Cooperstown 2017

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their latest inductees later today.  As usual, I have my own opinion as to who is worthy of entry into the Hall.  Also as usual, those opinions are likely better than at least half the clowns that actually vote for the honor.   To wit, what about the writer that came out a couple of weeks ago and said he wasn’t voting for Curt Schilling anymore because he was offended Schill called Hall of Fame voters “scumbags”?  Well, I guess that comment was the tip of the iceberg anyway.  Yeah, the writer is playing the “character” card now.  But Schill’s character hasn’t really changed, probably over his entire life.  And it didn’t stop the writer from voting for him earlier in Schilling’s candidacy.  You may think that Schill isn’t worthy regardless.  And you will find out below if I think Schilling should be enshrined or not.  But that particular writer’s behavior seems kind of silly to me.

Last time I wrote on this topic a few years back, I ranted on the whole steroid thing.  I promise I won’t do that again.  But the short story is that I won’t exclude anyone from that era.  I refuse to guess on who was using and who wasn’t…like some of these voters are wont to do.  I just assume everyone was doing something to chemically enhance their bodies to improve performance.  Even if it was just one solitary legal supplement.  Players are always trying to take the next step and to also gain any edge they can.  Sure, some went overboard.  But I have to believe everyone was dipping in to some degree.

Moving on, let’s get down to business.  34 names on the official ballot.  I added one write-in of my own.

Elected:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens-Speaking of “scumbags”, these two are probably at the top of the list.  But their Hall of Fame talent is undeniable.  It’s time to give these guys their plaques.  It may not happen this year, but it will undoubted happen someday.  May as well be now.

Manny Ramirez-You may be able to include Manny in the class above.  But I am not sure he was actually a “scumbag”.  Sure, he pushed the Red Sox traveling secretary down once, which may fit the description.  And was stupid enough to get caught taking ‘roids…more than once.  Of course he had many other smaller “incidents” that made people shake their heads.  But was he really a bad person?  Or just kind of living in an alternate universe?  I say the latter.  He was also f’n great.  My sense is that he will get in eventually, but will have to wait along with Bonds and Clemens for a while.  But how can you keep him out forever?

Ivan Rodriguez-Pudge is yet another one that is linked to steroids.  I know, it’s a long list.  So again, this for sure will keep him out of the Hall this year.  And maybe for longer than the three above.  His career OPS is a smidge under .800 (.798).  That’s not ideal, but remember he was a catcher.  Close to 3,000 hits (2,844), over 300 bombs (311), 14 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glover (you know I don’t love this award, but 13 is hard to argue against), MVP award in tow (though it should have gone to Pedro, as two writers left Martinez off their ballots entirely…but Pudge did win it, so it counts), threw out 46% of base stealers for his career, blah, blah, blah.  This isn’t a Hall of Famer?

Pete Rose-Here’s my write-in again.  He may even surpass Clemens and Bonds on the dirtbag meter.  He got caught gambling as a manager…probably as a player too…but you can’t tell me gambling isn’t rampant across all locker rooms in any sport.  Maybe not to his degree, but still…I’m putting him in for what he did on the field.  You can leave him out because of his character.  That’s the beauty of America…ability to make a different choice.  But…he belongs in the Hall.

Fantastic careers, but falling a smidge short:

Vladimir Guerrero-I wrestled with this one since it is his first year on the ballot.  I reserve the right to change my mind on him down the road.  Hit for average, power and even stole some bases in his prime.  Cannon for an arm, however inaccurate it could be sometimes.  The end came quick though.

Jeff Bagwell-Speaking of the end coming quick.  Similar numbers to Vlad, but based on the era he played in, I feel like the numbers come up a little short.  I’ve felt this way for years, so I’m unlikely to change course on him going forward.  Don’t feel bad for him though.  He will likely be enshrined this year in real life.  So I won’t have to think about his candidacy again really.

Pretty damn good careers, but we can’t induct everyone:

Trevor Hoffman-Because of the 600 plus saves, people like to kind of add him in with Mariano Rivera a little bit.  Rivera (career 82-60, 2.21, 1.000 WHIP, dominant postseasons) vs. Hoffman (career 61-75, 2.87, 1.058 WHIP, not much to see in the postseason, however, not dominant).  I don’t see it.  But the 600+ gets him in today anyway.

Curt Schilling-Not because of his mouth or politics or tweets or any of that stuff.  But because there were too many career ups and downs for my liking.  Despite any postseason heroics.

Tim Raines-The Montreal years were great.  The rest?  Not so much.  Too much mediocrity for me.  But looks like he will get in today as well.  I hope at his induction he re-tells the stories where he kept a vial of coke in his back pocket during his heyday, so he only slid headfirst so he wouldn’t break it.  Those were fun times!

Edgar Martinez-Edgar gets a ton of support.  But as a DH only for the bulk of his career, the numbers have to be extravagant for me to put him in.  Like say…David Ortiz-like.  And they aren’t quite that.

Mike Mussina-Good pitcher for a long time.  He won 20 games in his final year.  Funny thing is, if he stuck around for maybe 3 more years and won 30 more games, the 300 wins and 3,000 K’s (ended 187 shy) would have put him in automatically.

Lee Smith-Maybe the Red Sox years scar me.  I remember Big Lee being far from automatic.  Then they went and signed Jeff Reardon to replace him.  Career ERA (3.03) and WHIP (1.256) simply too high for a Hall of Fame closer.

Fred McGriff-The Crime Dog was a solid player pretty much from beginning to end.  But that does not make you a Hall of Famer.

Jeff Kent-His position of 2B helps him here.  But he can probably thank the SF years of batting cleanup behind Bonds for keeping him on the ballot every year.

Larry Walker-Colorado effect.  I don’t know why he keeps getting the support.  Why no love for Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette or Andres Galarraga?

Gary Sheffield-I really didn’t think too hard on this one.  There’s usually a reason a great talent bounces around and plays on 8 teams.  Didn’t we all see it coming when he came up with Milwaukee as a youngster, they asked him to play third base, he didn’t like it, and as a result fired balls into the stands on purpose?

Billy Wagner-I like Wagner better than Hoffman actually.  But Hoffs pitched in almost 200 more games.  If Wags stuck around for a couple more years, would he have gotten Hoffman-type support?

Sammy Sosa-I said I wasn’t going to discriminate against steroid users…or alleged steroid users.  And I’m not.  609 homers is nice.  But almost half of them (292) came in a 5 year stretch…of an 18 year career.  His .878 career OPS doesn’t even compare to Bagwell or Vladdy.  Nor do many of his other career totals.  With only 7% of the vote last year, maybe this is the year he dips under 5% and falls off.  Then we don’t have to talk about him anymore.

Are these guys seriously on a Hall of Fame ballot?:

Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Jorge Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Derrek Lee, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillen, Casey Blake, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Arthur Rhodes, Matt Stairs-Matt Stairs?  Casey Blake?  Tim Wakefield?  I personally don’t know how these guys even get on the ballot.  Lifetime achievement award I guess.  Posada may actually get more than 5% of the vote and stick on next year’s ballot I am afraid.  Just because he was on a bunch of winning Yankee teams.  People around Boston actually think Varitek should be legitimately considered.  Fun fact:  Pudge threw out 46% of base stealers for his career, as noted above.  Varitek?  23%!  But they are on the same ballot.  Yuck.

One more note:  How does Javier Vazquez not warrant a spot on the ballot this year?  Don’t get me wrong, Vazquez is nowhere near a Hall of Famer.  But compared to some of the swill on the list above, his omission is kind of surprising.  Another fun fact that only I care about:  Vazquez is 30th all-time in strikeouts.  He retired at age 34 after a decent season (13-11, 3.69).  He was 464 K’s shy of 3,000.  There are only 16 pitchers that finished with over 3,000 career K’s.  14 are in the Hall, 1 should be (Clemens) and 1 may someday be (Schilling).  Now, Javier’s other numbers were mediocre at best.  But if pitched 3-4 more years, he would have gotten to 3,000 and could have been an interesting trivia answer, if Ron and Schill eventually get in the Hall and make it 16 for 16.  Seems to me this alone should give him a spot on the ballot anyway.

I know, only I care about this.  Vazquez probably even doesn’t…

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About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on January 18, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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