Some of our absence here of late is due to an incredibly hectic schedule in other phases of life--yes, folks, there is more to existence than the vagaries of horsehide...
...and some of it stems from the rhythms of baseball's off-season timing as it has morphed over the past couple of decades, with its less predictable (in fact, downright lumpy) event patterns. Much of our commentary in this time frame would be dangerously indistinguishable from the pseudo-speculative drivel passing for analysis in the four billion corners of the blogosphere--and while we would unquestionably be more cunning and prescient than 95% of the bandwidth-clog available to plague your synapses, it's just not worth the effort when so many other, more effective ways of amusing yourselves to death are so readily accessible...
Of course, we've still got plenty up our sleeve, and we promise to get back to unraveling it soon enough...but, for now, let's check in with a quick rejoinder to the silly sub-faction of what used to be called the "Veterans Committee" in the (ahem...) Hall of Fame voting process.
Yes, they're b-a-a-ck. Tomorrow (about twelve hours from now, in fact) the results of the "Golden Era Committee" (sounds like they should all be dipped in something, now, doesn't it?) voting process will splurt itself out into public view, much like the sound of a 99.99% empty toothpaste tube excreting its final effluvium onto an unsuspecting toothbrush.
Ten men have been propped up for disappointment, dismay, or deafening silence (for those candidates who are already dead and gone...) at the hands of sixteen guys in search of an easy way out. The names of those ten men, in alphabetical order:
Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills.
(The four names in bold, BTW, are those folk who've been honored already by our friends at the Baseball Reliquary, whose membership inducted Messrs. Allen, Minoso, Tiant and Wills into their Shrine of the Eternals.)
Now, our view, remaining consistent with the notion that "fame" is equal parts excellence and notoriety, thus demanding the widest of all reasonably possible nets to ensnare players and other forms of baseball ligan, is that five of the folk listed above have claims for Cooperstown.
Those five: Allen, Boyer, Hodges, Minoso, Tiant.
Why not the other five?
(Howsam) No GMs should be on this ballot--apples/oranges. There should be a separate process for them.
(Kaat) Fits the definition of a "compiler," and is without any other compelling narrative.
(Oliva) Peak is not high enough or long enough.
(Pierce) Not enough peak, overly unbalanced home/road performance.
(Wills) Too much of a one-trick pony.
How many votes will each of these guys get this time? Include us out of that particular masturbatory manifestation. All we'll say is that it will be close for Minnie and Gil, but it will be no cigar for Tiant (a damned shame, too, since no one looked more jaunty with a stogy than ol' Looie, and we'd love to see him light one up on the dais...).
We will hope that Allen will get seven or eight votes this time, signaling that at least some of the silly, sanctimonious hypocrisy and "received lugnut-ism" that so many have inherited from the single most reprehensible set of sentences ever written by Bill James will at last dissipate into the ether...but we won't hold our breath--or yours, either. [EDIT: In fact, we harbor suspicions that Howsam is on the candidate list primarily as a means to insure that this voting body will have a "safe" choice, one that bypasses any controversy concerning the merits of those who actually played on the field.]