Edgar Martinez’s and David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame cases often get bogged down in “they’re only part-time players” and “anyone can just DH” arglebargle.
But when you look around you realize that there are fewer and fewer guys who can make the full-time DH thing work. Indeed, there are 15 teams who use a DH most games but only five guys qualified for the batting title out of the DH position in 2013. And one of them was Adam Dunn for cryin’ out loud.
Yep, the days of the dedicated DH seem to be dwindling. And you can add the Rays to the list of teams which have decided to go with DH-by-committee rather than just give the job to some hitter who is too creaky or too clunky to field any longer. Here’s Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune:
Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at last week’s general managers meetings that his team could employ a four-man rotation through the DH spot in 2014 with Matt Joyce and David DeJesus as the left-handed half of that quartet and Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings swinging from the right side.
Makes sense after several years of the Pat Burrell/Johnny Damon/Luke Scott parade. Which at times was OK — mostly from Scott — but was not so good that it was worth dedicating a roster spot. Playing platoons and keeping guys fresh with this rotation is bound to provide way better production at way better cost than almost anything else the Rays could do about the DH spot this winter.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.