Lately I've been reading
This has nothing to do with any fear that Pedro might embarrass himself. He can't. When he was young he was better at baseball than anyone I've ever seen, great in the way
My interest is in the Hall of Fame election of 2014. If you don't count the classes of the 1930s -- and you shouldn't, as the voters had so many players to choose from
For a moment, let's not think about the 2013 vote, which will involve
The 2014 ballot probably shouldn't be this good. Given that they'd both like to play, you'd hope there would be roster spots somewhere for Thomas and Glavine; they may be done, but they deserve the chance to prove it. Since it is this good, though, one can hope for it to be as good as it can possibly be, which would involve Pedro announcing his retirement this summer and giving a speech in Cooperstown in five years. Think of a stage on which Glavine was the third-best pitcher, a ballot on which Mussina was the fourth-best. It could happen.
Even if Pedro does make a great return -- hopefully one that involves no losses, so as not to spoil his career 214-99 record, the prettiest line in baseball -- the 2014 class will still be the best in more than 60 years. It isn't, mostly, close. There have been some ridiculous years, like the one that saw both
That year the voters elected four men to the Hall of Fame:
Were Pedro to join them, though, you'd have a case for the class of '14 over the class of '47 as the greatest since the inaugural class of '36. Not an inarguable case, and one that would involve a certain amount of assumption about the increasing level of competition over time and penalties to the players of the past for something -- namely, segregation -- that wasn't their fault. It would be a case, though, nonetheless, and one that would be especially welcome coming on the year of bilge that 2013 is sure to be, with its endless recriminations and rehearsals of arguments that will be, by then, well more than a decade old.
Will Pedro join them? Almost certainly not; the very thing that made him so great is what will surely drive him until someone is forced to have the same frank chat the Braves apparently had with Glavine. And that won't come at least until he's had one more run in which he has proved that there's nothing left. There will be no need to be sad at the sight of it, and a 217-104 record will be very nearly as pleasing to the eye as the one he has now. But here's hoping the man finds the prospect of bumping his old teammate Glavine down to the status of relative afterthought on induction day even more enticing than that of getting paid a few million to take one more shot at making hitters look like useless fools.