Last Friday, on these very electronic pages, one Carson Cistulli talked about things no one is talking about, one of which being the Hall of Fame status of former Blue Jay third baseman and tastemaker Kelly Gruber.
(Kelly Gruber, last known photograph.)
One might dismiss this sort of inquiry as media satire, and sleep easy at night; one might, that is, if one were a lazy-minded rapscallion. For there are mysteries that lurk within the heart and hair of Kelly Gruber, mysteries that are easily tangled among his cascading locks. Why is nobody talking about Kelly Gruber? Dare we call it… conspiracy?
What else could explain the fact that despite the fact that Gruber fulfilled the requirements for being elected to the Hall of Fame, having played ten seasons in major league baseball, and yet never saw his name on the ballot? Could it be that the commissioner feared the hypnotic effects of Gruber’s shiny golden mane, enchanting writers into voting the hair and not the man?
Why is no one talking about this, indeed.
After all, he may be no Lloyd Moseby, but a vote for Gruber would hardly bring shame upon the Hall. Since his eligibility in 1998, no less than 26 players have appeared on the ballot with a WAR lower than our outcast (16.9). Seven of those twenty-six even received at least one vote. Three of those seven are card-carrying members of the American Communist Party.
Another one of those players was Mitch Williams. If Kelly Gruber had never played baseball his entire life, he would have had a higher WAR than Mitch Williams. You have a higher WAR than Mitch Williams. Could it be that Mitch Williams erased Kelly Gruber from history to preclude unwanted pilary comparisons?
But lest you think that this conspiracy is only a local phenomenon, I turn your eyes north. For not only has Kelly Gruber been shunned by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, lo! The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is equally impenetrable. Where the Canadian Hall is more lax in its requirements, it is more tight-fisted in its secrets; results are not released. What is Kelly Gruber’s status? The Hall declines to comment.
The rules state that to be eligible, the player must “have done something significant for the game of baseball in Canada”. Certainly, there are hitters more prodigious in Blue Jays history, but none so equally coifed. In the Land of Gretzky, how can this be ignored? Was the nomination requirement of “5-10 pages in length” set to limit the prose that can be spun re: the golden thread?
Why is no one talking about this? Could it be… that certain people have? Certain people no longer members of the BBWAA? Certain people now living in the Northwest Territories?
Could it be that Kelly Gruber is the key to the whole damn thing?
Could it be that —