It looks like the next Baseball Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown will be a real peach.
A Georgia peach, to be precise.
Former Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine — along with retired Chicago White Sox home run hitter Frank Thomas, who happens to be a native of Columbus, Ga. — were announced Wednesday as the choices of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for induction into the Hall on July 27.
Last month, baseball’s 16-member Expansion Era Veterans Committee chose former Braves manager Bobby Cox, along with ex-managers Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa for enshrinement.
Local merchants can happily anticipate the arrival of a good many tourists from Georgia and elsewhere in the South where loyalty to the Braves holds sway. Thomas, who spent 16 years of his 19-year baseball career playing for the White Sox, will draw some interest from Chicago as well as Georgia.
Fans from St. Louis and Oakland may want to honor LaRussa by attending the ceremony, and Torre will be a massive attraction based on his highly successful years of managing the New York Yankees. Popular former player and sportscaster Joe Garagiola is getting the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award on July 26.
As far as the choices made by the baseball writers, Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are richly deserving. All had stellar careers without a hint of any connection to performance-enhancing drugs or any other scandal.
But whenever selections are made, there are always questions about those who didn’t garner the 75 percent of votes needed for induction.
The selectors are all veteran baseball writers, and most spend a great deal of time and effort trying to be fair. But there are some who are just obstinate and arrogant jerks. The evidence for this is the fact that such stellar players as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., and Tom Seaver were not unanimous choices.
This year, one writer turned in a totally blank ballot. Another just picked pitcher Jack Morris (who didn’t get enough votes) because the writer rejected even “clean” players from baseball’s steroid era. Those two votes cost Craig Biggio induction this year. His 429 votes were two short to qualify for entry into the Hall without a ticket.
On the other hand, the writers should be applauded for rejecting yet again such alleged steroid cheats as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa and Jeff Bagwell.
Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame don’t need them. They are the pits. We are much better off with the four Georgia peaches who will be honored in July along with the other excellent inductees.