Posts Tagged ‘Lance Berkman’

Thoughts on the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot

November 23, 2018

Mike Mussina with the Orioles

Alright, I know you people have been breathlessly waiting to see who I think the writers ought to add to the Hall of Fame. Well, not being one to disappoint, at least not too often, here we go. As usual, I figure if they’re going to give me 10 votes, I’m going to take them.

In no particular order:

1. Mariano Rivera–if you have to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention.

2. Todd Helton–will be hurt by playing in Coors Field and being a gap power guy, but he was a good first baseman and an excellent hitter. I think he ought to be in, but I also think it may take a while. His WAR is 61.2.

3. Roy Halladay–first off, the playoff no-hitter will help a lot. Not getting a ring may offset that. His 65.5 WAR will help, as will the two Cy Young Awards (and two runners-up). I’m not sure whether his death will lead to a sympathy vote or not. It seems to help some guys and not help others. I also think that some of the writers will focus on his two seasons with 20 wins, while on the other hand, he never won an ERA or strikeout title.

4. Lance Berkman–frankly I’m not convinced Berkman is a Hall of Famer, but he’s a player I really liked and I’d like to see him get a second (and third, and…) chance so the writers can get more  time to evaluate him. A winner with both Houston and St. Louis and a valuable member of the 2011 World Series winner. He also has an RBI title and one doubles crown (both with Houston).

And the holdovers:

5. Edgar Martinez–sorry, guys, but designated hitter is a position and he was the best at it. It’s also his last chance before the Veteran’s Committee.

6. Mike Mussina–has a lot of good stats, both traditional and new age. For the old guys, he has a lot of wins. For the new guys his WAR is 82.9. He has one wins title and one 20 game win season (not the same season). A knock on him is that he was never a member of a championship team.

7. Curt Schilling–certainly was a member of championship teams, three of them. He is instrumental in breaking “The Curse of the Bambino” (if you believe in things like that), and he has the “Bloody Sock” (which is kinda like the “Bloody Shirt” after the Civil War). He also led his league in both strikeouts and wins twice. His WAR is 80.6, which exceeds a lot of Hall of Fame pitchers. But he has political opinions that are, in some quarters, unacceptable. He’s not being chosen for the Hall of Great Political Scientists, fellas. There are a lot greater rogues in the Hall than Schilling. I think it will probably hurt him at least one more time.

8. Scott Rolen–a much better third baseman than most people realize. He followed Mike Schmidt, wasn’t Schmidt (neither was anyone else), and was never forgiven for it. He did pick up a ring in 2006 with St. Louis (and had a fine World Series). I’ll bet most people don’t know his WAR is 70.2. He was a Rookie of the Year, but never led his league in any major hitting category, but he does have seven Gold Gloves and unlike a lot of winners, deserved most of them.

9. Larry Walker–super arm and a terrific hitter, but he, like Helton, played a lot of his career in Coors Field. He won an MVP and two batting titles there. He also moved to St. Louis late in his career and did well. He hit .357 in his only World Series (a loss). Unfortunately, he has no huge home run number nor RBI number to impress writers, but a 141 OPS+ and 72.7 WAR ought to get someone’s attention.

10. Jeff Kent–has an MVP, but it was controversial at the time. Has a lot of home runs for a second baseman, but wasn’t all that great a second baseman. He made one World Series (two years following his MVP year) and had a good series, but the team lost. He has the advantage of being arguably the best second baseman of his era. Not sure that’s enough to get him elected, certainly not this time.

So there it is, my list. And if they don’t all make it, the writer’s are wrong (and I’m, of course, right). My guess is we’ll see about 3 elected this time (just a guess).


Two Off-Season Departures

January 31, 2014 indicates that two long-time stalwarts of the game are retiring. Michael Young and Lance Berkman were two players who made their name in Texas, although for different teams. Both had successful careers and were favorites of mine.

Michael Young

Michael Young

Young spent the bulk of his career with the Texas Rangers, playing third, a little second, and DHing. When the Rangers finally got to the World Series, they tried him at first a little. It reminded you that Young, while not a bad fielder, was in the line up for his bat. He ended up with short stints with a couple of  other teams, including my Dodgers, but his key years are with Texas. In 2005 he picked up a batting title and led the American League in hits. His triple slash line in .300/.346/.441..787 with an OPS+ of 104. He ended up with 2375 hits, 441 doubles, 185 home runs, and 3491 total bases. He holds several Rangers team records.

Lance Berkman

Lance Berkman

Berkman spent most of his career with Houston, with one year stops with the Yankees and Rangers, and a pair of years with the Cardinals. He started in the outfield, but spent a lot of time at first, then did some DH work in his two seasons in the AL. He won an RBI title in 2002 and led the National League in doubles in 2008. He made a World Series with Houston (which the lost to the White Sox) and then won a Series with St. Louis and might have won the Series MVP if not for David Freese’s late game heroics. His triple slash line is .293/.406/.537/.943 with an OPS+ of 144. He had 1905 hits, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, and 3485 total bases. In 2002 he finished third in the MVP race. He hit .410 in World Series play with a 1.084 OPS.

Both players will be missed. As to their Hall of Fame chances, I don’t know that either is that high, but I’d rate Berkman’s chances as better than Young’s. Whatever happens there, the game was better for having them around. Best wishes to both.



Random Thoughts for the Midpoint of the 2012 Season

June 13, 2012

As I will be gone for the period leading up to the Fourth of July, I decided to post my midseason thoughts a little early, realizing that they may be out of date by the Fourth.

1. The American League East is starting to come around to what we expected. Tampa and New York are in first, Toronto is falling back. The strange teams are Baltimore and Boston. Did you really think Baltimore would be only one game out this late in the season or that Boston would be last? Both fooled me. Of course if you think about it Buck Showalter is a heck of a manager and the Red Sox are really starting to age. So maybe I shouldn’t have been fooled.

2. Whatever happened to Detroit? Weren’t they supposed to run away with the AL Central and then pummel the opposition in the playoffs? There are three aspects to baseball: offense, defense, and pitching. Someone forgot to tell Detroit you had to be able to catch and throw the ball. Oops. I’m not surprised by what’s happened to the Twins, but I’m saddened. They traditionally do more with less than anyone else and it’s finally caught up to them. Joe Mauer has his average back above .300, but the power seems to be gone. He’s 29 and that’s getting into the age range where catchers start imploding. And Justin Morneau seems to suffer a power drought also, although his average has begun climbing in the last month. Even Ron Gardenhire, a really good manager, isn’t going to get this team into contention.

3. So Albert Pujols was a bust was he? OK, he’s no longer Superman, but he’s not Clark Kent either. It looks like he’ll keep the Angels in contention and maybe get them to either a division title or a wildcard. Can Texas be stopped? Maybe. They remind me a lot of the 1950s-1960s Yankees. The ’50s-’60s Yankees had a series of good enough pitchers who could hold the other team down until the hitters simply bashed the opposition to death. Sound like the Rangers? The difference is that Texas has no Whitey Ford and I don’t know how much that will hurt them when the season draws down. Right now, Josh Hamilton is my MVP.

4. Does anyone understand what’s going on in the National League East? I’m not surprised that Philly is in trouble. Other than their pitching they weren’t all that strong anyway. The team is aging and Chase Utley can’t stay healthy. Hunter Pence isn’t going to be able to carry them and Jim Thome is apparently through (although I’d like to see him catch Sosa on the home run list). It seems the Mets have peaked (sorry, Bill) but maybe I’m wrong on that. I say that because I’m not really sold on either Washington or Atlanta so it’s possible the Mets will come back to win the division. If either they or the Nationals do, it will be one of the season’s great stories. And R. A. Dickey, my current Cy Young favorite is another great story for 2012. I’m not certain a knuckleballer can maintain the pace Dickey is setting.

5. OK, tell me you had Pittsburgh. Sure you did. Me too. I think the Pirates will fall back, but maybe they’ll finally finish over .500 this season (and I’ve got this great bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll let you have for a song). I still think the Cardinals take it, but Cincinnati might prove me wrong. Geez, is Joey Votto having a great season. I guess he’s my MVP right now, but then Lance Berkman was my MVP midway through last season.

6. The Dodgers are in first. Read that again. The Dodgers are in first. See what happens when you get rid of Frank McCourt and his wife. Maybe Magic Johnson is really “magic”. Actually it’s a really weak division and Arizona was a fluke last season. Maybe San Francisco can catch LA (please, God, anybody but the Giants) but they’ve still got to learn to hit. I’ve never been a particular fan of Tim Lincecum, but I’d hate to think he’s through already. So right now, is Don Mattingly manager of the year?

7. As of now my choice for biggest surprise of the year is LA and Detroit gets the nod as the biggest disappointment.

8. There used to be a saying that whoever was in first on the Fourth of July would win the pennant. As we’ve gotten more and more playoffs that saying has gone the way of the dinosaur. My guess is that about half the teams currently in first will win the division and maybe one or two others will get a wildcard. Don’t ask which because I don’t have a clue.

Random Thoughts on the 2011 World Series

October 29, 2011

The new Champs

Have refrained from posting here until he Series was over. Wanted to watch it, digest it, think about it, and not research other things at the same time. So here, in no particular order, are some thoughts on the just completed World Series.

1. Congratulations to the Cardinals. My grandfather would be pleased, as would my wife’s grandfather. Both were diehard Cardinals fans.

2. For an exciting Series, it certainly was sloppy. There were way too many errors, a handful of base running blunders, a missed cutoff, and even a couple of pick-offs. Not the best played World Series ever.

3. Did you notice the inordinate number of fielding plays made by pitchers? There were a bunch of those in 2006 which Detroit pitchers didn’t handle well. At least this year most were cleanly fielded. Wonder what it is about the Cards that brings out a lot of fielding plays by the pitcher?

4. It was good to see Lance Berkman win a ring. Always liked him (although he was never exactly a favorite), but, like everyone else, figured he was through. Nice to see him play for a winner and to also do well in the World Series.

5. Who the heck are Alan Craig and David Freese? Tell me you expected either to be a hero before the playoffs began. Many years some obscure play rises to prominence in the Series. This year was one of those.

6. Sorry about the Rangers. Good team, good ownership and leadership (love Nolan Ryan) but no pitching.

7. Speaking of pitching isn’t it amazing just how much better Chris Carpenter is than all the other members of both staffs?

8. If you’ve been around here much, you know I’ve always wondered about the role of managers in a game. This Series strikes me as having been played pretty well (except see above) despite the best efforts of both managers to utterly hash it.

9. Tell me you predicted the following scores: 3-2, 2-1, 4-0, 4-2. Bet you didn’t. This was supposed to be the second coming of “Murderer’s Row” from both teams and we ended up with a surprisingly low scoring Series. Only game three (16-7) and game six (10-9) were really high scoring affairs, and game six went eleven innings. It’s really kinda strange considering the lack of quality pitching on both teams.

10. If I’m happy for Berkman, I’m sorry for Michael Young.

11. And now we get to see what happens with Albert Pujols.

2011 NL MVP

October 10, 2011

Having gone out on a limb for the AL MVP, let me do the same for the NL. I’m going to propose someone who I know isn’t going to win, but I think he may truly be the “most valuable” for his team. I know Ryan Braun, or Prince Fielder, or Matt Kemp is going to win, but let me put in a good word for Lance Berkman.

No player meant more to his NL team this season than Berkman meant to his Cardinals. And you have to admit that the Cardinals couldn’t have expected what they got from Berkman. When Albert Pujols went down, when he didn’t play well, Berkman picked up the team. When Matt Holliday was injured, Berkman stepped into the role. With Adam Wainwright out and pitching weak for the Cardinals, Berkman gave the team an unexpected third hitter in the middle of their lineup. Try thinking of the Cardinals in the playoffs without Berkman. Ain’t gonna happen.

Again, I know he isn’t going to win, but I think there’s a solid case to be made for him.

Awards, 20 Games Out

September 13, 2011

With about 20 games left in the season, it’s time to start thinking about MLB’s postseason awards. I’ve never been very good at this, so don’t bet the farm on any of my comments. I’m going to tell you who I think should win a few (not all) and am aware that with 20 games to go it could all change.

AL Cy Young–this is easy. Justin Verlander. The only question is whether he picks up the MVP too.

AL MVP–Curtis Granderson. The Yanks are in first, Granderson has had a seismic year, his closest competitor is a pitcher. It’s his unless the wheels come off entirely.

NL Cy Young–Clayton Kershaw. He leads the NL in ERA and strikeouts, he’s second in wins (by 1) and second in WHIP (by 0.05), and he plays on a team just below .500.

NL MVP–I like Ryan Braun, but doubt he’ll win. He’ll lose votes to Fielder on his own team and that may let Upton slide in with the award.

NL Come-Back Player of the Year–Lance Berkman easy. If he’d kept up in July and August what he did in April, May, and June, he might be MVP.

No call yet on Rookies or Managers, but I’ll bet Leyland gets a lot of support.

Feel free to disagree.