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Friday, December 31, 2010

Conlin: Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez belong in Hall of Fame

Now it’s my turn to vote and your turn to think
Down in the bill 1 chair

Juan Gonzalez . . .

This was one helluvan offensive ballplayer. More than that, however, his presence on the ballot with numbers that won him two American League MVP awards with the Texas Rangers made me realize that Roberto Clemente is the only Latino outfielder in the Hall of Fame. Time for No. 2.

The guy banged 42 or more homers five times and also hit .310 or better five times and drove in 100 or more runs eight times. He led the league with 157 RBI in 1998, the year he had an amazing 101 at the All-Star break, raising speculation he might be the first guy to threaten Hack Wilson’s otherworldly 191 RBI. In the 1996 ALDS against the Yankees, JuanGon blasted five homers and drove in nine runs. So, yeah, I voted for him, as well.

...I voted for six candidates, which I believes ties my HOF ballot high. The keys to Cooperstown are handed out sparingly. It’s tough to get voted in and it’s supposed to be that way, which is why it is the greatest sports Hall of Fame.

I voted for holdovers Blyleven, Alomar, Larkin and Morris. Plus first-timers Bagwell and Gonzalez.

Repoz Posted: December 31, 2010 at 10:43 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, phillies

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. G.W.O. Posted: December 31, 2010 at 11:08 AM (#3720712)
Those two players go together like ... Blood And Chocolate?
   2. Ron J Posted: December 31, 2010 at 11:42 AM (#3720713)
#1 I've always preferred peanut butter and motor oil.
   3. Rusty Priske Posted: December 31, 2010 at 01:28 PM (#3720722)
Bagwell yes.

Gonzalez no.
   4. RTSquared is not on the Rangers' DL...yet... Posted: December 31, 2010 at 01:36 PM (#3720726)
TEH FEAR!!! part deux, anyone?
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 31, 2010 at 01:42 PM (#3720728)
el miedo?
   6. G.W.O. Posted: December 31, 2010 at 01:49 PM (#3720729)
#2 I want you to know that next time round my analogy will be uncomplicated. I hope you're happy now.
   7. TR_Sullivan Posted: December 31, 2010 at 02:08 PM (#3720734)
Conlin was one of six writers not to vote for Nolan Ryan. He wrote a column saying that you have to be really special to be voted by him in your first year of eligibility. He said Ryan did not fit that criteria. His column was the very definition of why some writers won't vote for "first ballot" candidates.

Not saying I agree or disagree with these votes, just interesting that he decided that Gonzalez is a first-ballot guy.
   8. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: December 31, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3720739)
Conlin's 1999 column. It's a little ambiguous, but it seems like he voted for Brett in his first year of eligibility that year.
   9. Big fan Posted: December 31, 2010 at 03:15 PM (#3720757)
Well, on his 6 votes, he got 4 right. Morris and JuanGone? Blah.
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 31, 2010 at 03:20 PM (#3720760)
Conlin likes the three true outcomes, BA, HR and RBI.
   11. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 31, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3720761)
The keys to Cooperstown are handed out sparingly. It’s tough to get voted in and it’s supposed to be that way, which is why it is the greatest sports Hall of Fame.

Which is why we vote for Juan Gonzalez, eh?
   12. Ron Johnson Posted: December 31, 2010 at 03:50 PM (#3720769)
#6 Of course I'm happy.
   13. frannyzoo Posted: December 31, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3720777)
Happy perhaps, but Juan in the HOF is such a brilliant mistake it makes me almost blue.
   14. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 31, 2010 at 04:22 PM (#3720778)
Maybe I'm paying more attention this year than last, but it seems like there have been a lot of strange ballots. Not "good" or "bad" per se, which are (to a large extent, anyway) subjective, but strange combinations of players.
   15. Andy H. Posted: December 31, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3720779)
Roberto Clemente is the only Latino outfielder in the Hall of Fame. Time for No. 2.


Why not just wait for Manny and Vlad?
   16. Juan V Posted: December 31, 2010 at 04:43 PM (#3720789)
Bert, Bagwell, and Larkin are in this ballot. It could be a lot worse.
   17. Bad Doctor Posted: December 31, 2010 at 04:45 PM (#3720792)
If the BBWAA was going to "Jim Rice" somebody, I'm not sure why it should have been Rice instead of Juan Gone. Gonzalez has all the MVP voting shares and black ink of Rice, and if a voter was ever going to cite TEH FEAR for a candidate (not that I think it's a good idea), citing Gonzalez in the 1996 ALDS gets closer to the target than anything Rice ever did.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: December 31, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3720818)
Maybe I'm paying more attention this year than last, but it seems like there have been a lot of strange ballots. Not "good" or "bad" per se, which are (to a large extent, anyway) subjective, but strange combinations of players.


in some respects I hope that continues, not for the likes of Juan or Morris, but for the most part Alomar and Blyleven are probably going in, and I imagine Bagwell is very close(if not in) but the rest of the ballot has more than 10 people that deserve consideration and better arguments, and to see them off the ballot(one and done) is not doing them justice. I already get the feeling that Kevin Brown won't make it past the 5% threshold, which is a crime(he's clearly better than Morris) but these non-sensical ballots might help keep a lot of deserving players around for a while longer.
   19. jmp Posted: December 31, 2010 at 05:30 PM (#3720823)
I went to B-ref and hadn't previously noticed the handy Hall Of Fame candidates with career stats page. Had no idea that Surhoff has more career WAR than Gonzalez.
   20. TomH Posted: December 31, 2010 at 06:00 PM (#3720851)
Dear Bill C:
If you were able to pick an all-star team, it might finish 4th. You seem to think that RBI is the be-all of stats; this would be like claiming that FG kickers are the best players in the NFL because they score the most points.
player games ... AB . runs Hits ... D - T - HR .BB . RBI .SB AVG . OBP. SLG
JuanGone 1689 6556 1061 1936 388 25 434 . 457 1404 . 26 .295 .343 .561
Bag Pipes 2150 7797 1517 2314 488 32 449 1401 1558 202 .297 .408 .540

Alow me to introduce you to this thing called "walks"; it's what makes people realize pitchers are bad if they issue too many, and what MOST people understand that is GOOD for hitters, since it helps them score RUNS, which helps their teams win GAMES. As in, Jeff Bagewell drew lots of walks, and since he also was a good baserunner, he scored a lot more runs than Mr. Gonzalez. A lot more. Much much more. A huge amount more. Can I say it some other way? Bagwell got on base more, and scored many more runs. The difference between having Bagwell versus Gonzalez on your team is a chasm, a canyon, a biggy amount. That fact that you don't see this speaks volumes about your lack of insight regarding what makes a good baseball player.
   21. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: December 31, 2010 at 06:32 PM (#3720867)
Number 20, you realize he's voting for Gonzalez AND Bagwell, right?
   22. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2010 at 06:42 PM (#3720873)
Roberto Clemente is the only Latino outfielder in the Hall of Fame. Time for No. 2.
Well, there's Ted Williams...
   23. BDC Posted: December 31, 2010 at 06:46 PM (#3720874)
Surhoff has more career WAR than Gonzalez

Interesting indeed – of course, it's because Surhoff played forever, caught 700 games early on, was versatile defensively thereafter, while holding his own with the bat for the remainder of his career. Gonzalez, by contrast, hit like a monster for 10 years, belonged to the Manny Ramirez school of outfield defense, was slower than Surhoff on the bases, and promptly disappeared from baseball after his prime. The contrast is remarkable. Gonzalez was a much better ballplayer, but if you were drafting either of them at the very start of their careers in some kind of hypothetical keeper league, you might indeed consider it a tossup.
   24. Dale Sams Posted: December 31, 2010 at 07:36 PM (#3720911)
Weird ballot indeed. What's gone unmentioned of course is that Gonzalez is a BABY-KILLING ROID USER!! What's going on here? It's right THERE! Right in front of your faces!!

Are you all out of your minds?
End of watch?
It's the end of everything!
What are you, robots!? Wound-up toy soldiers!?
Don't you know when you're dying?
Watch and regulations and orders--
What do they mean?
   25. bond1 Posted: December 31, 2010 at 07:46 PM (#3720920)
If Juan Gone is in, then Alberte Belle is also in.
   26. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 31, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3720939)
Roberto Clemente is the only Latino outfielder in the Hall of Fame. Time for No. 2.

Well, there's Ted Williams...


And Reginald Martinez "Two Sheds" Jackson
   27. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 31, 2010 at 08:27 PM (#3720951)
Why not just wait for Manny and Vlad?


Sammy Sosa shows up in just a couple of years. If you're voting for Juan-Gone you're obviously not a steroid excluder. Of course, if you're not voting for Mark McGwire or Raffy Palmeiro, you're most likely a steroid excluder.

What an odd ballot. He nails Larkin and Bagwell, which not everybody seems to be doing. He gets Blyleven and Alomar, although that's somewhat easier to do. But then he gives you Jack Morris and Juan Gonzalez?
   28. Schtoopo Posted: December 31, 2010 at 08:53 PM (#3720959)
Sure, Gonzales was overrated due to his RBI and didn't walk much, but a vote for him really isn't that bad. With a 132 OPS+ over 17 seasons, he's simply not a hall of fame embarrassment.
   29. Jick Posted: December 31, 2010 at 08:53 PM (#3720961)
Juan Gonzalez was a huge jerk to a seven-year-old me during spring training 1993 when I asked for an autograph. Therefore I hate this ballot.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:14 PM (#3720979)

Roberto Clemente is the only Latino outfielder in the Hall of Fame. Time for No. 2.


But there are no Asian-American infielders. LENN SAKATA FOR THE HALL!!
   31. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:17 PM (#3720986)
Sammy Sosa shows up in just a couple of years.

I was thinking the same thing. There's no rational justification to vote for Gonzalez and not Sosa but I bet he will pull it off.

OK, I take that back, Gonzalez does win on OPS+ so if, like Conlin, you're a sabermetric rate stat stalwart, you could vote Gonzalez. :-)
   32. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:21 PM (#3720990)
I also think Juan Gonzalez is a better HOF candidate than Jim Rice. In terms of the "teh fear," I think he was, at least for a time, the most frightening hitter in baseball.

Although I do think that most people dock Coors hitters too much and don't dock Texas hitters enough.
   33. BDC Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:32 PM (#3721001)
Gonzalez's career reminds me a lot of Joe Medwick's: a truly scary hitter in his 20s who disappeared from view soon after age 30. Medwick is in the HOM. Perhaps there's more to be said for Medwick's peak, which includes a Triple Crown, but there are a lot of parallels. Both were traded for miscellaneous players, knocked around awhile, returned for a late cameo with their first team. Both were moody (though Medwick tended to be feisty-moody; I think Gonzalez was a shyer kind of moody).
   34. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:37 PM (#3721005)
shyer kind of moody

Sounds like an emo song title
   35. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 31, 2010 at 09:42 PM (#3721008)
LENN SAKATA FOR THE HALL!!


I strongly endorse this sentiment!!
   36. Greg Goosen at 30 Posted: January 01, 2011 at 08:38 AM (#3721190)
Jimmy Piersall should induct Lenn Sakata into Cooperstown, with some audio tapes from Harry Caray.
   37. bjhanke Posted: January 01, 2011 at 10:06 AM (#3721194)
The very first words out of my mouth when I heard that Rice had been elected were, "Well, I guess now they'll have to step down to Juan Gonzalez next." The person I said that to replied that no, no one would think that Juan was comparable to Jim.... Frankly, I'd rather have Jimmy Piersall, just to see the arguments over the value of his defense.
   38. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 01, 2011 at 12:54 PM (#3721197)
I agree with 17 and 32. Given the freshness of the Rice argument, I'm actually surprised Gonzalez isn't getting more votes. It's very easy to construct a reasonable argument for him, along the lines of, well, Conlin's argument. He really did hit a lot of home runs and drive in a lot of runs. He really did go nuts in that postseason against the Yankees. He really was a terrifying hitter.

I find it much harder to construct a reasonable argument for Jim Rice or Jack Morris -- that is, a set of values that turns them into Hall of Famers but doesn't result in the induction of insane numbers of people. And Rice indeed seems strictly dominated by Gonzalez, even including the subjective fear dimension.

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