Diary of a Mad County

Jan. 3-Jan. 9

Tuesday, Jan. 9
Former major leaguer Mark McGwiremisses election to the Baseball Hall of Fameby nearly 300 votes, raising questions as to whether he or any other slugger who has played during the present steroid-tinged era—Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds—will get into the Hall. Once considered a lock, McGwire's induction became suspect when he all but admitted in front of a congressional committee that he had used performance-enhancing substances. It's sad because McGwire, who now lives in Irvine, was great without the stuff—he set a rookie record for homers when he hit 49 as a very skinny first baseman with Oakland. McGwire placed ninth in today's voting, but don't feel sorry for him. If you want to feel sorry for someone, look at Bert Blyleven, who finished sixth. Blyleven, a pitcher whose 22-year career included a four-year stint with the Angels, had the misfortune of pitching for some horrible teams: Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins—so he never reached 300 wins. Yet, if you look at his personal stats you'll see that his 3.31 earned run average is lower than Hall of Famers Robin Roberts, Ferguson Jenkins and Phil Niekro. Blyleven's 287 wins is more than Jenkins and Roberts and his 3,701 strikeouts is more than Don Sutton, Tom Seaver and Gaylord Perry. What I'm trying to say is should we really feel so bad for Mark McGwire when a man was forced to go through life with the name Gaylord?

SLOWERY@OCWEEKLY.COM

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