Next Sunday will be Major League Baseball's annual Hall of Fame induction, a ceremony that won't be honoring Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens or anyone else whose dominance came in the tainted Steroid Era. It will be a ceremony honoring Hank O'Day, an umpire from the first World Series, 110 years ago; Jacob Ruppert, who happened to own the Yankees during the Ruth-Gehrig glory years; and Deacon White, a catcher and third baseman who played before your time, your father's time and your grandfather's time, maybe even before your great-grandfather's time.
But this isn't a screed about this year's Hall of Fame induction dud. Instead, let's talk about players who might not have Cooperstown credentials (although some clearly do; you be the judge) but did have particularly memorable, distinguished careers. If they can't be in a hall, maybe they can be in a foyer.
Introducing the 2013 induction of players into the Foyer of Fame.
Right-handed pitcher: Luis Tiant. El Tiante was a four-time 20-game winner, a three-time American League leader in shutouts and two-time leader in ERA. His career numbers (229-172, 3.30 ERA, from 1964-82), while somehow not good enough for the Hall, will be celebrated in the Foyer.
Left-handed pitcher: Vida Blue. A three-time 20-game winner with a career 209-161 record, Blue's 1971 season with the Oakland Athletics remains one of the most dominant of the post-Dead Ball Era: 24-8 with a 1.82 ERA, 24 complete games, eight shutouts and 301 strikeouts in 312 innings.
Catcher: Joe Torre. Known to younger fans as a manager, Torre had more than 2,300 hits and batted .297 over an 18-year career (1960-77) that included an NL batting title (.363 in 1971). Also played first and third.
First baseman: Gil Hodges. Among the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers' Boys of Summer, Hodges averaged 29 homers and 100 RBIs over a career that spanned 17 seasons (1947-63). He drove in at least 100 runs each year from 1949 through '55. He won three Gold Gloves and would have earned more if the award for defensive excellence had been started before 1957.