Thursday, December 17, 2015

Commissioner Rob Manfred Got It right with Pete Rose Decision

On Monday MLB commissioner Rob Manfred upheld the banishment of Pete Rose.  I believe this is the right decision.  This result also keeps Pete Rose out of the Baseball Hall of Fame as it states in their rules that "any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate".
1987 Donruss
I have heard many arguments from baseball fans for letting Pete Rose back in baseball and subsequently the Hall of Fame.  One must understand that a person must keep his/her own fandom out of the equation and think what is the greater good for the game.  I will give you some of the more popular arguments for the inclusion of Pete Rose and then why they are not valid.

1.   The Hall of Fame should only consider what the player has done on the field not off the field.  This one I hear the most and becomes even more invalid with the most recent news that Rose not only bet as a manager but as a player.  He strongly denied that he gambled for many years on baseball, but came clean saying in his 2004 book that he did bet while as a manager in 1987.  But documents surfaced earlier in 2015 that he also gambled in 1986 as a player/manager. 
Yes, Rose compiled a Hall of Fame resume before any known betting on baseball happened, but a person is guilty of a crime no matter when it happened in his career.  One can not separate manager Pete Rose from player Pete Rose or young from the old.  It is the same person.

2.  There are players with worse character issues such as murderers, rapists, drug users and wife/child beaters already in or would be allowed than a gambler.   In the normal world these character issues and crimes are terrible and are seen worse than a person who gambles on occasion and rightfully so.  But we are not talking about the real world, we are discussing the world of sports.  In this world, there is not a worse thing a person can do than gamble in the same game he or she participates in.  
When a person commits a crime against society he/she is only hurting him or herself(and the victims too). The crime does not affect the game whatsoever other than a temporary black eye.  But when a person gambles in the game he/she participates in, the game loses integrity.  Once the integrity of the game is questioned, the fans will stop coming and soon there will be no game.  There is a reason why precedence was made when commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned all eight players for life after the 1919 World Series.  There must be zero tolerance of gambling by the participants in sports.

3.  Steroid and other Performance enhancing drug (PEDs) users are allowed in the game and that is cheating too.    This here, we are comparing apples to oranges.  Yes, PED users did cheat in accumulating their career stats and had an unfair playing advantage during the games, but what separates the two is the PED users still competed fully at all times.   A person who has a stake on the game, one might make decisions that would hinder the outcome of the game in some way and they don't always show up in the box score or stats.  As a player, did he hang on the ball too long before throwing causing a safe baserunner? did not take the extra base as he should? did he miss the cut off man on purpose?   As a manager, was a pitcher left in the game too long or pulled too quickly? was a substitiution made that hurt the team? as examples
A PED user should be punished and the drugs should not be allowed in the game, but the fan also knew he competed fully whether for team or personal reasons.  For a gambler, it might not always be the case.   I might also add that no known or alleged PED user has come close to Hall of Fame induction even they are on the ballot each year.

After saying all of this, the Baseball Hall of Fame can change their rules and allow any player including Rose eligible for induction.   But as I see it now, Rose still would not have any chance for induction. Why?  Just as any criminal or addict,  Rose must prove he is a changed person.  In his meeting with Manfred, Rose admitted he still gambles on occasion and even on baseball.  Obviously, Rose doesn't feel totally guilty of his gambling or understands the consequences of his prior actions.   Rose should travel the country and preach the evils of gambling.  He also has shown no effort in helping the youth in teaching the game here or abroad.  Rose has shown no proof in helping the sport in baseball in a positive manner or is done with his gambling habits.  Until Pete Rose has done this, he should not be considered for the Hall of Fame if he ever becomes eligible. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Baseball and Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.   This law prohibits discrimination in the workplace for people who have disabilities.   Baseball is no different from any other work place and has had it's share of players with disabilities.

Topps trading card company has included a "Pride and Perseverance" insert set in the 2015 Topps Update baseball card set.  Here are the players in the set and his disability:

#1 Buddy Carlyle  - diabetes
#2 Curtis Pride   -born deaf
#3 George Springer - stuttering
#4 Jake Peavy - legally blind without his corrective lenses
#5 Jason Johnson - diabetes
#6 Jim Abbott - born without a right hand
#7 Jim Eisenreich - Tourette's Syndrome
#8 Jon Lester - cancer survivor
#9 Pete Gray - lost arm in childhood accident
#10 Sam Fuld - diabetes
#11 William Hoy - deaf
#12 Anthony Rizzo - cancer survivor

A few notes on the above players. 
-Jason Johnson was the first player to play with an insulin pump on the field.
-Jim Abbott pitched a no hitter in the major leagues
-Jim Eisenreich won a National League pennant with the Phillies and a World Series title with the Marlins. He also was the first ever winner of the Tony Conigliaro Award
-William "Dummy" Hoy was the first prominent player in baseball that was deaf. Some believe he was the reason why the umpires have hand signals for calls.  Others disprove this notion.

The above players are not the only ones with a disability.  Former all stars John Kruk, Eric Davis, Brett Butler and Mike Lowell are all cancer survivors.  Current Tiger pitcher Daniel Norris just recently announced he has thyroid cancer.
Former pitcher Bill Gullickson is also diabetic.  Gullickson pitched for a couple years in Japan and was admired for overcoming type 1 diabetes.  In 1998, an award was established in his name for a patient who is deemed to have a superior influence on society. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Two (Possibly Three) Things I Would Change About the MLB

Another regular season of the major league baseball season is now done.  I believe MLB does a great job running the league, but nothing is perfect.  I propose two rule changes and a possible third item that can be done in order to improve the national pastime.

One is the expanded September rosters.  The current rule is that each team must have 25 players on the active roster from opening day thru August 31.  Once September 1st arrives, any team can expand their roster up to 40.   They don't have to add any if they don't want to or use the roster space to the maximum.  This leads to unfair playing field in the time of year where every game matters more.  This especially true now more than ever because amount of parity in the league.
I am all for expanding rosters on September 1st.  Injured players come back without a need of removing a player who has been playing well in his absence.  It also rewards minor leagues who deserve a chance at the big league club and give them a chance to showcase their skills.  I propose expanded the rosters to 30.  The five extra roster spots allows the manager to have more players to use yet keeps the integrity of the pennant race.

The second rule change deals with all the days off in the playoffs.  With all the extra wild card spots and traveling. there seems to be a lot more days between games.  I know television rules here, but some of the off days needs to be eliminated .  Baseball players are in a routine of playing almost every day and down time can and have hurt the level of play.  As fans, we want to the best players playing at their best when it means the most.
This rule change gives the best team a better chance of winning it all also.  After 162 games, it becomes evident which teams are the best ones.  These teams should not be at a disadvantage because it allows others with less than stellar full rosters ride a star pitcher (see Madison Bumgarner-2014) for entire playoffs.  

For the third issue, I don't know if it is really fixable.  It is how late in the calendar year the World Series champion is crowned.  Baseball players compete in usually warm conditions for six months of the year and  when the championship is being played for, the weather is much colder.  This is not right, but what is the solution?
We could A) move the season up.  Its cold in April, so this won't work.  B) We can shorten the season.  Teams and MLB would lose revenue from less games and baseball being full of stats and records. The shorten season will have an affect here also.  C) The elimination of days off in post season will help some, but not enough.
The only solution I can think of is the return of doubleheaders.  The older generation of baseball fans remember the days of Sunday doubleheaders.  The traditional doubleheaders would get denied by the owners because they would be losing gate and concession revenue here. So I propose day/night doubleheaders. It gives the owners a full home schedule to make money from.   There are 26 Sundays during a MLB season. If you schedule double headers for 10-13 of these Sundays, it would eliminate about two weeks of the calendar year and give us a better chance of seeing warm weather games.
The problem here is that the players union will likely not go for it.  The long season is already taxing on a player especially the pitchers. If you cram the games in a shorter time period, it could cause more injuries. You also have to give an account for the unscheduled double headers -the games that are postponed due to weather and must be played later.   I am not sure there is a solution to the viable argument.
Then again I am not sure if MLB wants to shorten the season.  The expanded playoffs allows more time for jersey and memorabilia sales.  More television time and revenue from the advertisment.  And more time for having baseball in the news.
We all know we can't fix anything that doesn't want to be fixed, so I will only propose my first two rule changes in order to improve MLB.

Friday, September 25, 2015

All 25 And Under Team

If you have been watching baseball this year, you probably have noticed the number of young stars in the game.  But do you realize how many there are?  I am naming my all 25 and younger all star teams.

First Team:
C:   Salvador Perez (25 years old)  KC Royals
1B:  Eric Hosmer (25) KC Royals
2B:  Jose Altuve (25) Houston Astros
3B:  Manny Machado (23)  Baltimore Orioles
SS:  Carlos Correa (21) Houston Astros
OF:  Mike Trout (24) Los Angeles Angels
        Bryce Harper (22) Washington Nationals
        Giancarlo Stanton (25) Miami Marlins
SP:  Gerrit Cole (25) Pittsburgh Pirates
       Michael Wacha (24) St. Louis Cardinals
       Jose Fernandez (23) Miami Marlins
       Danny Salazar (25) Cleveland Indians
       Carlos Martinez (24) St. Louis Cardinals
       Sonny Gray (25) Oakland Athletics
Closer:  Jeurys Familia (25) New York Mets

2nd Team:
C:    James McCann (25) Detroit Tigers
1B:  Wil Myers (24) San Diego Padres
2B:  Kolten Wong (24) St Louis Cardinals
3B:  Nolan Arenado (25) Colorado Rockies
SS:  Jose Iglesias (25) Detroit Tigers
OF:  Yasiel Puig (24) Los Angeles Dodgers
       Mookie Betts (22) Boston Red Sox
       Gregory Polanco (24) Pittsburgh Pirates
SP:  Taijuan Walker (23) Seattle Mariners
       Marcus Stroman (24) Toronto Blue Jays
      Yordano Ventura (24) KC Royals
       Jake Odorizzi (25) Tampa Bay Rays
Closer: Roberto Osuna (20) Toronto Blue Jays

Honorable Mention
C:  Kyle Schwarber (22- CHiC) Blake Swihart (23-Bos) and JT Realmuto (24-Miami)
1B: Travis Shaw (25-Bos) Greg Bird (22- NYY)
2B: Roughned Odor (21-Tex) Jonathan Schoop (24-Balt)
SS: Francisco Lindor (21-Clev) Xander Bogaerts (22-Bos) Corey Seager (21-LA D) Addison Russell (21-CHI C)
3B: Kris Bryant (23-CHI C) Miguel Sano (22 - Minn) Maikel Franco (23- Phi)
OF:  Jackie Bradley Jr (25-Bos) Yasmany Tomas (24- Ari) Michael Conforto (22-NYM) Byron Buxton (21-Minn) Eddie Rosario (23-Minn) Billy Hamilton (25 - Cinn) Stephen Piscotty (24- StL) Christain Yelich (23-Mia) Joc Pederson (23-LAD) Marcell Ozuna (24- Miami) Jorge Soler (23-ChiC)
SP:  Carlos Rodon (22 -CHiW) Aaron Nola (22- Phi) Steven Matz (24- NYM) Noah Syndergaard (23- NYM) Daniel Norris (22-Det) Luis Severino (21-NYY) Nathan Eovaldi (25-NYY) Julio Teheran (24-Atl) Lance McCullers Jr (21-Hous)

A few players who may have crossed your mind and think I ommited. Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo are both 26. Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom of New York Mets are both north of 25 also

You can have quite the All Star game just between the young stars of the game.  Did you also notice how many young shortstops there are? This list doesn't include Andrelton Simmons, Brandon Crawford and Adeiny Hechavarria or Philadelphia top prospect JP Crawford.  In a few years, we may call this the era of the great shortstops.

Yes, baseball is in very good hands for the next decade with these players.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Memoriam: Yogi Berra

One of the game's greatest characters and winners passed away on Tuesday at the age of 90 - Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra.   Coincidently, he passed away exactly 69 years to the day of his MLB debut.
1954 Topps

Instead of going through all of his accomplishments, there are many.  I will honor Mr. Berra with his Yogi-isms.  He was a very bright man, but couldn't quite say what was on his mind in a very eloquent way.  Yes, Berra said all of the following:

-A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.

-Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical

-Bill Dickey is learning me his experience

-I always thought a record would stand until it was broken

-So I am ugly, I never saw anyone hit with their face

-It gets late early out there

-It's deja vu all over again

-Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded

-You can observe a lot just from watching

-The game isn't over until it's over

-We made too many wrong mistakes

-You should go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours

-You've got to be careful if don't know where you are going because you might not get there

-When you come to a fork in the road, take it

-If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?

-I never said most of the things I said

RIP Yogi You will be greatly missed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

15 Greatest Left Handed Pitchers of All Time

Thursday was International Left-Handers Day.  What a good reason to name my fifteen greatest lefty pitchers of all time. So here goes:

15.  Eddie Plank
14.  Andy Pettitte 

13. Lefty Gomez

1976 Kellogg's

12. Vida Blue
11. Hal Newhouser
10. Clayton Kershaw
9.  Mickey Lolich
8.  Whitey Ford

2012 Panini Cooperstown
7.  Carl Hubbell
6.  Tom Glavine

5.  Steve Carlton

1933 Goudey
4. Lefty Grove
3. Warren Spahn
2. Sandy Koufax

2001 Fleer Tradtion
1. Randy Johnson

I picked Johnson over Koufax basically because of longevity of career.   Other left handed pitchers I considered were: Sam McDowellCliff LeeFernando ValenzuelaRon Guidry ,  Jim Kaat   Billy Pierce CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels . 

One addition honorable mention would be Babe Ruth.  He was one of heck of a starter before becoming the home run legend we all know him as. 

Obviously, Kershaw is still in his prime and could go up on the list very easily.  Others who has time on their side are David PriceMadison BumgarnerChris Sale and Jon Lester .   Hamels belongs on this list also.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

World Elephant Day

Today, August 12, is International World Elephant Day.  It was established three years for the dedication and preservation of the elephants worldwide.   Why am I writing about elephants on a baseball blog?  Well, if you pay close attention to the Oakland A's and their uniforms, you will find an elephant.  As you can see with this baseball card of pitcher Jarrod Parker:
2015 Topps Heritage

The elephant on the A's uniform dates back to the days when the franchise was in Philadelphia over 100 years ago.   Sporting goods manufacturer Benjamin Shibe and Connie Mack founded the A's franchise as a part of the newly formed American League in 1901.   The new ball club was trying establish themselves in a city where the National League's Phillies have been playing since the 1880s.  New York Giants manager John McGraw felt that that Shibe and Mack had a " white elephant " on their hands.

Mack ran with the jab and added the elephant as the team's mascot.  The A's quickly became a success and as fate would have it, competed against McGraw's Giants in the 1905 World Series.  Prior to the series, Mack presented McGraw with a toy elephant.

The elephant was eventually replaced by then owner Charles O. Finley in favor of a Missouri mule in 1963, but for the 1988 season the elephant was back with the franchise and has been ever since.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Early Season Thoughs and Observations

The 2015 baseball season is a little over a month old now.  I am going to give you all a few items of note that popped in my head while watching some games.  Nothing significant enough to write a whole story about but relevant enough to share.
2015 Topps Heritage

Has Alex Rodriguez finally become a good teammate?  He seems to be more humble after being away from the game for a year plus due to his suspension.  Of course, the season is very early.  He could still have an ARod being ARod moment or two.

Speaking of Yankees. They are playing above my expectations. Their bullpen seem to be the biggest contributing factor in their early success. Taking a page from the Royals and shortening the game.  The 1-2 punch of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner at the top of the order with Mark Teixeira and ARod hitting like they used to are also helping out.  Yankees should contend all year, but are an injury away from falling in the standings.

This maybe the worst American East in a very long time.  Every club is mediocre at best. Orioles loss of Nelson Cruz, and a lack of legit pitching ace. The Yankees with their the age and overall health questions. Blue Jays are lacking pitching. Rays are in a rebuilding mode and the Red Sox have pitching questions and now injury problems.  Who you got? Not sure for me and I would not put money on any of them in winning a playoff series.

From afar, I still don't know why Rays gave up and traded OF Will Myers so early.  He was the big pick up for Tampa in the James Shields trade. Myers had a dismal year in 2014 after winning the Rookie of the Year award the year prior.  Rays still had several years of Myers control and his talent before free agency.  They usually keep the younger players until they become unaffordable and deal for younger players.  Myers is having a nice comeback year with San Diego.  Time will tell what we think of Myers and the trade to the Padres.

The Washington Nationals looks to be the most overrated team of 2015.  Their defense is terrible and will not win any pennants when they are making laughable errors on an almost nightly basis.  They seem to be proof that you can not build a team like a fantasy team.  It takes more than names and numbers to field a winning team in the major leagues.

A few years ago the Detroit Tigers had one of the worst defenses in MLB.  The Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade, the return of shortstop Jose Iglesias and the addition of Yoenis Cespedes has made the Tigers a pretty decent defensive team.
2013 Topps Update
Mets young outfielder Juan Lagares is a star in the making.  He is already widely considered the best overall defensive centerfielder in the game.  Now his bat is catching up to his glove.  He should be a mainstay in the Mets outfield and at Gold Glove banquets for years to come.

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has been getting praise since debuting in 2012 and deservedly so.  But there is another young third baseman who may end up having a better career -Nolan Arenado of Colorado. He has won Gold Gloves in each of his two seasons in the majors and also had a 28 game hitting streak in 2014.  Nolan Arenado is legit.

I totally agreed how the Chicago Cubs handled Kris Bryant and his MLB debut.  Even if it was obvious that the team delayed Bryant's debut until after the date that would put his contract in control of the Cubs for an additional year.  I rather have a player cheaper for another year than have him play a few more weeks at the onset of his career.  Plus on a purely baseball point of view, a prospect usually don't pan out by staying in the minor leagues too long as opposed to being the big leagues too soon.

Is it coincidence that the Miami Marlins started winning games since catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was benched and subsequently released?  I think not. On my team, I rather have a catcher who hits .200 and handles the pitching staff well over one that hits and the pitchers don't really like throwing to.  Saltamacchia was benched during the Red Sox World Series championship in 2013 and now is replaced by a rookie(J.T. Realmuto) in Miami. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Continuing a Spring Tradition: Voice of the Turtle

Every year prior to the Detroit Tigers first spring training game long time radio announcer would recite "the voice of the turtle."  The passage is from the Song of Solomon of the Old Testament. Here it is:

"For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on earth;
the time of singing of birds is come ,
and the voice of the turtle is heard  in our land"

Monday, March 2, 2015

In Memoriam: Minnie Minoso

1956 Topps
Before there was Yasiel Puig, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez or even Juan Marichal and Roberto Clemente, there was Minnie Minoso.   Minoso is considered to be the first black Latino in MLB history when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1948.

Minoso became a star when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1951.  While playing for Chicago, the Cuban Comet made 9 All Star teams and won three Gold Gloves for his outfield play.  Minoso was a multidimensional player.  Not only he had speed and a good glove, Minoso was one of the few power threats for the White Sox in the 1950s.  He even led the league in hits by pitch ten times in his career.

Minoso initially finished his career in 1964 back with White Sox after short stays with the Cardinals and Senators.  His love for the game never waned after retirement, Minoso made a well publicized three game stint in 1976.  He went 3 for 8 in hitting, thus becoming the oldest player ever to hit safely at the age of 50.  Minoso made more two appearances in 1980 pitch hitting, which made him the only player to play in five different decades in MLB history.

Many believe Mr. White Sox should be in the Hall of Fame for his play and contributions to the game and the White Sox that went well beyond his playing career.  2014 American League Rookie of the Year and fellow Cuban Jose Abreu said Minoso helped him in his transition into the big leagues.  I am not sure if his appearances in 1976 and 1980 helped or hurt his case.  Some voters think of it as only publicity stunts, but frankly the Hall of Fame would not be looked at any less with Minnie Minoso included.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Top 10 What Could Have Beens of All Time

2015 Topps
Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Josh Hamilton has made the news of late with his relapse of drug addiction.  If you don't know Hamilton's story, he was MLB's first overall draft pick in 1999 and then became a drug addict. He was out of baseball entirely for two years and fought his back to become one of the top players in the game for a period of time.
His story got me thinking about other players who had careers destined for stardom or even the Hall of Fame, but was cut short due to various reasons.  I will give you my list of the top 10 MLB players of all time who could have been greater. 
As for my criteria, Hall of Famers are excluded as they are already considered to be amongst the greatest.   Also, Negro Leaguers are also excluded.  They deserve to be on a list of their own.  These players also established themselves as quality MLB players for several years instead of just one or two seasons.  Giving more credence to the argument.  So here goes:

10)Kerry Wood   Wood and fellow top prospect Mark Prior were suppose to be the ones that would end Cubs' World Series drought.  Wood won the Rookie of the Year and tied the MLB record for striking out 20 hitters in one game.  Woods developed arm problems and never was the same afterwards.

9) Lyman Bostock   He debuted for the Minnesota Twins in 1975.  He was thought to be a future star and win a batting title or two.  He developed into a very good hitter and became one of MLB's first big free agents when he signed with the Angels.  His career tragically ended in 1978 when he was murdered.
1970 Topps

8)Tony Conigliaro   Tony C as he was affectionately known in Boston was one of  MLB top sluggers in the late 1960s.  He had hit 100 career home runs by the age of 22.  But during Boston's AL pennant run in 1967 he was hit by a pitch in the face.  He made a comeback but his stardom was all but over

7) Josh Hamilton   One of the most talented players in baseball.  Won an MVP while trying to fight his drug addiction.  Watch him play and you can see how special of a player he could have been.  I believe Hamilton is the closest to anyone to being the real life "The Natural".  Hamilton was born to excel in the game.
1941 PlayBall

6)Cecil Travis  He was a star shortstop for the Washington Senators in the 1930s and 40s.  He made three All Star teams and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice by the age of 27.  At this time he was called for duty in World War II.  While fighting he developed a severe case of frostbite that needed surgery to avoid amputation to a foot.  After returning from war, he was never the same player.
1991 Conlon
5)Smoky Joe Wood  He was the ace of the Red Sox World Series championship team in 1912.  Wood was considered just as good as Walter Johnson for a short time.  For the 1912 season, he went 34-5 with an ERA of 1.91.  During that season, he set the MLB record for consecutive victories(18).  Wood also had arm problems that ended his career. For his career he had a record of 117-57 and an ERA of 2.03.

4)Pete Reiser  In his first full season in the big leagues in 1941 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Reiser led the NL in runs scored(117), doubles(39), triples(17), batting(.343) and slugging(.558).  He finished 2nd in the MVP voting.  His next seasons also made him an All Star and finished in the top ten for the MVP.  But his reckless play led to injuries and his downfall.

3)Herb Score  The flame throwing Cleveland Indian led the AL in strikeouts in first two seasons in the bigs.  Early on his third season, he was hit in the head by line drive from New York Yankee hitter Gil McDougal.  Score made a comeback but his days as a dominant flame thrower were over.
1975 Topps

2) J.R. Richard  Richard was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball in the late 70s.  After harnessing his talents he strikeout over 300 batters in consecutive seasons for the Astros in 1978 and 79.  Nolan Ryan signed with Houston after the 1979 season to give the team the most potent 1-2 punch in baseball. But halfway through the 1980 season where Richard was having another great season, he suffered a stroke and ended his career.

1) Bo Jackson  Perhaps the most talented player on this list.  He did things on the ball field no one has ever done before or since.  His talents were so raw from playing more football as as amateur.  Just as he was learning the game more and developing as a better overall player he suffered an injury while playing football.  If Jackson  had a long baseball career, his numbers might have been mind boggling and his highlight reel even more so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot

Today the new inductees for the Hall of Fame will be announced.  I will give you my selections and who I think will get elected into Cooperstown.  First of all, each voter can select from zero to ten candidates.
Here are my selections for the Hall of Fame:
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz
Alan Trammell
Craig Biggio
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Mike Mussina
Jeff Bagwell
Mike Piazza

Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz are this year's first timers and Trammell is on his second to last year on the ballot. I voted for a full amount allowed out of necessity. I felt each one of the above players are deserving.  I left off Fred McGriff only because he was number eleven for me.  I also left off Gary Sheffield, Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker.  Obviously there is no room for PED guys Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Who do I think will get in?  Johnson and Martinez are locks.  Smoltz should also get on his first try.  Biggio was so close last year.  History tells us that when a player misses election by a handful of votes one year, he usually gets in the following.
That gives us four players elected this year with many more qualified candidates for next year.
But will four players be elected?  That hasn't happened since 1955 when the BBWAA picked Joe Dimaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance.  I can see only three players being picked this year with either Smoltz and Biggio left off .  There are some voters who sent in blank ballots out of protest and then there some voters who believe in only picking a maximum of three players each year.
So, I am guessing we will have four players this year.  I am hoping for more though.