Here is a list of the official ballot results for the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame. You can see my articles on Craig Biggio Got Robbed, and the Writers Playing GOD coming shortly as we kick off the 2013 writing campaign, but as of right now I want to post what my list would have been had I had the opportunity to vote.
Please remember the rules state that we can vote for 10 players.
Larry “Chipper” Jones addressed his teammates at the All-Star Game Wednesday night telling them what an honor it was to be in the same locker room and playing in the same game. Jones didn’t have to do tha, but the quiet, classy superstar was conducting himself at his eighth and final All-Star game the same way he generally has throughout his quiet, superstar career.
Jones is one of those rare baseball stars who truly warrant the farewell tour gifts he’s being given in most cities the Atlanta Braves pass through this season. And he’s likely just shy of six years away from having a bronze bust in Cooperstown.
That bust will be placed alongside those of several other players known more by their nicknames than by the name on their birth certificates, but unlike George Herman “Babe” Ruth, “The Mick” Mickey Mantle, “The Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams, “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson or even “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who belongs in the Hall of Fame, but is apparently banned in his afterlife as he was during the latter days of his life.
Not many people know Chipper Jones by his real name. And because he’s generally kept such a low profile during his career, many also are not aware how much he also had game. He’s not going to be a 3000-hit club member, or a 500-homerun club member. He certainly won’t be next to Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente or Ozzie Smith, all of whom were known for their amazing defense as much if not more so than their hitting prowess. He’s only won one Most Valuable Player award and one batting title. He’s only won one World Series title. Continue reading
Albert Pujols was arguably one of the two best hitters to ever play for the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s against baseball etiquette to imply that a current player is better than a Hall of Famer, and since I am not old enough to have watched Stan “The Man” Musial play, I will give the all-time great his due.
Pujols, however, is the arguable number two. But while his former team has had a solid start to the 2012 season, Pujols has moved on to Los Angeles, where he is on a severe homerun drought, having gone zero-for-April in that category.
The Angels, meanwhile, are a little south of heaven and very far south of the Texas Rangers in the standings.
While it’s early, he’s certainly not resembling any of the greatest Angels of all time, most of whom include Tim Salmon and great players signed from other teams. If it were just Pujols’ homeruns that were lacking, nobody would be saying the sky was falling. It would likely just be “a matter of time” before everything would be okay. And given his track record, it probably is just that anyway.
But this is Albert freaking Pujols. And he’s batting .226 with four RBI for the entire month of April. This is arguably the best hitter in the game – a generational kind of superstar who is showing signs of having gone the way of Jim Rice.
I bring up Hall of Famer Jim Rice because he was a monster force in baseball until all of a sudden he wasn’t. There wasn’t a slow decline. With Rice it was a light switch. If this is the case with Albert Pujols now… would he be a Hall of Famer?
My guess is that if the poll were taken today, he would be enshrined. But he’s got 10 years and $254 million worth of criticism coming. If he were to retire today he would forfeit the remaining nine years. There’s no one that proud to walk away from that kind of money.
I’m getting way ahead of myself on that train of thought, but if you compare Rice and Pujols and take into account the eras in which they play, there’s a scary similarity. It’s a tough topic to consider, but because of that contract’s longevity, Pujols may be the first player to ever play himself out of the Hall of Fame.
Over the last couple years we’ve had some great debates about the inductees and potential inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame at our sister site, Zoneblitz.com.
We’re going to try to start doing the same thing here at Brushbackpitch.com as well, starting today.
Jeff Idelson, Baseball Hall of Fame president, announced on the MLB Network that, in his 14th year of eligibility, pitcher Bert Blyleven received the necessary 75 percent of votes to make the Hall. Blyleven’s self-promotion sometimes went over the top but his 287 wins, despite playing for some lousy teams, and two World Series championships certainly helped his argument. Nor did his career totals of 3,701 strikeouts and 242 complete games hurt.
Joining him will be Roberto Alomar, who played second base for seven teams during a 17 year career. He stole 474 bases, earned 10 straight gold gloves and made 12 straight All-Star games. He received 90 percent of the vote and, Idelson said, the third highest vote total ever.
They join Pat Gillick, who was tapped by the Expansion Era Committee.
That leaves a number of the 33 candidates on this year’s ballot still on the outside looking in, including Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Jeff Bagwell and several members of the controversial “steroid era,” which we’ve written about several times in other contexts and certainly will cover under this heading as well.
So what do you think? Are this year’s selections the right ones? Who should have gone in and who should have stayed out?
We’re looking forward to hearing from you at brushbackpitch.com.
Ten Golden Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers and one in-game nap is enough for Ken Griffey Jr. The all-time great Seattle Mariner probably stayed on a season too long. But he’s a clear Hall of Famer and Wednesday he decided that his career had gone on long enough.
Griffey had been brought back to Seattle last year as a veteran presence and stuck around for one final season this year as the Mariners made several aggressive moves in the offseason aimed at contending for a championship. But the Mariners got out of the gates slowly and one report indicated that he was going to retire or be released sometime last month.
He finishes 2010 with a .184 batting average and no homeruns. But he finishes his 22 year career with 630 homers and a .284 average to go along with the above-mentioned accolades. Throughout the 1990s he was regarded as one of the best – if not the best – players in the game, though his stats would undoubtedly have been even better if he had not spent most of 2002-2004 on the disabled list.
There’s a lot about Curt Schilling that I really like. He was a member of my absolute favorite team, the 1993 Phillies (Team Fat Guy). He was a key contributor to the demise of the last Yankee dynasty. And when he joined the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2004 season, he brought a culture change with him that led to the best sports story of this decade .
There’s a lot about Schilling that I don’t really care for. The guy loves to hear himself speak. And speak. And speak. And speak. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the center of attention, trust me, but this guy takes self-importance to another level.
The best example, of course (and one I’ve referenced before), is St. Patrick’s Day 2005, when Congress called a rogues gallery of (alleged) steroid using ballplayers to testify before them. Schilling was not subpoenaed, but that was a spotlight he couldn’t miss, so he invited himself along.
I have great respect for candor, but quite often Schilling would give his opinions to the press at the expense of his teammates. His first week at Red Sox spring training, he made a point of lecturing Manny Ramirez about dependability right in front of a couple Red Sox beat writers.
My overwhelming memory of Schilling in the ’93 playoffs is him writhing in agony – perfectly positioned in front of the CBS dugout camera – as he watched Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams struggle through another ugly but successful save. Yeah, we all wondered if this was going to be the night that Mitch would blow it for the Phillies, and truth be told he eventually did, but Schilling showed himself to be the greatest drama queen since Jerry Tarkanian, covering his head with a towel, biting his finger nails, and staring daggers at the mound every time Williams went to a three ball count.
It’s not that he was a diva, or that the things he said weren’t true. Or that they weren’t necessary. You just got the feeling that he thought of himself as Baseball’s B.S. police and its moral compass. Please. You aren’t the pope. You’re a pitcher.
But, man, what a great pitcher he was.
So, I have to take real exception to Andy’s assertion that he’s not a Hall Of Famer. It seems that the arguments against him are this – 216 wins, no Cy Young awards, and his numbers aren’t as good as Bert Blyleven’s.
Let’s work backwards on these arguments. No, his numbers aren’t as good as Bert’s. Fewer wins, fewer strikeouts and nowhere close on complete games and shutouts.
All week he’s been hailed as a gritty leader and a big-game pitcher and that is evident in his 11-2 postseason record and the game he is most known for – willing the Boston Red Sox to a championship in 2004 through his bloody ankle injury. There’s also been a tremendous amount of debate about his worthiness as a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
I have great respect for Schilling. He’s outspoken and opinionated, but he keeps himself out of trouble and as the old cliche goes, when the bell rings he answers it. But his numbers don’t scream Hall of Fame. His 217 wins are 70 behind Bert Blyleven, another gamer who has been inexplicably denied entry to the Hall for several seasons now.