Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My 2017 Hall of Fame Vote

Wednesday is the announcement for the 2017 Hall of Fame class. I would like give my ballot (if had one ) before the inductees are announced.
As a reminder, each voter is allowed to vote from zero to ten players.  A player must receive a minimum of 75%  in order to be inducted.  If a player gets less than 5%, he is off the ballot permanently. 
So here is my ballot:
Jeff Bagwell
Tim Raines
Mike Mussina
Curt Schilling
Fred McGriff
Vladimir Guerrero

I am on the fence with Ivan Rodriguez, Larry Walker and Edgar Martinez.  How much of link is there with Rodriguez and PEDs?  and With Walker and Martinez, both are very very good players but not sure quite Hall worthy.  I am a hardline no with Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds right now.

Who do I think will get in? Bagwell and Raines. Guerrero has real good shot, he may sneak in on the first ballot but my guess he will have to wait a year.  Rodriguez and Trevor Hoffman will come close also.  Clemens and Bonds will get more votes than ever but still fall short.

I am also hoping that Jorge Posada receives at least 5% of votes.  I don't think he will get in soon but I believe he should be on the ballot in the future and not be just a one and done.

Friday, January 6, 2017

In Memoriam: "Superman" Pennington

Baseball lost a former star on Wednesday, but most fans may have never heard of him. His name is Art Pennington.  He played in the old Negro Leagues in the 1940s primarily with the Chicago American Giants.
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter

Pennington was a versatile player on the diamond. He had power and speed while playing several positions too.  He finished near or at the top in stolen bases and batting average consistently with the like of Jackie Robinson and Sam Jethroe.  Pennington appeared in two All Star games-1942 and 1950.

There is an old story that when a Pennington was a teenager, he faced the great Satchel Paige.  Paige said to the youngster "Come on up, little boy" with Pennington telling him to just "throw it and duck".  Well, Paige got the best of Pennington that day but he hit well enough overall as a pro to have it become his signature phrase.

Like many other negro leaguers, Pennington also played winter ball in Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela.  Most black players loved playing in these countries as there were no prejudices and they lived as free men.  Pennington held his old own during the winter leagues playing with and against the likes of Ray Dandridge, Willie Wells , Josh Gibson and several big league stars too.

After his stints in the Negro Leagues and winter ball, Pennington played several seasons in the minor leagues.  Even though he had success in the minors (hitting over .300 for multiple seasons), he never got the call to the big leagues.  The majors were still being integrated and the teams that signed the black players only signed a token few even though more were qualified.

Pennigton's other big highlight was hitting home runs off of big leaguers Sal Maglie and Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean in an exhibition game.  Pennington was 93 years old.