Archive for November, 2019

A 2020 Ballot

November 26, 2019

Scott Rolen

Well, I looked over the players on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot. There are some very good choices listed. There are some people wasting their time on the ballot. Knowing you can’t wait to find out just which I would vote for if I were a BBWAA member with a ballot, I decided it was time to let you in on my fictional ballot, listed here in no particular order.

Derek Jeter–Is there any question he’s getting in? He is one of the more famous players of the last 20 years. He has an aura about him that lifts him above the quality of his play and makes him seem better than he truly was when he was on the field. There are a handful of those with Joe DiMaggio coming instantly to mind. It’s not a bad thing, but I think it detracts from a true view of the player. Jeter is one of them. Having said that, I’d vote for him.

Larry Walker–It’s his 10th, and final year on the ballot. I’ve supported him before and will continue. I think he has too many votes to make up, but maybe he’ll get lucky. I expect he’ll have to wait for the appropriate Veteran’s Committee to get in. And Coors Field certainly is going to be held against him.

Todd Helton–And continuing with “The Curse of Coors Field,” we have Helton. Excellent first baseman, good hitter, but not a typical first baseman. He never hit for great power. Add that to Coors Field and he will continue to languish, I believe. But I still think he ought to be in.

Scott Rolen–I don’t suppose when he was playing that I thought of Rolen as a Hall of Famer. He was merely one of a number of guys who tried to replace Mike Schmidt. None of them were Schmidt and all of them suffered from the comparison. Rolen is one of those guys who have been elevated by the new SABR stats (while others have been hurt by same). I’m happy to admit I was wrong about Rolen as a Hall of Famer.

Curt Schilling–Has a loud mouth. It’s hurt him before, it will probably hurt him again. That’s kind of a shame.

Jeff Kent–Sits right on the border of Hall of Fame territory for me. He was good, particularly as a hitter, winning an MVP Award (that was as much a slight to Barry Bonds as it was a resounding testament to Kent’s playing ability). I hold out very little hope for his enshrinement this year, but he has some time left.

That ends my ballot, but a couple of words about a few more players:

Bobby Abreu–Did you think of Abreu as a Hall of Famer when he was playing? Maybe a little, but not consistently, right? Me too.  I’d like to see him remain on the list so the writers can study his case more.

Cliff Lee–I did think Lee was a Hall of Famer for a while, then his career slid off the rails. As with Abreu, I’d like more time to study his case. So I would add both he and Abreu to a ballot just to help insure they remain on the ballot.

There’s the ballot. Feel free to disagree (and be wrong).

 

 

2020 Hall of Fame Ballot Announced

November 18, 2019

Larry Walker

The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown announced the ballot for induction to the Hall for January 2020. There are 32 names on the ballot. Here are the Holdovers:

Billy Wagner, Omar Vizquel, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Curt Shilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Larry Walker (who is in his final year on the ballot).

The new guys are:

Brian Roberts, Brad Penny, Raul Ibanez, Chone Figgins, Eric Chavez, Alfonso Soriano, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, Paul Konerko, Bobby Abreu, Heath Bell, Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena, Jose Valverde, and J.J. Putz.

Writers get p to 10 picks. The vote will be announced in January 2020.

The 2019 Veteran’s Committee Vote

November 13, 2019

Marvin Miller on the phone

The other day I listed the 2019 Veteran’s Committee ballot without commentary. Well, you knew that wouldn’t last, didn’t you? The committee members get up to 5 votes each. I’ll detail my vote (of which the committee should take great heed) later, but I want to first make a few overall comments about the ballot.

After what happened last year (and, yes, I know it’s a different committee) I’m not about to try and predict what will happen this year, other than to say that I doubt more than two will be elected to the Hall of Fame. If you look at each player (ignoring the contributor), they are all much alike. They have good numbers and are reasonably well known. But each has some sort of flaw that has kept them out of Cooperstown for a long time. For some it’s short, but intense careers that don’t have overwhelming numbers. For some it’s ending just short of magical numbers (400 home runs, 300 pitching wins, etc.). For others, it’s lack of a defining postseason or an off field issue.

1. Marvin Miller is the most obvious choice for enshrinement. He is easily the most important non-player of the last 50 years, and for my money one of the four most important non-players in baseball history (William Hulbert, Ban Johnson, and Kennesaw Mountain Landis are the others in order of appearance on baseball’s stage.). Apparently, he wasn’t a particularly likeable man and even a number of players, who benefited most from his work, didn’t really like him. Additionally, he alienated a lot of owners, executives, and newsmen (all of which can be on the committee) during his lifetime and that’s not a recipe for election to Cooperstown.

2. Lou Whitaker’s appearance on the ballot is, to me, an enigma. I can’t understand why he’s not already in the Hall of Fame. An excellent shortstop, a many time all-star, a member of one of the more famous middle infield’s in baseball history, Whitaker also has excellent statistics. They are comparable to his double play mate Alan Trammell, already a member of the Hall. But then, he, unlike Trammell, was never a World Series MVP nor ever came in second in the American League MVP vote (and of course Whitaker forgot his uniform at an all-star game). Perhaps its that pair of shortcomings that makes Trammell appear to be a much superior player. The guys over at the Hall of Miller and Eric (which you should read, people) are afraid Whitaker will get in because the committee wants to complete the 1984 Detroit Tigers championship team’s major Hall of Fame contenders by adding Whitaker to a list of Tigers stalwarts (Trammell, Jack Morris, Sparky Anderson) already in Cooperstown. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if they did. I don’t much care why the committee supports Whitaker so long as they do.

If my prediction that only two people from the ballot get elected, I think it should be the two above. But, if they get to three, I’d like to see…

3. Ted Simmons as the third choice. He missed election by one vote last time and it will be interesting to see if he picks it up this time. His numbers are fine, especially for someone who spent most of his time as a catcher. But his end of career time as a journeyman who played a lot of first base and designated hitter, may pull him down a bit because his numbers aren’t particularly great at either position. Additionally, he was seen more as a hitter than as a catcher and that could hold him back. He was never considered a great catcher, but like Mike Piazza, wasn’t nearly as bad a catcher as some people liked to say.

As a committee member, I would get five votes. Here would be my next two (in alphabetical order): Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy. They were both players with fine, but short, peaks. Sometimes that can get you in, sometimes it can’t. Murphy has the additional problem of ending up just under 400 home runs without being the player Al Kaline (who also ended up just under 400 homers) was over a longer period of time. For Mattingly, some of his problem lies in being a New York Yankees player who never got his team to a World Series (one playoff appearance, a loss, in Mattingly’s final season). As often as New York made it to the Series, that’s a problem for one of their better players, a problem that is difficult to overcome; especially on a ballot with Thurman Munson, a Yankees player who did see World Series action.

As for the other five; next time, folks (maybe).

Modern Era Ballot Announced

November 6, 2019

Lou Whitaker

The Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for the 2019 Modern Era Veteran’s Committee. The vote will be 8 December. Here’s the list:

Dwight Evans

Steve Garvey

Tommy John

Don Mattingly

Thuman Munson

Dale Murphy

Dave Parker

Ted Simmons

Lou Whitaker

and executive Marvin Miller

More later.