The Baseball Hall of Fame will take in at least two new members come 2019 -- and it seems the inaugural day in Cooperstown, N.Y., will wind up as a tribute to the baseball played at Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field back in the 1980s.
Harold Baines, the outfielder-turned-designated hitter, and the relief pitcher, Lee Smith, are now amongst the baseball "immortals" whose memories will be preserved in bronze.
BAINES LIKELY WILL have a plaque depicting him as a Chicago White Sox player, for whom he played three stints between 1980 and 2001 while Smith says he wants to be depicted as a Chicago Cub -- for whom he began his career that lasted 18 seasons and saw him pitch for eight different teams.
We'll be able to remember the 1983 White Sox, for whom Baines was a star hitter and right fielder, and the 1984 Cubs, for whom Smith established that he was a top-level relief pitcher.
Those two teams both won division titles and made it to the playoffs. Although the names Jerry Dybzinski and Leon Durham will remind the hard-core of Chicago baseball fandom of why those two teams didn't make World Series appearances -- and why we had to wait until 2005 and 2016 for World Series victories.
I can already hear the complaints of some crackpots who will claim neither Baines nor Smith are worthy of Hall of Fame recognition. But I suspect those people would have been peeved no matter who got chosen. Just think how p-o'ed they'd be if the announcement had been long-time New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (who also once had a stint as a Chicago Bulls minority owner) been inducted into Cooperstown.