To me, the baseball Hall of Fame brings to mind something called “grade inflation.”

The definition for that would be leniency in grading, as in some teachers give students better grades than they deserve.

That, and other issues come to mind now as we learn that because there are no new slam-dunk HOF choices eligible this year, the chances of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling suddenly appear excellent.

A baseball writer wrote online this week that the top newcomers include pitchers Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle and A.J. Burnett, and outfielder Torii Hunter.

Yes, it’s a very good year to be Bonds, Clemens and Schilling.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Now if you ask me, the best player of the newcomer group is the former Minnesota Twin Hunter, an outstanding team leader who collected 2,452 hits, 353 home runs and 1,391 RBIs in his career. But Hall of Fame? I just don’t think so. Hall of Very Good. Certainly.

Perhaps they should create a Hall of Very Good, and Torii would fit in there nicely. They could build it in Minnesota -- maybe St. Cloud or Rochester, or even Mankato. They could fill it with a lot of photographs and sell peanuts, and they might even turn a profit.

As for the idea that the real Hall of Fame is becoming too crowded, I know there are many die-hard baseball fans who agree with me. But there are probably just as many who think I have peanuts for brains, and if you want to tell me so, just get in line.

I saw another column from a writer who said that, rather than the Hall becoming too watered down, it’s actually just the opposite. He said that players from the 1970s to today are “unbelievably underrepresented” in the Hall compared to those who went before them. But doesn’t that prove my point? Should we be kicking players upstairs into baseball heaven on the merits of their careers, or just because they happened to have played in a certain era?

He also said this: Mike Mussina deserved his entry to the Hall in 2019. Why? Because though he wasn’t as good as Walter Johnson, he was better than Eppa Rixley, who played from 1912 to 1933 and was selected in 1963.

I don’t know, but if we’re supposed to compare everyone to Eppa Rixley, I wonder where we’re headed next.

The fact is, choosing Hall of Famers can be maddenly difficult, and for as many voters as there are, there just as many standards. There are some experts, for instance, who question the worthiness of Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell, who won entry in 2018. But if you compare Trammell to some other HOF shortstops (Rabbit Maranville, Luis Aparicio, Joe Tinker -- just to name a few) I’d take Trammell every time.

I was always kind of partial to Tony Oliva getting elected. His knees probably kept him out. There are others who demand the election of Curt Flood, who courageously challenged the reserve clause in 1969. It’s a fair consideration; Flood’s refusal to be traded literally changed the game.

Here’s another issue. I found another article from a WAR fanatic, a guy who has latched onto the “wins above replacement” craze to argue that based on sabermetrics, Hall of Famers George Kell (10 All-Star appearances and a batting championship), Nellie Fox (15 All-Star games, three gold gloves and an MVP award), Pie Traynor (.320 lifetime average, six times in the top 10 in MVP voting), Early Wynn (300 pitching victories) and Lou Brock (3,023 hits and 938 stolen bases) don’t belong.

Interesting. For most of my childhood, Pie Traynor was considered by many a baseball expert to have been the greatest third baseman of all time. What happened since then?

I wouldn’t throw out Traynor, Wynn or Brock for any reason. So am I going wobbly on my original point that the Hall has been watered down? Perhaps.

But I can just as easily get back on my original track. Three famous infielders -- Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance (you’ve heard of them) are all Hall of Famers. They played together for the Chicago Cubs in the first decade of the 1900s and were the subject of a famous poem that celebrated their double-play capabilities. Fact is, however, they were never exceptional at making double-plays, and their HOF selection might be primarily owed to the fact that their last names could be strung together in a good rhyme.