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Friday, April 2, 2021

Sunday Monday

 According to baseball reference there are only a handful of players who have had the first name, nickname or last name of a day of the week.  The 2 players with any significant playing time were both outfielders for the Chicago Cubs and both are more known for activities removed from the regular activities of a basbeball player.  These players are Billy Sunday and Rick Monday and while they played a century apart from each other they do have some things in common. 

Billy Sunday who played in the National League from 1883 to 1890 (1883 to 1887 with the Cubs, who went by the name White Stockings during those years) led baseball in 1890 with most double plays as an outfielder with 11.  Rick Monday who played from 1966 to 1984 (1972 to 1976 with the Cubs) led the American League in 1867 with 6 double plays as an outfielder and then in 1974, as a Cub, led the National League in the same category with 5. 

Billy Sunday who is still ranked in the top 250 on the all time list for steals (#246 with 246 steals) is best remember for saving souls than stealing bases.  He is probably the 2nd most well known evangelist in the United States behind Billy Graham. You can read more about Sunday and Graham by going to my blog HSD.

Rick Monday is also known more for saving although he was neither an evangelist or a relief pitcher.

In 1976 at a game in Los Angeles a father son tandem tried to burn an American Flag. Monday intervened as you can see below . . .  

Billy and Rick , two Cubs outfielders who made the most of their days. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Baseball and A to Z open today.

 I am participating in the A to Z challenge this year at HSD, my flagship blog.  There are going to be some  shared content from all my blogs.  The first one here will appear tomorrow as an addendum to my B entry.  There may also be some older content that gets mentioned.  Also opening today is what I hope to be a very special baseball season here in Chicago.  When I take a breath after the challenge ends on April 30th it will be interesting to se where the Chicago teams are in the standings.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Hall of Fame Voting Results 2021

 The 2021 BBWAA voting for the Hall of Fame was announced on January 26th.  For the 3rd time since 1996 no one received the 75% of the vote needed for enshrinement this year.  

Here is a quick list of the voting results with years on ballot this years % & last years percentage (where applicable) and where they appeared on my unofficial ballot(Those ranking 4th or higher would have been on my official ballot if I had one). Ranked in descending order of vote received.

Curt Schilling 9th year on ballot 71.1 % in 2021 70% in 2020 Schilling was 4th on my 2021 ballot.

Barry Bonds 9th year on ballot 61.8% in 2021 60.7% in 2020 I did not vote for Bonds.

Roger Clemens 9th year on ballot 61.6% in 2021 61% in 2020 I did not vote for Clemens

Scott Rolen 4th year on ballot  52.9% in 2021 35.3% in 2020 Rolen was 7th on my 2021 ballot.

Omar Vizquel 4th year on ballot 49.1% in 2021 52.6% in 2mmy021 Vizquel was 2nd on my 2021 ballot.

Billy Wagner 6th year on ballot 46.4% in 2021 31.7% in 2020. I did not vote for Wagner in 2021.

Todd Helton 3rd year on ballot 44.9% in 2021 29.2 in 2020. Helton was 3rd on my ballot in 2021.

Gary Sheffield 7th year on ballot 40.6% in 2021 30.5% in 2020.  Sheffield  would have appeared 11th on my 2021 ballot. (official ballots can only have as many as 10 players on them)

Andruw Jones 4th year on ballot 33.9% in 2021 and 19.4% in 2020. Andruw was 8th on my ballot in 2021. 

Jeff Kent 8th year on ballot 32.4% in 2021 27.5% in 2020. Kent was 6th on my ballot in 2021.

Manny Ramirez 5th year on ballot 28.2% in 2021 and 2020. I did not vote for Ramirez.

Sammy Sosa 9th year on ballot. 17% in 2021 13.9% in 2020. I did not vote for Sosa.

Andy Pettitte 3rd year on ballot. 13.7% in 2021 11.3% in 2020. I did not vote for Pettitte in 2021.

Mark Buehrle 1st year on ballot received 11% this year  and was 1st on my ballot.

Torii Hunter 1st year on ballot received 9.5% this year and was 9th on my ballot.

Bobby Abreu 2nd year on ballot received 8.7% in 2021 5.5% in 2020 Bobby was 10th on my ballot in 2021 

Tim Hudson 1st year on ballot received 5.2% in 2020 and I did not vote for Hudson this year.

These 17 players are eligible to return to the ballot on 2022

Other 1st year playes receiving votes were Aramis Ramirez (who would have been 13th on my ballot) LaTroy Hawkins and Barry Zito.  5 players (AJ Burnett, Shane Victorino, Dan Haren, Michael Cuddyer and Nick Swisher) failed to receive any votes.  

This years vote was the first time since 2013 that no one was voted in by the members of the BBWAA a look back at the 2013 ballot should give the players shutout on this years a vote a reason for hope. 17 players from the 2013 ballot returned to the 2014 ballot. These 13 did not include Dale Murphy who was in his last year of eligibility.     4 of those players were on the ballot for the first time are still on the ballot (Schilling, Bonds, Clemens & Sosa). 9 Of the 13 remaining have since been inducted to Cooperstown. 

Here is a list of those 9 in descending order of votes received in 2013

Craig Biggio was in his 1st of year  eligibility and received 68.2 % of the vote in 2013.  He increased his % to 74.8% of the vote in 2014 (just missing the 75% threshhold for enshrinement) and then in 2015 in his third year on the ballot was inducted with 82.7% of the ballot.  

Jack Morris was in his 14th year of eligibility in 2013. This was back when  candidates were on the ballot for a maximum of 15 years rather than 10.  He received 67.7% in 2013 61.5% in 2014  on his last chance for enshrinement through the BBWAA.  In 2018 Morris was elected to the Hall of Fame through the veterans committee. 

Jeff Bagwell was in his 3rd year on the ballot in 2013 where he received 59.6 % of the vote.  In 2014 he went down to 54.3 and up to 55.7% in 2015. His percentage increase by more than 15% in each of the next 2 years culminating with his election to Cooperstown in 2017

Like Schilling, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, & Biggio, Mike Piazza was on the BBWAA ballot for the first time in 2013.  Piazza received over 55% of the vote in 2013 and increased into the 60's the next 2 elections until garnering 83% in 2016 on his way to Cooperstown.  

Tim Raines was in his 6th year on the ballot in 2013 where he received 52 % of the vote.  In 2014 his votes went down to 46.4% due to the election of Frank Thomas, of 7 Maddux and Tom Glavine in their first year of eligibility.  In 2015 received 55% of the votes and then went up to 69.8%  in 2016 and over 80% in 2017 achieving the Hall of Fame. 

Lee Smith was in his 11th year on the ballot in 2013 where he received 47.8 % of the vote. In 2014 after receiving between 35 & 51 % of the vote in first 11 years of the ballot Smith saw his numbers drop.  He went from 47.8 % in 2013 to 29.8 % in 2014.  His numbers increased a little in each of his last 3 years on the ballot and his final BBWAA % was 34.2% in 2017. 2 years later in 1019 the Veteran's committee came calling and he was inducted into Cooperstown.

Edgar Martinez was in his 4th year of eligibility when he received 35.4% of the vote in the 2013 ballot.  His % decreased to the 20's the following 2 years due mainly  to the influx of 7 1st year hall of famers on those ballots and the 10 player limit imposed on the writers.  In 2016 Martinez rose to 43.4% and increased by about 15% each year until 2019 where he received 85.4% of the vote in his last year of eligibility.

Alan Trammell received 33.6 % of the vote in 2013 on his 12th year on the ballot. This percentage dropped to 20.8 in 2013 increased to 25.1 in 2015 and went up again to 40.9% in 2016 on his final year on the writer's ballot.  The Veteran's Committe elected him to Cooperstown in 2018.

Larry Walker was in his 3rd year on the ballot in 2013 when he received 21.6% of the vote. Walkers votes went down in 2014 and 2015 and slowly climbed back up year after year until reaching 76.6% of the vote last year.  

Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly and Rafael Palmeiro returned to the 2014 ballot and have all since been eliminated from election by the BBWAA.  They could still make it to Cooperstown by means of the Veteran's Committee.

Of the 9 Hall of Famers (so far) from the 2013 ballot 6 were elected on the writer's ballot and 3 by the veteran's committee. 

In 1996 there were also no players receiving the need 75% of votes on the writer's ballot needed for induction to Cooperstown. Since then 7 players from that ballot have been inducted Although Joe Torre was inducted in 2014 as a manager and not a player.  .  The other 6 are Phil Niekro (1997 BBWAA), Tony Perez 2000, BBWAA), Don Sutton (1998 BBWAA),  Ron Santo (2012 Veteran's Committee), Jim Rice (2009 BBWAA) & Bruce Sutter (2006 BBWAA).  There are several players from that ballot including Dick Allen who may someday join the other 7 inductees via the Veteran's Committee.  

While the tales of the players from the 1996 & 2013 ballots may encourage the players from the 2021 ballot about their future in the hall their immediate inclusion seems less likely.  No players are aging off the ballot this year and players  like David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are being added to the 2022 ballot.  Curt Schillings seems to have the next chance for Cooperstown in 2022 as he has 4% of voters to gain.  He recently asked to be removed from the ballot and while that doesn't seem likely this may not increase his chances on maintainig his votes let alone garnering new support.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

2021 Hall of fame: If I Could Vote ...

 Each year members of the Base Ball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) are given a hall of fame ballot with the names of the players eligible for consideration of enshrinement in Cooperstown. They are instructed to vote for as many as 10 of the players on the ballot.  This years ballot contains 25 players so the writers can vote for up to 40 % of players on the ballot.  If a player receives 75% of the writers votes they are admitted into the Hall of Fame.  If they receive less than 75% but more than 5% they are retained on the ballot for the next year.  The players have up to 10 years on the ballot to earn the 75% needed for enshrinement.

I am not a member of the BBWAA and I do not have a vote but to paraphrase Rob Lowe as the Grinder "What if I were? and What if I did?"

I ask myself that question about this time each year. Here is what I've come up with for 2021.

If I had 13 votes ...

13 would go to Aramis Ramirez.

As I said in the new to the ballot post, Ramirez is a lock for NL Central Hall of Fame havingplayed at a high level for the Pirates, Cubs and Brewers during his career.  As I say every year, I am a Chicago guy and I feel a need to give votes to Chicago players at least to get the conversation going.

If I had 12 votes ...

12 would go to Paul Konerko.

Pauly Longball (my nickname for him. Sadly it never caught on.) is not on the ballot this year as having received only 1/2 the votes needed last year to stay on the ballot for a 2nd chance.  However he was who I would have voted for last year even If I only had one vote.  I feel that is a good enough reason to put him as a write-in i=on this years ballot as a curtain call of sorts.

If I had 11 votes ...

11 would  go to Gary Sheffield.

In 2018 & 2019 I would have voted for Sheffield if given as many as 12 votes.  I hypothesized after missing the vote last year that I would have placed Sheffield 7th.  This year I have reverted to  my original position that there are too many questions about his candidacy to consider him much lower than the double digits.  

If I had 10 Votes ...

10 would go to Bobby Abreu.

I did not consider voting for Abreu last year.  I don't think he's worthy of Cooperstown.  I think he had a distinguished enough career to be in the conversation for a year or more.

If I had 9 votes ...

9 would go to Torii Hunter

When I hear the name Torii Hunter. I think Hall of Fame. When I look at his stats they tell a bit of a different story.  He falls short of making My Official Unofficial Ballot (OUB) but it would certainly be nice if he could get enough votes to be on the ballot again next year. 

If I had 8 votes ...

8 would go to Andruw Jones.

If Jones retired in 2007 when he left Atlanta or if He had Atlantaesque numbers in his final 5 seasoons of baseball He'd have a better chance of making Cooperstown than he does now. Still his time in Atlanta was good enough for me to consider him as my 9th vote last year and this year he's gone up to 8

If I had 7 votes ...

7 would go to Scott Rolen

Not only would I pick Rolen 7th, 7 is also the number of his gold gloves and all star appearances for this former Rookie of the Year.  I have not picked him in the past but a closer look this year shows me he's right on the cusp of making my OUB.

If I had 6 votes ...

6 would go to Jeff Kent.

Last year I put Kent 6th two place higher than I had him in 2019.  He's like my poster child for outside looking in.  Even thinking about it here, I'm tempted to have Jones and Rolen leap frog him. For this year I'll let things stand as they are.

If I had 5 votes ...

With #5 I'd write in Dick Allen.

There's something about White Sox First basemen that makes e want to break my own Rules.  Allen who passed away late last year should already be a hall of famer. I think he will probably make it the next time the veterans comittee of his era re-convene.  Until then He may be revisiting this list in the years to come.  

 If I could vote for the number of players that I thought were worthy of inclusion to the Hall of fame, I would need four votes and that ballot would need like this ...

Barry Bonds                   Jeff Kent                        Gary Sheffield

Roger Clemens               Manny Ramirez             Andruw Jones

Curt Schilling                 Bobby Abreu                 Scott Rolen

 Sammy Sosa.                  A.J. Burnett                   Omar Vizquel

Billy Wagner                    Michael Cuddyer            Dan Heren                                                            

Todd Helton                        Mark Buehrle                  LaTroy Hawkins

Andy Pettitte                       Tim Hudson                  Torii Hunter                                                                      

Aramis Ramirez                  Shane Victorino            Barry Zito

 Nick Swisher


(My votes are in bold)

If I could only vote for 4 players for the Hall of Fame my 4th vote would go to ...

Curt Schilling

I have not been advocating Schilling as a candidate for Cooperstown until very recently.  In 2020 I would have put Schilling 8th on my list and not in my OUB. He never got a mention from me in his first 7 years on the ballot.  This year as I did my research many of my earlier qualms about his candidacy seemed to disappear into the vapor.  He definitely has the resume for it and will probably make it this year.

If I could only vote for 3 players for the Hall of Fame my 3rd vote would go to ...

Todd Helton

In 2019 I placed Helton in 7th and he went up to 5th last year.  He moves up another 2 this year and just like I eventually didn't hold it against Edgar Martinez that he played most of his career as a designated hitter, I don't begrudge Helton for playing his entire career for the Rockies.  

If I could only vote for 2 players for the Hall of Fame my 2nd vote would go to ...

Omar Vizquel

Vizquel was my third choice in 2019 and 2020 and moved into 2nd when Jeter got elected and Konerko got rejected.  Vizquel is one of those players who advanced metrics can't tell the full story of.  He played the game at an extremely  high level for many years. Some say his defense is over rated, I disagree.  He is a Hall of fame caliber defender and worth of Cooperstown.

If I could only vote for one player to go to Cooperstown in 2021. That player would be Mark Buehrle.

The 5 time all star with 4 gold gloves was a reliable workhorse and a quick worker.  He no hit the Texas Rangers and after walking Sammy Sosa (who's in his 9th year of eligibility) he proceed to get him out with his signature pick off move.  He is a pitcher from another era, that's for sure bit those players of his caliber from that era are already in the hall of fame.  I'd like to at least see him hang around for another bite of the apple.  Otherwise you know who I'll be voting for 12th next year.