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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.

Open Letter to Ford Frick, RE: Roger Maris

(I realize he is dead)

Dear Mr. Frick,

You sir, have tainted one of the most revered records in all of baseball.

Why did you do it?  Did you fold under pressure or just have a personal vendetta against Roger Maris?

Maybe Mantle too as I believe you made your “decree” prior to being certain which one of them had the better chance of  taking the crown off the “beloved” Babe’s head.

This record was broken legitimately and within the course of a season.  Just because the season was eight games longer than the prior years, Maris should not be denied a bona fide record, broken without the aid of any performance enhancing techniques.

Unless, of course, you think three packs of camels a day enhanced him in any way.

Anyone who looks at the record book in the future will view it as a record that has a problem attached to it.

That is what people do when they see an asterisk you know.  They begin to let their eyes drift to the bottom of the page, in order to see what explanation needs to be said about a particular item.

You, as part of the elders of the game, took it upon yourself to proclaim that Maris’ record was not legit.

That is the only such hallowed record that has such a disgraceful companion with it.

It is my opinion, sir, and maybe only mine, but I believe you ruined the remaining portion of his baseball career.

His health began to decline and he was losing his hair due to the stress of the fiasco.

When a man has within his grasp, the chance to dethrone one of the all time greats, that should be what he has to deal with; not a baseball commissioner who had no backbone.

You are aware that he won two consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards.

Did you also know that he is one of only two players in the course of major league history to win two MVP awards and not be invited into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?

In great part, I point the finger of blame right at you.  For the longest time Maris was the only player with a “major” record who was not a Hall of Famer.

Your total disrespect for Maris and his outstanding achievement diminished his chances of being one of baseball’s immortals.

I have gone so far as to send a letter to Stan Musial (who was on the Veterans’ Committee at the time) to take a close look at Maris’ contributions to the game as well as his statistics.

I am not saying that Roger’s statistics alone made him worthy of the Hall of Fame.  I am saying, that what he did and how he did it, along with his two MVP awards made him a desirable candidate.

I know you are gone now and this letter will never reach you.  But it sure takes a load off my chest to write it.

If you and Roger are in the same place, and perhaps have mended the fences, please tell him I am still doing anything I can to help him gain entrance into the Shrine.


Cliff Eastham

Roger Maris’ No. 1 Fan

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

The National Baseball Hall of Fame – Kiss up to the Writers

I would like to talk about the unfairness of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s a sham when you think about it. No, I am not here to harangue about Pete Rose not making it in (although that is total BS). In fact it’s so wacky I don’t know where to start.

Let’s start with the most notable exclusions. We will begin with Andre Dawson. Please, somebody help me. 2,774 hits, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, and a career average of .279. He hit over 20 HR in 13 different seasons. Nice stats huh?

Let’s compare him with a Hall of Fame outfielder….say.. Max Carey. 2665 hits. 70 HR, 800 RBI, .285 AVG. Well, maybe Carey was the better fielder. Uh Uh….Dawson .983 Fielding Avg. Carey .966. Carey was a more prolific base stealer but come on, give me a break.

Maybe sports writers weren’t so arrogant back then. But if you compare donuts to donuts, you gotta take Andre. Did you know he had more RBI’s than Mickey Mantle? Go figure.

Someone who doesn’t belong there is Luis Aparicio. I am old enough to have seen him play (on TV) and know of what I speak. 262 AVG, 83HR , 791 RBI. Oh yeah he won several stolen base awards, but that even coupled with a good glove doesn’t get him in with today’s standards. He had fewer steals than Max Carey did.They must have been drunk when they let him in. He only had 2,677 hits. Today they usually say the “magic number” is 3000 hits. If you put ’em in because of their glove, let’s put Mark Belanger in there as well. I mean, ‘The Blade’ was known for his fielding prowess.
Ozzie Smith doesn’t belong there either. I don’t want to bore you with a whole bunch of numbers but he had fewer hits than Aparicio, not even 100 HR and less than 800 RBI while batting .262. Great glove, the Wizard of Oz. But give him some type of defensive prowess award, he is not worthy.

If he is, then so is Roger Maris. At least Rog won two MVP awards. He along with Dale Murphy are the only two time Most Valuable Player Award winners who are not in. He set a major league, single season HR record which stood longer than Babe Ruth’s. Was his career too short? Maybe, but look at Sandy Koufax. 12 seasons, and only the last 4 HOF material. Go figure. Great glove, strong arm. Maris Pissed off too many reporters. He will never make it unless the Veterans Committee decides what an injustice has been done and writes him in.

Now we can talk Rose. Best hitter of all times. All times. Cobb, Williams, Musial, you name it he tops it. What happened?

He bet on baseball games. Bet, he did not throw them. There is a difference. I know, rules are rules Cliff. Right, but he has done his time! Time to put him in or redefine a whole bunch of stuff.

Do we let alcoholics in? Sorry Babe. Do we let women chasing adulterers in? Sorry Mick and Whitey. Do we let cheaters in? Sorry Gaylord Perry (spitballs). Sorry George Brett (pine tar). Steroids. Sorry every modern day player on the field.
Steroids makes good conversation. Look at them. Bonds, Sosa , Palmeiro, McGwire, Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez. Wait, who said anything about Anderson and Gonzalez? Over 50 HR each. Never before or after was anything close. Coincidence, I doubt it.  Just sayin’.

It all boils down to getting your nose brown. You just have to suck up to the writers and broadcasters if you want in. Argue with them, show them no respect and you won’t get in. I don’t care if you win 300 have 3000 hits, 600 HR or a .320 AVG, make them mad and you are out! Yeah, I know Steve Carlton made it and hated the press corps. They had to let him in. I mean check those numbers out if you get a chance.

Some great players miss it and some run-of-the-mill players get in. It will never pan out.

Now I’ve pissed the rest of the writers off and will never get my chance to make the biggies as a writer.