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2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Three Will Make It In

Cooperstown sign

With the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot being due by the end of the year, it is an appropriate time to make some predictions.

There is an exciting group of quality players in this class of Hall of Fame nominees. It features two Cy Young Award winners along with two Most Valuable Player Award winners. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Historical

 

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Stan Musial – The Best Man Who Ever Played a Baseball Game

Musial
When I was just a young kid my father (May he rest in peace) taught me about baseball. He told me so much about the old-timers that I felt like I knew them. Of all the players on all of the teams, Stan Musial was without peer to him.

I use to marvel at his “corkscrew” stance and hear Dad tell me all the stories he knew about him. He told me about Musial getting five home runs in a double-header, quite a feat and still a record I believe. Musial was a genuine baseball Hall of Famer if there ever was one. He was a slugger, belting 475 HR and adding 1951 RBI. His career slash line is a ridiculous .331/.417/.559. His career OPS+ was 159. 15th on the all time list.

He won seven batting titles, his high-water mark in 1948 was .376. He won three MVP awards all within the first six years of playing major league ball. He finished runner-up four times and finished fourth once. Six times he lead the league in hits, and went over the 200 hit mark six times as well. He was the league leader in runs scored five times, in doubles seven times and he led the league five times in triples (a big surprise to me). He hit 20 triples in two different seasons.

He was the league leader in RBI twice, and he drove in over 100 runs on 10 occasions. Musial was on 24 All-Star teams, a record he shares with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. He has the All-Star record for career HR with six. He is second behind Mays in hits and RBI.

Musial played 1B and all three OF positions. I was surprised to find that he actually played CF in 331 games.

After the age of 35 his line was .305/.387/.506 and he averaged 24 HR and 93 RBI with an OPS+ of 134.

His WAR of 123.4 places him ninth historically. He had a total of 3,630 career his, getting exactly half of them at home and half on the road. That is consistency. Musial was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1969 on the first ballot.

Mays said that he has never heard anyone say a bad word about Stan Musial. That, in itself is a eulogy. He died today at the age of 92.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Historical, Memoriam

 

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Still Upset at the BBWAA Voters

In two editorials I posted this past week (click here and here) concerning the deficiency of the Hall of Fame selection process, I scathed the writers and the system pretty harshly. I make no apologies, I only wish to pour gasoline onto the flame that I ignited by calling for an end to voting entirely.

One of the ordinances in the selection system allows a retiree to be on the ballot for 15 years providing he garners five percent of the votes. I want to talk about that for a moment. Firstly, why should a player remain on a ballot for a decade and a half? Should the voter’s opinion of him warm as he simmers on the back burner? Do his career numbers accrue interest over the years? I have never understood that.

Jim Rice was elected in 2009 after marinading for those said 15 years. Well actually 14 since he was taken in the eleventh hour. What happened to make him unacceptable for oh so many years, and then with public outcry and media sentiments he is suddenly HOF material? Did he get to be a better player? Do his highlight reels seem more, I don’t know…Hall of Famey? Of course not.

How about the poor bast**ds who get thrown under the bus after the first ballot, second ballot or whenever? Do their numbers decrease in value?

Another sticking point I have with the system is that a voter can pull the lever on only 10 men. Why 10? Why not the entire ballot if he deems them worthy? There is so much wrong with such an electorate as this. It is ridiculous on so many levels.

These are just some of the problems that are associated with voting, procedures and popular opinion. The only thing that should matter, providing a player has not been banned from the game (Sorry Pete, Shoeless Joe), is what their numbers say about their career. End of story.

Baselines or benchmarks, if you will, need to be determined (and I don’t mean just using a player’s WAR) using several different statistics. Contradictory to what Sabrmetricians say, one stat or metric can not justify an entire career. For example, Bobby Grich has a higher WAR than Barry Larkin, Ryne Sandburg, Manny Ramirez and Eddie Murray, and other great players. Was he better? That was a rhetorical question.

Until the ship is righted, the entire voting process is a sham and a disgrace to the Hall of Fame.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Historical

 

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An Open Letter to the BBWAA Members

no votingAn Open Letter to BBWAA Members

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Much has been said and written about the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2012.

I have seen numerous tweets about one writer and then another, and so on about either sending in a blank ballot or not sending one at all.

To this, I say grow a pair (my apologies if there is a lady in the group). Have you a clue as to how many baseball fans would love to be able to vote for such an occasion? I can only hope that whatever “powers that be” would rescind the voting privileges of everyone who either sent a blank ballot, or especially the ones who decided to play Pontius Pilate and do nothing with the innocent players involved.

Your one vote alone may have been enough to keep a player like Julio Franco around for another year. As you know if a player receives less than five percent of the votes he is sent to Baseball Hell. But hey, your hands are clean, yes?

Now let’s get to the real issue with you malcontents. Performance Enhancing Drugs. There, I said it, it is now out in the open. Whether you condone the actions of the users of this illegal substance or not is not the question. We care less how many hours of sleep you have been deprived while tossing and turning with the decision with which you are entrusted. You have been given a responsibility and have been found wanting.

Well, for my part I hereby terminate the lot of you. Clean out your desks and hit the bricks, Mister. You are done, no longer will you have to whine and cry about what a pity it is that you must hold a player back a year or two because of his, shall I say peccadilloes.

I am calling for an end to the BBWAA having anything at all to do with the selection of players to the Hall of Fame. You had your chance, and you really suck at it.

After all, this should not be a popularity contest, this is the Hall of Fame we are talking about here. Not the Hall of Best, or the Hall of Cleanest, or the Hall of Guys Who Were Amicable to the Sports Writers.

I could take you to task on any of the three halls I just made up. You are about to condemn one of the best players of all time, Barry Bonds. Am I a fan? No I am not, but that is the whole point. I know best when I see it.

If we are talking clean, I give you Mickey Mantle (notorious drinker and womanizer, yet one of my favorite players ever). Along with him I bring you Ty Cobb and Cap Anson. Cobb, a veritable malefactor in cleats, and Anson one of the most renown racists who ever put on a baseball cap (no pun intended, this isn’t funny).

For the guys who were not amicable I can at least present to you Mr. Steve Carlton. After a while he decided not to have anything to do with any of you. Yet, enough of you saw him fit to be enshrined into this hallowed hall.

With that much being said, it is my ruling that when a player retires from the game, everyone should know that he is or he is not a member of the Hall of Fame. His statistics, by that I mean real statistics, nothing made-up, synthesized or otherwise embellished numbers.

What kind of numbers are we talking about here? I am so glad you asked. I am referring to career statistics such as these for hitters: HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, OPS+, HITS, BB, TB, and SB. Extra credit points could be thrown in for All-Star selections, MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Gloves, etc. Only statistics that are obtained in a regular season would apply. A man should not be penalized by his team not performing to a predetermined level.

For pitchers the following numbers could be used: IP, WINS (real wins not WARP or other fantasized numbers), ERA, ERA+, SO, SAVES, SO/BB, BAA, and WHIP. Extra credit points would include CYA, All-Star selections, MVP, Gold Gloves. Again, only regular season numbers would apply (apologies to Curt Shilling).

The numbers could be the average of the existing Hall of Famers, or another angle could be agreed upon. That point is flexible, but needs to be determined.

If the player would reach the minimum requirement in 50 percent of the categories, he would be in the Hall of Fame. No evaluations, no BS, no equivocators.

The number parameters could be different than I have prescribed but I hope you get the point. The Hall of Fame is a real place, not intangible, so why should players be elected on intangibles?

Don’t you sit there and try to say that they are not? If it weren’t the case you would not be reading this lengthy epistle. Alan Trammell would be in the Hall of Fame, as would Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Lou Whitaker, Dale Murphy, et al.

There, now go on your happy way. Caesar Cliffius has just relieved you of all the stress you have been burdened with over the holidays for these countless years. No more players sent to Baseball Hell on your account sir, or madam. If they do not make the cut, it is their fault, not yours, mine or anyone else’s.

Decreed this Third day of January, in the Two Thousand and Thirteenth Year of our Lord.

Caesar Cliffius

Emperor of these United States and the Baseball World at Large

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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