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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Howard: David Ortiz shaping up to become first steroid era Teflon slugger

Ortiz is shaping up to be the first slugger from his era to make the Hall of Fame.

You realize that, right?

Ortiz seems on an inexorable path to becoming something none of his contemporaries has so far: the steroid era’s first Teflon slugger.

“He’s a Hall of Famer in my eyes,” Red Sox teammate Mike Napoli said Monday.

But how is it that Ortiz seems poised to pull off what McGwire (11 percent of this year’s vote), Barry Bonds (34.7), Roger Clemens (35.4) and Canseco (off the ballot after drawing just 1.1 percent) could not? Bonds, for example, dwarfed Ortiz’s home run total, 762 to 456.

Why does Ortiz alone seem poised to vault lightly over the steroid suspicions that were, in his case, admittedly incomplete when, say, Mike Piazza, another Hall of Fame shutout so far, could point out he has never failed an MLB-administered drug test, period?

...For years, Yankees observers have groused how the Yanks never even brushed back Ortiz even when he was raking against them and/or when the Sox threw at Derek Jeter. But really, hardly anybody throws at Ortiz. He’s been hit only 35 times in his 15-plus seasons; Jason Giambi, the active career leader, has been plunked 180 times. Prince Fielder was hit 21 times in 2010 alone.

This is quite a sleight of hand Ortiz is pulling off.

Remember, Ortiz seemed in danger of being released by the Sox five years ago before undergoing a back-from-the-brink revival that saw him hit .309 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs last season with a .959 OPS, and he won the World Series MVP award by hitting .688—all at the age of 37. And yet, instead of fanning renewed suspicions that he must be still juicing, it has been used as proof that he’s just damn good, thanks, and that bad stretch—that was the aberration.

Thanks to Chan Hozone Park.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2014 at 04:23 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, red sox

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gossage on Bonds, McGwire Hall hopes: ‘Are you f–king kidding?’

As The Parliaments sang in “The Goose (That Laid The Golden Egg)”...“Just imagine a monkey with a peanut machine”.

“Two of the greatest records were manipulated by steroids, and I think the [pre-steroid era] records need to be reinstated,” Gossage told The Post. “If Bud Selig wants a legacy, he ought to reinstate those records and recognize the damage these guys did to the game.

“If you really want to make a statement, reinstate the records that McGwire and Bonds broke. That would take some guts and I would back the commissioner 100 percent.”

An impassioned Gossage then added, “Why recognize these guys?”

“And then we are going to reward these guys with an election to the Hall of Fame,” the former Yankees closer said. “Are you [expletive] kidding me? If they do that they might as well open up the floodgates and let everything ride. Let them do whatever they want to do and our kids are watching and see that they are rewarded for this.

“What does the tell our kids? That’s the crux of trying to get rid these guys so our kids can come up and try to play this game on a level playing field.”

“Ken Griffey Jr. is the guy who was supposed to break that [home run] record. He didn’t do steroids, I’d bet on my mother’s grave that this guy was as clean as clean can be, and he didn’t make the end of the race,” Gossage said. “He broke down like age breaks you down. You don’t get better the older you get. This game has a way of leaving you behind. You play as long as you can and that’s it.”

“We fade in and we fade out.”

Repoz Posted: July 27, 2014 at 09:29 AM | 155 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Saturday, July 26, 2014

HoVG: John Rocker Shows Up in Cooperstown… “Survivor” Up Next

Well, guess I can add gutless Ryan Klesko to my mierda list.

ku

This year, however, is a little different.  Probably thinking there’s a way to cash in on the glut of Atlanta Braves fans making the trip north…there’s also John Rocker.  And, sure, it’d be easy to suspect that Rocker is in town to support his former teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and skipper Bobby Cox, but, it’s Rocker…and we know that’s not how dude operates.

Rocker (alongside another former Brave Ryan Klesko) was holding down his patch of sidewalk selling books, posing for pictures, signing autographs and, naturally, telling folks to “Speak English”.

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2014 at 09:37 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, hof

Hall of Fame Announces Changes to Voting Process for Recently Retired Players, Effective Immediately

Those Hall of Fame eligible voters will now be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct.

We are so ######.

BBWAA members earn a Hall of Fame vote from its organization, which is independent of the Hall of Fame, by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat. Those Hall of Fame eligible voters will now be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct. The names of those BBWAA members casting Hall of Fame ballots will now be made public with the election results; however, an individual’s ballot will not be revealed by the Hall of Fame.

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM | 109 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wisch: Cooperstown Shouldn’t Close Out Lee Smith

Outside of Hyapatia…I haven’t seen a Lee screwed this badly since “Three’s a Crowd” got cancelled and Lee Ving was out of a gig!

One could argue that their accomplishments have diminished the greatest line on Smith’s Hall of Fame resume, but that makes no sense to me. After all, if only current record holders were considered Hall-worthy, there would be a lot of Hall-worthy guys who should be bumped from Cooperstown.

What matters is that Smith was the saves leader when he retired. That was his legacy, and it still should be today. Beyond that, of the four relievers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame already – Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter – each of them rank behind Smith on the saves list. Sutter, in fact, finished with only 300 saves, the same number as Jason Isringhausen for what’s now No. 25 on the all-time list.

Of course, Eckersley and Fingers both won MVP awards and Sutter a Cy Young award, while Smith never came closer than second in Cy Young voting (finishing runner-up to Tom Glavine in 1991). But a lack of hardware earned through a single season’s accomplishments shouldn’t diminish the record-setting dominance of Smith’s collective career.

Come 2016, Hoffman becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame. Smith’s eligibility runs out in 2017. I believe Smith should get in before Hoffman starts getting votes of his own, but Smith clearly has an enormous amount of ground to make up if he’s to earn induction.

However, it did take 13 years for Sutter to finally get his nod. So perhaps Smith will find a way to slip into the Hall of Fame during the ninth inning of his eligibility. After all, that would be fitting. Because how many men have closed stronger than Lee Smith?

What would be the real shame is if Cooperstown ends up closing him out completely.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 04:35 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago, hof

5 for Friday: Leo Mazzone, pitching coach to the HOFers

“the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake!” I’m now going to use this to end every bargument I get into.

5. MALINOWSKI: There’s been a trend this season where we’re seeing more position players pitch in games than ever before, but the Braves haven’t had one do so since 1989, the longest such streak for any team. Was that something that was just never considered, and what do you make of this new acceptance we’re seeing these days?

MAZZONE: Yeah, I know it wasn’t when I was there. There’s no way. That’s an embarrassment. That’s embarrassing your pitching staff.

No, it wasn’t considered at all. What we’d do is, if we felt we were short and it could go a long way in extra innings, I held back one of the starter’s practice sessions, so that he was available down in the bullpen if it went extra innings. And then if it looked like he wasn’t going to go in, then he could have his practice session, to get ready for his next start. That happened very rarely.

If someone has the sense to figure this out — which we did — if you have your setup guys learn how to throw great straight changes, how many times do you have to change righty/righty, lefty/lefty? It negates a changing of the pitcher for every single hitter. So therefore you don’t use as many pitchers.

Now, why’s it going on a record pace? Because there’s eight pitchers used every game, four on one side at least and four on another! So therefore, you run out. It’s absolutely asinine how pitching staffs have been handled in the big leagues so far, the trend anyway. They’ll say, “Well, everyone’s pitching good.” Well, they’re pitching good because the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake! I mean, let’s be real about all this. And the way (Maddux and Glavine) pitched and they’re going in the Hall of Fame and they did that in the era of offensive baseball? Makes it even more of a tremendous accomplishment.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

La Russa: Asterisk for tainted stars

La sterisk, if you will.

La Russa, who managed the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals between 1979 and 2011, said that because he’s one of the Hall’s six new inductees, he now feels free to state his opinion on the candidacies of the tainted greats of the modern era.

“Treat them all the same,” La Russa said. “If you were a Hall of Famer during that period as far as your pitching and playing, I would create some kind of asterisk, where everybody understands that, ‘Look, we have some questions, but you were still the dominant pitchers and players of your time.’

“We have to acknowledge that that period for about 10 or 12 years, somewhere around the early ‘90s to the early 2000s, was a black spot, a negative mark in our history.”

Vote totals for Clemens, Bonds and McGwire weren’t close to sufficient for election to the Hall last year or this, and went down, with the trio finishing ninth, 10th and 18th, respectively, among players on this year’s ballot.

La Russa said if he had his druthers, all three would be in the Hall.

“I might get voted out of the Hall of Fame with that attitude, but that’s what I believe,” he added with a smile.

...La Russa says he can understand the argument that if there are asterisks for the era’s inducted players, perhaps that should apply to its managers—including him.

“I know that there’s people that have accused me because of some of the guys that helped us win in Oakland and St. Louis, so the only thing I can say is I know 100 percent that our program was absolutely clean for everything that we could control,” he said.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 07:25 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Noble: Tom Seaver expects Derek Jeter to become first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee

Lyme disease. Just horrible.

But while his Hall of Fame standing has brought him unique acclaim and been so fulfilling, he is quite willing to be displaced atop the list—so long as his replacement is the right player.

Derek Jeter is the right player.

Seaver says so. Moreover, he believes the Yankees captain ought to be the first unanimously elected Hall of Famer.

“I can’t see how he won’t be,” Seaver said on Wednesday from his home/vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., “unless somebody beats him to the punch.”

Not likely. If DiMaggio, Aaron, Gibson, Mantle, Koufax, Mays, Ruth, Gehrig, Maddux, Cal, Gwynn, Killer, The Big Train, Spahnie, Stan the Man, Yogi, Tyrus Raymond, Nolie, Lefty Grove, The Rajah, Clemente, Rapid Robert, Greenberg, Foxx and Mr. Theodore Ballgame were not unanimously elected, who’s to say anyone ever will be?

Seaver is.

“I’ve thought about it; Jeter should be the one,” Seaver said. “What can you say he hasn’t done? He has every credential imaginable—great player, good citizen. He plays the game properly, respects the game and his predecessors. He’s done it in the big city, for one team that wears a uniform of greatness. He has no marks against him. He has the numbers. And he wins.

“He’s a class act all the way. A pro’s pro, a gentleman’s gentleman. If you’re starting a franchise, who do want as your first pick? I’ll take Jeter, thank you. And I’m sure I wouldn’t get too many arguments.”

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 08:03 PM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tony Oliva turns 76; Gardenhire: ‘He should be in hall of fame’

Went to a Gardenhire to reminisce…(drive/truck)

Twins special assistant Tony Oliva celebrated his 76th birthday on Sunday.

The eight-time all-star remains a beloved figure inside the Twins clubhouse and throughout the team’s fan base.

“He’s huge,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Look what he’s done. He has a track record. He should be in the hall of fame. That’s probably one of the great injustices in this game as far as Minnesota goes: Tony Oliva not being in the hall of fame. This guy was a great baseball player and a great ambassador for our game.”

Oliva’s .304 lifetime batting average is the second-highest for any Cuban-born player with more than 26 career at-bats. Only Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (.308) ranks higher.

...“For Tony to stay around here and talk with some of our young Latin kids and everybody else out here, he’s been pretty special,” Gardenhire said. “For me just to have him around is pretty cool. I’ve been out on caravan with him. I don’t always understand what he’s saying, but I love him.”

Repoz Posted: July 21, 2014 at 11:13 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, twins

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Margalus: 10 minutes with Frank Thomas before his Hall of Fame day

On the vote

“The Hall of Fame committee told me to watch [the Baseball Think Factory Hall of Fame Gizmo] because it’s been pretty accurate over the last couple years. It’s a good judge, a good gauge, but don’t buy into it 100 percent.”

“You talk yourself into it, and that final day, you get really nervous about things, so I’m just really happy I got in on the first ballot and don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

On Jose Abreu

“I don’t have any questions about him. He’s a tremendous hitter, tremendous player. He’s as advertised. They said he was the best hitter in the world—that the world hadn’t seen yet—and he’s proven it.”

“But I think the second half will bring some adjustments for him. I don’t think teams are going to feel like they can get him out as easy anymore, when it starts coming down to the playoff run. He’s proven himself, and now teams are saying, ‘Hey, this guy hits that good.’”

“You’ve got to pitch him in and out, up and down. You have to move the ball around on him because he’s a very good hitter, and he can hit the offspeed stuff. That’s what’s great about this player, because it starts with being able to handle the curveballs and changeups, and he definitely can do that.”

On Dayan Viciedo

“I think he’s an over-swinger, but he’s got tremendous bat speed—something you can’t teach—and he uses the whole field. He just needs someone, a mentor or coach, with him every day, tell him every at-bat is the same old thing, and he’ll figure it out sooner or later.”

“It’s discipline. He’s got to believe: Same pitch, same approach, every pitch. Once he believes that, you’ll start seeing more consistency.”

“If he swung 90 percent instead of 110 percent every time, he’d be a much better hitter.”

Thanks to Carlos.

Repoz Posted: July 15, 2014 at 07:54 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rod Carew: Former Twins Oliva, Kaat, Morris deserve place in Hall of Fame

I haven’t seen twins neglected like this since Poto and Cabengo!

Rod Carew, the hall of famer and former Twin who was named to 18 All-Star Games and will make the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field, served on the Expansion-Era Hall of Fame committee that in two weeks will induct ex-managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in Cooperstown, N.Y.

But with a proviso.

“I told the president of the Hall of Fame that the only way I would be on that committee is if I could be on the next committee when (former Twins teammates) Tony (Oliva) and Jim (Kaat) come up (for election),” Carew said.

That will be the Golden Era Committee. Carew, a seven-time batting champion, wasn’t a member of that committee that in 2011 elected just one candidate, Ron Santo, to the Hall of Fame, but left Kaat as a runner-up for election. Oliva finished fourth in that voting.

The next Golden Era Committee voting will be in December. Oliva turns 76 next Sunday. Kaat turns 76 in November.

“(Kaat and Oliva) definitely deserve to be there,” Carew said. “Not only those guys, but it hurts me that (St. Paul native Jack Morris) is not there. Here’s a guy that was so dominant for so many years and deserves to be there, and they keep (inexplicably) bypassing him.”

Repoz Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:01 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof, twins

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Paul: Tigers’ Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker hope to enter Hall of Fame side by side

When the BBWAA all had their quarrels and parted…

Detroit — It continues to frustrate Tigers fans.

And, sure, it frustrates the Tigers of yesteryear, too, that no player on that 1984 World Series championship team is represented in Cooperstown.

That puts the 1984 Tigers alongside the 1981 Dodgers as the only two World Series champions, pre-1995, not to have a Hall of Fame player.

“It’s because we’re Detroit, and not New York or Boston. You understand that?” said Paul Carey, Ernie Harwell’s long-time partner on Tigers broadcasts. “We’re west of the Hudson River, and that’s the problem.”

...And while guys like Barry Larkin and Ryne Sandberg have cruised to induction, their contemporaries from Detroit haven’t.

Whitaker, the smooth second baseman, couldn’t even last more than the one year, 2001, that he was on the ballot. And Trammell, the star shortstop, is going nowhere. He’s never received even half the votes needed for election, with two more years of eligibility remaining.

That’s not to say all hope is lost, however. There’s an Expansion Era committee created to induct those who fall through the cracks. Trammell, Whitaker and Jack Morris, who went 0-for-15-years on the Hall of Fame ballot, certainly will get serious consideration.

...“That’s the way it should be,” said Whitaker, decked out in shades and a fedora Monday. “I wouldn’t feel right going in if Tram wasn’t there. We played together, our numbers are the same, we were a combination.”

Whitaker is right. The numbers are scarily similar: They finished just four hits apart for their careers. Whitaker played 19 years, and Trammell one more.

Both received rousing ovations at the ballpark Monday, and the roars grew even louder when they set up for the ceremonial first pitch — only for Whitaker to wave Trammell out from behind home plate. Trammell headed to short, Whitaker to second, and they started a ceremonial double play — with Dave Bergman making a nice reach to finish it off at first.

“You don’t rush greatness. … We’ll wait. Our day will come,” said Whitaker, 57. “We know we deserve it. But, you know, what’s good about bragging about it, telling you guys how good we were? We know how good we were.”

 

Repoz Posted: July 02, 2014 at 08:30 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, tigers

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Caputo: Several more Detroit athletes are HOF worthy

Sabermetrics rule!

2. Alan Trammell – It is incredible Trammell only gets a relatively small percentage of the votes for the Hall of Fame. The baseball-reference version of the Sabermetrics statistic WAR rates him as the 93rd best MLB player of all time. He filled a premier position brilliantly, shortstop, and was a World Series MVP. He was robbed of the American League MVP Award he richly deserved in 1987, placing second behind overrated Blue Jays’ outfielder George Bell. Trammell was every bit as good a player in every way as Barry Larkin, and he was a much better hitter than Ozzie Smith. They were first- and second-ballot Hall of Famers, and worthy of it. Yet, Trammell isn’t going to get in until the veteran’s committee looks at it. What a travesty.

Sabermetrics rule!

5. Lou Whitaker – I usually put Whitaker in a category slightly below Trammell because second base isn’t quite as important as shortstop, and Whitaker didn’t have the same MVP-caliber moments. Yet, in regard to Sabermetrics, he is better. The baseball-reference version has Whitaker as the 77th best player of all time, ahead Derek Jeter and Reggie Jackson. It’s embarrassing, in retrospect, Whitaker received less than five percent of the vote and didn’t make it past his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Like Trammell, he clearly belongs in.

Sabermetrician’s, please go jump in a lake!

7. Jack Morris – Simply put, Morris, easily one of the best pitchers of his generation, was a victim of a witch hunt by proponents of Sabermetrics, who view WAR as the only way to calculate Hall of Fame worthiness. Too many Hall voters caved into this pressure. And this is coming from somebody who greatly values Sabermetrics, but who also understands its flaws.

Repoz Posted: June 29, 2014 at 07:28 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kawakami: Is Tim Lincecum on Hall of Fame path?

Cooperstown path? A Glimmerglass of hope.

I know Stats Guys hate using wins as a measure of anything, but in Hall of Fame discussion it’s a good way to canvass a starting pitcher’s full breadth of a career—did he last, was he durable, did he have individual success just on a W-L basis?

Wins and losses absolutely ARE NOT the singular way to judge a pitcher’s career, but it’s a way to begin the discussion. In my opinion. The Stats Club is free to hate it.

However you look at it, Lincecum basically has had a career peak of two clear HOF-level seasons—2008 and 2009—when he was notably at the top of the sport, with WARs (wins above replacement) of 7.9 and 7.5.

But in no other season has he posted a WAR of better than 4.2 (which happened in 2011).

That is a very high peak period, but, as we will see, it’s not a very long peak period, when you’re talking about Cooperstown credentials.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the average for a Hall of Fame pitcher is a 73.4 career WAR. ... and 50.2 for a 7-year peak WAR, which I will repeat throughout this list just to keep the frame of reference.

...SUMMARY

If Gooden, Saberhagen and Valenzuela barely registered in HOF voting, and if Morris never got in ... it’s hard for me to see Lincecum as anything close to Cooperstown-credentialed unless and until he puts up two or three more very strong seasons.

Or throws two or three more no-hitters.

Repoz Posted: June 28, 2014 at 03:41 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Friday, June 27, 2014

Castrovince: Beltre’s numbers could be enough for Cooperstown

Here’s a look at Beltre by the numbers, both standard and advanced:

11: The number of Hall of Famers from the Major Leagues in the modern era who spent a majority of their time at third base: Home Run Baker, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Jimmy Collins, George Kell, Freddie Lindstrom, Eddie Mathews, Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt and Pie Traynor. (Paul Molitor is listed by the Hall as a third baseman, but he spent significantly more games at designated hitter).

5: The number of those Hall of Famers who currently outrank Beltre in career WAR (per Baseball Reference). With a 72.6 mark, Beltre trails Schmidt (106.5), Mathews (96.4), Boggs (91.1), Brett (88.4) and Robinson (78.3). It is also worth noting that Chipper Jones, a sure-fire Hall of Famer once he’s eligible, finished his career with an 85.0 WAR and that Alex Rodriguez has, to date, played more games at short than at third.

...1: The number of those Hall of Famers who currently outrank Beltre in career defensive WAR (as calculated by Baseball Reference). This is an imperfect system, as defensive metrics aren’t known to be reliable, but it does add a little perspective to what Beltre has accomplished at the hot corner. Among all third basemen in history, only Robinson (38.8) and Buddy Bell (23.0) outrank Beltre (21.8) in this tally. He is 34th among all players at all positions in dWAR.

So in the context of his position, it’s hard to label Beltre as anything other than a Hall of Famer, whether or not he gets to 3,000 hits.

Of course, that doesn’t mean his candidacy is a slam dunk, because the Baseball Writers’ Association of America often considers players in the context of their times. Beltre could be hurt by some (mostly arbitrary) issues: He’s never finished higher than second in the MVP Award vote (he’s been in the top 10 four times), he wasn’t an All-Star until 2009, he’s, strangely, won just four Gold Glove Awards, and he’s never won a World Series.

But if the context of the times is important, there is one more advanced stat worth citing:

2: The number of “active” players who outrank Beltre in career WAR. Here, Rodriguez still loosely qualifies with a 116.0 mark, while Albert Pujols is second at 94.5. Beltre, at 72.6, just barely surpasses a certain sure-fire Hall of Fame shortstop at 72.3: Derek Jeter.

Thanks to Butch

Repoz Posted: June 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Feinstein: Jeff Passan: ‘Tim Hudson Not A Hall Of Famer’

Fabulous Hudson hornet’s nest.

Is Hudson a Hall of Famer?

“I think that’s a little much,” Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan said on The John Feinstein Show. “I think he’s one of those guys who has been very good and would be a first-ballot Hall of Very Good player, but Hall of Fame is a little too much. He’s never been the best pitcher in the league, and I think part of that is due to the fact that what he does is really under-appreciated.”

“I think we’re just starting to understand now why Tim Hudson has been as successful as he is,” Passan continued. “We always knew the ground ball rate was there, which leads to fewer strikeouts. And the peripheral categories that we now look at for greatness aren’t quite as great with Tim Hudson. But what he does is he throws a sinker ball that doesn’t spin a whole lot. With the technology that’s in place these days, we now understand why some pitches that seemingly shouldn’t be effective – such as a 90-mile-per-hour sinker from a guy who stands about 5-10 and weighs 175 pounds – is a monster pitch.”

Indeed, higher spin on a fast ball gives the pitch a rising effect, and higher spin on a curve gives it a tighter break. But higher spin on a sinker? That’s no good. The less spin on a sinker, the tougher it is for a batter to square up and hit.

“That’s Tim Hudson’s secret,” Passan said. “He throws a sinker ball that doesn’t spin very much.”

The Atlanta Braves have to be kicking themselves for letting Hudson sign with San Francisco.

“I was actually shocked that the Braves let him go,” Passan said. “He just made too much sense for them, and I think they were foolish. They ended up with a rotation right now that has been patchwork for most of the season, and losing Gavin Floyd to a broken elbow certainly doesn’t help.”

Repoz Posted: June 24, 2014 at 06:27 AM | 139 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins looks for the next Great White hope

Well, it ain’t James J Beattie and it sure as hell ain’t Jim Beattie.

The latest Great White North snub is Larry Walker. The seven-time Gold Glove winner from B.C. slipped down and received 10.2 percent of the HOF votes in his fourth year on the ballot. He earned 21.6 percent of the votes in 2013. Players need 75 percent to get in.

It looks like Walker’s best chance to get a bronze plaque will be by the Veteran’s Committee, a group that selects players ineligible to be picked by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The biggest knock on Walker has always been his numbers being inflated because of batting nine seasons in the light mile-high air of Colorado’s Coors Field.

Walker had a .381 batting average at Coors Field and hit .282 everywhere else. While he was with the Montreal Expos he had an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) of .890 that went up more than 300 points with the Rockies.

“I don’t care if (the air) is light or not, if you’re going to put that uniform on you got to play and put numbers up and I think he did that,” Jenkins said. “Unfortunately he fell into a bracket where he started losing numbers and then people started bypassing.”

We might be waiting awhile for a Canadian to come around Cooperstown for enshrinement.

Joey Votto could be Canada’s best hope, Jenkins said. The Etobicoke-born National League MVP is currently in his eighth season with the Cincinnati Reds.

Even with four all-star nods, a Gold Glove, an NL Hank Aaron Award and most likely more accolades to come, Votto is hardly a shoo-in for the HOF.

“Votto could be next, if Joey can stay healthy,” Jenkins said.

Repoz Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:48 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Friday, June 20, 2014

SocraticGadfly: It’s once again time to swat down the David Ortiz Hall of Fame claims

Big Arias: Rake progress.

Craig Calcaterra at NBC is the latest to get on my wrong side regarding David Ortiz and the HOF, with this, over Ortiz’s ######## about an official scorer’s ruling:

  Let’s ... focus of the pettiness of a guy with a Hall of Fame resume throwing a little temper tantrum over a scoring call that will matter not one iota in the course of this season let alone his career.

Is Ortiz already a member of the “Hall of Very Good”? Yes.

Hall of Fame? No. As I said in comments there:

  Right now, in my opinion, he’s borderline … or even borderline of borderline. Barely at 2K hits, yet to hit 1,500 RBIs, despite playing AL and almost all at DH. Never has broken 7 WAR in a season per B-Ref, and only once, 4 WAA.

So, nice, but not huge.

...He’s likely be at about 2,600 hits, 1,800 RBIs, 510 HRs on counting stats. On sabermetrics, we’ll give him 135 on career OPS+,  20 on career WAA and 51 on career WAR. That’s allowing for his games played to decline a bit each year.

The WAA is still low in my book, but 1B/DH is a tough competition slot. On JAWS, he’d jump four places, to No. 29.

So, four years from now, at his position, he’s not a slam dunk.

And, per yet another commenter on Craig’s link, he may be pissed, and scrapping for base hits by scorer’s change of mind, because he’s not even close to what I noted:

  He’s hitting .190/.301/.413 in the month of June and .163/.290/.327 over the last thirty days. Ugly numbers.

Not too good.

Counting stats aren’t everything, but, if he finishes below 2,500 hits and below 500 HRs, I don’t see him getting in.

Repoz Posted: June 20, 2014 at 10:23 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Mike Schmidt: Rollins having HOF career

Rollins: “And it infuriates you to watch yourself with your apparent skill at finding every way possible to screw it up.”

As Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins closes in on the franchise’s record for career hits, the man he’s about to pass says Rollins is building a progressively stronger case for Hall of Fame consideration.

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who holds the Phillies’ career record with 2,234 hits, said he expects Rollins to continue playing at a productive level for three or four more seasons. Rollins recently passed Richie Ashburn to move into second place on the Phillies’ hits list. He enters Tuesday night’s game at Washington with 2,225 hits—nine fewer than Schmidt.

“My assessment would be that if Barry Larkin is in the Hall of Fame, you’ve got to think about Jimmy Rollins,” said Schmidt, a part-time member of the Phillies’ broadcast team. “The importance for him is to finish out strong the next three to four years and continue to be a force.

“I can’t see Jimmy Rollins as a bench player or a DH. I can’t see him sort of tailing off or hanging around. I see him being an offensive force and a great defensive player for the rest of his career. If you add that to where he is now, he’s going to get some consideration for the Hall of Fame.”

...Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader who played for the Phillies for parts of six seasons, took the opposite side of Schmidt’s pro-Rollins stance. On Wednesday he told 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia that Rollins puts personal milestones ahead of his team.

“Here’s a guy that’s worried about Philly records and not Philly championships,” Rose said Wednesday. “How is it gonna change his life if he gets more hits? ... He’s not gonna get more home runs than Mike Schmidt got, he’s not going to get more RBIs then Mike Schmidt got. So when he says he’s looking for Philly records, what Philly records is he talking about?

Later, Rose added, “Rollins has always been a problem as far as I’m concerned. He’s been a very good ballplayer but he could never figure out did he want to be a leadoff hitter, did he want to be a second-place hitter, did he want to be a home-run hitter. I think the worst thing that ever happened to Jimmy Rollins was winning the MVP. I think that’s the worst thing to ever happen to him. He has just never figured out where you’re going to hit him in the lineup to get the most out of Jimmy Rollins.”

One of Rollins’ biggest obstacles to Hall of Fame consideration will be his .328 career on-base percentage. Similar to one of Rose’s points, Schmidt said Rollins’ focus on hitting with power might have hurt his production in other areas.

“I don’t want to disrespect him when I say this, but Jimmy may swing for the home run a little too often, and I think that’s dragged his batting average down,” Schmidt said. “I believe Jimmy could have been a Tony Gwynn-kind of a hitter.

“Jimmy can hit one 400 feet—he really can. Knowing that, over time, he’ll probably look back when he gets done with his career and say, ‘I wish I had never hit a home run.’ He probably would have had well over a .300 career batting average, but the influence of wanting to juice the ball and put it in the air too often and maybe not on a line enough dragged his batting average down. But still, he’s very productive.”

Repoz Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:55 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Doyel: Cheaters as MLB All-Stars? No biggie, since it’s not Hall of Fame

Doy-El: “These… are matters of undeniable fact. I ask you now to pronounce judgement on the ballplayers accused!”

Baseball fans want to see drug cheats in the All-Star Game. Baseball writers don’t want to see drug cheats in the Hall of Fame. So which side is right? Near as I can tell…

Both of them.

And that’s no fun. What’s fun is deciding that one of them is wrong, and pitting one side against the other in a game of righteous one-upmanship. What’s even more fun is deciding that both sides are wrong, and deciding it like this—THEY’RE BOTH WRONG—and then unleashing 800 words of hot-take buttery goodness that asserts everyone in this story is stupid. Everyone but the guy writing it, of course. Because he’s smarter than they are.

But the truth is, baseball fans are right to want who they want for the All-Star Game—even if they want known cheaters Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera—just as baseball writers are right to deny known cheaters a place among the game’s immortals.

...Quick, another logical fallacy to discuss: Are you saying there are no cheaters in the Hall of Fame? Are you saying there are no bad guys in Cooperstown?

No. Not saying that, because saying that would make me as illogical as whoever would ask such questions. The point is not the purity of Cooperstown. The point is: What do we know, today and going forward, about the purity of Cooperstown? And we know this: Bonds and McGwire and Clemens and Sosa and Palmeiro and too many others with Hall of Fame numbers achieved some of those numbers with the help of steroids. They cheated. You ask me, Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famers before they cheated, and therefore belong in Cooperstown. But that’s a complicated issue, and there’s a legitimate reason to deny anyone known to have cheated if for no other reason than to send a message to future candidates that cheating will not be rewarded.

Those we know cheated? They don’t get voted into the Hall of Fame, because the Hall of Fame is forever. An All-Star Game is fleeting, a light snack on the night of July 15. So enjoy yourself that night, Ryan Braun. Hit me a home run, Nelson Cruz.

But understand this: Neither one of you is getting into Cooperstown. Not without standing in line with the rest of us paying customers. And you can stand behind me, Ryan Braun. I’ll go into Cooperstown first.

 

Repoz Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:28 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Hoffman: Mets’ Abreu Is a Hall of Fame Candidate

An elder statesman of the game, Abreu has career statistics that are unquestionably worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, even if he and Cooperstown are rarely mentioned in the same breath.

But if Abreu is not a Hall of Famer, why does he have better statistics than so many players who have been inducted?

The first thing that jumps out is the number of times he has reached base. If you include everything from hits to walks to hit-by-pitches to reaching on errors, Abreu has reached base 4,020 times, passing Rogers Hornsby for 47th place on the career list by picking up two hits Saturday. If he sticks around, he could catch Tim Raines (4,076 times on base), Tony Gwynn (4,094) and Jimmie Foxx (4,124), among others.

The stocky Abreu has never looked like a flashy player, but he has often played like one. On Friday, he stole his 400th base, which, combined with his 912 extra-base hits, puts him in the exclusive 900-400 club with Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Craig Biggio and Paul Molitor. If he can manage 12 more home runs, he will join an even more elite club: players with 300 home runs and 400 stolen bases. Membership currently comprises players with the last name Bonds: Barry and his father, Bobby.

...An attempt by the statistician Jay Jaffe to account for the explosiveness of a player’s prime, and his prolonged value, resulted in a statistic called Jaffe WAR Scoring System, generally referred to as JAWS. The statistic is an average of a player’s career WAR and the WAR of his best seven-year stretch.

That method gave Abreu a 51.2 through Friday, which had him just ahead of Suzuki as the 17th-best right fielder to play the game. He is ahead of recent stars like Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield.

He is also rated higher than Dave Winfield, Elmer Flick, Willie Keeler, Enos Slaughter, Sam Rice, Harry Hooper, Kiki Cuyler, Chuck Klein, Sam Thompson, King Kelly and Ross Youngs. The common thread is that all of those players are right fielders with plaques in Cooperstown.

Over his entire career, Abreu has been snubbed despite his obvious talent. He has appeared in just two All-Star Games (Winfield, who is three spots below him in terms of JAWS, played in 12) and has never finished higher than 12th in the voting for most valuable player. He has one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger Award, and no other major awards.

A hot topic in recent seasons has been whether Carlos Beltran, with a terrific postseason résumé and an unusual blend of speed and power, is a Hall of Famer. While certainly a superior fielder to Abreu, Beltran is inferior in a number of offensive categories, including extra-base hits and stolen bases.

And most starkly, Beltran would need to reach safely in 674 of his next 895 plate appearances to match Abreu’s career totals through Friday.

Thanks to Butch

 

Repoz Posted: June 01, 2014 at 10:31 AM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Obama, first sitting president to visit baseball Hall of Fame

Herm Card is retired from two careers: He taught English in Marcellus, and he suited up for decades as an accomplished Upstate baseball umpire. Card stays busy as a poet, author and photographer, and he served for years as a volunteer educator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

At the hall, Card never relinquished a sense of wonder. Whenever he had the chance, he’d walk the galleries and study the artifacts. This week, he is away from Syracuse, helping his 98-year-old father change apartments. Card won’t be in Cooperstown Thursday when Barack Obama becomes the first sitting president to visit the Hall of Fame.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cooperstown, hof, presidents

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Astros County: Jon Heyman, Jeff Bagwell and David Ortiz

Jon Heyman keeps referring to David Ortiz as “HOF Worthy.” Jon Heyman has never voted for Bagwell.


Source: FanGraphsJeff Bagwell, David Ortiz

Thanks to Mel.

Repoz Posted: May 15, 2014 at 05:42 AM | 117 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Megdal: Utley: Chase For The Hall

Chase: A breathless explosive story of today tomorrow!

No one is talking about Chase Utley’s Hall of Fame case. And that really ought to change.

It’s nothing new for Utley’s career to be underappreciated. He played on the 2006 Phillies and finished with a higher Wins Above Replacement (per baseball-reference.com) than his teammate, National League MVP Ryan Howard. He played on the 2007 Phillies and finished with a virtually identical WAR to his teammate, National League MVP Jimmy Rollins. And while Rollins and Howard have settled into a post-peak with the Phillies, still useful regulars if not stars, Utley is still the team’s best offensive performer all these years later, in 2014.

In fact, for all his injury struggles, which limited him to 115, 103 and 83 games in the 2010-12 seasons, Utley would have a surprisingly strong case for the Hall of Fame if he were to retire today.

So I was surprised on Friday when I asked him whether I was the first reporter to have inquired about his reaching the Hall of Fame, and the famously humble Utley just smiled, looked me in the eye and said, “Yeah,” while leaning against his bat. He continued a trend I’ve noticed throughout his career: His voice gets quieter when he speaks about himself.

“Honestly, it’s something I don’t think about whatsoever,” Utley said of whether he’ll eventually be enshrined. “I never played this game for accolades or awards. I play it for the passion I have for it.”

But if Utley won’t make his own case in quotes, he’s certainly doing so on the field. Entering Saturday’s game, Utley had accumulated a career WAR of 59.4. There are 13 second basemen ever who have passed that mark, and nine of them already are in the Hall of Fame, while a 10th, Craig Biggio, is widely expected to get in shortly. (Two others, Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich, really ought to be there, too, but that’s another story.)

Utley is also already ahead of Joe Gordon, next on the list and also a Hall of Famer. He’s ahead of Bobby Doerr, Tony Lazzeri, Nelly Fox, Johnny Evers—all Hall of Famers.

And there’s a reason I’m using WAR, by the way. It’s arguably the weakest part of Utley’s case, because it is so heavily influenced by accumulating playing time. Of the 13 ahead of Utley, all but one second baseman, Jackie Robinson, collected at least 8,200 plate apearances. Utley, entering Saturday, was at 5,809. Among the top 30 most valuable second basemen of all-time, none of the others accumulated that much value so quickly.

Repoz Posted: May 11, 2014 at 01:28 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Hochman: Dick Allen for the Hall of Fame

This is long overdue…no, not the Dick Allen biz…Stan Hochman using OPS+!

DICK ALLEN led the entire cockeyed world of baseball in OPS-plus for 10 years, from 1964 to 1973. His number was 165, higher than Henry Aaron, higher than Willie McCovey, higher than Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.

Dominate any phase of the game for 10 years, pitching or hitting or slugging, and you oughta be in the Hall of Fame. Allen is not in the Hall of Fame. The other seven guys are.

...Not when your OPS-plus is higher than Aaron and Stargell and Mays.

OPS, that’s a sabermetric abbreviation for on-base percentage plus slugging. OPS-plus, that factors in the ballpark you played in and the league you played in. Figure that 100 is average, 150 is excellent, 165 is superstar. Case closed.

You can’t argue baseball without involving those decimal-point guys and their cockamamie equations and their baffling abbreviations, WAR, WHIP, OPS-plus. Bill James is their godfather, and Bill James once wrote that Allen was so disruptive that he cost his team more games than anyone in the entire cockeyed world of baseball. Said Allen was the second-most controversial player in history, right behind Rogers Hornsby.

Bill James was a snot-nosed, 15-year-old in 1964, when Allen hit .318, scored 125 runs, drove in 91, kept slugging in September when some of his older teammates gagged and spit up a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 to play.

Smacked 29 homers that season, some of them over the Coca-Cola sign atop the roof at Connie Mack Stadium, which is why he also scrawled “Coke” in the infield dirt in ‘69, the year he sulked his way out of town.

How in the name of Pythagoras did Bill James get to know Allen well enough to figure out an equation that made him so cancerous in the clubhouse that he cost his team so many games? Times tardy, plus times showing up with Heineken on his breath, multiplied by time spent with the grounds crew instead of schmoozing with the media, plus games spent dressing in an equipment room?

Repoz Posted: May 06, 2014 at 06:54 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

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