Monday, December 20, 2010

HOF 2011 Prologue

The 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame Writers ballot voting is underway. The results will be announced in early January. As I did for the 2010 voting, I will be breaking down the vote in several previews over the next few weeks. I will again reveal how I would vote if I were A voting member. I will also predict how I think the voting will turn out.

My predictions last year were (with actual results in bold):

  • I think there will be 1 player elected to the Hall this year and I think that player will be Andre Dawson.One player was voted in and that player was Andre Dawson.

  • I think the top 3 vote getters will be Dawson, Roberto Alomar, and Bert Blyleven. The top 3 vote getters were Dawson, Alomar and Blvleven.

  • Along with Alomar I think 3 other first ballot players are likely to get more than 5% of the vote and stay on for 2011. They are Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, and Edgar Martinez. 4 first timers were on the ballot received at least 5% of the vote (needed to remain on the ballot in coming years). These 4 were Alomar, Larkin, McGriff and Martinez.

Yes if you are scoring at home I went 3 for 3 in my predictions. Don't believe me? Click here for my predictions and here for the results.

I'll be back shortly after Christmas with a full HOF preview.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ron Santo - My memories

Cubs legendary third baseman Ron Santo died on Friday at the age of 70. Over the past few years many people have written about his quest to make baseball's hall of His death due to complications of cancer has increased that talk many fold.

This will not be one of those posts. I will just concentrate on some thoughts about growing up a Ron Santo fan. In the early 1970's I was a Chicago Cubs fan. These were the days of Billy Williams, Rick Monday, Glen Beckert, Randy Hundley and Jose Cardenal. My favorite players of that era were Ron Santo and Don Kessinger.

Some where between 1972 and 1973 I changed baseball allegiances from the Cubs to the White Sox. Within the next 3 years both my two favorite Cubbies followed suit. More about Kessinger at a different time. I will confine my thoughts to Ronny today.

Shortly before the 1974 season Santo was traded to the White Sox. As a big fan of his I was ecstatic. I did not realize that Santo himself was less than thrilled about the change in venue. He was basically forced away from the Cubs. They had wanted to trade him a few years before and were unable to do so because he had earned the right to approve all trades.

Santo with a lifetime batting average of .279 with the Cubs only hit 83 of375 (.221)for the White Sox splitting time between Second Base and Designated Hitter. (Bill Melton was firmly entrenched at Third, Santo's position with the Cubd hiss). Only 9 at the timeI did not realize how bad a season he was having. I learned later that he was contentious in the club house often complaining the star treatment my other south side hero Dick Allen was receiving.

After a miserable 1974 Santo decided to stop playing baseball. He returned to Chicago as a radio announcer on WGN in 1990. I remember helping my dad work in his garage when Santo announced his first game. If Santo ever makes it to Cooperstown it should be as a player. As an announcer he was brutal! The day he died, WGN did a special day of tribute for Him. Even then, some of the WGN announcers commented on what a bad (technically) announcer he was and how the Cubs were the only team he could have ever worked for.

This was of course, because he wore his love for the Cubs on his sleeve. He may not have been much of an announcer, but he was an excellent cheerleader. No one ever expected unbiased reporting from Ron, and I don't think anyone ever got it.
There is a lot more that I can and should say about Mr. Santo. But for now, I will just say I will miss you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brewers Should Think About Giving Ryne Sandberg Shot At Manager | Brew Crew Central

This is the very idea I had when the Cubs didn't give HOF Infielder and Cubs AAA Manager Ryne Sandberg the Big Club Skipper nod earlier this week. As muh as I'd like Joey Cora to get the Brewers gig, I think putting Ryno in the managerial mix is a win-win for the Brew Crew and Sandberg.

Brewers Should Think About Giving Ryne Sandberg Shot At Manager | Brew Crew Central

Sunday, July 11, 2010

White Sox in first place at all star break

What a difference a month and 3 days make. On June 8th, the White Sox had lost 6 0f their last 10, were 5 games under .500 at home 4 games under on the road and 9 1/2 games behind the division leading Minnesota Twins. Pundits were calling for the dismantling of the team, and advocating trading Mark Buehrle, AJ Pierzynski, and Paul Konerko for whatever you could get for them. Since then, The Sox have won 25 of their last 30 games. 14-1 at home and 11-4 on the road. Sure, 13 of those wins came during interleague play which is where hurting A.L. teams can traditionally feast on their senior circuit counterparts. But during the same run the Sox have been 6-2 against the AL central where they had been struggling all year and went 6-1 against the Angels and Rangers the big guns of the A.L. West.

Baseball is a game of runs. It took the Sox 57 games to win 24. They've won 25 more in 27 fewer games. The Sox now find themselves 1/2 game in first place for the first time since opening day. Can it last? Who knows. But hopefully this will be the run that leads the White Sox to the World Series title I predicted at the beginning of the season. A prediction that looked none too promising a month ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This

The White Sox are playing the Cubs this weekend and as incredible as this is for me to imagine the series is now for just more than bragging rights and the inaugural BP Cup.

Let's go back 2 weeks to May 10th. The White Sox were on a 2 game winning streak and had won 5 of their last 10 games. However they were 26-33 overall and were 3rd in their division 8.5 games behind the division leading Twins. They were 7 games below .500 and just had finished their second consecutive sub .500 home stand. This was a far cry from the team that I had predicted to win the 2010 World Series. Traditionally when you get that many games below .500 it can take well over a month to approach the .500 level again.

At the Time, the Cubs were in a nearly identical situation. The Cubs were 27-33 overall, 3-7 in their last 10 in third place in their division, 7.5 games behind the then leading Cincinnati Reds.

The Sox beat the Cubs in the first two games at Wrigley which brought their winning streak to 4 (a season high) before losing in a monumental pitchers duel between Ted Lilly of the Cubs and Gavin Floyd of the White Sox on June 13th.

Since that Sunday night two weeks ago, the White Sox have yet to lose a game. They have swept the abysmal Pittsburgh Pirates, the mediocre Washington Nationals and the stellar Atlanta Braves. The 9 game winning streak has brought the white Sox over .500 for the first time since Opening Day. The Sox are 37-34 as they face the Cubs in a 3 game series at U.S. Cellular Field. They are still in third place in their division, but only 2games behind the second place Tigers and 2.5 games behind the Twins. Yes, in 2 weeks they have gained 6 games on the Twinkies. That is incredible! The Twins and Detroit finish up inter league play on the road this weekend against 2 very good National League East opponents (Mets and Braves respectively). This means that The Sox have a pretty good opportunity to gain even more ground on their division rivals. There is even a small mathematical possibility that The Sox could be in first place as early as Sunday Evening. That this has all transpired in the past two weeks is basically incomprehensible to me.

I''l be back in a few days with a Cubs Sox recap.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I hate when that happens. Actually I don't

In yesterday's Sox game which Chicago won 9-6. A kind of crazy play happened in the 4th inning. Alex Rios was up and he hit a hard ground ball to Atlanta Braves Third Baseman Brooks Conrad. The ball got lost in Conrad's shirt and Rios was on board with a single. Don't believe me? Here is the play.

Almost exactly 3 years ago the same thing happened to Ryan Zimmerman of The Washington Nationals when they played the Cleveland Indians. Inter league play must have an effect on National League third baseman where they want to keep the ball.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Now it's the Cubs Turn

There are 5 major professional sports teams in the city of Chicago. In 1985 the year I turned 21 none of these teams had won the championship in their league in my lifetime. The 1985 Bears took care of that very quickly and defeated the New England Patriots in early 1986 in the Super Bowl. 5 and 1/2 years later the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan won the NBA championship and did so again 5 more times in the next 7 seasons. In 2005 my beloved Chicago White Sox won their first World Series since 1917.

Tonight the Chicago Black Hawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

As I type this, people are shooting off fireworks in celebration in my small suburban neighbor hood. Congratulations Hawks! Now there is just one Chicago team left to win the championship in their sport, the Chicago Cubs. Now that the Hawks have broken through maybe the Cubs will be next.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One inning down eight more to play

A baseball season is a pretty long time. In order to put it in perspective, I put it in bite size chunks. The 162 game schedule lends itself to dividing it up in these chunks. In the past I have thought of it in 6 segments of 27 games each. This has been pretty easy to do as the season is spread over 6 full months (April to September) and each team plays around 27 games each month. This year I am dividing the season into 9 18 game units. I have done this, because baseball games are divided into 9 segments called innings.

I will now analyze the Chicago White Sox in their first 18 games. I hope to breakdown the Cubs and the leagues themselves in the next few posts.

When 7-11 and the Sox decided to end their affiliation with each other this year regarding their starting times (The past two seasons they vegan their home nights games at 7:11. I didn't think it was because they were going to start sponsoring their record. Yet, after the first 18 games the ChiSox find themselves at 7-11 and not for the Slurpees!

The Sox started the season out with a beautiful 6-0 slaughter of the Cleveland Indians at home they then dropped the next 4 games (two to the Tribe and Two to the Twins) before beating the Twinkies to end their initial 6 game Home Stand. It looked as if the White Sox were getting back on track after splitting 4 games in Toronto where they had not won for years. Unfortunately, they left Toronto on a losing note and then got swept by the Indians in Cleveland. The Sox came home on the right note beating the Tampa Bay Rays then dropping the next 2 games to them. They ended their first inning of the season with back to back walk off homers against the Seattle Mariners bringing them to a not very respectable 7 and 11.

Here are a few reasons Sox fans should be concerned.

  • In their first 13 games the White Sox sustained 2 four game and 1 two games losing streaks while only putting up back to wins on 2 occasions.
  • The Sox are second last in the AL in Hits, last in doubles and last in batting average.
  • The Pale Hose did not win their first series of the Season until April 24th. As of that date they have won 1 series tied 1 lost 4 including being swept once.

Here are a few reasons no one should jump off the ship quite yet:

  • It's still early! 18 games does not a season make.
  • Every team has one or two bad patches a season. There is something to be said about getting one out early.
  • The Sox are tied for first in the American League in Home Runs and Stolen Bases. They are tops in the AL in Strikeouts.
  • The Sox generally play well against the AL Central where they are now an awful 2-7. They have yet to play the Tigers and Royals who have they fared well against in seasons past. There is every indication they will play near the .550 mark they have had in the Central over the past two season. The Sox are currently above .500 against the rest of the league. If they can maintain that while they catch up in their own division, there is hope they can get right back in this.

I'll be back in 18 more games to give you a second inning synopsis.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

As Another Begins

I posted earlier this week about the end of college basketball season. Major League Baseball was getting into full swing (pun intended) as the NCAA tournament winded down. The tournament , anation obsession, is giving way to basbeball, the national past time.

Hopefully it will be a good season for both sides of Chicago. The Sox have started 1-1 and the Cubs have faltered out of the gate so far at 0-2. That's 2 down and 160 to go. Much too early to draw too many conclusion. I will be posting my musings each week as the season progresses.

Monday, April 5, 2010

One Season comes to an end

Today signified the end of Men's college basketball season. What started as a field if 65 a few weeks ago was down to 2. When the tournament brackets were announced, My wife and I filled out our brackets as we do every year. We were pretty surprised to find out that her pick to win it all and mine were squaring off in the final game.

That's right, my wife picked Butler to win the NCAA tournament. She picked a 5 seed, whereas I went with perennial power house and #1 seed Duke.

What a game it was. If Butler would have made that desperation half court shot, they would have won. The shot was very close. It seems like every other year, I pick Duke to win it all, it just so happens that this year I was right.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

They Ain't the Aints no more!

The New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl LXIV by a score of XXXI to XVII. I mean if you are going to talk in roman numerals, talk in roman numerals!

This Saints won in their first ever Super Bowl appearance beating the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts seemed to be favored by almost every prognosticator out there. However, if you look at my post from yesterday, I picked the Saints after a lot of hemming and hawing. What can I say?

A Colts victory would have evened the annual AFC NFC grudge match to 22 games a piece. The saints pulled the NFC to a 23-21 mark with the win.

A brief history of the Super Bowl shows that the AFC won 8 of the first 11meetings, the NFC won 7 of the next 11 and 9 of the 11 after that. In the past 11 games the resurgent AFC have won 7, losing only four.

New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees, a former standout at Purdue, was the bane of the Hoosier state tonight, completing 32 of his 39 passes for 288 passing yards and 2 touchdown passes.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are You ready for some football?

I have been meaning to come back here and give my Super Bowl pics.

The game is tomorrow, so I better get to it.

I have not been following the past two NFL seasons as much as I have done in the past. There are probably several reasons for this, but the main one is that I no longer work outside the home.

When I worked outside the home, I would listen to sports radio on my way to and from work. Even though I did not watch the game s over the weekend (We only use our t.v. to watch videos and d.v.d's I would get a pretty good idea of how teams were doing by listening on the radio. Now, I can certainly tune in the radio and listen at home, but I don't. This means I am no longer as knowledgeable about the NFL as I once was.

This doesn't mean that I don't have anything to say as to who I think will win.

Since my favorite team is in the NFC, I generally lean towards the NFC. However, there are some AFC teams I like (Steelers, Colts) and other NFC teams I dislike (Cowboys, Falcons, Vikings). I also tend to pick against teams that have won it all recently in favor of teams who have not.

So, I have been not sure whether to pick the Colts, whom I like, and who are on paper the superior team or embrace the Saints as the feel good story of the year. I also can't help over thinking the choice as a vote for the Saints is a way to express my dissatisfaction that the Colts last Super Bowl victory was at the expense of my beloved Bears.

I am going with the Saints. Much of the reason why I liked the Colts was because of former coach Tony Dungy who I have been a big fan of since his time with the Buccaneers. I also have a hard time rooting for the team that stuck it to the Bears.

While my heart says Saints, my head would not be surprised at all at a Colts victory.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Day is Finally Here

I have been anticipating this day for a long time. It is my 1 year blog-o-versary at Home School Dad. Head over there for a celebration.

Today also happens to be the day they announce who is going to Baseball's Hall of Fame via the writer's election process. I have spent the last 7 posts here preparing for today's announcement.

Today I'd like to recap who I would vote for given a ballot, give my predictions for who I think will get in and also some general remarks.

There are many scientific ways to determine who should be in the hall of fame. This year I attempted to develop one of my own. I call it the BILYNM index. What I did was on Christmas Eve took the list of HOF candidates and read them to my BIL Mike. Mike is a writer, a baseball nut (not to be confused with the seasonal 31 flavor's ice cream variety of the same name) and a pretty nice guy.

I asked him to respond yes, no or Maybe to whether the players should be enshrined in Cooperstown. I will admit that I omitted Mike Jackson from the list just because of the double Mike factor.

Here are the results:

Andre Dawson: Y
Bert Blyleven: N
Lee Smith: Y
Jack Morris: M
Tim Raines: N
Mark McGwire: N
Alan Trammell: N
Dave Parker: N
Don Mattingly: N
Harold Baines: N
Roberto Alomar: N
Kevin Appier: N
Ellis Burks: N
Andres Galarraga: N
Pat Hentgen: N
Eric Karros: N
Ray Lankford: N
Barry Larkin: N
Edgar Martinez: N
Fred McGriff: Y
Shane Reynolds: N
David Segui: N
Robin Ventura: N
Todd Zeile: N

Mike's Summation: If Lee Smith doesn't get in, no one should get in.

Speaking of which, the last time that any player on the ballot failed to get the 75% of the vote needed for election was 1996. I think there's a chance that no one will be elected this year.

If I was a 1o year member of the BBWAA I would vote for 7 players this year. Roberto Alomar, Harold Baines, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Robin Ventura.

I Predict

I think there will be 1 player elected to the Hall this year and I think that player will be Andre Dawson

I think the top 3 vote getters will be Dawson, Roberto Alomar, and Bert Blyleven

Along with Alomar I think 3 other first ballot players are likely to get more than 5% of the vote and stay on for 2011. They are Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, and Edgar Martinez

So this end my build up to the hall of fame announcements. I will be be back today or tomorrow with an HOF recap.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Official Unofficial Hall of Fame Ballot

For the past number of posts I have been fixated on the BBWAA election that will be announced this Wednesday. In previous posts I have reviewed the players returning to the ballot and the progress they have made over the years. I have also reviewed the players who are appearing on the ballot for the first time this year. The writers are allowed to vote for as many as 10 players on the ballot. In my last post I began to reveal who I would vote for if I was instructed to vote for 10 players. I ended my post at #8 as if I was given a ballot this year I would only vote for 7 players.

Today I will tell you the 7 players I would vote for if I was given the opportunity.

The 7th on my ballot would be Dale Murphy.

Why I voted for Him: There are several things that set apart Murphy from the other players who I did not vote for. Murphy was a back to back NL MVP winner in 1982, 1983. He was also the heart ans soul of the Braves teams of the 1980's Besides the back to MVPS in 1984 and 1985 he led his team in the following 4 categories: Hits,Homers, Runs Batted In, and Batting Average in 1986 he led the braves in all those categories but homers where he was second. One writer explaining in 2001 why he did not support Murphy's hall of fame bid had to admit his amazing run in the 80's and his other worthy achievements but countered with "I can't recall the last time I said to myself 'I miss seeing Dale Murphy play baseball'" 1

The thing is I do miss seeing Murphy play ball. I remember he played with a style that said he enjoyed playing the game that made me enjoy watching him play.

Why he's not higher on my list: He doesn't really stand head and shoulders above the rest of the possible inductees. Murphy was one of them. He was only listed one time in the top 5 of any offensive statistical category among position players on the ballot and that was a fith place showing in career homers. The MVPs and his 80's dominance did get him on my ballot but his inability to standout statistically in the crowd of challengers keep him entrenched in 7th.

If I was limited to 6 votes I would use the 6th for Lee Smith.

Why I voted for him: There are only 5 relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame (Goose Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, and Dennis Eckersly) Smith has more than 100 saves than any of them. He had 25 or more saves in every season from 1983 to 1995.

Why he's only 6th: The concept of relievers in the Hall took a little time to grow on me. But the recent inclusions of Eckersly, Sutter and Gossage have convinced me of his hall worthiness that being. Perhaps that previous bias helped me make stronger cases for the players in front of him.

Now is the point of my discourse than I am apt to lose all credibility. But before you put your fingers in your ears and started shouting blahcetera, blahcetera, blahcetera, I urge you to hear me out.

If I had only 5 votes I would use my fifth on Robin Ventura.

Why I voted for Him: Let me be clear. I don't think Robin Ventura belongs in the Hall of Fame. I do believe that he merits some consideration. I have noticed there is a bit of local cooking when it comes to hall of fame voting. Certain players only get votes from the reporters who covered the team he was on. I see that as a trust that the local writer has to opening the eyes of the rest of the media. As someone who is a life long fan of Chicago baseball, I do feel that trust even though mine is just a hypothetical one.

I believe that Robin deserves to be part of the conversation for more than just 1 year. Ventura splayed an excellent 3rd base and deserved each of his 6 gold gloves. A fierce competitor with a keen batting eye (5th in walks among this years hopefuls) and a clutch hitter as attributed by his 18 grand slams which ties him for 3rd all time.

Why I didn't vote for him higher: Putting him ahead of Smith and Murphy who have much brighter hall 0f fame prospects than Ventura was foolhardy enough. I can justify it by saying that if I had only 5 votes I would want Robin in more than the other two. As we get to the final 4 on my ballot, I can't bring myself to score Ventura over any of them.

Before I reveal my top 4 I want to say a bit about the list of 12 statistical categories I have been talking about. I made this chart after I decided who I was going to vote for to see if my voting pattern meshed with the player career numbers. The 12 categories are two Bill James Stats: Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards and then 10 traditional stats: Games, At Bats, Runs, Hits, Home Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases, Walks, Batting Average and Slugging Percentage. I was glad to see that the three of the 4 players I have left to reveal appeared most frequently on those top 5 lists, two 7 times and 1 8 times. I felt that lended a little credibility to my selections.

If I was allowed to vote for 4 players to the Hall of Fame. My 4th vote would be for Roberto Alomar.

Why I voted for him: Alomar seems to me the most Hall of Fame worthy of anyone on the ballot for the first time this year. He had the highest scores of anyone on the ballot in terms of the Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards metrics. He is second in runs and stolen bases and 3rd in 3 other categories including his career batting average of .300. He was an All Star every year from 1990 to 2001 and won gold glove awards in all but 2 of those seasons.

Why He was not higher: I have Alomar rated ahead of all the other first timers on the ballot. Even though Alomar's accomplishment are stellar it would take an even more special player than him to overtake the 3 returners remaining on my ballot.

If I was told that I only had 3 votes for the Hall of Fame my 3rd vote would be Harold Baines.

Why I voted for Him: While Harold was only listed in the top 5 4 times in the statistical categories referenced above he is on the top of more lists than any other candidate. Baines played more games, got more hits and batted in more runs than anyone else up for consideration this year and He had the second most at bats. Granted those are longevity records and longevity is often dismissed when it comes to the Hall. What can't be dismissed is the quality of effort Baines put out on the field. He was a fan favorite with the White Sox and the Orioles having 3 stints with each team. After his first stint with the White Sox the owner retired his number while he was still playing! Baines missed a game as coach for the White Sox this past year to be honored by the Orioles at a special Harold Baines night.

Why he's not higher: some of the things I said about Edgar Martinez in my last post are true about Harold to a degree. He spent more than 1/2 his career as a Designated Hitter and isn't always one of the first two players you think of in those White Sox teams in the 80's. To be fair though he led the team in both hits and Rbis 4 times between 83-88 and was just 1 RBI behind Ron Kittle from doing it a fifth time. That being said he just doesn't have the numbers to compete with my top two.

If I only had 2 votes for the Hall of Fame my second vote would be for Tim Raines.

Why I voted for Him: If Tim Raines ever makes it to the Hall of Fame which I believe he will, he will have Rickey Henderson to thank for it. In my opinion Hendersons enshrinement last year will force voters to reevaluate Raines who is much like Henderson. Raines had more stolen bases, runs scored and walks than anyone else on the ballot. He appeared on 5 more top 5 lists for a total of 8. Again more than any other player on the ballot.

Why I don't have him higher: Out of respect for the career of who I have # 1.

If there was a rule that you could only vote for 1 player a year for the hall of fame, that player would definitely be Andre Dawson.

Why I have him #1: My best memory of Dawson is in his years with the Cubs in his batting stance with the brick wall behind him at Wrigley field. It is a beautiful memory and to me it resonates baseball. Of all the candidates for the Hall no one is as deserving as Dawson. Of those on the ballot this year he ranked 1st in at bats, second in games and RBI, third in hits and home runs and fourth in stolen bases. I mentioned in phase 1 that Dawson is 1 of 6 players with more than 300 homers and stolen bases. He is one of only 3 players that has 400 + homers and 300 + swiped bags. The other 2 are Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

So there it is my official unofficial hall of fame ballot. The results of the official balloting will be announced Wednesday. I will check in Wednesday with some final thoughts on the selection process.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

If I had to vote for 10

We are now entering into the third and final phase of my hall of fame prognostication. I am going to tell you what my ballot would look like if I were able to vote in the BBWAA Hall of Fame election. Each voter is allowed to vote for as many as 10 players.

I have decided to list out for you who I would vote for if I had to vote for 10 players and tell you who I would remove if I could only vote for 9 players and downward until I get to who I would vote for if I could only vote for 1 player. Today I will go down as far until I get to the actual amount of people I will be voting for. Monday I will reveal that list in it's entirety.

If I had to vote for 10 players, the last player on my ballot would be Bert Blyleven.

Why he's in the top 10: Frankly because no one on the list who I didn't put higher really screams out to me Hall of Fame. For some reason I just can't fall in love with Jack Morris. I was thinking about Alan Trammell and after doing some stat comparison could not bring myself to vote for Him. I compared the 19 position players in 12 categories and Trammell was 1 of only 4 players did not finish in the top 5 in any of them.

Blyleven is also in my top 10 because he has the bonafides to be there. Blyleven has 3,701 strikeout 5th all time, 3rd of anyone who'e ever been on a BBWAA ballot. Of the top 10 strikeout leaders who have ever been on a BBWAA ballot, only blyleven has not been voted into the Hall. Blyleven's 60 shutouts is good enough for 9th on the all time list. Not only is everyone ahead of him in the hall, he is the only one not in the top 20 not to make it.

Why he's not any higher: For some reason Bert Blyleven does not feel like a hall-0f-famer to me despite the stats. One stat that may be dragging him down is wins. Blyleven is 27th all time in wins of all those only 2 players who have been elgible for election with more wins than Blyleven have made it to the hall. The problem is that Blyleven and those other 2 pitchers are the only ones who have less than 300 wins. One of those pitchers Tommy John, who at least to me, does feel like a hall-of famer failed to be elected on his 15th and final ballot last year. John had 1 more win than blyleven 21 point better winning percentage and only 3 hundreths higher earened runned average. The fact that the last starting pitcher to make the Hall was Nolan Ryan in 1999 doesn't help either. While it's unfair to hold him up to Ryan's standard, I think it's fair to hold him up to John's and since John didn't get in I'm not voting Blyleven there either.

If I had 9 votes my 9th vote would be for Edgar Martinez.

Why he's in the top 9: A .312 lifetime batting average with 10 seasons over .300. 2 consecutive AL batting titles doesn't hurt either. Many will begrudge him the hall because he was basically a career DH. I don't think that's fair. Now that we are finally letting relievers in the Hall, it's time we start giving DH's their due as well.

Why he's not higher: That being said, I am not quite sure he is quite HOF material. He spent most of his career as the second or third best hitter. Some years he wasn't even the best Martinez.

If I had 8 votes, my 8th vote would be for Fred McGriff.

Why he's in the top 8. First of all, he has a HOF nickname. I mean the Crime Dog rocks! Second, McGriff was a clutch performer the fact that his playoff batting average and slugging percentage over 10 series are both approximately 20 points higher than his career #s. This is especially awesome, considering he has a .509 life time slugging percentage.

From 1995 to 1997 I lived near enough Atlanta, Georgia that I became a daily follower of the Atlanta Braves. It was there that I realized how great a player the Crime Dog really was. Statistically, these weren't his best years but they were still very impressive.

Why he's not higher: Many people make a case about whether a player should be a first ballot hall of famer or not. To me this makes no sense. If you think someone is good enough for the hall you should vote that way immediately. If you think someone is good enough for the hall you should vote that way immediately. But sometimes it is possible to think a guy as just shy of the Hall and in the years to come reshape your opinion of them. Then i believe it is fair to not cast a vote early only to add it in the years to come. For that reason, even though McGriff is 8th if I had to vote for 8, I would not now choose him for the Hall. I would actually vote for 7 on this years ballot and will reveal those 7 Monday.

Here is why the Crime Dog is on the outside looking in. Many would say that his 7 home runs shy of the 500 mark hurt his chances. To me banging on the door of the 2500/500 club with a lifetime slugging percentage higher than .500 enhances his chances doesn't hurt them. If he stayed in the bigs long enough to get those 7 dingers he would have surely collected the 10 hits needed for 2,500 in the process. My deal is I don't want to be some "everybody gets in Flynn" with my voting even though mine are only hypothetical. At 7 votes I already think I may be pushing the envelope this year. Something just cries out to be that McGriff had just below the career needed for the Hall of Fame. It's nothing I find lacking in his resume as much as this lingering feeling I get that maybe the Hall is not something that Freddy should take a bite out of.

Future Hall of Fame Posts:

Monday: I will list my 7 votes for the Hall
Wednesday: I will have some final thoughts on the process including who I think will be elected this year.
After the voting is revealed: A briefing on the results and how my choices fared

Hall of Fame Part 5

I am finishing up Phase 2 of my series on the 2010 hall of fame vote. In my last post, I introduced 8 of the 15 players on the writers ballot for the first time this year. I will address the last 7 today. In my next post I will tell you who I would vote for if given the chance.

Barry Larkin SS played 19 seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. Over 2300 hits 2 shy of 200 homers and a lifetime batting average of .295 and over 350 stolen bases. A 12 time All Star, with 3 Golden Gloves and 9 Silver Sluggers, Larkin was the 1995 National League MVP.

Edgar Martinez DH played 18 seasons for the Seattle Mariners. Over 2200 hits, 9 above the 300 HR mark and a career batting average of .312. Martinez was selected to 7 all star games, and won 5 silver slugger awards. Best MVP voting = 3rd.

Fred McGriff 1B played for 6 teams (Rays, Braves, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers) over 19 seasons. McGrifff posted a lifetime batting average of .284 with 10 shy of 2,500 hits and missing the 500 homer mark by 7. A 5 time all star with 1 all star MVP award and 3 Silver Sluggers. Best MVP Voting = 4th.

Shane Reynolds P played for 3 teams (Astros, Diamond Backs, Braves) over 13 seasons. Career ERA of 4.09 with 114 wins and 1403 strikeouts. 1 All Star game, Best Cy Young Voting = 9th.

David Segui 1B played for 7 teams (Orioles, Expos, Mets, Mariners, Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays) over 15 seasons. A career .292 hitter with 1412 hits and 139 homers.

Robin Ventura 3B played for 4 teams (White Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Yankees) over 16 seasons. Finished career just 15 hits away from 1900 and 6 dingers shy of 300. Lifetime batting average of .267. 2 All Star appearances and 6 Gold Gloves. Best MVP Voting = 6th.

Todd Zeile 3B played for 11 teams (Cardinals, Mets, Rangers, Dodgers, Rockies, Phillies, Expos, Cubs, Yankees, Marlins, Orioles) over 16 seasons. A .265 Major League batting average with 4 over the 2000 hit threshold and 3 more than 250 homers.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hall of Fame Part 4

Happy New Year!

I promise this blog will not always be this baseball intensive. Especially in the winter. But if this blog is still kicking a year from now, I expect you will see a few weeks of Hall of Fame analysis and prognostication.

Today we enter into phase 2 of our look at the 2010 road to Cooperstown.

Phase 1 was to review the accomplishments and the writers voting patterns of the 11 players returning to the ballot from last year. Phase 2 is to review the accomplishments of the 15 players on the ballot for the first time.

Analysis of previous 5 Hall of Fame nominee classes.

In the past 5 years there have been 62 players to find their way on the ballot for the first time. Of those 62, 4 have been elected to the hall on their first opportunity. 6 received more than 5% of the vote but less than the 75% needed for enshrinement. 1/2 of those 6 received less than 5% of the vote in their second year and the other half are still on the ballot for this year. Forty of the 62 players received under 5% of the vote but at least one vote. The remaining 12 players did not receive any votes at all.

If we assume that the 15 players on the ballot for the first time this year will fare in the same pattern as the last 5 years then ...

1 player will be elected to the hall on their first ballot. 1 player will receive more than 5% but less than 75% of the vote and will have a 50/50 shot of being voted off the island in the next election. 10 players will receive at least 1 vote but not enough consideration to return to the ballot next year. 3 players will receive no votes whatsoever.
I'll let you all know on the 6th if the votes followed the pattern or not. Here are the first 8 first time candidate profiles. I'll finish the rest in the next HOF installment.

Roberto Alomar 2B played for 7 teams (Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles, Indians, Mets, White Sox, Diamond Backs) over 17 seasons. Lifetime .300 batting average. More than 2700 hits. More than 200 home runs. Within 25 of the 500 steal mark. 12 All Star appearances. 1 All Star MVP. 10 gold gloves, 4 silver sluggers and 1 alcs MVP. Best MVP voting = 3rd

Kevin Appier P played for 4 teams (Royals, A's, Mets, Angels) over 16 seasons. Won 169 games with lifetime era of 3.74. 6 strikeouts shy of 2000. 1 all star game. Best Cy Young Voting =3rd.

Ellis Burks OF played with 5 teams (Red Sox, Rockies, Giants, Indians, White Sox) over 18 seasons. Life time .291 hitter with over 2100 hits, more than 350 homers and less than 20 steals from the 200 mark. 2 All Star Games, 1 Gold Glove, 2 Silver Sluggers. Best MVP voting =3rd

Andres Galarraga 1B played for 7 teams (Expos, Cardinals, Rockies, Braves, Rangers, Giants, Angels) over 19 seasons. With More than 2300 hits and 1 homer shy of the 400 mark Galaragga hit .288 with 128 stolen bases. Played in 5 all star games, won two gold gloves and two silver sluggers. Best MVP voting 6th (twice).

Pat Hentgen P played for 3 teams (Blue Jays, Cardinals, Orioles)over 14 seasons. Hentgen had 131 career wins, a lifetime era of 4.32 and 1,290 strike outs. 3 All Star appearance winner of the AL Cy Young award in 1996.

Mike Jackson P played for 8 teams (Mariners, Giants, Indians, Phillies, Twins, Reds, Astros, White Sox) over 17 seasons. 3.42 ERA 142 Saves and 1006 Strikeouts. Best MVP voting = 21st.

Eric Karros 1B played for 3 teams (Dodgers A's Cubs) over 14 seasons. A life time .268 hitter Karros ended his career with over 1700 hits and 284 homers. Won the 1992 NL rookie of the year award, 1 Silver Slugger Best MVP Voting Award = 5th.

Ray Lankford OF played for 2 teams (Cardinals, Padres) over 14 seasons. More than 1500 hits with a life time batting average of .272. Hit over 200 homers while swiping over 200 bags. 1 all star game, best MVP voting = 16th.

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Greg Maddux HOF Speech