Warning: Tweet contains coarse language
Harold Baines' election to the Hall of Fame on Sunday was roundly criticized by many in the baseball world after it was announced, but Tony La Russa's got his back.
La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager who managed Baines on two occasions, was one of the voters on the Today's Game Era Committee and is considered to be an influential voice in the process that got Baines into the Hall.
He defended the committee's decision during an appearance on MLB Network's "High Heat" on Wednesday. Host Chris Russo told La Russa that he helped elect "someone everyone in America thinks is not a Hall of Famer," prompting the retired skipper to unleash a profanity-laced response.
"You know what would be good? I would love to get into a legitimate confrontation (or) debate where we pull out the stuff that we looked at, and you tell me that weak-a-- superficial bulls--- that you look at," La Russa said.
Russo continued to directly press his guest on the issue, and La Russa went on to cite Baines' RBI totals, including his leading the league in "game-winning RBIs," as the reason why he's deserving of a plaque.
"Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer and it's a shame that he's being looked at as not right," La Russa added, according to ESPN's David Schoenfield. "In the '80s and '90s, almost all of the stats that people trust, he was in the top five - for 20 years. He drove in 100 runs late in his career and he drove them in early. Game-winning RBIs, he's up there with the best of them. He had a very distinguished career."
La Russa managed Baines for 10 of his 22 major-league seasons, first with the Chicago White Sox from 1980-86 and later with the Oakland Athletics from 1990-92. The pair helped Oakland to the franchise's most recent World Series appearance in 1990.
Baines tallied 2,866 hits and 1,628 RBIs while compiling 38.7 bWAR during his career. He received the minimum 75 percent (12 votes) needed for election on Sunday and will be officially enshrined in the Hall of Fame this summer alongside fellow Today's Game inductee Lee Smith.