Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News just submitted his first-ever Hall of Fame ballot. Included on that ballot was Dale Murphy.
I’m cool with that. I don’t think I’d vote for him myself because I really do like to see a mix of elite peak — which Murphy had — and longevity, which Murphy didn’t. Your mileage may vary, and I will make some exceptions, but for the most part I think those non-MVP but still superior years helping teams win are important.
But that’s just me. I can totally get on board with people differing in that regard, and frankly, it would make me kind of happy as a fanboy to see Murph in the Hall.
But one thing I do believe: if you’re going to vote for Dale Murphy, at least make sure you’re accurate about his merits, OK? Don’t say stuff like this:
During 1980-1987, Murphy was the BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL, I’m pretty sure. I remember thinking that throughout that time, and I don’t believe I was wrong … I think the HOF is about GREATNESS–about guys who affected every bit of every game they played in their primes. –That’s Murphy, to me. Most HRs in the ’80s, by the way. Most RBIs, too.
People can believe different things when it comes to “THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL,” but if you’re going to look at 1980-87 and conclude that Mike Schmidt wasn’t that, well, you need to show more work than Kawakami does here.
Oh, and you also need to not get things simply wrong. Murphy did not have the most home runs in the 1980s, Schmidt did. Nor did he have the most RBI, Eddie Murray did. I’m a stats moron but even I can figure that out fairly quickly.
Oh well. At least he votes for Jeff Bagwell and Alan Trammell. I just hope it’s not because Bagwell led baseball in saves in the 1990s and because Trammell hit in 57 consecutive games.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.