The Hall of Fame announces its non-player candidates

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Most of the Hall of Fame arguing this winter will be over Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Barry Larkin and Robby Alomar.  But there are managers and executives to be considered as well:

Twenty former major league managers, umpires and executives will be
considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for
induction in 2010 by two Veterans Committees, with results of a Dec. 6
vote to be announced Dec. 7 at baseball’s Winter Meetings, it was
announced today . . .The 10 managers and umpires eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: managers Charlie Grimm, Whitey
Herzog, Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Danny
Murtaugh and Steve O’Neill; umpires Doug Harvey and Hank O’Day.

The 10 executives eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: Gene Autry, Sam Breadon, John
Fetzer, Bob Howsam, Ewing Kauffman, John McHale, Marvin Miller, Gabe
Paul, Jacob Ruppert and Bill White.

Picking managers for the Hall of Fame is an exercise in subjectivity (at least until this book comes out, anyway). Yes, at some point a handful of rings trumps everything else, but how does one really distinguish between Tom Kelly and Davey Johnson?  Between Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin?  I think objective cases can be made for all of those guys, but the “fame” part of “Hall of Fame” may count for more in the case of these guys.  If I had to pick I’d say yes to Herzog and probably Martin and no to the other ones mentioned, but I’ll be honest and say that a lot of that has to do with me simply liking them more than the other candidates.  Your counterarguments are welcome.

As for the executives, it has long been and remains a total disgrace that Marvin Miller is not in the Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, his impact on baseball is undeniable. After Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, I’d have a hard time saying anyone did more to revolutionize the game of baseball than did Miller. Maybe Branch Rickey, but that’s about it.  The Veterans’ Committee is still comprised of a ton of old-timers and company men, however, many if not most of whom didn’t receive the benefits — or were cost money directly — by the changes Miller wrought.  I’d like to think people would set aside nearly forty year-old grudges, but I’m not optimistic. And it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t want to be inducted anyway.

I’ll be at the Winter Meetings this year, however, so at least I’ll get to complain to people about Miller’s exclusion in person.  I’ll be the angry bald guy being escorted out of the convention center by security. 

The other owners and executives don’t impress me all that much.  Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger. That’s not Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.