Barry Bonds, the best hitter any of us will ever see, will not be voted into the Hall of Fame in January. This is like Ozzy Osbourne not being in the Black Sabbath Lead Singer Hall of Fame, and you're right to laugh at it. It's an absurd premise that makes the institution look silly, not the player.
However, there are other players on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, and there's a common theme for some of them. See if you can find the common thread for these three players:
- Edgar Renteria
- Freddy Sanchez
- Pat Burrell
That’s right, the answer is “Who are three people who are aware of some of the things Pat Burrell has done, and it keeps them up at night.” However, another answer is that those players are 3/8ths of the first starting lineup to win a World Series in San Francisco Giants history. And they should all get voted into the Hall of Fame. Of your heart. The Hall of Fame of your heart. It’s a good Hall of Fame.
They’re all going to fall off after the first ballot, if we’re being realistic, but take a moment to think about what the players on a Hall of Fame ballot really are. They’re players who stuck around for 10 years, and you’ve absolutely heard of them. Just being on the ballot at all is special in its own unique way. It’s a badge of longevity and perseverance. So this is a very fun Hall of Fame ballot.
On the dark side, though, there’s a reason that all of these players are coming on the ballot right now, and that’s because 2011 sucked the fun out of baseball and buried it in the backyard. Renteria went away, and I’ll bet you a ham sandwich that most of you can’t remember where. He didn’t do well enough to get a contract offer in 2012, and he vanished into the cornfield.
Burrell came back with the Giants for a cool $1 million, hurt his foot, and vanished into the cornfield.
Sanchez hurt his shoulder on a completely innocuous-looking dive and vanished into the cornfield.
This Hall of Fame ballot is a reminder of how magical 2010 was. It’s also a reminder of how repugnant 2011 was. Say, I wonder if there are any other players on the ballot who could drive this point home?
- Orlando Cabrera
Mmmmmm. Yeah. Good ol’ 2011. That sure was a season, alright.
But I’ll choose to let this ballot remind me of 2010 instead. I would advocate for Bonds and Jeff Kent, but the focus should be on these three players for just a bit. Let’s take a moment to review their most iconic moments as Giants. First up, Freddy Sanchez:
You can also take the Game 1 flurry of doubles, which was probably more important, really.
Also, Vladimir Guerrero is on the ballot. Not sure why I just thought of that.
The most iconic Pat Burrell Giants moment is a little trickier to parse. It would have been this booming home run if they could have held the lead in the Rick Ankiel game. But this is the one he has to himself:
He was also a part of the most memorable 2010 comeback, too, but it was the prequel to that Jonathan Broxton implosion that was probably the purest Burrell/Giants moment on the field.
It’s also hard to pick an iconic Edgar Renteria moment from his time on the Giants, so I’ll settle for this one:
We’ll all remember where we were when Renteria singled home Todd Wellemeyer in that game. Amazing.
So congratulations to all three 2010 Giants for sticking around long enough to be on a Hall of Fame ballot and for having a great chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Of our hearts. The Hall of Fame of our hearts. They were all really good Giants, you know.
It’s probably better for everyone if you forget 2011 existed. That’s a good rule of thumb in general.
Edit: Apparently some of you think this was the most iconic moment Renteria had with the Giants. I mean, I guess so, if you want to be super on-the-nose about it.