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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

    Feel free to look around, and your comments are most welcome. Subscribe via email if you wish.

    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

Is The National Baseball Hall of Fame a Place Just for Altar Boys ?

Baseball fans wake up!

After reading an article by my good buddy and colleague Illya Harrell about how Pete Rose, as a manager, ruined the career of Mario Soto, I had to write this.

In his article, Illya said that because Rose pitched Soto on three days rest repeatedly, he killed Soto’s career prematurely. He also said that should be another reason why Rose should not be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

It has always been my view that the Hall of Fame is for players who were exceptional on the field, period. I don’t feel it is necessary to involve the FBI with background checks, or investigators vetting someone to rattle all the skeletons from their closets.

The Hall of Fame is in critical condition folks. It is replete with drunkards, racists, adulterers and other forms of ill repute and debauchery. What is one more going to hurt?

Wait Cliff, you say drunkards are in the HOF? Yes, the great Babe Ruth was a known imbiber as well as Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and probably three-fourths of the men who played in the “dark ages.”

Racists, come on now. Okay, Ty Cobb was probably a card carrying member of the KKK if indeed it was in full vigor during his day. Cap Anson wouldn’t even allow his teams to play if there was a Negro on the opposing team. Color him Racist with the capital not edited out.

Adulterers, really Cliff? Don’t be so naive. There have been men throughout the ages who have stepped out on their wives. Baseball players are no exception. It was a common occurrence in the bygone days for men to “hook up” with women in certain cities on their schedules. Mickey Mantle comes to mind, sorry Mick I love you man.

What I am trying to show is that the Hall of Fame is not a place for “do-gooders”, Sunday school teachers, or altar boys. Not to say that there aren’t some in there, and I love them, but that is not, or should not be part of the criteria for enshrinement.

I am all in favor of role models, don’t misread me. That being said, I like what Hall of Fame member Bob Gibson said. “Why should I be a role model for your kid? Be a role model for your kid yourself.”

You could probably go checking into the lives of everyone of those men in the hallowed hall and find something with which to exclude many of them. I know gambling is against the rules, in fact the Golden Rule of baseball. However, when a man who has had more hits than anyone whoever put on a jock, won seven batting titles, had over 200 hits nine times, has done 20 years of humiliation (albeit self-imposed), he should be paroled.

Give him his due. If you who are reading this article feel he is such a criminal and low-life that he doesn’t belong, please open your own closet and let the skeletons walk free. Let them say, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com

(c) 2009 Clifton Eastham All Rights Reserved.

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher report, where this article was first published.

Pete Rose: Hall of Fame or Not?

(NOTE: This is a blog debate which was discussed between Cliff Eastham and Al Rinker, as part of the “Baseball Stew” program.”

CLIFF: Yo Al, I don’t care what anybody says about Pete Rose. He was as hard a worker at his craft as anyone whoever laced them up.

If he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. they should close it down. Whaddya Say?

___________________________________________________

AL: Cliff, they better lock the doors because Pete Rose does not belong in the Hall Of Fame.

Do I really need to tell you why?

Let’s start with gambling on your own team. I know you will say he didn’t bet against the Reds but how will we ever know that for sure?

Do you realize how many games he probably altered because of his addiction to gambling? How can you defend that?

_________________________________________________
CLIFF: I defend that by saying that gambling as a manager had no effect on his performance as a player.

The man has more hits than anybody. He’s probably the only player ever to give 100% on every freakin’ play.

_______________________________________________
AL: Cliff, does the word integrity mean anything to you?

Whether as a player or a manager, he gambled on the game and then lied to the American public for nearly 15 years!

We as a nation will forgive almost any mistake by a celebrity or public figure but don’t insult our intelligence when it was so obvious that he was lying. (See Roger Clemens)

The thought of Rose in the Hall with guys like Musial, Gehrig and Ripken to name a few would be a travesty! It will never happen.

________________________________________________

CLIFF: Integrity? Gimme Bullshit for $200 please Alex. Let’s talk Ty.

Ty Cobb had no integrity whatsoever. Players hated him, but he was a great player sans integrity.

Luis Aparicio must have had a tankful of integrity because he sure wasn’t worthy with his game (.262 with 83 HR). Please!

And don’t forget your old buddy Maz. Bill Mazeroski (.260, 138 HR) doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame any more than Joe Pepitone (with all apologies to Joe).

The institution is called the Baseball Hall of Fame, not Hall of Integrity, or Baseball’s Most Influential.

Where do we draw the line Al?

“This guy was a great player but he was a thief.”

“That guy couldn’t hit his ass with both hands but what a shining example.”

“The other guy batted .261 but he never got in any trouble. Who do we take?”

These may seem like extreme examples but I don’t think so. We should measure players by their life on the field, period.

If we want to judge players by their image let’s send ’em to “Who’s Who of America”, but not the Hall of Fame.

Now, I say Pete’s problems were at a time when he wasn’t playing baseball. The gambling did nothing to enhance his play on the field.

We can’t say the same thing about the players who have been found to be ‘juiced’.

Clemens, Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Conseco, Giambi, etc., should never see the inside of the Hall of Fame without paying at the door.

Their performance was clearly enhanced, not Pete Rose. He played hard, put up great numbers and did it all without any ‘helpers’.

Joe Jackson won’t ever be in the Hall either. Now, if he is guilty of what he was charged with, he should be banned.

His charge was actually trying to lose a game intentionally for monetary gain. That won’t do. I haven’t read up on him like I should have but I have heard people say that he was not one who was guilty of that crime.

If he was trying to lose, his stats show that he had a helluva way of doing it.

If not, he should be reinstated and installed by the Veterans Committee.

So, in closing, all you naysayers can sit in a corner and whine about Rose’s addiction to gambling.

I prefer to look at him being the only person with a major record who is not in the Hall of Fame. Shame on you all!


Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was also published.

The Five Best Players Not in Baseball’s Hall of Fame

There are many things we could disagree with or argue about concerning the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There are no set numbers one needs to reach before becoming enshrined into baseball’s holiest of holies.

Many are there who, in my opinion, do not belong. And of course, there are others who should be there who are not.

Obviously, Pete Rose would lead the list if he were eligible.

So, read on, and argue if you will, but these people have the stats to be in the Hall of Fame.


5. Dale Murphy

Okay, I can hear you guys crying already. Murphy wasn’t the greatest player of all time, I agree.

I also know that his overall stats alone say very little. For his career, he had 398 home runs, 1266 RBI, 2,111 hits, and a career average of only .265.

Total career statistics aren’t everything. Look at Sandy Koufax, for example. He only had five superlative years, the rest were mediocre at best.

Yet, he is revered as one of the best hurlers of all time.

If you take Murphy’s five best years and average them out, you get 38 home runs, 109 RBI, and an average of .294. Those are MVP stats right there, I don’t care who you are.

In fact, he won two MVP awards during that period. He and Roger Maris are the only two players to have won two MVP awards and not be in the Hall of Fame.

Shameful.

Dale was one of the best power hitters of the 1980’s.

4. Don Mattingly

That’s right, Donnie Baseball.

Again, his career stats won’t reveal what he truly was.
He was the American League MVP in 1985, won nine Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and lead the league in batting in 1984 with a .343 average.

In 1985, Mattingly knocked in 145 runs. As with Murphy and Koufax, if you take his five best years and average them out, you see that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

3. Tommy John

Tommy John has won more games than any eligible pitcher not in the Hall of Fame.

However, John has also won more games than 52 pitchers already in the Hall of Fame.

In his long career, he won 288 games, compiled a 3.34 ERA, threw 46 shutouts, won 20 games three times, and was elected to four all-star teams.

He started more games than any left-hander in history, save for Steve Carlton.

If I had the time, I could show you head-to-head how he would beat many who are already enshrined. The man has a surgery named after him, for God’s sake (grin).

2. Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven is right behind John in career wins with 287. He ranks fifth on the all-time strikeouts list behind Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Carlton.

He threw 60 shutouts, which ranks him ninth on the all-time list. All eight pitchers ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame.

He won 17 or more games on seven occasions and had a lifetime ERA of 3.31.

When you look at some of the pitchers’ records who are already in the Hall, you begin to realize just how much Blyleven and John deserve to be in as well.

1. Andre Dawson

Andre Dawson is not in the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t quite sound right, does it?

He batted .279, hit 438 home runs, and knocked in 1,591 runs. He hit 20 or more home runs on 13 occasions and was the National League’s MVP in 1987 on a last place team.

He was also the Rookie of the Year in 1977.

Dawson was on eight all-star teams, won eight Gold Gloves, and four Silver Sluggers. He also batted .300 or more five times.

Year after year, he is overlooked by the writers.

If you have the time, compare Dawson’s statistics with those of Hall-dwellers Luis Aparicio and Bill Mazeroski.

Let the debating begin.


Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.