Dick Allen is one of the biggest Hall of Fame oversights of all time. Despite a career OPS of .912 and an OPS+ of 156 while playing in an era skewed heavily in favor of pitching, Allen never got as much as 19% of the vote. He’s since been overlooked by the Veteran’s Committee as well.
Allen has made few if any public comments about this. But his son is beating the drum to get the Veteran’s Committee to put him on the Golden Era ballot this December. From Philly.com:
“It’s difficult because he doesn’t want to be attached to any campaign,” Allen Jr. said last night. “He feels it’s a bad thing to stand there pounding his shoe on the desk saying, ‘Let me in, let me in.’ “
Junior feels otherwise and is trying to get his father’s name on this year’s Golden Era ballot.
“It’s a last shot for him,” Allen Jr. said. “From what I understand, he’ll have exhausted his options.”
Allen Jr. is working with Mark “Frog” Carfagno to promote the cause. They even have a Facebook page – “Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame.”
It’s a nice gesture by his son, but I doubt it’ll do much good. Allen’s case was already a tough one given that (a) his career was shorter than a lot of Hall of Famers’; (b) his value is heavily weighted in favor of rate stats as opposed to counting stats and those guys always fare relatively poorly; and (c) he was viewed as a contentious personality in his day and was not well-liked by reporters to say the least. I’d vote for him in a second, but I doubt a lot of others would even if he made it back to the Veteran’s Committee ballot.
Oh, biggest takeaway from that article: the allegedly contentious Allen now works in public relations for the Phillies. So either he’s mellowed with age or else what reporters thought about him in the 60s and 70s isn’t all that representative of the man.
Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.
The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?
Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.
The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.
I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: