My 2013 HoF Ballot

January 2, 2013

I don’t, nor do I suspect I will ever, have a Hall of Fame vote. But I do have a blog, so I can certainly pretend! I won’t go into too much pre-discussion, other than to say I believe that peak value is more important than overall career value, but you gotta have both. The other thing I’ll say is that if you get in the Hall you are forever a Hall of Famer. So whether someone gets in on their first ballot or their 15th is completely irrelevant to me. I didn’t go through all of the 37 players on the ballot this year, but I tried to look at the ones that are getting real consideration. Without further ado…

Barry Bonds – YES

I’ve shown my hand immediately, as I’m voting for a known steroid user. BBWith Bonds, let’s get this part out of the way – saying he is one of the best players in the history of baseball might be an understatement. He’s one of the 5 best hitters ever. For 8 seasons he hit .305/.438/.600 with 327 HRs and 328 SBs. And that was from 1990-1998. Then for four seasons,  after starting to use steroids, he hit .349/.559/.809. Yeah, we know there are asterisks next to those numbers but… his OBP was 559! Of course, what comes with this is that he’s a big fat cheater, and he was obnoxious. I am of the school of thought that he should be allowed to join the other obnoxious cheaters in the HoF. If he’s not in, the Hall is incomplete.

Roger Clemens – YES

Similar to Bonds. I think he’s probably the second best right handed pitcher in the history of baseball. He allegedly started using in ’97, after an already HoF-worthy career, so can you separate that out? From 1986-1992, he had a 2.66 ERA, and struck out 1673 while only walking 486 in 1799 1/3 IP – his ERA+ was 160! Then, after he supposedly started on the roids, he went 149-61 with a 140 ERA+ from 1997-2005. Unlike Bonds, no matter what I may believe (and I believe he used steroids) the only evidence against him is the word of one man who doesn’t really strike me as incredibly honest. I don’t think you can exclude the best starting pitcher since World War II.

With both Bonds and Clemens, I understand the heartburn that people experience over putting them in the Hall. I get the issue (although with Clemens you still don’t have proof, you are just sure he did it), but I think a Hall of Fame without those two doesn’t tell the story of baseball. They are two of the best players ever, and were so even before the transgressions. I won’t get into the other cheaters throughout the history of the game, I’ll just say that I don’t think they should be thrown out of the HoF, either. I think the Hall is incomplete without them, despite the negatives.

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The Mick, a Winter Baseball Fix, and Bryce Harper

December 19, 2012

Every winter I try to read at least one baseball book, just to satisfy my baseball cravings. I recently finished The Last Boy, a biography of the great Mickey Mantle, and I highly recommend it. Any baseball fan would enjoy it. More than that, though, I think it should be required reading for any baseball player.

I was initially hesitant to read the book, which was given to me. I already knew what it was going to be, because I had read a few reviews. mickey-mantleAn exposé highlighting the lowlights of The Mick’s life, right? Well, yes that was in there, but that wasn’t the purpose nor was it the main arc of the book. It encompassed the great and the terrible, but it simultaneously humanized a legend and put me in awe of one of the most superhuman athletes ever.

As someone who follows the Nationals closely, it is hard to not think of Bryce Harper when The Mick is described. The speed that Mantle had his first season (which he never regained after famously blowing out his knee) is not quite Bryce, but the tales of his power send chills up your spine. When they talk about the mammoth home runs he hits starting at age 19, you cannot help but think of the young Nats outfielder.

The way his home runs are discussed in the book, the way his contemporaries describe it… it’s as if they’ve never seen baseballs travel that far and that fast. Putting it in scouting terms, The Mick had an 80 power, so does Harper and a handful of other players in MLB right now. But Harper’s the only one right now who was in the bigs at age 19 displaying it, just like Mantle. The way they describe his biggest home runs make you hope you can think of something poetic to say to your grandkids when you get to tell them stories of the inevitable time when Harper hit it over the RF scoreboard (or whatever feat of monstrous power he’ll do that will become legendary).

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On Rickey and Rice

January 12, 2009

Congrats to Rickey Henderson for getting into the Hall. He was one of the best players of all time, I think if you look at his numbers you will be shocked at how good he was at just about everything. And he was also one of my favorite players to watch.

Everyone was always amazed at how fast he was. What’s amazing to me is how good he was at getting on base. He stole so many bases because he had the chance to. 40% of the time he came to the plate, he gave himself an opportunity to steal second. Tim Kurkjian has a thoroughly entertaining article on ESPN with two very telling quotes that really give you an idea of how good Rickey was: Read the rest of this entry »


Moose Retiring

November 20, 2008

moose_crossing

A little off the topic of the Nats, Mike Mussina announced his retirement. He was a personal favorite of mine, and that’s why we all like baseball – because there are certain players that we enjoy watching do their thing. Some people will say he isn’t a Hall of Famer, after all, he didn’t win any Cy Young awards. Here are a few reasons why they’re wrong: Read the rest of this entry »


Nationals and the Hall of Fame

December 10, 2007

I want to take a little break from the trade talks and free agent signings.

This year I was fortunate enough to take a trip to the Hall of Fame. No, I wasn’t one of the 70,000 that went to see Cal and Tony, I actually went up in October. It was a pretty incredible place, although if you aren’t a HUGE baseball fan, it’s quite a long trip to see a whole lot of jerseys and plaques. I know they are all about tradition in baseball, but it would be cool if you could try to hit a fastball from a digital Bob Gibson or throw a fastball at a CGI Mickey Mantle. You know, for the kids. Anyway, I found a couple of fun Washington-related things in the joint. A couple is pretty accurate, there just isn’t much presence there. But we’re new, and the Expos were Canadian so nobody noticed them anyway.

Even though we went to the gallery last, first up are the 2 most DC-related plaques that I saw. Obviously the best all-time DC player is in the Hall, the Big Train Walter Johnson.

WJ

What I can’t understand is why they didn’t edit Frank’s plaque to include “Manager of the Washington Nationals” but I’m not in charge.

FRobby

In the museum itself, there was a ceremonial bat given to George Wright. If you’ve never heard of him, you probably weren’t alive in 1867. It’s that wooden table-leg-looking piece behind those 2 ancient baseballs. The baseballs, by the way, predate the Civil War. The one on the left is from a game between 2 Philly clubs in 1860. The one on the right is from the Knickerbocker’s vs. the Gothams in NYC in 1854, the oldest existing ball from a scheduled game.

Nats Bat

And here is the associated plaque, if you’re so inclined to read up more on the bat/piece of furniture.

Nats Bat Plaque

And finally, there are lockers for each team. Here is the Nats locker… Nats Locker

Some things that aren’t DC related, but I found really cool

This is something that Ted Williams designed, and it is actually mentioned in the book Moneyball in reference to Giambi. Basically, it’s supposed to represent the hitting zone, and the numbers are what Williams thinks he would hit if every single pitch was put in that spot of the zone. So obviously, being a lefty, he felt he’d hit poorly if everything was low and inside. Apparently he was a good hitter.

Ted Williams’ Hitting Zone

This is a nice display, too. It is a baseball for each no hitter pitched, since World War II (if memory serves), signed by the pitcher, and presumably the ball is from that game. There’s been over 140 since WW2, and a total of 255 all time through 2007 (including shared no-nos). Baseballs for each of them, and Nolan Ryan has his own separate display to show his 7 no hitters. Also mentioned are his other 5 (I think) no hitters that were blown in the 9th.No Hitters

And finally… they have a display for each inductee that year. This was for a local guy who did pretty well playing baseball for a nearby club:

Cal’s HOF Display


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