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  #101  
Old 06-24-2014, 05:59 PM
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But back to the topic at hand…
Gil Hodges
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell
…all should get serious consideration, but I think the hallowed halls should only be opened for the absolute best players, not the semi-greats.
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  #102  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:04 PM
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Keith Hernandez should be in...we grew up watching him and we all thought he was a future Hall of Famer. He was the best player on some of the best teams of the 1980's.
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  #103  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:05 PM
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Sorry, I know I left a LOT of guys off, but those were the ones that popped in my head. And, because I listed them doesn't mean I want them in, those current guys are the best who will be on the ballot more than once most likely


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  #104  
Old 06-24-2014, 08:13 PM
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Glad I am not the only one who said Vern Stephens.
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  #105  
Old 06-24-2014, 08:26 PM
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If you were a baseball fan in the late 1970's and someone told you that not only would Steve Garvey not be in the Hall of Fame, but that he wouldn't even merit discussion, you'd never have believed them...
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  #106  
Old 06-25-2014, 03:47 AM
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Keith Hernandez should be in...we grew up watching him and we all thought he was a future Hall of Famer. He was the best player on some of the best teams of the 1980's.
I think most of us can agree that Hernandez was the best defensive first basemen in our lifetime, with Don Mattingly not far behind him.

So, I ask you all this. If Ozzie Smith was put in the Hall of Fame for his defensive wizardry, tell me why Keith Hernandez is not in Cooperstown?

I know there are better defensive metrics available, but for this discussion, let's just use Gold Gloves for comparative purposes, ok?

Gold Gloves:

Ozzie Smith, 13 at shortstop (1980 to 1992)
Keith Hernandez, 11 at first base (1978 to 1988)

Ok, Ozzie won two more at short than Keith won at first. But I think we'd all agree that if you win ten or more Gold Gloves, you're pretty incredible defensively.

Now, taking that logic a bit further. What if Keith won only 9 Gold Gloves instead of 11? You'd still consider him a spectacular defender, right? I mean, as a baseball player ages, no matter how good they are, their reflexes will slow down. If you win almost a decade's worth of Gold Gloves, you've been pretty much exceptional at your position. Without peer.

Let's go back to Ozzie Smith. All glove, no stick. Yes, Ozzie managed to tally 2,460 hits because he played 19 seasons. And yes, he did become a better hitter later in his career. From 1978 to 1984, Ozzie Smith had a .604 OPS. That's pretty bad. From 1985 to 1996, the end of his career, his OPS was .702. Still not very good, but a 100 point improvement is substantial. But let's not kid ourselves. He got into Cooperstown because of his glove.

Keith Hernandez, who was pretty much the defensive equivalent of Ozzie Smith at first base, was not a weak hitter. Not at all. Hernandez won the 1979 MVP, hitting a league-leading .344 with 116 runs scored, 210 hits, 48 doubles, 11 triples, 11 home runs and 105 RBI. He walked 80 times, and struck out 78. The next season, Keith led the NL with 111 runs scored and a .408 OBP. In his 17 year career, Hernandez accumulated 2,182 hits, 1,124 runs, 1,070 RBI, and 1,071 walks. He was a career .296 hitter, with an impressive slash line of .384/.436/.821.

I think the thing that has kept Keith Hernandez out of the Hall of Fame is that he was never the prototypical first baseman. He was never a power hitter, nor was he really a big time run producer. The 105 RBI of his MVP season represented his career high, and the only time he would exceed 100 RBI. But where is it written that all first basemen must be big power hitting run producers? Take somebody like Prince Fielder. A guy that will hit .280 with 35 to 40 home runs and 110 RBI, and provide below average defense. Keith Hernandez was an outstanding hitter. If he was Ozzie Smith's equal defensively, though at a different position, why then is he not in the Hall of Fame when he is so clearly superior to Smith as an offensive force? Smith's 87 OPS+ is pretty abysmal. Keith Hernandez had a 128 OPS +. Since 1964, the last 50 years, there have been 245 hitters to total 6,000 or more at bats. Keith Hernandez, a man who never hit twenty home runs in a single season, is 59th on that list with his 128 OPS +. He has the same OPS + of Jim Rice and Sammy Sosa. His OPS + is one point power than Bobby Bonds, Fred Lynn and Eddie Murray, who compiled a 129 OPS +. These names I have mentioned put up some pretty impressive numbers. Murray and Rice are Hall of Famers, and neither could approach Keith Hernandez' defensive abilities. Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs multiple times, one of only two men in history to do so.

Keith Hernandez, in my opinion, should have been in the Hall of Fame long ago. He showed that a first baseman could be more, that a first baseman could be different, yet extremely successful.

What about Don Mattingly then? Keith Hernandez won 11 Gold Gloves. Don Mattingly won 9. Keep in mind that the Gold Glove Award was first handed out in 1957. That being said, only Keith Hernandez in the last fifty seven years has had more Gold Gloves won at first base.

It's been said before that Don Mattingly will likely never make the Hall of Fame.

Why? Could I go through the list of players that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and find several that were inferior players when compared to Mattingly? Absolutely. Of course, we all know that only the player's accomplishments can be considered.

Don Mattingly played 14 years in the Major Leagues. He won 9 Gold Glove Awards. He was named an All Star 6 times. He won the 1985 American League MVP Award. He was the MVP runner up the next season (and he should have won. Roger Clemens won the Cy Young and MVP both that season, and I have a problem with pitchers being included in MVP voting). And he finished 5th in the 1984 AL MVP vote. Mattingly hit safely 2,154 times in his career. He hit 442 doubles, 222 home runs. He scored 1,007 times, and drove in 1,099 runs. He walked 588 times, and only struck out 444 times. 444 strike outs in 7,003 at bats.

In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, he was the best player in baseball between 1984 and 1987. Of the 124 Major League players to have 1,600 or more at bats between 1984 and 1987, Mattingly had the highest OPS + at 155. During that period, Mattingly's .337 AVG was third best in the Majors behind Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn. But while those two combined to hit 78 home runs in the four years, Mattingly hit 119, sixth best of all Major League hitters. And, none of the five men who hit more home runs than Mattingly hit over .300. Mattingly was the best combination of power and average in the game. Mattingly's 842 hits was second best in the Majors behind Wade Boggs' 850. Mattingly easily led the Majors with 183 doubles during this period, 23 more than second place finished Wade Boggs. And, Mattingly's 483 RBI were by far the most in the Major Leagues, besting second place finished Dave Parker by 51. And from 1985 to 1987, Mattingly won the Gold Glove Award at first base. He was the best player in the Majors offensively, and by that point, Keith Hernandez' equal defensively at first base.

When I consider a player's worthiness for Cooperstown, I ask a small list of questions.

1. Did the player in question ever win an MVP award? Cy Young for pitchers? How many times did the player in question finish in the top 5 in their specific award?
2. Beyond any MVP or Cy Young Awards, were they the best player in baseball for a period of time beyond the one season?
3. Were they the best player in their league at their position? Were they the best in baseball at their position?
4. For hitters, how many of the Triple Crown categories did they lead in a season? How many times did they lead the league in runs, stolen bases or walks? How many times did they lead the league in OBP, SLG or OPS.
5. How many times did were they named an All Star? Did they win any Gold Glove Awards?
6. How big a role did they play in getting their team to the playoffs? How did they perform in the post season if they got there.
7. Finally, what players most closely match their career totals? Did they make the Hall of Fame, or are they currently under consideration for election?
8. Are they the best player not to be elected to the Hall of Fame? Are they the best player at their primary position not to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

These questions are obviously quite similar to the list created by Ken Keltner.

When I read through this list, I can't help but look at Don Mattingly's career, and think he's a Hall of Famer. Yes, his power numbers did tail off greatly after the 1989 season. But shoulder and back injuries hindered him. His numbers did not fall off because of any decline in skill.

Mattingly not only had an outstanding career, and an elite peak period, but he was, in my opinion, the best player in baseball for a four year period. He was an elite hitter and fielder both. Not many players will win 9 Gold Gloves and have four seasons with .900 + OPS totals.

But ultimately, I would present my case for Mattingly this way. Since 1964, the last 50 years of Major League Baseball, there have been 240 hitters to register 6,000 or more at bats. Of those, only fifteen men have a higher batting average than Mattingly's career .307 mark. And every one of those men had strikeout totals that were substantially higher, except for Tony Gwynn. Mattingly had 7,772 plate appearances, and struck out 434 times. Tony Gwynn had 10,232 plate appearances, and struck out only 444 times. Gwynn struck out once every 21.4 at bats. Don Mattingly struck out every 15.77 at bats. When considering hitters on this list with over 200 home runs, the next best strikeout rate belongs to Ted Simmons, who only struck out once every 12.50 at bats.

What does all this mean? It means that at his very best, before back and shoulder injuries sapped his power, Don Mattingly was the best hitter in baseball. He was the best combination of power, run production, and pure hitting. Mattingly in his four years atop baseball as its best player hit those 119 home runs, or 30 home runs per season, while only striking out 147 times. When you consider that there are hitters now striking out more than 200 times a season, Mattingly at his best was reminiscent of Joe DiMaggio. I mean, does anybody today hit 30 home runs, and strike out 37 times? That's what Donnie Baseball did. And while Mattingly was destroying the baseball, he was also playing spectacular defense at first.
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  #107  
Old 06-25-2014, 06:37 AM
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Chiming in from the memorabilia side, I think Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva and Cecil Travis should all be in. I agree with Keith Hernandez too -- the greatest fielding player in the history of his position, who was also an MVP and a great hitter. I think his problems are obviously his drug use, the fact that he fell off a cliff at the end of his career, and that he is not your typical first baseman (he hit for average, not for power).

Bill, I love your enthusiasm and your obvious love for the game and your team, but I have to take strong exception to two points you've made.
1 - To compare Dick Allen to Derek Jeter is ludicrous. I love statistics and they are a key part of any Hall of Fame argument, but let's face it, people have to take their nose out of a book when it comes to players that we've been able to see. Derek Jeter is so much more than his numbers -- in his prime he did so many things on the ballfield that are hard to quantify. And he was a winner -- the leader of a team that won multiple championships through different incarnations. Sure those teams included lots of other talent, but Jeter was always a leader. Allen by the way, was by all accounts a terrible teammate and a me-first player (of course he also had to deal with horrible levels of racism that Jeter didn't face). And as for the expansion argument, Allen played through two expansion eras.

And then there's Ryan Braun -- let's be clear on one thing. Ryan Braun absolutely should be considered a pariah. He didn't make "a dumb mistake", he made multiple mistakes, and he made them consciously, thinking of himself over everyone else. He cheated and he blatantly lied about it, and he was willing to ruin an innocent man to try to save himself. He took things to enchance his performance, was a key part of the Biogenesis scandal, and tarnished the game in many ways. My guess is that if he didn't get caught, he would still be cheating and lying. I hope that he is able to rehabilitate himself and make a positive contribution to society, and if that turns out to be the case, he should be saluted for that.

Greg
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  #108  
Old 06-25-2014, 12:51 PM
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Almost forgot...

Gavvy Cravath
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  #109  
Old 06-25-2014, 01:01 PM
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Every time Bill posts and makes a case for a player making the Hall of Fame, I become a believer Well written posts with a lot of backup stats. I had never considered Cecil Cooper until his write up a while back, and he definitely made me reconsider Mr. Cooper.
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  #110  
Old 06-25-2014, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
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Almost forgot...

Gavvy Cravath

Gavvy Cravath - see - Cy Williams - see Chuck Klein

see Baker Bowl
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  #111  
Old 06-25-2014, 02:03 PM
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Steve Garvey (absolutely STUPID that he's not in)

Ted Simmons (one of the best hitting catchers of all time)

Dave Parker (for at LEAST 10 years one of the most feared hitters of his time)

are my top 3
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  #112  
Old 06-25-2014, 03:12 PM
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Gavvy Cravath - see - Cy Williams - see Chuck Klein

see Baker Bowl
Yes, the right field fence was only 280 feet away in the Baker Bowl. However, the dimensions at the Polo Grounds, where the Giants (and the Yankees for a while) played were even smaller in both right AND left field. It was only 279 feet to the left field foul pole and 258 feet to the right field foul pole but I don't hear anyone saying that any of the Giant or Yankee HOFers who played there -- including Mel Ott -- shouldn't have been elected because they got a bunch of cheap home runs at the Polo Grounds that really shouldn't count.

One sign of a good ballplayer is that he adapts to the quirks and characteristics of his home ball park. I don't have too much heartburn over Gavvy Cravath (a right handed hitter btw) figuring out how to take advantage of the Baker Bowl's dimensions and hit to right field anymore than I do the old Baltimore Orioles manicuring their infield to assist them in bunting or right handers taking advantage of the Green Monster's short dimensions.

Lots of people played in the Baker Bowl without leading the league in home runs on multiple occasions. Cravath's production, in particular, was prodigious in a pretty short span of time due to his late start in the majors. He was the Ralph Kiner of his time and if he were to be elected it wouldn't bother me at all.

Last edited by Kenny Cole; 06-25-2014 at 03:13 PM.
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  #113  
Old 06-25-2014, 03:37 PM
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As for Ozzie Smith, I think what helps him is the era that he played in and the teams he played on. The NL was relatively thin on shortstops in his prime years. He also played on three pennant winning teams and a World Series winner. He was an All Star in 15 of his 19 seasons, which always put him on the national stage.

One stat that everyone seems to forget is his base stealing ability. He had nearly 600 steals for his career, averaging 37 a year. He struck out very little and had nearly two times as many walks as he did strikeouts.

Forgot to mention, he is #1 all time in Defensive WAR, four runs better than #2, Mark Belanger.

Last edited by Beatles Guy; 06-25-2014 at 03:44 PM.
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  #114  
Old 06-25-2014, 03:50 PM
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if Bill has seriously suggested Cecil Cooper should be in the HOF, he has lost all credibility.
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  #115  
Old 06-25-2014, 03:51 PM
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How could Bill Mazeroski be voted into the HOF and not Dick Groat??
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  #116  
Old 06-25-2014, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quinnsryche View Post
Steve Garvey (absolutely STUPID that he's not in)

Ted Simmons (one of the best hitting catchers of all time)

Dave Parker (for at LEAST 10 years one of the most feared hitters of his time)

are my top 3
I agree Tony, but it seems the door has just been slammed shut on all these guys from that period -- Dale Murphy and Trammel are other good examples.
They may be voted in by some old timers committee long after they're gone.
(As I watched Murphy play, I had no doubt he was a Hall of Famer, and I think the numbers back that up -- same for Garvey).

Greg
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  #117  
Old 06-25-2014, 05:04 PM
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Lincecum just threw his second no-no. That helps his cause.
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  #118  
Old 06-25-2014, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Cole View Post
Yes, the right field fence was only 280 feet away in the Baker Bowl. However, the dimensions at the Polo Grounds, where the Giants (and the Yankees for a while) played were even smaller in both right AND left field. It was only 279 feet to the left field foul pole and 258 feet to the right field foul pole but I don't hear anyone saying that any of the Giant or Yankee HOFers who played there -- including Mel Ott -- shouldn't have been elected because they got a bunch of cheap home runs at the Polo Grounds that really shouldn't count.

One sign of a good ballplayer is that he adapts to the quirks and characteristics of his home ball park. I don't have too much heartburn over Gavvy Cravath (a right handed hitter btw) figuring out how to take advantage of the Baker Bowl's dimensions and hit to right field anymore than I do the old Baltimore Orioles manicuring their infield to assist them in bunting or right handers taking advantage of the Green Monster's short dimensions.

Lots of people played in the Baker Bowl without leading the league in home runs on multiple occasions. Cravath's production, in particular, was prodigious in a pretty short span of time due to his late start in the majors. He was the Ralph Kiner of his time and if he were to be elected it wouldn't bother me at all.
The Baker Bowl had a much shorter right field power alley than both the left and right field power alleys of the Polo Grounds. There is no denying that the Polo Grounds inflated Mel Ott's HR totals (though he had a higher BA on the road) but the Baker Bowl inflated Chuck Klein's numbers far more. In 1931 Klein batted .401 at home w/22 HRs but on the road he hit just .269 w/9 HRs and that wasn't even the season he had his biggest disparity. Look at the home/road splits for any of the Phillies left-handed sluggers of the 20s and 30s, Cy Williams, Lefty O'Doul, Don Hurst, and you'll see significant disparities in both HRs and BA.

I agree that as a right handed hitter Cravath deserves credit for adapting his swing to take advantage of the Baker Bowl but it is worth noting that on the road he was just an ordinary HR hitter.
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  #119  
Old 06-25-2014, 05:51 PM
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0
And then there's Ryan Braun -- let's be clear on one thing. Ryan Braun absolutely should be considered a pariah. He didn't make "a dumb mistake", he made multiple mistakes, and he made them consciously, thinking of himself over everyone else. He cheated and he blatantly lied about it, and he was willing to ruin an innocent man to try to save himself. He took things to enchance his performance, was a key part of the Biogenesis scandal, and tarnished the game in many ways. My guess is that if he didn't get caught, he would still be cheating and lying. I hope that he is able to rehabilitate himself and make a positive contribution to society, and if that turns out to be the case, he should be saluted for that.

Greg
Greg, if you choose to consider him a pariah, nothing I show you is going to change your mind. But I'm going to address your points anyway, just as I have repeatedly in several other discussions before this one. Why? Because if I don't, then the falsehoods printed by ESPN and Yahoo Sports will go unchecked.

I will agree with you on one point. He did make multiple mistakes. One, he used two items that contained banned substances. And, two, he lied about taking them. Beyond that, you are taking creative license. You have no way of knowing if Braun thought of himself above everybody else. That is pure hyperbole. Yes, Ryan Braun let down a lot of Brewer fans, myself included, when he broke the rules, and again to an even greater degree when he lied about what he did. But the media has been completely out of control from the very beginning, printing one inaccuracy, or completely fabricated story, after another. The media and Major League Baseball have both been complicit in their pursuit of Ryan Braun.

TJ Quinn, a writer for ESPN, to the best of my knowledge, is the one that broke the story. Citing "unnamed sources", he wrote an article appearing on ESPN.com that Braun had "tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug." And then, he wrote this:

Quote:
To affirm the results and strengthen its case, MLB asked the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal, which conducts its testing, to perform a secondary test to determine whether the testosterone spike resulted from natural variations within Braun's body or from an artificial source. The test indicated the testosterone was exogenous, meaning it came from outside his body.
Now, I am getting these early quotes from a story on Deadspin.com. Deadspin correctly points out that Quinn, while stating Braun tested positive for a PED, never named the drug taken. Keep in mind, too, that this story was broken while Ryan Braun had started what was supposed to be a completely confidential appeals process. Right off the bat, ESPN ignores Braun's right to confidentiality, which was guaranteed by Major League Baseball, by breaking this story. ESPN basically walked all over Braun so they could get higher ratings. And they've been doing it for well over two years now.

Ryan Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in the fall of 2011. From what I have read, the test was taken right before the end of the Milwaukee Brewers-Arizona Diamondbacks post season series. Braun was one of several players who gave urine samples to collector Dino Laurenzi Jr on this particular afternoon. The levels of T in Braun's urine were reportedly the highest the lab in Montreal had ever seen since Major League Baseball's introduction of the Joint Drug Agreement in 2006. ESPN reported that Braun's T levels were "insanely high".

The New York Daily News:

Quote:
Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun's original test for performance-enhancing drugs as the playoffs were winding down in October was "insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken.
According to the source, there are also chain-of-custody issues involving the test, which was first performed by Major League Baseball during the playoffs, then sent to the WADA lab. A positive test in MLB is triggered by an elevated level of testosterone to epitestosterone; the trigger point is a 4-1 ratio.

"The argument before the appeals board won't be that the original ratio was so high and doesn't make sense," said the source, "but there will be a defense. It's not something he knew or should have known about."
With me so far? At this point, ESPN has reported that Braun tested positive for a PED (performance enhancing drug), and that his testosterone levels were insanely high.

But both the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Braun had tested positive for a banned substance, not a performance-enhancing drug.

The Journal-Sentinel

Quote:
"A very good source on the Ryan Braun side of the drug testing controversy assures me that Braun did not test positive for a performance-enhancing drug, as reported by ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

[...]

But my source—and again, this is from Braun's end and not MLB—familiar with the test's findings says the "prohibited substance" was not a performance-enhancing drug or steroid of any kind. And the source says there has "never" been a result like this in the history of the MLB testing program."
Again, with me so far? Braun and his attorneys never challenge why his Testosterone level is so high (though he could have). Instead, they decide to pursue their overturn on procedural grounds. It can be proven when a urine test was given. It can be proven when the sample was dropped off at Fed Ex. It was proven that the collector had been employed in this position for several years, and that they knew that there were several Fed Ex locations within 5 miles of Miller Park, and at least one of them was open 24 hours. Like any good defense team would have done, they pursued the easiest path to a win--and got the suspension overturned on procedural grounds.

Ryan Braun gives his statement at the Miller Park press conference after his appeal is overturned. You said he ruined an innocent man to save himself, correct? Here is exactly what he said in the press conference about the collector (whom he did not name, by the way)

Transcript from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Quote:
""So at that point, we start looking into the process. It states in the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program that all samples shall be taken immediately to FedEx on the day they’re collected absent unusual circumstances. The reason that this is important, typically the only two people in the world who know whose sample it is are us, the donor, and the collector, who receives our urine samples. In my case there was an additional third person, the son of the collector, who just so happened to be the my chaperone on the day that I was tested. The day of the test we had a 1 o’clock game. I provided my sample at about 4:30. There were two other players who provided their samples that day within 10 minutes of mine. The collector left the field at about 5 o’clock. There were at least five FedEx locations within five miles of the stadium that were open until 9 p.m. and an additional FedEx location that was open for 24 hours. There were upwards of 18 or 19 FedEx locations that were open between the ballpark and his house that he could have dropped the samples off at."Why he didn’t bring it in, I don’t know. On the day that he did finally bring it in, FedEx opened at 7:30. Why didn’t he bring it in until 1:30? I can’t answer that question. Why was there zero documentation? What could have possibly happened to it during that 44-hour period? There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened.
What Braun is doing is laying out for the reporters present at the press conference how they went about getting the suspension overturned. He did not "throw the collector under the bus". He didn't "ruin an innocent man to save himself". What he said was entirely accurate. He established that procedures were not followed. He is not insinuating the collector did something sinister. Rather, he is telling the reporters "this guy knew how to do his job. He'd been doing it for years. He knew there were Fed Ex locations close by, as well as on the way home, where he could have dropped the urine samples off. And the collector did not do that.

Is anything Ryan Braun said there not completely accurate? Dino Laurenzi Jr was suspended by his employer because he did not do his job properly, not because of anything Braun did or said. Can you or any of the people who have been claiming character assassination by Ryan Braun show why Laurenzi Jr did not drop off the samples as was required by his job? The verbiage is quite clear, that "all samples shall be taken immediately to FedEx on the day they’re collected absent unusual circumstances". In all the rancor directed at Ryan Braun by his dissenters, I don't recall one person providing an acceptable explanation for why the samples were not dropped off.

Here is part of the statement made by Laurenzi Jr after his name was made public:

Quote:
"Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday. Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3. In that circumstance, CDT has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office. The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident.
Apparently, however, there were several Fed Ex locations that could have accepted the package. When they would be shipped to the lab is immaterial. The reason it is so vitally important that the samples be dropped off at Fed Ex is from that point forward, there is no way of identifying who the samples belong to. Braun alluded to this in his statement:

Quote:
"When FedEx received the samples, it then creates a chain of custody at the FedEx location where he eventually brought my sample to. It would have been stored in a temperature-controlled environment, and FedEx is used to handling clinical packaging. But most importantly, you then would become a number and no longer a name. So when we provide our samples, there is a number and no longer a name associated with the sample. That way there can’t be any bias – whether it’s with FedEx, while it’s traveling, at the lab in Montreal, in any way – based on somebody’s race, religion, ethnicity, what team they play for, whatever the case may be. As players, the confidentiality of this process is extremely important. It’s always been extremely important, because the only way for the process to succeed is for the confidentiality and the chain of custody to work.
At this point, Ryan Braun had his suspension overturned, and he was preparing to play baseball. Some point later, a newspaper broke the Biogenesis story. Over time, it came out that Ryan Braun's name appeared on the papers turned over to MLB not once, but twice. Just his name. No amount due, nothing else. And, in fact, one of Braun's attorneys was also listed on the Biogenesis paperwork.

Braun spoke publicly, stating that Anthony Bosch of Biogenesis was hired by his attorneys for questioning. They wanted to gain knowledge about the process he'd gone through with Manny Ramirez. Of course, there was ESPN again stating that Braun is guilty of using PED--again, and that he is lying about why his name appears on the Biogenesis paperwork.

Remember, initially, Bosch supported what Braun said in his statement. He backed up Braun's explanation of why Braun's name appeared. It was only after Major League Baseball threatened to sue Bosch and his employees that Bosch corroborated MLB's assertion that Ryan Braun had used performance enhancing drugs. Only, it had previously been reported by multiple sources that Braun's testosterone spike was not due to a PED.

But Braun was guilty this time, right?

Major League Baseball, if you ask me, resorted to some draconian tactics to achieve their desired end result. They were so angered that independent arbitrator Shyam Das had sided with Braun that not long after the overturn, they fired him.

THEN, Ken Rosenthal had this:
Quote:
"ESPN, citing sources, reported: “In exchange for Bosch's full cooperation . . . Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him.”
What could Ryan Braun do? Major League Baseball basically coerced Anthony Bosch, a man with no credibility, to testify in a way that would benefit their ongoing campaign against Ryan Braun. Braun had embarrassed MLB when he got his suspension overturned. Now MLB were going to get the suspension they didn't get the first time around. Faced with information that he has not made public, Braun decided to take his suspension of 65 games to put this behind him. Braun then began working to repair his image.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Quote:
In a first step toward seeking forgiveness and understanding, suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun issued a carefully worded yet humble admission of guilt and apology Thursday evening for his use of a banned substance during the 2011 season and deceitful actions afterward. In his public apology, Braun never used the words "performance-enhancing drugs" in detailing what led to his suspension by Major League Baseball from its investigation of the notorious Biogenesis clinic. He was suspended for the remaining 65 games of the season on July 22 and did not appeal the ban.
As was reported by both the Journal-Sentinel and Ken Rosenthall, and subsequently other media outlets, Braun did not test positive for a performance enhancing drug, but a banned substance. And he did not admit to using a PED here...because he didn't use a PED.

Braun's account of what happened:

Quote:
"Here is what happened," Braun said in his statement. "During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used.

"The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately."
Greg, you mentioned that Braun was a key part of the Biogenesis scandal, right? How so? Again, his name was listed twice on pieces of notebook paper produced by Biogenesis. No amounts. No drug names next to Braun. And in fact, one of Braun's attorneys was also listed on the sheet with Braun. Did he take PEDs, too?

Again, written by Tom Haudricourt, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Quote:
During its Biogenesis investigation and interviews with clinic operator Tony Bosch, MLB discovered no evidence that Braun purchased testosterone before or after the 2011 season. So, barring the unknown, his account of the time frame of his testosterone use was truthful.
MLB found nothing to prove the assertion that Ryan Braun used a performance enhancer.

At this point, you are going to still think Braun used a PED, Greg. That's fine. Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion. I am merely providing all of this information because it is important to me that the truth has at least a chance to cut through all the BS that's been printed. I mean, seriously, how many times did ESPN change it's story?

1. Ryan Braun tested positive for a PED.
2. Ryan Braun did not test positive for a PED, but a banned substance.
3. Ryan Braun tested positive for a banned substance used to treat an STD.

Keep throwing them out, and the reading public is going to believe one variation, right?

Then there was the story from Jeff Passan on Yahoo Sports. The one that asserted Ryan Braun contacted Joey Votto, Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki, asking them for public support because collector Dino Laurenzi Jr was an anti-semitic Cubs fan out to get him!

I find it amusing that the original article by Jeff Passan no longer appears on Yahoo Sports. Instead, another article in which Passan both backtracks, and attempts to place the blame on ESPN, appears.

The revised article on Yahoo Sports

Quote:
Suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun told players around baseball before spring training 2012 that the man who collected his urine that tested positive for synthetic testosterone was anti-Semitic and a Chicago Cubs fan in an effort to gather support throughout the game, sources familiar with the matter told Yahoo! Sports.

ESPN.com first reported that Braun had reached out to fellow players. While Yahoo! Sports previously reported Braun had contacted Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki, on Monday they denied having any conversations with Braun about test collector Dino Laurenzi Jr.
Yahoo Sports didn't previously report that, Jeff. You did.

The day after the original article by Passan appeared on Yahoo Sports, both Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki flatly denied the conversation ever took place.

Votto says Braun did not reach out to him


Quote:
ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports reported that Ryan Braun reached out to Joey Votto, and other stars, before the 2012 season while Braun was dealing with his appeal of his suspension for failing a drug test.
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported a source told him Braun was looking for support to back his appeal against a positive drug test. The report said Braun told stars around baseball, including Votto, that Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected Braun’s urine sample, was anti-Semitic and a Chicago Cubs fan.
Votto said he never spoke with Braun.
“As far as a phone call, I have no problem getting AT&T into this if they like,” Votto said. “There was never a phone call. It’s so silly to have to comment on this. That was really odd. I heard about it last night and it really bothered me. There was not that phone conversation.
“I don’t know him well enough.”
Votto further said he would not have done anything if asked.
Cincinnati.com article

Troy Tulowitzki wants Ryan Braun to come clean and explain his suspension

Quote:
Yahoo! Sports wrote that Braun tried to curry support with players, including Tulowitzki, the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp and the Reds’ Joey Votto, by alleging that Dino Laurenzi Jr., the sample collector, was anti-Semitic and a Cubs fan.

“He never say anything like that to me or asked for my support,” Tulowitzki said after reading the story on Monday.

“I talked to him throughout the whole process. It was more as a friend. It wasn’t anything more than that. He never tried to change my opinion on the subject or anything like that. It was more of me saying, ‘Hey, how is this going? Is this taking a toll on you?’^
So Jeff Passan concocts this story about Ryan Braun. The next day two of the men "unnamed sources" list as being contacted by Braun, Tulowitzki and Votto, come out and basically say Passan is full of it. But, you still see people today stating that Braun tried to assassinate Dino Laurenzi Jr's character by painting him as this Jew hating Cubs fan. It's simply not true. But by printing that article, true or not, the damage was done, and no half-assed pseudo-retraction by Passan is going to fix that. A headline stating "Braun called collector a Jew hating Cubs fan!" is going to grab a lot more readers than "Votto says conversation didn't happen". These media outlets have no form of oversight whatsoever. A player can sue them if they print something blatantly libelous. But that leaves a lot of gray areas for these writers to take their cheap shots, and get away with it.

This Passan story is emblematic of what's been going on with the sports media since the Braun story was first broken. And by the time they're done, you read comments from people, and they're calling Braun a pariah. People saying that Braun is a sociopath, like O.J. Simpson. The quantum leaps people make is just sad.

Yes, Ryan Braun used something he shouldn't have. He broke the rules to try and get healthy.

The Brewers had won 96 games in 2011. That's the most in team history. We finally had a team capable of winning a World Series, something that the Brewers have never done in their 40 year history. And Ryan Braun, playing at well below 100%, knew this was their one chance to win a title with this core of players that had gone through the minor leagues together (Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Braun), as Prince Fielder was surely leaving Milwaukee once the season ends. So, Braun does something dumb. He uses two substances in an effort to expedite the healing of a calf injury that had been plaguing him the entire season, a calf injury so bad that the Brewers sent Braun for an MRI, and considered putting him on the DL. And while he didn't take a performance enhancer as we understand them, he did take something to try and get as close to normal as possible. I suppose that could be looked at as a performance enhancer of sorts. But Ryan Braun did not break the rules to cheat the game, or hit more home runs. He did so to try and get better. He tried to be at the same level he almost always was so he could help deliver a World Series to the city that had embraced him. Ryan Braun had signed a huge $105 million extension through the 2020 season before the 2011 season had even started. So, the assertion that Braun cheated to make more money is completely off the mark. Braun extended his contract, foregoing the chance to make more money as a free agent, because he loved Milwaukee. Braun is very active working with charities in southeast Wisconsin. He started two different businesses in Milwaukee, a clothing company, and a restaurant with friend Aaron Rodgers. In doing so, he created jobs. Braun did all this because he loved Milwaukee. He took two substances he shouldn't have so he could give Milwaukee, a great baseball town, something it hadn't had since 1957.

His actions were wrong. His lying to cover it up was worse. But I don't think his motivation was self-serving at all. And as I said, he deserved the suspension he served at the end of last season. But before you call him a pariah again, Greg, please try to get some facts. Braun is not the self-centered, pampered athlete he's been made out to be. He's actually a good guy. Troy Tulowitzki said that even after all this, he still considers Braun a friend. Do you think he'd say that if Braun was a bad man, or somebody he couldn't respect? Even during the Brewers-Nationals game today, the play by play guy for Washington was talking about Braun. He said "he's a really good guy that made a dumb mistake, and then made an even dumber mistake".

Braun's image has been tarnished. He's been booed enough. He's trying to make amends. He called season ticket holders in the off season, and personally apologized to them. He listened to them when they told him they were angry, and that they felt betrayed. I don't know what else Braun can do besides go out there, and try to handle things the way he always has.

I think he deserves a second chance.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:55 PM
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if Bill has seriously suggested Cecil Cooper should be in the HOF, he has lost all credibility.
I don't think he should be in the Hall, but I do think his career merits another look out of respect.

I'd basically stated that Cooper's chances at Cooperstown were basically wiped out because they didn't play him while he was in Boston. In his first three seasons, he played in 14, 12 and 30 games.

If he'd started playing earlier, I think he'd have had made for an interesting debate. But as great as he was, I don't think he's on that level.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:59 PM
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Bill, I have a challenge for you. I bet you could come up with some stats to show that Willie Stargell (classic victim of 60s suppressed stats, no?) was better than Joe DiMaggio.
Willie was better than Joe D...in 1979. But then again, Joe D was hawking Mr. Coffee coffee makers. Notice I didn't say he was 65? I bet Joe D still could have hit .275 at that age (and with the right corrective lenses).
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:08 PM
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Luis Tiant & Minnie Minoso
- let's honor these guys while they are still alive.

Don't treat them like Santo.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:28 PM
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Shoeless Joe (who always gets the image of Ray Liotta in their mind?)
Charlie Hustle (the #'s speak for themselves)
Frank Jobe (changed the game with his surgery)

My throwaway would be Wally Backman. His rants as a minor league manager on YouTube are hilarious.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:32 PM
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Bill -- we now agree on two things, the second being that Braun deserves a second chance.
I do admire your loyalty to one of your favorite players and the passion you bring to your research -- that says a lot about a person (I'm also jealous of all the time you have to do that research). I don't have that kind of time, so I'll just confidently stand by my statements -- by the way, you'll notice I didn't say PEDs, but substances that enhanced performance.

And I will disagree on one more point -- I still think that Joe D. may have been better than Stargell in the 1970s!

Greg
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:33 PM
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Luis Tiant & Minnie Minoso
- let's honor these guys while they are still alive.

Don't treat them like Santo.
+1

Greg
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:54 PM
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"Who should be in the hall that isn't?"

Answer: about half the players that are in the 'hall that is'.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:23 PM
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Willie was better than Joe D...in 1979. But then again, Joe D was hawking Mr. Coffee coffee makers. Notice I didn't say he was 65? I bet Joe D still could have hit .275 at that age (and with the right corrective lenses).
LOL. By the way I think your post about Braun was too condensed -- could you please spell out your arguments in a little more detail? I thought your post about Mattingly was also somewhat truncated.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:40 PM
SteveMitchell SteveMitchell is offline
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Steve Garvey (absolutely STUPID that he's not in)

Ted Simmons (one of the best hitting catchers of all time)

Dave Parker (for at LEAST 10 years one of the most feared hitters of his time)

are my top 3
Tony's top three (while not mine) fit well within the 100+ I would add to make the Hall of Fame truly reflect the 20,000+ who played major league and Negro League baseball. These were the best to ever play the game in nearly 150 years of professional ball and to have 1-2% of them designated as Hall of Fame PLAYERS, to me, seems quite reasonable. In short, the Hall of Fame has got to get beyond Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and other obvious first ballot types.

And I have no problem with the poster after Tony (Kenny Cole) and his comments regarding both Baker Bowl (and player adaptations thereto) and Gavvy Cravath being elected to the HoF.

I enjoy this subject but cannot believe how men who were observed and chronicled by writers of their day as ranking among the all-time greats somehow slip to only Members of the Very Good after leaving as active players.

Great topic, thanks.

Steve Mitchell
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:44 PM
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Luis Tiant & Minnie Minoso
- let's honor these guys while they are still alive.

Don't treat them like Santo.
Raymond,

Oh, is that a sore spot with me...still. There's nothing I hate more than seeing somebody elected to the Hall of Fame-- be it the Baseball Hall, the Pro Football Hall, or hell, even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--after they have passed away. If they are good enough to get voted in posthumously, then they are good enough to get voted in while they are alive.

Now, I'm not a big disco fan, but the fact that the R&R HoF elected Donna Summer last year, only a few months after she'd died, well, that just ticked me off on kinds of levels. Her husband and three beautiful daughters got up there to accept in her stead. And while it was definitely a celebration of Donna and her music, there was an underlying sadness just below the surface when her husband was speaking. I thought it showed a complete lack of class by the committee that voted her in. And the Santo election is another one. He died in December of 2010, and was elected in 2012. His final game was in 1974 when I was three. I was 39 years old when they finally elected him. Why couldn't they make that happen in the nearly four decades he lived after retiring? I'm feeling the same way about Jerry Kramer, the Packer great. I know I brought him up before, and listed his accolades. But how does somebody make it on the the NFL's All Decade Team for the 1960s and the NFL's 50th Anniversary team, and yet not get into the Hall of Fame?

Ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deucetwins View Post
Shoeless Joe (who always gets the image of Ray Liotta in their mind?)
Charlie Hustle (the #'s speak for themselves)
Frank Jobe (changed the game with his surgery)

My throwaway would be Wally Backman. His rants as a minor league manager on YouTube are hilarious.
Jeff, though he's been in many great films, I will always picture Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. For me, there's Goodfellas, then all the other flicks he did.

He called in one night when I was working (I didn't speak with him, one of my colleagues did), and about ten minutes into a conversation about mutual funds vs ETFs (if my memory is correct), I walked behind the broker on the phone with him, and said "go home and get your shine box" loud enough so Mr. Liotta could hear. He broke out with that classic Ray Liotta laugh, the "Tommy, you're a really funny guy" laugh. I could hear it even though the guy talking to him was on a headset. I'd always hoped he'd call back, but I never got a chance to talk to him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhey24 View Post
Bill -- we now agree on two things, the second being that Braun deserves a second chance.
I do admire your loyalty to one of your favorite players and the passion you bring to your research -- that says a lot about a person (I'm also jealous of all the time you have to do that research). I don't have that kind of time, so I'll just confidently stand by my statements -- by the way, you'll notice I didn't say PEDs, but substances that enhanced performance.

And I will disagree on one more point -- I still think that Joe D. may have been better than Stargell in the 1970s!

Greg
Greg, believe me when I say I wish I didn't have this much free time. I'd much rather be at work right now. I'd be starting my night in about 5 minutes, and that would go until 7 am. Instead, I'm watching tv and movies again. I'm sure being able to watch tv all day in bed sounds great to people working 40 hours a week. When I was working 60 hours a week during tax season, I know that would have sounded like paradise. But after a while, no matter how entertaining those movies are, it all starts to feel like a prison. I spend about 95% of my days in my bedroom. It feels like a prison cell after a while.

Also, I want you to know I respect your position. I do. In fact, unless the person on the other end of a spirited debate is acting like a horse's you-know-what, I will pretty much always respect the other guy if they take a stand. I respect people that formulate opinions on their own, that take a stand for what they believe in, you know? There are too many hangers on. They want to cling to something because they're spineless.

Braun really screwed up, and I was mad at him for a good while. And ultimately, I don't care why he did it. I don't care if his intentions were good or not. The bottom line is that he broke the rules, and I've had to try and reconcile my affinity for Braun with the disappointment and anger I've felt because of what he did. I love the game of baseball so much, and I abhor any kind of cheating in the game I love. I know cheating has been going on in one form or another as long as the game has been played (I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, you know). But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

PS-you might be right about DiMaggio.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:52 PM
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Willie was better than Joe D...in 1979. But then again, Joe D was hawking Mr. Coffee coffee makers. Notice I didn't say he was 65? I bet Joe D still could have hit .275 at that age (and with the right corrective lenses).
That's like an anecdote attributed to Cobb. Someone in the 1950's allegedly asked him what he thought he would hit if he were playing today. He said around .270. The questioner expressed surprise, and asked him to explain. He said, well I am 70 years old.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:19 PM
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I think most of us can agree that Hernandez was the best defensive first basemen in our lifetime, with Don Mattingly not far behind him.

So, I ask you all this. If Ozzie Smith was put in the Hall of Fame for his defensive wizardry, tell me why Keith Hernandez is not in Cooperstown?

I know there are better defensive metrics available, but for this discussion, let's just use Gold Gloves for comparative purposes, ok?

Gold Gloves:

Ozzie Smith, 13 at shortstop (1980 to 1992)
Keith Hernandez, 11 at first base (1978 to 1988)

Ok, Ozzie won two more at short than Keith won at first. But I think we'd all agree that if you win ten or more Gold Gloves, you're pretty incredible defensively.

Now, taking that logic a bit further. What if Keith won only 9 Gold Gloves instead of 11? You'd still consider him a spectacular defender, right? I mean, as a baseball player ages, no matter how good they are, their reflexes will slow down. If you win almost a decade's worth of Gold Gloves, you've been pretty much exceptional at your position. Without peer.

Let's go back to Ozzie Smith. All glove, no stick. Yes, Ozzie managed to tally 2,460 hits because he played 19 seasons. And yes, he did become a better hitter later in his career. From 1978 to 1984, Ozzie Smith had a .604 OPS. That's pretty bad. From 1985 to 1996, the end of his career, his OPS was .702. Still not very good, but a 100 point improvement is substantial. But let's not kid ourselves. He got into Cooperstown because of his glove.

Keith Hernandez, who was pretty much the defensive equivalent of Ozzie Smith at first base, was not a weak hitter. Not at all. Hernandez won the 1979 MVP, hitting a league-leading .344 with 116 runs scored, 210 hits, 48 doubles, 11 triples, 11 home runs and 105 RBI. He walked 80 times, and struck out 78. The next season, Keith led the NL with 111 runs scored and a .408 OBP. In his 17 year career, Hernandez accumulated 2,182 hits, 1,124 runs, 1,070 RBI, and 1,071 walks. He was a career .296 hitter, with an impressive slash line of .384/.436/.821.

I think the thing that has kept Keith Hernandez out of the Hall of Fame is that he was never the prototypical first baseman. He was never a power hitter, nor was he really a big time run producer. The 105 RBI of his MVP season represented his career high, and the only time he would exceed 100 RBI. But where is it written that all first basemen must be big power hitting run producers? Take somebody like Prince Fielder. A guy that will hit .280 with 35 to 40 home runs and 110 RBI, and provide below average defense. Keith Hernandez was an outstanding hitter. If he was Ozzie Smith's equal defensively, though at a different position, why then is he not in the Hall of Fame when he is so clearly superior to Smith as an offensive force? Smith's 87 OPS+ is pretty abysmal. Keith Hernandez had a 128 OPS +. Since 1964, the last 50 years, there have been 245 hitters to total 6,000 or more at bats. Keith Hernandez, a man who never hit twenty home runs in a single season, is 59th on that list with his 128 OPS +. He has the same OPS + of Jim Rice and Sammy Sosa. His OPS + is one point power than Bobby Bonds, Fred Lynn and Eddie Murray, who compiled a 129 OPS +. These names I have mentioned put up some pretty impressive numbers. Murray and Rice are Hall of Famers, and neither could approach Keith Hernandez' defensive abilities. Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs multiple times, one of only two men in history to do so.

Keith Hernandez, in my opinion, should have been in the Hall of Fame long ago. He showed that a first baseman could be more, that a first baseman could be different, yet extremely successful.

What about Don Mattingly then? Keith Hernandez won 11 Gold Gloves. Don Mattingly won 9. Keep in mind that the Gold Glove Award was first handed out in 1957. That being said, only Keith Hernandez in the last fifty seven years has had more Gold Gloves won at first base.

It's been said before that Don Mattingly will likely never make the Hall of Fame.

Why? Could I go through the list of players that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and find several that were inferior players when compared to Mattingly? Absolutely. Of course, we all know that only the player's accomplishments can be considered.

Don Mattingly played 14 years in the Major Leagues. He won 9 Gold Glove Awards. He was named an All Star 6 times. He won the 1985 American League MVP Award. He was the MVP runner up the next season (and he should have won. Roger Clemens won the Cy Young and MVP both that season, and I have a problem with pitchers being included in MVP voting). And he finished 5th in the 1984 AL MVP vote. Mattingly hit safely 2,154 times in his career. He hit 442 doubles, 222 home runs. He scored 1,007 times, and drove in 1,099 runs. He walked 588 times, and only struck out 444 times. 444 strike outs in 7,003 at bats.

In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, he was the best player in baseball between 1984 and 1987. Of the 124 Major League players to have 1,600 or more at bats between 1984 and 1987, Mattingly had the highest OPS + at 155. During that period, Mattingly's .337 AVG was third best in the Majors behind Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn. But while those two combined to hit 78 home runs in the four years, Mattingly hit 119, sixth best of all Major League hitters. And, none of the five men who hit more home runs than Mattingly hit over .300. Mattingly was the best combination of power and average in the game. Mattingly's 842 hits was second best in the Majors behind Wade Boggs' 850. Mattingly easily led the Majors with 183 doubles during this period, 23 more than second place finished Wade Boggs. And, Mattingly's 483 RBI were by far the most in the Major Leagues, besting second place finished Dave Parker by 51. And from 1985 to 1987, Mattingly won the Gold Glove Award at first base. He was the best player in the Majors offensively, and by that point, Keith Hernandez' equal defensively at first base.

When I consider a player's worthiness for Cooperstown, I ask a small list of questions.

1. Did the player in question ever win an MVP award? Cy Young for pitchers? How many times did the player in question finish in the top 5 in their specific award?
2. Beyond any MVP or Cy Young Awards, were they the best player in baseball for a period of time beyond the one season?
3. Were they the best player in their league at their position? Were they the best in baseball at their position?
4. For hitters, how many of the Triple Crown categories did they lead in a season? How many times did they lead the league in runs, stolen bases or walks? How many times did they lead the league in OBP, SLG or OPS.
5. How many times did were they named an All Star? Did they win any Gold Glove Awards?
6. How big a role did they play in getting their team to the playoffs? How did they perform in the post season if they got there.
7. Finally, what players most closely match their career totals? Did they make the Hall of Fame, or are they currently under consideration for election?
8. Are they the best player not to be elected to the Hall of Fame? Are they the best player at their primary position not to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

These questions are obviously quite similar to the list created by Ken Keltner.

When I read through this list, I can't help but look at Don Mattingly's career, and think he's a Hall of Famer. Yes, his power numbers did tail off greatly after the 1989 season. But shoulder and back injuries hindered him. His numbers did not fall off because of any decline in skill.

Mattingly not only had an outstanding career, and an elite peak period, but he was, in my opinion, the best player in baseball for a four year period. He was an elite hitter and fielder both. Not many players will win 9 Gold Gloves and have four seasons with .900 + OPS totals.

But ultimately, I would present my case for Mattingly this way. Since 1964, the last 50 years of Major League Baseball, there have been 240 hitters to register 6,000 or more at bats. Of those, only fifteen men have a higher batting average than Mattingly's career .307 mark. And every one of those men had strikeout totals that were substantially higher, except for Tony Gwynn. Mattingly had 7,772 plate appearances, and struck out 434 times. Tony Gwynn had 10,232 plate appearances, and struck out only 444 times. Gwynn struck out once every 21.4 at bats. Don Mattingly struck out every 15.77 at bats. When considering hitters on this list with over 200 home runs, the next best strikeout rate belongs to Ted Simmons, who only struck out once every 12.50 at bats.

What does all this mean? It means that at his very best, before back and shoulder injuries sapped his power, Don Mattingly was the best hitter in baseball. He was the best combination of power, run production, and pure hitting. Mattingly in his four years atop baseball as its best player hit those 119 home runs, or 30 home runs per season, while only striking out 147 times. When you consider that there are hitters now striking out more than 200 times a season, Mattingly at his best was reminiscent of Joe DiMaggio. I mean, does anybody today hit 30 home runs, and strike out 37 times? That's what Donnie Baseball did. And while Mattingly was destroying the baseball, he was also playing spectacular defense at first.
Great analysis on Hernandez Bill. I will also say that I watched a lot of baseball in the 1980's, particularly the Mets and Red Sox but also had more time to watch highlights, etc. Gary Carter was a great player and deserves to be in the HOF. Strawberry and Gooden in their primes were among the top players in baseball. Yet, never did I or anyone else think any of these guys were the best player on the Mets. It was Hernandez hands down. I agree that he never put up big power numbers and that hurts him and he was part of the cocaine scandal. But at the end of the day, who do you want batting third in your lineup and playing first base for your team: Cecil (or Prince) Fielder or Keith Hernandez.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:24 PM
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Great analysis on Hernandez Bill. I will also say that I watched a lot of baseball in the 1980's, particularly the Mets and Red Sox but also had more time to watch highlights, etc. Gary Carter was a great player and deserves to be in the HOF. Strawberry and Gooden in their primes were among the top players in baseball. Yet, never did I or anyone else think any of these guys were the best player on the Mets. It was Hernandez hands down. I agree that he never put up big power numbers and that hurts him and he was part of the cocaine scandal. But at the end of the day, who do you want batting third in your lineup and playing first base for your team: Cecil (or Prince) Fielder or Keith Hernandez.
In the early 90s, Cecil Fielder for sure.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:53 PM
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Oh, and Jeff, I agree with you on all three of the gentlemen you named.

I understand there have to be rules in baseball, and if you break a rule, you have to pay a penalty of some sort, be it sitting out the last 65 games of a season, or being permanently banned by the League Commissioner.

But like the game of baseball itself that starts with hope renewed each spring, I believe at some point all men should be given a second chance. Though Shoeless Joe Jackson is no longer with us, I think that he has paid penance enough. So, too, has Pete Rose.

I look at the players that we are, for one reason or another, choosing to exclude from Cooperstown. The all-time leading home run hitter. The all-time hits leader. The men with the three best individual home run seasons in baseball history, too. The man with more Cy Young Awards than any other pitcher. One day I might get married and have a kid. I'll be older than dog spit, but if I have a boy, I'll take him to visit Cooperstown. And I do not now know how I would answer him if asked "daddy, who hit the most home runs, and who had the most hits, and why are they nameless silhouettes on this wall? I can't even answer that question now. What will happen when I'm old and decrepit?

Joe Jackson needs to be in the Hall of Fame. I mean, if the Hall exists to honor the greats of the game, I'd be hard pressed to name ten men who had greater natural hitting ability than Jackson.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. And he bet on his own team. But he didn't bet they would lose, and then attempt to sabotage his team's chances. He bet on his team to win.

Again, he's served his time. Put him in Cooperstown. Put a post it note next to his plaque stating he bet on the game if you must, baseball. But put him in.

And Jobe? Yes. He clearly belongs in. Another man that should have been inducted while he was alive. Now it's too late.

What a shame.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
That's like an anecdote attributed to Cobb. Someone in the 1950's allegedly asked him what he thought he would hit if he were playing today. He said around .270. The questioner expressed surprise, and asked him to explain. He said, well I am 70 years old.
Yup, though Mr. Cobb's (er Tommy Lee Jones') language was a little more colorful. Then he grabbed Lolita Davidovich. That was the best part of the gig for ol' Texas Tommy.

Oooooo! And Tommy Lee Jones really was born in Texas. Texas Tommy works.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:08 AM
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Garvey - No
Hernandez - No
Parker - No
Morris - No
Mattingly - No
Simmons - No
Whitaker, Trammell, and Dick Allen - Yes

Whitaker & Trammell are on par with 1st balloters Sandberg & Larkin.
Dick Allen posted better numbers than the guys above.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:15 AM
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I've said it before but Don Mattingly was the best player of his generation. He was Pujols before Pujols. Yes, he got hurt. But there was no one better.

The HOF has awarded players with shortened careers before. Dizzy Dean had the promise of a HOFer but he didn't have a HOF career. The same is true for Rube Marquard (brief dominance) and Hack Wilson.

So why not Mattingly?

Last edited by packs; 06-26-2014 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:26 AM
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One that isn't mentioned often but I like is Maury Wills. Again, it all depends on what we collectively want as a hall of fame, but he had an MVP, a couple of world championships (like Maris) was an evolutionary player. Five time all star and a couple of gold gloves…his career cumulative offensive stats are probably about average for a Hall of Fame shortstop or a little above, I think most baseball fans would take him in his three year prime over any but the most elite of hall shortstops. Didn't do himself any favors after his career. I met him a couple of times and he was nice if a little curmudogny.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:52 PM
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I've said it before but Don Mattingly was the best player of his generation. He was Pujols before Pujols. Yes, he got hurt. But there was no one better.

The HOF has awarded players with shortened careers before. Dizzy Dean had the promise of a HOFer but he didn't have a HOF career. The same is true for Rube Marquard (brief dominance) and Hack Wilson.

So why not Mattingly?
But by that logic, if Red Schoendienst and George Kell, why not Julio Franco and Omar Vizquel? If Chick Hafey, why not Andres Galarraga? If Dean, why not Gooden, who I believe had just as many dominating seasons? I think arguments based on who is in -- which seemed to be the justification for the eventual induction of, for example, Rice and Dawson -- just lead one down the road of dilution.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:17 PM
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You don't think Vizquel is a HOFer?

Don Mattingly would not dilute the HOF. He was a HOFer and one of the most talented players ever to play first base. He is so much further up from Andres Gallaraga that they shouldn't be mentioned in the same argument. For reference even with a full career Gallaraga is ranked 70th on the first base list, with Mattingly at 36th.

Injuries didn't ruin Doc Gooden's career either. Doc Gooden ruined Doc Gooden's career.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:24 PM
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So how do you explain this?
Hall of Fame
2001 BBWAA (28.2%)
2002 BBWAA (20.3%)
2003 BBWAA (13.7%)
2004 BBWAA (12.8%)
2005 BBWAA (11.4%)
2006 BBWAA (12.3%)
2007 BBWAA ( 9.9%)
2008 BBWAA (15.8%)
2009 BBWAA (11.9%)
2010 BBWAA (16.1%)
2011 BBWAA (13.6%)
2012 BBWAA (17.8%)
2013 BBWAA (13.2%)
2014 BBWAA ( 8.2%)
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:33 PM
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Simple. The perception today is that you have to have certain numbers to be a HOFer. Mattingly doesn't have them. My argument is that the HOF has recognized injury shortened careers and HOF potential in its past elections. That same eye should be applied to Mattingly. But it hasn't been. That's what we're discussing.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:37 PM
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Simple. The perception today is that you have to have certain numbers to be a HOFer. Mattingly doesn't have them. My argument is that the HOF has recognized injury shortened careers and HOF potential in its past elections. That same eye should be applied to Mattingly. But it hasn't been. That's what we're discussing.
Right, and my point is that if you let people in because the same logic applies to them as applied to past inductees, in your example 50 years or more ago, it would argue for the inclusion of a whole host of players. Standards change, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Suppose you were to apply your logic, and induct every player since 1940 who was as good or better than Chick Hafey or Travis Jackson or Fred Lindstrom. How many people would that be?
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:39 PM
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Is that really true though? Kirby Puckett was inducted as recently as 2001.

I don't think Chick Hafey or Travis Jackson sniff Mattingly. He was the best player in the league. None of those players were the best of anything really. Your examples seem way off to me. I compared Mattingly to Dizzy Dean and Hack Wilson.

I'm talking about a single player with extraordinary talent, not any old player who was decent.

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Old 06-26-2014, 03:48 PM
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Peter,

You are right. Standards change. And the HOF abandoned the standard you always argue for by no later than 1946.
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:16 PM
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Peter,

You are right. Standards change. And the HOF abandoned the standard you always argue for by no later than 1946.
And an unfortunate thing it was too. Particularly when it has been replaced by seemingly fluctuating standards sometimes to the point of letting in players who were not much better than above average.
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  #146  
Old 06-26-2014, 04:21 PM
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Is that really true though? Kirby Puckett was inducted as recently as 2001.

I don't think Chick Hafey or Travis Jackson sniff Mattingly. He was the best player in the league. None of those players were the best of anything really. Your examples seem way off to me. I compared Mattingly to Dizzy Dean and Hack Wilson.

I'm talking about a single player with extraordinary talent, not any old player who was decent.
Gooden had extraordinary talent. One could argue Garvey did. Dave Parker at his best was pretty phenomenal. Do you support all of them? Colavito had a phenomenal five year stretch from 58-62 averaging 40 HR and well over 100RBI, does he get your vote? Hodges? George Foster was arguably the best hitter in the game, or close to it, for a few years in the mid-70s. It's a very slippery slope.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:00 PM
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So why not Mattingly?

Mattingly was awesome from 84-87 and started a rapid decline from that peak.

Compare him to George Foster from 76-79 and beyond. If Mattingly belongs, than so does George Foster. Why isn't anyone clamouring for Foster?

The injustice is Dick Allen. From 1964-1974 he makes Garvey and Mattingly look like 2nd tier guys.

Why is that?
My theory is appearance. Black vs white and Hollywood looks vs whoa! Another theory could be NY and LA. Regardless, the numbers don't lie.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:12 PM
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Mattingly was awesome from 84-87 and started a rapid decline from that peak.

Compare him to George Foster from 76-79 and beyond. If Mattingly belongs, than so does George Foster. Why isn't anyone clamouring for Foster?

The injustice is Dick Allen. From 1964-1974 he makes Garvey and Mattingly look like 2nd tier guys.

Why is that?
My theory is appearance. Black vs white and Hollywood looks vs whoa! Another theory could be NY and LA. Regardless, the numbers don't lie.
Why is what? None of the guys you mentioned are in the hall of fame.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:44 PM
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My point was that Mattingly and Garvey are brought up as Hall worthy way more often than Foster and Allen.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:54 PM
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My point was that Mattingly and Garvey are brought up as Hall worthy way more often than Foster and Allen.
Foster and Allen didn't play in NY or LA, at least not long enough.

Can all you Tommy John fans explain why you'd choose him and not Jim Kaat? I'm not seeing much difference.
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