Contributing Op-Ed Writer: For Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Do Statistics Alone Still Matter?

The catcher Ivan Rodriguez, known as Pudge, was exceptional on both offense and defense. He hit for average and power to all fields. But he was equally known for his amazing arm. I tested it twice playing against him in winter ball in his native Puerto Rico. Once was in the All-Star game, when I was trying to steal third. The third baseman had the ball before I even started thinking about sliding. And once during the regular season, after I got a great jump in stealing second, I became aware of this fast-moving U.F.O. coming in that never got more than a few feet off the ground. It was as if, for my last few steps, I was running backward.

But I also marvel at the greatness of some of the players who have not gotten in … yet.

Vladimir Guerrero, for example. When you play against someone who convinces you that there are more than one of him on the field, he must be special. On defense, his long strides and powerful arm made you worry that if he unleashed a wild throw he might hit you while running the bases. On offense, he made another great player, my teammate Scott Rolen, concede, “He is so much better than I am, it is…

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