Before Matt Holliday was raising future Yankees tormentors (the freaking Orioles...), he was bashing dingers bare-armed and winning hearts during the summer of 2017. Unfortunately, due to a freak illness, his effectiveness diminished and disappeared by the time the season ended, but there was certainly a point of the year when his thunderous blasts and effortless wrist flicks were a major component of a beloved team's heartbeat.
Holliday made his first Hall of Fame ballot this season, though his chances of election unfortunately seem to have already burned out. There's nothing wrong with the Hall of Very Good, but unless Holliday can use his tremendous forearms to lift up and choke out a few voters at the 11th hour, he's not getting admitted in 2024 and will probably fall off the ballot.
That's why he's used his final days of this particular cycle to advocate for his old Rockies teammate Todd Helton. After six long years of battling, it finally seems like Helton might escape the Coors Field Curse this time around; projections believe he'll make it to Cooperstown by a nose.
He should've made it long ago, though -- and would've if he hadn't played his home games in the thin air in Denver. Never mind his road slash line of .296/.395/.504/.899 during his 10-year peak (and 144 OPS+ total during that time), as pointed out by Jayson Stark. A certain sect of voters seem to believe that no one who played in Colorado long-term deserves a second look, essentially eliminating one MLB team from the running as if those players all teamed up and chose to inhabit the region instead of being drafted/developed. If the Rockies are allowed in MLB, than Rockies stars should be allowed in the Hall. Sorry.
Holliday took the argument a step further, on the verge of Helton's election and three years after Larry Walker beat the cycle. If Helton's numbers are inauthentic, then what about all the stars of the '80s who used to be able to beat ground balls into the rubber-and-cement floor and earn cheap base hits on choppers?
Yankees' Matt Holliday: Todd Helton deserves Hall of Fame
No offense, but there's a reason we teach launch angle now and we didn't used to. The Cardinals of the '80s, in particular, made a living on smacking hard grounders off obscenely difficult-to-defend surfaces, both smoking shots through vacated holes and earning infield singles with their top-tier wheels.
The players who made a living in the '80s were still great players! They just used the environmental hand they were dealt to their advantage. And that's kind of the entire point, isn't it?