Posts Tagged ‘Ted Simmons’

Modern Era Committee Speaks

December 11, 2017

The first of the two Hall of Fame votes for this season is done. The Modern Era Committee, one of the four current versions of the Veteran’s Committee just announced their picks for addition to Cooperstown: Alan Trammell and Jack Morris.

Trammell

Trammell was new to the ballot, having just fallen off the BBWAA ballot short of election. He played shortstop for Detroit during his entire career. I’m not sure who the top 10 all time shortstops are (Honus Wagner and nine other guys is a good bet) but Trammell legitimately belongs in the argument.

Morris with Minnesota

For a while Morris was a teammate of Trammell’s. They won the 1984 World Series together. Later Morris moved on to Minnesota where he won another World Series (and was Series MVP), then headed to Toronto for two more championships.

I have no problem with either man making the Hall of Fame. I’ll admit to being more pleased with Trammell than with Morris, but I’m not opposed to either being there. I’m very surprised to see Marvin Miller fail election again. MLB’s website says he got 7 votes (of 16 possible). Ted Simmons I feel a little sorry for. Needing 12 votes to get elected (of 16) Simmons got 11. That’s kind of a shame, but it also surprises me and gives me hope for Simmons in the future.. And BTW the same site says Trammell got 14 votes and Morris 13.

The Morris election is, to me, a hopeful sign for other players. Traditionally high ERA’s have been a disqualifier to election for the Hall of Fame. With Morris now in with an ERA just south of four it may open up the Hall for other pitchers like Mel Harder and Wes Ferrell, as well as current nominee Mike Mussina (who’s ERA would be high for the Hall). We’ll see if that works (and none of this is meant to indicate whether I indorse Ferrell and/or Harder for the Hall or not).

So congratulations to both on their election. Now we get to see (in January) what the other vote does.

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Modern Era Ballot: Everyday Players

November 22, 2017

Trammell

Part two of my look at the latest Veteran’s Committee effort. This time the Everyday Players.

Let me begin by reminding you which everyday players are on the list: Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, Alan Trammell.

Garvey is most famous for all his years with the Dodgers as a first baseman. He won an MVP, two All Star game MVP Awards, was twice the NLCS MVP, and led the Dodgers to the World Series three times, winning one, and the Padres to a single Series (losing it). He holds the NL record for consecutive games played, hit .294, and has 2599 hits (What? He couldn’t have hung on for one more hit?).

Mattingly was the Yankees first baseman for much of the 1980s and 1990s. He won a single MVP Award, had his number retired by the Yanks, tied the record for consecutive games with a home run, holds the record for most consecutive games with a hit (not part of the home run record), holds the record for grand slam homers in a season (since tied), and has managed both the Dodgers and the Marlins.

Murphy is a two-time MVP while playing outfield for the Braves. Originally a catcher, he made a successful transition to the outfield. He ended his career with 398 home runs and 1266 RBIs. He was, according to his Wikipedia page, elected to the World Humanitarian Hall of Fame (had never heard of it).

No one ever was going to elect Parker to a Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He also won an MVP Award while with Pittsburgh along with a World Series championship. He later served as the designated hitter for the “Bash Brothers” Oakland A’s team of the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning another championship. He also won two batting titles and an RBI crown. He was also suspended for drug use.

Simmons was one of the first power hitting catchers, following the likes of Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella. He was miscast as a catcher and eventually ended up a designated hitter in the AL after starting his career in St. Louis. At the end of his career he also played first base with Atlanta. He ended up with 248 home runs, 1389 RBIs, and a .285 average.

Trammell was a superior shortstop for the Tigers. He led them to the World Series title in 1984 (against Garvey’s Padres), winning the Series MVP. He was second in the MVP race in 1987. A lot of people thought he should have won. Later he managed the Tigers, producing no winning seasons.

Those are short notes about each player highlighting some of their career, and post playing baseball activities. Not a bad player in the lot. In fact it the committee picked all of them I wouldn’t be sorry. Having said that, each has distinct problems that have kept them out of the Hall.

With four votes left on my mythical ballot I can’t pick ’em all, so I’ll take three: Trammell, Simmons, and Mattingly. To the others: better luck next time, fellas.

Pitchers next.

Modern Era Ballot Released

November 10, 2017

The latest iteration of the Veteran’s Committee for the Hall of Fame just released the ballot for the “Modern Era” Committee (that’s the most recent retirees). Here they are in the order that shows up on the Hall of Fame website (it’s alphabetical):

Steve Garvey

Tommy John

Don Mattingly

Marvin Miller

Jack Morris

Dale Murphy

Dave Parker

Ted Simmons

Luis Tiant

Alan Trammell

Committee members will vote in December and are allowed to vote for up to five people.

Commentary to follow.

 

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.