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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hall makes room for an “idiot” on the ballot

If this were Dave Borges, I’d assume he’s talking about Schilling again.  But instead, it’s just a basic HOF summary article, with the strangest headline I’ve seen so far.  The identity of the “idiot” is not stated anywhere.  Any guesses?

Peter Farted Again Posted: November 22, 2017 at 10:00 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Man o' Schwar Posted: November 23, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5580557)
I would assume Johnny Damon. Wasn't he around when the Red Sox were calling themselves idiots?
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 10:44 AM (#5580559)
Kevin Millar?
   3. PreservedFish Posted: November 23, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5580560)
Kevin Millwood never struck me as the brightest bulb, but this seems unnecessarily harsh.
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 23, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5580561)
I would assume Johnny Damon

considering his picture leads the headline, that would be a good assumption
   5. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5580565)
Millar's not on the ballot. It has to be Damon.

Looking over the ballot, and looking to see who was left off is always a fun exercise. They did a prety good job this year, assuming you have to pick a couple of relievers. The only quibble would be having Livan Hernandez on and Ben Sheets off. Similar career WAR, but Sheets has 13.4 career WAA to Livan's -0.2. Sheets was a 4X AS to Livan's 2. Livan has far more bulk to his career, and was a WS MVP (thank you Eric Gregg). Neither would get, nor deserve a vote, but I would take the minor star over the league average innings eater. Sheets has nearly the same resume as Kerry Wood, who is on the ballot. Wood is maybe 10% better,* so again, a reasonable choice if you have to pick one but not both.

* And Wood gets bonus points for rescuing Andre Dawson.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5580568)
Ben Sheets pitched at what we can call a HOF level for 5 years, although it was more like 4 years' worth of games due to injuries. And I remember nothing about him. No black ink.

Livan pitched at what we might call a HOF level for 3 years ... 2 legit years in Montreal, then I'll be generous and lump together credit for an All-Star campaign in 2005 and his exciting rookie half-season, neither of which were really HOF quality but were at least fun to watch. He was an extremely memorable player, and had that ridiculous playoff run in 1997 including two (questionable) series MVP awards. Plenty of black ink, for both good and ill.

I dunno. Obviously neither begins in the conversation. But if we were going to somehow memorialize just one of these guys, I'd want it to be Livan.
   7. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:17 AM (#5580569)
Livan has far more bulk to his career

I'll say!

and was a WS MVP (thank you Eric Gregg)

Gregg was the NLCS. Hernandez won two games in the World Series despite not pitching well at all, and the vote was completely narrative-driven, fed by the hubbub over his mother's temporary furlough from Cuba.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5580571)
The Eric Gregg game was in the NLCS, by the way. He won his WS MVP by motivating his teammates to score lots of runs to buoy his mediocre performances.
   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5580572)
Ben Sheets pitched at what we can call a HOF level for 5 years, although it was more like 4 years' worth of games due to injuries. And I remember nothing about him. No black ink.

Livan pitched at what we might call a HOF level for 3 years ... 2 legit years in Montreal, then I'll be generous and lump together credit for an All-Star campaign in 2005 and his exciting rookie half-season, neither of which were really HOF quality but were at least fun to watch. He was an extremely memorable player, and had that ridiculous playoff run in 1997 including two (questionable) series MVP awards. Plenty of black ink, for both good and ill.

I dunno. Obviously neither begins in the conversation. But if we were going to somehow memorialize just one of these guys, I'd want it to be Livan.


That's fair, and I should have looked closer at Livan. he was nearly as good as Sheets for longer as Sheets, and then had a lot of hang around time which killed his rates. For his first 1950 IP (400 IP longer than Sheets career), Livan was 21.6 WAR, 6.3 WAA. Then had 1200 IP at slightly above replacement.

Sheets does have Olympic gold.
   10. Sweatpants Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5580576)
Ben Sheets pitched at what we can call a HOF level for 5 years, although it was more like 4 years' worth of games due to injuries. And I remember nothing about him.
Sheets had probably the second-most-renowned curveball of his generation, after Barry Zito's. Actually, Hernandez had a really good curve, too.
   11. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: November 23, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5580578)
Ben Sheets pitched at what we can call a HOF level for 5 years, although it was more like 4 years' worth of games due to injuries. And I remember nothing about him. No black ink.

My recollection of Sheets is his one year with Oakland in 2010. Sheets was coming back from missing a full year due to injury. Sheets was a real gamer and you could tell he wanted to be the veteran ace of the young A's staff (which included Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, & Brett Anderson) but he just didn't have the arm anymore. From what I remember Sheets would try his best to make it to the 6th or 7th inning and he would just run out of gas or he'd have one bad inning and take the loss. Oakland struggled to contend with Texas that year and Sheets' season ended in mid-July.

Sheets showed back up in the Oakland dugout later in the season with a post surgery special cast on his arm and the camera crew zeroed in on it and he noticed and low key extended his middle finger.

Sheets came back in 2012 with Atlanta and once again had injury issues. He closed out his career by pitching one scoreless inning on the last day of the season. From what I could tell Sheets had the mindset to be a staff ace but his arm betrayed him. I'll always have positive memories of his one season with the A's
   12. Traderdave Posted: November 23, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5580581)
Glancing at his BB-ref page, Sheets put up a 113 ERA+ with a losing W/L. He's got to be in the top 10 for that dubious distinction. I'd run it but I don't know how to program BB-Ref. Anyone have a sec to run that?
   13. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 12:29 PM (#5580583)
Don't know how to post results, but I ran 1000+ IP, W/L% < .500, ERA+ >110, 60% starter. Sheets was 8th. #1 is Johnny Rigney, 122 ERA+. John Matlack (114) has the most wins (126). The best pitcher is probably Trorton Lee (119), 35 WAR.

edit: Actually, Matlack (39 WAR, 19 WAA).
   14. Sweatpants Posted: November 23, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5580585)
I did a similar search but my results had Nap Rucker on it. Then I look and see that he was at .500 for his career. Turns out I made wins less than or equal to losses.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5580592)
I did a similar search but my results had Nap Rucker on it. Then I look and see that he was at .500 for his career. Turns out I made wins less than or equal to losses.


I did W/L% <= .499
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 23, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5580595)

Sheets had one very memorable season in 2004, where he threw 237 IP at a 162 ERA+, yet finished with a 12-14 record. He was pretty clearly the second best pitcher in the league (behind Randy Johnson, who finished 16-14) but received only one third-place vote in the CYA voting. (Clemens easily won the award that year with an 18-4 record and a 145 ERA+.) The writers at that point were clearly still enamored with gaudy W-L records -- I think the Big Unit likely would have won the vote if it had taken place this year, and Sheets would have gotten more support, although I think it's doubtful even today that a starting pitcher with a sub-.500 record would win the award.
   17. DanG Posted: November 23, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5580601)
In my annual survey of who should be on the BBWAA ballot Sheets and Francisco Cordero are the top players snubbed by the ballot committee. The worst players on the ballot are Aubrey Huff and Brad Lidge. The best sub-ten-year player was Takashi Saito.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2017 at 03:47 PM (#5580612)
My brain first thought "didn't Sheets win a CYA" but then my brain realized that it was thinking of Jason Schmidt -- never could keep those two straight. Schmidt didn't win one either but did finish 2nd and 4th in consecutive years. The year he finished 2nd was the Gagne year.

And I'm actually sorta surprised Sheets hit the 10-year mark -- he took the long road to get there.
   19. BDC Posted: November 23, 2017 at 03:55 PM (#5580615)
Life is fleeting past me. I still think of Orlando Hudson as a good-looking newcomer who could be a star someday, and here he is on the Hall of Fame ballot.
   20. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 23, 2017 at 05:04 PM (#5580620)
IMO, every player who reaches 10 seasons should make the ballot. I realize the guys that miss are all guys who’d be DOA anyway, but still.
   21. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 23, 2017 at 05:04 PM (#5580621)
Edit: never mind
   22. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 23, 2017 at 06:03 PM (#5580624)
IMO, every player who reaches 10 seasons should make the ballot. I realize the guys that miss are all guys who’d be DOA anyway, but still.


And a bunch of guys who make the ballot are DOA too. maybe it's a nice consolation prize for playing 10 years, but here's some guys who retired in 2012 and are not on the ballot:

Will Ohman
Dan Wheeler
Geoff Blum
Scott Podsednik
Kip Wells


It would be pointless to put these guys on the ballot.
   23. ajnrules Posted: November 23, 2017 at 08:41 PM (#5580639)
In my annual survey of who should be on the BBWAA ballot Sheets and Francisco Cordero are the top players snubbed by the ballot committee. The worst players on the ballot are Aubrey Huff and Brad Lidge.

I feel most befuddled about the committee leaving Cordero off. I know closers are a dime a dozen and he probably wouldn't get a vote, but he's reached that shiny 300 saves plateau. Until Cordero every closer with 300 saves has made the ballot, even luminaries such as Jose Mesa and Todd Jones. And besides having more saves, Cordero actually has a better ERA, ERA+, bWAR, bWAA, fWAR and the two pure closers that made it (Lidge and Jason Isringhausen.)
   24. John Northey Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:09 PM (#5580649)
I'd make it so anyone who has 10+ years and either an All-Star appearance, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MVP, Cy Young, or playoff MVP (any round) gets on the ballot. They clearly were a standout at somepoint.
   25. Chris Fluit Posted: November 23, 2017 at 11:48 PM (#5580650)
I might expand that list to include top five Cy young and top ten MVP, though it's possible the silver slugger/gold glove qualifier achievs a similar result.
   26. Russ Posted: November 24, 2017 at 09:44 AM (#5580673)

Will Ohman
Dan Wheeler
Geoff Blum
Scott Podsednik
Kip Wells


I think these guys all started for my last place fantasy team one year.
   27. dlf Posted: November 24, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5580677)
I was about to write about my clearest memory of Ben Sheets and a particular start in the College World Series ... then I remembered that it was Ben McDonald that I was thinking of.

I wish that Harveys was still around to opine on Sheets.
   28. Adam Starblind Posted: November 24, 2017 at 03:13 PM (#5580780)
"Idiot" was the title of Damon's book.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: November 24, 2017 at 04:02 PM (#5580806)
#24 ... and some min threshold for counting stats ... like 300 saves (maybe even 250), 2000 innings, whatever. But it doesn't matter enough to get worked up about. If memory serves they did make some truly weird inclusion/exclusion decisions a few years ago. They did put Lenny Harris (career 2.0 WAR) on the ballot in 2011.
   30. Adam Starblind Posted: November 24, 2017 at 04:19 PM (#5580811)
Record holder for most pinch hits, isn't he?
   31. Shock Posted: November 25, 2017 at 01:26 AM (#5580887)

Orlando Hudson


One of the best in his time at turning the double play. It was like he was just a post out at second base and the ball would bounce off him and somehow go to first. I loved watching him play.
   32. John Northey Posted: November 25, 2017 at 01:35 AM (#5580889)
Not really worried about guys who should be in the HOF not making the ballot, more worried they will be ignored by dumb voters and fall off too quick (Lou Whitaker, Kenny Lofton)
   33. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 25, 2017 at 06:49 AM (#5580897)
Yes, it doesn’t really matter if Ben Sheets isn’t on a ballot since he won’t be elected. But like lots of things with Hall voting, the inconsistency is annoying
   34. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: November 26, 2017 at 08:43 AM (#5581054)
Damon's a much better HOF candidate than I thought: 56 WAR and 2,769 hits. Gave that guy a few more years and maybe a ring or two, and he'd be a popular candidate.
   35. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: November 27, 2017 at 03:10 PM (#5581585)
Gave that guy a few more years and maybe a ring or two, and he'd be a popular candidate.


Well, Damon does have two rings. I assume you mean two more rings?
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 27, 2017 at 04:02 PM (#5581639)
Sheets had probably the second-most-renowned curveball of his generation, after Barry Zito's.


I'd probably also rank him behind John Patterson, who had a murderous one when he was healthy.

Sheets does have Olympic gold.


Not just that - he was a bonafide Olympic hero. One earned run in 22 innings, including a three-hit shutout in the gold medal game against Cuba.
   37. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: November 27, 2017 at 06:02 PM (#5581732)
Well, Damon does have two rings. I assume you mean two more rings?

Sheesh, I had completely forgotten about that. (About the only thing I remember about Damon is that he has "the best ass in the American League!")
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 28, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5581886)
(About the only thing I remember about Damon is that he has "the best ass in the American League!")

Unfortunately, this alone does not get one into the HOF. A guy with Damon's resume really needs to have the best ass of all time or at least the best at his position to be HOF-worthy.
   39. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 28, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5581902)
Damon's a much better HOF candidate than I thought: 56 WAR and 2,769 hits. Gave that guy a few more years and maybe a ring or two, and he'd be a popular candidate.


I felt for a long time that Damon would grind his way to 3,000 hits and backdoor himself into the Hall.

After his age 37 season, he had 55.8 WAR and 2,723 hits. Coming off a 2.5 WAR, 152 hit, 109 OPS+ season, it seemed like he could just hang around like Biggio and Ichiro did, which would not only add to his totals, but keep him off the ballot until the worst of the backlog was cleared and some weaker classes emerged. But his age 38 season was a trainwreck offensively, and then he was done.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 28, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5581956)
Unfortunately, this alone does not get one into the HOF.

He would have a unique plaque if it did, though.
   41. jingoist Posted: November 28, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5582023)
So....instead of the HoF plaque showing a relief of his face we’d see his ass cheeks?
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5582202)
I felt for a long time that Damon would grind his way to 3,000 hits and backdoor himself into the Hall.


I thought Damon might grind his way to 3,000 hits, then become the first guy with 3K who doesn't get in the Hall of Fame.

Damon's crappy final season was late getting started. He didn't get signed by the Tribe until mid-April. That might have been surprising coming off a productive 2011, but it was obvious to all teams that Damon's primary interest at that point was getting to 3,000 hits, and teams thought a declining player who was going to want to be in the lineup every day in pursuit of his individual goal might not be worth the trouble.

As for the topic of ballot choices, just last year Javier Vazquez (46.0 WAR) became the best player left off a Hall of Fame ballot in decades.
   43. Ithaca2323 Posted: November 28, 2017 at 04:15 PM (#5582230)
That might have been surprising coming off a productive 2011, but it was obvious to all teams that Damon's primary interest at that point was getting to 3,000 hits, and teams thought a declining player who was going to want to be in the lineup every day in pursuit of his individual goal might not be worth the trouble.


I mean, look everyone was right, but, Damon was a 2.5 WAR player in 2011. Teams have given much worse players chances to play consistently. See Colon and the Twins this year or even Ichiro
   44. ajnrules Posted: November 28, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5582374)
I thought Damon might grind his way to 3,000 hits, then become the first guy with 3K who doesn't get in the Hall of Fame.

You mean the first guy without being banned or excommunicated who doesn't get in the Hall of Fame. XP
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2017 at 11:11 PM (#5582390)
You mean the first guy without being banned or excommunicated who doesn't get in the Hall of Fame.


Obviously.

I mean, look everyone was right, but, Damon was a 2.5 WAR player in 2011. Teams have given much worse players chances to play consistently. S


I'm not arguing that. The point was, Damon was a unique case. His failure to land a job coming off a 2.5 WAR season was a direct result of his stated desire to reach 3,000 hits, and the playing time such a desire would require. Teams simply weren't interested in signing a guy his age who was determined to be a full-timer.
   46. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:50 AM (#5582432)
I'm no Harveys, but I was around for Sheets' career in Milwaukee. He made his debut at the closing night at County Stadium, he was on the field with his gold medal for the closing ceremonies. Pretty cool moment, with all the old Braves in town, and ex-Brewers greats. He was a guy very well liked by fans, but, I, anyways, was always cringing, waiting for him to get hurt (again). The vertigo, The shoulder, the elbow. He had that awkward tilt/rock in the stretch and was probably the worst hitting pitcher I recall. There were probably worse at the plate, but he wasn't even trying, and managed to look worse in that respect. I always liked it when he would wear his Saints helmet (a football helmet) in the locker room during interviews. Played his balls off on the mound though.

His highlights no doubt are the gold medal game, and that Sunday (yes, lots of shadows, which Harveys and I both loath about Miller Park) home start against the Braves in '04 where he was as nasty as I've ever seen a pitcher (Kerry Wood vs Astros type dominance, or pick your favorite Pedro performance). I don't recall his pitch score, he K'd 18, I think it was a 3-1 game, maybe 3 hits. 90+ strikes I remember. He also made an important start, out dueling Peavy in a late season 1-0 game, to keep the Crew going in their Wild Card run in '08. He was pretty much toast after that start.
   47. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:36 AM (#5582441)
Ben Sheets: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 18 K, 1 R, 1 HR -- Game Score of 89 (or 95 in Tom Tango's updated methodology)
   48. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:57 AM (#5582442)
Ben Sheets was also an important part of the Team USA team that won an Olympic gold medal. I'm not sure if that should be relevant, but it did add a smidgen to his fame.
   49. Rally Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:26 AM (#5582540)
A guy with Damon's resume really needs to have the best ass of all time or at least the best at his position to be HOF-worthy.


Who would be the leaders by position? I'm pretty sure the answer at 3B is not George Brett.
   50. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 29, 2017 at 10:55 AM (#5582575)
I think what also hurt was leaving Boston and later on leaving NY
Damon was a big part of the Idiot group that ended the Curse of the Bambino with his Caveman look
Then he signs with NY in 06 and cuts all his hair and facial hair off. He looked like a major $ellout

Damon & Giambi were the heart of their franchises when NY signed them and it just looked weird to see them go corporate, clean up and shave. Also, Damon & Giambi left excellent teams that were rivals to NY (Oakland had lost close 00 & 01 ALDS to NY)
Contrast that with say Mike Mussina who left a declining Baltimore team and well still looked like Mike Mussina (he already had the Yankee corporate look)

Giambi never won a ring in NY while Damon won one in his last season in the Bronx

If I remember correctly Damon then left NY for Detroit who offered more money. The new Yankees stadium suited Damon better and he was a fool to leave

If he stays with Boston, he's the lovable Caveman. If he stays in NY, he gets closer to 3000 hits. Both moves hurt his HOF narrative
   51. RJ in TO Posted: November 29, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5582655)
If I remember correctly Damon then left NY for Detroit who offered more money. The new Yankees stadium suited Damon better and he was a fool to leave


Coming off a 4.2 WAR season, the Tigers only had to pay him $8 million in late February to get him away from the Yankees, which sure seems like it was more of a matter of the Yankees not wanting him back. Especially since the Yankees traded for Granderson before Damon had signed anywhere, and then went with an outfield of Gardner, Swisher, and Granderson instead.

He might have been a fool to leave if they wanted him back, but it sure seems like that they weren't particularly excited about that possibility.
   52. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5582723)
RJ- looking deeper, it certainly seems to be the case that NY didn't try too hard to bring Damon back. What I'm probably remembering is either noticing his home/road splits or reading article saying he should take what NY offers and stay since it'd be best for his future HOF case.

Damon tied his career high with 24 HRs in new Yankee Stadium, hitting 17 of those at home. I remember reading the park suited him perfectly to hit HRs (not that damon was a HR guy)
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:24 PM (#5582729)
RJ- looking deeper, it certainly seems to be the case that NY didn't try too hard to bring Damon back. What I'm probably remembering is either noticing his home/road splits or reading article saying he should take what NY offers and stay since it'd be best for his future HOF case.


The Red Sox didn't really show a lot of enthusiasm in his return. I did read that the Yankees offered him a two-year $14 million deal earlier in the offseason before he signed late with Detroit. That might have been a miscalculation on his part.

Interestingly, he's one of the very few players who delivered his team good value on two separate multiyear deals.

   54. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 29, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5582735)
Jumping from team to team as a Scott Boras client certainly changed his persona from lovable Idiot Caveman to mercenary

SoSH, good find. That very much was a miscalculation by Damon & Boras

Interesting that through 10 votes on the Thibs Tracker, Damon has zero votes. He's probably more HOVG anyways but regardless he wouldnt be close to my top 10 candidates on this ballot. Still, 2769 hits, 1668 runs, and 56 WAR isnt bad. The 104 OPS+ & .352 OBP with moderate power don't stand out though
   55. Khrushin it bro Posted: November 29, 2017 at 06:54 PM (#5583014)
A guy with Damon's resume really needs to have the best ass of all time or at least the best at his position to be HOF-worthy.


My sister used to call Mike Gallego bubble butt so he's in the lead for second baseman as far as I know.
   56. Khrushin it bro Posted: November 29, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5583016)
Nobody is arguing to get Damon into the hall based on his cannon of an arm?

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