Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thomas, Piniella should be in Hall of Fame

It's been a big week of baseball news in Chicago, starting with Lou Piniella's early retirement as manager of the Cubs and ending with Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas having his number retired by the White Sox.

Thomas was a killer at the plate, belting more than 500 home runs in 19 big-league seasons, winning two Most Valuable Player awards and making the All-Star team five times before finally becoming a World Series champion in 2005. I'm completely bummed that I wasn't in Chicago today to cheer as his number was retired in what looked like a wonderful ceremony (and root for the New York Yankees afterward =). But I can root for him from afar to make the Baseball Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible in 2014.

There are writers who refuse to vote any player into the Hall on the first year of eligibility and others will cast a negative eye on his overall numbers because some of them came as a designated hitter. But his resume is impressive. To me, legitimate domination of the sport should be a key criterion when analyzing a Hall candidate and Thomas was undoubtedly one of the most feared, dominating hitters in baseball in the 1990s.

Piniella will be remembered as one of the great managers of his generation and no one can accuse him of doing it the easy way. He got his start managing for the notoriously difficult George Steinbrenner, who falsely accused him of stealing furniture despite his love for his "son," according to Bill Madden's Steinbrenner biography. Piniella won the World Series for the Cincinnati Reds, took the Seattle Mariners to the American League Championship Series and managed the then-doormat Tampa Bay Rays before heading to Chicago. He ended his career 14th on the managerial win list.

Both Thomas and Piniella deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and I hope they gain entry as soon as possible.

Thanks to Drdisque via Wikipedia for the photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment