There are grumblings among some [who grumble just so people like me can look at them] that Mark McGwire should've been inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday alongside Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Sure, the stats merit it. Sure, Big Mac has never been busted for anything. Still, the court of public opinion and the lack of outrage from him for people keeping him out kinda makes ya think he knows he's done wrong.
I don't care either way. I'm glad he wasn't at Cooperstown yesterday.
What do the two guys who were inducted represent? Both played loooong careers with the same ballclub. Ripken was known as the "Iron Man" who came and did his job every day ... more in a row than anyone. He also embodied the transition from the 1980s shortstop to the 2000s shortstop. They used to be wirey guys who were there for defense, speed and bunting. Now, they are expected to be power guys. His work with youth baseball has also been remarkable.
Gwynn wasn't in the lineup every day as Cal was, but was absolutely consistent. He won EIGHT batting titles - no National League player has won more. In the era of power, he found the value of slap singles, gap doubles and timely hitting. Also consider that despite both getting to a World Series [Cal won his only trip; Tony lost both of his], these guys played on some bad teams for quite some time.
Both are immediately respected members of the Hall and spent the weekend not having to talk about that Big Elephant that wasn't there.
If McGwire was a fellow inductee...every story this weekend would've been about "did he or didn't he?" Especially with Barry Bonds just one home run away from Hank Aaron's record, this issue would've been magnified exponentially. It also would (a) be the first election of a suspected doper into the Hall and (b) may have set a horrible precidence. There may have been people booing and picketing McGwire's election. Someone would stick a microphone in Jose Canseco's mug [okay, that happened anyways].
The point is, it would have mucked up what turned into a proud day for baseball. As all this chaos surrounds the league, baseball could point to the two men who entered the shrine and tell us about how great the game can be.
Now back to the elephants.