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Thursday, January 22, 2009

N.Y. Daily News: Price: Jeff Can’t Make Hall of Fame

That’s it…I’m not waiting around two days for my mash to soak in methanol. I NEED FILTERLESS VAPORS NOW!

But I say Kent cannot be looked at as a second baseman, especially in this day and age where middle infielders all over baseball are putting up numbers usually posted by outfielders and third baseman. We have to start judging players - other than catchers - as all part of the same pool. Is Nomar Garciaparra a Hall of Famer because he put up big numbers at shortstop?

Kent was never a great fielder. He had to hide somewhere and most teams chose to put him at second base. Also, Kent played in the steroids era, so all of the numbers from that time have to be judged on some sort of scale. 600 homers may have to be the new 500 homers.

And while Kent’s numbers may have gotten him into the Hall of Fame 10 years ago, they are comparable to several other players who will be retiring soon or have already retired and likely won’t ever get in.

Albert Belle has more homers (381) than Kent. Is he a Hall of Famer?

Gary Sheffield has more homers (499), hits (2,615) and RBIs (1,633) than Kent. Is he a Hall of Famer?

Repoz Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:50 AM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history

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   1. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:09 AM (#3057731)
I think I just threw up a little. Gentlemen, I'm warning you...stay away...

Gary Sheffield has more homers (499), hits (2,615) and RBIs (1,633) than Kent. Is he a Hall of Famer?

Yes.
   2. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:14 AM (#3057733)
I'd print out this article just to wipe my ass with, but I don't want to waste the paper and ink.
   3. Lassus Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:28 AM (#3057738)
Vaux, do you know the classical music story that applies your post?

Max Reger (1873-1916), when confronted with an incredibly dismissive review of a new work decided to write back to the reviewer (in german, of course):

"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. Your review is in front of me. Soon, it will be behind me."


My only comment on this article is once again to note that it is written for the Daily News. Probably in crayon.
   4. Xander Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:42 AM (#3057742)
Oh, I get it. Can't sounds like Kent. I bet the article gets better when I start reading it...
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:46 AM (#3057743)
But I say Kent cannot be looked at as a second baseman, especially in this day and age where middle infielders all over baseball are putting up numbers usually posted by outfielders and third baseman.


When the premise is wrong, the conclusion doesn't follow.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Andres Gallarraga (399), Dale Murphy (398), Joe Carter (396), Jason Giambi (396), Vlad Guerrero (392), Craig Nettles (390), Dwight Evans (385), Harold Baines (384), Larry Walker (383) and Matt Williams (378) all have more homers than Kent. Only Guerrero has a legit shot to make it to Cooperstown.


Hey, look, a bunch of first basemen, third basemen, DHs, and outfielders have more homers than a second baseman... This must be the new test for the Hall of Fame. And it was devised by a sportswriter, so we know it must be rational. I mean, how can one doubt the intelligence of a sportswriter who yells "steroids!" as a substitute for logic and misspells Galarraga?
   6. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:49 AM (#3057745)
I hate Kent, therefore my opinion of the one thing which I am not able to measure, his defense, is therefore terrible. If someone shows me good defensive numbers, I will find some other way to keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Because he's a jerk.
   7. The Voice of America Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:29 AM (#3057750)
Well he has a point. Gary Sheffield is definitly not a Hall of Famer, he will be though. Whenever that happens we can put Kent in too.

Ridiculous.
   8. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:53 AM (#3057751)
Gary Sheffield has more homers (499), hits (2,615) and RBIs (1,633) than Kent. Is he a Hall of Famer?


You think we need one more? You think we need one more. All right, we'll get one more.


But I say Kent cannot be looked at as a second baseman, especially in this day and age where middle infielders all over baseball are putting up numbers usually posted by outfielders and third baseman.
So, where are all these mysterious middle infielders hiding, the ones "all over baseball" who hammer vast quantities of home runs, drive in runners by the bushelbasketfull, and make a mockery of the olde game by fumbling dp after dp with their twitching, PED-bloated bodies?
   9. jacjacatk Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:37 AM (#3057756)
Well he has a point. Gary Sheffield is definitly not a Hall of Famer, he will be though. Whenever that happens we can put Kent in too.

Ridiculous.


I'm sure it's possible to make some non-stat related arguments against Sheff's candidacy, but there's no way he's "definitely" not a HOFer. If he weren't an #######, he'd be an almost certain first-balloter.
   10. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:58 AM (#3057757)
"middle infielders all over baseball"

quick and dirty; of the qualifying middle infielders in 2008:

- there were six second basemen and one shortstop with a 2008 OPS higher than Kent's career OPS
- two, Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utely, have a higher career OPS than Kent


i smell the void of a basic background check.
   11. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:58 AM (#3057758)
I'm sure it's possible to make some non-stat related arguments against Sheff's candidacy, but there's no way he's "definitely" not a HOFer. If he weren't an #######, he'd be an almost certain first-balloter.
Just for the hell of it, I'll try to make an argument against Gary's candidacy. I'll imagine we have numbers showing Gary is -10 per 162 on defense. Certainly his rep on defense isn't the best, and his range is...limited. He's never won an MVP, and only came reasonably close once, in 2004. His Black Ink is pitiful and despite hanging around for 21 seasons, he's not durable. He's only played 150 or more games 5 times. He's been something of a choker in the postseason, too, putting up an SLG below his OBP. Finally, guys with his OPS+ playing the OF corners, and badly at that, don't automatically stroll into the Hall. If you ding him for character, Gary's no shoo-in.

How was that?
   12. Marcel Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM (#3057759)
I think The Voice of America meant he is definitely not a hall of famer currently. As in, that's the only way that statement in the original article actually makes any sense at all.
   13. RollingWave Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:28 AM (#3057762)
The premise is wrong so the rest of it is just garbage. Kent is better than Ryne Sandberg is almost any single way, I don't think anyone think Rhino isn't a HOFer.

as for Sheffield, from a stats point of view, he's a HOFer. but the whole balco and other things might drag him down.

He's basically what people thought Jim Rice was, only that he's actually good. with a truely dominant OPS+ rate, and actually being a lot closer to milestone count stats.

Seriously:

Rafeal Palmerio : 130.1 WARP3,
Jim Rice: 80.1 WARP3
Gary Sheffield : 123.4

I guess the real test is wether Raffy gets in, if he does, there's no real way they can exclude Sheffield.
   14. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM (#3057767)
Was Jeff Kent feared? Walking Barry Bonds all those times to get to him clearly says to me "no".
   15. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM (#3057768)
Was Jeff Kent feared? Walking Barry Bonds all those times to get to him clearly says to me "no".
You misunderstand what is at issue, grasshopper. Pitchers were afraid not to pitch to Kent.

You may leave your donation on the silver tray next to the statue of Running Buddha, by the restroom. Go in peace.
   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM (#3057770)
Now wait a minute. At his peak Ryne Sandberg did everything on a ballfield and did it well. He hit for average, power, drew some walks, ran the bases well and played wonderful defense. He was the centerpiece of two incredibly flawed teams that he pushed into the postseason. And he was one of the most admired players in the game while active.

Jeff Kent was a surly fellow who could really hit. He was a latter day poor man's Hornsby. So he had real value and he made real contributions.

One can make a case for Jeff Kent without resorting to foolishness.
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:57 AM (#3057771)
My distaste for Sheffield is likely well known by.some of the BTF population. Gary did his best to undermine the Brewer organization and is almost certainly responsible for the team firing a very capable Tom Trebelhorn for the clearly inept Phil Garner. And don't get me started about Sal Bando as GM.

Sheffield is a Dick Allen wanna be. While Allen had legit reasons to be carrying a grudge that caused him at times to act out in ways that surprised those around Gary got peevish if he noticed his shadow following him. He resented the sun coming up in the East and ice cream being cold. Sheffield is only happy when he has reason to complain about being unhappy.

As a ballplayer he could really hit. He played in just about every awful hitters park and cranked out offense. When he gave a sh#t he could run down a flyball. He was a smart baserunner. When he had the right manager and a contract situation that wasn't too demeaning he could be engaging and not an open festering presence.

But when he stopped hitting teams stopped being interested. Nobody has looked to keep him around as some kind of "presence". Which is pretty common behavior on the best of ballclubs.

Folks here can tout Sheffield as he does have a fair amount that suggests he has a case.

But I wouldn't get all crazy about his chances at the HOF. Sheffield has baggage. And as the years pass we may discover more.....
   18. jwb Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM (#3057772)
So Jeff Kent is outstanding compared to his peer group (contemporary middle infielders), so we then need to compare his offensive accomplishments to those of corner outfielders. Was Bill Price born dumb or did he have to practice?
   19. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 12:02 PM (#3057773)
So Jeff Kent is outstanding compared to his peer group (contemporary middle infielders), so we then need to compare his offensive accomplishments to those of corner outfielders. Was Bill Price born dumb or did he have to practice?
He was too dumb to practice.
   20.   Posted: January 22, 2009 at 12:27 PM (#3057775)
Andres Gallarraga (399), Dale Murphy (398), Joe Carter (396), Jason Giambi (396), Vlad Guerrero (392), Craig Nettles (390), Dwight Evans (385), Harold Baines (384), Larry Walker (383) and Matt Williams (378) all have more homers. Only Guerrero has a legit shot to make it to Cooperstown.


No doubt.

He's talking about Jim Rice, right?
   21. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 22, 2009 at 12:33 PM (#3057776)
Sheffield has baggage. And as the years pass we may discover more.....

But is he the Snap to Greg Vaughn's Crackle and David Ortiz's Pop?
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 22, 2009 at 01:26 PM (#3057783)
Kent was never a great fielder. He had to hide somewhere and most teams chose to put him at second base.


Of course, because when you have a lousy fielder to hide somewhere, you always give him the easy position of second base to handle.
   23. Autobahn Posted: January 22, 2009 at 01:33 PM (#3057786)
Kent was never a great fielder. He had to hide somewhere and most teams chose to put him at second base.

Hide him at second base? What on earth has he been smoking? You don't hide people at an up the middle position.

Plus numerous times teams had the chance to move off 2nd base, infact the astros moved biggio off 2nd base to the outfield to make room for kent!

I'm from the UK, but please tell me the Daily News is some kind of low rent supermarket tabloid because i can't see how any decent paper would allow such trash.
   24. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 22, 2009 at 01:37 PM (#3057788)
Of course, because when you have a lousy fielder to hide somewhere, you always give him the easy position of second base to handle.

In my one year in Little League, I played one inning at second base.

One.
   25. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 22, 2009 at 01:55 PM (#3057792)
Price is obviously a moron, but at least he was correct in picking Guerrero as the only future HOFer amongst his list of no-so-apt comparators.

I have never heard of Kent being implicated in the PED scandal, which makes the following even more impressive:

Through his age 29 season (1997): .269 .324 .455
Career totals: .290 .356 .500

Whether they can hit or not, not too many players have held down a starting 2B job through age 40, so his defense can't possibly have been that bad.
   26. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 22, 2009 at 02:38 PM (#3057805)
In the "Kent retires" thread Ryan Jones posted, in re: to Kent's chances at the Hall of Fame, at #7:

Because of his totals, he's also likely to be compared against the standards for more traditionally offensive positions.


I never thought there would be evidence of it less than 24 hours later. I'm guess that if Kent finished at .300 with 299 home runs he'd go in more easily.
   27. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:05 PM (#3057815)
Sheffield is a Dick Allen wanna be. While Allen had legit reasons to be carrying a grudge that caused him at times to act out in ways that surprised those around Gary got peevish if he noticed his shadow following him. He resented the sun coming up in the East and ice cream being cold. Sheffield is only happy when he has reason to complain about being unhappy.
Someone shoulda been a writer. That shadow comment is hilaripus.

Yet one more data point to show how the media hires sportswriters for their story telling abilities and not their ability to perform any sort of comparative analysis.
   28. TomH Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:15 PM (#3057823)
Name all of the players who played at least half of their careers at 2B or SS, who came to the majors after 1965, who you think should be in the Hall of Fame.

So far the Hall has elected, what, two? (Ryno and Cal). 35 years of middle infielders, and that's it (am I missing some)? The lack of HoF middle infielders in the late 1900s will be udderly glaring in 20 years if not corrected. Larkin, Trammell, Kent, Grich, Whitaker; the BBWAA is inane in the aggregate.
   29. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:21 PM (#3057828)
Yount, Ozzie, Morgan...
   30. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:21 PM (#3057829)
Name all of the players who played at least half of their careers at 2B or SS, who came to the majors after 1965, who you think should be in the Hall of Fame.

So far the Hall has elected, what, two? (Ryno and Cal). 35 years of middle infielders, and that's it (am I missing some)? The lack of HoF middle infielders in the late 1900s will be udderly glaring in 20 years if not corrected. Larkin, Trammell, Kent, Grich, Whitaker; the BBWAA is inane in the aggregate.


Ozzie Smith also comes to mind. Joe Morgan misses your cutoff only because of a couple cups of coffee. Rod Carew just misses on the games at 2B criteria, but is still thought of as a 2B.

EDIT: As Dan R notes, Yount as well, although he barely makes the 50% criteria.
   31. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:23 PM (#3057831)
If we follow the criteria Price has set out, there's no way Derek Jeter is making the Hall.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3057833)
If we follow the criteria Price has set out, there's no way Derek Jeter is making the Hall.


He played SS, not 2B. You don't hide a bad fielder at SS. Besides, he has yet to play the mighty counter-argument of COUNT TEH RINGZZZZ!
   33. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:46 PM (#3057846)
In my one year in Little League, I played one inning at second base.

You may have hit the nail on the head. This sportswriter may never have seen a game outside of Little League. In the early stages of Little League, you usually do hide the poor fielder at second base. Everyone pulls the ball, so with the preponderance of righties the 2B doesn't get much action. If the ball is hit to him and he misses, it's a single, no big deal. The best players need to be at first base since not everyone can catch a thrown ball, and in the outfield where there are more chances and worse things happen if there's an error. Plus the 2B is where you put the weakest arm anyway.
   34. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 03:58 PM (#3057857)
I mean, how can one doubt the intelligence of a sportswriter who yells "steroids!" as a substitute for logic and misspells Galarraga?


It was an intentional misspelling. The author spelled it that way as a subtle dig at how "galling" Kent's HoF case is.

Always look for the deeper meaning, Ray. It's out there.
   35. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:02 PM (#3057863)
Everyone pulls the ball, so with the preponderance of righties the 2B doesn't get much action.
Really? It's been a dozen years since I watched my kids flail at LL (following in their father's footsteps at flailing*) and a lot of the weaker kids were lucky to push a ball fair. I agree with the other points of course.

* I can hear Walt Frazier announcing, "Edmundo's up there flailin' and failin'"
   36. Mike Green Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:12 PM (#3057874)
Joe Mauer has 44 homers in over 4 seasons. The man's lucky to have a job, I say.
   37. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:15 PM (#3057879)
I thought in the EARLY stages of little league you hid the bad players at RF and CF, because hardly anyone hits fly balls so they ball gets to them even less than it does to the 2B.
   38. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:17 PM (#3057880)
I'm from the UK, but please tell me the Daily News is some kind of low rent supermarket tabloid because i can't see how any decent paper would allow such trash.

I don't think bad newspapers are more likely to be in the supermarket, but the Daily News is in fact a low rent tabloid, so consider yourself reassured. However, it may be that low rent tabloids are the only newspapers that still exist here in a decade, except money-losing right-wing vanity productions. And the quality of the sports section is not necessarily correlated with the quality of the paper anyway.
   39. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:17 PM (#3057881)
The author spelled it that way as a subtle dig at how "galling" Kent's HoF case is.

What's his excuse for writing "Craig Nettles"?
   40. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:18 PM (#3057883)
What's his excuse for writing "Craig Nettles"?


He's still drunk.

Or, more likely, an Autocorrect function on his spellchecker.
   41. Danny Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:29 PM (#3057893)
But when he stopped hitting teams stopped being interested. Nobody has looked to keep him around as some kind of "presence". Which is pretty common behavior on the best of ballclubs.

After putting up a 107 OPS+ (below average for a corner OFer, especially with his defense) at age 37, the Yankees exercised their $13M option on him. Then the Tigers traded some actual talent for the privilege of extending Sheff for another 2 years--through age 40--at $14M per year.

There's a fine line between recognizing that a player has baggage and using that baggage to paint a revisionist picture of his career.
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3057906)
I think that Kent's HOF candidacy is going to depend on the extent to which the voting population discounts the value of HRs for players whose careers spanned the "steroid era". I think that there will be a sizable fraction of the voting population that WILL discount Kent's HRs - even if there is no suggestion that Kent himself was a user - and that he might very well end up on the "out" side of the in/out line as a result.

-- MWE
   43. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:53 PM (#3057915)
There might also be a contingent who views him as a 3B rather than a 2B, because his defensive contributions are perceived as being closer to a 3B than a 2B.

I know the consensus here is that he's a shoo-in, but my intuition tells me he'll be one of those guys who has to sit on the ballot for about a decade before he gets in.
   44. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3057917)
The author spelled it that way as a subtle dig at how "galling" Kent's HoF case is.

What's his excuse for writing "Craig Nettles"?


Astigmatism?
   45. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:02 PM (#3057927)
There might also be a contingent who views him as a 3B rather than a 2B, because his defensive contributions are perceived as being closer to a 3B than a 2B.


That's unfair - not that it won't happen, of course. As Autobahn notes in #23, when it came to a choice between Biggio and Kent the Astros chose to move Biggio. They very easily could have shifted Kent to 3B (Ensberg had just come up, but didn't play especially well in his cuppa in 2002 and wound up in a semi-platoon with Blum for much of '03); they didn't. IIRC, there was some talk when he was in SF about moving him to 3B; the Giants didn't do that, either.

-- MWE
   46. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:08 PM (#3057931)
That's unfair - not that it won't happen, of course. As Autobahn notes in #23, when it came to a choice between Biggio and Kent the Astros chose to move Biggio. They very easily could have shifted Kent to 3B (Ensberg had just come up, but didn't play especially well in his cuppa in 2002 and wound up in a semi-platoon with Blum for much of '03); they didn't. IIRC, there was some talk when he was in SF about moving him to 3B; the Giants didn't do that, either.


And if you raise that to a writer like this one, you'll hear that:
- Kent didn't have the arm for 3B, or they would have put him there
- Kent didn't have the bat for 1B, or they would have put him there
- Kent didn't have the legs for CF, or they would have put him there
Thus, the only spot to hide Kent was at 2B, where his weaknesses could do the least damage. When you've got somoeone who is making as poor an argument as Mr. Price, then reality no longer matters.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:14 PM (#3057935)
Danny:

My understanding was that after his 2008 season Sheffield wasn't part of the Tigers plans for 2009.

Meaning that as soon as he stopped hitting as evidenced by a 90 OPS he wasn't considered necessary. Contrast that with the obvious case of Brad Asmus having his pick of teams as a backup catcher.

There is no revisionism here. Sheffield has wandered around the league. Some by his own choosing some by the team's choosing. And the only reason he found homes is because he could hit. Nobody picked up Gary to field or lead the team.

And all the talk of leadership in NY has to be deemed tainted because of the source(es). What, folks here are going to mock the NY media for 1001 other situations and when it comes to Sheffield the response is, "Well, of course if Mike Lupica writes it it must be so"

Good grief.......
   48. AROM Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3057938)
Does this guy have a HOF ballot? I'd be interested to see who he voted for this year. I wonder if he thinks a LF/DH with a similar HR total and 1 MVP award deserved to go in.
   49. AROM Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:19 PM (#3057940)
My understanding was that after his 2008 season Sheffield wasn't part of the Tigers plans for 2009.


I thought he was. Simply because he's got a year left on the contract and no trade value.
   50. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:24 PM (#3057944)
I wonder if Kent will get the intangible "winner" credit. He played for a lot of good teams.
   51. Danny Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3057947)
Detroit News from yesterday:

"I think our ballclub will score enough runs," Dombrowski said, ticking off the starting nine, including designated hitter Gary Sheffield , whom Dombrowski believes will have a big year.


And Brad Ausmus is considered the Babe Ruth of intangible leadershipishness. Saying Sheff is no Ausmus in the clubhouse is like saying he's no Rith on the field. True, but not really the proper HOF test.
   52. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3057948)
I wonder if Kent will get the intangible "winner" credit. He played for a lot of good teams.


How many WS rings does he have? None? Then no "winner" credit for him.

I'm sure some writer will also say (if they remember that he played for the Jays) that the Jays never won a WS until they traded Kent away.
   53. The Good Face Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:29 PM (#3057950)
My understanding was that after his 2008 season Sheffield wasn't part of the Tigers plans for 2009.

Meaning that as soon as he stopped hitting as evidenced by a 90 OPS he wasn't considered necessary. Contrast that with the obvious case of Brad Asmus having his pick of teams as a backup catcher.


Even if true (I'm not paying much attention to the AL central these days), I'm not sure what the point is. For most of his career, Sheffield was a corner OF with a big bat and adequate defense. Now, it appears the bat is gone. A team getting rid of an old, expensive RF with no bat and average at best defensive value seems like a rational decision to me.

Ausmus has the rep of being a good defensive player, he won't be playing more than 30ish games a year, and the vast majority of backup catchers can't hit anyway. Not saying signing him is a great decision, but it's at least defensible if the money is low.

Not that I'm arguing Sheffield isn't a jerk, but I don't really see that his jerkishness is the reason Detroit is letting him go. If they in fact are.
   54. John Lynch Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:30 PM (#3057953)
You think we need one more? You think we need one more. All right, we'll get one more.

This is awesome. My hat is off to you!
   55. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:41 PM (#3057975)
Danny:

I appreciate the info on the Tigers. I like to keep up but clearly missed on that one.

But I remain firm that Sheffield's career contains sufficient baggage that will weigh on his HOF candidacy, fairly or unfairly.

If folks here are going to insist otherwise and claim revisionism then they are ignoring the obvious.

And just for those who may need to be pointed in the right direction to research:

--the departure from Milwaukee (intentional errors or not it was unpleasant)

--the departure from San Diego (somewhat justified but still notable)

--the Florida stay where his manager more than once "got on his case" around lack of exertion outside the batters box including a public dressing down over a flop in right field

--the time in LA which had some interesting moments including shots at the GM, ownership and I think the hot dog vendors (last one was made up--laugh a little here)

My fingers are getting tired. Is that enough of a churlish path to help folks do their study into Gary's "baggage"?
   56. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:42 PM (#3057979)
What's his excuse for writing "Craig Nettles"?

Maybe he was reading the name off of Nettles' 1981 Fleer card?
   57. Suff Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:44 PM (#3057982)
I didn't suffer watching Kent as the Astros' 2B. He didn't have a lot of range, but he caught what was hit to him, seemed to be in good position a lot of the time out of nowhere, and had a good arm for a 2B (that was good on the DP).

In fact, watching Kent on the DP and then old Biggio was a study in contrasts: Kent wasn't particularly quick but always put a strong throw to 1B; Biggio was lightning quick on the exchange and then blooped the ball to first. And the Astros were good with double plays throughout that time.
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3057986)
Regarding Kent's defense he was adequate. He was poor going to his right but otherwise made most of the plays and did stick his nose in there to turn two which if you get ANYTHING from a second baseman it had better be the pivot. Seen too many young fellas with the jelly leg..........
   59. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3057988)
He didn't have a lot of range, but he caught what was hit to him, seemed to be in good position a lot of the time out of nowhere, and had a good arm for a 2B (that was good on the DP).

This is my take as well from watching him a lot when he was on the Giants. All this talk of his horrible defense is BS.
   60. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3057999)
He's basically what people thought Jim Rice was, only that he's actually good.

Yeah. If you want the opposing batter I "feared" the most, it's Sheffield. That frickin' bat waggle...
   61. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:07 PM (#3058005)
It is curious that with so many writers willing to cast out innuendo Kent seems to be made of teflon. And with a career resume that fits the so-called "profile" that folks of that nature are willing to use as their "smoking gun".

He's puttering along hitting double digit homers a year and then all of the sudden he's slugging .500 plus setting career highs well into his 30's? While playing alongside only the biggest arch-enemy since Dr. Octopus?

And he gets a pass? Really?

I am not interested in another smear campaign but this strikes me as more than a little odd.......
   62. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:11 PM (#3058009)
And he gets a pass? Really?

Kent was outspoken in calling for more and better drug testing, including blood testing for hGH. Plus, he's TJ Simers' BFF.
   63. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3058029)
Re: Little League

All I know is, I was always stuck in the outfield!
   64. GEB4000 Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:39 PM (#3058039)
Kent has the career arc of a user, but he also has the career arc of a guy who started a serious weighlifting program in his mid to late twenties.
   65. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3058049)
And he gets a pass? Really?

I am not interested in another smear campaign but this strikes me as more than a little odd.......


This is why I choose not to worry about steroids. We will never ever know what really went on, so let's just focus what happened on the field. Some villains will pass through our net, but we will benefit by becoming slight less the asholes about it as we are now. (Full disclosure: I'm all for trying to ferret steroids out of the game and the current testing and continued diligence is a good thing. Trying to extraplolate backwards, though, seems silly to me. Why do I feel like I just painted a target onto my back? Ah well. #### it all.)
   66. AROM Posted: January 22, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3058053)
As for Sheffield, the fact he'll be the Tiger's DH this year says nothing about intangibles, merely that his contract is still in effect. If he were a free agent this offseason I doubt he'd even get an offer.
   67. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3058062)
As for Sheffield, the fact he'll be the Tiger's DH this year says nothing about intangibles, merely that his contract is still in effect. If he were a free agent this offseason I doubt he'd even get an offer.

That was a terrible deal for the Tigers. I steal can't understand why they made the trade, much less extended Sheff, except that Ilitch dropped a gigantic bag of money on Dombrowski's desk and he felt pressure to spend it.
   68. OCF Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3058081)
Re: Little League

All I know is, I was always stuck in the outfield!


From my time in association with a Little League team (mostly as scorekeeper, with some light extra coaching duties): Even in the LL "majors", the best athletes on each team are almost always infielders. The top guys alternate between SS and P, with some 3B and 1B mixed in some of the time. The stereotype for 2B is someone who is smaller and younger, but still a good athlete. One of the hazards with the league All-Star team at the end of the season is that nearly everyone on the team played infield all year, and some of them are going to now have to move to the outfield.

For the team I was most closely associated with, the manager's son had an unusual "career" path, which I'm highlighting precisely because it was unusual. As a 10 year old, he played the whole season at 2B; in fact he accumulated more innings at that position than anyone else on the team did at any single other position. He was a good athlete, including that he was fast. The normal expectation for someone like that would be that he would be a SS when he was 12. But instead, he stopped playing infield altogether and took up CF - and stood out as the league's outstanding defensive OF (and perhaps only good defensive OF). I remember that in rooting for this team, my instant reaction to an upward trajectory for a ball off an opponent's bat was "Got him!" which just isn't what you usually think with most LL outfields.

The LL defensive spectrum goes something like this: P-SS-C-1B-3B-2B-CF-LF-RF, but you'll never learn that from offensive stats as the best hitters cluster toward the left side of the spectrum. (Of course, a player who throws left will see a different spectrum.)
   69. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3058083)
I steal can't understand why they made the trade

I just now noticed my Freudian slip.
   70. Danny Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3058090)
Harvey, as I said before, there's a difference between recognizing Sheffield's "baggage" and allowing your distaste for him to create a false narrative of his career (no one will play him now because he's a jerk).
   71. DCA Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:24 PM (#3058091)
That was a terrible deal for the Tigers. I steal can't understand why they made the trade, much less extended Sheff, except that Ilitch dropped a gigantic bag of money on Dombrowski's desk and he felt pressure to spend it.

I thought it was an overpay at the time, and it hasn't turned out well, but Sheff hit really well in 2007 before getting hurt. >950 OPS through late July when the collapse started, "down" to 279/383/495 when he went on the DL, and he hasn't hit at all since. Yeah, injuries are a #####, and Sheff's not an iron man, but if the Tigers had scouted him and predicted his pre-injury level of play, then trade was a steal.
   72. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:26 PM (#3058094)
Little League. You've got to hope that the one kid willing to play catcher is good. Because you need a good catcher but you can't really make people play there.

The kid who plays first base is usually the 3rd or 4th best kid on the team. He can play the position adequately and hits okay. You have to hope you don't have a mediocre lefty on the team, because if you do he'll get stuck there despite not really being any good.

The best two players will usually trade off at SS and pitcher. Some coaches will believe that the OF positions are important, but if they try and stick the good players out there, it'll soon become obvious that there just aren't many flyballs. There's plenty for the outfielders to do, but it's mostly picking up groundballs that made it through the infield.

My last year I was slotted as that rare combination: pitcher/centerfield for the first half of the season. During that time I had (maybe) 5 or 6 chances at putouts. Eventually I got moved to SS/3B.

I actually think third base is the "easiest" infield position for little league, mostly because it's almost assumed that you're not going to throw someone out from all the way over there. And if you make a mistake, it probably doesn't do too much damage. On the other hand, a grounder to second base is GOLD for little league. You'll never get a better opportunity to get a precious out so you really have to make good on it.
   73. DCA Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3058101)
The year that I was the 2nd best player on my LL team, I played almost exclusively 2B. The year I was the best, I mostly split between SS and C. The year that I sucked relative to the rest of the team, I played everywhere, but mostly 2B and RF.
   74. Blackadder Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:32 PM (#3058104)
From my (exceptionally limited) experience, little league hitters just couldn't go the other way with any power. I was plopped in RF, and I don't think I fielded more than a couple balls all season (and a good thing, too). Perhaps this is different in higher quality Little League play.
   75. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:34 PM (#3058107)
Yeah, injuries are a #####, and Sheff's not an iron man, but if the Tigers had scouted him and predicted his pre-injury level of play, then trade was a steal.

I have no doubt he could still hit, but he was becoming increasingly fragile and he was ######## about his contract before the trade was even made. Even then the trade was defensible, but the extension was just nuts. IIRC the Yanks picked up his option so he was under contract anyway. The Tigers should ahve just let him play that year out and let him go. When Sheff made a stink about not getting an extension, they should have just passed. This isn't hindsight as I thought this at the time, as well. Of course, I'm usually wrong so my being right in this case means nothing, really. Blind pig and acorn and all that.
   76. Poochie Mahoney Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:46 PM (#3058118)
As a Tigers fan, the important thing about Sheffield was that he he walked a lot. When he joined the team, way too many of the Tigers hitters were hackers. Sheff, in 133 games, led the team in walks in 2007 (with the 3rd best OBP). In 2008, in 114 games and a merely so-so year, was second in walks to Granderson (although his OBP was very low). This is subjective and not entirely bourne out by the stats either, but I've not seen a better base stealer in terms of getting the most out of so-so speed than Sheff. In 2007, he stole 22 bases, the second highest in his career, and if I recall, they seemed effortless.
   77. Dr Stankus and the Semicolons Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3058124)
What year did Sheff become a regular?

He had 24 games at age 19, then 95, then 125. At age 22 in 1991 he dropped down to 50, only hitting 194/277/320. Was he hurt or in the minors or both?

His mid 20s weren't great. Only 87 and 63 games for age 25 and 26, respectively.
   78. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3058127)
He had 24 games at age 19, then 95, then 125. At age 22 in 1991 he dropped down to 50, only hitting 194/277/320. Was he hurt or in the minors or both?


Either hurt, or benched due to sucking - the Baseball Cube shows no minor league time that year.
   79. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:54 PM (#3058128)
Should I even bother to RTFA? I'm already dumber just for having read the excerpt.
   80. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 22, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3058133)
His mid 20s weren't great. Only 87 and 63 games for age 25 and 26, respectively.


Well, to be fair, the 87 games were in a 115 game season.
   81. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:02 PM (#3058138)
Either hurt, or benched due to sucking

As I recall, he was hurt most of that year.
   82. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:15 PM (#3058147)
My Little League comment was a bit broad. Things change a lot as the kids get older. In Tee Ball and coach-pitch, I stand by my statement that 2B is where you hide a guy.

By the time you get to kid-pitch, almost everybody can catch a thrown ball, so 1B is where you put the kid who can't move. Also, with kid-pitch you get more kids who can't catch up with the fastballs thrown by the other kids, so you get more weak grounders to 2B. Also, the game is mostly strikeouts and grounders at that point, so the IF defense becomes much more important.

At the higher levels of kid-pitch you get the spectrum more along the lines of the majors where you need a catcher who can throw out basestealers, your middle infield needs to scoop up balls and turn the DP, and your CF needs to be able to get the ball.
   83. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:18 PM (#3058154)
So far the Hall has elected, what, two? (Ryno and Cal). 35 years of middle infielders, and that's it (am I missing some)? The lack of HoF middle infielders in the late 1900s will be udderly glaring in 20 years if not corrected. Larkin, Trammell, Kent, Grich, Whitaker; the BBWAA is inane in the aggregate.

Folks have pointed out the exceptions but the general point is true. Writers may not quite expect corner-level offense from 2B/3B but something close to it (SS is different). Kent has 9573 PA and a 123 career OPS+ and a poor defensive rep (actual performance aside). Ron Santo had 9396 PA and a 125 career OPS+ and 5 gold gloves. Whitaker had 9967 PA and a 116 career OPS+ and 3 GG. Grich we all know about. Nettles, Cey, Darrell Evans and probably Matt Williams are probably not induction-worthy but have reasonable cases but disappeared immediately. Trammell, a SS fer crying out loud, is going through this.

I think Kent will make it -- the MVP helps a lot, the records at his position help a lot. But then he's got a lot of competition from Alomar and Biggio. Biggio's in for sure with 3000 hits so I wouldn't be surprised if one of Alomar/Kent got screwed.

And HW already dealt with the Sandberg comparison so I'll give that a pass.
   84. Srul Itza Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:18 PM (#3058155)
But I remain firm that Sheffield's career contains sufficient baggage that will weigh on his HOF candidacy, fairly or unfairly.

No disagreement here. His reputation will clearly be a drag on his chances. His ability, and the menacing figure he cut at the plate, waggling the bat like a magic wand, will cut in his favor. I think something should also be said about the fact that, even with all the time he missed, he played a good bit of time with injuries that would have kept others out of the line-up.

If he makes it, it will probably take a very good many years. If he does not, I will not be completely surprised. If he has a big bounce-back year in 2009, that could change the calculus.
   85. Dr Stankus and the Semicolons Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3058164)
Hmm, I didn't realize that b-r would do this. For the 94 season, if you normalize stats, it adjusts games played. It shows for 123 games. Interesting.

He gets 13 additional HR for missed strike games. That only leaves 8 if you neutralize his stats. That doesn't seem that he was overly penalized for playing in pitchers parks.
   86. Srul Itza Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:28 PM (#3058169)
I wouldn't be surprised if one of Alomar/Kent got screwed.

I think Alomar is pretty much a slam dunk, because he combines a .300 average with a reputation as one of the greatest defensive second basemen of all times, with a record 10 2B gold gloves, and 12 All Star appearances. Our modern pbp-based metrics may say otherwise, but the BBWAA are as likely to give that credit as they are VORP. He goes in, in 3 ballots or less.

Kent may have to wait a good long time, until the current bulge of sure-thing Hall of Famers passes. Even then, he may not make it if enough people buy into the "lousy fielder" rep.
   87. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3058173)
As I recall, he was hurt most of that year.


Was he actually hurt, or was he "My god, you suck, but we can't send you down because you're out of options so we're just going to stick you on the DL until we figure out why you suck" hurt?
   88. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 22, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3058196)
I think something should also be said about the fact that, even with all the time he missed, he played a good bit of time with injuries that would have kept others out of the line-up.

He played his ass off for the Yankees in '04 despite not being able to lift his left arm above his shoulder.
   89. Dizzypaco Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:18 PM (#3058218)
When deciding on whether to vote for a guy for the Hall of Fame, one of the main criteria used, is "did I, and the majority of other writers, think of this guy as a Hall of famer, or anything like it," while he was active. For Kent, the answer seems to be no, while for Alomar it would definitely be yes. One of the ways to evaluate how a guy is viewed when active is the number of all star games he made. Kent made five, and there have been very few everyday players inducted after making only five all star games.

Sheffield has made quite a bit more, which suggests that there was something of a consensus of him as a great player when active. While Sheffield's reputation doesn't scream Hall of Famer, my guess is that Sheffield makes it, after several chances, and that Kent never does. Kent has neither the career stats nor the reputation as a great player at his peak to make it in the Hall. I think writers view his MVP as a fluke. In short, I think they'll view him as the Ted Simmons of the past 15 years - a very good but not great hitter for several years who played a key defensive position but wasn't very good at it.
   90. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3058237)
Little League. You've got to hope that the one kid willing to play catcher is good. Because you need a good catcher but you can't really make people play there.

I played catcher for a little while in Little League (and liked it!) until my knees couldn't take it anymore. That was unfortunate for me (much reduced playing time since I sucked at hitting) and the team (since no one else wanted to catch).
   91. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3058274)
I played some 1B in LL (as I later did in fast-pitch softball, along with catching), but most I was in the OF. My problem was that the best player we had (even though he was the manager's son, he was a pretty good player in the Pittsburgh semi-pro ranks for a long time, so he wasn't exactly chopped liver in LL) was left-handed, and while he did play CF for a while, we weren't doing very well so he was moved back to 1B and my PT was cut in half. We did better when I wasn't playing as much - which should tell you why I never played baseball past LL.

-- MWE
   92. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3058286)
Kent has the career arc of a user, but he also has the career arc of a guy who started a serious weighlifting program in his mid to late twenties.
It's also easy to mistake creatine use for steroid use. The former makes it very, very easy to put on 15-20 pounds of muscle in a single offseason, makes it easy to keep that weight on during a long season, and is reputed to help limit the fatiguing effect of lactose acid build up during exercise or play.

Sheff's extension by the Yankees did seem to me like a typical Yankee overpay, throwing far too much money at a ballplayer who was just filler at that point. I'm always pleased to see those. A handful of $5-10 million dollar errors, and that's another superstar they can't afford to sign.

I'd be willing to bet a few bucks that if Gary breaks a leg washing his truck this offseason and never gets back to the majors, that given all the flaws in his resume I posted in 11 he doesn't make the Hall.

Ah, little league. I recall it was absolutely essential to have someone who could catch at first base. Games got awfully long when you had a tall kid there who reacted three seconds too late to every throw. Height there was overvalued, since with a lot of throws the 1bman needed not to just stretch, but take several steps to get to the throw, then he had to be quick enough to beat the runner to the back.
   93. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:12 PM (#3058293)
I would think lefty/righty doesn't matter too much in LL. If the best player is lefty, play him at SS. He'll still be more effective than an average righty.
   94. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:34 PM (#3058313)
Playing SS lefthanded is extremely difficult to do, even in little league. Although we played a lefty as our primary SS one year that I coached, I've also seen a number of extremely good athletes who just couldn't do it.
   95. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:35 PM (#3058317)
I was a P, SS, and CF.

I volunteered to catch one time, it lasted an inning.
   96. Srul Itza Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:48 PM (#3058326)
When deciding on whether to vote for a guy for the Hall of Fame, one of the main criteria used, is "did I, and the majority of other writers, think of this guy as a Hall of famer, or anything like it," while he was active. For Kent, the answer seems to be no

Does it? I seem to be seeing as many yesses as noes on that in the articles to date. Guys like Verducci are saying yes. Hell, even this article starts out:

There’s a guy who works here at The Daily News who insists Kent is Cooperstown bound. No doubt about it, he says. I hear the same sentiment on radio and TV.
   97. OCF Posted: January 22, 2009 at 10:59 PM (#3058336)
I actually think third base is the "easiest" infield position for little league, mostly because it's almost assumed that you're not going to throw someone out from all the way over there.

The year my son was 11 and in the "minor A" league (10-12 year olds not selected for the "majors"), he played quite a bit of 3B. I don't think he ever recorded a 5-3 assist - but he did have an unassisted double play. (The batter hit a jam shot that was too low to call a popup and too soft to call a line drive. My son ran in and caught it 3 or 4 steps in front of the bag. The runner left the bag on contact and wandered half-heartedly about that far down the line. Every adult in the place, coach or fan, was screaming at the boys. Eventually the runner processed all of the information and headed back - but my son had tuned out the screamers because he knew what to do and had already stepped on the bag.)

But at the "majors" LL level, a 3B would be expected to turn a 5-3 or 5-4 and even be on the putout end of an 8-5 or 9-5.

Myself- I was mostly an OF in LL. In youth leagues for slightly older kids, I did learn the mechanics of 1B and played it some, along with RF and LF. Being slow and clumsy doesn't leave too many good opportunities.
   98. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2009 at 11:40 PM (#3058372)
the menacing figure (Sheffield) cut at the plate, waggling the bat like a magic wand,

One of my favorite who-da-thunks:

Sheffield on-contact: 334 BA, 590 SLG
Jose Hernandez on-contact: 361 BA, 598 SLG

Sheffield really wasn't a terror when he hit the ball, not by today's standards. His batting eye and plate discipline were "menacing."
   99. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 23, 2009 at 12:14 AM (#3058392)
Danny:

I am working to maintain my temper as you not only misrepresenting my stance but also history.

Players who hit as a stock in trade who are also PERCEIVED as being difficult DO NOT PLAY WHEN THEY STOP HITTING. Period. That is a truism throughout baseball and if you insist otherwise I can provide multiple examples without resorting to any references. Or have you already forgotten DAve Kingman?

There is no "false narrative". My understanding, since proven incorrect, was that the Tigers had said so long despite the cash. Which would make sense based on WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED in baseball with guys who hit but are also difficult personalities. When they stop hitting the baggage is not worth it.

This really galls me. Whatever my distaste my Sheffield I have always acknowledged his skills and spoken to the facts. I work mightily to stick to what is KNOWN.

It's clear now that whatever I write is being interpreted as an effort to portray Sheffield in a worse light than which he has ALREADY CREATED FOR HIMSELF.

Which is nonsense......
   100. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 23, 2009 at 12:23 AM (#3058399)
Players who hit as a stock in trade who are also PERCEIVED as being difficult DO NOT PLAY WHEN THEY STOP HITTING. Period.

Gee, Harv, you say that almost as if it's a bad thing.
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