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Rovell: Harold Baines Doesn’t Pass the HOF Sniff Test

Dec 10, 2018 10:00 AM EST
Credit:

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Harold Baines

  • Harold Baines, who played in the major leagues for 22 years, officially got into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
  • It was a controversial vote for many in the baseball community, including Darren Rovell, who gives five reasons why Baines' inclusion in Cooperstown is a stretch.

I logged on to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to find that Harold Baines was trending. Not to be mean, but I didn’t think Harold Baines would ever qualify as someone who would trend.

A few seconds later, I read that Baines was named by the Today’s Game Era Committee as the next Hall of Famer. No, not the Chicago White Sox Hall of Fame. We’re talking about the real Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

You’ll read enough stories today from baseball purists about Baines’ stats. I’m not going to even give them to you here because my reasons for Baines not being a Hall of Famer aren’t based on metrics.

So here we go:

1. A Hall of Famer is someone who, during his playing days, people wanted to see.

Did anyone go to a White Sox game at home or on the road so they could catch Harold Baines? No way.

2. A Hall of Famer who played in the 1980s, is someone who, when you got his baseball card, you at least put it in a plastic sleeve.

Harold Baines was always a common card — one no one particularly cared about.

3. A Hall of Famer is someone who kids show up early to batting practice for, hoping to get an autograph.

I did go to a Yankees game against the Chicago White Sox in 1988 and the only way I was getting Harold Baines’ signature (I didn’t) was if I couldn’t get Carlton Fisk’s (bonafide Hall of Famer).

4. A Hall of Famer is someone who you remember one of their unbelievable highlights.

Baines hit three home runs in one game in 1982. Can’t remember anyone talking much about it. People talked more about Tuffy Rhodes hitting three on Opening Day in 1994.

5. A Hall of Famer is someone for whom hometown fans will travel to Cooperstown.

Jim Thome played for the Chicago White Sox for four years and yet it’s possible that more White Sox fans made the trek to upstate New York last year for Thome’s induction than they would for Baines this summer. And Baines played for the White Sox for 14 years!

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