Picked-up pieces while remembering when the Red Sox used the Hot Stove season to announce something better than advertisements on their uniforms …
▪ Curt Schilling could be named a Hall of Famer Sunday night. Same goes for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Baseball’s 16-person Contemporary Era Committee convenes at the Winter Meetings in San Diego Sunday, and just after 8 p.m., white smoke will likely emerge from the conference room, indicating that one or more new Hall of Famers have been chosen from a list of eight candidates who failed to gain election in 10 or 15 tries on the writers’ ballot.
Sheer math ensures that we won’t have a large class from this vote. A candidate needs 12 of the 16 votes to gain admission, and each voter can select no more than three. I’m expecting to see Fred McGriff elected. Schilling is a possibility. The other six men on the ballot are Clemens, Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Albert Belle.
It’s a potentially explosive night for MLB. This is the first opportunity for Schilling, Bonds, and Clemens to be judged by their peers. Seven Hall of Fame players — Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Frank Thomas, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell — are on the committee. Others on the committee are executives Theo Epstein, Paul Beeston, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter, and Ken Williams, plus media reps Steve Hirdt, La Velle Neal, and Susan Slusser.
McGriff has considerable support, including some former teammates who are members of the committee.
It’s hard to find 12 votes for Bonds and/or Clemens. Williams, Sandberg, and Morris are on record as opposed to anyone with steroid stench.
Writers Neal and Slusser voted for Bonds and Clemens in their final turns on the BBWAA ballot. Thomas was once vehemently anti-PED, but more recently he has said he’d accept Bonds and Clemens now because he believes there already are cheaters in the Hall.
But there are several Bud Selig bobos on the committee, and it’s hard to imagine all of them going for Roger and Barry.
This leaves the door open for Schilling, who has no whiff of steroids and got 71 percent of writers votes in January 2021 (75 percent is required for election). With a year of eligibility left, the Big Lug was just 16 votes shy and likely would have sailed into Cooperstown the following year. Instead, he insulted the entire BBWAA and asked to be taken off the ballot.
Schilling’s request was not granted by the Hall of Fame, but the following year he got 54 fewer votes — writers who evidently honored his request not to be part of the election process.
Statistically, Schilling has a case. He was 216-146 lifetime with a 3.46 ERA. He played on three World Series champions and was 11-2 in the postseason. He was one of the great strike machines of all time.
But he’s not the slam-dunk candidate his fans think he is. His win total and ERA are substandard for Hall of Fame starters, and he never won a Cy Young Award. If you think he has been kept out only because of his tweets, consider that his ERA is higher than Kevin Brown’s, his win total lower than Jerry Reuss’s, and his strikeouts per season fewer than Mickey Lolich’s. None of them are in the Hall.
All that said, Schilling was on a path to Cooperstown until he went toxic. Had a friend taken his laptop from him five years ago, he would be in the Hall today. He is the first person in history to talk and tweet his way out of Cooperstown.
When Schill delivered his screed after falling short of election in 2021, he said, “I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.”
Cool. Sunday night we find out what his peers think of him. He needs 12 of 16 votes. Statistically speaking, anything less would indicate that “men whose opinions actually matter” think less of him than the writers he hates do.
▪ Quiz: Name two colleges that produced three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks (answer below).
▪ Smart of the Celtics to seat Tom “Satch” Sanders — true Celtic royalty — next to the Prince and Princess of Wales for the second half of Wednesday’s win over the Heat. I haven’t been this excited about a visit from the Royals since George Brett came to Fenway in the summer of 1980 on his way to hitting .390.
▪ Too bad the Prince and Princess didn’t try Gillette Stadium Thursday. The TV shot of William and Kate sitting at the foot of Bob and Jonathan’s throne chairs would have been the best visual since Ray Flynn held the umbrella for Pope John Paul II.
▪ Hard to imagine a Tom Brady team under .500 (5-6) in December. The Buccaneers had seven three-and-outs in last weekend’s loss at Cleveland. The Bucs play the Saints in Tampa Monday night.
▪ Watching the Patriots play Buffalo was a chore. Imagine the Patriots having more losses than the Bruins or Celtics on the first weekend in December. When Mac Jones delivered his midnight confessions after the abysmal show, it was pretty clear he’d been prepped on how to answer the question about him yelling at his coaches. Jones’s sideline tantrum regarding the Patriots’ play-calling is sure to be a party-starter inside Fort Foxborough. Yuck.
▪ When slugger José Abreu signed with the Astros Monday (the Red Sox no doubt were ‘’in on” Abreu until he indicated he wanted more than a one-year contract), a fan on Twitter insisted that the Sox would never want to take reps away from Triston Casas, who hit .197 last year, then had to drop out of winter ball after three games with a “minor” knee injury.
This is the kind of thinking the Red Sox count on to perpetuate the notion that they are all about the future — while they cut costs, finish last, raise prices, and steer clear of high-priced talent.
▪ Things are certain to be lively in Houston Sunday when Deshaun Watson returns from suspension with the Browns to play his first game of the season against his old team. Watson also will be playing in front of a number of those who accused him of sexual misconduct. Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee has arranged for a suite at NRG Stadium and says as many as 10 accusers (most of the cases were resolved with confidential settlements) will be at the game. Bet the television networks won’t be shining any lights on Buzbee’s suite.
▪ The scourge of sports betting — embraced by professional sports commissioners (hello, Rob Manfred) and team owners who once scorned it — is moving to a campus near you. Caesars Entertainment signed marketing deals with the LSU and Michigan State athletic programs and will now be able to advertise in their stadiums. Nice. Make It Rain. Keep telling the 18-21 crowd to pour money down the drain.
▪ UMass football finished 1-11, getting outscored, 373-150. The Minutemen’s only victory was a 20-3 win over Stony Brook. During a dismal 11-year attempt at big-time football, UMass is 21-103 — the lowest win total and winning percentage of all 122 FBS programs in that time.
Making matters worse, UMass’s football graduation rate in the latest data released by the NCAA is 71 percent, by far the lowest among all New England schools with FBS/FCS football programs.
▪ Good luck to Colorado or any other major college football program that hires egomaniac/fraud Deion Sanders. It will end badly.
▪ Great Britain has had three prime ministers since the Bruins last tasted defeat at home. The Bruins’ last Garden loss was April 14, 2022, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Ottawa. Including playoffs, the Bruins had 20 straight Garden wins going into Saturday night’s big game with the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche. The Bruins say hello to Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights on Causeway Street Monday.
▪ Chet Hurwitz, son of the late Hy Hurwitz, a longtime Globe baseball writer, e-mailed to remind us that in January of 1955, Dodgers great Jackie Robinson flew into Boston for the day to speak at a father-son breakfast at Temple Emeth in Brookline.
According to Hy Hurwitz’s Globe account, “Robinson discussed the juvenile delinquency problem. He termed Boston as one of the finest cities in which he ever played. ‘When I first came here in 1947 the people here made me feel right at home,’ said Robinson. ‘I’ve never forgotten it and was glad I was able to come on here for this meeting. I was sorry that the Braves left, but it turned out to be a wonderful thing for the National League.’ ”
Representing the Red Sox at the breakfast were Jimmy Piersall and traveling secretary Tom Dowd.
▪ There’s still time to get tickets to The Tradition, one of the great nights on Boston’s sports calendar. Johnny Damon, M.L. Carr, Lawyer Milloy, Mark Recchi, and Bill Rodgers are among those being honored Wednesday night at the Garden, and presenters include Tedy Bruschi, Gerald Henderson, and Tuukka Rask. Tickets are available at www.sportsmuseum.org/events/the-tradition.
▪ Ninety-four-year-old Bob Cousy is reading Henry Kissinger’s “Leadership,” which runs 528 pages. Dave Cowens devoured David Maraniss’s “Path Lit by Lightning — The Life of Jim Thorpe.”
▪ RIP Boston native Mike Adessa, who died this past week at the age of 77. Adessa played football at Holy Cross and came back to coach the Crusaders hockey program for three seasons in the late 1970s. He won an NCAA championship in 1985 as head hockey coach at RPI.
▪ Quiz answer: Alabama (Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler) and Purdue (Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Drew Brees).