Posts Tagged ‘Dave Concepcion’

2014 Veteran’s Committee: The Everyday Players

November 11, 2013
Garvey bobblehead

Garvey

Continuing with my look at the people chosen for the 2014 Veteran’s Committee Ballot, here’s an alphabetical look at the four everyday players appearing on the ballot.

Dave Concenpcion was the shortstop for the 1970s “Big Red Machine.” He usually batted seventh and played a very good shortstop. He gets credit for inventing the “hop throw” to first on Astroturf (that’s where you toss the ball to deliberately hit the turf in front of first and let it hop into the first baseman’s glove). He came up in 1970 and played through 1988. He hit .267 with 2326 hits, 993 runs, 950 RBIs, 101 homers, and 321 stolen bases. But it was mostly as a defensive whiz that he made his name. His defensive WAR is 20.9 (Baseball Reference.com version of WAR) and he led the National League in assists, putouts, double plays, range factor, and fielding percentage at various times during his career.

He was very good in postseason, hitting .297 with 30 hits (17 in the World Series), 13 runs (six in the Series), two homers (one in the Series), and 13 RBIs (all but one in the World Series). His team participated in four World Series’ winning the last two.

Steve Garvey was the face of 1970s Dodgers pennant winners. He played first base, women called him handsome, he won an MVP award, they called him “Mr. Clean”. He was generally considered the best player on one of the premier teams of the era. Well, maybe, but he had competition for best player on his team. You could make a case that Ron Cey, or Reggie Smith, or both were better. Garvey got to the Dodgers in 1969 as a third baseman who couldn’t throw. They moved him to first and his career took off. He hit .294 with 2599 hits (come on, Steve, hang on for one more hit, will ya?), 1143 runs, 1308 RBIs, 272 home runs, and an OPS+ of 117. He set a record by having no errors at first one season (1984) and was first in fielding percentage five times and range factor twice. There’s a caveat to all that. He didn’t throw well, so he tended to take everything hit his way rather than flip to the pitcher covering. Anything he could get to he caught, but he was noted for not getting to nearly as many balls as other first basemen (specifically Keith Hernandez). He was traded in 1983 to San Diego and was a major player on a team that won the Padres’ first ever pennant. He holds the NL record for consecutive games played (it’s fourth all time).

In postseason play he was, like Concepcion, very good. He hit .338 with 75 hits (36 in the World Series), 32 runs (13 in the Series), 11 home runs (only one in a World Series). He won co-MVP in the 1981 World Series, and his performance in both the 1978 and 1984 NLCS garnered MVP honors. His teams played in five World Series’ winning one, the one in which he was MVP.

Dave Parker started well, floundered on drugs and a new contract, then became an excellent player again. He got to Pittsburgh in 1973, becoming the right field replacement for Roberto Clemente. He wasn’t that good, but he did well enough. He led the National League in hitting in both 1977 and ’78, winning the MVP in the latter season. He got a big contract (for the era) in 1979, then saw his numbers slip. The complaints were that he got complaisant when he got the new contract, he got fat, he got into drugs. All that got him sent to Cincinnati in 1984. He managed to pick up an RBI title while with the Reds, but his hitting average dropped and his strikeout totals rose. In 1988 he moved to Oakland, becoming the designated hitter for a two-time pennant winning team. He had a decent 1990 in Milwaukee, then his final year was a miserable 1991 stretch in both Toronto and Anaheim. He ended hitting .290 with 2712 hits, 1272 runs, 1493 RBIs, 339 homers, and an OPS+ of 121. Parker had a great arm (again, not quite as good as Clemente’s but great nevertheless), leading the NL once and coming in second in assists a number of times. He also led in errors and double plays. He made a famous throw to cut down a runner in the All Star Game.

In postseason play he wasn’t nearly as good as either Concepcion or Garvey. He hit .234, had 26 hits (15 in the World Series), 11 runs (four in the Series), and three home runs (only one in the Series). His teams won the World Series in 1979 and 1989, dropping the one in 1988. The ’88 Series was easily his worst.

Ted Simmons was a 1970s catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals. He wasn’t all that good a catcher, but he could hit a ton. His primary problem was that he was a contemporary of both Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. Behind those two he got lost in the shuffle. After a couple of cups of coffee, Simmons became a regular in 1970, staying with the Cards through 1980. He hit well, made a handful of All Star Games, and wasn’t a bad catcher. He led the Nl in assists, errors, stolen bases allowed, and caught stealing at various times. A truly mixed bag. In 1981 he went to Milwaukee and stayed through 1985. By ’84 he was doing more DH work than catching. He got into his only World Series in 1982, losing to his old team, St. Louis (and his replacement, Darrell Porter, was named Series MVP). He spent his last three seasons in Atlanta and retired after the 1988 season. For his career he hit .285, had 2472 hits, 1074 runs, 248 home runs, 1389 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 118.

His postseason play was limited to two seasons, 1981’s strike year and 1982. He hit .186 in the postseason with three home runs (two in the 1982 World Series)11 hits, and eight RBIs.  He hit .174 in his only Series, but it was a reasonably productive .174.

So where do I stand on putting any of these four into this year’s Hall of Fame class? Again, I wouldn’t be overly upset if they all four made it and, frankly, could live with it if none of them got in. Both Garvey and Parker proved to be mild disappointments to a lot of people. Both started strong, particularly Parker, then tailed off rapidly, too rapidly to be really first-rate Hall of Famers. I looked at the Black and Gray Ink stats at Baseball Reference.com for Parker and found him to be almost exactly the Black and Gray Ink definition of a midline Hall of Fame player. The average Hall of Fame player has 27 Black Ink, Parker has 26. The average Hall of Fame player has 144 Gray Ink, Parker has 145. This year I think I’ll pass on both. The same is true for Concepcion. He’s good, and I think this election would help the candidacy of Omar Vizquel (who I think should be in). But not this year, Dave. Simmons, on the other hand, I’d vote to put in.

Newest Veteran’s Committee Ballot Revealed

November 5, 2013

Just looked at the Hall of Fame website. They have posted the Veteran’s Committee ballot for the election next month. Here’s the list divided into 3 categories (alphabetically within categories). All are individuals who played, managed, or were executives primarily since 1972:

Players: Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons

Managers: Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Billy Martin, Joe Torre

Executives: Marvin Miller, George Steinbrenner

That’s the entire list. The election is in December during the winter meetings. Make your own choices. I’ll detail mine in 3 later posts divided into the categories listed above. I know you’ll be waiting on pins and needles.

The Next Hall of Fame Vote

November 15, 2010

The Hall of Fame

Well, the new Hall of fame ballot for the Veteran’s committee is out. Here’s the list: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons, and Rusty Staub as players. Billy Martin is the only manager listed. Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner are the executives on the ballot.

This is the “Expansion Era” list. It includes players from 1973 through 1989 and owners, managers, execs, etc from 1972 through the present. There are some other qualifications that make guys like Joe Torre ineligible for now, but those are the key dates for people being considered this time. They’ve created three Veteran’s Committees now: this one and two others. The others are the “Segregation Era” which runs from 1871 through 1946 and the “Golden Era” which is 1946 through 1972. Remember you heard that here first. And it’s interesting that the National Association isn’t a major league, but by making the first period begin in 1871, it seems the players in the Association can be considered. I find that a bit of a strange coupling. 

Apparently the three committees meet in rotation one a year. So any one on this current list will be available for consideration again in 2013. The committee consists of eight current Hall of Famers, four executives, and four writers. Unlike the writer’s ballot, which restricts a member from voting for more than 10 players, the committee can vote for any number of people they deem worthy of the Hall.

It’s an interesting list this time, with no player that is a certainty. I will point out that Johnny Bench, Bill Giles, Tony Perez, and Frank Robinson are all on the committee. This makes four members with close Cincinnati ties, which could be good for Concepcion. I don’t have any idea who they’ll pick.

But of course I can’t leave it at that. What fun would that be? I’ve got to tell you who I would vote for if I were a member of the committee. 

I’d vote for George Steinbrenner. I never liked his act, but his importance to the game is significant enough that I think he deserves a nod. I do wish that Colonel Ruppert would get a try, but that is apparently the job of the “Segregation Era” committee. You gotta admit that Steinbrenner, love him or hate him, put his stamp on the game.

The second person I’d vote for is Marvin Miller. Again I guy I don’t particularly like but whose influence on the game is great. Maybe the Player’s Union makes a strike more likely. Maybe free agency makes the movement of players more likely so that you never get a chance to fall in love with a favorite player on your team (but then a lot of really good players have been traded). Maybe it led to “rent a player”, but it led also to player emancipation and salaries that made the Black Sox scandal almost impossible. For all those good and bad things, we owe Marvin Miller. Few non-players ever had a greater effect on the game.

The only player I’m sure I’d vote for is Ted Simmons. I think he is terribly underrated. He wasn’t Johnny Bench behind the plate, and being a contemporary of Bench certainly hurt him, but he was a heck of a hitter and wasn’t a bad catcher. His SABR numbers are a lot better than his traditional numbers, which may hurt him with the committee, but he’d get my vote. There are others like Concepcion, Garvey, Blue, and John that I could be talked into if someone had a persuading argument, but can’t see voting for them just on my own reading of the information. I suppose, in fact, that I might be talked into voting for most of the list, that’s how close together they are.

There’s one other name I’d like to see  considered for the list, Dr. Frank Jobe. He invented “Tommy John surgery.” Considering how many players careers he has changed an argument could be made for giving him a slot in Cooperstown. Consider that, to use simply one 2010 example, Liriano led the Twins to a division title this season. Without Jobe’s pioneering work, Liriano doesn’t pitch and the Twins probably don’t win. There’s a lot of players like that, including Tommy John, of course. I don’t know that Jobe should be in Cooperstown, but I’d like to see his merits debated by both the committee and the public in general.

And finally, when the “Segregation Era” and the “Golden Era” vote comes up in the next two years, I’d like to see a couple of ladies from the 1940s girls league given consideration. I know there’s an exhibit on them, but it isn’t the same thing as being elected. There are a handful of them still with us and if they’re going to be enshrined, it needs to be quickly. Again, I’m not certain any of them should be elected, but I’d like to see the issue debated by fans and the Veteran’s Committee. It could be interesting.