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 Post subject: Down-ballot attractions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:26 pm 
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I don't know about you all, but I'm of an age to have been a big fan of several of the lesser (non-Gwynn or Ripken) first-year nominees on this year's HOF ballot, even though they're no-hopers for sticking around for a second year (except for Canseco, likely). Who's your favorite?

Bobby Bonilla
Jay Buhner
Dante Bichette
Scott Brosius
Jose Canseco
Eric Davis
Tony Fernandez
Wally Joyner
Paul O'Neill
Bret Saberhagen
Devon White
Bobby Witt

I have to say that Tony Fernandez was my favorite on the early 90s Toronto teams, and Saberhagen led the Royals to the World Series at a time before expansion diluted the league so much.


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 Post subject: Re: Down-ballot attractions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1775
Location: Baltimore
I doubt any of these players will ever be voted in.

Canseco could be held back by his off-field shenanigans. But who knows how the post-steroid era will shake out.
Fernandez was very good, but not great.
Saberhagen was very good, but not great.
O'Neill had a good career, with a batting title and rings. Very good, but not great.
Eric Davis was a great all-around talent and had great years, but health problems held him back.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:53 pm 
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Location: Washington
Saberhagen and Fernandez are both my favorites and the best of the bunch, in my opinion. But neither deserves a single vote.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:34 am 
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Posts: 1286
Location: Saranac Lake, N.Y.
Dave Anderson, the NYT columnist, says he would, if he could (NYT policy prohibits it), vote to elect 10 players to the hall this year. None is on your list. The first two are the obvious, Ripken and Gwynn. And as to the rest ...


Quote:
My other eight votes would go to Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepción, Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris and Jim Rice.

Rice, Gossage, Dawson and Blyleven are long overdue to be elected. Rice, the Red Sox slugger, had 382 home runs and 1,451 runs batted in. Gossage was a dominant closer when the Yankees won the 1978 World Series.

Dawson, primarily with the Expos and the Cubs, hit 438 homers and drove in 1,591 runs. Blyleven, the Twins right-hander with perhaps baseball’s best curveball, was a 287-game winner with 3,701 strikeouts.

John had 288 victories, mostly with the Dodgers and the Yankees. He also had the courage to undergo a tendon transplant in his left elbow, the arm surgery now named for him that prolonged his career and those of many other pitchers.

Mattingly, a first baseman for the Yankees, had a .307 career average and 2,153 hits in a 14-season career unfairly weakened by back ailments. Morris was a 254-game winner, primarily for the Tigers and the Twins, and pitched a classic 10-inning, 1-0 shutout for Minnesota in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Concepción, a Venezuelan shortstop, has been the forgotten star of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine that won the World Series in 1975 and in 1976.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:10 am 
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Location: Albuquerque, N.M. USA
Gossage and Morris belong. I'd roll my eyes but not argue over Rice and Dawson. The rest aren't even close. Does Paul O'Neill have good numbers?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:28 am 
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Location: Baltimore
I've expressed opinions here on most of these players before. Wouldn't upset me if any of them got into the Hall.

John hung around a few seasons beyond when he lost his effectiveness for the second time. But if players should be rewarded with Hall membership for persistence, he deserves it.
Is he more worthy than Saberhagen, who also suffered injuries, won big games and made comebacks? Don't know.

Concepción was a very good fielder and decent hitter surrounded by sluggers. More worthy than Fernandez? Don't know. As worthy as defensive standouts like Bill Mazeroski and Dave Bancroft, who made it in? Maybe.

With this group we run into the problem of judging players whose careers--or at least their primes--were shortened by injuries. A strong argument could be made that Mattingly was a better player than Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash while he still was an effective player. (The argument is complicated by Munson having been a catcher and a team leader of sorts, which made him valuable beyond his stats.)

Rice was a very good, sometimes awesome, hitter who had quite a few lingering injuries. Not a very good fielder. Not much of a leader.

Another issue: Is the Hall becoming diluted by adding very good, but not great, players? (Or is it that the word "great" is overused?)

What is it, about 45 days until pitchers and catchers report?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:41 pm 
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Location: Washington
With Rice, a lot of people make the point that he's being punished for not stretching out the decline phase of his career and padding his career totals the way many players do. When Rice all of a sudden lost it in 1989 as a 35-year-old, he had the class to recognize it for what it was and not penalize the Red Sox with any delusions.

His is an interesting case study for Hall of Fame arguments: Do you bow before the altar of career statistics before or after all else, or do you actually look at how great a player was when he was really great?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:22 pm 
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Rice could have hung on longer. That would have put his power stats nearer, say, Mattingly's. (When healthy, both were good contact hitters for power guys. Mattingly was the better fielder.)

As with many honors, the Hall's standards aren't clear, so arguments over who belongs will continue. Stats alone aren't trustworthy, and which to emphasize is not defined.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:08 pm 
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To Wabber's and Wayne's comments, I would add that Rice is getting even more scrutiny in the light of the steroids mess. No one would have ever accused Jim Ed, as Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe refers to him, of juicing. Are his 382 homers without juice worth more than McGwire's 583 tainted homers?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:28 pm 
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Location: Washington
And were ALL of McGwire's 583 homers tainted? He hit 49 as a rookie in 1987 ... was he on something even then? Was he on something other than Andro at any time?

It's an argument with even more nuances than you might think. Steroids may give one more power, but one still has to correctly read a pitch and generate high bat speed to even get a long fly ball started.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:46 am 
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PLEASE let's not talk about steroids.

Please.


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 Post subject: Re: Down-ballot attractions
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 741
Location: The Empire State
Edit2Eat wrote:
I don't know about you all, but I'm of an age to have been a big fan of several of the lesser (non-Gwynn or Ripken) first-year nominees on this year's HOF ballot, even though they're no-hopers for sticking around for a second year (except for Canseco, likely). Who's your favorite?

Bobby Bonilla
Jay Buhner
Dante Bichette
Scott Brosius
Jose Canseco
Eric Davis
Tony Fernandez
Wally Joyner
Paul O'Neill
Bret Saberhagen
Devon White
Bobby Witt

I have to say that Tony Fernandez was my favorite on the early 90s Toronto teams, and Saberhagen led the Royals to the World Series at a time before expansion diluted the league so much.


Bonilla doesn't merit serious HOF discussion, and neither do Brosius, Davis, Joyner, Witt, O'Neill, Fernandez or Bichette (any Rockies player is unfortunately going to have to prove himself outside of Coors Lite to merit serious HOF consideration).

In my mind I hesitated on denying White because I remembered him as a solid offensive and defensive contributor to championship teams, and he was that. But I just checked his career stats--208 HR, 1,934 hits, .263 BA--and saw they fall well short of HOF level.

Saberhagen, too, I felt could have been HOF material if he hadn't got hurt. And the Mets portion of his career was a disaster. But I guess he was never the same after the injury. I lost a lot of respect for him after he aimed a water gun at reporters in the clubhouse (the gun was filled with bleach) and sprayed them with it. Still, pretty good lifetime numbers: 167-117, 3.34 ERA, not dissimilar to Ron Guidry's 170-91, 3.29 ERA, and two Cy Youngs to Guidry's one.

Buhner, too, was an exceptionally good right fielder and hitter, but not HOF material. At .254-310-965, his lifetime numbers are alarmingly Mickey Tettleton-like (.251-245-732). No one's going to be enshrining Mr. Froot Loops anytime soon.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:16 pm 
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Location: Cusp of retirement, grave or both
I'm not voting until Johnny Callison gets in.


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