Tony La Russa on Harold Baines HOF Criticism: 'Weak-Ass Superficial Bulls--t'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2018

Chicago White Sox first base coach Harold Baines looks out from the dugout during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Saturday, July 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Former Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa unloaded on critics who don't think Harold Baines belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Appearing on MLB Network's High Heat with Christopher Russo (h/t ESPN's David Schoenfield), La Russa said the arguments against Baines were "weak-ass superficial bulls--t."

Baines and Lee Smith were elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Today's Game Committee. Baines fell off the traditional ballot in 2011 when he was named on 4.8 percent of all votes cast, short of the five-percent threshold. 

Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer noted Baines' election was likely the result of having a long career, rather than one with a sustained high-level of performance:

"Baines, who debuted in 1980 and retired in 2001, first received an MVP vote at age 23 and was last an All-Star at age 40. Baines did have Cooperstown-caliber staying power: He's one of 38 players in MLB history to make more than 11,000 plate appearances. All but 10 of the other 37 are Hall of Famers. Of those 10, five haven't yet been eligible for induction, two have been excluded for steroid-related reasons, and one is banned from baseball."

Using the JAWS formula for determining Hall of Fame candidacy, Lindbergh found Baines to be the seventh-worst Cooperstown inductee with just 52 percent of the average wins above replacement total (30.08 for Baines compared to 57.8 average for right fielders). 

Baines played 22 MLB seasons with five different teams from 1980-2001. He hit .289/.356/.465 with 384 home runs, 1,628 RBI and was a six-time All-Star.