Tag:David Wells
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 3:52 pm
 

2013 Hall class to raise questions

Barry Bonds

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If steroids have clouded the Hall of Fame voting the last few years, a hurricane is coming in 2013. 

While the Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor for a baseball player, we all know there's a difference between the Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays Hall of Famers and the Phil Rizzuto, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice Hall of Famers. While Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro were probably better than the later group, they certainly don't belong with the former. That changes next year.

Hall of Fame coverage

In December, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America that are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame will receive their ballot and on that ballot will be baseball's career home run leader and perhaps its greatest pitcher. While most voters agonize over their votes and research each and every name in front of them, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens shouldn't take time. In a perfect world, a world where the only considerations are on the Baseball-Reference.com page, more time would be spent putting ink to paper than actually breaking down the candidacy of Bonds and Clemens.

This, as we know, is not a perfect world. And the Hall of Fame debate, which has always been hotly contested, takes on a different debate with the class of 2013. For the first time not only will Bonds and Clemens be eligible for the Hall, so too will Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza. While Sosa and Piazza aren't in the same class as Bonds and Clemens, they do have 1,036 homers between them and without allegations of steroid use, they'd be no-doubters as well.

As long as the Hall doesn't have any guidelines for the voting bloc, there will be a mixture of four types of voters when it comes to steroids:

1. Hardline no: These are the folks who don't vote for Bagwell. If there's even a rumor about a player having a zit on their back, these defenders of the Hall will keep a player out.

2. Proof only: Here's where it gets tricky -- some voters want hard evidence before they keep a player out. But what's the line here? Is it a failed test like Palmeiro? Or is it overwhelming evidence such as the cases against Bonds and Clemens? And then what about the Mitchell Report? Is that good enough? And then there's other ties, like Sammy Sosa, who was never suspended and not in the Mitchell Report, but just about everyone suspects he used.

3. Worthy before PEDs: Then there's the "he was a Hall of Famer before steroids." This is the argument you can use to OK Bonds and Clemens, while rejecting the likes of McGwire and Sosa. This, though, assumes you can tell when a player started using steroids just by their head growth or some other assumed symptom.

4. Numbers voters: Finally there are those who say the only thing we know is the results that were on the field. We don't know the extent of steroid use during the so-called steroid era or how much the results were changed by their usage or even who exactly did or did not use them. 

In the end, the results are likely to say more about the voting bloc than the players themselves -- and as many people who get upset about the voting every year will get louder next year as the steroid question will divide almost all baseball fans. Here's a quick look at the new players who will be on the 2013 ballot:

Craig Biggio -- Biggio finished his career with 3,060 hits and nearly 300 home runs (291). The seven-time All-Star put up a career line of .281/.363/.433. He started his career at catcher before moving to second base and was the face of the Astros, playing 20 years in Houston. And despite his close association with Bagwell during their playing days, he hasn't been associated with Bagwell's alleged steroid use. In the end, his squeaky-clean image could do as much to aid his Hall candidacy as his numbers.

Barry BondsBarry Bonds -- And this is where it gets real. Bonds has more home runs (762) in the history of the game, had a career OPS of 1.051. A seven-time MVP, Bonds may be the best hitter in the history of the game. And then there's Game of Shadows and BALCO -- the baggage surrounding Bonds is as big as his batting helmet. The common belief is Bonds didn't start using steroids until seeing the hoopla around Sosa and McGwire in 1998, and by that time he already had three MVPs under his belt. A great player and future Hall of Famer before the 1998 season, he hit 351 home runs from 1999-2007, breaking McGwire's single-season mark with 73 home runs in 2001.

Roger Clemens -- Like Bonds, Clemens had a Hall of Fame career before suspicion of steroids. Clemens had three Cy Young Awards in his first eight seasons, before going on to win four more later in his career. Clemens finished his carer with a 354-184 mark, a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third all-time after Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

Steve Finley -- The outfielder had a solid 19-year career, picking up 2,548 hits, 304 home runs and 320 stolen bases, to go along with five Gold Gloves. A fine career, but not a Hall-worthy one.

Julio Franco -- Franco's a better candidate for Ripley's Believe It or Not than the Hall of Fame. Franco played his last game at the reported age of 49 in 2007. In his 23 seasons, he hit .298/.365/.417, collecting 2,586 hits. In addition to his 23 seasons in the big leagues, he had two years in Japan, another in Korea and played his last season in Mexico. A three-time All-Star, he also won a batting title in 1991 with a .341 average. He won't be voted into the Hall, but he had one amazing career.

Roberto Hernandez -- A closer, Hernandez finished his career with 326 saves and a 3.45 ERA. He had a good career, but is unlikely to stay on the ballot more than one year.

Kenny Lofton -- Because Lofton played in the steroid era, his talents may be under-appreciated. A leadoff man, Lofton finished with a .299/.372/.423 line, stole 622 bases and had 2,428 hits. He also had 130 homers, winning four Gold Gloves and appearing in six All-Star Games. A premier defensive player, Lofton has a better case than you'd think at first glance.

Jose Mesa -- Mesa's numbers are just a tick below Hernandez's, finishing with 321 saves and a 4.36 ERA.

Mike PiazzaMike Piazza -- If there are whispers, but no proof, that Bagwell used steroids, there are shouts that Piazza did, despite the same lack of hard evidence. The best offensive catcher of the modern era, Piazza had 427 home runs and hit .308/.377/.545 in his 16 seasons. He wasn't considered a good catcher, but that was beside the point -- Piazza was a middle of the order presence. Without steroids involved in the discussion, there's no discussion of whether he's in or not. But that's not the world we live in.

Curt Schilling -- Jack Morris' candidacy has been built largely on his postseason exploits -- and with all due respect to Morris, he can't hold a candle to Schilling's postseason accomplishments. Morris was 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 13 postseason starts. Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 in 19 postseason starts, winning four of his seven World Series starts. In 20 years in the big leagues, Schilling was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, but that was done in a much better offensive era than Morris' 3.90 ERA. Injuries throughout his career kept his career numbers down, but his candidacy will be heavily debated from both sides -- and in a rarity, it may be an old-fashioned baseball debate, not one about steroids.

Sammy Sosa -- Sosa will likely be remembered as much for his sudden inability to speak English when facing Congress as his 609 home runs. He's the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in three different seasons, but he didn't lead the league in homers in any of those three seasons. He reportedly tested positive during the 2003 PED survey test. On sheer numbers, he's tough to pass up, but with the steroid question, he's unlikely to get in.

David Wells -- Wells no doubt got bigger throughout his career, but the belief is he did it the old fashioned way -- by eating. Never small, Wells went 239-157 for nine different teams in parts of 21 seasons, but his 4.13 ERA will make him easy to keep out of the Hall of Fame. He was 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 27 postseason games and 17 starts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:55 am
 

Top 'Manny Being Manny' moments

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

With Manny Ramirez's retirement, he leaves a lasting legacy both on and off the field. Below are some of his classic "Manny Being Manny" moments...

CUTTING OFF DAMON: Perhaps the most seminal moment of Ramirez's career -- check out the video right here -- came on July 21, 2004 when Johnny Damon grabbed a David Newhan ball in the gap. He hurled it toward where cutoff man Mark Bellhorn was waiting, except Manny dove for the ball and snagged it in midair. That gave Newhan an inside-the-park home run.

LOVIN' THE MONSTER: Ramirez liked to enter the Green Monster on countless occasions in between innings rather than, you know, focus on the game at hand. He was spotted talking to someone on a cell phone July 9, 2008 as Javier Lopez was warming up after being called into a game. Five days later, he went inside to sip on a bottle of Gatorade as he waited out a pitching change. But years before that, in 2005, Ramirez actually stayed in the Monster so long he missed the first pitch of an inning. In that year, on July 18, he made his famed bathroom trek into the Monster.

SORE THROAT: On August 30, 2003, Ramirez bowed out of the night's game due to a throat infection. That throat must have needed alcohol to cure it, because he was spotted with Yankees player Enrique Wilson later that night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel knocking back a drink.

SKIPPING THE WHITE HOUSE: You've been there once, you've been enough, right? That's what Manny thinks of the White House, skipping the reception to commemorate the Red Sox's 2007 World Series title. "I'm sorry [David Ortiz'] running mate, Manny Ramirez, isn't here. I guess his grandmother died again. Just kidding. Tell Manny I didn't mean it," then-president George Bush quipped, referring to Ramirez's tried-and-true excuse of his grandmother's death to skip events -- like the beginning of spring training -- that he otherwise did not want to attend.

NEED THAT EARRING: Ramirez was in Pawtucket during 2002 on a rehab assignment when he slid into third base and lost his diamond earring. After the game, the grounds crew along with 13 PawSox players combed the dirt and found the stud, but not the diamond. Ramirez would go on to ask management if he could stay in Pawtucket rather than return to Boston. Hey, Rhode Island's nice.

HIGH FIVE: On May 14, 2008, Ramirez ran down a flyball hit by ex-teammate Kevin Millar. As he jumped and hit the wall, he high-fived a fan before landing, turning around and throwing to cutoff man Dustin Pedroia, who then doubled Aubrey Huff off first base.

CAUGHT STEALING: Did you know Manny Ramirez was actually caught stealing first base? Yep -- Germany Schaefer must be smiling. On August 13, 1997, Ramirez was playing in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tigers when he delivered an RBI single to left in the eighth inning with the team down 13-2. With Jim Thome at bat, Ramirez took off running to second base on a pitch and was safe, but thought the ball had been fouled off by Thome. He started walking back to first base when Willie Blair, the pitcher, tossed the ball to the shortstop who tagged out a jogging Ramirez.

SHOVING OLD MEN: Manny Ramirez shoved traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground when McCormick -- in his early sixties -- could not come up with the 16 tickets Ramirez had requested the day of the game. Ramirez later apologized.

WELCOME TO BOSTON: Ramirez's first season in Boston was 2001. On June 23 of that year, he hit an absolute bomb that landed somewhere on the Mass Pike. Despite announcers and newspaper writers feeling it was the longest home run hit at Fenway Park, the official distance was measured at 501 feet -- one foot less than Ted Williams' iconic blast into the right-field stands that is marked by a red seat. Later that year, he would bow out of the final game of the season for "personal reasons." The Red Sox honored Cal Ripken, Jr. that night as it was Ripken's final game at Fenway Park.

TRY TO HUSTLE: There's far too many accounts of Ramirez lazily running down the first-base line and in some occasions, may have been able to reach base if he didn't care enough. But September 9, 2002 takes the cake. After bashing a home run, Manny would ground out and not even bother to run, electing to walk back to the dugout.

GETTING HIGH: Ramirez requested his walkup song in 2002 to be changed on September 7 to Good Times (I Get High) by Styles, a song about drugs and laced with profanity that ended up being played over the PA speaker due to not being double-checked.

THE RED SOX DON'T DESERVE ME: Capping off a disastrous 2008 season, Manny tried and tried, but just couldn't get out of Boston. So instead he decided to take matters into his own hands at the trade deadline of 2008, claiming that his knee hurt and he was unable to play in a crucial game against the Yankees. (Ramirez would do this on multiple occasions; take days off no matter the opponent, situation or if the bench was short.) The Red Sox weren't buying it and took him to have a MRI. Except Ramirez forgot which knee hurt, so the Sox took MRIs of both knees and they came back clean. "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez would later tell a reporter, which greased the skids out of town.

DREADLOCKS STAYING: Manny Ramirez completely flouted Joe Torre's rules when he arrived in Los Angeles, refusing to cut his dreadlocks. After 11 days as a Dodger, Ramirez said that he and Torre were "talking about it," while Torre remained firm on the subject, saying "I'm not negotiating anything." Guess who won?

GAS IS UP: After the 2008 season, Ramirez was a free agent. When asked about his future, Ramirez responded, "Gas is up and so am I." Indeed, he would go on to sign a two-year, $45 million pact to return to the Dodgers.

OVATION: OK, here's another feel-good Manny story -- or perhaps only if you're a Boston fan. In 2005, when Manny looked like he was going to be traded, he was held out of the lineup on July 31. At the time, David Wells made a classic comment. ''The guy's messing with my cake," Wells said, as the Boston Globe recalls. ''Whatever it is, he better have a great excuse because we need Manny in the lineup. I don't care what, this team needs him." However, he made a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning, much to the crowd's delight. A Red Sox fan in college at the time, I'll never forget the chills I got.

PICKED OFF: In Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, Ramirez was picked off first base by catcher Javy Lopez of the Braves in the eighth inning. Cleveland had narrowed the score to 4-3 the inning before, and Ramirez singled with one out in the eighth with Jim Thome striding to the plate. Alas, Ramirez was caught napping for the second out of the inning.

RETIREMENT: Credit goes to Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder for this one, but how much of a "Manny Being Manny" moment is today's announcement that he was retiring? Ramirez was staring at his third link to a positive drug test, a 100-game suspension and decided it wasn't worth the headache. So much, in fact, he didn't bother to tell Tampa Bay he had retired.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com