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Monday, July 31, 2006

Big Mac: Just Say No


Looking forward to next year's Hall of Fame class, one can't help but anticipate the reaction to Mark McGwire. He'll be the initial barometer on which the current home run hitting freaks will be judged. Based on stats alone, he should be in. And that pains me a lot to say, for I was really hoping to come to a different conclusion. But when you approach 600 home runs, it's almost impossible to argue against. The troubling thing is that without looking at stats, my initial reaction was to say no. I just have too big of a problem with one-dimensional players. Hence, my disgust for Ozzie Smith's easy entry into the Hall of Fame (stupid backflips!!!).

Below are Big Mac's career stats:

.263 BA, .394 OBP, 1626 hits, 1167 runs, 583 HRs, 1414 RBI, 1 Gold Glove,
1-2nd Place MVP Finish

I guess the low batting average and hits really trouble me. But the power numbers and on-base percentage tells me he should be a no-brainer. The difficult part is guessing how many "enhanced" home runs he hit. Considering he was averaging ~40 HRs up through 1995, I would estimate that ~80 HRs are "questionable". Suddenly his numbers don't seem like a lock with only 500 HRs (I understand that's the magical number but for me it's just a number).

Since we can't undo the steroids era in baseball and can't magically transform everyone's stats, we're stuck with the numbers. Based on that, if I were a voter I would unfortunately have to vote for Mark McGwire next year. But I will be watching closely and hoping he doesn't get in.

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