December 19, 2007
But they are now?
So…test for them regularly. If someone fails, react accordingly. There is absolutely NO REASON to punish those that are mentioned in the Mitchell Report, yet Bud Selig somehow has FINALLY mustered up the courage to threaten action against those that were mentioned POST 2003.
Of course, that CONVENIENTLY leaves out Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. And let’s face it…baseball doesn’t REALLY want to go after them.
However, you know what would have been cool? Major League Baseball cracks down on performance enhancing drugs ten years ago instead of waiting for a report on how mucked up their game is (allegedly). Besides, the times have changed. That was then…this is now. Steroids were en vogue then. Now…baseball is cracking down. I get it.
Heck, ten years ago, Hoyt Wilhelm (inducted in 1985) and Rollie Fingers (1992) were the only relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame. Twice in the last four years, Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Bruce Sutter (2006) have been enshrined. This year, Goose Gossage looks to be a lock to have his ticket punched at the doors of Cooperstown.
So…why not the designated hitter?
In 1973, when Ron Blomberg of the Yankees became baseball’s first DH (he dug in against Luis Tiant of all pitchers), who knew that 35 years later…there would still be NO full-time DH in the Hall of Fame?!?
Sure, many of modern era’s best hitters (Paul Molitor, George Brett, even Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray) ENDED their careers as their team’s DH…but there has not been a full-time DH voted in to join them.
A couple years ago, I would have said that Rafael Palmeiro would be the next notable DH to join the list…but he all but blew his chances by being found guilty of taking steroids. And while others will make the case for Edgar Martinez (and let’s face it…a case COULD be made), I think the next BIG name “full-time” DH is going to be Frank Thomas.
But why wait until then? Why not embrace the designated hitter and vote in someone whose stats stack up with some of baseball’s elite.
And yes…I’m looking your way Harold Baines. Let’s take a quick glance at his numbers.
First off, it needs to be pointed out that Baines holds the record for most games played at DH…1652. For his all around career…Rusty Staub is the only Hall eligible player that has played in more games.
Baines’ 2866 career base hits (40th all-time) means that he has the most hits of ANY player that is Hall eligible. Sure, there are other players ahead of Harold, but they are not eligible…yet. That short list is Pete Rose, Craig Biggio, Rickey Henderson, Palmeiro and Barry Bonds. Odds are that had Baines not had two work stoppages during his career, he would have eclipsed 3000 hits.
For the record, Baines also has the most RBI of all Hall eligible players and ranks 26th all-time. Those ahead of him that are NOT eligible…Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Thomas and Sammy Sosa. An even shorter list than the last one!
And again, not too shabby.
Over his career…Baines batted .289. He hit at or above that mark THIRTEEN times. Eight times, he batted higher than .300. Combine this with his 384 home runs (Baines is actually third on the all-time list of walk off home runs), a .324 post season batting and you’ve got a player that was arguably one of the most valuable of his time. Also, as a full-time DH, Baines was selected to appear in six All-Star games.
Statistically, Baines is pretty comparable to (if not better than) both Al Kaline and Tony Perez…both Hall of Famers. Interestingly enough...after Kaline, Baines is the player with the most number of home runs that never hit more than 30 in a season.
Kaline - 2834
Baines – 2830
Perez – 2777
Kaline – 3007
Baines – 2866
Perez – 2712
Perez – 505
Kaline – 498
Baines – 488
Kaline – 399
Baines – 389
Perez – 379
Perez – 1652
Baines – 1628
Kaline – 1583
Kaline - .297
Baines - .289
Perez - .279
It’s time, writers. It’s time to start considering a full-time DH for induction to the Hall of Fame. Sure you’ll wait for Frank Thomas…I understand. Hell, if he continues to rip the laces off the ball, you’ll put in David Ortiz before you even consider Harold Baines. But don’t Baines’ numbers warrant at least a look? Doesn’t he deserve his place in Cooperstown for a reason besides being the owner of the bat that ended baseball’s longest game ever?
I think so.
I leave you with this about the White Sox favorite. In 1971, a then 12 year-old Baines was all the rage on the Little League diamond…so much so, that legendary owner Bill Veeck made the trip halfway across the country to see what all the fuss was about. He was apparently impressed.
In 1977, upon his graduation from high school, Veeck made Baines the number one pick overall in that year’s amateur draft. Less than three years later…a 20 year-old Baines made his debut for the southsiders.
His number 3 has since been retired and “un-retired” twice.
Over the next month, the HoVG will be examining more of the players that might (but shouldn’t) be overlooked on the current Hall of Fame ballot. If you’ve got something to say about Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith or even Don Mattingly…I’d like to hear from you!
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and who knows…your words might just end up on this website!
December 4, 2007
Let me repeat...the Yankees set a deadline for the Twins to trade THEM their star pitcher.
Anyway, it seems destined that epic masterpiece, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and I would share a special bond and in celebration of our collective 25th year, I have done some research and compiled this labor of love:
"THRILLER" FUN FACTS!
- According to Guinness, Thriller has worldwide sales exceeding 104 million. That makes it, by far, the best-selling album of all time and has topped the sales of Don Johnson's "Heartbeat" and Chris Burke's (Corky from "Life Goes On") "Singer with the Band" COMBINED!
- In 2007, the NARM and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ranked Thriller third on their "Definitive 200" list, a compilation of what they believed to be the greatest albums ever. The first and second ranked were The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall." This is widely regarded as total bullshit, because nobody has ever even heard of those two jagoff bands and, frankly, they sound made-up.
- Michael Jackson's Thriller contains the track "Baby Be Mine," which is scientifically proven to get the ladies totally wet.
- In the United States alone, Thriller has gone platinum 27 times (selling more than 27 million idividual copies.) In Canada, Thriller has sold only 2 million copies. This proves the already widely-accepted theory that Canada is "13 and a half times lamer" than the United States.
- The Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney collaboration, "The Girl is Mine," was not a pre-written piece of music but rather an actual recorded conversation between the two former friends, who had taken to arguing only in song.
- Thriller won 7 Grammy Awards, 8 American Music Awards, and 3 MTV Music Video Awards. It is rumored that, due to their abundance, Jackson hands out the award statues to trick or treaters during Halloween.
- The song "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was originally titled "P.Y.T. (Punchin' Your Tummy)" and was about Jackson's distaste for his many pregnant girlfriends. The original chorus lyrics were as follows:
"I want to punch you
In the tummy
You need some kickin'
Down the fucking stairs
And I'll take you there"
The song's title and lyrics were later changed at the urging of Thriller producer, Quincy Jones. Jackson then penned the song "Billie Jean" to further explore the pregnancy issue.
- In early 1984, a rumor surfaced that the first 7 digits of the UPC code for Thriller were Michael Jackson's phone number. This, however, was an obvious hoax as Michale Jackson has no need for telephones because he communicates telepathically.
- The original name for the "Thriller" single was "Give Me Starlight", while the album was originally to be called Starlight. Both titles were changed to "Thriller" when Michael Jackson expressed that the original titles were "too faggy" and would never "get him all up in some cunt".
- Queen singer(and then good friend of Jackson's), Freddy Mercury, recorded a few songs with Jackson during the Thriller sessions, those being "State of Shock", "There Must Be More to Life Than This" and "Victory". None of these tracks have ever been officially released. Jackson's official comment on the shelving of these tracks was that he didn't want Mercury "queering up [his] image".
- The dancing hoard of zombies in the "Thriller" music video were not dancers in make-up, but rather an actual army of undead corpses that Jackson summoned from the grave with his moonwalk powers. Upon wrapping of production for the video, Jackson personally beat the skull of each and every zombie in with one of his Grammy's.
- Contrary to the song's adamant protests, Billie Jean indeed was Jackson's lover. However, Jackson's refusal of paternity tests still leave the verdict out on whether or not the kid is his son. The aforementioned kid, (Ronnie Jackson-Seigle, pictured below) currently lives in Iowa and works as an accountant.
A photo of Ronnie Jackson-Seigle in 1993 at age 11. Paternity has yet to be proven.
November 29, 2007
The 2008 Hall of Fame ballot was released the other day and it is about the most underwhelming collection of players in a long, long time.
It’s a shame really.
I mean, baseball is, as a sport, kinda teetering right now. Popularity is at an impressively high level…YET, public perception is one George Mitchell report away from being worse than one could ever conceive!
Which brings me back to this year’s Hall of Fame class. We need a year like last year’s Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn class rather than the “well, someone had to be elected, right?” ceremony that awaits us in 2008. Frankly, I’m more excited for any sequel to “Two Girls…One Cup” than I am the 2008 Hall of Fame class. At least with that, you have willing participants being fed a mouthful of you-know-what instead of whoever the writers present us with as being a baseball immortal.
Who are the first ballot front runners? Tim Raines, David Justice…Rob Nen? Shoot me now.
I could make a case for “Rock” if (and it’s a BIG “if”) Rickey Henderson did not exist, was already in the Hall of Fame OR Andre Dawson was already enshrined. Henderson was roughly THREE TIMES the player Raines was and Dawson was more of the face of the baseball north or the border than anyone else. And let’s face it…Raines was pretty much only an Expo, right? I implore you to tell me who else he played for, when AND what he might have done with those teams that is worth mentioning.
The holdovers are intriguing and it is on that list where you’ll find the class of 2008. Most notably…Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson and Mark McGwire are getting plenty of attention.
Last name first…McGwire won’t get in because of the steroid implications. It probably wouldn’t be the best PR move for baseball to elect someone to the Hall that is routinely mentioned in the “did he” or “didn’t he” steroid debate. Besides, and this is probably the best case for NOT voting him in…his stats weren’t that great. In short, McGwire wasn’t a Hall of Fame player…plain and simple.
Rice and Dawson, both of whom are guys that I support wholeheartedly, are probably going to fall short as well.
Dawson has seen his vote totals go from 45% in his first year of eligibility (2002) to a high of 61% in 2006 and back down to 56% last year. In that time, both Bruce Sutter and Ryne Sandberg have jumped past him on the list and waltzed into Cooperstown.
Similarly, Jim Rice (who many consider the “most feared” batter of the 70s) has gone from 29% in 1995 to his high of (roughly) 64% in both 2006 and 2007. Rice getting in would be a tip of the cap to the Red Sox franchise and a fitting compliment to their 2007 Championship season. He is beloved by the “Nation” and would certainly bring the crowds to sleepy Cooperstown, New York.
What about the perennial “why not this guy” Bert Blyleven?
Well, like Tommy John (another great “why not”), if he wasn’t elected yet…he won’t be now. And, unfortunately, as much as I like (and support) Jack Morris…I almost have to put him in this same category.
So…the guy with the best chance of being the lucky recipient of the “we had to pick SOMEONE” award is Gossage. Process of elimination, right?
Goose is a head scratcher though. For the life of me, I can’t figure out where this ground swell of support is coming from. It isn’t like he ONLY played for the Yankees. If he did…I could understand why such a colorful character would even be talked about.
On paper, his stats were good. HOWEVER, if you compare him with some of his contemporaries…he is the Vince Coleman to Sutter’s Raines. And that is, of course, if you look at Rollie Fingers as being the Rickey Henderson of the bunch.
To me, Gossage isn’t even the best reliever on the ballot this year…especially with both Lee Smith and Rob Nen up for consideratin. Now, I’m not saying they SHOULD be in the Hall…I’m just saying they are more “Hall worthy” than Goose. But that’s only if you look at the stat line.
The key to being a Hall of Famer is dominance. In short, you need to be THE dominant player (if not one of the most dominant players) at your position during the time you played. Gossage clearly was very, VERY good…but “dominant”?
Sutter supporters would disagree the loudest…but who cares? He’s already in the Hall.
What about Dan Quisenberry, Jeff Reardon, Tug McGraw or Kent Tekulve?
Look at their numbers during the same time that Gossage played. I mean, Goose only led the league in saves THREE times (with only two years with more than 30 saves)…and one of those years, he tied with Quisenberry. Quisenberry, I might add, led the American League in saves five out of six years in the early 80s…right at the same time Goose was said to have been at his peak.
Gossage did get Cy Young consideration five times between 1975 and 1984. However, in that same span…Fingers, Sutter, Sparky Lyle and Willie Hernandez each took home the Cy Young award. Hell, Quisenberry (again) had five top five finishes in a six year span and he dropped off of the Hall ballot after appearing only once.
And yes, I know…any monkey who laces up the spikes can get “Cy Young consideration”. But when you talk “dominance”…you have to take that into consideration.
So is Gossage a Hall of Famer? Frankly…I’m not sure how he garnered 71% of the vote last year. However, the writers seem to like him and (like I said before), this year could belong to him and Rice (maybe)…but only time will tell.
Over the next two months, the HoVG will be examining more of the players that might (but shouldn’t) be overlooked on the current Hall of Fame ballot. If you’ve got something to say about Harold Baines, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith or even Don Mattingly…I’d like to hear from you!
Drop me an email at email@example.com and who knows…your words might just end up on this website!
***Note: I had a poll on the site asking about whether or not you thought Goose should be inducted this year and I'm surprised...78% of you thought he should. Let's see if your opinions match those of the actual voters.***
November 19, 2007
Unfortunately, I am not any different.
However, unlike MOST of the stuff I’ve been inundated with, I am not as eager to convict Bonds, throw him in prison and rip him of his accomplishments. It’s all a little asinine if you ask me…even worse if you put it in the context of the game Bonds’ plays (played?).
So what are we dealing with here? The way I see it (and I’m no legal expert), is that Bonds MIGHT have perjured himself (i.e. “lied”) about KNOWINGLY taking steroids. You know that whole, “do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc.”…yeah, they’re contending Bonds did not.
Perjury is a tough nut to crack though. I mean, it IS possible Bonds stated the facts as far as he knew them. Not probable…but possible. I suspect that if they don’t cop a plea, Bonds’ lawyers will go that route.
Which brings me to Rafael Palmeiro.
Here’s a guy who sat in front of Congress and emphatically denied the use of steroids. Then, six weeks later, he failed a drug test. Months after that…he was suspended by Major League Baseball.
Wait a second…you mean to tell me that he denied usage in front of Congress, failed a test administered by Major League Baseball. but was never charged with perjury? Yup. Not enough evidence apparently.
But what about his stats…surely they’ve removed them from the record books, right?
Last time I checked, Palmeiro’s name resides, most notably, both on the 3000 hit and 500 homerun lists. Heck, Palmeiro is only one of FOUR players to have done both! Where’s that same asterisk that everyone is screaming for in regards to Bonds? I guess Palmeiro isn’t the star that Barry is.
What about slugger turned Surreal Lifer Jose Canseco’s numbers? What about the late Ken Caminiti’s 1996 National league MVP award? These are guys who have also admitted to steroid use, but have not had any of their numbers or accolades stripped from them.
Jason Giambi has publicly admitted to using steroids, but he’ll be there in the spring when the New York Yankees start prepping for the 2008 season.
So, again, why is there a public lynching-like atmosphere surrounding Bonds and whether or not his 762 should have a huge asterisk next to it?
Answer: Bonds was TOO good.
That’s right…the guy was a stud before and more of a stud after he started (alledgedly) juicing. How much better did it make him? Who knows? Who cares, really?
Over the last few seasons, I have heard PLENTY of writers and “experts” say “Bonds was a Hall of Famer BEFORE he started using steroids”. Regardless of how the whole perjury thing plays out, I wonder now if those same writers will take their own words into account in five years when Bonds is Hall eligible.
Surely, a conviction can’t cloud their judgment, right?
In 1980, Fergie Jenkins was found to be in possession of both cocaine and marijuana. He was banned for life by then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The next year (thanks to an arbiter), Jenkins was back in the Majors. Then, in his third year of eligibility, Cooperstown opened its doors…ironically the same year that Gaylord Perry waltzed in.
Perry admittedly doctored baseballs throughout his storied career and even helped pen his aptly titled autobiography “Me and the Spitter”. I guess engaging in an illegal activity on the mound is okay if you make jokes about it.
If Bonds is found guilty of perjury, he could, like Jenkins, be banned from baseball. Granted, Bud Selig isn’t exactly the best in making decisions (anyone remember the 2002 All-Star game?)…but maybe he’ll surprise us. Sure, it took a FEDERAL GRAND JURY (and not Major League Baseball) to go after Bonds, but who knows…maybe Bud will change his stripes.
If so, Bonds’ numbers will SURELY get that asterisk that the world is clamoring for, right?
I’m not so sure.
Last time I checked, Pete Rose still holds the all-time hits record. Is it because he was banned because he gambled on baseball games as a manager and not as a player? Perhaps. I have a really, REALLY hard time believing that once Rose was hired on as a full-time manager (remember, he WAS a player-manager first) was when he decided to start gambling hard core cold turkey though. Something tells me that it doesn’t work that way.
Wait…maybe it’s because Pete Rose bested noted sonofabitch Ty Cobb? More than likely, it is because gambling (while as a player OR a manager) isn’t as much of a game changer as steroids or HGH COULD be.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson, while not the ONLY member of the 1919 Chicago White Sox to get banned for their involvement in throwing the World Series is the most notable since, more than likely, he would be in the Hall of Fame otherwise. While the extent of Jackson’s involvement is not known…he and his teammates were involved in game fixing. But nowhere are their numbers emblazoned with baseball’s scarlet letter, er, asterisk.
So, again, why the outcry for Bonds?
Here’s a guy who has been accused of perjuring himself in front of a grand jury. He did NOT fail a drug test administered by Major League Baseball, nor did he (alledgedly) take any substances that were at the time on the MLB’s banned list.
Quite simply, he was a great player who did whatever he could to be the BEST ever. He made no bones about it and made himself TOO good for everyone’s liking. It’s okay that some of these other guys took steroids…they weren’t threatening any records like Barry did.
As Nick Underhill pointed out, Roger Maris’ 61 homers was marred because people didn’t want to accept the fact that he (not Mickey Mantle) bested Babe Ruth. As a society, we accepted that, in 1998, Mark McGwire could beat Maris, but when Bonds did it…something OBVIOUSLY wasn’t right.
Before Bonds even broke Hank Aaron’s all-time record…people were already heralding Alex Rodriguez as the next home run king. It doesn’t matter that he’s 250 behind…“he’s gonna get there” praised the minions. I guess it is always better to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the guy.
Until then, Barry Lamar Bonds is MY home run king and a first ballot Hall of Famer…no questions asked. Should he be convicted of perjury and/or banned from Major League Baseball…my hope is that his numbers still reside where they are today.
The guy can bring it…always could. He just got too good for public consumption.
Baseball has lost an icon.
Joe Nuxhall, who will forever hold the record as the youngest Major League Player of all time, passed away last week at the age of 79 after a fight with cancer.
To many around the nation, Joe was that 15 year-old kid who debuted for the Cincinnati Reds in 1944 and pitched a long time ago. For Reds fans, he was also one-half of the voice of the Reds on radio, teaming full-time with Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman in 1974 for 31 unforgettable years.
For those 31 years, Reds fans invited “Marty & Joe” into our cars, living rooms, rec rooms, and garages to talk to us about our Reds. He was our friend. It didn’t matter the “conversations” were one-sided, Joe was still there to tell us about our team. If the Reds weren’t doing too good (which seemed to happen a lot lately), we’d hear him talk about his golf game, or ask Marty how his tomato plants were doing.
While other announcers like Vin Scully mastered the English language at describing baseball, Nuxie’s folksy way hit a homerun with Reds fans. He was himself from the moment he stepped into the radio booth in 1967, and Reds fans loved it. He described many hits as going into right, er left-center field. Home run calls were simply “Get up, get up, get outta here!” Long pauses were the norm. He was to Reds fans what Harry Caray was to Cubs fans.
Joe’s post-game interviews with the “Star of the Game” were always memorable because he never asked a question. Joe would simply say to the “star” “You talk about the homerun you hit…” That was the cue for the player to start talking. We’re still waiting for his first question. His sign-off “This is the old lefthander rounding 3rd and heading for home, good-night everyone” at the end of each broadcast became his trademark, and now is on the exterior of Great American Ball Park.
In an era when it’s easy to not like certain players because of various reasons, it was hard not to love this kid from Hamilton, Ohio. Nobody, no one, ever said a negative word about Joe. I suspect he’s the kind of guy that would mow your lawn or shovel your walk if you asked him to.
Baseball may have lost this icon, but Heaven has gained a good one. Without a doubt, the Old Lefthander has rounded 3rd and headed to Heaven.
For a touching video tribute to Joe Nuxhall, check THIS out.
October 26, 2007
No, not the happy go lucky 2004 Boston Red Sox-type “idiot”…but a pure bred douchebag. Normally, he’s the type of player that I like…scrappy, plays with a TON of heart, mouths off on occasion, BUT, this post season (much like his 2003 shoving incident with Jason Varitek) he is proving that he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.
We’ve all heard him say that the Colorado Rockies got some “lucky breaks” while they swept Byrnes and his Arizona Diamondbacks RIGHT out of the playoffs, but then he went on to say that "the nation is going to be SHOCKED how good Colorado is" when they play the Red Sox.
Well, I could mention the 13-1 drubbing the other night, the eight days off (of which Byrnes said WOULDN’T affect the Rox) or I could say nothing…the last two nights have spoken for themselves.
Byrnes, on the other hand, was STILL singing the praises of the Rockies prior to Game Two. If you listen to him…Josh Beckett was the LONE factor to the BoSox victory the other night. Matter of fact, AFTER the second game, he warned of the Rockies getting momentum back should they win Game Three in Denver.
What’s with this guy?
He’s right, though. Josh Beckett WAS masterful the other night. And you know what…he should be. The Red Sox gave up plenty to acquire him (and Mike Lowell) before last season and he was brought in to do EXACTLY what he’s been doing. Win the big game.
Now, flash forward to Game Two.
Curt Schilling was scheduled to take the bump. Prior to the 2004 season, Schill was brought in to do EXACTLY what Beckett was brought in to do a couple years later. HOWEVER…the media, for some reason, was pretty much writing him off. Apparently his blood soaked star had fallen.
Memo to newswriters...Schilling was Josh Beckett BEFORE Beckett was Beckett.
He was the NLCS MVP in 1993 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Almost ten years later (in 2001), he followed it up by being named the World Series Co-MVP alongside Randy Johnson. I won’t mention the “bloody sock” (again) or his postseason winning percentage.
That being said, is he Hall of Fame good?
My buddy E talks about the “smell test”. Does a player pass the Hall of Fame smell test? If so, you look deeper and see whether or not he is worthy. EXAMPLE: a guy like Tim Raines smelled like a Hall of Famer at one point…now he smells of Kenny Lofton. Since we’re talking lead off hitters (for some reason) a Rickey Henderson smells like fine wine aged to perfection.
That being said…Schilling smells like a rose.
216 victories, 3116 strikeouts, FOUR top five finishes in the Cy Young voting, six All-Star games…not too shabby for a kid out of Anchorage, Alaska. When it comes to his strikeout to walk ratio…only one pitcher was better and he last toed the rubber in 1884. He died, ironically enough, in Boston.
All that said…if you look closer, like Raines, Schilling doesn’t smell as good as you would initially think.
True, his postseason stats are phenomenal…but you can’t induct him on that alone. Sure, they warrant mention, but induction based SOLELY on that…um, no. If so…open the doors to Bernie Williams, Cooperstown!
216 wins, while impressive, only ranks him eighth among all active pitchers. Four of the seven ahead of him on the list (Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson) are WAY ahead and certain Hall of Famers. The other three (Mike Mussina, David Wells and Jamie Moyer) couldn’t pass the “smell test” if they carried Pedro Martinez around in a headlock.
Add to the 216 wins that Schilling’s win percentage is .597 and you’ve got, over the span of his career, a very good pitcher…not a great one.
What I’m saying is this…give me 15 years of 200 or more strikeouts and I’d be MORE impressed than Curt’s five years of 200-plus scattered over a twenty year span.
I liken to Schilling to Sandy Koufax…kinda. Both of their legend has been based on a handful of select years. Koufax, however, did his in consecutive years at the end of his career before he fell victim to an arthritic wing.
Schilling spread his out over a couple of decades.
He was a stud in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2004 (an 83-30 record and 1031 Ks)…but that was about it. You COULD make an argument that outside of the win/loss record (8-9), Schilling was on his way to a GREAT 2003 season before he got injured...which happened WAY too often.
Curt was, undoubtedly, MUCH better over the second half of his career compared to the first. Hell, he’d even agree to that and he doesn’t like ANY of the unfavorable press he gets!
Koufax, over his last four seasons, notched a 97-27 record and 1228 strikeouts. So, yeah, not EXACTLY the same, but Sandy had nearly 200 innings pitched than Curt.
Watching Curt Schilling work, he carries himself like a sure-bet Hall of Famer who is winding down a great career…but so did Jack Morris. Putting him into perspective, he starts to come across like many of the pitchers that have made it into the Hall over the last 20 years…he’s a guy with some longevity, a handful of years of greatness and some postseason success. And that's not a TERRIBLE thing...just ask Don Sutton, Phil Niekro or Gaylord Perry.
Arguably, he wasn’t always the best pitcher on his staff and only a few times would he have been considered one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. He never brought home the hardware that Cooperstown LOVES to look at (a la Robin Yount’s TWO MVP awards), but he was solid. He has a respectable ERA (3.46) a couple of World Series rings and is a great character.
First ballot guy…probably not. He’ll be competing (potentially) with the likes Clemens, Maddux and Glavine as far as starting pitchers go. Take into account that there will be a slew of position players also vying for their enshrinement and it might take Schilling a while to get through the doors.
Let me know what you think…how does Schilling smell? Does he pass the test or just get tossed aside like some bloody, old sweatsock?!?
***Note: The "is Curt Schilling a first ballot Hall of Famer?" poll garnered the following results...Yes-10%, No-90.***
October 22, 2007
October 18, 2007
So, the Yankees have been unceremoniously ushered from the postseason by a Cleveland team full of 26-year old nobodies. And, since this is becoming a fairly regular thing, the time of scapegoating is upon us. And, since a team not being to able to perform is always the manager's fault, of course Yankees' skipper Joe Torre has fallen directly in the crosshairs.
I, for one, think the Yankees' front office of George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman are aiming at the wrong guy. They should be aiming at themselves.
And, on paper, it's a great idea.
But it doesn't work (not all the time, at least). Del Webb owned the Yankees for 19 years; he won 11 Series in that time. Steinbrenner has owned them for 34 and counting; he's won six. In the Steinbrenner era, before Torre (who's been the manager for 12 years), the Yankees went to the postseason six times, winning two Series. Since Torre, they've gone to the postseason every year, and won four Series.
By contrast, three of the four teams remaining in the postseason are in the bottom eight in payroll.$28 million for Roger Clemens, who turns 56 this year, to pitch whenever the Hell he feels like it.
$23 million for Jason Giambi to, apparently, do nothing but blow the lid off the whole steroid thing.
$10 million for Carl Pavano to remain in a constant state of disability.They also love to sign players well after the iron has cooled.
Johnny Damon: Great player...with the Royals and Red Sox.
The Andy Pettitte they brought back from Houston (at top dollar) is not the same Pettitte that left for Houston.
And losing Soriano and assuming the debt load on Alex Rodriguez's contract may have seemed like a good deal at the time, but...hey, that A-Rod sure puts up some great numbers, don't he?
And throwing more money at the problem isn't going to help.
They've fucked themselves by putting all of their eggs in the same basket, letting A-Rod's contract come up the same year as Posada, Abreu, and Rivera's. So, they either lose a good portion of their of their team and start over, or they resign the whole thing and end up with the same team next year that couldn't do anything this year.
October 7, 2007
Wait. Wha…the Cubs lost and WON’T be playing Sunday?!?
Let’s break down Pinella’s decision…just in case you thought it was a good one (it wasn’t). Zambrano was pulled after six innings of four hit ball and in the midst of a 1-1 ballgame. His 85 pitches thrown and 22 batters faced were the SECOND SHORTEST of the season. On July 18, Zambrano threw 80 pitches and faced 19 batters. Of course, the Cubs won that one 12-1.
In case you think 85 pitches is a lot for “Z”…think again. In his 34 regular season starts, he averaged 108 pitches per outing (a mere 23 MORE than what he went for in Game One) and threw more than 120 five times! If Zambrano is such a gamer and Pinella such a great manager, Carlos Marmol is not out there in the seventh inning Wednesday night…Carlos Zambrano is.
If Tom Kelly can send an octogenarian out there in the tenth inning of Game Seven of the 1991 World Series…the Cubs can trot out 26 year-old Zambrano.
Lou Pinella should be drawn and quartered.
Of course I was referring to one of the most memorable performances EVER in the World Series (with all do respect to Don Larsen and Curt Schilling)…that of one JOHN SCOTT MORRIS on October 27, 1991.
By comparison to Zambrano’s outing, Morris ended up throwing 126 pitches that game…19 over his 1991 season average. Matter of fact, here’s a fun fact…Morris won FOUR games (both of his ALCS starts and two of his three World Series starts) in the post season that year for the Twins making him their all-time post season wins leader. The next season he went on to lead the Blue Jays to glory.
I guess there was nothing more for him to accomplish in his ONE season back home in St. Paul.
Morris’ successes in the early 90s aside…it was in the 80s where Jack made a name for himself. It’s safe to say that if the Hall of Fame decides to start looking at pitchers who made their bread and butter throughout the 80s…Morris would be at the top of the list.
Let’s break down the facts.
Consistency and durability, while not THE reason to induct someone, Jack was the epitome of a pitching Iron Horse. Matter of fact, this innings hog (he had eleven seasons of more than 235 innings pitched) hold the record for most consecutive opening day starts…14.
And if you thought Cal Ripken’s streak was impressive (it was), Morris went nearly 500 starts without missing his turn in the rotation. He only appeared on the disabled list twice.
Again, not a reason to bronze his head…but not too shabby either.
On to more conventional stats, Morris notched a career 254-186 record…good for a .577 winning percentage. For the record, 254 wins is more than Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Whitey Ford among plenty of others. Hell, in the 80s alone…Morris went 162-119 (again, a .577 winning percentage and the most victories in the 80s) and exhibited his amazing consistency by finishing in the top ten of the Cy Young Award voting in half of the decade’s contests. He finished in the top five in 1991 and 1992 as well.
As alluded to earlier, Jack was the ACE three World Series teams (he was injured and couldn’t play in 1993 or else there’d be a fourth)…the Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays. All that AND he threw a no hitter.
Instead of repeating myself…suck on these numbers from 1979-1992.
ERA(2,200 IP min.)
Jack Morris...3.71 (8th)
I think the main reason Jack gets overlooked is his career ERA of 3.90. He never led the league (much less came close to it) and made no bones about the fact that he gave up a shitload of runs. HOWEVER, his teams produced behind him and regardless of his ERA…he virtually always managed to stay BELOW the league average.
Will Jack get into the Hall? Perhaps.
Does he DESERVE to? Absolutely.
The Veterans Committee DOES like to look at players that got close (Morris appeared on a best 41.2% of the ballots in 2006) but not close enough. And some day…the 80s won’t be as overlooked as they have been in the past.
I’m pretty sure that Jack Morris would still be pitching SOMEWHERE if not for the two reasons in my mind. One, he believes that people are useless once they turned 40 and vowed never to show his grizzled mug in public after reaching such an age and two…he last signed with the Reds not knowing about the anti-facial hair policy. That alone is enough to make ANY man (much less Jack Effing Morris) walk away from the game.
October 6, 2007
October 2, 2007
Well, they did it.
A year after finishing dead-ass last in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs have messed around and won the division. They managed to win the division despite the fact they finished a mere four games over .500.
They needed 160 games to put it away. And, in the last week of the season, the only reason the Cubs magic number kept going down was because the second place Brewers couldn't win a game either. In fact, had the Cubs and Brewers not won and lost, respectively, their games last Friday, I believe the division would be tied (and I'm sure some stat wonk will correct me on that if I'm wrong).
Basically, the Cubs backed right into a division win. Of course, none of this would be possible without the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers were this year's "Pick to Click" in the NL Central. Many analysts picked them to win the division. And, up until May 12, they actually had the best record in baseball. And then, the slide started. By the 15th, they had the best record in the NL. By the 27th, they had the worst record of any division leader in all of baseball. And they just kept going backwards.
By the end of August, they were a sub-.500 ballclub, all the way back in 3rd, behind the Cubs and Cardinals. But, the Cardinals' resurgence was short-lived, and the Cubs, well, they're the Cubs, and the Brewers climbed back on top by the 2nd week of September. But, the Brewers threw away late-game leads (via Derrick Turnbow, the Cubs' best player, who won at least 15 games for the Cubs, even though he plays for the Brewers), and the Cubs just continued playing.500 ball.
Eventually, they got their magic number down to two, and just happened to win a game the same day the Brewers lost.
And there you have it: The new NL Central champs.
Not that any of this matters. These ARE the Cubs, who haven't even BEEN to a World Series since World War II. And this is where Cub fans will haul out the old "Steve Bartman" argument, because, had Bartman not touched that foul ball that Moises Alou maybe would have caught, the Cubs' pitching staff wouldn't have given up eight runs that inning to lose Game Six.
And not many people know this, but he also caused the Cubs to lose Game Seven as well. If not for that guy, the Cubs would (probably not) have gone to the World Series.
Anyhoo, congrats, Cubbies.
After you get knocked out of the playoffs this year, you can get all geared up to finish last next year. Because, after all, you ARE the Cubs, and that's what you do.
September 29, 2007
They no longer want fans to come to 3Com, er, Pac, I mean…AT&T Park.
It seems every third rate baseball blog across the country traded in their ridicule of Rick Ankiel for a “didja hear the one about the Giants NOT bringing back Barry Bonds?!?”
And we heard, rather, READ all about how he “ruined the game” and “needs an asterisk”. We also read about the tool who wanted to send 756 into space. What we DIDN’T read was the fact that even though the Giants have one of the worst records in the Majors (two losses separate them from the basement in the National League), they were one of the BIGGEST DRAWS in Major League Baseball.
Both at home AND on the road!
So, riddle me this…if people HATE Barry Bonds, why do they come out in droves to see the man? I mean, call me crazy, but I have a hunch that fans aren’t flocking to the ballpark to see Ryan Klesko (hooray!) or Lance Niekro (hooray?). Hell…can you NAME five members of the Giants that AREN’T named Barry and/or Bonds?!?
Now, before you tell me “San Francisco is a GREAT city (it is, by the way) and that’s why people go to AT&T”…look at the numbers. PRE-PacBell/AT&T Park, the Giants were lucky to get twenty thousand people to the park every night. Those are Kansas City Royals numbers, folks.
When the Giants moved out of Candlestick…that figure doubled.
Matter of fact, the Giants have surpassed the three million mark in attendance for eight straight seasons! After the Giants made their decision to part with Bonds, Bonds responded…“My understanding as far as business and corporations go is if you bring value to a company, you normally have a job. I believe I brought value to the company.”
Speaking of “bringing value”, it should be noted that when Bonds decided to become a full time home run hitter (alledgedly)…more asses parked themselves into the seats. Yes, you read right…as Bonds’ home run totals increased, so did attendance.
No surprise there, right?
BUT…as his home run totals increased, so did his status as one of the game’s most hated players. If you’re confused by that…I am too. For some reason, the Giants think it is a good idea to cut their ties with their latest meal ticket…and, yes, he WAS their meal ticket. Willie Mays (another Giant great who was ceremoniously ushered out of the Bay) hasn’t suited up for them since 1972. Between the two…no one really holds a candle to the popularity that either of them attained.
More interesting than the team that has let go two players that combined for 1230 (644 for Mays, 586 for Bonds) Giants home runs was General Manager Brian Sabean’s asinine "everybody has to go at some point" comparisons to when Ted Williams left the Red Sox or Ernie Banks left the Cubs.
Memo to Sabean…THEY RETIRED.
Neither Williams or Banks were injured, leading their team in home runs and let go despite bringing fans to the park. It should be noted that Bonds’ OBP (.480 to .351), SLG (.565 to .442) and OPS+ (170 to 104) were MUCH higher than the next best player on the field…Randy Winn. I guess it was nice that the Giants allowed Bonds to get his 756th as a member of their team...something tells me that the gate for the season was GOLDEN (pun intended) due to Bonds’ historic run at Henry Aaron’s record.
The big question…where will Bonds go? That’s a debate for the others out there in the blog-o-sphere to debate. My job is, and will continue to be, to bring up the merits of those that have more than likely been overlooked and maligned by baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Now…is this where I am supposed to give my playoff picks?!?
September 26, 2007
Usually, these pages are reserved for discussing the Hall-worthiness of marginal players like Kent Tekulve and Ken Phelps...I myself still have hopes for Jack Clark and Jeff Leonard. But I thought I'd change it up a little, and talk about someone who actually WILL make the Hall sooner than later.
One of the previous entries discussed the Hall-worthiness of a couple of second basemen. I'd like to throw another hat in the ring: Craig Biggio, the newest (and, unless Bonds finds a new team next year, probably the last for a while) member of the 3000 Hit Club. Three thousand hits is one of the last hitting stats guaranteed to put you in the Hall, but I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Biggio NOT being good enough for the Hall. And I can understand this, because it's CRAIG BIGGIO.
When talking about the great players of this era, he's not a name that enters the discussion. He's not flashy, nor has he put up any super numbers; he's gotten where he is by being boringly consistent. He just doesn't pass the Hall of Famer "smell test."
However, I think he's a Haller...and a first ballot one, at that. And to make my case, I'll compare him to another converted middle infielder and 3000 hit Hall of Famer who played his entire career with one team: my arch-nemesis, Robin Yount.
These two are actually a pretty good comparison, as, by the time Biggio retires at the end of the year, they will have played the same number of years, and be close in games and plate appearances.
Yount is another case of a guy who kinda played in the shadows. Not flashy, not a great fielder, not particularly popular (playing in only three All-Star Games), playing on a not particularly-good, small-market team that would have 11 straight losing seasons after he retired...yet he somehow won two MVPs. Of the 3000 hitters...Yount's stats are some of the weakest. He was not a consistent power hitter, he didn't drive in a lot of runs, he didn't hit for average, he didn't steal bases. This guy didn't put up super numbers every year. He just went out there and put up the same stat line, year after year...not a great stat line, at that, but consistency DOES count for something.
And baseball writers realized the shallowness of his numbers, inducting him by a mere 12 votes. It didn't help that Nolan Ryan and George Brett, both 98% vote-getters, became eligible the same year.
But, he went in first ballot, nonetheless.
As far as stats go, Biggio is about as close to Yount as you can get. Their stat lines are remarkably similar, with a slight edge (I think) to Biggio. In fact, with the exception of hits, triples, and RBI, Biggio's numbers are better across the board in fewer games. I'm willing to give a pass on the RBI thing, because, while both players usually batted second in their respective lineups, Biggio batted behind a myriad of unremarkable squids (and pitchers). Yount batted behind Paul Molitor.
You tell me who's gonna have more RBI!
Biggio has some additional pluses in his column. He was a four-time Gold Glove winner, he played in all but three All-Star Games in the '90s, his 666 (and counting) doubles are good for fifth all-time, his 1840 and counting runs are good for 12th, and he will probably end his career as the all-time leading hit batsman.
Now, mind you, Biggio's great-but-not-awesome stats are somewhat skewed to the high side due to Biggio's high number of games and plate appearances. To get an understanding what I mean...look at Ken Griffey Jr's numbers, and consider the fact that The Kid has played nearly 500 FEWER games than Biggio.
But, playing in every game didn't stop Yaz or Hammerin' Hank from going into the Hall...and shouldn't be a problem here.
Biggio also ranks 10th in outs, but considering that everyone (excepting Ralph Palmeiro) in the top 20 is in the HOF, it's a good thing to get out. His company on the strikeout list, where he currently ranks 11th, is not as Hall-worthy.
All that being said, I'll conclude my case by paraphrasing a comment I made in the Sandberg/Alomar debate: If you put Yount in, you gotta put Biggio in.
Plain and simple.
We'll see how it pans out in 2013.
September 19, 2007
August 4, 1984…Tom Seaver gets his 300 victory at Yankee Stadium on Phil Rizzuto Day. That same day, Rod Carew notches his 3000th hit.
May 1, 1991…Rickey Henderson becomes the “greatest of all time” by surpassing Lou Brock’s all-time steals mark. Later…Nolan Ryan gets his seventh no-hitter. And speaking of milestones, Henderson would later become Ryan’s 5000th strikeout victim.
September 6, 1995…Cal Ripken Jr. surpasses Lou Gehrig on the consecutive games played list.
Recently, we’ve seen some GREAT milestones as well…June 28 comes to mind. That’s the day that Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run and a few hours later Craig Biggio got his 3000th hit.
Now, given the fascination that baseball has with numbers…I’m confused by the TV coverage this past Sunday. Jim Thome knocks out his 500th in dramatic fashion…fair enough. Meanwhile, Todd Jones earned his 300th save and, for some reason, was compared favorably to what Thome accomplished.
You heard me…ESPN was actually trying to fool us into thinking that Jones' 300 saves was a milestone worth noting. Is it notable because 300 sure sounds like a lot of saves? Is it notable because he now sits twentieth on the all-time saves list whereas Thome now sits twenty third on the home run list?
My guess is that it is a combination of the three, but let’s be honest…any list where you rank BEHIND Doug Jones and Tom Henke doesn’t make you worthy of a milestone mention.
NOW…this is the point where, typically, I would break off and do some sort of side by side comparison of Sutter and someone like Trevor Hoffman or Mariano Rivera. All the while, I’d be making some snide comment about how Bruce Sutter doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. OR, better yet, if Sutter is in the Hall, why can’t Lee Smith or Jeff Reardon seem to get any votes…much less free parking when in Cooperstown?
I’ll be honest, it’s not worth my time…or yours.
September 16, 2007
Dare you say?
Fair enough. I want you to go outside RIGHT NOW and ask the first person you see who the BEST second baseman was over the last quarter century. And when they answer “Ryne Sandberg”…punch them in the face.
Why? They’re lying to you.
Unquestionably, Ryno was good. But he isn’t the BEST to play the position this side of 1980. I know, I know…Sandberg was the MVP in 1984. He once had the most home runs by a second baseman and nabbed nine straight Gold Gloves.
He was pretty good.
Roberto Alomar was better. Hands down.
Matter of fact, he might be the best modern day second baseman...even though Joe Morgan would tell you otherwise. Some people might even go on to tell you that Alomar wasn’t ever the best player on the field for any of the seven teams he played for. Much like Morgan, I’d tell you that neither were Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent and they’re both Hall of Fame caliber middle infielders. And yes...THAT Jeff Kent.
Let’s break this down…plain and simple.
The case for Alomar is an easy one…even easier when compared to the most recent Hall inductee at second base, Ryne Sandberg.
Here ya go:
- Alomar went to twelve straight All-Star games (nine as a starter), compared to Ryno’s ten.
Ten Gold Gloves over a span of eleven years is the most ever by a second baseman.
- His .984 fielding percentage is a hair behind Sandberg’s .989.
- His 2724 hits (and career .300 batting average) is the most by any EVERY DAY second baseman since Charlie Gehringer’s 2839. Gehringer was inducted in 1949. FYI…Sandberg finished with 2386 and a .285 batting average.
- Even, Alomar’s OPS+ (a stat that I am not THAT high on, but some people are) of 116 is smack dab in the middle of the pack when you look at those already enshrined. For the record, Sandberg’s was 114. Joe Morgan...a surprising 132.
- Alomar even slugged .347 in back to back World Series victories for the Blue Jays
And yes, for every “case for”…there is a case against:
- Alomar lacks an identity. His longest stint with any team was five years with the Blue Jays.
- As mentioned, Alomar was overshadowed on nearly every team he played for (Tony Gwynn in San Diego, Joe Carter in Toronto, Cal Ripken in Baltimore, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez in Cleveland).
- When he is eligible in 2010, he’ll likely be up against Tim Raines, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez. Granted, they’re not ALL Hall of Famers…but they’ll garner some attention and steal (pun intended in Raines' case) some votes.
- And, unfortunately, the spitting incident with umpire John Hirshbeck.
Alomar was the type of player that, because he was so damn solid for nearly 17 seasons…people FORGET that he was a hitting machine. From his second year in the majors (1989) until 2001, Alomar hit UNDER .295 only twice. He even had an impressive run of nine out of ten years where he hit .300 or better.
Open your doors for Robbie, Cooperstown, I’ll be watching...all the while knowing that the best second baseman I ever saw play is getting his just desserts.