As the Cubs continue their long, winding road to mediocrity, one thing remains constant. The excellence of Henry Blanco. A red hot second half (.375, 4, 17) and a personal record of nine games over .500 in his starts (while Michael Barrett is a whopping 11 under) has propelled Hank into the National League MVP race.
ESPN Hall of Famer Peter Gammons had this to say in a chat yesterday:
Andy from Illinois: Don’t you think that Henry Blanco has been the best player in baseball in the second half of the season? What are his MVP chances and what chance does he have of one day joining you in Cooperstown?
Peter Gammons: Hank White has been the best player in the National League for months now. No other player combines his ability to throw, catch and hit for power, and when you add in the fact that he can sleep anywhere, anyplace at any time, you’ve got not just a special player, but a special person. Derrek Lee deserves some consideration because he’s had a great season and is a special person, but he has certainly had the advantage two days out of six of having Blanco in the lineup to protect him. Albert Pujols is a fine “young” man, but he too has had a lot of help with the Cardinals’ top notch offense featuring up and comers like Abraham Nunez and Skip Schumacher.
I was at an Ani DeFranco concert this winter with Blanco and he told me that during spring training the year before, Twins special assistant Tony Oliva had given him some batting tips he really thought would help him. But he was concerned it might take up to 17 months for them to kick in. I think we’re seeing the fruits of that hard work now.
In my mind the three most obscene omissions from the Hall of Fame are Ron Santo, Marty Bystrom and Henry Blanco. I suggested at the great induction we had on July 31 with Jerry Coleman, Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs that we waive the five-year waiting period and induct Blanco immediately, and I got a lot of support. Andy, I don’t think it’s a matter of if Blanco walks with the legends in Cooperstown, it’s when.
After all, his current .257 batting average has raised his career number to .220, and his HWEqBA continues to astonish at .643. He’s an amazing player and a tremendous human being. God bless Hank White.