Author: Craig Calcaterra

Erstad

Quote of the Day: Darin Erstad

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As we said earlier, Darin Erstad — who had one stone cold awesome of a season in 2000 but otherwise had an unremarkable career — got a Hall of Fame vote. His response:

I wish I knew myself, Darin. I wish I knew.

(h/t Big League Stew)

So, which caps do the Hall of Fame inductees wear on their plaques?

smoltz1
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I lost all faith in caps-on-plaques last year when my favorite baseball player of all time decided that he’d rather have a blank cap than wear a Braves cap on his plaque as God and Ted Turner intended. But it’s still a thing people talk about, so let’s talk about what the current crop of inductees should wear. Obviously, a couple of these are no-brainers.

John Smoltz. I eagerly await tomorrow’s New York papers to see which of them refer to “Former Yankee” Randy Johnson and “Former Met” Pedro Martinez in their headlines, but New York isn’t the only provincial sports town around. Indeed, this is one of the best tweets I’ve seen today:

I am going to assume that this is tongue-in-cheek. If it is not, please don’t tell me because I don’t want to hate the world any more than I already do. BRAVES.

Craig Biggio: Dude only played for one team, but that team wore multiple caps during his tenure. For his first six seasons, Biggio wore the classic star-H, but those weren’t his best seasons, even if they featured his best cap. His best years actually came in their worst cap, the no-color flying star cap. I feel like most of us remember him in his late-period cap, however, and if I had to guess, that’s the cap he wears. Not that it’s all that different from the previous one. SOME ASTROS CAP.

source:

Sorry, Dodgers fans. You’re getting a bit uppity lately. Have to remind you that your team didn’t always have a smart front office.

Pedro Martinez: There is some Expos-love for Martinez and, with apologies to my friend Jonah Keri, Expos love can be a pretty irrational thing. We give Expos people a pass on that, though, because they had their team taken away and, well, they’re entitled to be a bit neurotic about things. That stuff aside, however, Pedro’s best seasons were clearly in Boston, as were his most memorable moments. RED SOX.

Randy Johnson: I figured this one would not be controversial, but for whatever reason I have a LOT of people on my Twitter feed today telling me that The Big Unit should wear a Mariners cap on his plaque. Which is ridiculous. He won four straight Cy Youngs and a World Series in his first four season in Arizona. He had only two fewer seasons there than he had in Seattle, but his overall numbers were better in Arizona, and that’s even including two years in his second, decline-era stint there. Maybe we first heard of Randy Johnson as a Mariner and maybe that’s where he truly became The Big Unit, but he became a Hall of Famer in the desert. If he chooses to go in blank like Greg Maddux did (sob) so be it, but if he lets the Hall choose, they had best choose the Dbacks’ ugly-ass early 2000s cap.

Or, heck, maybe the crazy Expos people will take over again:

source:

Fifty-one percent of Hall of Fame ballots used all ten slots

Hall of Fame ballot
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In case you were curious:

Whatever. I feel like, even if you were a hardliner against PEDs, you could have still pretty easily found ten guys to vote for, but I guess 49% of the electorate didn’t think so.

Still, 8.4 votes per ballot is pretty good. Better than we’ve seen in the past. And that’s true even after you adjust for Darin Erstadian votes.

Looking ahead to the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot

Flying Ken Griffey
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Too soon? Sure it is. But who cares.

With Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio being elected today, next year’s Hall of Fame ballot will feature all of the holdovers who received north of 5% of the vote this year apart from Don Mattingly, who will no longer be eligible, and a crop of newbies.

Here is a quick look at the most notable newbies. And it’s a quick look, because after the first two or three, it’s a big falloff to guys who no sane person thinks has a Hall of Fame case.

Ken Griffey, Jr.: The big name. The easy choice. He’ll coast in on the first ballot with no questions asked. While the stats may have favored Barry Bonds most years, Griffey was, for a good time in the 90s, considered the best player in the game by the public at large. And subsequent developments (i.e. Barry Bonds turning PED-heel) turned Griffey into an Avatar for the Clean. That stuff is laden with politics, of course, and in Griffey’s case it is nor really necessary to parse. The dude hit 630 home runs and was about a famous as anyone in baseball, even after his career began to decline due to injuries in the 2000s. Today Joe Posnanski wrote that the Hall of Fame was built specifically for players like Pedro Martinez. The same goes for Ken Griffey, Jr.

Trevor Hoffman: For a brief moment before Mariano Rivera took the title, Hoffman was the all-time saves leader. And he was probably the best in the NL for most of his career. A decade of straight dominance, only one guy — Rivera — who all people can agree was better (though some may think some were better than Hoffman) should do the trick for him. If not in 2016, then eventually.

Jim Edmonds: An eight-time Gold Glove center fielder with 393 career home runs who played for a lot of winning teams makes him a candidate. His legend may loom a bit larger than it should — “did he really need to make all of those diving catches?” some may think — but he was, without question, one of the best all-around players in the game for a good chunk of his career. Indeed, after the Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, Edmonds led all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement between 1995 and 2005. A lot of that is based on defense, of course, and we know what a lot of Hall of Fame voters think of WAR in general and the defensive components of WAR in particular, but Edmonds has a better case than you may first think. He’ll likely inspire the most debate out of any of the newcomers.

Billy Wagner: He’s probably not gonna make it, but he was also better than you think. On a rate basis — strikeouts, walk rates, etc. — he was better than Hoffman in many seasons and is probably one of the more underrated closers of his era. Or maybe any era. The cat could throw.

The rest: Jason Kendall. Mike Hampton. Garret Anderson. Troy Glaus. Mike Sweeney. David Eckstein. You get the idea. All of whom deserve a few moments of remembrance before we dismiss them out of hand. And we’ll give them that at some point over the next year.

Those guys notwithstanding, it looks like next year’s Hall of Fame season will be all about Griffey and top-2015-vote-getter Mike Piazza on one level, and Hoffman, Edmonds and the other holdovers in a totally different and lower tier.

Darin Erstad got a vote. Good for him!

Erstad
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None of this of consequence, but it’s always fun. It’s  . . . . the basement of the BBWAA ballot:

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Thoughts:

  • I guess it’s good that Larry Walker’s vote total increased over last year’s 10.2%, but it’s a pretty meager bounce. The guy may be borderline for some — maybe even borderline for me — but he gets way less support than he deserves;
  • Frankly, I’m surprised Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa remained above 5%. Between steroids and surliness I’d figure they’d be cast into the abyss. Instead we get to talk about them again next year.
  • Carlos Delgado may have one of the best careers ever for a one-and-done candidate. Him, Lou Whitaker and Kenny Lofton are the beginning of a pretty kickass baseball team.
  • Darin Erstad got a vote. That’s the most special thing about this ballot, I’m pretty sure. I never figured I’d argue over such a nonsense thing, but if you’re going to give ONE of the no-vote guys a sympathy vote, how can it not be Cliff Floyd?

OK, I’m done with that.