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Friday, February 28, 2020

Lawmakers push for Curt Flood’s enshrinement in Hall of Fame

WASHINGTON (AP) — Curt Flood’s widow has a simple explanation for why her late husband, who is revered by players for sacrificing his career to advocate for free agency, has not been enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

“I think the holdup is that he got on a lot of people’s nerves,” Judy Pace Flood said.

Flood has some powerful advocates on his side.

Members of Congress sent a letter to the Hall of Fame on Thursday asking that Flood be elected in December by the next golden era committee. The recognition would coincide with the 50-year anniversary of Flood’s defiant letter to baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in which he wrote, “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes.”

So, who would benefit the most theoretically- the people who want the likes of Omar Vizquel and Yadier Molina in the Hall, or those who want to keep Dick Allen out?

 

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball hall of fame, curt flood

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   1. The Duke Posted: February 28, 2020 at 07:03 AM (#5927000)
It seems like they should just have a wing designated to pioneers so that flood, Jobe, Miller, boras, and others have a special area. I’m sure there are plenty others that would fit this bill. Flood really can’t make it on the playing merits although he was quite good. They can set up an accountability wing as well with Crane and Manfred as their first inductees
   2. Ron J Posted: February 28, 2020 at 09:24 AM (#5927014)
I don't see any case for him going in before Miller but I've come around on his case and wouldn't have any problem with his induction. Not an advocate for him still.

It's possible that the getting on people's nerves played a part. A larger part I think that he wasn't a great player (to be clear, not intended as a put down. Excellent defender and not a terrible offensive player. I think WAR gives a good picture of his value and a consistent high 4 WAR is a damned fine player. Just not a great one) and he didn't actually win the argument with MLB.

Oddly I think the comeback with Washington weakens the narrative case.

So he's a very good player with a complicated narrative case on top. Add in the complicated relationship with MLB and …

   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:33 AM (#5927038)
It seems like they should just have a wing designated to pioneers so that flood, Jobe, Miller, boras, and others have a special area.


Agree. Buck O'Neil, Bill James, and Sean Forman should be considered for this as well.


So, who would benefit the most theoretically- the people who want the likes of Omar Vizquel and Yadier Molina in the Hall, or those who want to keep Dick Allen out?


I think this helps borderline cases that have some sort of special case. Like maybe Joe Torre? Good player, good manager, but probably not a HOF in either case, but combined perhaps? It could help O'Neil if he gets credit for his off-field contributions. Maybe Tommy John?
   4. Esoteric Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:35 AM (#5927045)
Tommy John would also be a no-brainer for this notional wing of the Hall of Fame, but he at least has a credible chance of being inducted on his own merits by the committee.
   5. Ron J Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5927055)
The thing about Tommy John was that he wasn't the first to try the surgery. He was the first success.

Pretty sure Steve Hargan had the same procedure before him. Didn't work out. And I know there were others.
   6. salvomania Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:51 AM (#5927059)
he wasn't a great player (to be clear, not intended as a put down. Excellent defender and not a terrible offensive player.

For nine years in the '60s Flood averaged 4.4 bWAR a year. The 12 position players in MLB with more bWAR in that timeframe are all in the Hall of Fame, except one (Norm Cash, right above Flood), and several others with less bWAR who were active during the entire stretch are also HoFers.

MLB's 13th-best player in WAR over various 9-year stretches:

2011-2019: Andrew McCutchen.
2001-2009: Bobby Abreu.
1991-1999: Roberto Alomar.
1981-1989: Dwight Evans.
1971-1979: Ted Simmons
1961-1969: Curt Flood
1951-1959: Gil Hodges

13th-best seems to a sweet spot for borderline HoF cases: Evans, Simmons, Flood and Hodges all have battled to get in (only Simmons, this year, will have made it), Abreu survived his first ballot in 2020, and McCutchen seems like a guy with a great peak who may also survive his first cut when he makes the ballot.

I don't think Flood deserves to be in the HoF based solely on his on-field performance, but it seems as if there should be a special place for a guy who was *both* a HoVG player and a true pioneer.

   7. Greg Pope Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5927060)
Tommy John would also be a no-brainer for this notional wing of the Hall of Fame

Shouldn't Frank Jobe be in, then? Tommy John had to decide to take the risk, and had to do the rehab and all. But he didn't really actually do anything groundbreaking. He was the subject of the experiment, not the architect of it.
   8. Rally Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5927063)
Torre went in as a manager, and he's clearly qualified on that basis alone. He's 5th alltime in games won behind only Mack, McGraw, Cox, and LaRussa. Of the 4 people ahead of him, only Mack won more World Series titles (5-4).

I wouldn't argue against Flood going in as a combination of on-field/off-field contributions. As a player alone, he's not really there but wouldn't be the worst selection. Better than Baines. Plus more valuable than the non-Mariano relievers.

He had 42 WAR through age 31 (3.8 that season), so it was conceivable that he could have gotten to the mid 50s, and also finished with 2500-3000 hits. The year off was terrible for him. He let himself get out of shape and drank way too much. Had he not been traded, or allowed to choose his own team for 1970, would he have taken better care of himself? We'll never know.

   9. . Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:26 AM (#5927073)
There was a long thread on this like six weeks ago and even in the narrow sense of "pioneer," Flood's role is overstated. Rick Barry and others got to the "I don't want to deal with the option clause, let's challenge the option clause" stage years before Flood. Nor was Curt actually "blackballed" or his "career ruined" -- the Senators traded actual assets to acquire him after he sat out 1970. He was welcomed back into the fold in every conceivable sense. His request to be immediately declared a free agent in 1970 didn't even have the Messersmith/McNally leg to stand on as 1970 would have been his option year as specifically delineated in his 1969 contract.

This is a textbook case of the facts and the legend colliding, and the mythmakers printing the legend.
   10. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:49 AM (#5927081)
There was a long thread on it like two months ago, and nobody will be surprised as to who was fake lawyering and trolling in that thread.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: February 28, 2020 at 07:27 PM (#5927201)
The collective decisions of various VCs are so all over the place that it's possible to make a case for darn near anybody now. Baines is in for no good reason; Lee Smith is in for being (maybe) the 6th-best reliever over a 30-year span; Morris is in for a great game 7 and most wins in the 80s; Maz (wow, all the way back in 2001) is in for a G7 HR and great fielding. Flood the player fits fine in that group and then you add pioneer credit. Hard for me to find a rational argument that a G7 HR is more extra credit than standing up to change the game but to each their own. The main issue of course is the inconsistent standards of VCs which is pretty much inevitable if you keep changing their structure and have small membership that rotates frequently (not that there's a better model necessarily).
   12. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:35 PM (#5927215)
Curt Flood was a good player, not a great one. I get the pioneer credit thing, but has any player gotten in as a pioneer who was a 20th century player? Jackie Robinson's playing career was HoF worthy in its own right, even if short. And why are members of congress advocating for players getting enshrined in the HoF? This isn't as bad as the LA city council petitioning for the Dodgers to get the 2017 WS title, but still.
   13. Jaack Posted: February 29, 2020 at 12:40 AM (#5927224)
The closest comp to Flood as a Hall of Fame candidate is probably Red Schoendienst - solid player, important but not overwhelming contributions outside of their playing careers. I'm not thrilled with Red Schoendienst, Hall of Famer, so I can't say I feel like Flood needs to be elected, but it wouldn't be a travesty. It wouldn't not make sense.

I think Tommy John should be a Hall of Famer without even considering his surgical history. In fact, I think having his name attatched to the procedure has probably hurt his cause - he's now just the surgery guy, as opposed to lefty Don Sutton.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: February 29, 2020 at 01:27 AM (#5927227)
I'm proud to be old enough to remember Red's name as being pronounced "Shea-in-deenst" - well, at least by the Mets announcers.
   15. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 29, 2020 at 09:30 AM (#5927233)
Howie, I think that must have been a Mets announcers thing. The Reds announcers when I was little (Waite Hoyt!) and the Phils announcers after we moved and all the national announcers I've heard all called him SHANE-deenst.

It's funny when you grow up around weird names and they sound normal to you. Waite Hoyt and Vinegar Bend Mizell sounded like regular names -- now in my dotage I look twice at them and wonder if my memory has gone wonky.
   16. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: February 29, 2020 at 10:19 AM (#5927239)
Curt Flood was a good player, not a great one.

I was disappointed that this post turned out not to be a Ray satire.
   17. Do Not Touch Fancy Pants Socially Distanced Handle Posted: February 29, 2020 at 10:23 AM (#5927240)
I'm proud to be old enough to remember Red's name as being pronounced "Shea-in-deenst" - well, at least by the Mets announcers.

That's not terribly far off the German pronunciation for the words. About as good as you can hope for I would say.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: February 29, 2020 at 06:21 PM (#5927301)
Curt Flood was a good player, not a great one.

No disagreement but the names in my #11 (which you may not have seen) were good not great players and that's not even including the Friends of Frisch. The role of the VCs has been primarily to put in good not great players. Granted, it's probably even easier to put together a list of good not great players that the VCs haven't enshrined (Hodges, John), even some (arguably) great ones like Allen and Dahlen. But if VCs are gonna put in good, not great players, they should at least put in the ones with narrative or with some "meaning" off the field. The implication that G7 heroics or briefly being the all-time saves leader are more important narratives to enshrine is a bit galling.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: February 29, 2020 at 06:54 PM (#5927305)
this thread seems to be for "men of a certain age" so ..... Topps just released its annual Heritage series.

the photos are of today's players, but in the 1971 Topps design. so black front, green and white backs, no year-by-year career stats (!), just the previous year and career. SV not a category.

I got the NL and AL "Pitching Leaders" in the same pack. both go by Wins, as was the case in 1971.

the photos are pretty similar to the type from a half-century ago, though I haven't gotten a card with a guy in a crew cut yet.

They have them at Target and Walmart. I'm not sure about anywhere else.

P.S. Not to go back on point or anything, but I have the Curt Flood card from that year. he sure looked over the hill to this youngster. the airbrushed hat didn't help, either.

https://www.amazon.com/Topps-Flood-Washington-Senators-Baseball/dp/B00MZPH2N6
   20. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 29, 2020 at 07:53 PM (#5927318)
And why are members of congress advocating for players getting enshrined in the HoF?


Is that better or worse than members of BBTF advocating for players getting enshrined in the HoF? Or an investment banker advocating for the enshrinement of Blyleven?
   21. DanG Posted: March 02, 2020 at 01:47 PM (#5927550)
CF similar to Flood in WAR, OPS+ and PA, ages 23-31:

Player        WAROPSRfield   PA From   To
Andruw Jones  41.5  112  133.8 5624 2000 2008
Curt Flood    39.2  105   73.8 5784 1961 1969
Paul Blair    38.5  104  161.1 5044 1967 1975
Willie Wilson 37.0   99   94.8 5640 1979 1987
Willie Davis  35.5  105   57.4 5600 1963 1971
Johnny Damon  34.3  105    7.4 6136 1997 2005
Garry Maddox  33.3  103  105.3 5019 1973 1981
Ben Chapman   32.4  114   50.0 5720 1932 1940
Clyde Milan   32.3  114    4.0 5656 1910 1918
Vada Pinson   30.9  114  
-17.3 5822 1962 1970
Max Carey     30.3  111   46.0 5349 1913 1921 
   22. Ron J Posted: March 02, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5927570)
Some interesting names. Scratch that. Every name on the list is interesting.

Paul Blair's career was largely change by a beaning.

Vada Pinson started off really good and declined for reasons I've never really understood. Kinda slow for a CF.

Bill James always felt that Willie Wilson was hurt to an unusual degree by running into Lee May as a batting coach.

A lot of people felt that Willie Davis was unusually hurt by his home park. And it looks like there might be some truth to that perception. .272/.304/.381 at home and .286/.318/.441 (and his best year came when the Dodgers were playing around with the park)
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 02, 2020 at 03:08 PM (#5927573)
https://www.amazon.com/Topps-Flood-Washington-Senators-Baseball/dp/B00MZPH2N6

$100 for a raw 1971 Curt Flood? Is the seller on drugs?
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 02, 2020 at 03:39 PM (#5927583)
Bill James always felt that Willie Wilson was hurt to an unusual degree by running into Lee May as a batting coach.


Well, May was a big dude who could probably do a lot of damage even while standing still.
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 02, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5927585)
The lawmakers should just, you know, make a law that the Hall has to induct Curt Flood.
   26. Rally Posted: March 02, 2020 at 03:53 PM (#5927590)
Pinson was not slow for a CF.

This is from Joe's writeup of Pete Rose, where he's making the case for Pete being really fast as a young player:

“He’s only a tick slower than Vada Pinson,” one Reds official said, “and Pinson is the fastest player in baseball.”
   27. DanG Posted: March 02, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5927625)
Pinson was not slow for a CF
This was certainly true of the young Pinson. However, his SABR bio has this:
In 1968 he had only 5 homers, 48 RBIs, and a .271 average, possibly the result of a series of leg injuries that had begun several years earlier.
From the record, it looks like these injuries may have started in 1964. Pinson was out a week early in the season and his SB cratered that year.
   28. Ron J Posted: March 03, 2020 at 07:40 AM (#5927709)
#26 First impressions do stick. Never knew Pinson when he actually had speed.

I first became aware of him in the late 60s when there were annual "... expecting a bounce back year from Pinson" stories and I could never figure out why. He's among the first players whose rep was so out of line with his ability (because he was still treated as a star -- if one who had been in decline) that it left me unwilling to simply accept what the sportswriters had to say.

And if I gave the impression that I felt he was slow period, bad writing on my part. Slow by the standard of a MLB CF. And at one point I had an acknowledgement that he was obviously much faster when he was an excellent player. He just seemed to have lost much of that fairly early on. Bad edit. Seems likely (as mentioned in #27) that his loss of speed was part of his general decline.

But I really doubt Pinson was ever the fastest player in baseball. There was an odd fascination with this topic in the 50s and early 60 but nobody ever seems to have bothered with timing or racing. I do recall that a pitcher for the Senators was always challenging Mantle to a race but Mantle was never very interested. Anyhow, in absence of actual numbers there were always a lot of fastest man in baseball stories.


Still, even if he was never the actual fastest, nobody was touting someone who couldn't really move. So it's likely that at some point Pinson had great wheels.

EDIT: I want to say Pedro Ramos was the pitcher. Checking, they did actually race once and Ramos got a bad start and lost.
   29. Rally Posted: March 03, 2020 at 08:09 AM (#5927711)
In high school I was timed at 4 seconds to first base. Last year I had my daughter time me after one of her practices, and the result would have put me about even with Justin Smoak.

Would not surprise me if Pinson lost his speed a bit earlier than is typical, given his swift decline.

I think the pitcher you're remembering was Mickey McDermott. Average pitcher for over a 10 year career, great athlete judging from his hitting record (252/312/349). But never used that speed on the bases, only 1 for 3 in career steal attempts. Interesting fact about the other Mickey M: He hit into 17 career DP, only 8 sacrifice bunts. That has to be a unique record for a pitcher. A credit to his manager for understanding that a good hitting pitcher can help you more swinging the bat than bunting in every single runner on first, less than 2 out situation. Even with modern analytics I'm not sure how many current managers would see it that way. Bumgarner has 40 Sacs, 5 GIDP. Greinke 47 and 8.

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