Retiring consecutively over the last three years are The Rocket, Mad Dog, Big Unit: three of the most dominant pitchers of their generation, and arguably three of the best to ever take the hill. But baseball accolades post-career are more than what happened between the lines. Each are first-ballot locks for the HOF from my perspective, but Roger (certainly) and Randy (sort of) have baggage. Greg’s squeaky-clean, but who would take prime Greg over prime Rocket/Randy? Should each be a first-ballot lock regardless of circumstance? Would you be surprised if they make any of the three wait? Does that matter? If Clemens goes in AFTER Maddux and Johnson, does it mean anything at all?
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Andre Dawson, a brief member of the Red Sox toward the tail-end of his career, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, both of whom should have been first-ballot enshrinees, barely missed the cut, setting up their likely entrance in 2011.
Dawson received 420 votes for 77.9 percent of the electorate. Blyleven received 400 (74.2 percent) and Alomar garnered 397 (73.7 percent). Jack Morris, who does not deserve election, remains stuck around 50 percent, while Barry Larkin, who does, received 51.6 percent. Lee Smith was the only other player breaking 40 percent.
First-timer Edgar Martinez has a tough row to hoe, getting just 36.2 percent, and Tim Raines is still criminally low, with just 30.4 percent. Deserving enshrinees Mark McGwire and Alan Trammell are stuck around 23 percent, and first-timer Fred McGriff got 21.5 percent. Don Mattingly, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Harold Baines live to fight another year. Barely.
Among those who missed the 5 percent cutoff are two first-timers who had better cases for the Hall than many realize — Robin Ventura (7 votes) and Kevin Appier (1 vote).
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
It’s Mauer. Only an idiot would vote otherwise. Fortunately for idiots, there is at least one party favor in the BBWA, because Miggy Cabrera picked up a first-place vote (but came in fourth overall). Catcher Mauer’s slashes EACH led the AL: 365/.444/.587. Read that again and remember he is a catcher. Wow.
Teix and Jeets finished second and third. Props and all, love dem Yankees, yada yada, but whatever. Smells. Bad. Lazy.
edit: Cabrera’s first-place vote came from Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, a member of the Seattle chapter.
Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Tim Lincecum repeated as winner of the Cy Young for the senior circuit, while Zack Grienke took home the honors for the AL. There’s no argument from me about the results in either case, but it is bizarre that Lincecum got fewer first-place votes than Adam Wainwright. Anyway, that’s two CYs in three years in the bigs for the 25-year-old Lincecum, who got paid 650k for his work in ’09.
Mike Scioscia won the MOY. Texas won 11 of 19 against the Halos. Ergo, Ron Washington is the best manager in the American League. Also, there are no un-fake names that are as bad-ass as “Ron Washington.”
Derek Jeter won more than half of all other major baseball awards available. Along with winning a Gold Glove at shortstop AND second base (a major-league first, that) he snagged the Silver Surfer or something, which was certainly expected, he being Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four Core. Since you didn’t ask: Mariano=Human Torch, Jorge=Thing, and Andy Pettitte’s confession of HGH usage is the surprisingly Invisible Woman. Best of all, Mr. Fantastic took home the coveted “Platinum Watchy”, which is given to the player who is consistently firstest and bestest in reaching the rail from the bench when someone does something somewhere that causes camera operators to point their cameras at the bench rail to find out who is watchiest.
Who is your pick for the AL MVP? I’m picking the umpires.
Sunday, July 26th, 2009
The Hall of Fame welcomes three new members today, and they have a distinct rivalry flavor to them.
- Jim Rice, "most feared hitter of his era" and the leader in a number of key offensive categories from 1975-86, a lifelong member of the Red Sox, will be inducted after 15 years of waiting.
- Rickey Henderson, the stolen base king, will wear an Athletics cap in the Hall, but spent a significant amount of time with the Yankees and had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox, as well.
- Joe Gordon, MVP second baseman for the Yankees in the World War II era, was voted in by the Veterans Committee.
There's been plenty of controversy over this particular class, but today is a day for honoring the careers of three elite players who each dominated their eras. Congratulations to all three of them.
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Tim Wakefield was selected today to his first-ever All-Star Game, joining five Boston teammates. The question, of course, is whether he deserves it. Wakefield is on pace for 20+ wins and leads the league in victories, but he has a 4.30 ERA that is right in line with what you'd expect from him — and is actually worse than what he posted last season, as well as 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. He wasn't selected to the All-Star Game in any of those seasons. His ERA is good for a 108 ERA+, which isn't particularly All-Star worthy either.
But Wakefield is closing in on the Sox' records for most wins and most strikeouts, he had the bad fortune of having his 1995 season start too late to warrant All-Star consideration. He has been one of the most important parts of two championship-winning teams — and has been consistently much better over his career than some of the flashes in pans that are selected each year to All-Star teams.
In one sense, Wakefield probably doesn't deserve to be on this All-Star team, but he deserves to have at least an All-Star apearance. I'm happy it's finally happening this year.
He joins more clear cut selections in teammates Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.
On the Yankee side, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter are heading to the All-Star Game.
Congratulations to all nine of the honorees.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
We've talked before about how crowded — and controversial — the Hall of Fame classes four to five years from now could be. Ken Griffey Jr. and Ivan Rodriguez have since found gainful employment, but that still leaves Bonds, Clemens, Lofton, Schilling and Sosa eligible in 2013 and Glavine, Kent, Maddux, Martinez, Mussina and Thomas potentially eligible in 2014.
Now maybe add another one to that list:
Gary Sheffield's milestone 500th career home run will have to come with a different team. The Tigers released the longtime slugger on Tuesday, a surprising roster move and a potential end to what may ultimately be a Hall of Fame career.
On the cusp of traditional greatness statistically (499 homers), Sheffield blows away the baseline HOF numbers on both the Standards and Monitors metrices. His No. 2 comp is Griffey, his 3-7 and No. 9 comps are all in the Hall of Fame. Nos. 8 and 10 are future Hall of Famers. His No. 1 comp is a borderline guy I would probably vote in, Fred McGriff. From 1992-2003, Sheffield posted a 156 OPS+, and if not for the 1994-95 strike – seasons in which he posted an OPS+ of 145 and 176, respectively — Sheffield would have long ago blown past the elusive milestone.
I'm not so sure he'll be elected though. He has no team identity (four seasons and parts of two others in Florida, four in Milwaukee, three and part of one in LA, three in New York, two in Atlanta, two in Detroit, one and a half in San Diego) so no base to push for his candidacy. He didn't hit a milestone that even now is losing its luster, he wasn't well liked during his playing days, and — worst of all — he has the taint of steroids. Maybe he sails in easily — he should — but if he doesn't find another team, he'll find himself on a crowded ballot in 2014 with a stain that could be hard to wash off.
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
The New York Times today points out the impressive number of players with impressive Hall of Fame credentials who remain unsigned with less than a month before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report:
By then, perhaps Pedro Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Iván Rodríguez and Tom Glavine will have jobs. Or maybe they will still be searching for a place to play.
Retirement could be an option, too. (Jeff Kent will go that route Thursday.)
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
There has been much discussion around these parts (and elsewhere) about the merits of the Hall of Fame voting system. Jim Rice's election yesterday has heightened awareness of that system, and based on yesterday's results it seems like a (perhaps minor and solely YFSF-based) groundswell is asking for this system to be "fixed". But first something else needs to happen: someone needs to articulately spell out what, exactly, is "broken". At that point then the proposition to "fix" it will serve some greater purpose. But nobody can define, lucidly, the parameters by which someone is judged to deserve enshrinement – the Hall as far as I can tell doesn't even do this, I've searched their website to no avail: they simply do not define "greatness", or, rather "fame". In their mission statement they bullet the following:
- Honoring, by enshrinement, those individuals who had exceptional careers, and recognizing others for their significant achievements
It leaves something to be desired, specificity-wise. We can go back to the pornography discussion and apply it to the Hall, I suppose, you know it when you see it (sabermertricians put down those sabers!). And that leaves a LOT of room, so much so that arguing that something is "broken" seems like a dead-end job. The Hall enshrines, by a fan's definition, those who are supposedly "great", but the standards by which we (and the record books) define greatness are ever-shifting, whether statistically or contextually. Had Rice played in an era where OBP was valued like it has been the last decade+ would his counting stats be that much more impressive? Would he have had more players to knock in? (Seriously – Jerry Remy and Rick Burleson hit in front of Rice, in 1978 they had OBPs of .321 and .295, respectively) Had Rice played in the "steroid" era would we be thinking of him not as great or even good but simply as an enormously inflated pariah and non-candidate?
I think there has been too much venom on this issue - from both sides. From those who think that Rice is undeserving — Rob Neyer's "we won't need to make stuff up" comment about Tim Raines from yesterday was a particulary and uncharacteristically unprofessional swipe from a superb writer pointing towards Dick Bresciani, an historian of the game with proven credentials (full disclosure – he's a family friend). Just as some of Peter Gammons' comments about Neyer and the Rice non-supporters have been equally juvenile.
We shouldn't be so absolute in proclaiming to know the rightness or wrongness of the awarding of such a cherished yet vaguely defined honor – that goes for those supporting both election and rejection of any player's candidacy.
For those who wish to take this discussion further, I'd be curious to know how people define "greatness", and how the Hall might legitimately define this vague term for future voters. I have my doubts that it could ever be done with any modicum of success.
The comments are obviously open for this debate. And don't make it personal.
Monday, January 12th, 2009
Well, many may be outraged at Jim Rice's success today. But the real outrage should be directed towards those who cast the following:
- two votes for Jay Bell
one vote for Jesse Orosco
Even if you make an assumption that the writers who voted for these two guys also voted for Rice, and that these votes for Rice should be rescinded based on the fact that, JFC, they also voted for Jay Bell and Jesse Orosco, Rice still makes it. Thank goodness he made it by seven and not two!
Sunday, January 11th, 2009
I'm not going to get into the pros and cons. They've been gotten into, and at this point you're either a Rice supporter, a Rice opponent, or someone who is glad they don't have to decide one way or the other. By tomorrow afternoon, Jim Rice either will or will not join Rickey Henderson in the Hall of Fame.
Sunday, January 4th, 2009
Were it not for his awful testimony in 2005 before Congress, Mark McGwire would be in the Hall of Fame. He's a special case, so let's assume for a moment that he's in — as arguably he should be.
Friday, December 12th, 2008
It’s Friday. That means it soon will be time for me to order out for a couple two-liter bottles of Dew and three double-cheese, double-pepperonis (I have a coupon) for a 36-hour WOW session.
In the mean time, I will read and re-read Dan Shaughnessy and feel shame… at least until I get bored, have mom nuke me a quesadilla and some poppers, and drift over to the Maxim Hot 100.
Neyer has a well-reasoned response.
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Too small. Not toolsy enough. Finnish.
Today all these doubts were put to rest, as an award was handed out.
The little one that could. Dynamic. Team supporter without compare.
That's right. Today Comptel Dynamic OSS won a Mobile Star Award for "Achievement in Operator Software for Customer or Device Management". Many people said it couldn't be done, that the code was too lean, too short, binary in talent. But Compt—
Oh, shit. Lost my mind for a second there. The award goes to Dustin Pedroia. Congrats, little man!