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Friday, November 28, 2014

Baseball’s most underrated Hall of Fame candidates. | SportsonEarth.com : Anthony Castrovince Article

Sure, it is a veritable given that Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez will get in on their first try, as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas did this past year. John Smoltz also has a strong shot in his “rookie” year. Meanwhile, Craig Biggio, who fell two votes shy of induction in 2014, and Mike Piazza, who missed it by 74 votes, could see an increase that gets them over the hump. This is a similarly important year for Jeff Bagwell (54.3 percent of a required 75 percent last year) and Tim Raines (46.1) to at least creep closer, lest they lose any “momentum.” And it will again be interesting to see if the likes of Roger Clemens (34.4) and Barry Bonds (34.7) see a drop in support, as they did between 2013 and ‘14, or an uptick.

But what follows is a list of five guys—their underrated cases ranging from strong to quite strong—who are and will be most affected by the jam-packed nature of the ballot or the BBWAA’s sometimes overly stiff standards.

None of these guys, it must be noted, have any reported or documented association with PEDs. They’re merely victims of a cramped circumstance.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2015 Potential Hall of Fame Ballot | Baseball-Reference.com

Jay Jaffe and Sean Forman came up with a good list to help Hall of Fame voters.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2014 at 09:16 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Monday, November 17, 2014

BtBS: The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot—first-time candidates

Four players deserve some discussion. I’m not even going to waste space on Randy Johnson since his induction is such a foregone conclusion. He is quite likely the last 300-win pitcher baseball will ever see (for those who care), and my only interest will be in the tortured excuses from voters who don’t list Johnson on their ballots. Likewise, I discussed Pedro Martinez at some length a couple weeks ago.

Gary Sheffield and John Smoltz will generate significant discussion.

bobm Posted: November 17, 2014 at 02:30 AM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Two Unrecognized Hall of Fame Shortstops

In the next part of this article, we’ll walk through the latest DRA estimate, showing Derek Jeter made approximately 450 fewer successful fielding plays that an average-fielding shortstop playing in his place would have fielded and converted into outs. Jeter played 2,674 defensive games at short. A player playing nearly every game per season, say, 150 games, plays 6 games a week, so Jeter played close to 450 “weeks” at short.

The easiest way, then, to put Derek Jeter’s defense into perspective is to recognize that he allowed, on average, about an extra single a week throughout his career: something that nobody could ever notice and keep track of in their head simply by watching him play.

And, as we shall see, with the exception of his first full-time season and a highly intriguing interlude of three seasons at the beginning of the second half of his career, Jeter’s rate of allowing more singles than an average shortstop would have each season was almost exactly the same and almost exactly as consistent year to year as his rate of hitting more singles than an average batter would each season.

Michael A. Humphreys Posted: November 06, 2014 at 04:48 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

‘Big Red’ GM makes intriguing case for Hall of Fame | MLB.com

An architect of one of baseball’s greatest teams.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2014 at 07:54 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Monday, November 03, 2014

Minnie Minoso: Hall of Fame Worthy

There is a quote on the wall in the third floor of the Baseball Hall of Fame from Minnie that says, “I gave my life to the game. And the game gave me everything.” I think the game owes him one last thing, and I think it’s time he got it.

DL from MN Posted: November 03, 2014 at 04:46 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen’s Hall of Fame induction

Welcome back,
Your dreams were to knock Bill James out.

“Bill James,” Frog said. “That’s how it all started, I think. I’d like to punch him in the face.”

The author, historian, and sabermetrician, James wrote in 1984 that Allen “did more to keep his teams from winning than anyone else who ever played major league baseball.” As far as Frog’s concerned, that single sentence, from so influential a voice, has done more to damage Allen’s chances of induction than anything else. Yet time has hardly softened James’ stance.

“What seems to me to be unarguably true is that Dick Allen was a fantastically powerful disruptive force on the teams that he played for,” James wrote in a recent e-mail interview. “For people who are too young to remember, I think you could describe it as Terrell Owens times three. . . .

“So some ignorant . . . wants to punch me in the face about something I wrote 30 years ago, that’s life in the big city.”

Allen, of course, might change that perception merely by opening up more, but he won’t do it. Frog has talked to him about it. He has gotten nowhere.

It doesn’t bother Frog. It shouldn’t bother anyone, because whether Dick Allen gets into the Hall of Fame or even cares whether he gets into the Hall of Fame, the e-mails and the phone calls and the hours Frog has spent in front of that basement computer come down to something bigger, something everlasting, something more important than an athlete’s likeness immortalized on a bronze museum plaque.

Repoz Posted: October 18, 2014 at 09:32 PM | 186 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, phillies

Thursday, October 16, 2014

VIDEO: Pete Rose tells CBS News that he thinks he’ll get in the Hall - CBSSports.com

Baseball Rule 21

(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES.  Any player, umpire, or club official or
employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in
connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared
ineligible for one year.

  Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall
bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which
the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

He admitted to violating the rule. A rule that is posted in every clubhouse.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2014 at 05:21 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, pete rose

Friday, September 19, 2014

John Thorn: Fame & Fandom

Baseball Fan Hall Of Fame debates? (cough) (cough) (cough) (cough) Thorn offers lists for celebrity and non-celebrity wings of the BBFHOF.

Dedicated in 1939, baseball’s shrine was not the nation’s first Hall of Fame, despite the nearly universal impression that it was: Its inspiration was the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, created on a New York University campus in 1901 to honor men and women who had achieved greatness in any of 16 categories. Yet in the media age ushered in by radio and the talkies, missionaries and explorers were no longer our idols. Athletes were, but they couldn’t enter the Hall of Fame unless they bought a ticket. While Hilda Chester’s cowbell, which assaulted tender ears and sensibilities at Ebbets Field, or Freddy Schuman’s frying pan, which has had a similar effect at Yankee Stadium in recent years, might make it into a Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit, neither Hilda nor Freddy would ever be inducted. They have been denied the 21st century’s inalienable right to immortality, just as athletes once were. If in the metastasizing spread of celebrity there are halls of fame for policemen (Miami Beach), businessmen (Chicago), and clowns (Delavan, Wisc.), why not a shrine for fans?

Greg Franklin Posted: September 19, 2014 at 06:41 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: celebrities, fans, hall of fame, history, mets

Friday, September 05, 2014

Rickey at the Mic

Earl Robinson.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that Rickey Henderson, baseball’s most prolific base stealer, stole the show at his 2009 Hall of Fame induction, but the way he did it was…  there was a conspicuous lack of crazy. The anecdotes he told were eloquent and funny. The gratitude he expressed was heartfelt and gracious…

how did he pull it off? I found the unlikely answer in a San Jose Mercury News article one month after the ceremony: Leading up to his induction, Rickey had enrolled in an Intro to Speech class at Laney College in Oakland.

Earlier this year, I reached out to the teacher of that class, Earl Robinson, to interview him on the occasion of the speech’s fifth anniversary… Robinson was a two-sport superstar at Berkeley, winning three conference basketball titles, leading Cal to a baseball national championship in 1957 as an All-American shortstop.

In 1958, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first spring training, Robinson competed in a legendary 60-yard dash against Maury Wills, Willie Davis and Tommy Davis… Wills won the race, but only after (supposedly) getting a jump start… In his first season with Baltimore, onSeptember 26, Robinson was in right field when Roger Maris hit the ball over his head to tie Babe Ruth’s home run record… “I was teaching all along [Robinson said]. We didn’t make the kind of money that these guys make today… As soon as the season ended, I’d come home to the Bay Area and go to the substitute teacher office. They’d hire me for the winter. I enjoyed teaching, and I enjoyed the money. I had a 50-year career as a teacher.”

The students in Robinson’s Intro to Speech class were typical college-age kids, mostly between the ages of 18 and 21. At the time, Rickey was 50 years old…

Two weeks after our conversation, Earl Robinson died on the Fourth of July. He was 77.

The District Attorney Posted: September 05, 2014 at 01:42 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: earl robinson, hall of fame, rickey henderson

Monday, September 01, 2014

Trevor Hoffman’s Hall of Fame induction seems inevitable

Hoffman is eligible for the Class of 2016 and Yankees great Mariano Rivera, who saved a record 652 regular season games and 42 more in the postseason, will complete the cast in 2019.

“I think Mo is a slam dunk for sure,” Hoffman said. “We can say our careers paralleled each other a little bit, but when you’re talking about the greatest closer of all time, that sets him apart.”

Comparatively, though, Hoffman certainly is the greatest closer in NL history.

“I don’t know if that’s a ticket to Cooperstown. You and I both know that,” he said. “But I appreciate it. It’s something I didn’t allow myself to think about as a player. I remember Tony answering questions about it and him waiting nervously for that phone call. ‘Do you realize your place in the game and what you’ve accomplished?’ And still there was that ‘not sure’ attitude. I get that. I understand that. There are contemporaries I [compare] to as well. So, we’ll see. I hope things happen.”

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: September 01, 2014 at 11:13 PM | 128 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, padres, trevor hoffman

Friday, August 08, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 8/6/14 - 8/8/14

But Jeff Bagwell’s son won’t pass for a while…

... do you think that baseball is best served if Felix and Kershaw et al are there pitching the whole game, and if their bodies can’t handle it, then the structure of baseball should adapt to allow for it?...

... I think it would be desirable to have cleaner matchup. “Conceptual clarity” sounds like an esoteric concept, but it is fundamental to the success of any esthetic medium. You go to a movie, you want to know what the movie is about. If you the plot line is a mess, it diminishes the movie. If a work of music is all over the place, we regard it as a failed effort. A baseball game of constantly changing pitchers is like a movie with a convoluted plot line: you don’t know what it is ABOUT.

... I disagree slightly with your observation that “A baseball game of constantly changing pitchers is like a movie with a convoluted plot line: you don’t know what it is ABOUT.” Actually, I think we know what it is about—it’s about the cleverness of the two managers in trying to out-maneuver one another with pitching changes and pinch hitters. The problem is that this is a really boring thing to watch.

Thanks. I think I agree with that.

...what are your thoughts on George “High Pockets” Kelly being in the HOF?

Oh, I used to get regular hate mail from George Kelly’s son. No ####; I really did. Kelly’s selection to the Hall of Fame was absurd, farcical. Bob Watson would have been a better Hall of Fame selection that George Kelly. But after I wrote things like that a few times I used to get nasty letters from George Kelly’s son, who I think was named Walter. I assume that Walter has passed on, because I haven’t heard from him for ten years.

... What can you tell us about the decision to turn Papelbon into a starter? Was it just an experiment at first? Was there ever an announcement about it? Was it based on Boston’s needs or mainly just his skills? Was it something Jonathan was happy to do? Etc.

Jonathan kind of drove the train; Jonathan and need. We needed a closer, and he was pitching relief and doing really well, but the plans of the organization were to make him a starter. But it just got away from us; we had a good starting rotation, and Jon decided that he wanted to Close, and Terry wanted to keep him as the closer, so the front office would have had to use firearms to keep him in the rotation, more or less. And we just don’t operate that way.


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.”

” cols=“100” rows=“20”>

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.

JE (Jason) Posted: July 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: ballot confusion, cooperstown, dan le batard, derek jeter, hall of fame

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.


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

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