Cooperstown Class of 2019

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  • #76726
    Brian Walton
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    Initial impression of Smith’s selection is good. Less so for Baines. Steinbrenner left in the dust.

    #76728
    bicyclemike
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    Glad for both guys. Big Lee deserved it. I did not feel Baines was worthy, and commented earlier that if he is in Vada Pinson should be there. Pinson was better than Baines.

    But that’s the way it goes.

    #76729
    Brian Walton
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    #76735
    Brian Walton
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    In case there was any question… no red jacket coming…

    #76737
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    Didn’t expect Big Lee to don a StL hat. Still thrilled for him.

    #76738
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    858booyah
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    Congrats to both. I thought Baines had a better shot than some did I guess. It helps that TLR and Reinsdorf were on the committee. Same for Ozzie and Maddux for Smith.

    #76740
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    PugsleyAddams
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    Wouldn’t be surprised if the cubbies greased Lee’s palm a bit to don that cubs cap.

    #76743
    Brian Walton
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    #76754
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    Wiley
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    Ted Simmons is easily one of the ten best catchers of all time and should be in the Hall. Fred McGriff can’t make the HOF with far superior numbers to Baines? The thing about Dewey Evans is that his career numbers pretty much mirror Jim Rice, the only difference being Dwight’s 8 Gold Glove awards for his superior right field defense. Heck of an arm too.

    #76755
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    Bob Reed
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    Fred McGriff has been cheated not so much by the voters, as by his prominent contemporaries at first base, who just happened to be illegal PED users. The Crime Dog’s prime lasted from 1987-2001, and as you may see from this link, over that 15-year stretch the top 3 first basemen in the majors were all drug cheats. (Well, two confirmed PED cheats and another highly likely one.) Then came Frank Thomas, then McGriff.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=1b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2001&month=0&season1=1987&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

    The drug cheats raised the “average” performance of MLB first basemen, and thus artificially lowered all other first basemen’s WAR totals. It wouldn’t be a huge amount, but it wouldn’t be entirely negligible either. Not to mention any stolen All-Star game appearances, and other potential accolade theft.

    Drug cheats poison the well of sport in so many ways, and it doesn’t stop when they’re exposed, or even after they retire. If this weren’t a family website I’d really tell you what I think of them.

    #76786
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    Bw52
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    Nobody likes players to have a advantage over other players.The facts are baseball has had a long history of players looking for a edge by whatever means possible-Gaylord Perrys spitball,Elston Howard using his buckles on his shin guards to cut the baseball for Whitey Ford and other NYY pitchers,Amphetimines,corking bats,Pine tar (hello George Brett),etc;.Players are always looking for a advantage legal or otherwise.While I always hoped baseball and my
    favorite Cardinals would be above the antics of others that kind of thinking is fantasyland stuff.There is too much money involved for a player to fall behind his peers. What ticks me off is that while some players getcrucified by fans other players like Big Papi get a free pass and now some writers are starting to rethink Barry Bonds for HOF while continuing to rip Clemens ,Palmiero,Sosa,McGwire etc;.Bonds is the biggest cheat out there and if you continue to keep other players out for that reason then he should need a ticket to get in the HOF.Selective enforcement don`t cut the mustard.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar Bw52.
    #76790
    bicyclemike
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    Lee Smith should wear a Cub hat, as he had 8 years in Chicago and only 4 in St. Louis.

    Bruce Sutter could have gone in as a Cub as well. His career was closer between the two teams as far as time, 5 years in Chicago to 4 in St. Louis. He also made his name as a Cub and had his best years there. But the 1982 World Championship club was the crowning achievement of his career, and his enduring image is the strikeout of Gorman Thomas that secured the championship.

    #76797
    Brian Walton
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    Sutter is an interesting case. As you note, his body of work with Chicago was better, but his peak event was with St. Louis. Honestly, I felt he was more of a Cub and was disappointed when the Cards retired his number. There are significant players with three or four years with the team who were not treated that way.

    I know that that 42 was retired by MLB anyway, but that is not the point. The point is that Sutter, whatever number he had, is at the very highest level of team recognition. I do not consider him an equal to Gibson, Ozzie and Lou (not to mention all of the late greats including Stan and Hornsby).

    For example, in three years with StL, Orlando Cepeda had 11 bWAR, won an MVP and led the Cards to a World Series win. In four years with StL, Sutter had 5.4 bWAR. Cepeda is not even in the team Hall of Fame, while Sutter has a retired number! But that genie is not going back into the bottle and I do not want to have two wrongs making a right.

    The core problem with Sutter is that the team farted around for years until they finally established a team Hall of Fame. As a result, numbers were retired ahead of that time that could and should have been handled differently – Sutter among them.

    #76865
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    Bob Reed
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    “Nobody likes players to have a advantage over other players. The facts are baseball has had a long history of players looking for a edge by whatever means possible-Gaylord Perry’s spitball, Elston Howard using his buckles on his shin guards to cut the baseball for Whitey Ford and other NYY pitchers, Amphetamines, corking bats, Pine tar (hello George Brett),etc.. Players are always looking for a advantage legal or otherwise.”

    I see this argument frequently, and my response would be threefold.

    One, the illegal drug use of McGwire, Bonds, Clemens and others was expressly forbidden in baseball beginning in April of 1971 with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn’s Drug Policy Memo. (Among other things, this means that all of the “greenies” taken by Mickey Mantle and others in the 1960’s were not a violation of MLB policy.)

    Two, in matters of criminal law, e.g., thievery, assault, it is a universally accepted principle that there are degrees of transgression. No one would remotely equate stealing a handful of jelly & jam packets from a diner, with a Pulp Fiction-style armed robbery of that same diner. Similarly, no one with any sense would equate scuffing a baseball with systematically altering one’s body via the repeated use of illegal PEDs. Another principle is that the punishment should be proportional to the transgression.

    But three, IF anyone wants to assert that Gaylord Perry should be removed from the Hall Of Fame due to spitball throwing, or Mickey Mantle because of greenies, or George Brett due to pine tar, then I’m more than happy to hear their argument. Maybe there are some guys in the Hall who should be removed, for whatever cause.

    But the key for me is that in a time when there were very specific, explicit rules against the use of any illegal drugs, some ballplayers chose to play it clean and some did not. By honoring the drug cheats we ourselves aid and abet their dishonesty, and therefore we mistreat the very players we should be praising. The players who could have cheated, but chose not to.

    Anyway I’m very glad for Big Lee and Silent Harold. I wouldn’t have voted for Harold, to be honest. But I am still thrilled that he made it. Class act all around, and the only “must see” hitter on some really rotten White Sox teams of the 1980’s. I mean, I’d have the TV on, I’d watch Harold’s AB, but then I’d immediately leave the room to do chores of some sort. Then I’d return when Harold was coming up again.

    #76926
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    MLB considers the records that were broken to be the real thing and PED players have already gotten elected: Pudge, Piazza and Bagwell…plus you’ve got Raines who snorted massive amounts of coke. So, that’s at least 4 players who are in the Hall that have used illegal drugs. I’m personally sick of the damn argument.

    #76930
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    Bob Reed
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    Thanks for the response, BHC.
    Tim Raines’ cocaine use was indeed contrary to MLB drug policy. However it’s hard to argue that it violated either the integrity or sportsmanship guidelines of the Hall Of Fame voting. Whether it showed a lack of character is in the beholder’s eye. It certainly showed stupidity.

    I would never have voted for the other three, as I’m convinced enough in my own mind that they were systematic users of illegal PEDs. Some voters on the other hand want proof with a capital P before withholding their vote from an otherwise obviously qualified candidate. To each their own.

    But then there’s the worst category of journalists and fans by far.

    There will always be ethically and intellectually lazy or indifferent people like Keith Law who would rather do zero rigorous thinking on the subject, and prefer to simply apply no standards whatsoever. (Law infamously said with a straight face several years ago that he would vote for a PED cheat for league MVP even if he were busted in-season.) People like him, via their vile rationalizing, would in the long run eventually ruin sport, all sports amateur and professsional, for those who choose NOT to cheat.

    People like Law and his ilk have no useful place even participating in Hall Of Fame discussions, much less ever casting a HOF vote, because they would choose to apply their own personal standards to the voting, and willfully ignore 3 of the 6 official voting guidelines — the aforementioned integrity, sportsmanship, and character of course.

    #76934
    Brian Walton
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    NY media upset that Steinbrenner was not elected. In fact, he was not even close.

    #76985
    Brian Walton
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    Another person to be honored at the Cooperstown induction ceremony is writer Jayson Stark, who I have had the pleasure to speak with many times over the years. He is a great choice as the winner of the Spink Award this year, the highest baseball writing honor.

    (Despite shorthand used by many, they are not Hall of Famers. The Hall is very careful to not make that designation, though the annual writing (and broadcasting) career achievement honorees are recognized in the museum.) I recall they present these awards on Saturday, with the regular inductions on Sunday.

    By the way, induction weekend is a zoo, but also fun. So many surviving Hall of Famers in one place! When I have gone, I stay afterward and spend Monday and Tuesday in the museum, as it is much less crowded. Most folks seem to come ahead and leave by Sunday night.

    Anyway, Peter Gammons wrote this article about his former ESPN colleague. (The Athletic article, but free to read.)

    https://theathletic.com/706207/2018/12/11/gammons-celebrating-the-career-talent-kindness-and-humor-of-spink-award-winner-jayson-stark/

    P.S. Here is an example from today of the license commonly taken by writers who usually obsess about accuracy.

    #76989
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    Bw52
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    Robert Reed- Sportsmanship,character and integrity means that Ty Cobb shoud be kicked out.What about the racists,drunkards,ones with criminal inscidents that have been elected to the HOF?You want to have a baseball HOF combined with a Angelic perfect person HOF?Your wanting to apply your standards to everyone else reeks of censorship and suppression IMO.I might not agree with some writers opinions but I also don`t try and preach from the pulpit.Saying Greenies were not against the rules is your rationale …..yet is not greenie a drug which elevates body chemistry of the user? Hypocrisy IMHO.

    #77022
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    Bob Reed
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    Robert Reed- Sportsmanship, character and integrity means that Ty Cobb should be kicked out. What about the racists, drunkards, ones with criminal incidents that have been elected to the HOF?You want to have a baseball HOF combined with a Angelic perfect person HOF?

    There are six guidelines for Hall Of Fame voters. The following is lifted verbatim from the HOF website:

    Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

    If anyone feels that Ty Cobb’s or anyone else’s personal behavior or views should have them removed from the Hall, I will be more than happy to listen to their arguments. But addressing some of your specific remarks: Baseball itself was a racist institution until Jackie Robinson broke through, and in my view it makes very little sense to retroactively apply our modern behavioral standards to ballplayers from before the color line was crossed. All of society was different, therefore so were ballplayers.

    Drunkards? Some of my best friends are drunkards. Excessive drinking has no bearing whatsoever on integrity or sportsmanship. Character, perhaps. And character is just one of the six guidelines, and for me it does not come anywhere near outweighing the other five. (This is why it’s such nonsense when people refer to the “character clause.” You may note that the PED apologists never refer to the “integrity clause” or the “sportsmanship clause.”)

    Criminal records? A more extreme version of the “drunkards” remark. You can certainly question a criminal’s character. But as for their baseball integrity and sportsmanship, it has zero bearing.

    Your wanting to apply your standards to everyone else reeks of censorship and suppression IMO. I might not agree with some writers opinions but I also don`t try and preach from the pulpit. Saying Greenies were not against the rules is your rationale …..yet is not greenie a drug which elevates body chemistry of the user? Hypocrisy IMHO.

    The first formal MLB drug policy was enacted in April of 1971. Anyone who took “greenies” AFTER commissioner Bowie Kuhn issued his Drug Policy Memo in April of 1971 was violating MLB rules. Conversely, anyone who took greenies BEFORE he issued his Memo in April of 1971 was NOT violating MLB rules. You can’t break a rule that did not exist.

    “Preach from the pulpit?” So we aren’t supposed to express opinions if they differ from those of sportswriters? You’ve lost me there. This is the internet, a wondrous marketplace of ideas.

    What I want is the exact opposite of hypocrisy: I want to apply the same standards to Keith Law that Keith Law himself wishes to apply to others. Here’s what I mean. This is excerpted from Law’s chat of November 11.

    Joe:
    I understand if a voter refuses to vote for pitchers for MVP because he sees it as a position player’s award. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I understand it. But it really doesn’t make sense when a writer gives deGrom a 5th place vote. If you see him as eligible, how can you possibly justify having him 5th on the ballot?

    Keith Law:
    I agree with your second point, but as for the first one, it is definitively NOT a position player’s award. If you refuse to consider pitchers, that is your right… but DON’T F***ING VOTE. Give the ballot to someone who will follow the actual guidelines. (I edited his obscenity. I guess that would be censorship.)

    Law clearly (and profanely) wants everyone else to follow the guidelines for MVP voting. But when it comes to the illegal PED cheats, he wants to contemptuously disregard three of the six Hall Of Fame voting guidelines: integrity, sportsmanship, and character. That’s hypocrisy.

    #77031
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    Baseball itself was a racist institution until Jackie Robinson broke through, and in my view it makes very little sense to retroactively apply our modern behavioral standards to ballplayers from before the color line was crossed. All of society was different, therefore so were ballplayers.

    Such a cop-out and blanket statement. Gotta love these classic double standards. Classic.

    #77235
    Brian Walton
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    #77253
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    Onyxgem
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    I knew as soon as I saw TRL was going to be on that idiot Mad Dog show it was a can’t miss…..Mag Dog runs his mouth and acts like a idiot more often than not that is a fact!

    #77254
    Brian Walton
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    Hey, don’t talk that way about an MLB employee! 😉

    #77345
    bicyclemike
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    Some lively debates, both the Russo/LaRussa one and on here in regards to player conduct and it’s place in HOF voting.

    A couple of comments. Personally I would not have voted for Harold Baines, but respect LaRussa’s opinion. While Baines falls short stats-wise, there are other factors that can carry a guy over the top; leadership, rising to the occasion, etc. Baines probably still falls short of HOF election in most baseball-educatated people’s opinions, but for the ones who count he made it.

    On the illegal drug use – as Bob points out, in any violation of law or rules there are degrees of offense. While greenies, cocaine, pot, whatever did something to the competitor, it did not skew the game. Steroids is in an entirely different class, as it not only changed the player’s physique, it skewed the game – specifically, it cheapened the home run.

    In almost 80 years of baseball in the “lively ball” era, 60 home runs was reached only twice. Then with ‘roids, guys blew past the mark multiple times in single seasons.

    Now that effective testing is keeping steroids out of the game, we are back to where it is rare to even see a 50 home run season.

    Steroids versus other substances is apples and oranges. That said, Bonds, Clemens and McGwire are arguably HOFers, based on their pre-roid records. McGwire is the toughest to judge as he claims steroids kept him on the field. Without steroids, had he continued to have the injury issues that plagued him in the mid-90s, he may not have played enough to accumulate Hall-worthy numbers.

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