Friday, January 20, 2006

Albert Belle and the Hall of Fame

Bob Ryan, at the Boston Globe, had a great column on Albert recently, his statistics, his career, and his chances for the the Hall. It's a great look at the balance between the career and the person.

The Big Question: can the Career overcome The Person?

In Albert's case, I've long argued that no, it can't. He was brilliant, but not for long enough. Another two or three huge years , then, yes, he'd be on the bubble, if not in. Another five? A definite.

Look - I followed his career from his first suspensions at AAA Colorado Springs (and who out there can tell me how long it's been since the Tribe has had a farm team in Colorado Springs?). I remember watching his crazy strong stroke first make its way to the end of the E 9th St Pier, down at the old Municipal Stadium. All those games he could dominate and suddenly take over once the Jake rose brilliantly above those slum parking lots. In 1995, was there a better ball player in the world than Albert Belle, when it came down to simply hitting a baseball in order to win a game?

There was no better, not in my life, not in what I've seen with my own two eyes.

But the Hall of Fame? No. My own personal Hall of Fame of Guys I've Seen Play Myself, yes, definitely, yes. But Cooperstown, no. Sadly, no, for I have always been a fan of Albert Belle, the Ballplayer.

His productive period didn't last long enough, especially when you take into account how many voters he totally alienated. His body of work, though great, wasn't great enough to obviate the personal offenses.


Blogger LargeBill said...

Belle won't be elected. However, he would be far from the worst player in the HoF if he were elected. Over the next decade or so we will see several players elected who John Hart would never have traded Belle for. Karma sucks sometimes and Belle has karma kicking him in the ass.

As for Colorado Springs, the Tribe AAA team played there as the Sky Sox until 1992. 1993 and 1994 they were the Charlotte Knights. The Buffalo Bisons have been the Tribe's AAA affiliate since 1995.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Call Me Jack said...

Good call on the AAA history. I can remember being in Charlotte in 92 or 93 on business and checking out a game there to see a young (and skinny!) Jimmy Thome playing for the Knights. I just remember that his stroke was the same as it ever was.

But perhaps I am dating myself....

But if Belle ever got into the HoF, it would not be as "a worst player ever" - he was a truly dominant player while he played. There is now "worst" about Belle.

My only argument is that he didn't play long enough.

11:13 PM  

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