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September 30, 2009

Gotham's "Dynamic Duo"

Earlier in the week, in an effort to give my "followers" a cool fun fact, I re-tweeted the following: "Jeter and Cano are the only SS/2B teammate duo in history to each collect 200 hits in same season".

I was wrong.

Until now!

You see, when I sent out that errant tweet Monday night, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was at 207 hits (199 at at DH). Second basemen Robinson Cano was at 200 (199 at second and, you guessed as a pinch hitter).

So, yeah...wrong.

Well, since the Yankees apparently saw the need to NOT rest most of their players against the hapless Royals this week...Jeter and Cano have cemented their place as the best hitting middle infield tandem in the game.

I know, I know, I'm not going THAT far out on that limb, but, seriously...can you point out a better one?

After tonight's contest (and no, I'm not going to sort out their stats as DH, PH, etc.)...the Yankees combo has COMBINED for 412 hits (the most by any two players on ANY team), 75 doubles and a startling .328 batting average.

But just how good are their 200 hits?

Considering there is only one other player in the Majors this season that has eclipsed the mark (Ichiro Suzuki)...I'd say damn good.

Anyway...back at the task at hand.

Prior to this season (and Michael Young's move to third), you could say that the Rangers combo of Ian Kinsler and Young would be a formidable match to the Bronx duo. But, given newly minted shortstop Elvis Andrus is no Young...sorry Texas.

What about Philadelphia?

Chase Utley held up his end of the bargain (31 home runs, .286 batting average), but the 2007 National League MVP Jimmy Rollins was very un-MVP like. With a .249 batting average (second worst in his nine year career) and a Major League leading 517 outs're going to have to look elsewhere.

Philadelphia's closest rivals (the Mets and Marlins) have two great shortstops (Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez), but with Reyes missing most of the season with an injury and Ramirez having to rely on Dan won't find any more competition in the National League.

So back to the American League.

What about the Yankees neighbors in the American League East, the Red Sox and Orioles? Surely, last year's American League MVP, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Baltimore's Brian Roberts could carry some numbers into their favor, right?


Pedroia played alongside six different shortstops and the best Roberts can bring to the equation is 50-plus doubles. Again.

Staying in the American League East, let's look at Toronto.

Yeah...seriously. The Blue Jays probably have the best middle infield duo outside of the Yanks and they are probably the two LEAST known guys out of any of the players mentioned above.

Meet Aaron Hill and Marco Scutaro. They're not household names south of the Canadian border, neither has a flashy story and you won't find them in the tabloids. Heck, one is married to his long-time girlfriend (boring!) and the other is Marco Scutaro.

On the other side of the Great Lakes, Robinson Cano was named after Jackie Robinson and reminded former manager Joe Torre of Hall of Famer Rod Carew. And Derek Jeter, well...he's Derek Jeter.

The headlines write themselves!

Back at the plate, the two duos ARE comparable. All four players have more than 100 runs scored apiece, combine for more than 70 doubles (75 for Cano and Jeter...71 for Hill and Scutaro), 40 home runs and an average of close to 80 RBI apiece.

As an aside, Hill leads the pack with 36 long balls while Jeter and Cano bring batting averages of .335 and .322 to the party...but here's the rub. Jeter and Cano have been playing off one another for the last five seasons.

This is the first year for the Toronto tandem.

Perhaps the better question is "how good are Hill and Scutaro going to be" rather than "how good are Cano and Jeter".

BallHype: hype it up!

September 29, 2009

Twitter Tuesday...September 29, 2009

This morning I woke up and an age-old question was answered for me. If a tree falls in your backyard and no one is awake to hear it...does it make a sound? The answer? I still have no idea since, well...I was sleeping. But I know that it takes out part of a fence and completely rips your internet and phoneline off your house.

And with's Twitter Tuesday.

Still don't know what Twitter Tuesday is? Don't waste Google's the link.

If you've followed the Chatter at know that one of my favorite MLB Tweeters is Jason Grilli. Well, in an effort to pump up his teammates (I'm guessing), my man GrillCheese49 broke out the Big Book o' Quotes and dropped some inspiration.

Here's Grilli's best from the past week.

"Having lots of money while not having inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in the ocean"- Yogananda

"Im a great believer in luck, the harder I work the luckier I get." -T. Jefferson

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall" -Confucius

“It takes less time 2 do things right than 2 explain why you did it wrong.”- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity” – Henry Hartman

“Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it” - Mahatma Gandhi

Winning the National League East is certainly not a lock for the Phillies since the Braves are in the midst of a seven game win streak. One thing that we all can agree one is happy with Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge this season.

ACPressSusan_L: The Phillies haven't clinched because of Brad Lidge not being on top form, does that sound right?

JxJSPORTS: Brad Lidge - 1st NL pitcher with at least 11 blown saves in a season since '98 He was 41-for-41 in save opps last yr.

SI_JonHeyman: did brad lidge make a deal with the devil for that perfect 2008? how would such a nice guy even know the devil?

chelseacoyle26: Praise the Lord! RT @espn: Philadelphia Phillies plan to use other options at closer besides Brad Lidge

underthebridge1: Fact, only Brad Lidge could blow a save in a non-save situation.

howaboutafresca: Lucky for the Cowboys, the Panthers Jake Delhomme is the Brad Lidge of NFL quarterbacks...

one_mike1: Johnthan Broxton Is Pure Garbage He Needs To Stop Takin Pitchin Lessons From Brad Lidge

The700Level: So it's not that Brad Lidge sucks at closing. He just sucks at pitching in general.

It was just a matter of time before I brought up Joe Posnanski. If you're not familar with Joe...he's had a pretty decent last couple of months. First, he announced he was becoming a full-time senior writer with a little outlet called Sports Illustrated, then...he released his most recent book (The Machine: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds) to good reviews. Now...I'm suggesting you follow him.

If only his beloved Royals had that good of a summer.

Have someone you think everyone should follow? Perhaps you yourself have read some interesting tweets in the past week…drop me a line or leave a comment below. See you next Tuesday!

BallHype: hype it up!

September 25, 2009

Is this what passes for baseball these days?

One of the milestones that I have yet to expound upon in length is the setting of a new seasonal strikeout record.

Sure, I briefly mentioned it
earlier in the week…but good friend of The Hall, E, has taken it about eighteen steps further.


Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks has broken the old record of 204 strikeouts, set way back in...well, last year by Mark Reynolds.

At 208 Ks with nine games left, he appears poised to make it very difficult for himself to break this record again next year. And, while it was bound to happen, as every record is made to be broken, I think the strikeout record getting topped twice in as many years points towards a disturbing trend in baseball.

The seasonal strikeout record was held for a loooong time by Bobby Bonds. He broke the previous mark of 175 in 1969 with 187, and then broke his own record with 189 the following year.

189 was the record for close to 35 years!

Prior to the turn of the millennium, the closet anyone ever got to the record was when Rob Deer, who sometimes had twice as many strikeouts as hits in a season, got within three in 1987.

In fact, up until 1997, Dave Nicholson's old 1963 mark of 175 was only surpassed five other times, and two of those were Deer! No one wanted that record.

And rightly so, as it expresses a level of ineptitude that not many players want to achieve.

But, as we approached Y2K, a lot of players started closing in.

As the new millennium proceeded, someone (specifically, Adam Dunn) jerked around and managed to break that strikeout record. In just the past five years, it has been reset three more times…most recently by Reynolds.

More than thirty years, and the closest anyone got to Bonds' mark was within three. In the past six years, it's been topped seven times. That old 175 mark has been bested 19 more times in the past 10 years.

Apparently, it's all right to be a strikeout overachiever.

Funny thing, though…over that same 10-12 year time period, the same thing happened to home runs.

When Albert Belle hit 50 homers in 1995, that was the first time someone had done that since Cecil Fielder did it five years earlier. Prior to Fielder…George Foster in 1977.

In the first 126 years of baseball, 50 home runs in a season had happened only 17 times. Since '95, it's happened 21 more times. It's no big deal to hit 50, even 60, homers now.

Coincidentally enough, wasn't that same time period when the whole steroid thing kinda took off?

I'm sure someone could easily blame steroids for the rise in homers and strikeouts, but, seeing as there's little correlation between the home run and strikeout numbers, this assumption would lead one to believe that steroids grant the user one of two abilities: (1) hitting lots of homers, or (2) striking out an irrational number of times.

The easier conclusion to reach is that, because of the recent increased importance of the home run, batters aren't even attempting to put the ball in play anymore, opting to merely swing so hard that they corkscrew themselves into the ground like a Looney Tunes character every time they miss.
I think that, if more emphasis was placed on just making contact with the ball instead of trying to knock its cover off, strikeouts would go down.

Sure, homers would go down, too, but I'd rather watch someone get 200 hits than watch them not hit anything 200 times.

As for Reynolds and his dubious mark, he might want to focus more on contact and less on power.

The career strikeout mark is 2597, held by Reggie Jackson. Only four players (including Jackson) have topped 2000 Ks in their careers, and no one in the history of baseball has gotten within 250 of Jackson's record.

That being said, at his current place, Reynolds will break Jackson's record within 10 years…a mark it took Jackson 21 years to set, and this dope, in three season, is already a quarter of the way there.

No wonder I can barely be bothered to pay attention to baseball anymore.

BallHype: hype it up!

September 23, 2009

Talkin' Baseball with Chris Hoiles

The above photo was borrowed from thanks!

Much was made when Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s “Iron Man” streak September 6, 1995. To this day…many say he “saved baseball”.

For the next three years, he did what he did 2632 games prior…he went to work. Last Saturday (September 19) marked the 11th anniversary of Ripken playing the last game of his historic games played streak.

Outside of Ripken himself, only four other players played in both games: Rafael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson and Chris Hoiles for the Orioles…Chili Davis suited up for the opposition (the Angels in the first game and the Yankees in the second).

I had the chance recently to talk with Hoiles, a 2006 inductee to Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.

HOVG: So, what was it like taking the field as the starting catcher for both game 2131 and 2632 of Ripken’s streak?

HOILES: It was a once in a lifetime thing. Being the starting catcher for those two dates was unbelievable. Everything leading up to that date, you knew it was something special. Watching Cal play during my time there for ten years, you appreciate him for his desire to play and his dedication to the sport to be able to do this.

HOVG: In Ripken’s run to surpassing Gehrig’s record…he delivered at the plate as well. He could have mailed it in, but he went deep three consecutive nights. Was he that amped up or did he just get good pitches to hit?

HOILES: I think it was a matter of both, being amped up and getting good pitches. That’s the way he approached each and every game. He prepared himself for those games, just like he did for any other games.

HOVG: When you joined the Orioles full-time in 1991, Ripken was already well on his way to a Hall of Fame career…but so were some other teammates of yours. Let me throw some names your way and you let me know what your thoughts are of them. I’m a HUGE Baines guy, so, first off…Harold Baines. Hall of Famer?

HOILES: Harold Baines, I feel should be in the Hall of Fame. His numbers compare or are better than a lot of guys that are already in. Being able to do what he did at the DH position, speaks for itself. Very hard thing to do and he excelled at it.

HOVG: After Jorge Posada’s 183 games behind the dish…you caught Mike Mussina more than anyone else out there at 175. What are your thoughts on “Moose” as a pitcher and a potential Hall of Famer?

HOILES: I enjoyed catching “Moose” as long as I did. He is a guy that just knew how to pitch, and later in his career he showed that by having to adjust to what he couldn’t do when he was younger. He won 20 games in his last year! He had an arsenal of pitches that he could throw at any time and throw them for strikes. I think he should be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.

HOVG: Rafael Palmeiro…does he still have a chance at Cooperstown or is his steroid suspension going to lead to him being made an example of?

HOILES: I don't know about Raffy. He really screwed up through the whole process. I think the numbers would get him in, but I don't know if he will get in.

HOVG: And since I mentioned Palmeiro…I’ve gotta ask about Brady Anderson. Is a guy like Brady a victim of all the steroid talk because of his 1996 season or is it warranted?

HOILES: Brady was a good hitter. I don't think we would have been able to do what we did as a team without Brady in the leadoff spot. I don't know if he did steroids or not, but he had a great year in 96, and I don't think he ever hit over 20 homers in a season again, but sometimes players just have that one great year and that’s it.

HOVG: You had some success against Randy Johnson. What are your thoughts on the recent 300 game winner?

HOILES: Randy Johnson is a future Hall of Famer. A first ballot inductee I think. He was very intimidating on the mound and had nasty stuff. I don't know how I had so much success off of him, but I saw the ball very well off of him.

HOVG: Is there a certain at bat that sticks out in your mind?

HOILES: One at bat that sticks out is…one game I got a hit off of him in my first at bat and drove in two guys. The next at bat, first pitch, he drilled me in the back of my front leg. The at bat after that, I hit a long home run to left center field of old King Dome.

HOVG: And if that wasn’t big enough…you kinda became known for some big ones while with Baltimore. In 1998, you became only the ninth player to hit two grand slams in one game. Walk me through that. It has to be a thrill.

HOILES: Well, the two grand slam game was special to me, because I went from playing every day to part-time with Lenny Webster. I hadn't played in a few days, and that was my first start in a while. Plus it was in Cleveland, where I have a lot of friends and family come to because of where I grew up. The first one was a 2-0 count split finger from Charles Nagy and the second was a 3-2 fastball from Ron Villone. Very special night, especially after it was all over and I found out that I was only the ninth person to do it. Three of the nine were Orioles and I was the first catcher to do it.

HOVG: Two year prior (May 17, 1996), you ended a pretty crazy game with what some call the “ultimest” grand slam. Full count, two outs, base loaded…down three. What was that like?

HOILES: It was an awesome feeling, knowing that the game was on the line when I came to bat. Nothing like it.

HOVG: On a serious note, you’ve recently resigned from your post as manager of the York Revolution. You led them to the playoffs last season and were the only manager the young franchise ever knew...will we see you again as a manager or coach?

HOILES: I don't know if you will see me on the field again or not. I enjoyed my time in York and enjoyed the manager’s post, but I just don't know right now. I enjoy the game and I enjoy helping young men get better, whether at the major league level or the minor leagues.

HOVG: Tell me about your latest venture. What’s keeping you busy?

HOILES: I also have started a new company with my business partner Adam Gladstone called "The Hoiles-Gladstone Group" or HGG.
Our website was launched recently and is a great way to keep in touch with us on all our events. We are combining professional athletes from all sports with the sports fan. We have our first event October 21-25, a bow hunting trip to Northeast Pennsylvania including Ben McDonald, Will Clark, Jamie Walker and myself. We are looking to get 16 paying customers to join us. We have a Cajun chef cooking all the meals.

Chris Hoiles was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1986 and made his way to Baltimore via a 1988 trade. He was a career .262 hitter with 151 home runs…his career slugging percentage (.467) is the ninth best in Orioles history.

If anyone is interested in joining the gang on their hunting trip…all the information is available at
their website. Hoiles says that if someone is the first one to sign up…he might even be able to throw a discount their way. And if you do end up going on the HGG hunting trip…drop The Hall a line at

BallHype: hype it up!

September 22, 2009

"Do you want to hear something sick?"

The summer before I went away to college I went on a date to the local mall.

Romantic, right?

Thing is, I didn't go there because of the old stereotype "girls like to shop"...I went there solely because I needed to replace my worn out cassette (yes, cassette) of Pearl Jam's "Ten" with a new one.

Suffice it to say, my love affair with the Seattle-based rockers has lasted much longer than the result of that afternoon explaining the overlap of Green River, Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam to a girl I shared space with in Spanish class.

And with their latest release "Backspacer", one can only be reminded of the consistency they've maintained since "Alive" first hit the airwaves in 1991. It is that same sort of consistency that has made Yankees closer Mariano Rivera an obvious shoe-in when his name comes up in Hall of Fame discussions.

Yes, I did just segue from Pearl Jam to Mariano Rivera.

Saturday night, I received the following tweet from Yankees jack of all trades Nick Swisher: "Congrats to Mo. 1000th career strikeout. Wow."

1000 career Ks...I had no clue. Immediately that led me to scrambling. I know Rivera is a stud, but how does he stack up to active counterpart Trevor Hoffman?

How about against Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter or friend of The Hall Rollie Fingers?

Of the six, only Hoffman and Sutter never started a game...Eckersley started 361. "Mo" started ten in his rookie campaign, and both Gossage and Fingers took the mound as the game's starter 37 times.

And, no, "Clerks" fans...not in a row.

I won't compare the save totals between the six since we're talking two VERY different periods of closers, but we can look compare their ERAs out of the bullpen.

Fingers (2.73), Hoffman (2.74), Gossage (2.77), Sutter (2.82) and Eckersley (2.85) are all pretty much cut from the same cloth when it comes to their ERA as a reliever. Rivera blows them all away with a career 2.09 ERA out of the bullpen. Matter of fact, dude even has the lowest career ERA (2.26) among relievers that have pitched at least 1000 innings.

In his saves (all American League leading 522 of them), Rivera's ERA continues to drops even a staggering 0.64. The only member of the Hall of Fame with a better ERA in his saves is Gossage at 0.54.

"Do you want to hear something sick" Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder warbles as "Gonna See My Friend" kicks off their latest offering, so I am inclined to ask the you?

Rivera has managed to save 85% of the games he's come in to close. By comparison...current reliever wunderkind Francisco Rodriguez is only at 77% so far in his young career. Odds are he won't touch Mo's consistency.

And since we're talking consistency (and earlier, strikeouts), the Majors did crown a new strikeout king...its old one.

That's right, Diamondbacks slugger Mark Reynolds struck out three times in a Tuesday night victory against the Giants.

Going into the night, Reynolds had 203 whiffs, one shy of his old record 204. With ten games to go in the'll be interesting to see match his listed playing weight (220 pounds) with Ks.

BallHype: hype it up!

Twitter Tuesday...September 22, 2009

Last week, The American Mustache Institute announced that the headliner for this year's 'Stache Bache will be the one and only John Oates. Now, I have to admit, when Dr. Aaron Perlut first mentioned that he had been talking with Oates I wondered to myself..."I thought he died, like, five years ago."

Wrong John(ny) Oates. Thankfully, the one coming to the St. Louis-based event is very, VERY much alive!

Still don't know what Twitter Tuesday is? Don't waste Google's the link.

As the season winds down...the tone of the chatter among the players (and former players) I follow changes dramatically.

stevefinley: September is the gut check month separating the contenders from the pretenders! Always one of my favorite months of the season!!

JoeNathan36: 15 games left in regular season. 1st game with detroit had a lot of energy from the fans. makes for fun atmosphere. keep it up yall!

NickSwisher: big series. 2 great teams going at it. These are the series you play for. Let's do the damn thing

jonadkins96: HUGE win for the Giants Nation tonight. Hell I thought we were at home with how loud you guys were! Awesome...Keep the support coming!

str8edgeracer: If that's what playoff baseball feels like, I'm in

And for old time's's another keeper from Twitter Tuesday favorite CJ Nitkowski.

CJNitkowski: I've been on a funeral home website for 10 mins to get their address. The background music is incredibly depressing but I can't turn it off.

If you took The Hall's advice and followed Astros County you were inundated today with thoughts on the firing of Cecil Cooper.

AstrosCounty: A volatile look back at a volatile 2009 for Cecil Cooper:

For some reason...they weren't the only ones with something to say.

jellius: thinks Cecil Cooper got a raw deal!

LanceZierlein: Now that cecil cooper is gone, the astros can get started being awesome!

gunans: Dear Cecil Cooper, the world will never know what kind of manager you are. That's what happens when you only have two Major League pitchers.

spencer_josh: the astros season is sure to turn around now that they have fired cecil cooper...why do this 150 games in? he should have been fired sooner

medalov: This is for Cecil Cooper. Poor guy, Prince takes his Brewers RBI record, his team gets swept and he gets fired

jraythegreat: Cecil Cooper era is over. I'll miss his confused facial expressions in the dugout. Replaced by Dave Clark...Jack Clark...Clark Griswold?

peteinhou: The Astros fired manager Cecil Cooper today. Cooper was under the impression he got fired in June. This explains a lot...

Since I brought up The American Mustache Institute in the only stands to reason that I suggest you follow them. So...head on over to your Twitter (or what have you), call up Mustache Talk and get to following!

Also, it needs to be mentioned that if you want to take part in nominating someone for the Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year have until October 2.

Have someone you think everyone should follow? Perhaps you yourself have read some interesting tweets in the past week…drop me a line or leave a comment below. See you next Tuesday!

BallHype: hype it up!

Franchise records set in far

Throughout the season, milestones have become the thing here at The Hall. From Jeter's new Yankee hit record to Randy Johnson's 300th victory...we've covered them all.

Well...most of them.

Thankfully, Larry over at Wezen Ball compiled a list of some of the franchise records that, so far (I'm looking your way Mark know what you're about to do), have been toppled. Check it out HERE!

BallHype: hype it up!

September 19, 2009

Some Ruthian efforts recognized

I came to a realization tonight...Ryan Howard might be the best power hitter going in the game today. I know, I know, I'm not really going out on a limb with that statement...but still, the kid is good.

On June 27, 2007, Howard became the fastest player to hit 100 home runs when he bested Ralph Kiner by 60 games.

Earlier this season (on July 16), Howard again surpassed Kiner when he became the quickest to 200 home runs.

Friday night, the Phillies first baseman again joined some pretty exclusive company in Philadelphia's 9-4 victory against the Braves.

With a sixth inning bomb off Atlanta's Tim Hudson, Howard joined Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only four Major Leaguers with at least four consecutive 40 home run, 120 RBI seasons.

A year from now, we could be talking about Howard putting Griffey and Sosa in the rearview as they never reached a fifth consecutive season. Ruth, on the other hand, sent more than 40 deep and drove in 120 or more a record seven times!

And since we're talking power hitters, Washington's Adam Dunn is poised to achieve a Ruthian feat of his own. Going into the last few weeks of the season, Dunn is three homers shy of becoming only the second player to reach 40 or more home runs in six straight seasons.

Ruth, again (obviously), being the other.

One record that neither Howard or Dunn need to worry about this season (even though they both held the dubious honor in the past) is setting the record for most strikeouts in a season.

While Dunn set the record of 195 Ks in 2004, Howard topped it with 199 in both 2007 and 2008. With 200 strikeouts and the Rockies in town, Diamondbacks infielder Mark Reynolds in looking to shatter his current season record of 2004.

BallHype: hype it up!

September 18, 2009

"The Hall" versus "THE Hall"

Since Jesus was first fitted for sandals, philosophers have questioned whether or not a tree falling in the woods makes a sound. In today's age, a better question might be whether or not a blog or website actually exists if no one is reading it.

Well, I am here to tell you that thanks to guys like Rob Neyer and Jimmy Traina, sites like RBI Magazine, Seamheads, The American Mustache Institute and plenty of're reading.

So when I saw that fellow blogger (yes, I hate that word...but we are what we are) Jake Rake mentioned The Hall in his latest post I had to check it out.

You should too...then return and let's discuss. Go THERE and return in...






Now that you're back...let's break down the players that Jake would not include in his version of Cooperstown.

Paul Molitor: I would say that it’s pretty weird that Molitor got voted in while Harold Baines did not, considering their near-identical careers as designated hitters (Molitor: 21 seasons, 122 adjusted OPS+; Baines: 22 seasons, 120), except for the fact that there is little rhyme or reason to who the BBWAA elects to what is supposedly baseball’s highest honor.

Let me start by saying once again...I am a HUGE supporter of Harold Baines being enshrined in Cooperstown. I've made my case and can't figure out how the BBWAA can't seem to give him more than 5.9% of the vote.

After three years on the ballot and considering Edgar Martinez will get all the DH-friendly votes, I'm wagering 2010 will be the last for him.

And that's a shame.

Now, Molitor, on the other hand, he's a slam dunk, no? Let's break it down without using OPS+ as a reason for any of it. Molitor gets in because because he has 3300+ hits, close to 1800 runs scored and more doubles than all but 10 players. Even looking at and comparing their careers as designated hitters is ridiculous given Baines has more than 1300 more plate appearances than Molitor.

Nearly identical? Not hardly.

Neither Baines nor Molitor will find themselves in Jake’s Hall of Fame, but both have unquestioned claims to residency in the Hall of Very Good. Fun fact: Baines and Molitor were even selected two picks apart in the 1977 Draft, with Baines going first overall to the White Sox and Brewers taking Molitor third.

Here's another "fun fact" for ya, outside of Molitor, there have only been three players selected in the top ten of their respective draft classes that have been enshrined...Reggie Jackson (drafted second overall in 1966), Robin Yount and Dave Winfield (selected with the third and fourth picks in the 1973).

And while we're talking "fun facts", also selected in that same draft...Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (more on him later), two-time World Champion manager Terry Francona, could-be Hall of Famer (depending on who you ask) Tim Raines and former NBA Executive of the Year Danny Ainge.

Dave Winfield: Maintaining an adjusted OPS+ of 130 over the course of a 22-year career is impressive, however, a corner outfielder who only finishes in the top five in that category once during those 22 years is not a Hall of Famer. He’ll be right up there with Molitor and Baines in the Very Good ranks though.

Pop quiz...can you name the players with a higher career batting average, more hits, home runs and RBI than Winfield? Let me help you out...Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray. Yeah, that's it, man, just those four.

Add to that Winfield's twelve straight All-Star Games and seven Gold Gloves and I think you know why he garnered close to 85% of the vote in 2001.

Ernie Banks: The first half of his career was epic, with a line of .290/.353/.552 as a shortstop in a low-offense era; however, after becoming a full-time first baseman in 1961, he managed to hit just .260/.310/.454, making him a league-average bat at what is supposed to be a high-offense position for more than half of his career.

"Mr. Cub"? Really?!? Anyone who knows me knows that I've done my fair share of Cubs bashing. That being said...I don't know that I've ever said anything bad about the on field achievements of the two-time MVP. I know that the rub against Banks is his play at first base, but considering while he played short he hit 40 home runs or more in four consecutive seasons (at the time, only Babe Ruth had done it more)...he was pretty much a shoe-in.

Consider this, when Banks retired with 512 home runs in 1971...he was SEVENTH on the all-time list behind only Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mays, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. Just behind him on the list were Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson. Connect the dots...this one is an easy one.

Nellie Fox, Bill Mazeroski, & Red Schoendienst: Finishing one’s career with an adjusted OPS+ below 100 is grounds for immediate disqualification unless your name is Ozzie Smith.

Oh no...more OPS+ arguments! C'mon...all three of these guys were middle infielders, not known for their stick AND voted in thanks to the Veterans Committee. Yes, the same Veterans Committee that can't seem to get their act together when considering the resumes of Luis Tiant, Jim Kaat and Dick Allen.

In short, I'm going to pass and move along to...

Bruce Sutter: Being an elite closer isn’t enough if you only play for 12 seasons. Off the top of my head, the only relievers I’m taking are Mariano Rivera, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, and Dennis Eckersley.

I can (and have) made comments against the inclusion of Bruce Sutter. Honestly, I'd put in Dan Quisenberry before Sutter...and I'm not even sure I could do that without being high on NyQuil. That being said, how could anyone conveniently leave Rollie Fingers and Lee Smith out of their closers equation?

Rivera, Goose, Hoffman and
The standards are pretty tough for Jake's Hall of Fame I guess. Given he's only got four relievers (only two are Hall-worthy) in his Hall and players like Winfield, Banks, Molitor and Pete Rose (read this gem) paying for their admission like normal folks...I have to wonder who DOES smell like a Hall of Famer to this guy?

BallHype: hype it up!

September 16, 2009

Yes...THAT Brian Roberts

Lost in the Derek Jeter "is" (check out what Hal Bodley had to say) or "isn't" (read the rebuttal to Bodley's piece by Michael Schur) American League Most Valuable Player debates that have hit the interwebs since he surpassed Lou Gehrig's Yankee hit record were two other significant hitting milestones.

First...Ichiro Suzuki added to his Hall of Fame credentials by putting together his record setting ninth straight season with 200 or more hits Sunday night. Fittingly, it was an infield single (a slow roller to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus) that broke the Ichiro free of Willie Keeler's 108 year-old record of eight straight.

"We witnessed something that has never been done in the history of baseball," marveled four-time All-Star Mike Sweeney following the game. "That was a special night for all of us, and especially Ichiro. I'm elated for him. We're all elated for him."

And just how good is nine straight seasons with 200 or more hits? Consider this...hit kings Ty Cobb and Pete Rose never did it in more than three consecutive seasons. Both played 24 seasons in the bigs and for their careers, Cobb had nine season where he hit the benchmark...Rose had ten.

Ichiro is nine for nine.

Also lost in the shuffle was Brian Roberts of the Orioles and I know what you're thinking...yes, THAT Brian Roberts.

You see last week against the Red Sox, Roberts launched a double to deep left off of starter Paul Byrd. And no, the fact that he leap frogged Hall of Famer Earle Combs on the all-time doubles list in the process has nothing to do with the achievement.

You see, with that hit (double number 50 for Roberts this season), the second baseman became only the fourth player in Major League history to have three seasons with more than 50 doubles.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that Roberts is the same caliber as the other three on the list (Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial), but I'll tell you this...regardless who you root for, being on that short list is pretty impressive.

"I'm guessing that will be the only thing in my career that I'll ever be in that sort of company for," Roberts said following the game. "I respect the game and I like the history of the game, and to be in that company is something I'll be proud of when I'm done."

Speaker hit 50 doubles in a season five times during his career, while Waner and Musial did it three times each.

Also, with 51 doubles last season, Roberts recorded his second straight 50 double season. The other two that did it...Hall of Famer Billy Herman and his future plaquemate Craig Biggio.

So there you have it, gang, a Thursday morning post that features five Hall of Famers, three future Hall of Famers, Pete Rose and Brian Roberts.

Yes...THAT Brian Roberts.

BallHype: hype it up!

David Ortiz...are you familiar?

Familiarity is a wonderful thing.

I'll explain.

Last night, I was doing the same thing most adolescent pre-teen girls were doing (hanging out on Facebook) when a friend of mine from school sent me a message.

I was astounded!

Here was a guy I've known since the second grade, I hadn't talked to in more than 15 years and we were able to pick up (as much as you can through IMs) where we left off before college and the real world dominated our lives.

To me, I find it fascinating when things like that happen. Good friends can do that, and in baseball...great hitters can pick it up regardless the amount of time they were disconnected from their craft.

Such was the case last night with David Ortiz.

Earlier in the season, "Big Papi" was entrenched in the worst slump of his career...a .188 batting average and one home run from Opening Day through June 5. He entered the season with 289 career bombs and back in March, The Hall made the prediction that he'd hit the 300 home run milestone by early to mid-May.

Number 300 came on July 9.

13 long balls later...Ortiz entered MUCH more exclusive territory by becoming the all-time leader in home runs by a designated hitter with an eighth inning bomb off Angels reliever Jose Arredondo.

In an age of the professional power hitter (and let's face it, most designated hitters are big, lumbering fellas who swing for the fences), it is interesting that 270 (or 86%) of Papi's 313 home runs. By comparison, Frank Thomas (the previous leader with 269) hit only 51% of his 521 home runs as a DH.

So with the emphasis on power hitters lately (and no, this is not going to turn into a steroid debate), I've still gotta wonder...who is going to be the first time full-time DH to knock down Cooperstown's door?

I've made my case for Harold Baines and he can't seem to muster more than six percent of the writer's vote. Edgar Martinez faces a very crowded ballot at the end of this season and, honestly, I'm not sure he's got the right stuff.

Thomas will get in...but I'm willing to bet his plaque lists him as a first baseman rather than a designated hitter.

So who is it going to be? Make your voice heard in the comments section and vote!

BallHype: hype it up!

September 14, 2009

Twitter Tuesday...September 15, 2009

Since we last met, I sat ringside at a WWE event (two actually), pressed the flesh with Rev. Jesse Jackson and witnessed first hand an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition "Braveheart March".

But enough about me.

Still don't know what Twitter Tuesday is? Don't waste Google's the link.

I typically don't post links, but given Karim Garcia started the whole Allen Iverson exhange...I had to post another great YouTube moment. Add that to some talk about fashion and off-season plans and you've got a recipe for some Infield Chatter.

karimgarcia95: some relax time and practice we r talking about practice men


jonadkins96: @karimgarcia95 Practice??! Did you say practice? We talkin bout practice man! Hope you did well tonight Kingpin!

GrillCheese49: Psyched that I will be up to par with my suits and custom shirts that I just ordered. Gotta pull the trigger once and a while to look good.

str8edgeracer: debating if "being on a boat" is better than "renting an apartment" for the offseason...have to watch pirates of the carribean for research

There are plenty of things going on in the world so far this week...Kanye West, Patrick Swayze and the start of the NFL season. Unfortunately, this is a baseball site so I'm going with the new all-time Yankee hit leader...Derek Jeter.

jimbaumbach: Where was Kanye West when Justin Morneau won the AL MVP in 2006 instead of Derek Jeter?

dreamwurkstudio: My nomination for this weekends class acts: Beyonce, Jeter and Ichiro

bluntman17: brady is the pats version of derek jeter

brentitude: I guess T.O. is the #NFL's Derek Jeter. *rolls eyes*

TheKevinStewart: There are no words to describe the amazingness that is Derek Jeter

gx5: If Derek Jeter had been drafted by the Astros or Reds, as he was led to believe, he wouldn't even be close to a franchise hits record

JayMohr37: Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig. But will he die of Derek Jeter's disease? That would be SO WEIRD.

nordlaw88: @jaymohr37 I was thinking the same thing Jay. Is Derek Jeter disease the curse to only date hot women? What a jerk but good ball player

In person...I am sure we'd argue given our baseball allegiances. On here...I find the dude funny. Ladies and gentlemen...Josh Deitch.

Josh contributes over at Seamheads and is a self-proclaimed "selfish" Yankees fan...but don't hold that against him. Did you hear the one about him being at Derek Jeter's record setting game the other night?

Have someone you think everyone should follow? Perhaps you yourself have read some interesting tweets in the past week…drop me a line or leave a comment below. See you next Tuesday!

BallHype: hype it up!