As a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan (yes, it does suck), my favorite thing about one of the team’s greatest players, Harold Baines, is the fact that he always looked like he was about to fall asleep in every game I saw him playing in.
Baines’ greatest claim to fame was probably the fact he holds the Major League Baseball record for most games played as a designated hitter, 1,652. Baines did also, at one point, own the MLB records for the mark for career home runs as a DH and hits as a DH until Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz passed him, respectively.
He also hit over .300 eight times, was a six-time All-Star and led the American League in slugging average in 1984.
All in all, Harold Baines had a very, very nice baseball career. Very nice, but certainly not Hall of Fame-worthy.
That didn’t stop the Today’s Game committee (formerly known as the Veterans’ Committee) from selecting him and former all-time saves leader Lee Smith to become the latest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As if all of that wasn’t enough of a head-scratcher, consider this: Baines was only on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the bare minimum five years and never received more than 6.1 percent of the vote (you need 75 percent to be enshrined).
You know who has received more than 6.1 percent of the BBWA vote?
Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, Davey Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Albert Belle, Orel Hershiser, and Keith Hernandez. All very good players, but none of which should ever be considered Hall of Fame players.
Needless to say, Baines’ selection elicited some very strong reactions from baseball fans.
Many went straight to the stats…
Even Baines himself couldn’t believe it.