Here come the rest of the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot. Unless there are sentimental reasons or particular individual perversities at play, I can think of only one or two, maybe three, who aren’t likely to be one-and-done ballot entrants, even if they’ll never be Hall of Famers.
While we’re on the subject of the Strasburg Plan, it might be wise to hark back to past young guns whose careers—or, more accurately, the lack thereof, for most—may or may not have factored into the Washington Nationals’ thinking. (Manager Davey Johnson, who’s absolutely on board with the Strasburg Plan, happens to know about at least one of those guns directly.) They didn’t all have fractured comebacks from Tommy John surgery (though a few of them could have used it, if the procedure had been around), but they did have work use or other physical issues in one or another way that turned them from brilliant or burgeoning youth to gone, or at least nothing near what they first seemed they’d be, before they should have been in prime.
How strange and sad it is, now and over a lifetime of watching and loving the game, that as often as not the players who are the most fun to watch become the players whose careers derail soon enough after they get their first tastes of success. Dontrelle Willis is the latest such casualty. The sad part is that the D-Train won’t be the last, even if he might take comfort in knowing he wasn’t even close to the first.