A look at the mechanics of Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, and other immortals.
Pitchers naturally draw most of my attention when looking at the Hall of Fame, and the voting trends of the Baseball Writers Association of America reveal some interesting tendencies when one studies the historical record. For example, there have been a total of 35 pitchers voted into the Hall by the BBWAA across the 78-year span of the voting process, yet from 1956 to 1971, Bob Feller was the only moundsman to pass through the gauntlet. There were only three pitchers enshrined during the first 11 years of the 21st century, and all three were relievers: Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Dennis Eckersley. But now we stand on the precipice of the Hall's floodgates being opened to pitchers, from the recent selections of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine to next year's shoo-ins such as Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.
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If Roger Clemens isn't ruling anything out, then Matthew isn't ruling anything out.
Last season I played adult league baseball. I played decently well, got some hits, played a solid second base and pitched acceptably on occasion, but when I think back on the experience I’m struck by one thing: the pain. Playing two games a weekend meant spending the rest of the week in some level of discomfort. Whether it was throwing 20 pitches out of the bullpen and not being able to raise my arm above my shoulder for several days, or the general soreness that comes from throwing one’s body to the ground as a baseball rolls past, or the many welts from taking a fastball to the kidney, fielding a ground ball with your nipples (don’t try this at home, kids), or getting run over at second base, baseball is a painful endeavor. We -- well I -- don’t tend to think of it that way. Most of the time the players are standing around, or jogging from one spot to the next. But if my ridiculously minimal experience is any indicator, pain is a constant part of playing professional baseball.
That’s one reason why I want to see Roger Clemens pitch next season. In case you missed it, Clemens told the Houston Chronicle he wasn’t ruling out pitching in the majors next season. Which, for a normal person, is like saying, I’m not ruling out going to the moon in the next nine minutes. Sure, you’re not ruling it out, but it’s not going to happen either.
How Jamie Moyer learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.
On May 6, Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Robertspassed away. Many nice things were said upon his shuffling off this mortal coil—staff leader of the 1950 "Whiz Kids," active in the formation of the players' union, all-around stand-up guy. But the most distinctive number attached to his 19-year big-league career was his 505 home runs allowed, the all-time record. Those dingers didn't stop Roberts from racking up 286 wins with a 3.41 ERA, a 113 ERA+, and 82.0 WARP, good enough to earn him a bronze plaque in Cooperstown in relatively short order.
The Orioles Hall of Famer discusses his contemporaries, solo home runs, commanding the strike zone, and... solo home runs,
A lot of great pitchers have worn an Orioles uniform over the years, but none have been better than Jim Palmer. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990, Palmer won 268 games over 19 seasons, winning 20 games or more eight times and twice leading the American League in ERA. Signed by Baltimore as an amateur free agent in 1963, Palmer made his big-league debut in 1965 and went on to play his entire career with the Orioles, pitching 3,948 innings and earning three World Series rings. In Game Two of the 1966 Fall Classic, Palmer became the youngest pitcher to throw a World Series shutout when he defeated Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers 2-0 at the age of 20. The winningest pitcher in team history, Palmer is currently an analyst for Orioles TV.
Milwaukee's long and winding road finally takes them to October, plus other news and notes from around the weekend's action.
I don't know how many times I've seen the clip. Big Pete Ladd delivers to Rod Carew, who grounds to Robin Yount, who throws over to Cecil Cooper, who clutches the ball in his glove and raises his outstretched arm as he heads towards the dogpile on the mound where the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate their 1982 pennant. That final out has stood as the pinnacle of the Brewers' success for over a quarter of a century, a moment to savor for a franchise that has enjoyed more bad times than good in 40 seasons of existence across two cities and two leagues. It defined not only the success of a pennant captured, but the failure to top that with a World Championship, and the epic, playoff-free drought that the franchise endured during 25 years of frustration and occasional humiliation.
Jim Bowden stays in Washington, the Phillies respond to the Brett Myers situation, and there's some reaction to Ozzie Guillen's latest incident.
"Jim is very smart. By smart, I mean analytical. I love that. I also think he's very resourceful... And right now, as we're building this--needing to speed the process up as quickly as we can, needing to shave any unnecessary steps--I need someone resourceful. I think Jim is really good at that."
--Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten, upon retaining GM Jim Bowden's services in a reported multi-year deal (The Washington Post).
Will Carroll and Mike Carminati wonder if swinging and missing is that big of a deal, and their findings may surprise you.
Just as an out-of-the-blue bolt of plate discipline presaged Sosa's assent, his decline might have been predicted by his tendency to swing and miss that haunted him even in his stellar 1999 season. Sosa swung at and missed 475 pitches in his record-setting 1999 campaign. This is the highest total for any major-league batter over the last five seasons and isn't the "swing and a miss!" call of the announcer the cruelest fate in baseball? But what does it mean in the greater scheme?
Does having a tendency to swing and miss more than most impair a batter's productivity as we have been told since Little League? Do batters with better batting eyes tend to be more productive than the average batter? Is it better to be patient at the plate or go for the first pitch you can hit? Does this data tell us anything new and could that be used to help build a better team or find successful players?
Felix Hernandez has a terrific nickname and the adoration of thousands just weeks into his MLB career.
Two starts into his major-league career, 50 starts as a professional, barely old enough to vote in the U.S., certainly not old enough to buy alcohol here…and yet Felix Hernandez has been branded royalty. That's not bad for someone who started the 2004 season in the California League.
Jim Palmer plays the fool. Bob Feller preferred Wheaties to steroids. Rey Ordonez gives way to Khalil Greene. Dallas Green thinks the time is right for younger talent to take over GM jobs. These and other quips in The Week In Quotes.
"In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it... I'm the fool."
--Jim Palmer, former Orioles pitcher and Hall of Famer, on the issue of steroids in baseball (Baltimore Sun)
The Braves strike NRI gold with Russell Branyan. The Astros do what they need to do to compete in the NL Central. Everything you ever wanted to read about Eric Karros. The Padres address their chasm in center. These and other news, notes, and Kahrlisms in today's Transaction Analysis.