HOF thoughts and more @ MLBRT 12/22



HOF news and and lots more…

But… first…

This is the last Roundtable before Christmas Day this weekend… so…

Merry Christmas to all! And… just to cover and touch all the bases…  Happy Solstice Day, an enlightened (although belated) Bodhi Day, Happy Chanukah, Holy Id al-Adha, may your Saturnalia Day and Yule Day be merry,. Happy Krismas and Happy Kwanza and last but not least Merry Fesivus… if I have left out anyone please celebrate your day in  however you chose but above all be peaceful and happy.

Merry Christmas…

Now to the Roundtable…

1)  Tim Raines is in his 10th and final year on the HOF ballot. If, you were one of the BBWAA eligible to vote players into the HOF do you vote for Raines or leave off your ballot?timraines-1

archie1-300x277Archie: I guess I would have to say there is a reason he is in his 10th and final year of review. When you look at the numbers and not the name I would not cast my vote. As good as he was in his first 9 seasons then rest of his career is mostly about longevity. And as we all know, just because you stuck around for a long time does not constitute HOF material. So my answer is, “I leave him off my ballot.” 

dan-3Dan: Based on some reports that I’ve read, he’ll likely be voted in with rumors of 80-90% of the vote going in his favor. That’s significant. And, if, I had a vote, he would be on my ballot.timraines-3

He had a great career in which I believe is deserving of a Hall of Fame bid. Was elected to the All-Star game 7 times, was an All-Star Game MVP, won a batting title. According to baseball-reference, all of his Hall of Fame numbers are borderline Hall of Fame. His WAR numbers according to baseball-reference would put him into the Hall. He received 69.8% of the vote last year.

Vote him in this year.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: I would not vote him in. I understand that there is a groundswell to induct him but I don’t think his numbers were good enough to warrant induction.RAINES WILSON

He didn’t hit any of the magical benchmarks and he never was in the top 5 of MVP voting. Good player. Not a great one.

steve-01-288x300Steve: Sorry Tim Raines fans, I like him, and thought he was a very good baseball player but Tim Raines is not a Hall of Famer.

In a 23 year career he hit .294 that is amazing, and that is HOF worthy, but the other stats, 170 HR,  980 RBI, only 7 time All Star, only one top 5 finish for MVP. He is in the Hall of very good, but in my opinion is not a Hall of Famer.

2) When the Boston Red Sox made the trade for Chris Sale, David Ortiz instagrammed a photo of himself with this message… “My god… my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking.”

Two days later he said that, yes, his career is over. However, some people are raising the question that maybe he should “unretire” considering that he just had one of the greatest final seasons any player has ever had… at least offensively. (Sandy Koufax retired after going 27-9, with a 1.73 ERA; 317 Strikeouts and winning the Cy Young.)  

The question… should Ortiz stayed retired or not, and, either way… why?

archie1-300x277Archie: He had 5 offensive Bold Numbers this season; the most of any single season in his career. Given the right contract I can see where maybe he plays another season. Given his age and the strain on the body; I can see where he stays retired.

IF it came down to “My Word”, I stay retired.

dan-3Dan: Yes, David Ortiz should stay retired. He had a great season for his final campaign, and, I think, it’s best if he stays retired.

Retired Yankees great Mariano Rivera gives David Ortiz an oil painting.
Retired Yankees great Mariano Rivera gives David Ortiz an oil painting.

What a way to end a career! Now, pass the torch to somebody else and relax at home. You have nothing else to prove. You left everything you had on the diamond. You’ll be a Hall of Famer. Might as well enjoy your time and maybe look into a TV deal.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: Stay retired Big Papi.

But, that Instagram post deserved the attention it received.

He had a damn good final season, but, he has admitted that it took a lot out of him to even get up to play this year. He can perform but his body is failing him some and it would be a shame if he came back and didn’t play well. He’s better off going out on top and I think he knows that.

steve-01-288x300Steve: I questioned it at the end of last season even before they signed Sale. However, yes, he should stay retired, and, only for the fact that every team made a big stink about his final game at their park. It would take away any chance that teams would do this again when another top star retires.

3) Right now, as things stand in the National League, are the Chicago Cubs the prohibitive favorite to once again make the World Series to defend their World Title? Why or why not?  

archie1-300x277Archie: One of the most difficult achievements for a team to accomplish is the Back to Back Championship; in any of the big four. However, on paper and given the youth of the majority of that team I would give them the nod over everyone else to be there at the end again next season.

dan-3Dan: I think so. I don’t really see any other team competing with them besides Washington, SFG and LAD. I think Chicago is better than all three of those teams and definitely is going to be the favorite this season.odds

They lost Chapman, but they do have Wade Davis now, thanks to a trade with the Royals in which they sent Soler to KC. They lost Dexter Fowler to the Cardinals, but, I think, they have enough depth and enough hitting that they don’t need him. They have an incredible pitching staff and an insane line-up. Who is going to top them? I don’t see anybody at this point. 

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: The Cubs have to be the prohibitive favorite because they are the champions and were the best team in the NL last season. They lost Chapman and Fowler but those losses do not hurt them that much. They are young, talented, and, after winning the first Cubs World Series in 108 years, the pressure to defend shouldn’t be nearly as massive as it was in winning it.

steve-01-288x300Steve: Sure they are favorites to win the World Series, and, they should be favored. Even though the Red Sox got a little better on the rotation. I am always one to put the defending World Champions at the top of the list as far as being favored the next season, unless you are the ’97 Florida Marlins or the ’03 Marlins.

The Cubs lost Fowler, Soler, and Chapman, and probably will decline to pick up Travis Wood. However, this team is still loaded from top to bottom. They got a quality closer in Wade Davis, picked up a middle reliever, and, even got a utility guy in Jon Jay. I think the Cubs are in great position to repeat as champs.

4) Now that HOF ballots are to be made public how big of a spike do you think there will be in the total votes or voting percentages for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa? Do any of the three make it in this year?  

archie1-300x277Archie: The current group of BBWAA voters don’t seem to care about public opinion, so I still  don’t see any of the above mentioned getting in. They (the BBWAA) have thumbed their noses at the fans and the players as well and still maintain a “Holier than Thou” mentality.

I hope I am wrong.  

dan-3Dan: I don’t think votes will raise for Sosa as he was a clear-cut PED user. They’ll raise for Bonds and Clemens, especially since Selig was elected and a lot of BBWAA members are saying that if Selig was elected, and he allowed the PEDs to infiltrate the MLB, then, you have to allow Bonds and Clemens in the HoF.

Would you send Bonds, Sosa or Clemens to the HOF?
Would you send Bonds, Sosa or Clemens to the HOF?

I think Bonds and Clemens are very much deserving anyway, especially if you look at their statistics. Even before Bonds all of a sudden got huge (back when he was with Pittsburgh), he was still well on his way to a HoF career.

(This year) you’ll see a jump for Clemens and Bonds but, I think, they’re still a year or two away from making the HoF. Even though, both, in my opinion, are clear cut first ballot HoFers.

I will say that the number of blank ballots will decrease as well and within two years, they’ll die to completely nothing. 

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: I would vote for all three and while there is some softening in baseball writers stances towards Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa, I don’t think any of them get in this year, or, at all during the traditional ballot process. With that said, I think we’ll see their percentages increase some.

steve-01-288x300Steve: I don’t think they make it in this year.

Actually, I can eliminate Sosa, as despite 600 HR, I don’t think he had that HOF type of career. Bonds and Clemens will get in eventually, as the legends committee cannot live forever.

I don’t think having the ballots publicized will make any difference, as most of the voters are not shy about letting us all know who they voted for.

5) Rod Carew was once one of the best hitters in the game and for one season even flirted with batting .400 before he settled for a .388 BA to lead the AL in 1977. The man hit over .300 for 15 straight years out of a 19-year career and retied with a .328 average.
In this age of power… both from pitchers (the average fastball is 92 mph instead of 86 mph when Carew played) as well as batters… do you think any player will ever again flirt with the .400 BA?

archie1-300x277Archie: There will always be someone “flirting”, if you mean hovering around .375.

Honestly, while I am not going to say it will NEVER happen; I definitely agree the possibility is getting slimmer with the “new age” of pitching changes and the “specialty” pitchers that come in for that one batter in critical moments of the game.  

Will any MLB player ever hit .400 again?
Will any MLB player ever hit .400 again?

dan-3Dan: Yes, I do. I don’t think because the times have changed that most records or most milestones won’t be touched or flirted with. You see a lot of hitters starting to hit in the high 300s and are just hitting everything in sight. I think you’ll see a contact hitter who just can’t stop hitting the ball for solid contact and will end up flirting with .400. Even when Rod Carew flirted with 400 along with when Ted Williams hit that mark, it was still rare in those times. You’ll see it again, but it’ll be a very rare sight and it’ll be must-see action almost every time that player is up to bat.

The 56-game hitting streak is something that may never be broken. Neither probably will be the CGs pitched in a season record…

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: It could happen but I don’t put a high percentage on it. This is a game of power pitching, and one where strikeouts are not as frowned upon as it was in Carew’s day. So, yes I could see a player making a run at it, but, I don’t know if we’ll ever see a player come that close to a .400 batting average ever again.

steve-01-288x300Steve: Flirt with, yes. Someone will come along and be able to hit for average just like the best of them. Tony Gwynn came close. Ichiro was a good candidate. While they are few and far between, I think someone will come around and flirt with it. I don’t think anyone will actually hit .400, but, someone will be in the conversation regarding it.

Extra Innings…

Steve “Lefty” Carlton was born on Friday, December 22, 1944, in Miami, Florida. Carlton was 20 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 12, 1965, with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Steve Carlton at spring training in 1969
Future HOF entrant Steve Carlton at spring training in 1969

During his 24 year career he was with six teams… The Cardinals for 7 years until he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the off season of 1971. He stayed with the Phillies for 15 years until he was traded during the season to the San Francisco Giants in 1986 He then was then flipped by the Giants to the Chicago White Sox during the same season. He pitched sporadically with the Cleveland Indians (1987) & the Minnesota Twins (1987-1988) before he retired in 1988. 

Steve Carlton was the first pitcher in baseball history to win four CY Young Awards in a career… 1972, 1977, 1980 and 1982. 

In 1972, Steve Carlton led the National League in wins (27), strikeouts (310) and earned run average (1.97), capturing the Pitching Triple Crown. The 27 wins gave Lefty 46% of his team’s victories that year as his team, the last place finishing Philadelphia Phillies, had won only 59 games for the entire season.


In 1972 Carlton wanted a contact for $65,000. The Cardinals balked, and Carlton held out. The Phillies offered to send their holdout pitcher Rick Wise to the Cards for Carlton. The rest was history...
In 1972 Carlton wanted a contact for $65,000. The Cardinals balked, and Carlton held out. The Phillies offered to send their holdout pitcher Rick Wise to the Cards for Carlton. The rest was history…

In 1994, Carlton was a first year electee to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Writers Association of America wrote his name onto 95.82% of their ballots. 

On September 23, 1983, joined the 300 win club in MLB when he beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2. At the time Carlton was the fourth left-handed pitcher with 300 career wins, joining Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, and Warren Spahn, and he was (and still is) the youngest left-handed pitcher to win 300 games.  

On April 29, 1981, Carlton joined the 3,000 Strikeouts Club when he struck out Tim Wallach. 

At the time he retired he had compiled a record that include lifetime totals of 329 wins, 3.22 ERA, 4,136 strikeouts and 254 complete games. 

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