Let’s ruin other Halls of Fame with dumb PED arguments too

87 Comments

The conversation about the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become near garbage thanks to people thinking more about morals and ethics than actual baseball. But hey, at least there is a shred of a justification for that what with the “character clause” for voters. But what’s the excuse for lesser, team-specific halls of fame?

Specifically, the Red Sox, who yesterday announced that Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra will be inducted. No controversy there, right? Two of the greatest pitchers of all time who did their best work in a Red Sox uniform and a guy who was the team’s offensive heart and soul for nearly a decade? We can’t argue with that, can we?

Sure we can. Or at least Gerry Callahan can:

First question for the Red Sox Hall of Fame committee: You couldn’t have waited another year? Or two? Or five? You had to bestow this honor on disgraced cheater Roger Clemens in the same year as Pedro Martinez? This is just wrong. This is like making Willie Mays share the stage with Barry Bonds, or allowing Mark McGwire to walk arm-in-arm into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame with Stan Musial.

Why is it so hard for the Sox Hall of Fame folks to say, “You cheated. You lied. You won’t go to jail, Mr. Clemens, but you can’t come in here.”

So does Jose Canseco get in next year?

He doesn’t like that Nomar is going in either because he once posed shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Seriously. That’s his reasoning.

It may be hard for media yakkers to grok this, but there are a ton — just oodles — of fans who don’t give a crap about any of that. Who watched Clemens and Garciaparra do great things in Fenway Park and, even if they don’t love them the way people love Pedro, appreciated their talent and associate them with fantastic baseball. That, for most people, it really is just about the baseball. It really is that simple.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.