Jeff Francoeur was cut by the Giants before the season was over last year. This after a disastrous 2013 season and a sub-par 2012 season. He’s in Indians camp now, likely with his las shot at the majors. Paul Hoynes spoke with him and he talked about what was ailing him at the end of the season:
“To put it mildly, I think I was depressed at the end of last year,” said Francoeur, in camp with the Indians on a minor-league deal. “My wife, Catie, and my family came up to see me in Washington when I was with San Francisco. I weighed 201 pounds. I weigh 220 now. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t taking care of myself . . . The last year and half to two years I haven’t had that much fun. I kind of missed the joy of coming to the yard. Hopefully, there is an opportunity here for me to contribute.”
Not surprising that when he played well baseball was fun. When he played poorly it wasn’t. It’s probably more sad to see Francoeur discouraged than most players because he has always had a far happier sense about him than most.
I’ve given Francoeur a lot of guff over the years. But I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. And I’m hoping that he makes it work in Cleveland. Or, short of that, that he accepts an assignment to Columbus. I’d go to Huntington Park and cheer for him.
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.