Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:13 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:19 pm
The 2012 Hall of Fame election -- by the numbers, and with the skinny. ...
Barry Larkin, 495 votes, 86.4 percent: Many numbers tell the tale, such as Larkin becoming the first 30/30 (homers/steals) shortstop in history. But how about in 1988, when he led the majors with only 24 strikeouts in 588 at-bats?
Maybe next year (or the year after)
Jack Morris, 382 votes, 66.7 percent: Great chance next year (which will cause massive coronaries in Sabermetric community), but he could run smack into wall via overloaded ballot that includes Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.
Jeff Bagwell, 321 votes, 56 percent: Start forging plaque after big jump from 41.7 percent last year.
In need of GPS
Lee Smith, 290 votes, 50.6 percent: A decade on the ballot and it's like he's trapped in a Republican debate. No traction.
Tim Raines, 279 votes, 48.7 percent: Criminally unsupported for guy who ranks second all-time in stolen base percentage (300 minimum attepts), though up 11 percentage points over last year.
Edgar Martinez, 209 votes, 36.5 percent: Fighting the designated hitter uphill battle. If you don't have 3,000 hits, it helps to have worn a glove at some point during your career.
Alan Trammell, 211 votes, 36.8 percent: Heading in the right direction after 24.3 percent last year, but still undeservedly playing the "bye" to the voters' "good."
Fred McGriff, 137 votes, 23.9 percent: CSI investigators -- or are those PETA reps? -- checking for pulse as Crime Dog's 493 career homers get no love.
Larry Walker, 131 votes, 22.9 percent: Even the Canadian exchange rate doesn't favor Cooperstown.
Mark McGwire, 112 votes, 19.5 percent: Big Mac Fan Club not allowing new members. Remarkably consistent from last year's 115 votes, 19.8 percent.
Don Mattingly, 102 votes, 17.8 percent: Just three more years left on the ballot. Hope Donnie Baseball's managerial stint with Dodgers outlasts that.
Dale Murphy, 83 votes, 14.5 percent: A Hall of Fame man, and even if he can't be in Cooperstown, I hope baseball somehow involves him more.
Rafael Palmeiro, 72 votes, 12.6 percent: Did this guy or his career really exist? Outside of wagging a finger at Congress, I mean?
Bernie Williams, 55 votes, 9.6: To those who support Bernie and Jorge Posada: How about we just put every Yankee who played between, say, 1996 and 2001, into the Hall?
No soup -- or future ballots -- for you
Juan Gonzalez, 23 votes, 4 percent: The Rangers had a homecoming ... and no Hall of Fame supporters showed up for Juan-Gone.
Vinny Castilla, 6 votes, 1 percent: Six votes?!?! Vinny had one Hall of Fame moment. That came near the end of his career when he walked into the stadium past me as I was arguing with a security guard who wasn't buying my press pass, stopped, grinned, then approached me in the clubhouse wanting the scoop ... and complimenting me for getting in the guy's face so spiritedly.
Tim Salmon, 5 votes, 0.9 percent: Not Cooperstown worthy, but easily could join Dale Murphy in the all-time good guys' Hall.
Bill Mueller, 4 votes, 0.5 percent: The guy won a batting title (AL, 2003), but I think somebody mis-read Mueller's moving receipts for Hall votes.
Brad Radke, 2 votes, 0.3 percent: I'm assuming the two who voted for Bad Brad are refugees who watched him, incredibly, win 12 consecutive starts while going 20-10 for an absolutely miserable Twins team in 1997.
Javy Lopez, 1 vote, 0.2 percent: Had the Braves allowed him to catch on nights when Greg Maddux started, he may have earned two votes.
Eric Young, 1 vote, 0.2 percent: Very cool. Had no idea Eric Young's mother was in the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.
Jeromy Burnitz, 0 votes: Yeah, but he'll always have that starting berth for the NL in the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston on his resume.
Brian Jordan, 0 votes: Coincidentally, no votes for the NFL Hall of Fame, either.
Terry Mulholland, 0 votes: No votes, but gets points for being part-owner of the Dirty Dogg Saloon in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Phil Nevin, 0 votes: On the other hand, his managerial career (Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens) is taking off.
Ruben Sierra, 0 votes: Whatever happened to the Village Idiot?
Tony Womack, 0 votes: The New York precinct refused to consider him following that game-tying, Game 7 double against Mariano Rivera to set up Luis Gonzalez's game-winner in the 2001 World Series.
Tags: Alan Trammell, Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Orioles, Barry Larkin, Bernie Williams, Bill Mueller, Brad Radke, Brian Jordan, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Dale Murphy, Detroit Tigers, Don Mattingly, Edgar Martinez, Eric Young, Fred McGriff, Houston Astros, Jack Morris, Javy Lopez, Jeff Bagwell, Jeromy Burniitz, Juan Gonzalez, Larry Walker, Lee Smith, Los Angeles Angels, Mark McGwire, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Phil Nevin, Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Terry Mulholland, Texas Rangers, Tim Raines, Tim Salmon, Tony Womack, Toronto Blue Jays, Vinny Castilla
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:50 pm
Ho, ho, ho, and all we're missing is the 'w'! How ... how am I ever going to get to my Christmas cards when I'm so far behind on Love Letters? Let's go, Rudolph:
FROM: Shashi R.
Re.: Let's Ease Up on MLB negativity based upon Braun, Pujols stories
Thanks for your piece on cutting out the negativity regarding baseball. When it comes to PEDs and professional sport, the entire public discussion has been a joke for years. Of course MLB players used and use PEDs, but for some reason fans, Congress, and, yes, the media have given the NBA and NFL a ridiculous pass for precisely the same behavior. For every 20 stories or comments regarding MLB and PEDs, maybe we see one story regarding the NFL. I'll never understand the hypocrisy. Either it's cheating or it's not, irrespective of the sport involved.
True dat. My feeling is, people have higher expectations for baseball because it means more to them. The old,"to whom much is given, much is expected." And I will say, that's not a bad thing either.
FROM: Charles S.
Hey a--hole, calling someone Mr. [Pujols] is s sign of respect and also because your colleague does not know Pujols personally and therefore should not call him by his first name. That's call being polite you jerk-off. Your colleague is not Pujol's best friend. Who the f-- are you to be castigating anyone for addressing someone like that. Didn't your parents teach you anything. Idiot.
Obviously, we need to tighten our firewall so Neanderthals like you can't get past it. You're going to lecture me about respect while using language like this? I fear for our country -- low-lifes like you bring our national IQ down with the monkeys. Go crawl back under the rock from where you arrived.
FROM: Mike M.
Re.: Pujols' arrival in Anaheim perhaps a call from higher up
I love your work, but this one was way off base. Of course he left St. Louis for the money. It was solely about the money. That's common sense, Scott. He got offered 30 million dollars more than what the Cardinals offered, that's why he left. He didn't go there because God wanted him to. Please don't write dumb articles again. You're usually pretty good, but you're better than this one.
Come on now. What I wrote was, there were other reasons aside from money why Pujols left St. Louis. And after the 99.9 pecent that covers the finances of the deal, there are. Trust me.
Re: Pujols' move leaves St. Louis in shock, Anaheim in awe
"It was a performance that, on one stunning and astounding December day, instantly turned bittersweet for anyone rooting for the Cardinals." Good column, but you're accusing Cardinals fans of something that isn't true. Did yesterday's signing change the score of Game 3 and alter the final result of the World Series? I think Cards fans still recall that Game 3 and the rest of this series with good memories.
I'll give you that. But isn't it going to be bittersweet from the standpoint that as years pass and Cards fans revisit that game and World Series, it always will be accompanied by the sting of the way Pujols left?
FROM: John D.
Grow up. We in St. Louis are not in shock. We have had a year to get used to the idea that Albert may be gone. Our franchise is far bigger and greater than any one player, even one who, had he stayed like Stan and Bob Gibson could have achieved true baseball immortality. In the end Albert will be associated with California, also known as the land of fruits and nuts. No offense. I have a feeling our little franchise here in St. Lou will do just fine! Let me know if you think otherwise, else I'll assume you agree and are just another coastal hack writer like so many others.
Inferiority complex? I never for a minute said or implied that your "little franchise ... in St. Lou" would not be fine. Last I checked, the Cardinals rank only second to the Yankees in World Series titles. I love that there's so much history that you only needed to refer to "Stan" -- no last name required. Everybody knows. Let me know if you think otherwise.
FROM: Jonathan G.
I assume you have received your ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I hope you will consider Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell for enshrinement this year. I also hope my note finds you well and you have a Happy Holiday season.
Ballot is sitting right here on my desk. Each of those names will be strongly considered. I'll write about my Hall of Fame choices probably the week between Christmas and New Year.
Re.: Finally voted to Hall of Fame, Santo a lesson on never giving up
Beautifully written column about a beautiful man. You really did Ron Santo justice with this piece. To echo your comments about a man's greatest legacy lying in his ability to continue to teach from the grave, perhaps what Santo has taught us, or perhaps more accurately reminded us of, are those rare moments in life when all bitterness, jealousy, hate, and recrimination fall from our hearts and we accept everything as it is and as it will be, and our empathy for others, even the seemingly worst among us, runs thick and deep. A man who lives with passion and heart is never forgotten. Santo was surely one of those. My sympathies and joy to his family and the great city of Chicago.
Beautifully said, Court. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Posted on: January 6, 2010 5:47 pm
A few final random thoughts on Wednesday's Hall of Fame election results:
-- Though falling five votes short of election surely is agonizing, Wednesday also should be heartening for Bert Blyleven. At 74.2 percent of the vote and with two more years of eligibility, Blyleven -- who looked like a longshot a few years ago -- almost certainly is a lock.
And incidentally, you should have heard what Hall of Famer Hank Aaron said of Blyleven on Sirius/XM radio's MLB Home Plate channel Wednesday morning during an interview with hosts Seth Everett and Jim Duquette:
"I hit against him and if there was a finer pitcher than he was then, I don't know who it was," Aaron said. "I only went to bat maybe 10 or 15 times [against Blyleven]. I don't think I ever got a hit off of him. But he was quite a pitcher.
"I know that he didn't win 20 games, but sometimes you don't need to win 20. I think it's just a matter of how you carried yourself and what you did for your other teammates. Just to have him in that rotation for that many years with Minnesota, [he] was somebody that you didn't look forward to hitting against."
Aaron wasn't too far off in his memory. Lifetime, he was 0 for 7 against Blyleven with one strikeout.
-- I didn't expect former Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin to make it, though I do think he's deserving and I did vote for him. Within that, I thought his vote total would have been higher than 51.6 percent (he finished fifth).
-- In what essentially was the first true test of a designated hitter's place in the Hall, former Seattle DH Edgar Martinez notched only 36.2 percent of the vote, which placed him seventh overall.
A day earlier, during his retirement announcement, this is what Randy Johnson had to say about his former Seattle teammate's Hall of Fame chances: "I'm hoping he gets a lot of consideration. I know it's been debated whether a DH is worthy. During my time, I've never seen a better pure hitter than him.
"That's no disrespect to any teammates I've had or played against. I think anybody would agree who watched Edgar during that era how good he was. I'll be pulling for him because of what he meant while I was on the mound."
-- Tim Raines's 30.4 percent of the vote is ludicrously low. The guy reached base more times and scored more runs than Tony Gwynn. He wasn't anywhere near the hitter that Gwynn was, but Raines, together with Rickey Henderson, changed the way the leadoff slot in the lineup was viewed.
-- Glad to see Jack Morris' vote total increase to 52.3 percent (from 44 percent last year), but he's still way too far off for my liking. People need to get over his 3.90 ERA and look at the rest of his game. Nobody was more dominant than Morris throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.
-- The near-misses this year -- Blyleven and Alomar -- also will have their chances increase dramatically in the near future because the next two Hall of Fame classes just aren't very good.
Next year, among the names that come onto the ballot for the first time are Jeff Bagwell, John Franco, Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Larry Walker and Juan Gonzalez.
In 2012, it's even worse: Bernie Williams, Ruben Sierra and Tim Salmon are the biggest names who come eligible.
Likes: Andre Dawson is a class act and a deserving Hall of Famer. ... Matt Holliday back in St. Louis. ... The film Precious. ... The DVD Revolutionary Road. ... Wilco (The Album). ... Lyle Lovett's Natural Forces. ... The shift in focus to college basketball in January. ... My wife's homemade pizza, on deck this Thursday night while the college football national title game between Alabama and Texas is played. ... Former Los Angeles Times rock critic Robert Hilburn's memoir Cornflakes with John Lennon. Some great stories and behind the scenes stuff. ... John Meacham's American Lion: Andrew Jackson and the White House, an excellent biography. ... Alicia Keys doing a version of Empire State of Mind on Stephen Colbert's show last month with Colbert rapping about the suburbs. Very amusing.
Dislikes: Christmas vacation is finished already?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Come on children, you're acting like children
-- Wilco, You Never Know