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Jerry_Manuel
01-05-2002, 08:51 PM
From the Trib:
Harold Baines is 43, set for life financially and coming off a season in which he pounded out exactly 11 hits. So what's he doing this winter?

Power-snacking while working on his skills with a TV remote? Driving the family car pool? Writing his memoirs?

"He's working out every day, doing a lot of hitting," said Jack Sands, Baines' longtime agent. "He has gone up to Camden Yards to work out there and worked out a lot at home. He has kept himself 100 percent committed, the way he always has done. That's why he has played as long as he has."

The carrot driving Baines is one last crack at winning a World Series, this time with the New York Yankees. Sands has spoken to Yankees management about an invitation to spring training, where Baines would try to win a job as a pinch-hitter and part-time designated hitter.

"He has never given up on his goal to get a ring," Sands said. "If Harold was to continue playing next year, it would be with a team that had a real good chance of winning it.

"At his age, with what he can do for a club, the Yankees have to be the fit. If not, then his career would be over."

There's no way any team is going to count on production from Baines, who missed half of the 2001 season with a severely pulled groin muscle. He has hit .166 with one home run in 145 at-bats since the White Sox traded for him late in 2000, collecting only 24 of the 160 hits he needed to reach 3,000.

But Sands is trying to persuade the Yankees to take a no-risk look at him at spring training in Tampa. They're down a left-handed bat since the World Series, adding Jason Giambi and John Vander Wal while losing Paul O'Neill, David Justice and Tino Martinez. It's likely that 23-year-old Nick Johnson will fill the void, but a reinvigorated Baines could give manager Joe Torre another option.

There's no chance he'll return to Chicago.

"He would have loved to have finished with the White Sox," Sands said. "He was really impressed with the way the team played in the second half of last year. He thinks it's a terrific team for the future, but with Frank [Thomas] being healthy, it's just not going to work out."

While fans and media focused on Baines' slow march toward 3,000 hits, he always has insisted he kept playing because he wants to be part of a championship. He reached the playoffs six times, including with the Sox in 1983 and 2000, but has made it to the Series just once, when Cincinnati swept his Oakland team in 1990.

"[Sox Chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf and I are the ones who always have reminded Harold of how many hits he had," Sands said. "He has said, and it's truthful, that his total focus is on trying to win a championship. When his career is over, wherever his stats end up, they end up."

Baines one day will pose a tough question for Hall of Fame voters. Every eligible player with his level of career hits (2,866) and RBIs (1,628) has made it to Cooperstown. But some voters may penalize Baines for spending 15 of his 22 seasons primarily as a designated hitter.

If Baines does not play in 2002, he will be part of an extraordinary group of first-timers on the Hall of Fame ballot after the 2006 season. Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn could be joined by Rickey Henderson, a free agent who is unsigned.

MikeKreevich
01-05-2002, 09:04 PM
I hope he makes it!

duke of dorwood
01-05-2002, 09:08 PM
Un-freakin' believable

Soxheads
01-05-2002, 09:10 PM
You couldn't have said it better, duke

Jerry_Manuel
01-05-2002, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by duke of dorwood
Un-freakin' believable

If Baines can make the Yankees then anyone can.

:hitless
I bet they can use a good glove in the infield.

WinningUgly!
01-05-2002, 09:25 PM
If he pulls it off, makes the team, contributes a little & gets his ring in Yankee pinstripes...it might just be enough to get him into the HOF. That's a boatload of "ifs" but Harold has to know that this is the only way he's ever gonna get in now.

Daver
01-05-2002, 10:19 PM
Hate to say but Baines may be the first player with 1500 RBI's to NOT make the HOF.The selection comitee is still made up of,for the most part,sportswriters that are against the DH rule in MLB.
Frank lost the MVP to Giambi for the same reason.

czalgosz
01-05-2002, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by daver
Hate to say but Baines may be the first player with 1500 RBI's to NOT make the HOF.The selection comitee is still made up of,for the most part,sportswriters that are against the DH rule in MLB.
Frank lost the MVP to Giambi for the same reason.

That bias might well keep Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez out of the Hall, too. It would be a horrible shame...

Daver
01-05-2002, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz


That bias might well keep Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez out of the Hall, too. It would be a horrible shame...

Edgar might be screwed,but 2 more good seasons from Frank and he is a lock to make the HOF,he holds too many records to be denied.

czalgosz
01-05-2002, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by daver


Edgar might be screwed,but 2 more good seasons from Frank and he is a lock to make the HOF,he holds too many records to be denied.

I hope you're right about Frank. Big Frank has been outstanding, barring a couple off-years.

Pete_SSAC
01-05-2002, 11:28 PM
I wish Baines the best of luck, but I feel that barring a miracle, he'll end up looking like a fool. Jordan he ain't. DOn't get me wrong, I like the guy, but he didn't do much in 2000, and did even less in 2001. I think he should just bow out gracefully.

- Pete

Daver
01-05-2002, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by Pete_SSAC
I wish Baines the best of luck, but I feel that barring a miracle, he'll end up looking like a fool. Jordan he ain't. DOn't get me wrong, I like the guy, but he didn't do much in 2000, and did even less in 2001. I think he should just bow out gracefully.


Well he already looks like a fool,that's the problem.

Huisj
01-06-2002, 12:07 AM
Man, I really don't know what I'd do if he was on the Yankees. I mean, I've always not like the yankees, and was delighted when the lost the series this past year, but I've also always loved Harold. He was pracically my hero as a little kid, and he's been my favorite player ever since I could think. I didn't think I'd ever say this about the yankees, (especially now with them spending such outrageous amounts of money), but I think I'd actually want them to win the world series if they had harold. Of course, I'd also want the Sox to win the series too . . . man, that would be a weird feeling

Daver
01-06-2002, 12:11 AM
I think you might be safe,I highly doubt the Yankees would sign him.There are a lot of better options available.

SOXSINCE'70
01-06-2002, 01:10 AM
I think HB is suffering from WMS.That's Willie Mays Syndrome.After all those great years with the Giants,he was traded to the Mets after the '72 season.Yes,the Mets made it to the series,but the "Straight A's" prevailed.And that was without Reggie!!
Anyhow,Mays looked pathetic in the field and at the plate that year.He didn't know how to bow out gracefully.Many athletes don't want to admit the party's over.Put HB in that category.It's a shame,because I remember the Harold Baines who was Mr.Automatic in 1983. :(: :(:

Nellie_Fox
01-06-2002, 01:53 AM
I love Harold. I really do. In his day, there was no one else I wanted at the plate with the game on the line. When they still tracked the "game-winning RBI" stat, Harold was right near the top every year. But it's over Harold. Go quietly into the night.

FarWestChicago
01-06-2002, 02:14 AM
Originally posted by Nellie_Fox
I love Harold. I really do. In his day, there was no one else I wanted at the plate with the game on the line. When they still tracked the "game-winning RBI" stat, Harold was right near the top every year. But it's over Harold. Go quietly into the night. I am only a year older than Harold and most of the people around here think I'm too old to run a message board. :smile:

I also love Harold. But, it's time to move on.

czalgosz
01-06-2002, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by FarWestChicago
I am only a year older than Harold and most of the people around here think I'm too old to run a message board. :smile:

I also love Harold. But, it's time to move on.

Well, good, luck, Harold, is all I can say. He was my favorite as a youngster, and that makes him painful to watch right now.

Paulwny
01-06-2002, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by Nellie_Fox
I love Harold. I really do. In his day, there was no one else I wanted at the plate with the game on the line. When they still tracked the "game-winning RBI" stat, Harold was right near the top every year. But it's over Harold. Go quietly into the night.

My exact sentiments.

GASHWOUND
01-06-2002, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by FarWestChicago
I am only a year older than Harold and most of the people around here think I'm too old to run a message board. :smile:

I also love Harold. But, it's time to move on.

Damn West, you're over 250 years old!!!
But to be serious, I know Baines wants to win a championship, but if he really thinks he's gonna make the Spanks 25 man roster, he is doing spank.

PaleHoseGeorge
01-06-2002, 01:01 PM
I'm looking forward to Harold's return to Comiskey for his number retirement (again). He was a great player, perhaps the best the Sox have had in the Reinsdorf years. He never should have been traded in 1989, and it was nothing but a mean spirit that sent him to Baltimore in 1997, too. JR might think we believe he's sentimental for Harold, but however JR defines "sentimental", it's not the way any of us would define it.

:reinsy
"I'm sentimental to my bottom line."

cheeses_h_rice
01-06-2002, 01:27 PM
"Yes, Mr. Baines? I have a Mr. Reality on the line for you. He says he desperately needs to speak to you. Apparently, you've been avoiding his phone calls."