Ryan Zimmerman was struggling to play through a shoulder injury and hitting just .218 with three homers and a .590 OPS in 55 games through June 23.
The next day the Nationals third baseman got a cortisone injection in his shoulder and since then he’s been on fire.
Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com broke down the numbers and they’re amazing: Since the cortisone injection Zimmerman is hitting .339 with 19 homers, 21 doubles, and a 1.021 OPS in 72 games.
One of the worst hitters in baseball before the cortisone injection and one of the best hitters in baseball since the cortisone injection, which is doubly remarkable considering at the time doctors told Zimmerman that they weren’t sure how much good the shot would do on his shoulder.
Looking back on it now, here’s what Zimmerman told Zuckerman:
I’m OK with the slow starts, but not being able to swing the bat and do the things health-wise, I was worried about that. Because I know my body pretty well. Everyone in this room plays hurt. Everyone in every locker room. Nobody’s healthy. And I’ve played hurt a lot just like everyone else. But it was a different kind of feeling. It made me nervous.
That was a trying time, I guess you could say. That was about as tough a six-week stretch as I’ve ever had in my career. To be able to look up there now and know I’ve been able to battle back from that–and more importantly, can actually help the team win now–I’m pretty proud of it.
Cortisone shots for everyone!
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.