So today they announced the Hall of Fame ballot. Sometime this week I'll get into who I feel should go in, but for now let's just focus on the newcomers to the ballot. The guys who retired after the 2003 season, the guys who I watched in my childhood, the guys who are making me feel old right now.
Jay Bell, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Dan Plesac, Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams, ex-Yankees David Cone and Rickey Henderson, and almost ex-Yankee Greg Vaughn.
How the hell have these guys been retired for 5 years already? It seems like just yesterday that Jay Bell was being mediocre, Ron Gant was trying to comeback from his motorcycle accident, Mark Grace was hitting 238 doubles a season, Rickey was being Rickey, Dan Plesac was coming out of the bullpen to strike out Tino and O'Neill (looking up the numbers now, Tino hit .182 off him with 8 strikeouts in 26 PA while Paulie hit .111 off him with 8 K's in 18 PA, not good times), Greg Vaughn was hitting 50 homers in a year and failing physicals, Mo Vaughn was another great Mets free agent, and Matt Williams was robbing the Captain in the World Series.
And of course, the great David Cone. On the official rankings he's my 4th-favorite Yankees starting pitcher, an absolute warrior who would rather die on the mound than come out of the game and have to trust the bullpen, even when he had already thrown 140+ pitches. While he was admittedly a mercenary, he was our mercenary dammit, and in his 1st 4 1/2 years in the Stripes, he put up ERA+s of 121, 174, 159, 124 and 137.
That's right, in 1996 he put up a 174 ERA+, due to his ridiculous 2.88 ERA while the whole league was taking steroids, followed by a 2.82 in 1997. Plus in the playoffs he went 6-1 for us with a 3.86 ERA. And of course the perfect game, and his 1st start back from his aneurysm when he could've had a no-hitter. Coney was the man. And now he, along with all these other stars and "stars" of the '90s, have been retired for 5 years already.
I can feel my hip breaking as I type.