Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hall of Fame Debates

Well with the unfortunate return to work so too come more updates. To those of you who stopped by over the last week and a half and wondered why there were so few updates, I apologize, life got in the way. BC hit Phoenix, Ahwatukee, and Vegas, and 4Real spent time in Believeland and Portugal. Whereas I was in Tucson for most of the time, but was otherwise consumed by moving, the future in-laws visiting, and the Holidays.Cooperstown season is upon us (votes released January 8th) and it’s time for a quick update.

Everyone keeps saying that Roger Clemens will be the first test of the Mitchell Report’s impact on the Hall of Fame. I disagree I think it will come a lot sooner, say next week when Chuck Knoblauch is or isn’t elected in. If you read a column on this site by some idiot, here, saying that Knoblauch deserved to be in and should be getting in this year, blah, blah, maybe that moron should have waiting like A day for the Mitchell Report to be released before making a statement like that. Now let’s not point fingers at who that columnist was because, playing the blame game isn’t always fun.

Andre Dawson’s best Numbers: 736 Runs, 1597 Hits, 98 3B, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, 314 SB, .279 AVG, .983 Fielding %, 1977 Rookie of the Year, 1987 MVP, 8 x All-Star, 2 x MVP Runner up, 4 Silver Slugger Awards, 8 Gold Gloves, 29th All-Time in RBI, 35th All-Time in Home Runs, 10th All-Time in Sac Flies, in fact he is currently in the top 50 All Time in 12 offensive categories. Pretty decent career, that was actually cut-short by injuries due to the terrible conditions of his original playing surface in Montreal. Hawk is one of six players in the 300/300 club, one of only 3 in the 400+/300 club (Bonds and Mays), and one of four in the 300/300/2000 club. To put it in layman’s terms, the man was a machine built to play Baseball, with a cannon of an arm capable of throwing out guys at 1st who looked to have a guaranteed single.

Now Hawk’s Bad Numbers: 2002 - 45.34%, 2003 - 50%, 2004 - 50%, 2005 - 52.3%, 2006 - 61%, 2007 - 56.7%. This is flat out ridiculous, his numbers say he belongs in and if not his numbers he was an all around good guy. And Hawk never weighed more than 200 lbs, and for a guy who’s 6’3 weighing 193 it’s pretty much guaranteed he never used any HGH or roids.
Oh, and Dawson was the focal point of a quarter of Ryne Sandberg’s induction a few years ago, stating that Hawk was the best player he’d ever played with.

Less deserving is Shawon Dunston, but it’s his first year on the ballot and I personally loved the Shawon-O-Meter. He probably won’t get in but his numbers are good enough to garner at least the 5 % to appear on next year’s ballot. He and Sandberg were a double play tandem to be reckoned with, Dunston was a part of 729 DPs in his 18 year career.

Another Cub on the list again this year is Lee Smith. The Closer is 2nd All-Time in saves after recently being passed by (U of A Alumnus) Trevor Hoffman. In 18 seasons he put up a 3.03 ERA in 1022 games. He had 478 saves and an astounding 1251 K’s in 1289.1 Innings, 12th All-Time in K’s/IP. He was a 7 time All-Star and had a .976 Fielding % and 1st All-Time in Games Finished. In 5 years on the ballot he has maxed out at 45% of the vote, last year bringing home only 40%, his first decrease.

Rod Beck is on the Ballot, and he will not get in this year and probably never will, but Shooter had some pretty solid numbers in his 13 year career. 286 saves in 704 Games, 644 K’s in 768 Innings. Closers haven’t made a major impact on voting (Lee Smith, Rich Gossage not in HoF) but with Bruce Sutter’s induction they are gaining some momentum, so it’s too early to call the Late Beck done for in HoF voting.

The aforementioned Gossage is on the ballot, and without boring you with his numbers let’s just say he is has the best shot of any of the above based on prior Hall voting he has increased every year, while openly campaigning for his enshrinement. He fell 21 votes shy last year and is looking at a very good chance this year. This is something that Smith should be rooting for, more relievers getting recognized for their specified role means that Lee will get in one day, being one of the game’s best closers.

Bert Blyleven is again on the Ballot and again will not be elected in. He was as dominating a pitcher as they come (5th All-Time in K’s) but K’s don’t just get you in and in 22 years I believe he only had one 20-win season. Wins get you in, he had a lot of wins (287) but he also had a lot of losses (250) and in a 22 year career that’s an mediocre average of about 14-12 per season, that’s not a Hall of Famer. He also allowed a lot of Walks and Hit Batsmen, a big reason for the 250 losses.

Jim Rice might get in this year. 8 time All-Star, 2 time Silver Slugger, 2452 Hits, 382 HR, 1451 RBI, and a career AVG of .298. He’s right on the edge, but like some of those above, his votes have increased each year. Especially with this year’s crop, he has a good chance to get the remaining 12 % needed to get in. His career numbers were on par with those of Andre Dawson, higher AVG but lower in most other statistical categories. I believe Rice should be in, and you better believe if Rice gets in this year (his 2nd to last eligible), there will be a uproar of Hawk supporters who will hope Dawson is able to build off of Rice’s success.

Tim Raines falls into the same category of Rice and Dawson, a great player during his time, put up some damn good numbers (808 Stolen Bases, 1330 Walks, and a .294 Batting Average). Unfortunately he played in Montreal (loses some appeal) he fell short of 3,000 hits, and didn't really hit for much power. Then again, he was the ideal lead off guy. He got onto base, and then manufactured more runs.

On a sad note Ron Santo is still not a member of the Hall yet but will be up for election again next year with the Veterans Committee vote. Santo had an outstanding career similar to that of Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, and Johnny Bench, but never got quite enough votes while eligible for the BBWA election. Oh and the 9 time All-Star with 342 HR, 1331 RBI, and 2254 Hits played his entire career fighting Type 1 Diabetes after being told his life expectancy was about 25 years old.

That’s about all for now and the Hall of Fame stuff. And on a particularly odd note. The “r” “6” “7” “8” and “9” keys on my computer at home aren’t working. It’s funny to realize how much you use a letter when you have to copy and paste it every time you want to use it. It kinda makes my posts over the last couple weeks from home a little better huh, it’s like playing hurt.