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Monday, December 05, 2016

Neyer: Today’s game! Catch it!

Neyer submitted this piece prior to Sunday’s announcement.

Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella have their cases, too.

Are there standards for managers? I suppose you could look at career wins, winning percentage, and postseason appearances and cobble together some sort of formula. But if you just eyeball those lists, it’s pretty clear that 2,000 wins or three World Championships gets you in. Piniella’s got just one of the latter, and only 1,835 of the former. Plus, his .517 career winning percentage is nothing special.

Yes, that .517 is actually a bit better than Bruce Bochy’s career percentage, but of course Bochy’s got the three rings. Which is why Bochy’s going into the Hall someday.

Piniella’s record is almost exactly the same as Jim Leyland’s, by the way. Both got just a single championship ring, both won around 1800 games, and both finished just a bit north of .500. The only obvious difference is that Leyland managed in three World Serieses, Piniella just the one. But it seems to me that if Piniella’s a Hall of Famer, then so is Leyland. And if Leyland’s a Hall of Famer, then so is Mike Scioscia. And if Scioscia’s a Hall of Famer, then so is Terry Francona. Toss in Bochy, and then you’d simply have every manager with at least 1400 wins in the Hall of Fame, except for Gene Mauch, Dusty Baker, Ralph Houk, Buck Showalter, and Jimmy Dykes. And Houk’s the only one of those five who won a World Series (so far, anyway; Baker and Showalter still have their shots).

Are we okay with all that? More to the point, does anyone really care? Sometimes I wonder. I suppose if you’re an Angels fan, you really will care if Scioscia’s in the Hall of Fame. I do worry, just a little, that the Hall’s going to wind up with so many managers that we’ll hardly be able to keep track. Especially with so many modern managers sticking around well into their sixties.

Anyway, about Davey Johnson: He does not go into the aforementioned group because he didn’t quite reach 1400 wins: 1,372, to be precise. What he does have is an outstanding .562 winning percentage – ninth best among managers with at least 2,000 games managed – and a unique history of success with four different franchises (his two years with the Dodgers were nothing special). Still, let’s be honest: If Mookie’s grounder doesn’t sneak between Buckner’s wickets, we’re probably not even talking about this. Not as seriously, anyway.

Johnson’s case is probably best compared to Hall of Famer Al Lopez’s. About the same wins, about the same percentage, and both won just one World Series.

Then again, Johnson won more games than Whitey Herzog, with a higher winning percentage. And Herzog’s in the Hall, despite winning just one championship. If you’re going to elect Herzog, it’s not clear (to me) how you don’t elect Johnson.

Personally, I think a Hall of Famer should win a lot of games with a high winning percentage or win multiple World Series. My personal preferences aside, Piniella and Johnson are both borderline candidates, but history suggests they’ll both be elected, either now or later.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: December 05, 2016 at 03:51 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, rob neyer

Friday, November 04, 2016

Why Aren’t There More Gay Baseball Players?

Spoiler alert! There’s no single great answer to that question. Complex spoke to every living professional baseball player who’s come out publicly: Conroy and Denson, plus four others who came out after retiring, and all of them had somewhat different takes.

“I think people are misguided in thinking that it’s connected,” says Billy Bean, the one-time major leaguer who came out four years after his pro career ended and wrote a book about everything, now serving as Major League Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion. “It’s a very, very personal decision.”

Jason Burch, who pitched in the minors from 2003 through 2008 and came out publicly in 2015 (after telling teammates seven years earlier, by the way), basically agrees with Bean: The equation just isn’t as simple as we might like. “The real issue is whether or not coming out will create a state of happiness,” Burch says, “and for many athletes that is not a straightforward matter.”

“I can understand why players are not doing it,” Bean tells Complex. “Sure, you might have somebody like David [Denson], who was ready and said, ‘This will make me a better player.’ But a young player has to know it will create a distraction, initially.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:43 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: gay players, gay rights, rob neyer

 

 

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