It was tough to take. I needed the month+ break from baseball blogging to regroup, after allowing myself to believe that the Redbirds would come back from a 3-1 deficit against the strongest starting staff the NL had to offer. Ultra dramatic 9th inning tape measure home runs will do that to a guy.
I had to get away. Or at least I thought I did. What I really needed, though, was some good news. And today it came…
The Cardinals have signed Dennis Tankersley.
Just kidding. Actually, my glee goes well beyond the hot stove. Yeah, the Cardinals look like they’re part of the herd willing to overpay for A.J. Burnett (Really on the fence on this one- he’ll want, and probably get, a 5 year deal. Too much for a guy who has had injury issues already in his career?). Or that they’re not going to toss a throw rug over a hole in the floor by signing aging and fragile Brian Giles to roam the outfield. Or the fact that while I was back home for the holiday, I saw the new stadium, and it looks really freakin’ cool.
No, my happiness comes from this simple fact…
Somebody, somewhere, can vote Willie McGee into the Hall of Fame.
Now, I don’t want to get into stupid, "Brian, Willie McGee doesn’t have the stats to get into the Hall of Fame," discussions. Don’t bog me down with, "If any outfielder is getting in this season, it should be Jim Rice," because I don’t want to hear it (primarily because if only one outfielder gets in, it should be Andre Dawson, who was Vlad Guerrero before Vlad Guerrero existed). No, instead focus on the incredible catches he made as a rookie in the ’82 Series to help lead the Cards to their last World Series title. Or his 3 gold gloves, 2 batting titles, and 1 MVP. Or his own line of delicious soft batch cookies.
Focus on the fact that even when McGwire mania was juicing up St. Louis (yes, I used "juiced" intentionally, in a commentary all at once scathing and biting…), if Big Mac and Willie both ran for mayor, McGee would have smoked him. Honestly, during the mid-80s and his triumphant return to St. Louis from ’96-99, Willie could have gone on a six day crack bender, shot up a post office, and mugged a dozen old women and still been the most popular guy on the team. And no, I’m not forgetting Rod Booker.
I mean, would it be a total joke to let in McGee? The dude did play 18 seasons. He did make 4 All Star Teams, had over 2,200 hits, and exceeded 350 stolen bases. If it weren’t for Don Denkinger and that stupid white roof in Minnesota, McGee would have 3 rings. Can’t we just let Willie be that guy who when families visit Cooperstown, they leave saying, "Willie McGee is in the Hall of Fame?"
My brother and I would always comment on how sad Willie looked when he struck out. It really got to us. He just looked so depressed. You know what would make the guy happy?
How ’bout a bronze bust in a certain New York museum? At the very least, it would drive up attendance from St. Louis.