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Tony La Russa defends Harold Baines' Hall of Fame induction in screaming match with Chris Russo

Alex Reimer
December 13, 2018 - 3:14 pm

Tony La Russa insists Harold Baines belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, contrary to the numbers, precedent and reason.

Baines’ longtime manager, who voted for the slugger’s induction as part of the 16-person Today’s Game Committee, got into a shouting match with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on MLB Network about the topic Wednesday. 

“I would love to get into a legitimate confrontation [and> debate where you pull all the stuff that we looked at and you tell me that weak-ass superficial bulls–t that you look at, I guarantee you Harold (should be in),” La Russa said. “Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer, and it’s a shame that now he’s being looked at as not right.

Baines never received more than 6.1 percent of the vote on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. As John Tomase writes, the 22-year veteran was a very good player –– six-time All-Star, more than 2,800 hits –– but he’s not close to Hall of Fame worthy. His career WAR is 545th of all-time. He only finished 10th or better on the MVP ballot twice, and never led the league in batting average, home runs, hits, RBI, on-base percentage, doubles, OPS, OPS+, total bases or stolen bases (he led the league in slugging percentage … once). 

But Baines did lead the league in game-winning RBI one time. Seriously, that’s what La Russa referenced. 

Not a proud moment for the Red Sox’ vice president of whatever he is. 

Related: Tomase: If Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer, then so is Dwight Evans