We had quite a lively debate yesterday about whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I’d have to guess, however, that even the most ardent Rose haters — of which I am not one, no matter what a lot of you think — would agree that Rose has a better claim to Cooperstown immortality than Eric Bruntlett’s sweaty jersey:
There actually have been more perfect games — 18, including the postseason — than unassisted triple plays . . . That is why the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum asked Bruntlett for a piece of memorabilia from the play.
Bruntlett is sending his jersey.
This isn’t a slam on Bruntlett or his feat — I took care of that yesterday. I just don’t get the obsessiveness on the part of the Hall for this kind of totem. I get truly historic jerseys, and I even get more directly symbolic things like a guy’s spikes for a stolen base record or something. But the shirt a backup second baseman was wearing when something cool yet kind of flukey happened? How isn’t preserved video or a photo sufficient? What does the jersey actually add to the historic remembrance of it all? Maybe the glove would be better. Bruntlett probably doesn’t want to part with that in the middle of a season, of course, so maybe the Hall should just wait for that.
Don’t get me wrong — this is not a complaint as such. Just kind of a head scratcher regarding why it is we actually preserve artifacts like this. Is it to remember an event? Does the Hall do this out of a sense of mere inertia?
Probably worth a visit to Cooperstown to ask someone.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.