The Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame nominees are out

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If you’ll recall, the Veteran’s Committee for the Hall of Fame now votes on nominees on a rotating basis, with each year covering a different era. This year it’s the “pre-Integration” era, consisting of players, managers, umpires and executives whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from the 1876-1946.

This year’s nominees have been announced. There are ten:

  • Marty Marion: Played from 1940-50, took a break for the Korean War and then played in 1952-53, batting .263 with 36 home runs. A slick fielding shortstop. His best years where during WWII when all of the best players were gone. Seems like a poor candidate.
  • Bucky Walters: Pitched from 1934-1950 compiling a 198-160 lifetime record, with a 3.30 era. Three FANTASTIC seasons in 1939, 1940 and 1944 (though that was a war year) with a lot of filler surrounding. Won the 1939 MVP.
  • Jacob Ruppert: Owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 through 1939 which, if you weren’t aware, was when they became THE NEW YORK YANKEES. I’m rather shocked he’s not already in the Hall.
  • Bill Dahlen: Played from 1891-1911, mostly as a shortstop. He retired in 1911 as the active home run leader with 84. Some old timer probably called him “the REAL home run king” for a long damn time after Home Run Baker and Babe Ruth and those guys came along.
  • Wes Ferrell: A 193-128 record with a 4.04 career ERA (116 ERA+) from 1927-1941. He won 20 games four times to kick of his career and did it two more times later, which gives him some curiosity points, but he flamed out young and was quite ordinary for much of his career. A nice career, but really, if this guy gets in, do we really have standards for pitchers anymore? How is he different from any number of very good but not necessarily great pitchers like Dennis Martinez and the like?
  • Tony Mullane: Won 284 games in 13 major league seasons from 1881-1894. 468 of his 504 games were complete games. Old Hoss Radbourn used to mock his stamina.
  • Deacon White: Played from 1871-1890. The Hall of Fame website calls him “one of the finest barehanded catchers of his time.” Ouch.
  • Samuel Breadon: Long time owner of the Cardinals, who hired Branch Rickey and helped form the modern minor league system. The Cardinals won nine pennants and six World Series on his watch.
  • Alfred Reach: Player, sporting goods mogul and the publisher of the Reach Guides, which published statistics and stories and things and which now serve as great historical documents from the deadball era.
  • Hank O’Day: An umpire from 1888 through 1927. He also played and managed, often in some of the years covering that umpire stretch. I have no idea how that worked. I also have no idea what the standards are for a Hall of Fame umpire. Pioneers notwithstanding, the best ones should be the ones you don’t hear about, right?

The inductees will be announced on December 3 during the Winter Meetings.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.