Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams and Willie McGee aren’t in the Hall of Fame. But they will be. Barry Larkin will enter the hall in July, and after him the next black player to be honored will probably be Ken Griffey Jr.

Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Bernie Williams and Willie McGee aren’t in the Hall of Fame.


But they will be.


Barry Larkin will enter the hall in July, and after him the next black player to be honored will probably be Ken Griffey Jr. Smith and Raines got a high percentage of votes this year, and McGriff made it into the top 10. Williams only received 9.6 percent of votes, and McGee’s only chance will come from the veterans committee who has the right to vote in anyone they wish.


The last thing baseball is going to want is some statistic come out showing a small number of blacks inducted into the Hall of Fame over a certain amount of time, so the next thing — which will more than likely happen — is well-deserving black players will be inducted here and there over time.


Perhaps it’s a stretch to have this thought, but if you look at the great white and Hispanic players that have dominated the game over the last couple of decades, there’s really no outstanding black players to get excited over. That’s why this lack of African-American players in baseball will give those currently on the ballot a bigger opportunity. Even at this moment the only black player who is baseball Hall of Fame-worthy is Prince Fielder.


Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be done out of sympathy, I just believe the powers that be are going to conserve these players so there’s no absence of African-Americans going into Cooperstown over the next 10 or more years.


All of the players I’ve mentioned are very much worthy of the Hall of Fame, I just hope they’re inducted sooner rather than later.


Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal, Mo., Courier-Post.