As usual, the Hall of Fame announcement always brings debate. I'm happy for Barry Larkin. I've heard some critics call him a marginal Hall of Famer, but the voting is so subjective, it's hard for anyone to be a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Because of that, Cooperstown is still much more exclusive than Canton. The selection process is one of the few things Major League Baseball does better than the National Football League.
If I had a vote, which I don't, I'd ask myself a series of questions before voting for a player:
* Did they dominate their era at their position?
* Are they among the best to ever play their position?
* Did they define a team during that era?
* For non-pitchers, did they consistently hit for not just power, but average, and did they do both over a long period of time?
* Lastly, what was their WAR?
I put a lot of value in WAR (wins above replacement). WAR is relatively unknown to the casual fan and should be used more often to measure how valuable a player is to his team. It's a stat that tells us how many more wins a player would give a team when he's on the field versus a minor leaguer or bench replacement.
Looking at former Red Larkin's WAR, many of my above questions can be answered. His career WAR is 68.9. That means over his 19-year career, the Reds won 68.9 more games than they would have if he wasn't in the lineup.
How does that compare to other shortstops since World War II?
Larkin's WAR ranks sixth behind Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter, Ernie Banks and Robin Yount.
All with the exception of Jeter and Rodriguez are Hall of Famers,so based on WAR, Larkin is among his Hall of Fame peers. Jeter, of course if a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but Rodriguez may not be.
Which brings me to a new trend in Hall of Fame of voting. To date, no player who admitted to or even was suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs has been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Again this year, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire came up way short of the 75 percent of the vote needed to get in. I doubt they ever will.
The baseball writers who vote are clearly blackballing steroid users (or suspected users) from Cooperstown. It's a noble cause right now, but what happens when they have to keep Barry Bonds, Rodriguez and Roger Clemens out as well?
The Hall of Fame is going to get dicey in years to come. Though I am against performance-enhancing drugs, I still believe A-Rod, Bonds and Clemens would have had Hall of Fame careers with or without PEDs. I can't imagine writers not voting them in.
Considering the current Cooperstown dilemma, the whole Pete Rose ban looks kind of silly now, doesn't it?