Ask Hal: Hall of Fame standards might have to change

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to

Q: Throughout your years, which player least resembled a baseball while in an MLB uniform? — DAVE, Miamisburg/ Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: I’m not certain how a player is supposed to look. Dapper? Fashionable? Functional? Sloppy? I do know that when Reds GM Jim Bowden acquired first baseman Calvin Pickerington, Big Cal was too big for his britches. There wasn’t a pair of baseball pants in the clubhouse that would slide over his amble thighs and broad posterior. Bowden sent a clubhouse boy to Koch’s Sporting Goods to find a pair. And he added, “If that doesn’t work, try Cincinnati Tent & Awning.”

Q: With the changes in the way starters are handled, five to six innings and starting every fifth day, is it going to be difficult to accumulate the stats needed to get to the Hall of Fame? — KEITH, Cape Coral, Fla.

A: The requirements will have to change. Pitchers seldom win 20 a season anymore and few will reach the once-desired 300 career wins. It is the same with hitters. A .300 career average is no longer required. For pitchers, maybe 250 wins or even 200 might gain Hall of Fame consideration. Maybe earned run averages might be the top consideration. It all remains to be seen how it plays out, but something will have to change.

Q: With the strength of pitching and the rotating of pitchers do you think they need to move the mound back and make ball parks bigger. — JOE, Edinburgh, Scotland.

A: I’d hate to see the pitching mound moved back because it would mess with career statistics. I would like to see fences moved back because it seems most of the new parks are cozy wind tunnels. When they ban the shifts next season, there will be more hitting for averages and more situational hitting than we are seeing now. So, are there any baseball prospects in Scotland, or is it all about golf?

Q: If you had a son or grandson who was a talented baseball player, would you advise him to sign a minor-league contract or play college ball and get that NIL money? — PAT, Middletown

A: Personal experience: I had an offer from the Philadelphia Philllies to play minor league ball and a partial scholarship to Kent State. I wanted the fall-back education and chose college. My dad was angry at me until the day he died because he said, “You coulda made it to the bigs.’ He was so wrong. I made a wise decision because there was no call for a slow-footed, singles-hitting first baseman. Judging by my dad’s prejudiced feelings, I’d leave it up to the son or grandson. But if he is counting on NIL money in college, there isn’t that much associated with college baseball.

Q: Baseball is so top-heavy these days with pitching, why not limit the staff to 10 pitchers? — CHARLEY, Centerville.

A: Back in the day when pitchers at least tried to pitch nine innings and relief pitchers threw three and four innings, 10 pitchers were all that was required … and really only 10 were needed. The game is changed. Now for starters it is five and fly and for relief pitchers it is one and done. And that’s why there enough pitchers sitting in the bullpen to form a platoon.

Q: The Reds traded five more of their best players, so any chance ticket prices will be discounted? — KEITH, Centerville.

A: Fat chance and fat hasn’t been popular for years. With all the trades, expect attendance to dwindle. So where do the Reds make up that lost revenue? Increased ticket costs. Jack up the price of beer, hot dogs and Cracker Jack. Make Johnny’s daddy pay more for Johnny’s Reds’ hat. In other words, if you are one of the few still attending Reds games, put a strap around your wallet.

Q: I wonder how many fans are doing what I am doing after Reds COO Phil Castellini’s, ‘Where ya gonna go?’ comment because for me it has been the Dayton Dragons, a Chattanooga Lookouts game, a Columbus Crew game with no desire to see the Reds? — JOE, Dayton.

A: Don’t forget Little League games, college games (UD, Wright State.

Wilmington), women’s softball and two dogs fighting over a stick, which is more entertaining than some recent MLB games.

Q: Why is that Joey Votto has dumb walk-up music, and the other guys don’t? — ED, Kettering.

A: Oh, the other guys have their songs, but you don’t hear them because they are more subdued. Votto’s song is a loud, loud ‘Jolene,’ belted out from the bottom of Dolly Parton’s lungs. Personally, I wish they’d do away with all of them. Most have no meaning or connection to the player. And it has filtered down to the kids. I was at a Little League game not long ago and one kid’s walk-up song was ‘The House of the Rising Sun.’ Hello, mom? Hello, dad.


Q: What did you think of the All-Star game uniforms? — JIM, Fairfield.

A: Ugly. As I’ve said many times, I’m old school and in baseball I’m so old school I am one-room schoolhouse old. I liked it when the All-Stars wore their regular team uniforms. And I don’t mean those hideous alternative space suits some teams are wearing, the Nike City Connect pieces of work. The Boston Red Sox wear blue and yellow. And those monstrosities Miami wears? They should enter games out of clown cars. Are you kidding me?

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