We’ve talked about the impending logjam on the Hall of Fame ballot going forward by virtue of all of the PED-associated players wading in starting next year. The upshot: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and others hanging around on the ballot for a long time, not getting enough support themselves while stealing support from others.
One thing some folks have worried about is this logjam giving us several years in which no one is elected, which would be bad for the Hall of Fame and, frankly, would just be stupid overall as an entire era of the game would be unrepresented.
But never fear, says Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times: despite the potential for what he calls “the nightmare scenario” of no one being elected, there will be enough support to go around where there will be at least someone elected every year:
From the point of view of Cooperstown, though, the nightmare scenario shouldn’t happen. You’ll get at least one new candidate making it in every year. In 2016, when the glut finally subsides a little bit, Ken Griffey, Jr. should make it in, along with at least one guy from the massive backlog, most like [Frank] Thomas (if he hasn’t gone in already).
Jaffe’s Hall of Fame vote projections have been pretty solid over the past couple of years. As such, his projections here should be the first place people go when they want to talk about what’s gonna happen with the Hall of Fame ballot going forward.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.