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Cooperstown 2018…

In honor of The Baseball Hall of Fame announcing their latest inductees in a little bit, the Blowhard will lay his “vote” out here.

I’ll rehash real quickly that I am not discriminating against the “steroid guys”, per usual.  The era was the era, everyone was probably doing something, Major League Baseball ignored the issue, blah, blah, blah.

I’ll also reiterate that if I feel the same as I did about a player from last year (or previous years), I will probably just reference (ie: copy) what I wrote in that appropriate previous year.  No need to reinvent the wheel here.  Guessing this may apply to a number of players.

Oh, and somehow Jack Morris and Alan Trammell got in through the veteran’s vote recently.  I can’t even talk about these atrocities.  Ok, it’s not that bad.  But neither belong in the Hall.

In any event, 33 names on the official ballot.  I added one write-in of my own.

Elected:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens-I’m not sure why we even need to keep talking about these guys.  They may be two of the biggest dirtbags not only in the history of baseball, but also in the history of humankind, but they are also indisputably Hall of Famers.  Their vote totals continue to rise and they will undoubtedly get in someday.  But enough already.  Put them in this year and we can be done with them.  Thank you.

Manny Ramirez-You may have to include Manny with the two bozos above.  Not exactly the best dude or best teammate or any of that.  He is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed.  But he clearly could at least do one thing and do that one thing unbelievably well.  Hit.  Manny is also indisputably a Hall of Famer.  He will also likely get in someday, but the 23.8% vote from last year is laughable.  Since Manny actually failed a couple of drug tests, this is no question being held against him.  And maybe it should be…but just temporarily I would hope.

Vladimir Guerrero-Changed my mind on this one from last year.  I wrestled hard with this one in both years, since I think he is right on the edge.  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.  I wouldn’t be bothered either way on Vladdy.  Hopefully he just gets in this year in real life and I won’t have to hem and haw on him again next year.

Chipper Jones-Hit for power and average.  Showed some speed early in his career.  Switch-hitter.  More career walks than strikeouts.  Played on winning teams for the majority of his career.  Postseason numbers are pretty good, and he had a lot of opportunity in the postseason of course.  No Gold Gloves in his trophy case, but he managed to stay at third base the majority of his career.  Former Most Valuable Player.  I’m not sure I need to say more.

Pete Rose-Here’s my write-in again.  King of all dirtbags.  But a Hall of Fame baseball player.  Simple as that.

Fantastic careers, but falling a smidge short:

Jim Thome-The numbers are gaudy, led by the 612 career homers.  I expect that alone will punch his ticket to the Hall, if not today, then maybe next year.  But he never finished higher than 4th in the MVP voting.  Only a 5 time All-Star (although I will allow that he was at a tough 1B/DH position, where good candidates get left out yearly).  Despite the 1,700 plus walks he earned, he did strike out over 2,500 times.  And on those Cleveland Indian teams where he made his bones, I am not sure he was even close to being the most feared hitter in the lineup at any time.  You could throw in the fact he DH’d a ton, but at least he had the numbers for that.  Just doesn’t feel like a Hall of Famer to me.

Johan Santana-Admittedly, this one is a stretch.  I don’t believe he will ever get in, as the career was just too short.  In that short time he was pretty dominant, but also admittedly, not “Sandy Koufax dominant”.  Shoulder and Achilles injuries eventually torpedoed his career, amid several comeback attempts.  These are of course a factor in evaluating his candidacy.  But I just don’t think his career should be overlooked, that’s all.  In the five year stretch between 2004 and 2008, Johan won 2 Cy Young’s, finished third two other years and fifth the other.  Threw a no-hitter.  Won a pitching Triple Crown.  Produced significant results during his career, but again, not enough.  If he remains on the ballot next year, he may drop down a category on my list.  But for now let’s keep him here.

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

Trevor Hoffman-5 votes short last year, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t get in today.  What I wrote last year still applies today:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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.

Edgar Martinez-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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.

Fred McGriff-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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-No change from last year’s comment:  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 Thome or Vladdy.  Nor do many of his other career totals.

Scott Rolen-Numbers were worse than I remembered and didn’t do a whole ton after age-31.  Rookie of the Year award, 7 All-Star Games and 8 Gold Gloves I suppose gets one some love.  The .158 average in 16 games (over 5 series) in the NLDS can’t possibly help though.  The rest of the postseason numbers don’t stick out either.  Nice player, no Hall though.

Andruw Jones-If Andruw retired after his age-29 season in 2006, he may have had a decent shot at the Hall.  Based on both his offensive and defensive prowess.  He didn’t, however, and sunk his chances with a pretty disastrous final 6 seasons.  “Disastrous” may actually be being kind.  Jones hit 92 homers in those 6 years, but did little else, but apparently stop doing ‘roids and get fat.  And I think stop caring, but I don’t know if I can prove that.  Anyway, no.

Johnny Damon-If Johnny stayed in New York after his age-35 season in 2009 and played 5 more years or so, we may be talking about him getting his 3,000 hit and thus pretty much automatically sending him to Cooperstown (see:  Biggio, Craig).  Instead, he quibbled about dough, played two mediocre seasons in Detroit and Tampa, then finished with a terrible half-season in Cleveland and fell short by 231 hits.  Solid player for a long time, loved him as part of the “Idiots” that helped win the Sox the World Series in 2004.  This really should be his only year on the ballot.

Omar Vizquel-Omar is going to get some serious love because “well, Ozzie Smith is in and Luis Aparicio is in and Vizquel’s numbers are comparable/better…”  And sure, he deserves consideration.  Absolutely a defensive whiz at shortstop, who got better offensively as his career progressed.  He may even get in someday, perhaps by the same group who let in Morris and Trammell this year.  But I’m not buying in.  Here is another one though, that if he got to 3,000 hits, he may be in automatically.  He fell 123 short.  That he got even that close is due in part to the fact that he played until he was 75 years old.  Ok, slight exaggeration there, but Omar is just another decent player that is not a Hall of Famer.

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

Carlos Zambrano, Jamie Moyer, Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Carlos Lee, Aubrey Huff, Hideki Matsui, Jason Isringhausen, Brad Lidge-Zambrano may have been on track early in his career, but then fell apart mentally and physically and was done at 31 years old.  Moyer only sniffed the neighborhood of 300 wins because he pitched for 60 years.  Carpenter blossomed later in his career with the Cardinals, but couldn’t stay healthy.  Lee’s numbers were better than I remembered, but for the era he played in, they fall woefully short still.

The rest?  Livan had a 4.44 career ERA.  Wood showed promise early and had a couple of great years over the course of his career, but Hall of Fame?  We aren’t counting Matsui’s Japanese stats.  Hudson, Millwood, Huff, Izzy and Lidge were largely mediocre players with occasional highs.

Well, I suppose it is an honor to be at least included on a Hall of Fame ballot…

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Cooperstown 2017…reaction…

The BBWAA…a bunch of frauds?

Well, I suppose we don’t need to go that far.  But did you check out Hall of Fame voting results this week?

I think my induction thoughts were abundantly clear from my previous post.  But some of the stuff I have been seeing from other writers this week has driven me bananas.  So therefore you get to hear about it, like it or not.

First, you have all the ESPN guys…Jayson Stark, Scott Lauber, Jerry Crasnick, Tim Kurkjian…probably all of them for that matter.  I’m sure they are all great guys and although I don’t read their stuff religiously, I have generally liked what they have done over the years.  I could do without them on TV, but that’s a different subject entirely…and there’s a whole laundry list of people I could do without on television.  So that’s not really any kind of bombshell.

But anyway, the big problem I have seen from those guys is that I think they want to add ALL the guys on the ballot to the Hall of Fame.  That statement may be a stretch, however, they consistently complain that they are limited to voting for only 10 players and there are more than 10 qualified candidates on the ballot.  In one recent year, Kurkjian actually said he wanted to vote for 21 players.  TWENTY ONE!!!  He’s out of his mind.

Maybe Kurk (and the others) are too close to the players and want to “reward” them.  Or something.  It has to be SOMETHING.  Because if these veteran sports writers actually think there were more than 10 players worthy of a Hall of Fame plaque, then they are delusional.

Twenty one…holy crap…I have never been able to get that one out of my mind.  Someone has to smack some sense into old Timmy Boy.

Then I ran into someone who tops these ESPN folk:  Some character by the name of Matt Snyder, a writer for CBS Sports.  Never heard of him, but looking at his bio tells me that he played college baseball and worked his way to CBS through various blogs and other websites.  Seems like he paid some dues and ended up in a great position.  Good for him.  I may even admit that I have some jealousy that he can write about baseball for a living.  But I won’t.  In any event, he should know what he is talking about, correct?

Snyder’s bio also tells me that he is a member of the BBWAA.  Uh oh.  Don’t worry quite yet though, he has about 8 more years of service to go to get an actual vote.

But he would have voted for 10 guys (Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Raines, Mussina, Schilling, Pudge, Edgar, Sosa and Sheffield).  If he had more than 10 votes, he would have also added Vladdy and Walker, wouldn’t be opposed to electing Hoffman, Wagner and Lee Smith and also would have given strong looks to Kent, McGriff and Posada.  18 guys right there.  Posada??  Really??  And he also must be too young to have lived through Lee Smith.  To make this a little more comical, he left Manny out and would have voted for Mark McGwire if he was on the ballot.  McGwire??  Wow.  I get that he has a personal PED rule where he leaves players out that were suspended while there has been a joint drug agreement in place.  That’s why there is no Manny.  And he has a right to his opinion.  But you honestly can’t tell me Manny is out and ALL the other kingpins of the steroid era are in.  Common sense has to take over at some point, no?

You have to read the actual piece to “appreciate” it, I think:

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/the-10-players-id-elect-to-the-baseball-hall-of-fame-and-those-who-would-miss-the-cut/

But wait, it gets better!  Three days after that post, after the results came out, he writes another piece where he tries to dispel a couple of “myths”.  The first being how the vote totals change each year.  In theory, what he describes makes sense, for the most part anyway.  I’ll give him some more love and you can read what he wrote here:

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/time-to-dispel-two-big-myths-about-baseball-hall-of-fame-voting-results/

What he wrote doesn’t change the fact that he still wants to put like 18 guys in the Hall.  Or that if you are changing your minds on guys over the years…more than once anyway…that probably means that he doesn’t belong.  Or the fact Tim Raines went from 24.3% in 2008, dropped to 22.6% in 2009 and then got to 86.0% in 2017.  That’s way too big a swing.  Were ALL of the voters whose votes had lapsed not voting for Raines and ALL the new voters now voting for him?  Hard to fathom.

The second myth is that the Hall is being watered down because of “lesser” players getting in nowadays.  He presents some facts, that may be true in theory.  But again, common sense needs to prevail here as well.  A smaller percentage of players are getting in the Hall nowadays based on his numbers.  But that only means plenty of mediocre players got in the Hall over the years.  That bumped those old numbers up.  He neglected to mention the Veteran’s Committee putting all kinds of unqualified guys in the Hall in the past.  To the point where the Veteran’s Committee had to be completely revamped.  If we took away some of those players, the numbers may be more in line.  And that’s just one aspect of what happened in the history of Hall of Fame voting.

I’m very sorry for what seems to be a personal attack here, Mr. Snyder.  But maybe you’ll get some more readers from me posting your links.  So perhaps you should actually thank me.  Regardless, this stuff is just a microcosm of the baseball writers of the day.  I’m sure this covers a great deal of the BBWAA.  We’ve already talked about the writer who voted for Schilling for years, but is now stopping because Schill started bashing the writers.  And the guy who sent in a ballot a few years back with only Jack Morris’ name checked off and no one else.  Because he felt “Morris’ career predated the steroid years, so he was voting for him and skipping everyone else because he couldn’t be sure who did ‘roids and who didn’t after that.”  And the writers who won’t vote for certain players on the first ballot, because they aren’t “first ballot Hall of Famers.”  And on and on.  Just not ideal.

Cripes, I have read some preliminary thoughts from some of these writers about 2018 Hall of Fame ballot projections.  Chipper Jones and Jim Thome lead the first timers and they certainly warrant consideration.  But I have also heard the names of Johnny Damon, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen and Andruw Jones get some early love.  What?!  Why not throw Scott Podsednik and Guillermo Mota in there as well…

So now that I have gotten completely carried away on something not many likely care about, let me leave you with this:

Everyone has their opinion on who makes the Hall.  I certainly have mine.  No one is wrong, sad to say.  But what’s the bottom line on determining a Hall of Famer?  I can tell you that one time long ago, I was watching Pedro Martinez throw one of those complete game, 3 hit, 17 strikeout gems at a watering hole in Boston with a friend.  Well, it started in the bar.  In the 4th inning, my buddy said “let’s hop on the T over to Fenway and see if we can get into the game.”  I actually agreed, even though the game was almost half over.  We got there in the 6th inning and probably still overpaid a scalper for “seats”.  And the building was rocking for the next 3 innings.  Worth it.  Now THAT is a Hall of Famer.

I can tell you for certain that not once have I said to anyone “hey, Mike Mussina is pitching tonight.  Let’s drop everything and watch!”

But maybe I am just an “Internet Tough Guy”…

 

 

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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