Tag: Hall of Fame


Lack of standout first-timers on next year’s HOF ballot is good news for Larkin and Bagwell


Deserving players like Barry Larkin, Tim Raines, and Jeff Bagwell fell short of reaching the 75 percent of the votes required for Hall of Fame induction this year, but they’ll have a good chance to increase their totals in 2012 as the pool of first-year eligible players doesn’t include anyone likely bound for Cooperstown.

Here’s an unofficial list of first-time players eligible for induction in 2012:

HITTERS                PITCHERS
Bernie Williams        Brad Radke
Tim Salmon             Scott Erickson
Ruben Sierra           Terry Mulholland
Javy Lopez             Pedro Astacio
Vinny Castilla         Jeff Fassero
Carl Everett           Rick Helling
Matt Lawton            Jose Lima
Eric Young             Matt Clement
Edgardo Alfonzo        Tim Worrell
Jeromy Burnitz         Danny Graves
Brian Jordan           Mike Remlinger
Phil Nevin             Jeff Nelson

Bernie Williams has a better Hall of Fame case than he’ll probably get credit for, particularly in his first year on the ballot, but aside from him it’s tough to see any of the other first-timers garnering significant support.

In addition to the lack of big names joining the ballot, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven will be off the ballot after being inducted and Dave Parker will be ineligible following the maximum 15 years on the ballot. That trio received a combined 1,075 votes from the 581 ballots this year,  and while not all of them will be reallocated to other players in 2012 it’s a safe bet a large chunk of them will be.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Kenny Lofton, and Curt Schilling lead an exceptionally strong class of first-timers for 2013, so if Larkin, Raines, Bagwell, and others are going to make major progress toward joining Alomar and Blyleven in the Hall of Fame it will come next year.

Hall of Fame projection has Blyleven and Alomar getting in


Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times does an annual column projecting the Hall of Fame voting based on previous results and he’s had some remarkably accurate predictions in the past.

After crunching the numbers this time around Jaffe projects that Roberto Alomar will get in easily with around 87 percent of the vote and Bert Blyleven will also be inducted with about 80 percent. Both players were at 74 percent last year, which was Alomar’s first time on the ballot and the 13th try for Blyleven.

Jaffe projects that Jeff Bagwell will receive 35 percent of the vote, which is a depressingly low total for a player who’s clearly above the Hall of Fame standard for first basemen. However, according to Jaffe “only twice has anyone debuted as well as I’m predicting for Bagwell and not subsequently made it into Cooperstown.” He deserves much better than 35 percent on his first ballot appearance, but even that too-low mark bodes well for Bagwell making it eventually.

Check out Jaffe’s article to see projected vote totals for everyone else on the ballot prior to the actual results being announced Wednesday.

Next up on march to 600 homers: Jim Thome


Now that Alex Rodriguez has reached the 600-home run club, it’s time to look at who’s next.

Jim Thome, you’re up.

The Minnesota Twins slugger, who turns 40 on Aug. 27, has 13 home runs in 74 games this season and 577 over the course of his 20-year career. At his current pace, he should finish with about 584 or so this season, putting him in 600 territory at some point next season.

But will that be enough to put Thome into Cooperstown? Tyler Kepner of the New York Times delves into the topic, pointing out that Thome was never perceived as dominant in his era despite his impressive power numbers.

He also notes that Thome – unlike Rodriguez – is perceived to be a player who was clean during the steroid era, though none of us really know that for sure. This is truly murky territory, and will only make Cooperstown voting more complicated/controversial/entertaining over the next several years. Kepner, though, has some solid advice.

The most logical thing for voters might be to ignore the use of steroids altogether – at least as it pertains to the era before testing – and accept the idea that a large percentage of pitchers and hitters were using drugs and that we will never know exactly who was and who was not. Yet the Hall of Fame ballot specifically instructs voters to consider sportsmanship and character.

These are thorny issues with no clear answers. But, as we can see with Thome, a lot of cases are fascinating — for a lot of reasons.

Amen, Tyler. By the way, the next closest active player to 600 is Manny Ramirez at 554, so things aren’t going to get any clearer any time soon.

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Lidge's nightmare year now includes arm surgery

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What do you do after blowing an MLB-high 11 saves with a 7.21 ERA during the regular season and coughing up three runs to take the loss in your final postseason outing?
Well, if you’re Brad Lidge you have your arm operated on. Lidge underwent surgery yesterday to repair the flexor pronator tendon in his forearm and also had “a loose body” removed from his elbow while he was under the knife.
He’ll be out of commission for about two months and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. revealed that he may not be ready for the start of spring training.
“Brad could be one to two weeks behind in spring training, but overall we feel very good about his recovery time,” Amaro said. “We’re hopeful that he will be ready close to Opening Day.”
It’s worth noting that “will be ready close to Opening Day” could mean something entirely different than “will be ready to close Opening Day,” especially if the Phillies’ reported interest in Fernando Rodney proves real. It’ll be interesting to see if Charlie Manuel’s loyalty to Lidge extends to throwing him out there with a ninth-inning lead in Game 1 of 2010 even if the surgery limits him during spring training. And by “interesting” I mean enough to give Phillies fans heartburn all offseason.

Pete Rose wants his girlfriend in Playboy


peterose-girlfriend-091111.jpgForget the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose has a new, far worthier cause to throw his lobbying efforts behind. Yes, that’s right, baseball’s all-time hit king is pushing for Playboy to feature his girlfriend in a pictorial.

Rose took his pitch public in an interview with KGOW in Houston (from SportsRadioInterview.com, via USA Today):

“My girl has finally decided to try to shoot for Playboy, and they were kind enough to give her an opportunity to come to Houston next week for an interview, and we’re excited about that. She’s beautiful, she’s young, educated — there’s a lot of qualities.”

That’s Rose and his girlfriend – he hasn’t revealed her name – above at a Vitaly Klitschko bout in Los Angeles in September. Rose, who turns 69 in April, wasn’t shy about gushing about her in the interview, but did somehow keep his ego in check when asked about their age difference.

“Oh, no. You got to stay young, keep yourself young. And that’s all part of it. You know, I work in Vegas 17 days a month at The Field of Dreams store, and you know, my girl’s a real educated girl — she graduated from Arizona State. She had a very prestigious job several years ago when she was a flight attendant for Korean Airlines, which is really a big deal in Korea, and she’s Korean. And let’s just hope that the Playboy people like her, and if they don’t, that’s okay too. We’ll just turn the page and thank them for the opportunity.”

Rose notched the last of his 4,256 career hits back in 1986, yet he continues to impress. First Playboy, then Cooperstown? Whaddya think?

If I were a betting man, I’d say Rose eventually gets into the Hall of Fame, probably some day long after Bud Selig retires. But despite his girlfriend’s obvious attributes, including her aforementioned education and job history, I’m not sure a high quality publication like Playboy is right for her. (They gave us Kendra!) They’ve got standards over there, after all, and her boyfriend bet on baseball, which just isn’t right.

You can listen to the Rose interview here.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.