(My 2020 comments) Bobby got MVP votes in 7 different seasons, but never higher than 12th, which I think sums up his qualifications; he was a really, really good player, but he never quite had the level of highlight I’d want in a Hall of Famer. He wouldn’t be the worst player ever inducted but he is a longshot and I’m fine with that.
I mean, if you look at this seasons’ raw totals, though, they look amazing. He hardly ever led the league in anything, though. Right fielders are overrepresented in the Hall of Fame, anyway.
Arroyo was a pretty good pitcher for about ten years, which is more than most guys.
Arroyo hit twenty batters in 2004, which led the league. That’s a LOT of hit batters. No AL pitcher has hit 20 guys in a season since, but Austin Adams got 24 last year, and Adams is a relief pitcher who only pitched 52 innings so that is fucking insane.
Most baseball fans know of hitters who were really, really good at getting hit by a pitch. Guys like Ron Hunt (single season record of 50) Craig Biggio (career record in modern baseball) or Don Baylor were clearly allowing themselves to get hit by pitches and they were well known for it. But you never really hear much about the guys who are especially good at hitting them. Some pitchers are famous for hitting batters even though they actually didn’t hit many; Bob Gibson is often said to have been a mean bastard who’d hit you for looking at him, but he only averaged 7 hit batters a year, a modest number, and he never lead the league.
Anyway, it may fascinate you to know that since the dead ball era ended, Austin Adams’ 24 plunks last year is the season record, which I find amazing on several levels. First of all, I’m shocked it’s that low; given that many, many batters have been hit more than 24 times, and a pitcher can face WAY more hitters than a hitter can possibly have plate appearances, I’m stunned 24 is the record. Secondly, the fact the record was set by a modestly used middle reliever is truly amazing. It’s the statistical equivalent of a utility player who only gets 200 plate appearances setting the single season record for doubles. I don’t know what the hell that guy is up to.
Obviously, Erick Aybar isn’t going to the Hall of Fame, but he was a really good player, a solid defensive shortstop who ran the bases well and didn’t hurt you with his bat.
Erick was twice used as an emergency relief pitcher, and never gave up a run.
Beltran was an excellent player, of course. I believe he is the only player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a playoff series twice in the same year; that was in 2004, and he may well have had the greatest postseason ever by a guy who still didn’t get to the World Series.
Now, Beltran’s career is held in some disgrace because he was the ringleader of the Astros cheating conspiracy. This will, I think, firmly sink his chances. But I think he would have had trouble getting in anyway, because his career is typical of the sort that’s underrated by Hall voters. It’s split between a lot of teams, he never won an MVP award or was especially close, and he never led the league in any positive category. He was a multidimensional player who was really good at many things. They’re underrated.
**Joaquin Benoit **
The first of a bunch of interchangeably boring relief pitchers on the ballot. Benoit was about as valuable a player as Rance Mulliniks.
Joe Blanton hit a home run in the 2008 World Series. That homer was probably the flukiest home run in playoff history. Blanton, for his career, was an absolutely incompetent hitter even by the standards of pitchers. During the entirety of his career, except for that home ran, Blanton was 23 for 229 with ZERO extra base hits of any sort.
I am surprised to note Blanton won 101 games; I didn’t think he was around that long. He didn’t walk many guys, but he got hit hard.
His name is pronounced “Burly,” and a more aptly named man hath ne’er thrown a fastball.
The Bobby Abreu of pitchers; had a hell of a strong, consistent career, winning a bunch of games every year and piling up a career value that exceeds some Hall of Famers, but at no point was he ever really a great GREAT pitcher. Only once in his career was he mentioned in Cy Young voting. Bill James once said of a pitcher – I don’t remember whom – that he had the landscape of a Hall of Fame career but needed a few highlights. Buerhle is like that.
You probably know Buerhle threw a no hitter and then later a perfect game. Often forgotten is that in his first no hitter he actually got out all 27 men he faced, sort of. The only baserunner was Sammy Sosa, who walked, and then Buerhle picked him off.
Cain had a career record of 104-118. Maybe he won’t end up on the ballot, but I was shocked to note BBRef credits him with 29 WAR, which is actually a lot, way more than most of the one-and-done candidates. I guess the Giants never gave him much support. Cain showed up in Cy Young voting more than Mark Buerhle did.
Matt’s best season was 2012, when he went 16-5, had a 2.79 ERA, and helped the Giants win it all. They handed him a huge contract that paid him well over $120 million and he promptly got hurt and fell apart.
I am pretty sure Dickey is the only knuckleball pitcher to win a Cy Young Award. Other guys have arguably deserved them, especially Phil Niekro and Wilbur Wood.
Who is the worst Cy Young winner of all time? Here I do not mean the worst choice, or the pitcher with the most mediocre season whgo won the Cy Young in that season (that would be Pete Vuckovich.) I mean the pitcher with the most mediocre career who still won a Cy. I thought it might be Dickey, whose career went 120-118 with a 4.04 ERA. Vuckovich was more mediocre than that, though, as was Steve Stone, and a lot of the relief pitcher winners, like Mark Davis or Steve Bedrosian, more mediocre still.
BBRef lists Drew as a likely candidate; he really is a very edge case. The rule is that they’re supposed to screen out players who, while playing ten years, were not regular players for most of their careers, and Drew struggled to maintain that status after 2010. He was only a full time player in six seasons. He was a pretty good player while he was healthy.
I am surprised he retired that long ago. A Hall of Fame level talent, but got hurt a lot.
Ethier won a Gold Glove in 2011. During 2011 he made no errors at all, so I assume that’s why he won it, but he was a stupid choice; Ethier was not a good defensive outfielder at all. He lacked the range and jump to be good at it.
I was pleased to note Ethier hit exactly 162 home runs in his career. Nine different players have hit precisely 162 homers, and two are in this list, Ethier and Aaron Hill. Where, in the all time rankings, do you think they sit? Top 500? Top 1000? Try to guess and I’ll let you know when we get to Aaron Hill.
Boring Relief Pitcher 3.0. May not make the ballot.
Grilli pitched for nine different teams. The idea short relievers are all that valuable is perhaps contraindicated by the fact no one ever cares about them enough to keep them around long.
His middle name is “Jerry.” Who names their kid Jerry? Isn’t it supposed to be Gerald?
Hardy was a slow power-hitting guy, but also a really, really good defensive shortstop, an unusual combination. He won three Gold Gloves, and he was deserving of them. He had a terrific arm, and just knew how to play the position.
Helton’s total career value in WAR is about the same as Bobby Abreu’s, but his peak is higher. I wouldn’t vote for him but, as with Abreu, I would not be upset if he made it in someday. His chances are certainly better than Abreu’s, and that seems correct to me. Helton’s power slipped away at age 31; had he kept hitting home runs a bit longer than he did, he’d likely be a better than even chance to make it.
There’s lot of players in the Frankie Frisch group of guys with inflated hitting stats who have superficially similar numbers but actually aren’t as good. Any argument against Todd Helton works against Chuck Klein.
Hill had two All Star seasons, one in 2009 with the Blue Jays and one in 2012 with the Diamondbacks. Around that are a bunch of seasons where he’d do one or two things well but everyone else badly, like he’d hit homers but bat .205, or his average would be fine but his fielding would inexplicably suck.
So anyway, like I said in the Ethier comment, he and Hill each hit precisely 162 homers. As of this writing that is tied for 504th all time; to crack the top 500 you need 163, which would tie you for 498th. To make the top thousand you don’t even need 100; a bunch of guys are tied for 993rd with 97 dingers.
Ubaldo is still waiting for Buck Showalter to pull him and put in Zach Britton.
A very polarizing candidate; some people insist he’s a no-questions-asked Hall of Famer and others think he’s a meh candidate. I lean towards the latter but he really was a hell of a player for awhile. Had he not fallen apart after age 29 he might have been an inner circle choice. He did fall apart, though, in part because he started gaining weight.
Kent was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1989 in the 20th round. He is one of only seven players in that round of the 1989 draft to make the major leagues, and represents about ninety percent of the MLB career value of the entire round. Among the luminaries drafted ahead of him by the Blue Jays were such household names as Gerald Crump, Kipp Jeffries, and Rob Blumbergh. Of the 19 players the Jays drafted ahead of Kent, only Eddie Zosky (1st round) John Olerud (3rd round) and Jeffrey Hammonds (9th) made the majors… and the Jays didn’t have an unusually bad draft.
If you look at the 1989 draft in terms of who made the majors, it becomes very clear that after about 5 rounds they are just guessing wildly. Here are the draft rounds and number of guys in them who made the Show:
1st – 23 for 228.5 career WAR (1 Hall of Famer – Frank Thomas)
2nd – 12 for 6.9 career WAR
3rd – 11 for 161 WAR
4th – 7 for 111 WAR (1 Hall of Famer – Jeff Bagwell)
5th – 6 for 46 WAR
6th – 8 for 19 WAR
7th – 4 for 3 WAR
8th – 4
And yet despite this dropoff, you get exceptional players later in the draft, like Kent, or Trevor Hoffman, or Jim Thome, and Brian Giles. You have to go all the way to the 40th round before you get a slate of picks with no one who made the majors at all.
I’ve always assumed that it is just the nature of baseball that you cannot guess as accurately who will be major league material and who won’t as you can in hockey, football, or baseball, but maybe that’s not the case. North American pro sports are the way they are largely because it was just always this way. Why is the NCAA the minor leagues of the NBA? Because it always has been, that’s why. If the NBA had a huge minor league system – they do have the D-league, but I mean a huge multilayered network like MiLB – maybe their mix of talent would be a little better. You’d see a few more late bloomers making big contributions at the NBA level. Maybe other sports ARE as hard to learn as baseball but they just left a lot of possible stars on the table because there was no Low A ball to put them in and let them develop. Who knows?
Anyway, Kent hit 377 home runs, the most of anyone who was primarily a second baseman, and drove in 1518 RBI, which is third and the most since integration. He also played for many winning teams and won an MVP Award. If he’d accomplished something like that in a career that started and ended 30 years before it had, I think he’d be in the Hall of Fame; he will not make it now, though.
I’m written this before, but I have a friend who looks so much like Jeff Kent it’s creepy. He’s even a good ballplayer, too.
Obviously not a Hall of Famer but he was a pretty good pitcher. Lackey won an ERA title, in 2007. No one talks about ERA titles anymore, but they used to.
Lackey won the World Series with three different teams – Anaheim in 2002, Boston in 2013, and the Cubs in 2016. No player has ever done this with four teams. Here are all the players who’ve done that:
Herb Pennock (A’s, Red Sox, Yankees)
Stuffy McInnis (A’s Red Sox, Pirates)
Jack Morris (Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays)
Wally Schang (A’s, Red Sox, Yankees)
Bullet Joe Bush (A’s, Red Sox, Yankees)
Lonnie Smith (Phillies, Cardinals, Royals)
Dave Stewart (Dodgers, A’s, Blue Jays)
Steve Carlton (Cardinals, Phillies, Twins)
Jay Johnstone (A’s, Yankees, Dodgers)
Mike Lowell (Yankees, Marlins, Red Sox)
Dolf Luque (Braves, Reds, Giants)
Luis Polonia (A’s, Braves, Yankees)
Nick Altrock (Red Sox, White Sox, Senators)
Lew Burdette (Yankees, Braves, Cardinals)
Lackey never played in the Series for anyone who lost it. Lonnie Smith came tantalizingly close to a fourth team; he was with the Braves in 1991 and 1992, but they lost the Series both years.
Lind hit exactly 200 major league dingers. Five players have done that. One player hit exactly 300, that being Chuck Klein. No one has ever hit exactly 400, 500, 600, or 700.
Lind is Exhibit A of why errors are not a good way to judge fielders. In 249 career games in the outfield, Lind made one error. One. His career fielding percentage is .998. He was nonetheless a terrible outfielder, because he had no range. Lind was one of those guys who was just slow of foot. He wasn’t fat, his legs just moved really slowly.
Mike Napoli drove in ten runs in 2011 World Series for the Rangers, and yet the Rangers lost.
There have been six players who drove in at least ten runs in a World Series. Amazingly, four of them played on the LOSING team.
In 2011, Napoli, along with Juan Rivera, was traded by the Angels to the Blue Jays in exchange for Vernon Wells, and the Angels agreed to pay out most of Wells’ bloated contract. I was delighted as a Jays fan. It was a heist.
But then to my fury, the Jays traded Napoli to the Rangers for Fat Frankie Francisco. I was fit to be tied. Napoli was a legitimately fine player; Frankie was just another 0.5 WAR relief pitcher. What a waste.
Hit 202 homers, thus just barely missing even-number glory.
I always kind of assumed Peralta was Dutch, because of his odd first name, but no, he’s from the Dominican. He was a good ballplayer. His best season was his age 23 season; he looked like a big star in waiting, but he never took that next step.
I had no memory of this man. None. His name means nothing to me. I see he pitched for the Twins. Within a week, I will forget him again. Lost, like tears in rain.
The winningest pitcher in postseason history. Personally, I think he’s underrated and a Hall of Famer, though I also think the Hall doesn’t have quite enough pitchers in it. This is his fifth year and he’s at ten percent support, so he’s not going to make it.
I think I have a tattoo of his career WAR on my arm somewhere. Sammy Jankis told me that.
The reason Big Papi is in the Hall of Fame and Manny isn’t is PR. Nothing else. There is no RATIONAL reason to have Ortiz but not Ramirez. What does Ortiz have Manny doesn’t? Nothing, folks. Manny was by any measure a far superior player. He has all the same rings, with big postseason numbers.
But Ortiz is a friendly, verbose guy with a great sense of humor who looks great on TV. Manny was a flake, renowned for his odd behaviour and hilariously bad fielding. Manny was caught using steroids when they punished you for it; Ortiz was caught when they didn’t. Manny is a Hall of Famer all the way but the Hall is stupid about the PED thing.
Manny had a perfect swing. Perfect. He worked really hard at it, and it’s just a thing of beauty. His swing is a model to be emulated by all young ballplayers.
For all that he’s kind of unlikeable, leaving him out of the Hall of Fame is fucking stupid.
In 20-30 years, the exclusion of A-Rod, Clemens, Bonds et al. will seem embarrassingly dumb.
Still holds the single-season saves record, with 62. Not even close to being a Hall of Famer in my opinion.
A sabermetric darling. Decades ago I was reading a Bill James book – this was in the 80s – and James wrote that if he could put one player in the Hall, it’d be Ron Santo. My reaction was this: “Who the fuck is Ron Santo?” This was just 10-12 years after Santo was retired.
I feel the same way about Rolen, who is actually quite similar to Ron Santo. Sabermetrically his qualifications are considerable – likely more than Sanot. He hit dingers. He got on base. He was a terrific fielder. He won a World Series. But I dunno, he just never seemed like that kind of player.
Of his top 10 comparables, only one is in the Hall of Fame… Ron Santo.
A really, really good player for a long time, but had only one genuine HOF season, that being the year he won the MVP.
Rollins was only 5’7”, making him one of the shortest men to win an MVP award. Bobby Shantz was only 5’6”. Joe Morgan is listed as 5’7” but might have been shorter. Jose Altuve is listed as 5’6”. Phil Rizzuto was said to be 5’6”; he won the MVP in 1950. Although Dustin Pedroia was listed as 5’9”, Pedroia himself says he’s only 5’7”.
Some credit here to Yogi Berra, who was a little taller than those guys at 5’8”, but he won THREE MVP awards.
I had forgotten this guy existed. He was the catcher for some terrific pitching staffs that won divisions titles and a World Series, and he legitimately was an outstanding catcher, but he got a really late start to his career.
A tremendous hitter. Sheffield had a 100-RBI season with five different teams, which must be a record. He hasn’t gotten enough ballot support, though. Was there a PED scandal involving him? I do not recall one.
Early in his career Sheffield was reputed to be a brat, so maybe that carries over, I dunno.
Oh look, another relief pitcher.
Who is the greatest pitcher to surrender a walk off homer that ended a playoff series? (There are TWO such pitchers in this list, if you count wild card games. It has happened twelve times. The victims:
Ralph Branca, 1951 NLCS (yeah, I counted this)
Ralph Terry, 1960 World Series
Mark Littell, 1976 ALCS
Mitch Williams, 1993 World Series
Matt Mantei, 1999 NLDS
Tim Wakefield, 2003 ALCS
Jarrod Washburn, 2004 ALDS
Joey Devine, 2005 NLCS
Huston Street, 2006 ALCS
Michael Wacha, 2014 NLCS
Ubaldo Jiminez, 2016 ALWC (WHERE THE FUCK IS BRITTON?)
Aroldis Chapman, 2019 ALCS
Alex Reyes, 2021 NLWC
So… Chapman? Washburn? Terry?
Not a Hall of Famer, IMHO. Vizquel’s percentage last year was 23.9, which I think was a bit of a drop, not a good sign for him. Vizquel has been credibly accused of sexual improprieties and domestic abuse recently, so his reputation isn’t helping him.
A terrifying pitcher to face unless it was the playoffs. Wagner, inning for inning, was as good as any pitcher, but he only pitched 903 innings. I really think closers are overrated, so I won’t vote for him.
Weaver was a really, really good pitcher, who if he’d remained healthy and pitched way into his 30s, could have been an outside candidate. However, his arm just stopped working in 2015.
Both the Orioles and Blue Jays gave up on Werth before he was 25 years old, for reasons I do not fully understand. OR that’s what I remembered; the Blue Jays traded Werth to the Dodgers for Jason Frasor, a good deal; Frasor remains the all time Blue Jays record holder for most games pitched.