Archive for Hall Of Fame


Sunday Night Open Thread

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Former Yankees manager Joe Torre was inducted into the Hall of Fame this afternoon, along with Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Tony La Russa, and former Yankees infielder Bobby Cox. Maddux thanked both former battery mate Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild during his speech. Torre’s speech is above — he accidentally omitted George Steinbrenner and told reporters afterwards he “feels terrible” — and his plaque is right here, in case you missed it.

Here is your open thread for the night. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is a good one, the Dodgers at the Giants (Ryu vs. Peavy). Talk about that game, the Hall of Fame inductions (more video), this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.

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The BBWAA announced that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Craig Biggio fell just short at 74.8 percent, which is only two votes shy.

Don Mattingly lives to appear on another ballot, collecting 8.2 percent of the vote. Mike Mussina, in his first year, got about 20 percent of the vote. It won’t get easier for these two, or any of the other guys on the ballot, next year when John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez make their first appearances.

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(Photo via Mark Feinsand)

(Photo via Mark Feinsand)

The manager of the most recent Yankees’ dynasty is heading to Cooperstown. Joe Torre was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the 16-person Expansion Era committee, it was announced. Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa were elected unanimously as well. Former MLBPA head Marvin Miller, former Yankees manager Billy Martin, former Yankees pitcher Tommy John, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner were not elected.

“It hits you like a sledgehammer,” said Torre after being elected to the Hall of Fame. “I really have to thank [Joe McDonald] and Donald Grant for allowing me to manage the New York Mets at the age of 36 … once you get into the competition, it never gets old.”

Torre, 73, managed the Yankees from 1996-2007 and led the team to six pennants and four World Series titles. The club went 1,173-767 (.605) during his 12-year tenure and finished in first place ten times. Torre also managed Mets (1977-1981), Braves (1982-1984), Cardinals (1990-1995), and Dodgers (2008-2010), but he is heading to the Hall of Fame because of his success in New York. He is the second winningest manager in franchise history behind Joe McCarthy, who won 1,460 games from 1931-1946.

CluelessJoeCover“On behalf of the Steinbrenner family and our entire organization, I’d like to congratulate Joe Torre on his induction today into the Hall of Fame,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “Joe led our team during one of the most successful runs in our storied history, and he did it with a quiet dignity that was true to the Yankee way. Joe’s place in Yankees history has been secure for quite some time and it is appropriate that he now gets to take his place among the greats in Cooperstown.”

As a player, Torre hit .297/.365/.452 (129 OPS+) with 2,342 hits and 252 homeruns in parts of 18 seasons. He spent the majority of his career as a catcher and first baseman but also played some third. He won the 1971 NL MVP with the Cardinals, when he led baseball in hits (230), batting average (.363), runs driven in (137) and total bases (352). Torre, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, also played for the Braves and Mets. Although his playing career was excellent, he’s going in as a manager.

Miller, Martin, John, and Steinbrenner all received fewer than six votes. Twelve votes are needed for induction. Miller not being elected is ridiculous given his impact on baseball and the union, but he’s been getting snubbed for years. It’s par for the course at this point. Steinbrenner’s legacy is a mixed bag with a lot of good and a lot of bad. I think he belongs and will eventually get in, but I can definitely understand him being left out. That’s a case worthy of much debate.

Categories : Days of Yore
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The BBWAA announced the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot today, which you can see right here. It runs a ridiculous 36 players deep. Nineteen of those 36 players are eligible for the first time, including all-time greats Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas. Former Yankee Mike Mussina is among the first timers as well. He is right on the Cooperstown bubble — I think he belongs — and there are good arguments to be made on both sides.

Don Mattingly will be on the ballot for the 14th time, but he received only 13.2% of the vote last year. He’s a long way off from the 75% needed for induction with only two more years of eligibility. Other former Yankees on the ballot include Armando Benitez, J.T. Snow, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, Roger Clemens, and Tim Raines. Obviously some have greater legacies than others. Voters can only vote for ten players maximum, and there looks to be about 15 Cooperstown-worthy player on the ballot this year. These next few years will be messy.

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George Steinbrenner, Joe Torre, and Billy Martin are part of the 12-man Hall of Fame ballot to be voted on by the 16-member Expansion Era Veterans Committee next month. Marvin Miller and former Yankee Tommy John are also on the ballot, which you can see right here. Twelve votes are required for induction. Electees will be announced on December 9th, the first day of the Winter Meetings in Orlando. The Boss should be a lock, but who really knows with this stuff.

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The BBWAA embarrassingly voted zero players into the Hall of Fame last week despite a ballot that included some of the best players many of us will ever see. That already-crowded ballot will get even more crowded next year, when shoo-ins like Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas become Hall-eligible. Former Yankee Mike Mussina will also join the ballot — has it really been five years since his 20-win season? goodness — and he also has a very strong case for enshrinement.

Mark Simon recently put together a look at Moose’s credentials, which include both longevity (14 straight seasons of 27+ starts) and a holy crap peak (1997-2001). His strong postseason track record is highlighted by an outrageous four-start showing in 1997. I believe Mussina is a Hall of Famer (Orioles cap), but he’s going to have a tough time getting in given all the other deserving players on the ballot. He might spend a few years waiting because of the numbers game.

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No use for the podium this year. (Photo via WLWT Cincinnati)

The greatest hitter and the greatest pitcher many of us will ever see were on the ballot, but that didn’t matter. The BBWAA elected a total of zero players to Hall of Fame this year, the first time that’s happened since 1996. Craig Biggio led the voting with 68.2%, but players must receive 75% for enshrinement. Tim Raines (52.2%), Roger Clemens (37.6%), Don Mattingly (13.2%), Bernie Williams (3.3%), Kenny Lofton (3.2%), David Wells (0.9%), Mike Stanton (0%), and Rondell White (0%) represent the crop of former Yankees on the ballot. Players receiving less than 5% of the vote drop off the ballot next year. Full voting results are available at the BBWAA’s official site.

Given the overwhelmingly deep ballot, it’s pretty ridiculous no players will be inducted this year. Beyond Barry Bonds and Clemens you have absolute no-brainers like Mike Piazza (greatest hitting catcher of all-time!), Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell. I count no fewer than 15 players on the ballot who, at the very least, deserve serious consideration for the Hall. My personal and mythical ballot, seen on Twitter and included in this YES Network feature, was ten players deep. It would have been a dozen had the ballots not been capped at ten. Never really got that rule.

More than anything, this year’s lack of inductees confirms the voting has become more about the writers than the players. The Hall of Fame is a museum and an archive of the game first and foremost. We can’t exclude the parts people don’t like just because. There’s zero evidence (zero!) guys like Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza used PEDs. No failed drug tests, nothing. Suspicion does not equal guilt, yet the ballot this year shows the BBWAA is treating these players as guilty until proven innocent. How someone would go about proving they didn’t use something, a PED or otherwise, is beyond me. Nevermind that the burden of proof falls on those making the accusations.

Anyway, the already overcrowded ballot will get even more crowded next winter when players like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and former Yankee Mike Mussina will be Hall of Fame eligible for the first time. If they don’t change the rule and allow writers to vote for more than ten players in a given year, the voting process is going to be a cluttered nightmare in the coming years. For now, we get an empty 2013 class and a nine-month reprieve until the next ballot is announced and the same inane arguments begin again.

Categories : Days of Yore
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Former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert has been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Committee, the Hall announced. Ruppert owned the club from 1915-1939, so he was at the helm for the Babe Ruth acquisition and the construction of the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won nine pennants and six World Series championships under his watch.

Categories : Asides, Days of Yore
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Only three questions this week but the answers are kinda long. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week.

(Christian Petersen/Getty)

Travis asks: In the wake of the Ryan Madson signing, the Angels have said that Jordan Walden is available. Is he worth a look? What would it take to get him? I know he is younger than Andrew Bailey, but would a package like the one Boston sent to Oakland be enough? Do we have that?

I don’t think Walden would command the kind of package the Red Sox gave up for Bailey. His track record is much shorter and he’s an inferior pitcher, at least to the healthy version of Bailey. The 25-year-old Walden owns a 3.06 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 10.83 K/9 (28.2 K%) and 4.00 BB/9 (10.4 BB%) in 114.2 career innings, though he was a bit worse (3.46 ERA and 3.02 FIP) this year while spending almost six weeks on the DL with a biceps strain.

Walden is a classic fastball-slider reliever and he throws very hard, averaging 97.3 mph with the heat according to PitchFX. As you probably guessed with the walk rate, command is not his strong suit. He struggles to throw strikes and figures to continue struggling to throw strikes because he does this (.GIF via Lookout Landing) …

He hops in the middle of his delivery and is literally airborne for a fraction of a second. I’m no pitching expert, but there’s no way jumping in the middle of a delivery like helps you throw the ball to the desired location. Luckily for Walden, a reliever can survive with less than stellar command even in important late-inning roles. Just ask David Robertson.

Anyway, yeah I do think Walden is worth a phone call. He’s still very young and remains under team control for another four years, plus he has the swing-and-miss stuff I like to see in relievers. Saves do jack the price up and Walden has 34 of them, but he did lose his closer’s job this year (due in part to the injury). We don’t have many good trade comparables, but I do think giving up two non-top prospects would be fair. The Angels want pitching and left-handed bullpen help, so maybe something like Brett Marshall and Boone Logan? It might be a slight overpay but I’d actually be pretty cool with it. Give up one year of a lefty specialist and a pitching prospect who struggled to miss bats in Double-A for four-years of a high-end right-handed reliever (who has already gotten Tommy John surgery out of the way)? Yeah that works for me. Maybe the Angels would throw in Kole Calhoun as well.

Mike asks: If the Yanks get under the luxury tax limit of $189M for the entire 2014 season and this savings is a product of ‘X’ number of years that they have been above the luxury tax number, should we as Yankee fans come to expect a drastic frugal streak every ‘X’ years?

Yes and no. By getting under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014, the Yankees would reset their tax rate (currently the maximum 40% for every dollar over the threshold) to zero. Should they then go nuts and exceed the threshold in the following years, they would be taxed at 17.5% in 2015 and 30% in 2016. Exceeding the threshold in four consecutive seasons brings a team to the (new) maximum 50% penalty.

However, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after 2016. The luxury tax could theoretically be eliminated in the next agreement, or at least be modified somewhat. That said, more and more teams are approaching the luxury tax threshold these days — the Dodgers are going to blow past it next year — and the penalties figure to get stiffer, not more lenient. So yeah, it’s possible the Yankees will have a “X years over, one year under” approach with the luxury tax going forward.

(Bob Levey/Getty)

Mark asks: If given the chance to vote, what would your 2013 Hall of Fame ballot look like?

The ballot was released earlier this week and voters are allowed to vote for up to ten players in a given year. I have no idea why they cap it like that, if there are more than ten deserving players on the ballot why shouldn’t you be able to vote for all of them?

Anyway, here are my eight no-doubters: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, and Sammy Sosa. I don’t think I need to explain much with those guys, they’re all historically great players who belong in any institution claiming to memorialize the game. PEDs totally happened and are part of history, just like all those years African Americans weren’t allowed in the big leagues or the period of time when pitchers didn’t actually try to get batters out. Did you know that? Way, way back in the day the pitcher was supposed to give the batter something to hit and the game was played between the batter and the defense. The pitcher was just there to facilitate things.

Here are the six guys I’m on the fence about: Kenny Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, and Larry Walker. Palmeiro obviously had the magical counting stats (3,000+ hits and 500+ homers) but he never had an insane peak or was considered the absolute best player at his position. I look for both peak and longevity. Oh, and he didn’t contribute anything with the glove either. Trammell’s case is built largely on his defensive value and I’m an offense-first guy, so that’s why he’s only on the fence. Martinez is the greatest DH in baseball history but I’m still undecided given the generally underwhelming power output (309 career homers) from a guy whose only job was to hit. He certainly had the on-base skills, but I feel like a Hall of Fame DH should get on-base and hit for power. Maybe my standards are too high. Walker and Lofton were great players who fall just short of all-time great for me. Schilling is the same way.

Categories : Mailbag
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The BBWAA announced the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot today, which is headlined by first-timers Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and former Yankee Roger Clemens. David Wells and Mike Stanton are also among the first-timers while Don Mattingly is entering his 13th year of eligibility and Bernie Williams is entering his second.

We’ve now entered the PED thunderdome with guys like Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens becoming eligible, and if Mark McGwire’s six years on the ballot are any indication, they’re going to have to wait a while for induction. Hell, there’s zero evidence linking Jeff Bagwell to PEDs and he only received 56% of the vote last year. I count no fewer than eight guys I would definitely vote for plus at least six others I’m on the fence with. The ballots are going to be very crowded the next few years.

Categories : Asides, Days of Yore
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