Only one middle infielder passes the revamped JAWS' standards for Hall of Fame induction.
The past year has been a great one for JAWS, the Hall of Fame evaluation system whose creation marked my first contribution to Baseball Prospectus back in 2004 (I didn't name it until the next go-round). In 2011, two overly qualified candidates for whom I've advocated for the better part of a decade were finally elected. In January, Bert Blylevenreceived 79.7 percentof the Baseball Writers of America vote, becoming the first player ever to gain entry on his 14th ballot. In December, the late Ron Santoreceived 93.8 percent of the vote from the Golden Era committee, a bittersweet result given his passing just a year ago but a vindication of what we've known here for years, that he too was worthy of a bronze plaque.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Detroit's manager has toured the country as a major-league manager, but is his work worthy of enshrinement?
When Lou Piniella stepped down as manager of the Cubs last summer, he was greeted with a spate of articles from smartpeople suggesting that he was bound for the Hall of Fame, not to mention tributes to his famous temper. Jim Leyland may lack Piniella’s signature flair for the dramatic base toss or hat-kick, but he can light up a post-game press conference as Piniella did, and the occasional clip of him getting his money’s worth from the umpires have been known to circulate. More to the point, with the spotlight shining on him thanks to the Tigers' post-season run, the 66-year-old skipper's own candidacy looks even stronger than Piniella’s, not to mention many of his peers.
One Hall of Fame-caliber outfielder is taking his act to the Bay area, while a questionable Hall case may be looking at his release papers.
The Carlos Beltran era of Mets history came to an unceremonious end on Thursday, when the Mets and Giants agreed on a trade that that sent the resurgent slugger to the Bay Area in exchange for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. On his way out of town, Beltran has been cast as a symbol of the Omar Minaya regime's failures; as news of the trade broke, more than one national writer returned to his 2006 National League Championship Series-ending strikeout as a frozen moment that defines not only his legacy in Queens, but also some weakness of character. Hardly a farewell befitting a Hall of Fame-caliber player.
Remembering the best part of my trip to Cooperstown.
Today is Hall of Fame Day. After years (or decades) of waiting, Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, and General Manager Pat Gillick will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon in Cooperstown, New York. It should be a great afternoon. All three men are worthy additions to the Hall and should have been honored sooner. The thousands of visitors to Cooperstown today will have something to remember for years and years.
In the winter of 2006, I went to the Hall of Fame for the first and (as yet) only time. It was the day after Christmas and the Terrific Girlfriend surprised me by telling me that we would be making the three-hour drive from western Massachusetts to Cooperstown. Needless to say, I was excited. The trip was great. There was no snow or anything on the ground, but driving through the hills of rural New York was lovely. And then we saw the town: a simple main street (called Main Street!) dominated by the Hall of Fame. I don't know what I was expecting, but this was perfect.
Jay recaps the careers of the soon-to-be-HOF-inducted Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven.
The Hall of Fame induction weekend is upon us, and while I've taken issue with the way the institution is treating this year's recipients of the Frick, Spink, and O'Neil awards, I'm particularly excited to see this year’s class of BBWAA and Expansion Era Committee choices—Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, and Pat Gillick—honored. Having watched both Alomar and Blyleven excel with multiple teams over the years, it was both a privilege and a labor of love to advocate their election to Cooperstown.
The Hall of Fame has quietly removed the writers and broadcasters from the annual Sunday ceremonies.
Technically, they're not Hall of Famers. The broadcasters and writers honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame are recipients of the Ford C. Frick and J.G. Taylor Spink Awards, the highest honors in their respective fields. Voted upon on an annual basis by a committee of previous award winners, historians, and columnists in the case of the former, and by the Baseball Writers Association of America in the case of the latter, they are recognized at the Cooperstown mecca not with the bronze plaques that players, managers, executives, and pioneers receive, the ones that hang in the hallowed Hall of Fame Gallery. Rather, a portrait of each recipient is included in the "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit in the Hall's library. As the Class of 2011 is inducted this weekend, those honorees are being pushed even further from the limelight.
More memories from a childhood's worth of ballplayers in Utah and Walla Walla.
Today we pick up where I left off last week in covering some of my favorite minor leaguers I saw in Salt Lake City, Utah (where I grew up) and Walla Walla, Washington (where my grandparents lived) during the late '70s and '80s. Some went on to have notable major-league careers, and one even reached Cooperstown. Others would earn less distinction, though they retain my considerable affection.
With the retirement of a Yankee workhorse, the question of his place in history arises.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that Andy Pettitte gave word of his retirement on Thursday, and unless that rock was hiding under another rock, you probably know that this has been a likelihood ever since the television cameras found a moist-eyed Pettitte watching the late innings of Game Six of the ALCS, knowing that he wouldn't get another shot to put the Yankees on his broad shoulders and lift them into another World Series. The shame of it is that Pettitte had pitched so well in 2010, cruising through the first half (11-2, 2.70 ERA) like he never had in his 15-year career, at least until the fateful July day when he departed with a groin strain that cost him two full months. If that didn't hasten his decision to retire, it certainly lessened his will to put his body through the wringer one more time.
New Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven talks about his fascination with numbers, along with news and notes from around the major leagues.
When you think of Bert Blyleven the pitcher, you think of someone who won 287 games, struck out 3,701, threw 60 shutouts and had a curveball that nearly defied gravity. You don't think of a guy who memorized the career innings pitched totals of such greats as Cy Young and Walter Johnson.
Taking a look at players on the Hall of Fame ballot who played right of center, including one who performed for years at altitude.
Like Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker could flat-out rake. In his 17-year career with the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals, Walker won three batting titles with averages of at least .363—three of the top 20 batting averages of the last 30 years, including the second-highest (.379) in 1999. Unlike Martinez, Walker could also play defense; he won seven Gold Gloves in an 11-year span, and had four straight seasons where he was at least 10 runs above average in right field. As he debuts on the Hall of Fame ballot, the cream of the crop among its five right fielders, the primary question about Walker is how much of his perceived value comes out in the wash after adjusting for him having spent the middle of his career in pre-humidor Coors Field. Will JAWS chew through the meat of his career?