Not to dump some store-bought Ragu on anyone’s Hall of Fame linguini, but there are at least 100 folks who deserved to be in the baseball’s hallowed shrine before Tommy Lasorda’s bronze face went up in the permanent time share Sunday next to Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio.
So says resident trouble-maker Keith Olbermann …
Filling an entire chapter in the soon-to-seem outdated book “The Big Show: Inside ESPN ‘SportsCenter’ ” Olbermann, the former anchor (come back … please) and bona fide baseball historian makes a case for the 100 who should be in baseball’s Hall but for whatever reason (usually the voters’ lack of intelligence) aren’t.
We won’t name names … aw, heck, we’ll give you some that you should recognize from the Olbermann files, in alphabetical order: Dick Allen, Sparky Anderson, Vida Blue, Bert Blyleven, Bobby Bonds, Bill Buckner, Gary Carter, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Rocky Colavito, Dave Concepcion, Mike Cuellar, Willie Davis, Dom DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Darrell Evans, Dwight Evans, Charles O. Finley, Curt Flood (whom Olbermann calls the greatest omission), Carl Furillo, Ron Guidry, Keith Hernandez, Gil Hodges, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Bowie Kuhn, Roger Maris, Mike Marshall (the ex-Dodgers reliever, not the outfielder), Billy Martin, Bill Mazeroski, John McSherry, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Graig Nettles, Don Newcombe, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Steve Palermo, Milt Pappas, Vada Pinson, Boog Powell, Jim Rice, Ron Santo, Ted Simmons, Reggie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre (as a player, not yet as a manager) and Bill White… .
Olbermann left Lasorda off the list. But Olbermann explained why when we asked: “We tend to see Lasorda as a caricature of himself, but he’s entirely deserving. The only thing is the order of selection. There are many more guys who are overdue. He’s just not the first manager I’d consider from the group that isn’t already in.
“The quickness of the election bothers me in that McSherry or Palermo (both umpires) of recent vintage aren’t considered worthy of being put in already. I’m not opposed to Lasorda being in there. He made a helluva debut with two World Series teams (‘77 and ‘78), and the whole ‘88 season he did it with mirrors. We must give him credit for that just as much as we don’t for allowing (Tom) Niedenfuer to pitch to (Jack) Clark.” …
Olbermann also left Steve Garvey off the list. And he won’t even consider Pete Rose until the dust settles.