Thursday, August 1, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame should have selected pitcher Tommy John

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2013 last weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y. It was a subdued affair because, for the first time since 1965, no living person was inducted.
The honorees this year included only selections from the veterans committee ballot: New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O’Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White, who last played 123 years ago.
Hall of fame voters rejected Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, stars accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. The two were in their first year of eligibility, but didn’t even come close to getting picked. It was a sign that players tainted by the steroids era will have a tough time getting into the hall. (See coverage by USA Today, ESPN, Newsday and the New York Daily News.)
The hall gave special recognition over the weekend to Dr. Frank Jobe for developing the historic elbow procedure, known as “Tommy John Surgery,” which has helped hundreds of major league players past and present extend their baseball careers. John, the former left-handed pitcher who won 288 games in his 26-year major league career, joined Dr. Jobe for the special recognition, the New York Times reported.
But here’s the outrage: John is not yet in the hall of fame himself. The veterans committee needs to correct that oversight as soon as possible.
My father-in-law, Al Eisele, who played minor league ball with John, wrote an impassioned argument in favor of John’s induction into the hall in 2007 for the Huffington Post. It’s a good read and worth checking out.

Photos: Top half of Tommy John’s 1964 rookie card (above) and John’s Topps baseball card from 1989, his last year as a player.

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