Hall of Famers

It's been 2 1/2 years since the gang and I last evaluated active major league baseball players' chances at getting in the Hall of Fame. With so many developments since then (McGwire's snubbing, Palmeiro's, Bagwell's and Biggio's retirements, Reyes's and Wright's breakthroughs), I thought I'd take another crack at it. I'll divide players into five categories and offer likelihood percentages, where applicable. I'll only include players with three major league seasons under their belts, so you won't see Justin Verlander or Hanley Ramirez here. Feel free to let me know who I missed.

Definite Hall of Famers if they retired today, in order of credentials
Greg Maddux
Alex Rodriguez
Pedro Martinez
Randy Johnson
Mike Piazza
Frank Thomas
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Tom Glavine
Mariano Rivera
Ivan Rodriguez
Derek Jeter

and, if they let cheaters in (which I think they should)
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens

Hall of Fame Candidates if they retired today
Trevor Hoffman (97%)
Manny Ramirez (96%)
John Smoltz (95%)
Chipper Jones (65%)
Jim Thome (60%)
Curt Schilling (55%)
Todd Helton (40%)
Omar Vizquel (35%)
Jim Edmonds (20%)
Mike Mussina (15%)
Jason Varitek (15%)

and, if they let cheaters in (which I think they should)
Sammy Sosa (75)
Gary Sheffield (60%)

Hall of Fame Candidates with a few more good seasons
Johan Santana (98%)
Vlad Guerrero (97%)
Ichiro Suzuki (70%)
Andruw Jones (60%)
David Ortiz (55%)
Carlos Beltran (50%)
Billy Wagner (40%)
Jorge Posada (35%)

and, if they let cheaters in (which I think they should)
Andy Pettitte (40%)
Miguel Tejada (35%)
Jason Giambi (15%)

On pace to be Hall of Famers, barring catastrophe
Albert Pujols (95%)
Miguel Cabrera (80%)
Jose Reyes (75%)
Roy Oswalt (65%)
David Wright (65%)
Jake Peavy (65%)
C.C. Sabathia (55%)

Hall of Fame Candidates with many more good seasons
Ryan Howard (50%)
Brandon Webb (45%)
Roy Halladay (45%)
Alfonso Soriano (45%)
Carl Crawford (40%)
Chase Utley (40%)
Carlos Zambrano (35%)
Lance Berkman (35%)
Travis Hafner (30%)
Magglio Ordonez (25%)
Ryan Zimmerman (25%)
Robinson Cano (20%)
Justin Morneau (20%)
Dan Haren (15%)


10 TV shows

I finished the second season of Arrested Development last night, and its masterfully conceived, written, and acted characters got me thinking about the best TV shows I've ever watched. Before you take issue with the absence of your favorite show, I haven't watched enough Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Sopranos or anything aired before I was born to consider them. These are the ten best TV shows I've watched with some regularity, basically covering the 20 years I had cable TV: 1986 to 2006.

10) Cheers... memorable characters, fresh story lines in an ideal setting. Who doesn't have at least one Cliff, Sam, Diane, Carla, or Norm in his life?

9) Six Feet Under... the family dysfunction we've been fed so many times, this time surrounded, torn apart, and held together by the main character, death. The only hour-long drama on this list.

8) The Office (BBC)... perhaps its superiority to its NBC counterpart comes from its brief airtime (two seasons and a two-part special), which allowed it to avoid the "Jim and Pam got together, so what do we do now" season. We had never met a David Brent before, and we'll never forget we did.

7) The Cosby Show... a more functional family, I suppose, but a funny one nonetheless. Our first look at a wealthy black family in Brooklyn gave us a host of relatable characters, but was always driven by Heathcliff Huckstable. Give major points for Cosby's improv, an A-list of guest stars, and one of the great casting saves, the addition of Olivia (who brought out Cliff's best lines) as plots involving the older siblings grew stale.

6) Arrested Development... again with the family dysfunction, only with quirkier, more sharply defined characters and plots so absurd and irreverent that American audiences couldn't keep up. Buster Bluth had been done before, but probably not this well, and nobody saw GOB or Tobias Funke coming.

5) Seinfeld... "a show about nothing," which was either the first of its kind or a lazy rip-off of every sitcom before it. Eschewing the family dynamic for the less formulaic "urban comedian, his hot-tempered ex girlfriend, his wacky neighbor, and his pathetic, neurotic friend", Seinfeld redefined the "situation" in sitcom.

4) Sportscenter... if ever there was a show that needed to be invented, it was Sportscenter. Before scores and updates were available around the clock, there was one show that recapped the day's games and transactions. For thirty years, anchors and reporters, segments and countdowns have come and gone, but there's still no better place to find out who won the Belmost Stakes or who will win the Super Bowl.

3) The Daily Show... brilliant with Kilborn, transcendent with Stewart. Who could have predicted that a show built around fake news and satirical reactions to real events to it would become the primary source of real news for a generation of educated, liberal-minded youth?

2) Jeopardy... in a world now so inundated with game shows that they require their own network, one quiz show will always be the gold standard. The questions are hard enough to weed out pretenders, but straightorward enough for fans to play along at home, and most importantly, banter and fanfare take a back seat to the A&Q portion of the program. Two commercial breaks, no lifelines, and few gimmicks.

1) The Simpsons... and it's not close.

Honorable mentions include The Office (NBC), Family Guy, Little Britain, and The Real World. What did I miss?