Here are several links from the past week that will make the Monday before Christmas a bit more bearable:
Because there are at least 20 viable candidates, if every voter votes for 10 players, a “perfect” split of the vote would have each player get 50% of the votes (and no one gets in). The reality is that Greg Maddux will not be sharing any votes. And there’s enough distinction among players that the massive vote-splitting will still only get 4 players voted in, if every ballot was filled.
So, how did pinch-hitting decline to the point where the likes of Lenny Harris would be the majors’ all-time leader in pinch-hit appearances? The answer probably isn’t a surprise. The ever-increasing use of relief pitchers has led to bloated pitching staffs and shorter benches. Benches so short, in fact, that there’s not room anymore for a pinch-hitting specialist (much less a left-hand hitting and right-hand hitting pinch-hit specialist, as was common 30 or 40 years ago). Certainly not after the roles of reserve catcher, reserve infielder and reserve outfielder have been filled (what a marvelous luxury today to have a player fill one of those roles and also be an effective pinch-hitter).
That’s it. To all who celebrate: Have a walk-off Christmas!