Author: Craig Calcaterra

Troy Percival

Guy who voted for Troy Percival for the Hall of Fame claims that East Coast Bias keeps Percival out


Jim Alexander of the OC Register voted for Troy Percival for the Hall of Fame. This despite the fact that he filled out his ballot with ten votes. Among those he left off to give the local guy his vote: Mike Piazza and John Smoltz.

Alexander got a lot of crap for this last week, and today he answers his critics. His argument, in a nutshell:

  • Percival was, until a certain point in time, just as good as Mariano Rivera; and
  • East Coast Bias is why Rivera, even until that certain point, got more pub than Percival ever got.

That “certain point in time” was 2003, and the comp was based on saves, blown saves, ERA and hits/innings ratio. In those categories Percival and Rivera were pretty darn similar through 2003! Of course, Alexander leaves out the fact that by 2003 Rivera had multiple World Series rings in part due to his extraordinary postseason pitching. And that, after 2003, Rivera spent another decade as the game’s most dominant closer while Percival notched just one more season as a top closer.

But the apples and oranges comp is less bothersome to me than Alexander’s comments about why he feels perfectly justified in throwing a vote Percival’s way. I’ll use his words:

Some of the chattering class even suggested that my voting privileges be revoked. Gee, do I say you should be disenfranchised if I don’t agree with your vote for president?


No, my vote wasn’t an attention-getting ploy, nor a protest over the 10-man ballot. It was simply a sincere expression that a guy who finished his career with 358 saves and a World Series ring and was a lockdown closer in his prime with the Angels deserved to at least remain in the conversation.

As to the first point, voting for president is a right people have as citizens. Voting for the hall of fame is a privilege bestowed on baseball writers due to their presumed expertise and insight in the analysis of baseball careers. There is obviously room for a difference of opinion between credible Hall of Fame candidates. But when one votes for whom there is no credible Hall of Fame case — and when that player himself readily admits that — he’s showing that he has no special expertise or insight in the analysis of baseball careers. In that case criticism is quite warranted. Both of the voter (who is clearly letting homerism and his relationship to the player influence him) and the body which gives him the imprimatur of an expert (which does not seem to care that things like homerism and a voter’s relationship to a player influences him).

As for the second point, nowhere in the column does Alexander say that Troy Percival is a Hall of Famer, despite the fact that the reason he is given a balllot is to, you know, select Hall of Famers. Twice, however, Alexander says that he just wants to “keep him in the conversation.” A conversation that only Alexander himself seems interested in having.

And you know what one decent definition of “attention-seeking” is? An attempt at changing the subject to one which no one else but the speaker wishes to discuss.

Ryan Lavarnway has been let go by four teams since late November

Ryan Lavarnway

The Orioles made their deal with Delmon Young official, formally announcing their one-year, $2.25 million contract with their DH/OF. He can earn an additional $750,000 through incentives

To make room for Young on the roster, the O’s designated catcher Ryan Lavarnway for assignment. So far, this is Lavarnway’s offseason:

  • DFA’d by the Red Sox in late November;
  • Claimed by Dodgers in early December;
  • DFA’d by the Dodgers about a week later;
  • Claimed by the Cubs around December 19;
  • Waived by the Cubs around December 23;
  • Claimed by the Orioles as soon as the Cubs waived him;
  • DFA’d by the Orioles today.

I assume he’ll be on a team when spring training starts. But he is quickly running out of teams.


Brandon McCarthy: admit the PED players to the Hall of Fame

Barry Bonds

Even current players are getting into the act. Here’s Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy, writing in The Players’ Tribune, about the current Hall of Fame stuff:

The question of whether performance enhancing drug (PED) users should be allowed to gain admittance to the Hall of Fame is one that I’ve thought a lot about. Admittedly, it’s a mess. The ramifications extend far and wide, but I believe the answer is to admit those players whose on-field accomplishments merit it and leave history to be the final judge and jury. Ultimately, I believe the greatest injustice would be to leave worthy players—some of whom are objectively among the greatest ever—out of the Hall of Fame, when there very well may be guys already enshrined who have used performance enhancing drugs.

And there more than “very well may” if Thomas Boswell is to be believed.

In other news, McCarthy is a capable writer. Let’s see if this works both ways.

[throws baseball; it travels 75 feet at 48 m.p.h.; my arm hurts for three days]

OK, maybe not.