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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Atlantic: How Athletes Ensure Immortality

Quisenberry’s letter to me focused on three questions I asked about how I, too, could become a professional ballplayer. He shared that he used to frequently throw a tennis ball against a wall and practiced his batting swing or pitching delivery in front of a mirror when no one was around to play catch. He wrote that he developed his stamina from throwing alone and not from lifting weights, adding “or else God just made it that way because I don’t think I am strong compared to other teammates.”

Surprisingly, the Royals star also told me that running would be important for my general health when I get older, but “if you are a young teenager, I don’t think you would need it.” I took his advice and spent a lot of time playing video games.

For this, he remains immortal to me. Quisenberry will have another chance to be considered by the Expansion Era committee in 2017.

Perhaps no one thinks about the fuzzy line between immortal and almost immortal more than Shawn Anderson, creator of the “Hall of Very Good” baseball blog dedicated to players who fall just short of Cooperstown. So far, the selective HOVG has “inducted” Tommy John, Dale Murphy, Steve Blass, Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva, and the San Diego Chicken into the imaginary shrine.

“A guy like Quisenberry definitely fits the bill for us,” Anderson says. “I mean, here’s a guy who led the league in saves five out of six years, was top three in Cy Young Award voting in four of those years, yet gets virtually no love from anyone. His story should be told and contributions to the game celebrated—not shoved aside.”

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Quiz will always be immortal thanks to this video.

Quisenberry’s letter to me focused on three questions I asked about how I, too, could become a professional ballplayer. He shared that he used to frequently throw a tennis ball against a wall and practiced his batting swing or pitching delivery in front of a mirror when no one was around to play catch. He wrote that he developed his stamina from throwing alone and not from lifting weights, adding “or else God just made it that way because I don’t think I am strong compared to other teammates.”

Surprisingly, the Royals star also told me that running would be important for my general health when I get older, but “if you are a young teenager, I don’t think you would need it.” I took his advice and spent a lot of time playing video games.

For this, he remains immortal to me. Quisenberry will have another chance to be considered by the Expansion Era committee in 2017.

Perhaps no one thinks about the fuzzy line between immortal and almost immortal more than Shawn Anderson, creator of the “Hall of Very Good” baseball blog dedicated to players who fall just short of Cooperstown. So far, the selective HOVG has “inducted” Tommy John, Dale Murphy, Steve Blass, Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva, and the San Diego Chicken into the imaginary shrine.

“A guy like Quisenberry definitely fits the bill for us,” Anderson says. “I mean, here’s a guy who led the league in saves five out of six years, was top three in Cy Young Award voting in four of those years, yet gets virtually no love from anyone. His story should be told and contributions to the game celebrated—not shoved aside.”


Posnanski: Four theories about Hall of Fame voting changes

Theory 1: Because they don’t want performance enhancing drug users in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

...The Hall leadership may not want [Barry] Bonds or [Roger] Clemens elected, but it never really looked like they would be anyway. And I don’t think the Hall of Fame directors are manipulative in this way. I’m sure they’re not weeping for Bonds or Clemens, but I don’t believe that was the impetus here.

Theory 2: The Baseball Hall of Fame wants to maintain exclusivity.

... My sense in talking with people who have intimate knowledge about the Hall is that, if anything, the Hall of Fame would like to add MORE players from the last 40 or so years…

Theory 3: The Hall of Fame wants to clean up some of the BBWAA untidiness.

Now, we are getting to the point… The 15-year process has always been clunky. And it’s even harder in today’s world, where everything moves so fast and everything is so magnified. We in the BBWAA spend way too much time arguing about players and leaving them in limbo… Ten years is plenty. If anything it is too long.

But, I don’t think it stops here. I have one more theory.

Theory 4: The Hall of Fame is setting up for some major changes.

A few years ago, the Hall of Fame created a Special Committee on the Negro Leagues… a screening committee created a 29-person Negro Leagues Hall of Fame ballot… I have been told this by people who would know – getting Buck O’Neil into the Hall of Fame was the biggest reason the Hall of Fame had created these committees and set up this vote in the first place… Buck still fell short… And I think the Hall of Fame leadership learned a hard lesson: Museum or not, you can’t just give up complete control of your own business… By taking away five years of the BBWAA’s voting, the Hall can have their own committees consider players five years sooner…. They understand the BBWAA is evolving, baseball coverage is evolving, the idea of baseball credibility (which the BBWAA always provided) is evolving too…

So, this is my theory: The Baseball Hall of Fame is making some smallish changes now to set itself up for bigger changes soon. I’m sure they would deny this, and I would bet even they don’t know what those changes are. But they’re coming. I think in 10 years, the Hall of Fame will have a more open Hall of Fame voting policy that the BBWAA will have a part in but will not control entirely.

The District Attorney Posted: July 30, 2014 at 02:27 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, buck o'neil, hall of fame, joe posnanski

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roger Angell goes into the Hall of Fame

Skip the syrupy Dowd article and read this one by Richard Sandomir

pthomas Posted: July 26, 2014 at 07:26 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Angell in The Outfield

NY Times article from Maureen Dowd interviewing Roger Angell about his trip to the Hall of Fame this weekend.  Angell is being given the JG Taylor Spink award.  What the hell took them so long?

pthomas Posted: July 26, 2014 at 07:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, writing

DJ Short: Maximum stay on Hall of Fame ballot changed from 15 to 10 years

Should Jetes be nervous?

Big news coming out of Cooperstown this morning, as the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced their first changes to the voting process since 1991. The most significant change is that recently-retired players will only be able to stay on the ballot for 10 years as opposed to the current 15.

Three candidates in years 10-15 will be grandfathered into this system and remain eligible for the full 15 years. That group includes Don Mattingly (his 15th and final year on the ballot will be in 2015), Alan Trammel (14th year in 2015), and Lee Smith (13th year in 2015).

This change is clearly aimed at breaking up the current log jam on the ballot, but it indirectly gives players from the steroid era a much tougher time of making it into the Hall of Fame. Or at least kicks the can down the road for the veteran’s committee to figure out. One alternative to breaking up the log jam would be to allow more than 10 players to be named on a ballot, but that doesn’t appear to be a consideration at this time.

Other changes of note:

- Hall of Fame eligible voters will now be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct. Consider this a response to Dan Le Batard, who turned his ballot over to Deadspin readers this year.

- The names of BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) voters will be made public with the election results, but individual ballot results will not be released by the Hall of Fame. Here’s hoping the BBWAA takes the next step.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Adrian Beltre sets a major league record (3B total bases)

1) Yesterday, Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre set the major league record for career total bases by a 3B and he is 8th vs. the league average.

MOST CAREER TOTAL BASES, 3B

1    Adrian Beltre             4272   Dodgers/Mariners/Red Sox/Rangers
2    Brooks Robinson            4270   Orioles
3    Eddie Mathews             4224   Braves/Astros/Tigers
4    Chipper Jones             4171   Braves
5    Mike Schmidt               4112   Phillies
6    Wade Boggs                3915   Red Sox/Yankees/Rays
7    Gary Gaetti                3881   Twins/Angels/Royals/Cardinals/Cubs/Red Sox
8    Aramis Ramirez             3704   Pirates/Cubs/Brewers
9    Ron Santo                  3667   Cubs/White Sox
10   Graig Nettles             3657   Twins/Indians/Yankees/Padres/Braves/Expos

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball is fun dammit, hall of fame, rangers, third basemen

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Schoenfeld: Mike Trout’s Hall of Fame Timeline

Only if Trout can replicate and not be an old fart at play.

One of the largest debates in Hall of Fame discussion is that of peak vs. longevity. We know neither Trout’s peak numbers, nor his longevity. His body is not one that alludes to an enduring career, and while pessimistic, it’s not far-fetched to think that Trout may already have reached his ceiling. Before we get into hypotheticals, let’s look at where his case stands as of today.

He has produced 24.7 rWAR, and is on pace to end the season with around 30.3 career rWAR. He will be far and away the best player of all time through his age 23 season. Primarily using Jay Jaffe’s JAWS score, which averages a player’s seven-year peak with his career WAR, Trout would lie well below the 57.2 JAWS rating of the average Hall of Fame center fielder. In fact, he would need to increase his JAWS rating nearly 26.9 points in order to be considered even an average Hall player. The Hall of Stats, which combines peak and longevity in terms of WAR and then weights it to a Hall of Fame average of 100, pegs Trout at 54% under the average Hall player in terms of rWAR. Obviously, Trout could not hang up his spikes in October and waltz right into Cooperstown.

However, his case becomes quite interesting when looking at the fact that the weighted average WAR of a Hall of Fame center fielder’s seven-year peak is 44. If he holds pace for the rest of 2014, Trout will have accrued about 70% of the average seven-year peak WAR of a HOF center fielder in only three years. The average career WAR of a Hall of Fame center fielder is 70.4. Trout will have accumulated nearly 45% of the average HOF CF’s career WAR by the time he is 23.

...Now let’s put on our best optimistic hats and say Mike Trout actually improves starting next year. Let’s say he posts four consecutive seasons of 11.0 rWAR. For some historical context, two players in the past 40 years have posted 11+ rWAR, Barry Bonds a few times in the 2000s and Joe Morgan in 1975. Using 2012-2018 as his seven-year peak, he would have a peak rWAR of 73.6, well above the average Hall of Fame CF’s 44. His career rWAR from 2011-2018 that time would be 74.3, just above the average 70.4 career WAR of the Hall of Fame CF. His JAWS rating would be 73.95, an astounding 16.75 points higher than the average HOF CF.

If Trout merely stays steady and produces four more years of 10.0 rWAR, his JAWS rating would still be just under 70, well above-average compared to the average 57.2 rating. If he tumbled one rung down to a consistent 8-win player, his JAWS rating would be 61.95.

Repoz Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, sabermetrics

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Basehall Hall of Fame: Babe’s on Film: New research confirms earliest known moving images of Ruth in Yankee uniform

As the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum finishes its preparations for the opening of the new Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend exhibit on June 13, senior curator Tom Shieber has identified what he believes to be the earliest known footage of Ruth in a Yankee uniform.

Shieber, who received the 36-second clip from the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections in December 2013, was recently able to date the footage. He has confirmed the video was filmed just months after Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees in late 1919.

“I’ve seen a lot of Ruth footage, and this is the earliest Ruth footage in a Yankee uniform I’ve ever seen,” Shieber said.

The clip shows Ruth taking batting practice before a Spring Training game in Miami, Fla., in 1920.

“It’s really fun to see his swing because he changed batting stances throughout his career,” Shieber said. “He has a very closed stance, which was rare for that time period.”

bobm Posted: June 19, 2014 at 03:40 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, hall of fame

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deadspin: I Was Tony Gwynn’s Bat Boy

Drop whatever it is you’re reading now, and go read this instead.

One day, one of the bat boys showed up wearing an earring. Bright gold and massive. The Giants were in town. During batting practice, Will Clark walked by and sneered, “Nice earring, faggot.” The words were stunning, but we knew we had to react like it was no big thing. News must’ve gotten around, though, because before the next game, Tony walked back to the locker room area with Bip Roberts and performed an entire routine for us. They had evidently practiced it during batting practice. They stood lecturing us, using every “how to talk like an older white guy” cliché in the book. “Now listen, son,” Tony started, stopping periodically to catch his breath, as he was laughing too hard. “You’re bringing down the team here, with that earring.” “Very, very unprofessional,” Bip added, haughtily. They walked away, howling with laughter, the point made: Will Clark was a dick.

Before one game, early in the season, I stood out in right field during batting practice, arms folded. Tony walked over. “Want to toss?” he asked. Trembling with nervousness, I said, “Yeah,” and tried to act like this was nothing to me. My first toss went about 30 feet over his head. He laughed and ran after it. Second toss, only 15 feet over his head. He jogged over to me. “How are you holding that ball?” he asked. I showed him my grip. “Well hell, that’s all wrong.” A 10-second lesson, and we were good to go. He fired a rocket to me. I fielded it cleanly and threw it back using my new grip. This time only five feet overhead. He laughed again, harder this time. I got myself under control, and we threw for 10 minutes, just us. At one point I stopped, realizing that some kids were watching. They were watching me. They were watching me playing catch with Tony Gwynn. I could read their thoughts: “That kid is so lucky.” I was. On my way back to the clubhouse, one of the kids, some poor 6-year-old totally overcome by the moment, asked me for my autograph. I signed his program. Tony watched. He laughed the whole time.

Depressoteric Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:23 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of class, hall of fame, obituaries, san diego padres

Thursday, April 17, 2014

George Brett, Inspiration for the Song “Royals”, Meets Lorde

Last year [the New Zealand pop singer Lorde] told VHI that she saw a photo in National Geographic “of this dude just signing baseballs. He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’ It was just that word. It’s really cool.”

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, pop music, royals

Thursday, April 10, 2014

If Hank Aaron Had Never Hit a Home Run, Would He Be a Hall of Famer? | FiveThirtyEight

This just in…Hank Aaron was no Dave Kingman.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, hank aaron, sabermetrics

Thursday, April 03, 2014

MLB.com: Astros Shower Jeter With Applause & Gifts

First there was the pair of Yankees pinstriped Lucchese cowboy boots, emblazoned with Jeter’s No. 2. Then came the Texas-size Stetson cowboy hat, seemingly a must-have for anyone who passes through Minute Maid Park on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Mike Stanton, all former teammates and all Houston residents, joined Jeter on the field to present the gifts, along with longtime Astros radio announcer Milo Hamilton.

The ceremony also involved several big names from the golf world, in conjunction with the Shell Houston Open, which is taking place through April 6. . . . Crane, an accomplished golfer in his own right, owns the Floridian Golf Resort in Palm City, and he presented Jeter with a three-night stay at the resort as well as golf lessons from renowned teaching professional Butch Harmon. On behalf of the PGA, O’Meara, Wagner and Glover, Jeter was also presented a Titleist golf club set.

Nice gesture.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Curved Coin is Coming

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the U.S. Mint has produced the nation’s first-ever curved coin. It’s a commemorative coin, which means it’s not intended for circulation.

Per the U.S. Mint, 750,000 50 cent pieces, 400,000 dollar coins, and 50,000 gold five dollar coins will be made (1.2 million coins in all). Starting March 27, they’ll sell for a good deal more than their face value, with some of that money going to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

eddieot Posted: March 13, 2014 at 03:11 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, hall of fame

Friday, March 07, 2014

Cardinals hof fan vote.

WHO DO YOU THINK BELONGS IN THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS HALL OF FAME?
VOTE NOW FOR TWO REDBIRDS LEGENDS!

The Cardinals and Edward Jones have teamed up to honor the greatest players in the club’s history. The new Hall of Fame will recognize these figures for their achievements and impact on the organization during their careers.

Each member will be permanently enshrined in the new Cardinals Hall of Fame gallery at Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium.

Vote for your top 2 players.

cardsfanboy Posted: March 07, 2014 at 04:06 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, hall of fame

Monday, March 03, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 2/27/14 - 3/2/14

Don Coffin was originally intended to manage Kane the Undertaker.

Hey, Bill, would you agree with me that HOF voters have spent a lot of time debating Jack Morris’ candidacy to the Hall and because of that they have overlooked more qualified candidates?  I am talking about Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell or Edgar Martinez. Look, I don’t believe that Morris belongs to the HOF, but who am I? Fact is, I have read every argument on behalf of Morris while I haven’t heard the bandwagon for more legitamate candidates. And when Jim Kaat or Tommy John were in the ballot, I didn’t felt the same passion in the arguments of their supporters…

The arguments about Morris are fueled by the other side, and we can’t do anything about it if they keep pouring gasoline on the fire. They have the right to do so. Traditionalists have come to see Jack Morris as “their” guy, who is being kept out of the Hall of Fame by us people over here. We’d like the discussion to move on, yes, but what are you going to do?

In 1956, every National League team had an outfielder of historic greatness on the team, ranging from among the best ever to the merely stellar. Let me lay it out: Giants - Mays, Dodgers - Snider, Braves - Aaron, Reds - Robinson, Pirates - Clemente, Cardinals - Musial, Phillies - Ashburn, Cubs - Monte Irvin. Was this a unique occurrence (the AL that year, for example, had only 3 outfielders who had top flight careers)? Is it something that has become more difficult to sustain as the number of teams have grown?

Are you saying that Bob Cerv is not a player of historic stature? Pretty interesting. I would think it was historically unique, but. . who knows?

Hey, bill. For something I’m working on, I noticed that the rate of hit batters per game (per team) in MLB is now about 0.35—one hit batter per team every three games, roughly. As recently as 1980, it was 0.14, or one every 7 games. The last time the rate of hit batters was this high was in 1910. (Data from Baseball Reference.) Is this something we should be more worried about than we apparently are? (I’ll admit it worries me.)

I hadn’t looked at it in a few years. It’s related to the increase in strikeouts. If you’re trying to hit homers—and EVERYBODY now is trying to hit homers—one of the things you do is crowd the plate to increase your pull zone. One of the things that could (and probably should) be done to reduce homers is to move the hitters off the plate an inch or two.

Hey, Bill- Am I right to recall that you once questioned whether athletes who are represented by agents should also be able to form a union? If not, I apologize for the misattribution. But if so, I was hoping you could elaborate some on that. I applaud the work unions have done to by and large improve the work conditions for athletes, notably the MLBPA under Marvin Miller. But is this form of dual representation still a good idea? It seems like they can work at cross-purposes, in that what individual agents seek for their players can be hampered by membership in a union that includes both, e.g., Mike Trout and 12-year journeymen—and vice versa. Anyhow, I don’t have any strong views on the issue, but just note that it seems like an odd arrangement, and one that is only prevalent in sports and entertainment (SAG vs. the William Morris Agency, e.g.). Thanks.

Yes, it is my opinion that dual representation by an agent and a union is. . ..an odd situation presenting some issues about what is appropriate. I don’t know that I want to elaborate on it. MAYBE it’s appropriate; I just have some questions about it.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pedro Martinez thinks he ‘should have a shot’ at the Hall of Fame in 2015

Hell, everybody has a higher WAR than Tom Glaivine.

Pedro Martinez should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his name appears on the ballot for the first time next year.

He has a lower career ERA (2.93) than Greg Maddux, more strikeouts (3,154) than Sandy Koufax and a higher WAR (86.0) than Tom Glaivine. All of those pitchers were inducted on the first try.

Martinez, now a special assistant to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, is confident, but not certain that he’ll get the news he’s looking for next year.

“I think I should have a shot but it’s not up to me,” he said Wednesday from the team’s spring training complex. “Like I said, it’s not up to me. I can only hope and wait.”

...He’ll learn his fate for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown sometime early next year.

“I’m looking forward to that,” Martinez said. “There’s only so much I can do. As of now, I’m just like you, hoping and waiting to get another chance to actually make it back-to-back years. Boston, then the Hall of Fame.”

Repoz Posted: February 27, 2014 at 07:49 AM | 132 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, red sox

Monday, February 17, 2014

Doyel: Where is Derek Jeter among all-time greats? Higher than I thought

Not even the Survival Zone can save Doy-El’s latest!

Defensively? Jeter isn’t in the top five or top 10 or maybe even the top 25 in that category. And defense is part of baseball. A big part. Like, almost half the game. So if we’re going to measure defense, then I can’t sit here and tell you Jeter is a top-five shortstop all time, because how do you quantify what Ozzie Smith and Pee Wee Reese and Luis Aparicio and a whole host of other Hall of Fame shortstops gave on defense, compared to what they didn’t give on offense, and make a reasonable comparison between them and Derek Jeter? You can’t. Well, maybe you can. You can look at WAR and trust its accuracy as an end-all measurement, but I can’t and wouldn’t even try. Too muddled.

But offensively, the numbers are clear. Only two Hall of Fame shortstops have a higher career batting average than Jeter’s .312, and both of them—Honus Wagner, Arky Vaughan—played before integration. (Vaughan played 14 years in the big leagues, the final two coming in 1947 and ‘48.) That’s not to say that any player, by definition, can’t be considered an all-time great if he played before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. But come on. The competition increased when the pool of players was widened. Did it increase at the same level that expansion watered it down? Good question. Don’t know. But don’t ask me to ignore that Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughn put up the numbers they put up against mostly white, Anglo competition. That happened. It matters. How much does it matter? Don’t know. Neither do you.

Jeter’s career .381 on-base percentage is the best by any shortstop (minimum: 3,000 plate appearances) in the last 50 years except for Alex Rodriguez, who cheated to get to .384 and therefore doesn’t make my list of shortstops who arguably were better offensively than Jeter:

Honus Wagner. Ernie Banks. Cal Ripken. And, um, that’s it.

And I’m not sold on Ripken. Fun fact: His .447 slugging was exactly .001 better than Jeter (.446), and his OPS (.788) was 40 points below Jeter’s .828. But he had a lot more home runs and RBI, and a lot less strikeouts, so OK. I’ll put Ripken ahead of Jeter. Same with Wagner and Banks. But not Robin Yount, who spent barely half his career at shortstop. (Same goes for Ernie Banks, but his greatness happened primarily at short; Yount’s was spread between SS and CF.)

Wagner. Banks. Ripken. Jeter. Those are the top four offensive shortstops of all time.

Odd, right?

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:28 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics, yankees

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pietrafesa: Hall of Fame should bend rule for Jeter to join Mo

Derek, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, Tich & Mo: Don’t Bend It.

This is a plea to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to bend the rules. It’s been done before, so do it again.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera deserve to be inducted together into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

It’s the right thing to do. Jeter and Rivera came up through the New York Yankees organization together, won five World Series titles together with class on and off the field, and belong together on the stage in Cooperstown delivering their induction speeches on the same July day in 2019.

Yes, this will require bending the rules because a player must be out of the game for five years before being on the Hall of Fame ballot. Jeter and Rivera are deservedly both first-ballot Hall of Famers, but are slated to enter the hall one year apart if chosen on their respective first ballot.

So why not bend the rules? It’s been done before and for Yankee greats. Lou Gehrig — the only player on a special ballot — was elected in a special vote at the 1939 Winter Meetings because it was uncertain how much longer Gehrig would live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — now also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Joe DiMaggio was excluded when the five-year rule was introduced in 1954 because he was close to the 75 percent needed for election. He was elected in 1955 despite retiring in 1951.

...Jeter and Rivera only wore the Yankee uniform in the era of free agency and were never mentioned in conversations of using performance enhancement drugs.

Rivera was deserving of the attention on his farewell tour in 2013 and the same can be said for Jeter in 2014. They are great role models and ambassadors for Major League Baseball.

They’re definite first-ballot hall of famers, but baseball and the writers should do this duo justice by inducting them together into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Repoz Posted: February 14, 2014 at 05:20 AM | 100 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, yankees

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ralph Kiner, Mets broadcasting legend and Hall of Fame Pirates player, dead at 91

Kiner always credited Hank Greenberg, the equally renowned home run hitter who hit 58 for the Detroit Tigers in 1938, as having most influenced his career. Greenberg was acquired by the Pirates in 1947 specifically to tutor Kiner, but besides working with him on his hitting, Greenberg also cautioned Kiner about his partying ways while ingraining in him the value of hard work. In becoming the most prolific power hitter in baseball, Kiner was credited with having coined the phrase “home run hitters drive Cadilacs” although he later confessed the quote was actually attributed to him by a ‘40s Pirate teammate, lefthanded pitcher Fritz Ostermueller.

Unfortunately, during those first seven years in the big leagues, Kiner’s Pirates finished last or next-to-last five times while finishing over .500 only once, prompting what has become one of the most famous lines ever uttered by a baseball executive. It was after the 1952 season, in which Kiner had won his seventh straight home run title, that Pirates GM Branch Rickey nevertheless offered to cut his major league high salary of $90,000 some 22% to $70,000. When Kiner protested, Rickey replied: “Son, we could have finished last without you.”

kthejoker Posted: February 06, 2014 at 04:38 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, new york mets, pittsburgh pirates, rip

Friday, January 20, 2012

Q&A: Larry Walker on his Hall of Fame snub

“Mr. Walker is not a suspect…We don’t know if the person was killed at the site or if his body was dumped there.”

CBCSports.ca: Who’s more upset about your low vote total in the second year of your 15 years of eligibility: you or your family, friends and former teammates with Colorado and Montreal?

LW: I don’t think it bothers me a lot. Why am I going to get my feathers all ruffled over something that’s out of my control? Obviously, it would be an amazing honour.

Some people have pointed some things out to me that made me wonder. [Designated hitter] Edgar Martinez [only played 592 of his 2,055 career games in the field] and he’s getting twice as many votes as me [36.5 per cent to Walker’s 22.9 per cent]. Is Edgar Martinez twice the better player than me?

Not to pat myself on the back but I think I was as good as Edgar Martinez.

But I’m not going to rack my brain. I’m sure there’s people that are in the Hall of Fame that a lot people think shouldn’t be there or some that should be there and aren’t.

CBCSports.ca: The knock against you when people say Larry Walker shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame is that you played 10 of your 17 seasons at hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado. But a lot of times players can’t control where they play, right?

LW: I was in the big leagues, man. Are you she—-in me? You can’t always pick where you go or what happens. You just roll with the friggin’ punches. I was in the dugout trying to beat the other 25 guys in the dugout beside us. That’s all I tried to do. I can’t control where I’m at and the numbers that go up. Every ballpark has its quirks.

If you read something in the paper or a magazine or hear something on TV, whether it’s negative or positive, people tend to want to go that way with it. If what was being printed all this time was ‘Walker deserves the [Hall of Fame nod], he’s going to make it,’ I bet my percentage would be a lot higher. But all you hear about is Coors Field. That’s all I’ve heard since my first game in Denver [in 1995].

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 06:51 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: expos, hall of fame, history, rockies

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fergie Jenkins still emotionally invested in Cubs, keeping an eye on Epstein

Clumsy.

Ferguson Jenkins takes a wait-and-see attitude towards Theo Epstein’s appointment as president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs.

...The Cubs hired Epstein in October. Jenkins is holding off on giving Epstein his full endorsement.

“I really don’t know what to take of him yet,” Jenkins said Thursday in Calgary. “I tried to get a meeting with him and he was really busy.

“He’s young. He’s never put a jockstrap on though. See that’s the thing. I tell people all the time ‘this guy reads about the game and has seen it on TV or in stadiums,’ but he’s a pretty smart individual. He knows talent and that’s what it’s all about.

“People sit back and say ‘you know he never played’ but he watches and recognizes what individuals can do what and where they can play.”

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fantasy baseball, hall of fame, sabermetrics

The Platoon Advantage: Jack Morris is going to be a Hall of Famer, and that’s OK

BTW…I’m compiling a (H/T Moral Idiot) massivo (HA!) list of BBWAA ballotears for their Pro-Bonds/Clemens (9 as of now) ~ Anti-Bonds/Clemens (12 as of now) promised HOF ballots.

For a second thing: it’s getting to be a cliche by now, but it’s absolutely true that 2013 is going to be completely unlike any ballot that has come before. Jaffe’s reasoning is that “Morris probably won’t move up enough because it is such a strong batch of new guys.” I don’t think so. There are certainly a lot of should-be slam dunks coming in, but the only new guy who figures to finish particularly strong in the voting is Craig Biggio, and he’s far from a first-ballot lock. By and large, the guys interested in voting for Morris aren’t the same ones who might be tempted to bump Morris off because they’re voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Biggio, and/or some combination of deserving first-timers or holdovers like Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Kenny Lofton, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Edgar Martinez. If anything, the vast majority of them will bump any of those guys off (even Bonds or Clemens, maybe especially Bonds or Clemens) in favor of the presumptively “clean” Morris, who won’t have the fourteen shots left most of these guys will (assuming they get 5% of the vote, which I think will be a problem for Lofton and possibly Palmeiro).

Rather, the real 1999-like year, in terms of players the voters are actually likely to want to enshrine, is the following year, 2014: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are all pretty close to first-ballot shoo-ins. You might as well think of 2013 as Morris’ last year on the ballot, because he’s not going in with those dudes.

So, that’s why I think Morris goes in next year. As amazing as the talent on the 2013 ballot is, it’s not going to pull many votes off of Morris, thanks to the “PE"D questions and because it’ll be viewed as his last realistic shot. It’s 2013 or nothing…and for 75%-plus of the voters, it’s going to be 2013. He’s going in. Might as well get used to it.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 07:01 AM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Genetti: Lack of black players will open baseball HOF doors to others

This anti-Jeter gunk has got to stop!

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

But they will be.

...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.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 12:24 AM | 241 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, hall of fame, history

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BPP: An interview with Robert Creamer

Creamer: His Life and Times. Terrific interview with Womack. (answers shortened here to save site/brain from exploding)

Who’s the greatest baseball player you covered?

Willie Mays. Period.

I seem to remember that Bill James, using his fabulous, desiccated statistics, demonstrated that Mickey Mantle, who was Willie’s almost exact contemporary, was actually the better player, and I’m not equipped to argue with Bill, although I’ll try. And there are DiMaggio, Williams, Musial, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez – no, wait. I didn’t cover DiMaggio, who retired after the 1951 season — I didn’t start with Sports Illustrated until 1954. But that’s still a pretty impressive collection of players to put Willie on top of.

You’ve written biographies on Casey Stengel and Babe Ruth. If steroids had been a part of the game when Stengel and Ruth were players, do you think they would have used?

Sure. Yes. Absolutely. Hell, for decades before the big scandal about steroids in baseball, clubhouses used to have plates or dishes filled with little candy-like pills players gulped or chewed on routinely. My mind is gone – I forget what they were called.. Uppers? Bennies? I can’t recall. But that was standard. Athletes are always looking for an edge and that was a way to get them fired up. I have never been as upset by steroid use as the moralistic holier-than-thou baseball writers who vote on the Hall of Fame. What a bunch of self-important phonies!

I mean, you’d think all an ordinary player would have to do is take steroids to hit 70 home runs or bat .350. But I think McGwire was telling the truth — he took steroids to hold back distress, to make him physically able to play the game. Steroids don’t make a player good. Think of the hundreds, even thousands of players who have been in and out of the major leagues and who may have dabbled in steroids and think how few have hit 50, let alone 60 or 70 homers.

Repoz Posted: January 17, 2012 at 06:41 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, media, steroids

Monday, January 16, 2012

THT: Jaffe: The possible upcoming Cooperstown ballot apocalypse

What should happen? Well, among non-Bonds/Clements voters, Biggio should get around 85 percent. With the others, he’ll get less in what’s already a crowded ballot for people willing to support PED-rs. I’d guess he gets 65-70 percent of their vote. Maybe less.

Upshot: Biggio has a very good shot to get in. Assuming he gets 85 percent of the non-Bonds/Clemens guys (and he really should, given the clustering of Molitor/Winfield/Murray right at 85 percent), and assuming Bonds and Clemens get about 40 percent of the vote, Biggio needs only 60 percent of the votes from the supporters of Bonds and Clemens. That should happen.

Actually, I find this a bit surprising. A week ago, I assumed that Biggio was doomed on this messy ballot. That would set off the real nightmare, because if everyone from this year’s vote went into next year, it would be that much harder for anyone to rise up.

But Biggio should go in next year. No one else should. If Fisk couldn’t get elected as the fourth-best new guy in 1999, Piazza won’t in 2012. Schilling will finish further down, and Sosa may be under 10 percent. As for the backloggers, Morris probably won’t move up enough because it is such a strong batch of new guys. I think he’ll get close but ultimately have to go to the VC.

VC = Viva Caputo!

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 03:17 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, projections, site news

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