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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Palladino: Derek Jeter, First-Ballot Hall Of Famer? There’s No Argument

Well, I would try and make an argument…but I’m having trouble with that Baseball-Statistics.com jernt. Jeez…

For the few who doubt Jeter deserves a place in baseball’s Olympus on a statistical basis, don’t use the stats. Use the eyes. The catches, the smart plays, the timely hits, and the way his teammates reacted to him all combine to put him among the handful of dominant players of his era. He never had the power of Albert Pujols, but he wasn’t supposed to. Shortstops outside of the pre-Yankees Alex Rodriguez don’t generally hit with a lot of power. So Jeter did just fine with his 260 homers.

Positionally, he was the greatest shortstop of his era, and it was a long era. His and Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith’s careers overlapped Jeter’s first two years. But after that, there were no shortstops who had the package Jeter presented. Even Cal Ripken, another Hall resident who compiled an unbreakable Ironman streak, can’t be counted, as he played at third for five of his seven-year overlap with Jeter.

He wasn’t the best of all time. Not even top five, according to Baseball-Statistics.com. Its list goes Honus Wagner, Ernie Banks, Ripken, Joe Cronin, and Smith.

Smith, Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparacio, and Mark Belanger were all better fielders, though only Vizquel could be counted as Jeter’s true contemporary.

But Vizquel didn’t have Jeter’s bat. Nowhere close. In that, and in his instinctual fielding, Jeter was easily the most dominant shortstop of his era. And that’s plenty.

The clock starts Sunday when Jeter walks out of Fenway Park.

He will enter Cooperstown exactly five years from now, not unanimously, but certainly deservedly so.

Repoz Posted: September 27, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dave Kreiger: New Baseball Hall of Fame voting rules

A mighty adventure when the HOF’s destiny rides in the saddle bags of the…PONY EXPRESS!

The process is brought into the electronic age with online registration and research materials but remains in the Pony Express days with actual submission of ballots by snail mail. The Heisman Trophy has had electronic voting for some time now, so I assume Ernst & Young will ultimately employ this innovation as well. But not yet.

From the standpoint of voters, the new procedure offers the innovation of confirming receipt, never before available because the BBWAA didn’t open ballots until it was time to count them, by which time it would be too late to replace a ballot lost in the mail anyway.

There is no change to the much-discussed limit of 10 votes per voter. Many voters expressed regret that they could not vote for more than 10 last year. I was one of them. I left Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina off my 2014 ballot because I was not willing to abandon candidates I had supported longer — including Raines, Trammell and Jack Morris.

The 10-year eligibility limit will turn over the names more quickly, reducing this ballot congestion problem to some extent, but off the top of my head I can name more than 10 players I’d like to vote for this year.

Repoz Posted: September 14, 2014 at 04:41 PM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

BPP: Why do people still think Jack Morris pitched to the score?

When I was involved with the AMVETS for many years I saw a lot of Veterans Committee’s. They were usually drunk. So beware.

Every so often, I see tweets or articles from reputable sources repeating a long-since debunked myth. This one was posted about a week ago:

“Lyle Spencer: Games like Jered Weaver’s tonight, pitching to score, cost Jack Morris the Hall of Fame. Not good for ERA.”

Lyle Spencer, a writer for MLB.com, is no different than a lot of other veteran reporters or fans who keep repeating this idea that Jack Morris pitched to the score. Morris popularized the notion, I think, to bolster his Hall of Fame candidacy despite a lifetime 3.90 ERA. As far as Hall campaign strategies go, it’s probably been one of the more effective ones. Morris just missed induction through the writers ballot and may be a future Veterans Committee pick.

Never mind that Joe Sheehan picked apart the myth of Morris pitching to the score in a landmark 2003 piece for Baseball Prospectus. In the piece, which is long but worth a full read, Sheehan examined everyone of Morris’s 527 career starts and discovered that Morris put his team behind in roughly two-thirds of them. That Morris had 254 wins while allowing nearly four runs a game is largely a credit to pitching for one of the best teams of the 1980s, the Detroit Tigers and getting at least five runs of support in nearly half his starts.

Sheehan’s piece is easily found in Google, as are any number of related ones that have come since. It’s like the majority of people who follow baseball aren’t even reading them.

...People change, granted. Peter Gammons, among others, changed his mind on Morris pitching to the score after reading Sheehan’s piece. In time, maybe others will follow. But I suspect articles and tweets like the one above will keep coming and more people like me will keep writing pieces denouncing them until this issue, finally, is completely beaten to death. Trying to get people to see things differently seems like a fool’s errand sometimes. I know I often feel like I’m preaching to a choir of like-minded individuals.

The baseball world and the world in general remains so polarized. It’s a shame Jack Morris’s career has become a reminder of this. He was a fine pitcher, one of the best of his era and his work in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was masterful. I agree with people like Joe Posnanski who’ve written that all this debate about him pitching to the score detracts from this.

Repoz Posted: September 02, 2014 at 08:34 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Sunday, August 24, 2014

David Justice Says Put Barry Bonds in Baseball Hall of Fame Despite Steroid Use Late In Career

Hail Barry!

Barry Bonds is one of the players whose careers and reputations have been destroyed by Roidgate. One of the greatest baseball players of all-time, Bonds will likely never be allowed into the Hall of Fame because of his alleged use of steroids. But David Justice, one of the Atlanta Braves’ most celebrated players of all time, says that Bonds should be let in at least on the strength of his pre-juicing days. The former power hitter says that he made it on his own merits for much of his career.

According to David Justice, the league is being petty. They are trying to punish people they think they can catch cheating, instead of acknowledging the accomplishments that have been made while clean.

“Yeah, Barry was probably juiced up from ‘97 to ‘07 ... and that’s bad. But BB was a BEAST from ‘86 to ‘97 ... BEFORE his head expanded 8 hat sizes. ‘I think they should put Barry in ... period,’ [said Justice].”

Repoz Posted: August 24, 2014 at 08:51 AM | 165 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Downey: Let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame already

Mike Downey: HOF voter.

By this point, you have made up your own mind, as so many of us have. You are from one of two camps. One is the “hasn’t Pete suffered enough?” one. The other is the “Pete got exactly what he deserved” one.

I occupy the former.

In my opinion—with utmost respect for all who feel otherwise—a life sentence is unduly harsh. We live on an Earth in which past sins can be forgiven, in which those who commit crimes do their time, pay their debts, then pray for a drop of milk of human kindness. A case could be made that Pete Rose needn’t be crucified for what he did, that it wouldn’t kill the game of baseball to finally let him off the hook.

They say gambling is a sickness, an addiction, like liquor or drugs. They tell us gamblers need help. In the same breath, they tell us funny stories about the Hall of Fame baseball greats who bar-hopped all night, came to the park drunk, played with a hangover, hahaha, what a guy. Oh, that Babe. Oh, that Mickey.

It is, of course, a Hall of Fame also occupied by an accused gambler or two, by a wife-beater or two, a philanderer or two, a racist or two, a cheater or two, a rule-breaker or two. Just as today’s voters continue to debate who did and didn’t demonstrate exemplary character, we could argue whether Pete Rose must be forever bound by “rules are rules,” or if rules, as some have been known to say, are made to be changed.

I pictured baseball’s giants Sunday posing for that picture.

Gaylord Perry. Roberto Alomar. Goose Gossage. Eddie Murray. Wade Boggs. Jim Rice.

A hero here, a hero there.

A man missing here, a man missing there, Hall of Fame hallowed figures Ralph Kiner and Tony Gwynn having lost their lives this year.

Everybody who showed up to smile for the camera deserved to do exactly that. Each one had stature. Each had acceptance. Each belonged to the club.

Pete Rose belongs. Make it so.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:09 PM | 91 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Megdal: Humble shortstop Marty Marion should be in Hall contention

Once during a heated SABR meeting I told a frayed Marionette that Slats had like a 80 OPS+, and he shot back…“No he didn’t, he hit .263 for his career!”

So I raise the case of Marty Marion, aka Slats or Mr. Shortstop, honored last weekend as an inductee into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, not because we’ve discovered some hidden, extra season Marion played at Sportsman’s Park.

Instead, it’s worth reflecting on Marion, a contemporary of often-honored Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, for two reasons: His greatness ought to be celebrated by those who experienced it firsthand, and Marion shouldn’t get overlooked because he didn’t believe in touting himself.

Consider for a moment what the following résumé would mean in terms of fame for a player in today’s game: National League MVP in 1944. Two other top-10 MVP finishes. Starting shortstop for four National League pennant winners. Seven All-Star Games.

“He made it easy,” Marion’s double-play partner, Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst, said last week at Busch Stadium. “Marty made it easy. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

..Schoendienst remembers.

“I’ve seen Rizzuto play, and I’ve seen Pee Wee Reese play, and I’ve seen (Eddie) Miller of Cincinnati play, and I’ve seen so many other ones,” Schoendienst said. “And Marty’s right there with him, no matter what.

“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.

“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame. And if his back would’ve held up, I don’t know that anybody would have been any better.”.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Plenty of Pete Rose ahead on ESPN

You can’t spell Ass To Cobb without Bob Costas.

Last week, for example, Mike Greenberg of the “Mike & Mike” ESPN national radio show said that one of the four things he would do on the first day of coming into office would be to “reinstate Pete Rose.” Greenberg then asked his guest, broadcaster Bob Costas, “What do you think?”

“Yes, I think that’s something that should be done,” Costas answered. “And maybe a new commissioner could do it. Maybe Selig felt as if it would have been disrespectful somehow to (former commissioner) Bart Giamatti’s legacy, and Selig was very fond of Giamatti,” who banned Rose on Aug. 24, 1989.

Only eight days after exiling Rose, Giamatti, 51, died suddenly of a heart attack.

“To me, it’s very simple, and has been for a long, long time,” Costas said. “You separate the Hall of Fame from eligibility for other baseball benefits (such as being hired as a manager). … Certainly, Pete Rose deserves to be on the Hall of Fame ballot. If Barry Bonds can be on the Hall of Fame ballot, and the voters can decide yay or nay, why shouldn’t they be able to decide that about Pete Rose?”

Costas articulated what has become a mainstream national opinion on how to handle the Rose case. Almost every national figure believes the Cincinnati native has served more than enough time in exile, and that it would be a healing process for baseball to pardon him. No doubt Selig will have to take some questions on it Friday in Roselawn, especially in the wake of going on ESPN-TV Wednesday to discuss it.

Repoz Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:01 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ringolsby: Helton’s numbers stack up against the best

Percy Helton having a visor is one thing…Todd Helton having an adviser is another.

Hall of Fame type numbers?

“Obviously, that would be a great honor, but there’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “You have the vote.”

Just one, he was told.

“Well,” he said with a smile, “put in a good word for me.”

...And here’s something else to consider.

As dominant as he was at Coors Field, Helton outplayed the bulk of Hall of Famers on the road.

There are 116 position players in the Hall of Fame who had at least 4,000 plate appearances since 1912, which is how far back the home-road splits extend for Stats Inc. Among those 116 position players:

• Helton’s .287 road batting average is higher than 45.

• Helton’s .386 road on-base percentage is higher than 84.

• Helton’s .469 road slugging percentage is higher than 74.

• And Helton’s .855 road OPS is higher than 78.

And Helton even ranks well among the smaller group of 21 Hall of Fame first basemen who have had at least 4,000 plate appearances since 1912.

Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Gehrig, Billy Terry and Jimmie Foxx are the only ones who are ahead of Helton on the road in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

Helton has higher numbers in all four categories than Ernie Banks, Jim Bottomley and Tony Perez.

He has a higher road on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS than Rod Carew and George Kelly.

And a higher on-base percentage, average and OPS than Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey and Eddie Murray.

Not that Helton has ever paid that much attention.

Repoz Posted: August 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, rockies

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 | 58 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 | 156 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

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