McCoy: Is Reds first baseman Joey Votto a Hall of Famer?

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to

Q: If and when the Houston Astros win the World Series can we expect a drum roll prior to the presentation of the Commissioner’s Trophy? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: Don’t you mean a beating of a trash can? That’s ancient history. Manager Dusty Baker, a man of impeccable scruples, would never permit cheating. If the Astros win, and win it fairly, Baker should get a 21-gun salute for cleaning up that mess he was handed and winning fair and square. And he can celebrate with a bottle of wine from his own vineyard.

Q: Is Joey Votto a Cooperstown Hall of Famer or just a Reds Hall of Famer? — TED, Brookville.

A: Votto hates any reference to him being a future Hall of Famer, so hopefully he won’t read this. Some people say he is borderline, and I agree. Baseball-Reference lists first basemen who are like Votto and none are in the Hall of Fame — Derek Lee, Matt Holliday, Will Clark, Adrian Gonzalez and Lance Berkman. And it has a point system based on Votto’s offense. His point total is 17 and the average Hall of Fame is 27. And the web site’s Hall of Fame standards gives Votto a 42 and the average inductee is 50. Based on all that gibberish, it doesn’t look good.

Q: Which team is worse, the Cincinnati Reds or the Pittsburgh Pirates? — JOHN, Beaver Falls, Pa.

A: They both lost 100 and tied for last place, so take a coin and flip it. No fair using a two-headed coin. But … the Pirates swept a four-game series in Cincinnati. And the Pirates easily won the season series, 12-7. So, it is obvious that the winner, or is it loser, as the worst team is Cincinnati. Both cities are on the banks of the Ohio River, so it must be something in the water.

Q: What happened to the infield fly rule because during an ALDS game the Yankee second baseman deliberately let a pop fly drop to force a runner? — MIKE, Kettering.

A: The most misunderstood rule in baseball, the infield fly rule, is still there and is still called. It only applies with runners on second and first or the bases loaded with less than two outs. Your scenario is within the rules because there was only one runner on base with one out. It was a wise move because it removed a fast runner from first base and he was replaced by a slow runner, wiping out a possible stolen base. Identifying the infield fly rule would be a good Jeopardy question, one Ken Jennings might not know.

Q: What is the latest date on which a World Series game was played? — JOE, Kettering.

A: Due to the season starting a week late because of the work stoppage, it could be this year. If it goes seven games, the last game will be Nov. 5. The previous latest was Nov. 4, done twice. The first was in 2001 between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks due to the delay after 9/11. The second was 2009 between the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees won in six games and if it had gone seven games it would have ended on Nov. 5. If this keeps up, they’ll be serving Thanksgiving dinner in the clubhouses.

Q: With inter-league play, how can there be a National League statistical leader and an American League statistical leader -- for example Aaron Judge -- … when some of his home runs came against NL teams? —TIM, Xenia.

A: Great question, one nobody has ever mentioned to me. Of Judge’s 62 home runs, 10 were hit against National League teams — New York Mets 3, Pirates 2, Chicago Cubs 2, Brewers 2, Reds 1 (Jeff Hoffman). With interleague play, there is no getting around the statistical dilemma. They all play 162 games and the NL teams are major league teams, too (Well, some of them). And he plays for the Yankees, so his stats are registered in the AL. What else can I say?

Q: What are your favorite memories from covering World Series games? — GREG, Beavercreek.

A: Start with the obvious which is the Reds winning in 1975, 1976 and 1990. In 1984, several of us writers got off the press bus after Detroit won the World Series because fans were rocking the bus back and forth and we walked down Michigan Avenue past an upside down and burning taxi. In 1996 I caught a foul ball in the Yankee Stadium press box hit by Derek Jeter. In 1998, while leaving the San Diego stadium parking lot, a police horse reared up in front of my rental car and its front hooves landed on the hood. The cops nearly arrested me for assaulting a police officer (the horse).

Q: Did you ever meet one of my heroes, Hunter S. Thompson? — KEVIN, Springboro.

A: I don’t think the guy who started gonzo journalism ever covered a World Series or I would have made it a point to meet him. I loved his books, ‘Hell’s Angels’ and ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ and they are on my bookshelf. I have read them both more than once because they are so way-out-there and entertaining. See, I have more interests than just sports, although I certainly don’t endorse HST’s lifestyle.


Q: What is it going to take for the Reds to move on from manager David Bell? — JON, Louisville, Ky.

A: Blaming Bell for 2022′s lost season is like blaming the conductor for a train wreck when it was the engineer’s fault. In this case, Bell was the conductor and ownership/front office was the engineer. Bell could only play with what he was given and what he was given couldn’t have won a Triple-A championship. Bell has another year on his contract and unless the Reds make significant trades and sign usable free agents it will be more of the same. And it won’t be Bell’s fault. But mark this down … he will be the fall guy.

About the Author