in the Hall of Fame simply because he kept getting wins. The best player on the Dodgers, on a team that had an incredible run from ‘74 to ‘83, which is basically the years that Garvey was there. And, by the way, Garvey played for the San Diego Padres and somehow helped them get to their first World Series back in ’84. And why is he not in the Hall of Fame?

You know sometimes numbers do lie. They sit there and they just judge him by the numbers, and his numbers are ok, but his playoff numbers are great. So he deserves it. The problem with campaigning is you can’t do it by yourself. I think everybody gets turned off when somebody tries campaigning for themselves. Other than politics, which seems like the only place where it’s accepted.

Another campaign I’d like to start in baseball is that somebody needs to rethink Greg Maddux’s place in major league baseball history. When you think about what he did and accomplished in the steroids era for a guy that never threw more than 92 miles-per-hour, we need to rethink it. Everyone knows he’s a great pitcher and a Hall of Fame pitcher, but he may be one of the five greatest pitchers of all time, but he was stuck behind the shadow of Roger Clemens who now it turns out might be a phony. It’s been unfair to Maddux his whole career. I think we need to go back and re-appreciate how great Greg Maddux was.

RCS Interviews Chuck Todd




‹‹ 4. Tempted by a Sports Column? 6. Is Political Intervention Helping Sports? ››

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