The Newest Hall of Famers Were Inducted into Cooperstown

Since 1936, baseball greats have been elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That was no different on Sunday, as six legends turned Hall of Famers were inducted into Cooperstown. From the legendary Mariano Rivera, to the late Roy Halladay, Sunday was a day to celebrate these men and their accomplishments as Major Leaguers.

Their accomplishments on the field, and off the field is what makes them role models. Tohall of famers see players like Harold Baines, Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez get their special moment is truly remarkable, and a long time coming.

For Mike Mussina, who pitched for two American League East teams, it was definitely a special day for him, as those who doubted his ability to be enshrined in Cooperstown got to see him take the stage.

For the Halladay family, the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations and their fans, it was a day to remember a man who was a force on the mound. Roy Halladay will forever be remembered as a pitched no batter wanted to face.

Last, but not least, Mariano Rivera. The MLB saves leader was finally enshrined in Cooperstown, just north of the ballpark he called home. When Mo was warming up in the bullpen, the game was basically over.

The Class of 2019

This class consisted of six total players: four pitchers, and two batters. When it comes to Hall of Fame inductions, there is criticism when it comes to who does, and who doesn’t, get elected. This class, however, has a mix of some pretty amazing former players.

The Pitchers

Mariano Rivera – The lifelong New York Yankee made history in January, as he is the first and only player to be elected unanimously into the Hall of Fame. The Panamanian won five World Series rings with the Yankees, and is MLB’s all time saves leader, with 652. The 13 time All Star has a lifetime ERA of 2.21. The man known as Mo is a true Hall of Famer. Mariano Rivera went into the Hall with the Yankees logo on his hat.

Roy Halladay – The late and great starting pitcher was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The former Blue Jay and Phillies pitcher was a force on the mound, winning two Cy Young Awards and pitching a no-hitter in the postseason for Philadelphia. The eight-time All Star had a career record of 203-105, and a ERA of 3.38. Doc, as he was known, has his number 32 retired by the Blue Jays. He is also in the Phillies, and Blue Jays, Hall of Fame. Additionally, Roy Halladay’s hat doesn’t have a logo on it, as he played for two teams in his career.

Mike Mussina – In his 6th year of eligibility, the former Baltimore Oriole and New York Yankee made it into the Hall of Fame. Mussina, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, finished his career with a record of 270-153, with an ERA of 3.68. He also was selected as an American League All Star five times, and is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. “Moose,” as he was known to fans, had eight seasons where he won 17 games or more. In his final season with the Yankees, he won 20 games. Like Halladay, Mussina does not have a logo on his hat.

Edgar Martinez Gets His Day in Cooperstown

After a very long wait, Edgar Martinez was finally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The former Seattle Mariner was elected into the Hall of Fame in his tenth year of eligibility. The third baseman and designated hitter spent his whole career with the Seattle Mariners, and has his number 11 retired by the team.

Martinez was selected for seven All Star games in his career, and won five Silver Slugger Awards as well. In 2004, Martinez also won the Roberto Clemente Award. He has a lifetime batting average of .312, with 309 home runs and 2,247 hits. The Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer was finally honored in Cooperstown this past Sunday, to the delight of Mariners fans. His plaque has the Seattle Mariners logo on it.

The Honorable Mentions

Below are two great players who were elected into the Hall of Fame on the Today’s Game Committee ballot. These Hall of Famers were also honored on Sunday along with Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina.

Harold Baines – The former outfielder played from 1980-2001. The six-time All Star has a career batting average of .289 with 2,866 hits, 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI’s. In his 22 year career, he played in 2,830 games, most notably as a member of the Chicago White Sox. As a coach for the White Sox, Baines received a World Series ring in 2005. He also won the Silver Slugger Award in 1989, has his number 3 retired by the White Sox, and is in the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Harold Baines went into the Hall of Fame with the White Sox logo, as he played for the White Sox for 14 seasons, split over multiple seasons.

Lee Smith – The former Major Leaguer pitcher played from 1980-1997 and was a member of the Red Sox from 1988-1990. Smith pitched in 1,022 games, had 478 saves, with a 3.03 lifetime ERA. He was a seven-time All Star, three-time Relief Man of the Year, and was the saves leader four times in his career. Lee Smith went into the Hall of Fame with the Chicago Cubs logo, which is fitting since he pitched for the Cubs from 1980-1987.

Future Hall of Famers

In January 2020, another group of legends will be elected into the Hall of Fame. A year from now, they will forever be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There will be many first timers on the ballot in 2020. Some of the most notable names are Josh Beckett, Derek Jeter, and Paul Konerko.

Of course, there will be a lot of returning names to the ballot. The most notable names are Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Larry Walker. Now, if I had to choose between these guys, I’m going with Schilling and Walker. Schilling was amazing in the postseason. He was the co-MVP of the World Series as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. He also has a lifetime ERA of 3.46, with a 216-146 record. Walker, despite spending the majority of his career in Colorado, truly deserves the honor. He has a lifetime batting average of .313, with 383 home runs.

Todays’ Baseball Autographs Look Worse Than Ever

I love to collect autographs. I’ve met many Hall of Famers and former Negro League players who graciously took the time to sign my items.They carefully scrawled their name on a baseball in the same way an artist draws in a sketchbook. To me, their detailed cursive signatures are absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, this is becoming a lost art. Current players who take their time to sign an item are few and far in between. Their penmanship is making baseball autographs look worse than ever. As a result, the value of baseball autographs will become more unstable in years to come as collectors question their authenticity.

For some, the increasingly common scribbles make certain baseball autographsbaseball autographs look undesirable to collect. For example, when a player like Ted Williams signed a baseball, he not only did so with care, but his unique style makes it difficult to forge. Modern advances in forensic science can scrutinize Williams’ signature to tell whether it’s real or fake by examining the consistency of his signature. For example, the loops in the letters “T” and “L” in his name (top right) are details that experts look at to verify its authenticity. But signatures like Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s (bottom right) are so sloppy that even if it is real, its authenticity will remain an issue. An autograph will be more desirable (and valuable) if the signature is written more neatly.

Current players who probably didn’t learn cursive have terrible signatures. In most cases they just scrawl their initials. I recently saw an 8×10 photo of the 2016 Chicago Cubs signed by twenty of its players. Most of the signatures looked like a toddler wrote them. They were completely illegible. Unfortunately, the decline in handwriting has been an issue for many years. According to a 2006 College Board report, only 15 percent of students who completed the essay portion of the SAT that year wrote in cursive. For teachers like me, this is a concern. This isn’t an issue that a lot of people care about though. Who needs to write by hand when you have an iPad? It’s difficult to argue with that logic. However, the impact of this decline in penmanship is something collectors should take seriously. It is an issue that’s only going to get worse.

Baseball Autographs Look Bad And Their Values Will Only Get Worse

Part of the reason baseball autographs look bad is because people don’t write their names neatly anymore. I rarely take the time to write my full name on a credit card receipt. In fact, if you forged my signature using a credit card receipt I signed a month ago, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell which one is real. Unfortunately, the erratic way players sign today will make it easier for people to forge their signatures because there won’t be as many authentic and consistent examples to measure against ones in question.

Collecting autographs from current players is risky. It won’t matter if you saw the player sign the item yourself. Potential buyers will scrutinize the item carefully even when you know it’s real. If players continue to sign items in a quick and sloppy way, collectors will see their value drop because no one will want to buy them (Then again, maybe players do this on purpose because they know someone will try to sell it?).

Who’d want a badly signed baseball? I wouldn’t. I prefer Ted Williams over anyone else’s any day. That beautiful cursive signature belongs in Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Rodriguez’s, on the other hand, belongs in the trash.