Posts Tagged ‘Baseball Hall of Fame’

Frank Thomas Officially Retires, Next Stop Cooperstown

February 12, 2010

On the same day that one future Hall of Famer officially announced his retirement, another future Hall of Famer did the same. Last night, two-time American League MVP Frank Thomas officially announced his retirement.

Not only did Glavine and Thomas retire on the same day, their situations were similar. Like Glavine, Thomas was forced into semi-retirement in 2009. Thomas didn’t play a single inning last season and yesterday, Thomas officially called it a career.

Thomas truly "Hurt" the baseball

Thomas will finish his career with a .301 average, 521 home runs, 2,468 hits, 495 doubles, a .419 OBP, and a .974 OPS in 19 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, and Toronto Blue Jays. His .974 career OPS is good for 15th all time. He also won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 93′ and 94′ with the White Sox.

I think if there is such a thing as an underrated Hall of Fame player, Thomas was it. For those of you who weren’t old enough to watch Thomas in the 1990’s, you probably don’t understand how good this guy was.

From 1991-2000, Thomas averaged a hitting line of .320/.439/.581 with 34 home runs, 115 RBI, 114 walks, and 35 doubles. Those are like Baseball Stars numbers after you power up your team. However, Thomas was overshadowed by the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa.

I will go far as to say that if you asked the average baseball outside of Chicago to name the top-10 players of the 90’s, many of them wouldn’t even mention Thomas. Mo Vaughn would probably get more votes than Thomas would in that poll.

I really don’t think Thomas got the credit he deserved for being as good as he was back in the day. This guy almost won back-to-back unanimous MVP awards (he unanimously won the award in 93′)! That is incredible and rarely talked about.

Of course the Thomas detractors (David Wells) will talk about how Thomas played the majority of his games at DH for the second-half of his career and was rarely on the field. Who cares if he played the majority of his games at DH towards the later half of his career? I never understood why that is a negative on a player’s resume?

Nowhere on the Cooperstown application does it say a player had to be a “five-tool” player in order to get in. Whether you like it or not, the DH is a position in the AL. If a player excels at that position, then I don’t see a problem with it.

One thing I don’t see anyone having a problem with about Thomas was his nickname. The “Big Hurt” was one of the best and most appropriate nicknames of any player in the history of baseball. At 6’5” and 257 lbs, Thomas is a big boy and truly hurt the baseball when he hit it.

Such a great nickname.

Thomas will eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2014 and he will also have his No.35 retired by the White Sox this summer.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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After 22 Seasons, Tom Glavine Calls It A Career

February 12, 2010

After not pitching an inning in 2009, Tom Glavine was unofficially retired. Yesterday, he made his retirement from the game of baseball official.

Glavine officially retired from baseball after 22 seasons and will join the Atlanta Braves, the team he spent 17 seasons with, in the front office. He will be a special assistant to team President John Schuerholz.

Glavine officially retired yesterday

He will work with Schuerholz on baseball and business projects as well as assisting GM Frank Wren and manager Bobby Cox on occasion. Glavine will also work on the team’s TV and radio crew from time to time.

Glavine will finish his Hall of Fame career with 305 wins, a 3.57 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and two Cy Young awards with the Braves and the New York Mets. Glavine will go down as one of the top-10 best left-handed pitchers of all-time.

Glavine will be remembered for his almost effortless motion, the way he was able to work each corner of the plate, and a ridiculous change up. His ability to control his change up allowed him to get away with an average fastball.

He would throw that “dead fish” at 78 mph, low and outside to a right-handed hitter and then on the next pitch, bust him inside with a 90 mph fastball. That hitter didn’t have a chance.

I think I will remember Glavine for two games. One good, one not so good. First, the good.

I don’t think you can talk about Glavine without mentioning his performance in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. He beat the Indians 1-0 that night and the Braves finally won a World Series in the 1990’s.

Glavine pitched one of the all time great World Series games that night. He hurled eight innings of one hit baseball, while walking three, and striking out eight. Home plate umpire Joe Brinkman gave Glavine the outside corner that night and he took full advantage.

What was so impressive about that performance was that Glavine did it against the Indians. In 1995 the Indians were in the height of their resurgence in the 90’s. That team was an offensive juggernaut in 95′ and had a lineup that featured Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, and Carlos Baerga and Glavine made them look like little leaguers that night.

Now the bad game I will remember Glavine for.

It was Sept. 30th, 2007 and the Mets needed to beat the Florida Marlins to clinch the National League East or force a one-game playoff with the Milwaukee Brewers. On the mound that day was Glavine.

I don’t think I have ever seen a Hall of Fame pitcher come up as small as Glavine did that afternoon. His outing in all honesty was pathetic.

He give up seven runs on five hits and walked two in just one-third of an inning. The highlight of the inning came when he plunked the opposing pitcher, Dontrelle Willis in the chest.

That was the last batter Glavine faced that day and his last in a Mets’ uniform. The game was over before it even started and the Mets suffered one of the worst end of season collapses in baseball history.

Regardless of whether you have a good memory of Glavine or a bad one, there is no denying he is a first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Jim Edmonds Ends Unofficial Retirement, Signs With Brewers

January 28, 2010

Yesterday, I talked about Jim Thome and whether or not he will be a Hall of Famer five years after he retires. The Thome HOF debate is certainly a fascinating one.

Another potential HOF candidate that will strike up a debate five years after he retires is outfielder Jim Edmonds.

One of Edmonds' many great catches

Edmonds is known as one of the better defensive center fielders of all-time. His acrobatic catches are stuff of legend. I still believe his back to the ball, giving catch against the Kansas City Royals as a member of the California/Anaheim Angels is the best catch I have ever seen by a center fielder.

Offensively, Edmonds has quietly amassed 384 home runs, a .284 average, and a .377 OBP. He is a four-time All Star and has two, top-five MVP finishes in his 16 year career.

It’s a classic argument of is the player SO great defensively, that it elevates him to HOF status even though his offensive numbers might not be there?

If you ask most St. Louis Cardinal fans, they will tell you Edmonds is a first-ballot HOF’er. The reality is, while Edmonds has had a nice career, the only way he will ever see the inside of Cooperstown will be if he goes with his family on a visit.

Now, I am sure I will get some less-than-friendly comments from Cardinal fans telling me how Edmonds is worthy of HOF consideration. Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal day without Cardinal fans crying or whining about something.

But Edmonds is not a HOF’er. He doesn’t have the offensive numbers. They are not even close. Defensively, while Edmonds was great, was he better than Devon White, Torii Hunter, or Andruw Jones?

The reason why Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith made and Omar Vizquel will make the HOF is because they were so much better defensively than anyone else who ever played their position. You can’t say that about Edmonds.

Whether you believe Edmonds is a HOF’er or not, there is no denying he was a very good player, for a good period of time. I thought Edmonds was going to be forced into retirement after not playing the entire 2009 season, but Edmonds isn’t done yet.

According to Tim Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via Twitter, the Milwaukee Brewers have signed the Fullerton, CA native to a minor league contract. Edmonds can make $850,000 if he makes the team and another $1.65 million in incentives.

Edmonds last played in the majors in 2008 with the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. It looked like his career might have been over with the Padres after hitting only .178 with one home run in 26 games.

Edmonds was released and found is second wind with the Cubs and was really good for them. He hit .256 with 19 home runs and had a .937 OPS in just 86 games. He certainly gave the Cubs a spark and helped them to the best record in the National League.

Why the Cubs or any other team for that matter didn’t at least give Edmonds a shot to make the team in 2009 always was a mystery to me. A team could have certainly used him against righties in a pinch-hitting role.

If Edmonds makes the Brewers out of spring training, he could be used in a pinch-hitting role against righties and a fourth outfielder. Edmonds really slipped defensively in 2008 (-14.1 UZR), so I would doubt the Brewers would use him in a platoon with newly acquired center fielder Carlos Gomez.

The Brewers have to grant Edmonds his release if he’s not on the major league roster by March 25th.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ thghostofmlg

Andre Dawson To Enter Hall As An Expo

January 27, 2010

When Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, many wondered which cap he would wear going in? Would it be the Montreal Expos or the Chicago Cubs?

That question was answered today.

According to a report by MLB.com, the Baseball Hall of Fame has decided that Dawson will enter Cooperstown as a Montreal Expo. On his Hall of Fame plaque, Dawson will be wearing an Expos cap.

Dawson will go into the HOF as an Expo

Dawson will become the second player to enter the Hall wearing an Expos cap. Gary Carter or “Pop up Gary” as my dad used to call him, was the first to enter Cooperstown wearing an Expos hat, when he did so in 2003.

While Dawson was obviously pleased with being elected to the HOF, he clearly is not pleased that he will be wearing an Expos hat. In an interview with WMVP-AM Chicago, Dawson said “I’m disappointed. I can proudly say that because Chicago was my preference.”

So which hat should Dawson being wearing? The Cubs or the Expos? Here are Dawson’s lines with both teams.

Expos: .280 with 225 home runs, 838 RBI, 253 stolen bases, and a .326 OBP in 11 years.

Cubs: .285 with 174 home runs, 587 RBI, 57 stolen bases, and a .327 OBP in six years.

It’s a tough call. Dawson played longer and was more of a five-tool-player with the Expos. However, he did have his MVP year and became a household name with the Cubs.

This whole to-do about which hat a player enters the hall with, is very silly to me. This whole Tom Foolery started when Wade Boggs wanted to enter the HOF as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray.

If that clown wanted to enter the Hall originally as a Boston Red Sox or New York Yankee, like he should have, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It was rumored that the then Devil Rays were offering Boggs monetary compensation to wear their hat on his HOF plaque.

The HOF changed their policy as to which cap a player would wear thanks to Boggs and some other players (Dave Winfield) in 2001. Boggs is wearing a Red Sox cap on his HOF plaque.

I don’t think things like this were an issue 30-40 years ago because players didn’t change teams as often as they do know. Now with players changing teams every couple of years, I don’t have a problem with the HOF deciding which cap a player should wear.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Andre Dawson Elected To Baseball’s Hall Of Fame, Roberto Alomar Snubbed

January 6, 2010

Perhaps one of the benefits of being unemployed, is that I get to see things happen live right before my eyes during the day.

Take today for example.

Today, it was going to be announced who the Baseball Writer’s Association of America voted into the 2010 class of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The announcement was to be made at 2:00 pm ET today.

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I was around to watch the announcement as it happened. And what I heard was extremely shocking.

When it was announced that only one player was elected for 2010, I was positive it was Roberto Alomar. Instead, it was Andre Dawson.

Dawson was a beast in 1987

Dawson received 77.9 percent of the vote. Bert Blyleven just missed induction with 74.2 percent of the vote and Alomar was right behind him with 73.7 percent of the vote.

75 percent is needed for election.

First, congratulations to Dawson. Growing up in New York and without cable for most of the 80’s, I didn’t get to see Dawson play as a Montreal Expo.

The first time I got to see Dawson play on a regular basis and on a national stage was in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs. That year he terrorized pitchers to the tune of 49 home runs and won the National League MVP.

I really wish I had the opportunity to watch Dawson as a member of the Expos. When he was with the Expos, he was a five-tool player who could change the game both offensively and defensively.

As a member of the Cubs, he was more of just a power hitter, who’s legs started to fail him as the years went on. He still had a great arm with the Cubs, but he was became a one-dimensional player in the late-80’s, early-90’s.

Dawson finished his career with a .279 average with 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases, 1,591 RBI, and an .806 OPS. He is one of three players in major league history to have 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Dawson will also have the lowest batting average and OBP of any batter in the Hall of Fame. Dawson’s Hall of Fame status is certainly debatable.

Now on to something that is not debatable.

Roberto Alomar is a Hall of Fame player. The fact that he didn’t get in on the first ballot is a complete joke.

Alomar is one of the top-five second baseman of all time. Did he have an ugly on-field incident when he spit in the face of umpire of John Hirschbeck? Yes, he did.

But I don’t think Alomar should be punished for that incident. There are guys in the Hall of Fame who have done worse.

I loathe the fact that some of these writers have this policy that they can’t vote in a guy on the first try. That is just utter stupidity.

I also have felt for a long time that it is utter stupidity that guys get in on the third try, the seventh try, or even the 12th try. Either you are a Hall of Famer or you aren’t a Hall of Famer.

Once a player retires, his stats don’t change.

Why is Alomar more qualified in 2011 than he was in 2010? Why was Jim Rice more qualified on his 15th try than his first try?

How does a guy get 40 percent of the vote in his first year and then 10 years later, he is a HOF’er? So less than 50 percent of the voters don’t think you are qualified for the HOF, but because of weak classes, 10 years later you are worthy?

That never, ever made any sense to me.

Five years after a guy retires, he should have one shot to get into the HOF and that’s it.

Here are some other notables and the percentage of vote they received.

Jack Morris – 52.3

Barry Larkin – 51.6

Edgar Martinez – 36.2

Tim Raines – 30.4

Mark McGwire – 23.7

Alan Trammell – 22.4

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Peter Gammons To Make MLB Network Debut On Wednesday

January 4, 2010

Remember back in the 90’s when wrestlers switched between WCW and WWE on a frequent basis? A wrestler would leave WCW because his contract was up and would disappear for like three months.

Internet rumors swirled about how he has signed a contract with the WWE and everyone started to wonder what his gimmick would be and when he would debut. The anticipation of when this wrestler would make his debut would be more talked about then the wrestler’s skills in the ring.

Three months later, the wrestler would make his debut on Monday Night Raw or on a Pay Per View with a new name and a new gimmick. That scenario kind of reminds me of what is going on with Peter Gammons these days.

Gammons left ESPN a couple of months ago and everyone started to speculate where he was going to go. He signed a contract with the MLB Network  in December and now everyone was waiting to see when he was going to make his debut.

That question was answered today.

According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Gammons will make his debut for the MLB Network on Wednesday. Gammons will appear on the 2010 Hall of Fame Election Show at 1:00 pm ET. on Wednesday.

Unlike the WWE or WCW, Gammons won’t have a new gimmick or change his name with the MLB Network. He will be his usual outstanding self,  joined by Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman, Matt Vasgersian, and National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.

Outside of Reynolds (not the biggest fan), that is a powerhouse panel.

Of course, the topic they will be covering will be who made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2010. Who or who doesn’t deserve to get into the Baseball HOF is perhaps the most debated topic in sports.

I weighed in on the HOF topic back in July, when the 2009 Baseball HOF class was inducted. I still stand by my thought that only Roberto Alomar gets into the HOF in 2010.

Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez will just miss.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Manager Whitey Herzog, Umpire Doug Harvey Elected To The Hall Of Fame

December 7, 2009

Today, the Veterans Committee for Managers and Umpires elected Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Herzog or the “White Rat” as he was so often referred to because of his white hair, spent 18 years managing the Texas Rangers, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, and the St. Louis Cardinals. However, it was with the Cardinals were Herzog made a name for himself as a manager.

Herzog was elected to the HOF

In 11 years managing the Cardinals, Herzog won three National League pennants and won a World Series title in 1982. His teams played a certain brand of baseball known as “Whitey Ball.”

“Whitey Ball” consisted of lots of lots of singles, doubles, bunts, and stolen bases. His teams usually finished last in home runs, but at or around the top in most other offensive categories.

As a kid growing up in Queens and in a New York Mets house, there was no better rivalry in the 80’s than the Mets and the Cardinals. The Mets and Cardinals were in the same division back then and Herzog was a big part of that rivalry.

To this day, I remember my dad screaming at the TV because Gary Carter could never throw out Tommy Herr or Vince Coleman.

Doug Harvey was an umpire for 31 seasons and umpired five World Series. In 1999 the Society for American Baseball Research ranked Harvey as the second greatest umpire in history

12 of 16 votes were needed for election. Herzog received 14 votes and Harvey received 15.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Looking At The Potential 2010 Baseball HOF Class…

July 27, 2009

The Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is one of the great days in the baseball year. It’s a day that we get to celebrate the contributions of the greats of the game. Yesterday, the Hall of Fame welcomed two more greats into it’s shrine – Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice.

I am always fascinated by the new inductee’s speeches. I love how they talk about the start of their careers, who their influences were, and their general love of the game. That being said, I think it’s not too early to take a look at who might be giving induction speeches next year.

Of course, there are many candidates that are eligible for enshrinement. However, there are only four in my mind that will receive serious consideration.

Here are the top four eligible players for next year for 2010…

Alomar will be HOF bound

Alomar will be HOF bound

Roberto Alomar – 17 Seasons, .300 Avg., 2,724 Hits, 210 HR’s, 474 SB’s, .371 OBP, 12 All-Star Games, 10 Gold Gloves, and four Silver Sluggers.

2010 Hall of Famer – Yes. I say Alomar gets in and in opinion, it’s a no brainer. He was the premier 2nd baseman of his era (much better overall player than Jeff Kent) anda guy who could beat you with his bat, speed, and glove.

Unfortunately, a lot of people will remember Alomar for his ugly spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck while Alomar was on the Baltimore Orioles. That should not be the case. Alomar was a phenominal player, who will no doubt find his way into Cooperstown.

Barry Larkin – 19 Seasons, .295 Avg., 198 HR’s, 960 RBI, 2,340 Hits, 379 SB’s, .371 OBP, 12 All-Star Games, thee Gold Gloves, nine Silver Sluggers, and the 1995 National League MVP.

2010 Hall of Famer – No. I don’t think Larkin will make it on his first try. While his numbers for a shortstop garner Hall of Fame consideration, I just never thought of Barry Larkin as a Hall of Fame player.

If you were to ask me about Barry Larkin, I would remember him for being hurt all the time. I don’t remember him for winning the 1995 NL MVP award when he hit .319 with 15 HR’s, 66 RBI, and stole 51 SB’s.

Larkin, in my mindis pretty much on par with Alan Trammell.

Edgar Martinez – 18 Seasons, .318 Avg., 309 HR’s, 1,261 RBI, 2,247 Hits, .418 OBP, seven All-Star Games, and five Silver Sluggers.

2010 Hall of Famer – No. Martinez is a really interesting case. If one of the criteria used in judging a HOF players is how much did he dominate a certain era – then Martinez should be in.

Martinez was the best right-handed hitter in the game from 1992 – 2001. He won two batting titles in which he hit .343 in 1992 and .356 in 1995, he had one top five finish in the MVP voting, and his .418 OBP ranks 22nd all-time.

However, I have no idea how the writers will consider Martinez. I think he has two things going against him.

  1. He was a DH for the majority of his career. My guess is the baseball writers will give DH’s as much love as they do closers. That is not a good thing for Martinez.
  2. Unfortunately, Martinez played in the steroid era. 2010 and 2011 will tell us a lot about how the writers will consider players who played in this era. I am going to say, unless you were the best of the best – like a Greg Maddux or a Ken Griffey Jr. – you are not getting in. At least on the first try.

Fred McGriff – 19 Seasons, .284 Avg., 493 HR’s, 1,550 RBI, 2,490 Hits, .377 OBP, five All-Star Games, and three Silver Sluggers.

2010 Hall of Famer – No. If there was a Hall of Very Solid, then McGriff would get in. McGriff would have a better case if he just hit seven more HR’s throughout his career.

McGriff’s 493 HR’s rank 26th all-time, but did you know that he never had more than 107 RBI in a season? Seems odd for a guy who hit .284 for his career and consistently hit 30 HR’s every season.

So next year, I think only Roberto Alomar gets in for the first-time eligible players. I think that Andre Dawson, who got 67% of the vote this year will get in also in 2010.

That is the one thing that irks me about the Hall of Fame in all sports. This whole “he got in on his 10th or 12th try” thing is comical to me. EITHER YOU ARE OR AREN’T A HALL OF FAMER!

What makes Jim Rice more qualified in 2009 than in 2000??? What might make Bert Blyleven (I hope he gets in so we can stop hearing him complain) a Hall of Famer in 2011 than in 2002? What changed about his stats that made him more appealing to voters 15 years after the fact?

Five years after you retire – you get one shot and that’s it. Make the process so five to ten people can get in every year and call it a day.