If you’re a Twins fan and a Hall of Fame fan, this is a huge week for you. There’s something going on with every facet of the Hall, and the Twins are involved in all of them. The Veterans Committee vote, the Twins team Hall of Fame, and the regular 2012 election are all in the news right now. Let’s get ready to mark our ballots for Jim Kaat, Corey Koskie, and Brad Radke!
First, as I’ve mentioned once or twice, Kaat and Tony Oliva are up for election by the Veterans Committee. The Committee will meet December 5th, the first day of the Winter Meetings, to give one more chance to Kaat, Oliva, and eight other previously-snubbed greats of the game. Ron Santo won our mock Veterans Committee vote, and I’d wager even money that he will be elected by the real veterans as well. Santo died last year at the age of 70, and for millions of fans that sad event served as an exclamation point on the injustice of his exclusion. Judging by their stats and careers, Kaat and Oliva would appear to be as deserving or more so than the other candidates on the ballot, but that certainly does not guarantee that anyone will vote for them. Kaat, at least, consoles himself by being the founding member of the Hall of Enjoyment. His positive attitude and admirable modesty further prove that the Twins need to retire his jersey number.
Kaat and Oliva may or may not get in, but the Twins are guaranteed to have at least one “Hall of Fame” inductee next year. That’s because they created their own Hall of Fame 11 years ago, and we get to elect whoever we want (as long as it’s a Twin, of course). You can rest assured that Puckett’s Pond will have a full rundown of each of the 18 former Twins on the ballot in the near future. But in case you can’t wait that long, check out this one, courtesy of Seth Stohs. The candidates include Corey Koskie, Brian Harper, John Castino, and Chuck Knoblauch. They don’t exactly rank up there with the guys on the real Hall of Fame ballot, but the Twins Hall of Fame is a fun way to remember the players who entertained us and helped our team win games in years past. If you want to participate in the voting, here’s the link.
Finally, we have the regular Hall of Fame ballot, which came out Wednesday. There are 13 new players on the ballot, including Ruben Sierra and Phil Nevin, two former Twins (believe it or not, both actually did play for the Twins in 2006). Okay, so Sierra and Nevin might not get in. But guess who else is on the ballot? Minnesota’s own Brad Radke! Radke toiled for the Twins for 12 years, winning 148 games and earning a run average of 4.22. There is absolutely zero chance that the BBWAA will give Radke the needed 75% of the vote. Honestly, I’d be surprised if he got more than 2%. But wouldn’t it be cool if they decided to elect him, just as a practical joke? Sure, it’d cheapen the Hall of Fame and everything, but it would be fun. Barring that occurrence, Radke will have to console himself with his record as the last Twins pitcher to win two games in a postseason series – he went 2-0 in the 2002 ALDS, and the Twins haven’t won two games in a Series since.
You know who else won two games in a Series? Jack Morris did. In 1991. Morris is on the ballot again, and to be honest, he has a shot at making it. His career stats are marginal, but he did a pretty fine job in the postseason. Still, the biggest reason he might make it is a lack of competition. Barry Larkin and Tim Raines are probably Morris’ biggest competitors this year. Edgar Martinez suffers from DH Syndrome, and Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro won’t get many votes due to their ‘roid habits. So Morris, who got 53% of the vote last year, might find himself reaching the magical 75 this time around. He would almost certainly go in as a Tiger, but that wouldn’t prevent the Twins from honoring him at Target Field next summer.
I don’t know that Morris’ Hall of Fame case is very strong, but he’s a local guy who grew up in St. Paul. It’s always nice to see a player with a Minnesota connection get some respect.