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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Abraham: David Ortiz to the Hall of Fame? It may be easier than you think

Ka-Prow…there it is.

When David Ortiz was signed to a contract extension on Sunday, Red Sox owner John Henry was quoted on the press release saying, “We are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown.”

On Twitter and elsewhere, it was immediately pointed out that Ortiz was once tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs and such players have so far been denied induction in the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

True enough. But Henry’s statement may yet prove prophetic. Here are some theories why:

(First, a few disclosures. John Henry also owns the Globe and I’m a BBWAA member with Hall of Fame voting rights. Just so we’re clear.)

...• When Ortiz makes the ballot, research of his PED ties will reveal that he was on a list of players found to have tested positive in 2003 before the start of baseball’s formal drug program. That substance is to this day unknown. The list was leaked to the New York Times six years after the fact, likely to embarrass Ortiz.

The MLB Players Association has said the number of players on that list exceeded the number of positive samples. The union also has said that some legal supplements available at the time could have triggered a positive test result.

So while Ortiz is tied to drug use, it’s hardly a lockdown case. He was on a list for taking something that was leaked to a newspaper. In a court of law, that wouldn’t be much to go on.

I think Ortiz probably took some kind of PED and knew what he was doing. The same was true of hundreds of players in that era. But in the decade since, baseball has made progress in changing that.

Repoz Posted: March 26, 2014 at 09:23 AM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Frank Thomas: HOF speech won’t chastise users

He’s Frank.

“There are two guys that (it’s) very sad they aren’t going to the Hall of Fame and that’s Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens,” Thomas said. “When I came into the game, those two guys were the standards as a hitter and a pitcher. You might not know what will happen 50 years from now, 30 years from now, but it doesn’t look good right now (for induction) and I know how great those two guys were.

“You can look at their history. We kind of know when it started for those two guys. For me they were already Hall of Famers. I have much respect for those guys, but they made some bad choices at the end of their careers and they’re going to have to live with it.”

...Thomas’ support of guys like Bonds and Clemens for Hall of Fame recognition isn’t exactly in sync with those already recognized at Cooperstown.

“Talking to the Hall of Famers, they don’t want any guys who had anything to do with PEDs in the Hall of Fame,” Thomas said. “It took a lot to get in to the Hall of Fame so they don’t want any of these guys to ever get in.

“For me, I was one of the biggest, strongest guys the game had ever seen besides Bo Jackson. When I came through, the first seven or eight years nothing could compare. There was nothing that big and strong and then two years later, everybody was passing me up. It happened overnight.”

Repoz Posted: March 22, 2014 at 07:05 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dick Allen’s son has Hall of an idea

So if Miguel Cabrera’s career ended today…154 OPS+/7126 PA’s ~ 156 OPS+/7315 PA’s for Dick Allen…

When he’s not watching his son play hoops, Allen Jr. is campaigning to get his now-72-year-old father, who works on the Phillies’ community-relations team, into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Allen, who had two stints with the Phils (1963-69 and ‘75-76), is considered by many to be the best player not in the Hall. He is, apparently, not a self-promoter.

“It’s difficult because he doesn’t want to be attached to any campaign,” Allen Jr. said last night. “He feels it’s a bad thing to stand there pounding his shoe on the desk saying, ‘Let me in, let me in.’ “

Junior feels otherwise and is trying to get his father’s name on this year’s Golden Era ballot.

“It’s a last shot for him,” Allen Jr. said. “From what I understand, he’ll have exhausted his options.”

Allen Jr. is working with Mark “Frog” Carfagno to promote the cause. They even have a Facebook page - “Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

“I read an article on Bill James Online by Dave Fleming and that really triggered this thing,” Allen Jr. said. “He ran off the numbers. It breaks down everything and [my father] has better numbers than 17 Hall of Famers.”

Carfagno, who worked on the Phillies’ grounds crew for 33 years, remembers thinking Allen would get in on the 2009 Veterans Committee ballot.

“There was a headline on the Baseball Hall of Fame website that said, ‘Dick Allen expected to be named to the Hall tomorrow,’ ” Carfagno said. “The next day he only got 20 percent of the vote.

“We just want to get the word out. He deserves to be in.”

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2014 at 05:29 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Renck: Larry Walker believes chances for Hall of Fame take pair of hits

Dead body counting stats not included.

Walker’s candidacy nosedived this year, his fourth on a crowded Hall of Fame ballot. He received 10.2 percent of the vote, a reflection of the controversy surrounding several former players who used — or are suspected of using — performance-enhancing drugs. Walker said his goal is to remain on the ballot for 15 years. He needs 5 percent to prevent falling off. Playing at Coors Field, where he hit .381 with 154 home runs in 597 games, isn’t helping his cause.

“I played 17 years, and almost 10 of them were in a Rockies uniform,” Walker said. “I feel like I am getting penalized for that. If I stay on the ballot, that’s a success. Obviously, I would rather be in.”

He finished with a lifetime batting average of .313 and a .400 on-base percentage. However, he fought injuries throughout his career, costing him valuable statistics.

“Yeah, pretty much. It (stinks) I am tied into (steroids era). It’s unfortunate, because there are some of us that didn’t do anything and got dragged right into it. Part of me wants everybody back then to get caught, because it would make me look that much better. Then people would get it, because not all of us did it,” said Walker, who’s working as a guest instructor in Rockies’ camp.

“It’s tough to get that through anyone’s skull. My size never changed, my physique never changed, my weight never changed. I was the same every year. A lot of guys could physically see the difference. I could say some names right now, because some were no-brainers. It (stinks).”

...Walker’s candidacy nosedived this year, his fourth on a crowded Hall of Fame ballot. He received 10.2 percent of the vote, a reflection of the controversy surrounding several former players who used — or are suspected of using — performance-enhancing drugs. Walker said his goal is to remain on the ballot for 15 years. He needs 5 percent to prevent falling off. Playing at Coors Field, where he hit .381 with 154 home runs in 597 games, isn’t helping his cause.

“I played 17 years, and almost 10 of them were in a Rockies uniform,” Walker said. “I feel like I am getting penalized for that. If I stay on the ballot, that’s a success. Obviously, I would rather be in.”

He finished with a lifetime batting average of .313 and a .400 on-base percentage. However, he fought injuries throughout his career, costing him valuable statistics.

Repoz Posted: March 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, rockies

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Allen Barra: Should Pete Rose Be in the Hall of Fame? Let the Voters Decide

And let’s just forget Denny McLain’s “fantastic” 1965 season while we’re at it!

Denny McLain had two fantastic seasons as a Major League Baseball pitcher. In 1968, with the Detroit Tigers, he won 31 games (the last pitcher in MLB to win at least 30) and lost six; the next season, also with Detroit, he went 24-9. In 1968 he was voted Most Valuable Player for the American League, and in both years he won the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the league. McLain’s other eight seasons with various clubs could be described, precisely, as mediocre: He was 76-76.

Off the field, though, McLain’s performance was somewhat less than mediocre: His criminal record includes convictions for racketeering, embezzling people out of their retirement funds, money laundering, and selling cocaine. He did two stints in prison; a judge at a bond hearing called him “a professional criminal.” The least of his transgressions was gambling—he took part in setting up a bookmaking operation to take bets on horse racing, football, and basketball. Then-Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn suspended him for the first three months of the 1970 season.

Denny McLain is eligible for Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

The last batter McLain pitched to, however, was Pete Rose. Rose played for 24 years, appearing in more games and accumulating more hits than any player in baseball history. In 1990, four years after he retired as a player, Rose served a five-month sentence in a medium-security prison for having failed to report income from autograph and memorabilia shows.

But MLB cares nothing about Rose’s problems with the IRS. Nor do they care particularly about Rose’s admission to have betted on horse racing, football, and basketball. What baseball cares about is that Pete Rose bet on baseball games, and as a result, Rose is banned for life from the Hall of Fame. In Kostya Kennedy’s new book, Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, McLain is quoted as saying, “The big difference between me and Pete when it comes to gambling is that he bet on baseball and I did not.”

...A sensible solution would be for the players union to issue a formal request that MLB state that 25 years is a fair punishment and leave it to the HOF voters to decide on whether or Rose gets his plaque.

In other words, baseball should simply get out of the way and allow HOF voters to do what they do with every other player. After all, if they can vote for the largely mediocre Denny McLain for the HOF, they ought to be able to vote for the legendary Pete Rose.

 

Repoz Posted: March 11, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 120 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Rosenthal: No simple answer to this question: Barry Bonds, Hall of Famer?

Interface adapters & converters needed for Robothal.

Bonds, 49, took a major step Monday, returning to baseball for the first time since 2007 to begin a weeklong stint as a special hitting instructor with the Giants.

Naturally, a reporter asked him if he belonged in the Hall. Naturally, Bonds did not hesitate with his answer.

“Without a doubt,” he said.

...I struggle with the idea that some of the best players of this generation might never be enshrined in Cooperstown. I question whether that is right for the fans of those players, right for the Hall, right for the sport. But in the end, each voter must simply decide what he or she believes.

I hate when some in favor of Bonds’ and Clemens’ candidacies disdainfully describe voters like myself as “gatekeepers of morality.” Guilty as charged, I guess, but I don’t see it that way at all. Maybe in five years I will view my current stance as too harsh. Opinions evolve, perceptions soften over time.

Bonds is eligible to remain on the ballot for 13 more years—he received 36.2 and 34.7 percent of the vote in his first two years, well short of the 75 percent needed for induction. The crowded ballot probably isn’t helping him any, but if Bonds cannot get elected by 2027, I doubt many will complain that he did not receive a fair hearing.

One more thing:

At least for me, this is not about Bonds’ poor relationship with the media, a relationship that on Monday he admitted to regretting. No voter should base a Hall of Fame vote on whether a player cooperated with reporters, and I do not believe that many do. Eddie Murray once threatened to sue me, and I voted for him on the first ballot without hesitation. Murray got in, Steve Carlton got in, others who scorned the media got in, too.

For me, it’s about the podium; I can’t get past the idea of seeing Bonds on the podium. Maybe one day my position will change. I sort of hope it does. Heck, I loved watching Barry Bonds play, too.

Repoz Posted: March 11, 2014 at 05:56 AM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ozzie Smith Talks Derek Jeter’s Career and Gives His Shortstop Mount Rushmore

Great Gutzons! Garry Templeton is on Ozzie Smith’s Mount Rushmore of shortstops!

For now, Jeter already has a special place in history in Smith’s eyes. When asked to name his shortstop Mount Rushmore, Smith was quick to include him.

“Well, of course Cal would be on there. Derek would be on there. Omar Vizquel would be on there. The guy I got traded for actually would be one of those guys because he was a true five-tool player,” said Smith.

Also, naturally: “And of course, I’d put myself on there.”

If you’re scoring at home, that’s Cal Ripken Jr., Jeter, Vizquel, Garry Templeton and Smith himself. You’ll have to visualize The Wizard’s shortstop Mount Rushmore on your own, but statistically it looks like this:

Of the numbers up there, only Jeter’s aren’t set in stone yet. For what it’s worth, he is within range of Smith’s career WAR. One last great season in 2014 will put him right there with The Wizard among the greats to ever play shortstop in WAR’s eyes.

...As far as Smith and Budweiser are concerned, Opening Day has gone long enough without being declared an official national holiday. Smith says it might as well be considering that many Americans already treat it like one.

“There are 22 million Americans who at some point in time have played hooky from work and school. So that in and of itself makes it an unofficial holiday,” said Smith of Opening Day. He added that he’s not asking for much, as merely getting Opening Day proclaimed “as some type of day of observance would really fit the bill.”

Smith will be on the campaign trail for the next 30 days as he and Budweiser attempt to collect 100,000 signatures on a petition at Budweiser.com/OpeningDay. And while only fans 21 and older can sign it, the White House is required to respond if the signature quota is met within the 30-day window.

Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:16 PM | 177 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Saturday, February 22, 2014

La Russa: Bagwell, Biggio belong in Hall of Fame

Maybe it’s because I have a swell ball of phlegm in my head or been listening to too much Exocomet, but I’m confuded… “La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B’s, and he said on Friday that both should get into the Hall of Fame. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

“There’s no doubt that Craig’s going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s going to happen,” said La Russa, who is a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. “He almost got in the first time and didn’t get in the second time. I’m sure he gets a little impatient, but I’m sure it’s going to happen for him, and when he does, it will be well deserved.”

La Russa said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of the A’s in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.

“Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance Berkman], they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent,” La Russa said. “So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation.”

...“La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” La Russa said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, sabermetrics

Friday, February 21, 2014

Leigh Montville: The BBWAA should rescind its 2011 award to Bill Conlin

Pulling the one chair out from under Conlin.

The picture of the late Bill Conlin that is used most often in stories about him these days (including this one) is a shot from the ceremonies in Cooperstown. He is wearing a pair of those old man glasses with yellow lenses and he has the white hair and the little white beard and he is at a podium that reads “National Baseball Hall of Fame” on the front. His right hand is in the air and he is reading from a prepared script and no doubt he is being loud and strong and opinionated, the way he was during his 45 years as a Philadelphia sportswriter.

This was his day of days. July 23, 2011. He was the recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which moved him into a small corner of sportswriter immortality near the best of the baseball players he covered. His name was now on a list with Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, Red Smith, Jim Murray and assorted other famous baseball wordsmiths.

...The J.G. Taylor Spink Award is chosen by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the same BBWAA that chooses the baseball players for the Hall of Fame. Conlin received 188 votes from 434 ballots cast by BBWAA members to win the 2011 award. These are the same people who have wrung their hands in the past few years, held their noses and refused to allow the all-time leading home run hitter, the all-time hits leader, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and other assorted famous players into the building for assorted transgressions. If they had known about Conlin’s transgressions, there is little doubt that they also would not have allowed him to enter.

All they need now is a second chance. Change some bylaws. Bend some rules. Take a vote to rescind the 2011 vote. This is an arbitrary election, an arbitrary process. Miss America, for example, would have been dethroned in a heartbeat for much less serious charges. There does not have to be any due process. There does not have to be any statute of limitations.

Just get the guy out of the picture.

Repoz Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:30 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: bbwaa, history, hof

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fairservice: Buster Posey, Hall of Fame?

Fairservice? Not if Murray Chass gets into the Giants locker room.

Those are impressive names, with Hall of Famers and soon to be Hall of Famers at every turn (and also Jason Kendall!) Buster Posey is on the fast track to “generational talent”, if we care about such things. The comparison to Mike Piazza is most telling, as Piazza never had the same defensive reputation as Posey, who is well-regarded for his pitch blocking, throwing and overall handling of his pitching staff.

Like Posey, Piazza played his home games in a pitcher’s park. During the first five years of Piazza’s career, he hit .347/.412/.601 away from Dodger Stadium, while Posey owns a .321/.389/.521 career line away from AT&T Park.

Two great players, two of the finest catchers in the last 30 years. Piazza went on to a Hall of Fame career, moving to Florida and then the New York Mets, where he posted some of his best seasons through his early 30s. Piazza basically spent his entire pro baseball career in very large pitchers parks.

Buster Posey is set to remain a member of the San Francisco Giants for the next seven years, signing with the Giants through 2021 (with an option for 2022.) He’s a Giant for now and perhaps a Giant for the duration of his career.

Posey acknowledged that last season didn’t play out, on a personal level, as well as he hoped. He showed up to Giants’ media day claiming he added ten pounds of muscles this offseason to allow himself to “stay strong” throughout the system. Heading into his prime, learning more about his body and what it takes to be in productive for all 162, be it behind the plate or with a few breathers at first base mixed in for good measure.

There is no doubt that Buster Posey is a superstar, one of the best players in baseball. He’s accomplished and still young, the core of a competitive team that already achieved the ultimate team prize in 2012 and 2010. Yet somehow he seems slightly overlooked in the greater baseball sphere. If Posey puts together another huge season for the Giants, the soft-spoken Georgian will have no choice but assume his place among the game’s greats.

Repoz Posted: February 10, 2014 at 05:22 PM | 91 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, hof

Friday, January 31, 2014

Ruddick: Michael Young: A poor man’s Derek Jeter

A GIF basket, if you will.

It’s a foregone conclusion that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will call Cooperstown his home five years after the day he steps away from baseball.

But you don’t hear the same thing when you mention longtime Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young.

And I’m not exactly sure why.

...Jeter has 3,000 hits and was the leader of the more storied teams in all of sports. I get the hullabaloo when it comes to him. He’s been crammed down our throats enough we all think he is great. And he is great. A tad overrated, but, yes, he is a guaranteed lock Hall of Famer. In fact, I told people a few weeks back that I think he’ll probably be the one to challenge Tom Seaver’s Hall of Fame vote record.

So if Jeter is such a sure-fire first balloter, why isn’t Young even in the conversation? The numbers don’t lie. Would we look at Young any differently had be been the one playing shortstop for the Yankees?

Or had he played his entire career in the 1980s?

People always like to tell you about Jeter’s intangibles. Well, how can you do that without talking about Young, one of the true leaders in the game. How many times did he offer to switch positions for the good of the Rangers? Toward the end, there was some dissension sure, but that had more to do with the fact the Rangers just started to take him for granted.

Oddly enough, the main knock on Young, like Jeter, is his defense. But, again like Jeter, if you watch enough of him, you know he makes every play he needs to. There are no stats more overrated than advanced defensive statistics.

Look, if you want to knock Michael Young and tell me the only thing that made him a great player was the ability to consistently hit for a high average, that’s fine.

But then you must not think much of Derek Jeter, either.

Repoz Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Jack Morris talks about what he sees as Twins’ biggest issues this season & the HOF

Jack Morris: “Your pitcher is the guy that can lead the charge and have to shut down other team, ironically talk to Paul Molitor who’s going to be on the bench with Ron Gardenhire this year and Paul and I played together in ‘93 asked about his role, biggest role is to keep guys positive, young guys tend to start thinking too much and negative thoughts especially when they don’t have success and we know baseball is a marathon and not a sprint so he thinks challenge for him to reinforce positive thoughts.”

I know it’s fresh, the Hall of Fame ballot your thoughts not being on the ballot and not getting enough votes, what is your reaction?

“It is what it is, I’m grateful honored majority of writers in my corner, sometimes that’s forgotten, Jack Morris didn’t make the Hall, isn’t he mad? I got 2/3 of the vote, I would have won every presidential candidacy for the last 100 years, but not so in baseball, proud of what I did, doesn’t define my career in any way shape or form proud of it, got 4 rings and all sorts of bragging rights and can tell stories till the batteries run out in the camera right now.”

Thanks to Pete.

Repoz Posted: January 31, 2014 at 07:29 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, twins

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jack Morris addresses Hall of Fame snub

Worst Morris snub since Morris Ankrum didn’t win an Oscar for “Taza, Son of Cochise”!

On the day he officially returned to the Minnesota Twins broadcast team, Jack Morris answered a few questions about the Hall of Fame.

Not the Twins Hall of Fame, the one former teammate Chuck Knoblauch will enter this August. The one in Cooperstown, the one Morris failed to reach on Jan. 8 in his 15th and final appearance on the ballot of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

“I’m relieved,” Morris said. “I’m glad. I’m tired of getting scrutinized by writers.”

Morris’ vote percentage actually dropped — from 67.7 percent to 61.5 percent — in his final year on the writers’ ballot. Despite 254 career victories and a strong postseason record, the workhorse right-hander fell 78 votes shy in 2014 after coming within 42 votes of induction one year earlier.

“Fifteen years ought to be long enough for anybody, you know?” Morris said. “If it’s not going to happen in 15 years, it’s not going to happen.”

...“Over the last several years I’ve had a lot of support from hall of famers,” Morris said. “It’s another process. It’s nothing I can control. It’s nice to know your colleagues think highly of you, but we’ll have to just wait and see. I think Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva are hall of famers, and they’re still waiting for that call themselves.”

Asked whether he is encouraged by the recent overhaul of the veterans’ process, which seems to have broken a logjam of sorts for those overlooked by the baseball writers, Morris pointed out nothing is guaranteed.

“I think it has a lot to do with who’s eligible in that particular year,” Morris said. “Timing is huge in this crazy game. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. There’s certainly going to be a lot of worthy candidates as we go forward.”

Repoz Posted: January 25, 2014 at 02:45 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, twins

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chimelis: Only Boston Red Sox fans think David Ortiz is a Hall of Fame lock

Warning Chimelis: Low fuel level.

The election of Frank Thomas to the Baseball Hall of Fame has been treated as a groundbreaking step for the selection of future designated hitters.

Red Sox fans in particular seem prone to look at the first-year election of Thomas, who played 1,351 of his 2,322 games as a DH, as a sign that David Ortiz’ immortality will inevitably follow someday.

Don’t be so sure.

People are probably tired of arguing about the Hall of Fame vote, but baseball season is not that far away. Every time Ortiz adds to his current total of 431 home runs, the discussion of his place in history will be rekindled.

The bias against DH types is nonetheless fading, as we first saw when Jim Rice was elected.

What has not faded is the inclination of most Hall of Fame voters to exclude players under suspicion of steroids. This is not a comfortable subject in Boston, where Ortiz is as much revered as ... well, Paul Revere.

But the farther one travels from New England, the less the intoxicating aura of Big Papi resonates with the masses and probably with the voters. Ortiz is a hero of ours, but he is not everybody’s hero.

Repoz Posted: January 24, 2014 at 07:55 AM | 161 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, red sox

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tommy Lasorda: ‘I don’t like cheaters. They don’t belong in the game’

The ten dogs begin to bark all over my neighborhood…

So it’s no surprise to hear the 86-year-old blast Alex Rodriguez and other PED users.

“I’m telling you I don’t like cheaters. They don’t belong in the game,” Lasorda told reporters Tuesday. The former Los Angeles Dodgers manager was appearing at a New York fundraiser for the Baseball Assistance Team, which assists ex-players who have fallen on hard times.

...ON A-ROD: “I always had great admiration for him. I knew him even before he graduated high school. When he was hitting those home runs, I thought, ‘At least this guy’s doing it legitimately.’ And then of course we find out he wasn’t ... so it really turned my opinion of him.”

ON PED USERS: “I’m disappointed in this game of ours, which is so great, that somebody has to do things to cheat. And that’s not right. How about those pitchers that they hit all those home runs off? Nobody thinks about those guys.”

“If I’m pitching and I know that guy up there is using that stuff, I’m going to hit him right in the mouth.”

ON THE USE OF AMPHETAMINES BY PLAYERS OF EARLIER GENERATIONS: “Amphetemines? What did amphetamines do? This is a different type ... Even my wife said, ‘Well, they have to hit the ball.’ I said, ‘Sure, they hit the ball.’ But those balls that were caught on the warning track are now in the seats, and that’s the thing that makes the difference.

Repoz Posted: January 22, 2014 at 08:11 AM | 141 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Alan Hirsch & Sheldon Hirsch: How to Handle Steroids in Hall of Fame

Funny…I thought there was only one Hirsch conjecture.

An anti-steroids stance need not involve controversial moral judgments, much less sanctimony. Users risk major health problems and even death. If steroids were allowed, all players would be confronted with the choice of taking life-threatening substances or losing competitive ground (perhaps not even having a major league career). This situation would be intolerable.

The serious health risks distinguish anabolic steroid use (and growth hormone, which, in excess, causes acromegaly) from amphetamines, plasma or platelet infusions, creatine, protein or other supplements, and the like — steroid use cannot be justified as being no different from other means athletes have used to enhance performance. Nor should we excuse steroid use prior to baseball’s formal testing and penalties. Federal law proscribed nonprescription use of anabolic steroids in 1991. Baseball does not need a formal penal code that specifically lists all banned behavior. It should be obvious that illegal activity is unacceptable.

...McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro are fairly easy cases. The evidence suggests that they lack a steroid-unaided body of work worthy of induction. Bonds and Clemens are different. Their late-career statistical surges, along with obvious changes in their physiques, indicate that they began using steroids after they had already amassed careers that easily established their HOF credentials.

Inducting Bonds and Clemons would not condone their steroid use. Rather, we can commemorate the steroid-free part of their careers but not the latter steroid-fueled parts. Their plaques should avoid mentioning career totals or the MVPs, Cy Young awards, and other achievements that were aided by steroids. Bonds’ plaque, for example, should make no mention of his record-breaking 73 home run season. (HOF plaques are not intended as a complete history of the player. For that, we have biographies and other HOF exhibits.) 

Piazza presents a different situation. We can’t be certain he used steroids at all, though that is not to say there is zero evidence. Piazza’s back acne, scoffed at by some, matters. Physicians consider de novo adult acne as a symptom of androgen excess that might prompt an evaluation for various diseases. If it’s a significant symptom to physicians, why should HOF voters ignore it? 

...Looking forward, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, and Manny Ramirez should be excluded, as each of them either reportedly failed a drug test in 2003 and/or were admitted users (Rodriguez as of 2001, Sheffield as of 2002). Unlike Bonds and Clemens, they lack a clear HOF record prior to the onset of steroid use (particularly since use might have antedated their failed test or self-admission). David Ortiz had a single allegedly failed test that remains disputed, which falls short of the evidence needed to justify exclusion. Ivan Rodriguez seems like Piazza – some incriminating evidence (for Rodriguez, marked waxing and waning musculature corresponding to vacillations in performance) but no positive tests. Another difficult case. Jim Thome and Albert Pujols are more like Bagwell - no evidence of steroid use - and should be inducted.

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2014 at 06:16 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A-Rod no Hall of Famer: Paul Molitor

Pot/cocaine calling the kettle…

Is suspended New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez a Hall of Famer?

“No,” said Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

“I don’t think he was overly targeted by Major League Baseball,” Molitor said. “I don’t think they would impose such a severe suspension.

“I know that there was not a positive drug test, but there was just cause. So, no, I don’t think he belongs.”

“I don’t envy the job that the voters have,” said Molitor, inducted 10 years ago along with closer Dennis Eckersley. “Regardless of where (Rodriguez’s) career was going, from the information I’ve been exposed to and read, I don’t think he will get in ... but hey Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get roughly 30% of the vote.”

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:41 AM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hideo Nomo, Kaz Sasaki Among 2014 Japanese HOF Inductees

Some sweet-sounding Japanglish in TFA:

In 1995, he became the first Major Leaguer in 31 years following the pioneer pitcher Masanori Murakami (1964-65), and stirred a great sensation in the MLB. His fast ball and forkball in the unique tornado pitching earned another spectacular first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. He fanned 236 batters, the most in the National League, started in the All-Star Game, and won the Rookie of the Year. The Doctor K played for 7 teams (Dodgers, 1995-98, 2002-04; Mets, 1998; Bulwers,1999; Tigers,2000; Red Sox, 2001; Devil Rays, 2005; and Royals, 2008). One of his feats was a no-hit, no-run game in both the National and American Leagues.

eddieot Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:51 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: hideo nomo, kaz sasaki, dodgers, mariners, hof

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Frank Thomas calls out Sammy Sosa, Skip Bayless in interview

Chicago, Now & Then!

jm

Newly elected Hall of Famer Frank Thomas joined Jim Rome for an interview that will air in this month’s Jim Rome on Showtime beginning Wednesday night. In it, Thomas touched on multiple aspects of steroids use in baseball, including both his own doubts about the integrity of some of his colleagues and his distaste for media members questioning whether he used.

“I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs,” Thomas said.”Sammy Sosa was my teammate for three years coming up. So watching his career and watching him grow, for three years he was capable of only 20-25, 27 home runs at the most… there’s no way Sammy doubled me up. With Mark McGwire, you really had to take a look at it because Mark McGwire had 48 home runs as a rookie.”

...Later in the interview with Rome, Thomas added that he sometimes faces the same suspicion that plagues players of his era.

“I hate to bring up names,” Thomas said, “but Skip Bayless even said the other week, ‘How did I walk through the door without any suspicion?’ And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:41 PM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, media

Thibbs: How Did Last Year’s 5 Blank Ballot Submitters Vote in 2014?

E-bro gets corrected.

This year, one voter submitted a blank ballot according to the BBWAA. Was it the same anonymous voter as last year? Nobody knows except for that voter. It could be Chris Jenkins, who has yet to reveal his ballot this year in the San Diego Union Tribune or to me when asked via email.

The other three 2013 blank ballot submitters have revealed their ballots again this year:

  • Jorge Ebro told me via email that he voted for 6 players this year: Biggio, Glavine, Maddux, Morris, Piazza, and Thomas.
 
  • Howard Bryant told me on Twitter that he voted for Glavine, Maddux, Morris, and Thomas.

  • Mark Faller went from zero to the maximum 10, as he detailed in a column last week: Bagwell, Biggio, Glavine, Maddux, Morris, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Smith, and Thomas.

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:17 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jay Jaffe: Will Alex Rodriguez last more than one year on Hall of Fame ballot?

Rod Riguez lasted longer on the Billboard charts…

If Rodriguez is done in the majors, he would be eligible for the 2019 ballot. Assuming none of the other notables who announced that they would be hanging up their spikes — or at least considering it — decides to mount a comeback, the field of first-time candidates on that ballot would be headed by all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera and would also include two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, Yankee-dynasty staple Andy Pettitte, and sluggers Lance Berkman and Todd Helton. As I see the next five years playing out, the strong likelihood is that Bonds and Clemens will both remain on the ballot, progressing toward eventual enshrinement, albeit slowly. Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina will still probably be somewhere between 50 and 75 percent, and by my estimation, Jim Thome could slip to a second ballot after his first year of eligibility in 2018; despite his 612 career homers he never won an MVP award or a World Series and may not be granted immediate entry, particularly with Chipper Jones gaining eligibility in the same year with a much more well-rounded resume that points to his receiving at least 90 percent of the vote.

Rodriguez would have a tough time finding votes in that field, particularly if voters are still limited to listing 10 candidates,. In fact, with the most explicit laundry list of transgressions in the post-testing era, it’s not too hard to see him doing worse than most of the PED-related candidates.

...I don’t think it’s out of the question that as the electorate turns over to include writers who didn’t cover the PED-heavy era, and who thus have less of a personal stake in determining the fates of players whom they once lauded, Rodriguez will find the 30 or so votes he needs to retain eligibility for a year or two. That said, I do believe that such support will quickly peter out, and that he’ll fall off in two or three years’ time. The earliest he would come up for consideration would then be via a VC process starting 2034. Even then, I doubt most of us will be ready for it.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:56 PM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Saturday, January 11, 2014

HoVG: BBWAA Voter Calls Craig Biggio a “Cheater”

Dowling v. United States Baseball Fans (copywrong laws)

But, back to Biggio and those two votes.

One of the guys who failed to think of the seven-time All-Star as Hall of Fame material…Jerry Dowling. Dowling used to draw cartoons for both The Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati City Beat.

Oh, and why didn’t he vote for Biggio? Simply put, Dowling thinks Biggio is a cheater.

Craig Biggio, the Houston Astro second baseman, fell two votes short. One of those could have been mine. I refuse to vote for a guy who cheats, as Biggio did with all that armor on his arm, so he could get hit with pitches and trot to first base as a result. He made no attempt to avoid getting hit and actually stuck that arm out further, inducing the ball to smack him.

That, my friends, is against the rules and umpires should be calling that #### a ball, but they don’t. I once asked umpire John McSherry about that, and he skirted around the question, never answering it.

Wow.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Terbush: The worst Hall of Famers at each position, per sabermetrics

This week’s Hall of Fame results have set in motion the annual tradition of griping about who got robbed, which voters stink, and whether some butt injections and a bad attitude are really enough to justify blacklisting Barry Bonds forever.

The voting process is indeed flawed, but not only because of the players it has kept out of Cooperstown. It’s also screwed up because of the players it has allowed in.

The list below spotlights the worst players at each position, per JAWS, who are already in the Hall. Without getting lost in the math, JAWS is a formula devised by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe that evaluates players’ worthiness for induction by weighting their career WAR (wins above replacement) totals with that of their peak years.

The following discounts former players who were inducted for their managerial prowess or other contributions to the game; we’re looking only for the worst players.

Jesse Haines

Two hundred and ninety-seventh. Sheesh. To put that in perspective, there have been, per JAWS, 296 better pitchers in history than Jesse Haines. Or, to put it in a different perspective, Mike Hampton (yes, that Mike Hampton) is statistically tied with Haines, and Kevin Millwood isn’t too far behind.

So why is Haines in the Hall? He…threw a no-hitter? (There have been 282 in baseball history.) He…won 20 games a couple times? (Not really an achievement when you don’t control offensive production.) Apparently, according to his Hall plaque, it’s both. Well, that and the fact that he was “durable.”

Thanks to Drew.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:20 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, sabermetrics

Guzzardi: Modern baseball stars are overrated — and overpaid

“Joe Guzzardi is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America.” No wonder I only hang out with the Totie Fields Appreciation Consortium.

This week the Hall of Fame announced its three newest inductees, pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and designated hitter/first baseman Frank Thomas. Even though they’re worthy candidates, my reaction to news was to yawn. Although I’m a lifelong fan, I’m pretty much done with modern day baseball.

Sure, I said the same thing after the 1994-95 strike, the third of its kind since 1972.

Then I pledged to not pay attention to baseball when the cocaine and steroid scandals unfolded.

But this time, I really mean it. The HOF is a running joke. What should be the most exclusive club in professional sports will soon admit dozens more players. Because of the backlog of candidates, the Baseball Writers’ Association of American is considering a 15-man ballot instead of the traditional 10. The BBWAA either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care that a smaller HOF is a more exclusive and therefore better institution.

But the membership size and the inevitable controversies about which worthy players may be left out or which undeserving players get voted in isn’t my biggest problem.

Insane sums of money are.

...My suggestion for the HOF would be to end the annual voting and thereby spare the fans of pointless arguments the most tedious of which is whether Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens should be inducted despite their links to steroid use.

But keep the non-HOF Cooperstown Museum open so that fans can study the game’s great history. In Cooperstown, visitors can learn about the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional base ball (as it was then spelled) team that went 57-0 for the season. I guarantee you that the Red Stockings of 145 years ago are more interesting than the 2013, $2.3 billion Yankees.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Friday, January 10, 2014

BBWAA: 2014 Hall of Fame Ballots

Corky Simpson can sorta relax.

Lawrence Rocca - Honorary - Morris, Nomo, Raines, Trammell

Repoz Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:08 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

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