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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Hochman: Jim Bunning’s not-so-perfect day

But I draw the line on voting for the COBRA!

Jim Bunning spent the first weekend in December in San Diego, a member of a 16-man committee voting on Golden Era players to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Dick Allen needed 12 votes. He got 11.

“I felt useless,” Bunning seethed the other day, his voice crackling with anger. “It was the most disappointing 3 days I’ve ever spent in my life!”

...Let’s back up. The voters, who included baseball writers, gathered in San Diego. Did they meet informally that night, have dinner together, drink a couple of beers together, swap stories that started, “Back in the day”?

“No,” Bunning said. “When we arrived we got a packet that listed the nine players, their achievements, their bios. There was one executive on the list, Bob Howsam. I felt he hadn’t been involved in major league baseball long enough. The nine players, each of them had done enough to be in the Hall of Fame. We gathered in a room that could hold 50. The 16 of us sat at a big, oblong table.

“Bob Watson didn’t make it. They never told us why. If he’d been there, it might have made a difference for two guys, Allen and Tony Oliva, who also got 11 votes. Dave Dombrowski replaced him. He’s the general manager in Detroit. Al Kaline was already on the committee, so that gave Detroit two voters. I thought about that.”

Let the record show that Phillies then-interim president Pat Gillick was on the voter panel. Didn’t that give the Phillies two voters? “I’m not sure Pat thought of himself as a Phillies guy,” Bunning said. “He just sat there, saying nothing.

“I spoke up for Maury Wills, because he changed the game with his speed. I looked at the other Hall of Famers in the room and asked them if they had changed the game.

“The writers said nothing. I wondered if Allen’s relationships with the writers had hurt him. I went 4 years in Detroit, hardly communicating. And then I decided to be more accessible.

“Why are there writers voting? The writers pick the 10 names on the list. I knew one of them, Phil Pepe [of the New York Daily News]. He was one of the New York writers who turned in blank ballots that one year [1988]. About seven guys from New York and two from Baltimore.

“Maybe they felt no one deserved to get in that year. Willie Stargell got in with about 76 percent of the votes. If they hadn’t sent in those blank ballots, Stargell would have gotten about 80 percent and I’d have gotten in with about 76 percent.

...“Guys were angry after the voting was announced. I stuck around for the press conference, but nobody asked me a question. The questions went to the writers.

“To me, it was a wasted weekend. We were there to pick someone for the Hall of Fame. We didn’t accomplish anything. OK, maybe Allen and Oliva will be at the top of the list in 3 years when they come up again.

“But who will be on the committee of voters? What will the rules be? Things have to change!”

Repoz Posted: February 04, 2015 at 06:17 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Roberto Alomar goes to bat for Jack Morris and Larry Walker

I guess Alomar doesn’t get smart, fun baseball writing delivered to his inbox.

Alomar on Morris: “Jack’s a winner, he pitched to the score. If Jack was winning 6-0 he threw strikes, he didn’t want to walk anyone. If the game was close he’d pitch guys away. Jack loved big games (Morris made 13 starts in seven different post-season series, starting Game 1 six times).”

Morris was named on 61.5% on the Baseball Writers of America Association ballots, shy of the required 75% in 2014, his final year on the ballot.

“Jack beat us twice in the 1991 playoffs when he was with the Minnesota Twins, then pitched 10 scoreless in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series to beat Atlanta and won 21 games for the 1992 Blue Jays,” Alomar said.

Alomar on Walker: “I don’t think Hall of Fame voters show him the respect he deserves. When I broke in when San Diego I played against Walker and he was a complete player. He doesn’t he get the recognition he should. Walker was a great right fielder, with a big arm, he stole 30 bases and people seldom even mentions him. He won two batting titles and an MVP.”

...“The only thing Walker didn’t accomplish was winning a World Series and that’s a team thing,” Alomar said. “I hope he gets more votes, in my own eyes he belongs. He was a clean cut guy who played with injuries and played hard. I want to have a voice for him.”

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2015 at 12:24 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Thursday, January 15, 2015



To give Clemens a four-vote margin over Bonds there had to be at least five other ballots with Clemens checked but not Bonds. As of early Thursday morning, 230 ballots had been published, meaning the other “split” ballots were among the 319 non-published ballots.

Alan Robinson, formerly of the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, where I began my career, and Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill., voted for Bonds but not Clemens. Mike Fine, who used to cover baseball for the Quincy (Mass.) Patriot Ledger, voted for Clemens but not Bonds.

...Robinson voted for two of the four players who were elected, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, plus Bonds, Fred McGriff and Tim Raines.

“I looked at each guy individually,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m a tough voter.”

Why Bonds, whom Robinson covered in Bonds’ early years with the Pirates, and not Clemens?

“I went back and forth with Barry,” he said. “With Barry, we have a clear line of demarcation when he started using ‘roids. The physical changes are noticeable. His head gets bigger. His body gets bigger. He’s hulk like. We are pretty sure when he started juicing. He was already a Hall of Famer when he started.

“Clemens we don’t know. Physically, it’s not as easy to describe as with Barry. We don’t know what seasons he did and what seasons he didn’t. With Barry, we know, but to me Barry was already a Hall of Famer if his career had ended right then. With Clemens we don’t know.”

Robinson said he didn’t vote for Bonds the first two years he was eligible. “Then the more I thought about it I decided he was a Hall of Famer before he began using,” he said.

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2015 at 10:17 AM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Listing of public ballots released by BBWAA

I could be wrong, but I count 7 ballots with 10 players that did not include Piazza.

JRVJ Posted: January 08, 2015 at 01:44 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: hof


Chass and Russo and Pray for Ouzo.

I think the primary reason for the excitement for both Schilling and Raines was that they rank high on the lists of the practitioners of the monster metrics, who seemed to be thrilled that the writers were finally starting to get it right where those two players are concerned.

“Interestingly, while watching one of those shows, I saw a film clip from another show, in which Brian Kenny of was arguing with Chris Russo, a talk show host, about which players belong in the Hall of Fame.

Getting nowhere and becoming exasperated with Russo, Kenny, a major proponent of monster metrics, said, “Well, what basic methodology do you use to rate players?”

“I watch the games,” Russo said.

I have always avoided listening to Russo, who screams too much and too loud for my liking, but in this instance, he won my allegiance. In four words, he made the case for those of us who prefer to judge players on what we see on the field, not on the computer screen.”

Repoz Posted: January 08, 2015 at 09:18 AM | 102 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Mad Dog Russo and Brian Kenny Debate Hall of Fame 2015

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is stuck in such a time warp…he still thinks Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez is Bruce Springsteen’s drummer!

Repoz Posted: January 07, 2015 at 04:23 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Hal McCoy’s HOF Ballot

McCoy- Unit, Pedro, Smoltz, Biggio, Bagwell, Edgar, McGriff, Lee Smith and Aaron Boone.

Nine votes including Boone. One would think McCoy could have found a better candidate than Boone (or Smith, or McGriff, for that matter) to fill out the 10th spot.

TJ Posted: January 07, 2015 at 03:17 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Monday, January 05, 2015

Jon Heyman on his HOF Ballot

On the one hand, this might be Heyman’s best HOF article. On the other, that’s not exactly the highest bar to clear…

TJ Posted: January 05, 2015 at 10:19 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: hof



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