January 29, 2010

Canton vs. Cooperstown Part 2

"I'm excited about what lies in front of me....and seeing what God's going to do next."

In what was a surprise to no one...former grocery store bagger and two-time MVP quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the NFL this afternoon.

Now, if you hit up Google and bang out "Kurt Warner Hall of Fame" you're going to get hundreds of thousands of responses. I mean, EVERYONE seems to think that this cat deserves a bust in Canton.

Are the credentials for enshrinement in Canton THAT much different than unlocking the doors at Cooperstown?

Apparently so.

Last season at this time, during the NFC Championship game, the commentators were all talking about the matchup between Warner and Donovan McNabb.

At some point, it became less about who was going to the Super Bowl and more about the legacy of each quarterback. Every time I heard that this particular game would determine who would end up taking up residency in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…I threw up a little in my mouth.

A fourth NFC Championship loss would spell doom for widely underappreciated McNabb, while a third Super Bowl appearance would, apparently, make Warner a lock.

If you listened to the announcers, each touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald was another step toward immortality for the former Hy-Vee bag boy.

In the second half, all that was pushed aside thanks to McNabb’s comeback. All of a sudden, he was likened to John Elway or Joe Montana.

Unless you were under a rock, you know that the game concluded with the Arizona Cardinals winning 32 to 25 and seemingly sent Warner to the tailor to get measured for his Hall of Fame jacket.

A week later, and following a spectacular comeback by Warner and his Arizona Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers snuffed out Warner's chance at winning his second Super Bowl ring with a last-minute touchdown.

Can someone please tell me why we're talking about this guy as a Hall of Famer.

Last season, Warner wasn’t even slated to start the season under center...Matt Leinert was. This year, the tides were turned and Warner was a lock for the season opener.

His 2009 season was pretty good. Not All-Pro good...but pretty good nonetheless.

Overall, he has played four…count ‘em four FULL seasons as a starting quarterback. Sure, he made the Super Bowl in three of those seasons and his career winning percentage hovers around 57%, but in baseball terms…the guy is, and yes, I realize this is a stretch, more Jose Rijo (career winning percentage of 56% and a World Series MVP) than Curt Schilling (accolades too numerous to mention).

So what in the world does Kurt Warner have to do with baseball? There hasn’t been a “Warner” in baseball since 1966 and the closest any of them haven’t gotten to the Hall of Fame were the “Waner” brothers (Paul and Lloyd) of the 30s and 40s.

Consider this if you will.

Football is a game of “what have you done for me once” while baseball fans want to know exactly “what are you doing for me now”…just look at the history of the game.

Joe Namath, with his one ring and .500 record, has earned him some sort of legendary status. David Cone, with his FIVE rings, a perfect game and close to 200 Ws couldn't get four percent of the writers to vote for him last year.



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January 27, 2010

Randall Simon has a new home

The guys at JoeSportsFan.com have the Cardinals. The Silva brothers from New York Baseball Digest have both the Yankees and Mets.

Here at The Hall (headquartered in lovely Rockford, Illinois) has...the Riverhawks?

That being said, the 2004 Frontier League Champion Riverhawks (they're now in the Northern League) made a splash signing former Major Leaguer Randall Simon.

“The first reason I signed him was identity, because he gives instant identity to our franchise,” RiverHawks co-owner and director of baseball operations Dave Ciarrachi said. “Everybody I have talked to has told me quality things about him, as a clubhouse guy and as a guy who likes to mentor young players."

"I am excited about making my return to the to Chicago area with the RiverHawks,” Simon said. “I have fond memories of the Cubs fans and how much they embraced me and look forward to a great year in Rockford."

Simon played parts of eight seasons in the bigs...suiting up for six teams. In 537 big-league games, the native of Curacao hit .283 with 49 home runs and 237 RBIs.

His minor-league numbers are no less impressive as he’s a career .293 hitter with 180 homers and 858 RBI in 1,297 games.

Last year, Simon hit .281 with 13 homers and 51 RBI in 75 games with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. He struck out just 20 times in 325 plate appearances. His average of a strikeout per each 16.25 plate appearances led the Northern League.

Of course it is the 2003 "Sausage Race Incident" that Simon will best be remembered. Feel free to look up that video on your own!



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Jim Thome is in the news...welcome to The Hall!

The Chicago White Sox confuse me.

Seriously...they do.

A couple of days ago, the Chicago sports world was buzzing with whether or not the Southsiders were going to be re-signing future Hall of Famer (I know, I know) Jim Thome.

Yes, the same Jim Thome that, just last August, was offered up to whatever team would bite. And yes, the same Jim Thome that earlier last week, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said WON'T be part of his master plan of a rotating designated hitter.

So why was it news when the White Sox officially said they weren't bringing Thome back?


I don't know!

All that aside, Thome's one-year steal of a contract ($1.5 milion, plus incentives) with the Twins means good things for The Hall.

Basically, every time Thome is in the news, traffic here rises. His bat combined with that Minnesota lineup means more home runs and more Thome in the news.

I think I have a new hero.

Now for those of you that are stumbling upon this post (welcome!), let me get you up to speed with The Hall's affiliation with Thome.

When The Hall was just in its infancy, I wrote the following and a powder keg was ignited.

There you have it...Thome is very good, not great. Hall of Famer? Perhaps…but not on the first couple of ballots.


To this day, Google is still directing people (mostly those who look for information on "Jim Thome and steroids" or "Jim Thome and the Hall of Fame") to a little post where I suggested that Jim Thome might not make it into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.

Since then, he's hit 66 more home runs and is sitting at 564 for his career. That's right, the guy is now 12th all-time, but I still stand by my claim...Thome will NOT be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Why? My reasoning is the same as it was two years ago.

His home run total, while incredible, will not be as eye popping five years after Thome's retirement.

Basically, we’ve got a guy who smacked the Hell out of the ball, but was never the most dominant, much less feared, player of his era. And because of that, he'll get lost in the mix.

Now, add to the fact that his former teammate (and, if you ask me, more Hall-worthy) Roberto Alomar can get the votes to go in on his first try...how can Thome?

Do you agree (like Rob Neyer did last September) or disagree? Let me know!



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January 26, 2010

Baseball's Past...In the Future

Every so often, someone will send out a tweet, an email, something that makes you sit back and say "I wish I would have thought of that". I had one of those moments last week and right now, Larry Granillo over at Wezen Ball is the cat that made me wish I "had thought of that".

Allow me to explain.

There are a few movie staples in my house that, at any given moment, you can put in and everyone stops what they're doing, shuts up and watches.

The Trilogy has become one of those "movies".

I know, I know, "Star Wars " is regarded as THE Trilogy, but what I'm talking about is "Back to the Future" and, to bring this back to Larry, please check out what popped up on Wezen Ball this morning.

It was pointed out on the web last week that, if the film Back to the Future was released today, Marty would travel back in time all the way to the year 1980. Not only did that observation cause a whole generation (or two) to feel ridiculously old, but it also helped to start a conversation or two about one of the greatest film trilogies there is.

In reading those conversations, I was reminded of something interesting shown in Back to the Future II. When Marty arrives in Hilldale in 2015, he's inundated with the technology of the future, including a "realistic" hologram of the shark in Jaws 19. He also sees a newsreel highlighting the news that the Cubs have won the World Series over Miami - a team that didn't exist in 1985, and whose mascot, apparently, is a gator with a bat.

The news prompts Marty to go buy the Gray's Sports Almanac, and adventures ensue.


You can read the rest over at Wezen Ball. And if you feel so inclined...you can also follow Larry on Twitter.

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January 25, 2010

Bomber Back on Blake Street


When Oakland released slugger Jason Giambi last August, he was knocking on the door of becoming just the sixth Major Leaguer (Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Jimmie Foxx were the others) to hit 200 or more home runs with two teams.

About two weeks later…Colorado inked him to a deal.

With his 407 career bombs (198 with the A’s and 209 with the Yankees), the Rockies looked for the 2000 American League MVP to help provide some veteran leadership. And he did just that, by hitting .292 with two home runs in just 31 at bats.

Sunday afternoon, the interwebs were greeted with this from Eric Young, Jr.

EYJr: We're bringing back The Giambino! I'm pumped! Thats my guy!

A quick fact check later and its true…the 39 year-old looks to be back on Blake Street, ready to give Todd Helton a breather at first base, pinch hit when needed and serve as designated hitter during interleague play.

Combined with his Oakland numbers, he hit .201 with 13 home runs and had 51 RBI in 102 games last season.


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January 22, 2010

Fergie Jenkins...not a fan of Mark McGwire

When Mark McGwire made an appearance earlier this week in St. Louis, he was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation.

In an
"open letter" to the Associated Press just a few days later, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins had some harsh words for the slugger.

Jenkins suggests that "Big Mac" may have shortened some pitchers careers because of his steroid use, claims that he would have "knocked him on his butt" and demands more apologies.

"You have not even begun to apologize to those you have harmed," Jenkins told the former home run king McGwire. "You need to apologize to your family for depriving them of your presence as time goes on because you are likely going to die earlier than if you had never relied on andro to carry you to all your successes."

Yikes. Something tells me that the two won't be exchanging any Christmas cards anytime soon.

This past May, I had a chance to talk to Jenkins and his fellow Hall member Rollie Fingers and the subject of steroids came up. Suffice it to say...they had some choice words for those Major Leaguers who took (and are suspected of taking) performance enhancing drugs.

HOVG: With the talk of steroids all over the sports channels and what not…what are your feelings going to be when a player who has admitted use, and it’s bound to happen, gets elected to join you in Cooperstown?

FERGIE: I don’t think (it’s bound to happen). Whoever has the vote, the Hall of Fame committee…the 500 plus reporters, they’re not going to vote for them. Guys like (Sammy) Sosa might not make it. Neither will (Barry) Bonds or (Mark) McGwire. A-Rod might not make it.

ROLLIE: I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. The sportswriters are pretty sticky about that. It’s pretty obvious with the numbers that Mark McGwire has gotten. If you’re known to use or if they figure you’ve been using, I don’t see that person getting voted in.

FERGIE: Once you get that particular black mark on your record, they are not going to give you the required amount of votes. You have to get 75 percent. McGwire only got 22 percent (in 2009). He’s not even close.

HOVG: If someone that is suspected of steroids makes it in, like Roger Clemens, are you on that stage when they're inducted?

FERGIE: I don't know, I'd have to wait and see. I know Bob Feller voiced his opinion already. There's a few guys who voiced their opinion and said they wouldn't go. (Al) Kaline probably wouldn't go. Some of the guys who are staunch advocates of playing the game clean...they probably wouldn't show.

ROLLIE: Yes…simply because the sportswriters voted him in. If they felt as though he warranted going into the Hall of Fame, I am not going to shun him. I would stay on the stage. But like I said before, I don’t think that it’s going to happen. Roger Clemens says he doesn’t care, but I guarantee you…Roger Clemens cares.

HOVG: We can all blame Jose Canseco.

ROLLIE: (Laughs) I tell you what…everyone gets on Jose Canseco, but you don’t see too many people suing him. If he hadn’t have written the book, who knows where we’d be at today with steroids and the number of guys using them. It would probably be out of hand. At least right now, they’re taking care of the problem. The worst thing you can do is to let kids see that it is okay to use this stuff and get by. You have to show kids that this is not the right way to go and clean it up.

Feel free to check out my full interview with Fergie Jenkins
HERE and Rollie Fingers HERE.


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January 21, 2010

Ummm...nevermind

Tuesday, The Hall hopped on the "Carlos Delgado is a Blue Jay" bandwagon by posting this gem.

Long story short, who wouldn't want to see Delgado back in the 416 trying to eclipse the 500 home run mark? Not this guy (me)...and, apparently, not MLB.com's Noah Coslov who sent out the erroneous tweet.

Well, Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous responded...with a text message to the National Post.

"We don't have anything to report or announce regarding Carlos Delgado."

Simple, sweet and to the point. My guess is that current Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay can sleep better.



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January 19, 2010

Mets to Induct Doc and Straw

Twenty years ago (yes, TWENTY!), I would have told you that both Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were well on their way to becoming Hall of Famers.

It's true!

Going into the 1990 season, "Doc" was sitting at 100-39 with a 2.64 ERA. His strikeout totals and 1985 Cy Young Award were reminding New York fans of former Met Tom Seaver and washing helping wash the taste of Pete Falcone and Doug Sisk from their collective mouths.

Patroling rightfield was "Straw" and his canon of an arm. At the plate, he was averaging just more than 30 home runs over the first seven years of his career and had appeared in six straight All-Star Games.

The guys were good. But then, well...then the 90s hit.

Thankfully, the Mets are remembering their past and with their first team Hall of Fame induction since 2002...are honoring Gooden and Strawberry (along with 1986 World Series winnnig manager Davey Johnson and team architect Frank Cashen) by making them the first inductees in the team's NEW Hall of Fame at Citi Field.

I could go on and on...or just point you in the direction of two great stories on the subject.

The first is by friend of The Hall Dan Levy over at The Sporting Blog and the second is from New Jersey Online. All in all..both stellar reads.


Like I said, I would add more, but I need to go find my old Starting Lineup figures so I can construct my own Hall of Fame here at the office.


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Carlos the Jay? Again?!?

They say you can never go home again, but if you pay any attention to Twitter (and I do!), you've read that Carlos Delgado is going back to the team that initially signed him more than 21 years ago.

This according to MLB.com's
Noah Coslov. "Word out of Puerto Rico is that the Jays signed Delgado"

Is this confirmation of something?

Yes...no. Maybe?!?

Now while it isn't likely that the 37 year-old slugger will overtake Lyle Overby as the Blue Jays firstbaseman...it is possible that they could plug him in at DH and watch him creep toward 500 home runs.

Seriously.

Raise your hand if you ever thought Carlos Delgado was going to be a member of the 500 home run club.

No one?

After Gary Sheffield hit his 500th bomb last season...Delgado is up next on the all-time active list with 473 homers. But can he get the 27 necessary?

Consider this...only one time since 1997 (and I throw out last season's injury plagued season) has Delgado NOT hit at least that many and that was in 2007 when he knocked 24 out of the yard for the Mets.



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January 18, 2010

Twitter Tuesday...January 19, 2010

What a boring week.

Seriously...it's been Snoresville. Yawn. On to the Chatter!



Like I said, not much has been going on since the Mark McGwire revelation from last week. We're about a month from pitchers and catchers reporting an, like always, not everyone is thinking baseball.

Yet.

73_MC (Seth McClung): Finding myself watching the history channel a lot! Pawn stars, madhouse, axemen and monsterquest!

JoseCanseco (Jose Canseco): Time for a little bowling with some friends! See you on the lanes!

JLannan31 (John Lannan): Everytime I get my car washed it rains the next day. I mean everytime. Like clock work

str8edgeracer (CJ Wilson): I need a break from last week/routine. going to disneyland tomorrow afternoon/evening after my workouts.

BlakeHawksworth (Blake Hawksworth): Lost or 24?





Sure, Jose Canseco has outed some of baseball's biggest names.

Sure, he quoted the oh-so-trite "there's no crying in bseball" on national TV.

But, like him or not (and let's admit it, gang, the guy hasn't been proved wrong yet), he is one of the mot polarizing characters out there...and EVERYONE seems to have an opinion.

radiorah3000: Jose Canseco is a lame dude...he's so jealous of Mark Mcgwire it's insane

theshirtyhatter: How is it that Jose Canseco might be the only one telling the truth?

BigDaddyBuddha: We can no longer call Jose Canseco a "Lying Scumbag". We must now call him a "Scumbag"

dbartiromo: Never thought I'd say this but I agree with Jose Canseco. La Russa & McGwire are full of it.

cotardelusion: Hey Jose Canseco, you don't have to get mad at McGwire cause steroids actually worked for him. You hack.

tehdingo: Is it just me, or has Jose Canseco become the most credible contributor on tv news ever?

Tomato_tAMATO: i LOVE Jose Canseco and all he stands for




In the same week that the baseball world gets turned upside down because of steroids...the manager that, apparently, knew nothing of what was going on gets awarded by Tommy Lasorda.

Seems about right.

TommyLasorda: Congrats to Tony LaRussa for winning the Tommy Lasorda Manager's Award.



As I mentioned before, Jose Canseco is one of the most polarizing guys out there. Recently, he got back on Twitter and tweeting like a mad man. Follow him...I'm sure it can only get more and more entertaining as we embark on the new season.

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!


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January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday...Terry Forster?

Long before the current Tonight Show war between NBC and Conan O'Brien or, depending on how you look at it...O'Brien and Jay Leno, there was the much hyped Leno feud with David Letterman.

Before that...it was Letterman versus 1974 American League saves leader Terry Forster. In 1985, Letterman hit his airways to publicly bash the 270 pound hurler and today...Forster turns 58.

Who cares, right?

Well, in my veiled attempt to capitalize on popular search terms ("The Tonight Show", "Conan O'Brien" and "tub of goo"), I want to pass along a post by frenemy (look it up...its a word) of The Hall Bill who takes care of business over at The Daily Something.

Bill writes:

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, but Forster, despite being a good pitcher and a colorful character for sixteen years, is a guy I knew nothing at all about 30 minutes ago. His career ended months before my grade school self started paying attention to baseball. But he's a guy worth knowing about.

Forster wakes up a 58 year-old this morning.

But the really interesting thing about Forster isn't his pitching or his brief late-night-talk hero status. It's this: .397/.413/.474.


Read the rest of what Bill wrote over at his site.


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January 13, 2010

Big Mac Admits What We Already Knew

When good friend of The Hall E drops me an email asking if I could use a McGwire post...my response was an easy one.

Why not?

Here it is:

Mark McGwire has finally admitted what everyone has expected for the better part of 10 years: that he used performance-enhancing steroids while he was playing baseball.

The fact that he went from a guy who had the physique of a basketball player to a guy who looked like he could punch through an engine block all but convinced everyone that McGwire was on the juice.

Five years ago, when he was called in front of Congress to testify about steroids, he bebopped and scatted all around the issue (as opposed to Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, who outright lied). Since he retired, he's been in virtual seclusion, lending more credance to the fact that maybe he had something important weighing on his mind. And now, he's come out and spilled the beans.

And I'm going to do something nutty and defend the guy a little bit.

Read the rest of E's defense
HERE!


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January 12, 2010

Twitter Tuesday...January 12, 2010

Must. Resist. Urge.

Throughout the vast history of the world, there have been plenty of surprises that shook us to our collective core.

In 1522, Magellan proved the world was round. December 7, 1941 quickly became a day that would "live in infamy". And in 1995, it was revealed that Verbal Kint was really Keyser Soze.

Unfortunately, Mark McGwire's admission that he used steroids does not belong in the above list.



I hate to bring up McGwire (again)...but it is what people are talking about.

Sorry, gang.

BrentMayne (Brent Mayne): Big Mac comes clean.
Read my take.

GrillCheese49 (Jason Grilli): Is anyone shocked at the news about McGuire? Is he paving the way for more of the same?

Jerry_Remy (Jerry Remy): McGwire finally admits taking steroids when he broke HR record-to be honest I find steroid issue so played out it bores me to death

str8edgeracer (CJ Wilson): I need to start wearing my dare shirts





Last week, McGwire, again, couldn't get a third of the votes necessary to get into the Hall of Fame. That being said...I'm not sure this mix of Twitterers (Tweeters?) know what it takes to get enshrined.

joshuacmurphy: So Mark McGwire copped to using steroids. Oh well. Hopefully this finally gets him his deserved (yes, deserved) place in the Hall of Fame.

MlbPitching: This is a obvious case of double standards. Mark McGwire came clean with his steriod use only after exhausting his Hall of Fame hopes.

xoxoslamma: Mark Mcgwire "admits" to using steroids&yet Pete Rose cannot be initiated into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.. What is wrong with this picture?

ssegal22: finally mark mcgwire comes clean...u may now enter the hall of fame

segansca: If steroids keep Mark McGwire is kept from the Hall of Fame for cheating, then Gaylord Perry needs to be removed for throwing spitballs.

RonKMiller: I think St. Louis fans would give Mark McGwire a hall pass if he murdered their children.

ZhenZhen09: Putain de merde Mark McGwire! I wish he could be removed from the Hall of Fame.



Wow...really? I would have thought it would rank third behind "good health" and three-for-one specials at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.

TommyLasorda: Lenny Harris thanks God every night that he was a Dodger.



For years, I've been a fan of Randy and Jason Sklar. From their scattered television and movie appearances to their own shows and stand up specials...I love 'em! You'd be hard pressed to find a pair of comedians that know more about the game of baseball.

Check them out on Twitter, but only after you catch up with their antics as Leyland and Leif Topps.

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!


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