Winter Meetings news: 100% Guaranteed!

Jim McIsaac

NASHVILLE -- Yes, I'm in Nashville for the Winter Meetings. And yes, I'm well aware that the Winter Solstice is still a few weeks away. But think about it ... spring training begins in the middle of February. Do they call it winter training? No. If your life revolves around baseball, "winter" essentially begins the day after the World Series ends. Or perhaps on the 1st of November; they're guidelines, not rules.

Anyway, the Winter Meetings officially begin today (Monday). Everybody shows up because things happen; trades and free-agent signings, mostly. All the free agents won't sign this week, but most of the big ones probably will. A year ago, the Angels signed Albert Pujols and the Marlins signed almost everyone (after which, in a seriously different plane of existence, the Angels and the Marlins faced off in the World Series, and one of them won it).

This week, somebody might sign Zack Greinke and somebody might sign Josh Hamilton and somebody might sign James Loney, but nothing's guaranteed to happen this week and nothing's really guaranteed to happen today.

Well, except for one thing. We're going to have a new Hall of Famer! Unless we don't. The "16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Pre-Integration Era ballot" began its deliberations yesterday, and will finish up this morning. And shortly thereafter, we'll know.

I ran through the 10 candidates last month, when the ballot was announced. In a nutshell, though, it seems to me there are four excellent candidates: longtime owners Jacob Ruppert and Sam Breadon, longtime umpire Hank O'Day, and turn-of-the-last-century shortstop Bill Dahlen. Considering the electorate, it's going to be difficult to get a dozen of the 16 voters to agree one more than one or two candidates. So I expect Ruppert to be elected, and perhaps Dahlen but probably not.

Considering how long all of the top candidates have been neglected, though, even the election of just one deserving candidate should be cause for great celebration by those of us who care about such things.

The trick, of course, is not electing the non-deserving. And therein lays the real drama.

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