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21 Dec

My Hall of Fame ballot (UPDATED because I screwed up)

2011 Official/Potential Hall of Fame Ballot – Baseball-Reference.com.

For some reason, I don’t get a vote, but if I did, here’s how it would go, with explanations. I’m a big Hall guy, and am more worried about the 11th and 12th guys I left off than selecting ten. Players are in order of how I selected them:

Bert Blyleven: Duh. If I didn’t support Blyleven, I’d lose my baseball blogger license.

Dale Murphy: I’ve written about Murph at length.

Jeff Bagwell: The only explanation of why some writers are apparently anti-Bagwell, or want to “wait and see”, is that they’re suspicious of PED revelations. He was one of the five best first basemen of all-time.

Barry Larkin: Why Larkin didn’t get in in his first year of eligibility would seem to be more explicable, that steroid/A-Rod era offensive standards for the position are confusing the writers. He’s an obvious Hall of Famer, the best defensive and offensive shortstop of his time, winner of an MVP award and key member of a World Champion.

Roberto Alomar: Another obvious Hall of Famer, though I would pick Larkin ahead of him. Their career OBP/SLG are almost identical (.371 OBP for both, Larkin up in SLG .444 to .443) but Barry was a shortstop, and a better shortstop than Robby was a second baseman. Alomar had the longer career, though. Got 73.7 percent of the vote in his first year, probably would have gotten in first-ballot except for the spitting incident.

Dave Parker: Not to take the if-one-then argument, but Parker is so obviously more qualified than Jim Rice that the only explanation for Rice getting in while Parker sits at fifteen percent of the vote is media bias. Parker won an MVP the same year as Rice, was as good of a hitter as his best and a better defender, and has better career numbers.

Fred McGriff: Suffers, like Larkin, from steroid-era offensive standards. His prime years, 1988-1994, don’t look that impressive by the standards of the years immediately after. I’ve written about him, too.

Alan Trammell: Most-similar hitter to Larkin. Larkin was a better defender and baserunner, and his offensive numbers are a bit better, but offensive levels were higher during his career. Then again, Trammell played in Tiger Stadium. I’d take Larkin if I could only choose one, but both are manifestly qualified.

Edgar Martinez: Argument against is basically that he was a DH almost all of his career, and it’s hard to take a player with zero defensive value. On the other hand, he was a hell of a hitter. .418 career OBP, ranks 22nd all-time, led the league three times, second three others in the most important offensive stat.

Tim Raines: I know why Raines isn’t in the Hall of Fame. He was a leadoff man, and leadoff men aren’t particularly popular with the BBWAA for some reason, and he admitted to using cocaine. As to the former, it’s dumb, and as to the latter, once you put Paul Molitor in, how can you hold cocaine use against Raines? He probably is also punished because he wasn’t the player he was in his thirties that he was in his twenties, but since he played in Chicago and New York people saw a lot more of that than they did of him in his prime, in Montreal. Raines was the best leadoff man in the history of the National League. (I accidentally left Raines off initially; he would go about fifth if I had it to do over.)

Lee Smith: I have to go by the standards, and the standard for Hall of Fame relievers is Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, and Goose Gossage. Smith matches up well with this group, and was probably a better pitcher than Fingers or Sutter. Retired the career leader in saves; argument against is that he was never the dominant reliever in any given season, but led the league in saves four times, made seven All-Star teams, and in 1991 was second to Tom Glavine in the Cy Young voting, also had fourth- and fifth-place finishes.

141 Responses to “My Hall of Fame ballot (UPDATED because I screwed up)”

  1. 1
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Isn’t Robbie Alomar widely regarded as on of the best defensive second baseman of all time?

  2. 2
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Maybe, but he wasn’t.

  3. 3
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Perhaps he was a beneficiary of both ESPN and Omar Vizquel. I remember lots of pretty sweet web gems involving those guys.

  4. 4
    Dusty Says:

    Mine

    Blyleven
    Alomar
    Raines
    Larkin
    Edgar Mart.
    McGwire
    McGriff
    Murphy
    Trammell
    Bagwell

    And I would consider K Brown, Palmeiro and Larry Walker.

    Mac, Curious why no Raines?

  5. 5
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Oh, he was good, but he wasn’t one of the best of all time, or the best of his time, really. He was flashy.

  6. 6
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Hell, I knew I was leaving someone out. Yes, Raines, which means Smith is out.

  7. 7
    JoeyT Says:

    What cap does Alomar wear? He had the most years with the Jays, but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t looked. I think of him as an Oriole/Indian, and he had better years with those clubs. He never spent more than 5 years with a club in his 17 year career.

    I’d go with Indians. Even though he first pops up as an Oriole in my mind’s eye, he had his best years in Cleveland.

  8. 8
    Dusty Says:

    You know that’s a tough one, I thought Jays initially.

    Edit-looking at the numbers, his best years were certainly with Cleveland though he was really strong in TOR and for two more years.

  9. 9
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Updated to add Raines. I think Alomar wears a Blue Jays cap.

  10. 10
    Lance Says:

    Every fiber of my being dislikes the DH so much that I can not pull the trigger on one. If I could ever get over that I’d pick Edgar.

    I think the world of Murph & Crime Dog. As a Braves fan I treasure them. They are not Hall of Famers.

    Everyone else belongs. Thanks for mentioning Dave Parker. He was a dangerous, intelligent hitter who could also play corner outfield like few others could.

    Good blog.

  11. 11
    IthacaBraves Says:

    To me alomar will always be a New York Met.

  12. 12
    JoeyT Says:

    @11, I thought of that, too. Once a Met, perhaps you should be stained with that mark for all eternity.

    However, Glavine was a Met for a week, and I’ll want him in the Hall a Brave, so Alomar gets a pass, too.

  13. 13
    JoeyT Says:

    The biggest question on the Mets front, really, is if they let Piazza be a Dodger or if they force a Mets cap on his plaque.

  14. 14
    IthacaBraves Says:

    What’s the better Tom Glavine moment?

    A. 1995 World Series Game 6
    B. 2007 Regular Season Game 162

  15. 15
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t mind putting Edgar in but with a gun to my head I probably wouldn’t vote for him. He’s a DH, and his career wasn’t quite long enough to make up for it. If you created a player with Harold Baines’s counting stats and Edgar’s triple slash, you’d have an upper-echelon Hall of Famer. As it is, you have two guys who probably deserve about 68% of the vote each.

    Dale Murphy is my defining borderline candidate, the guy I’d vote for while acknowledging that if he played for any other team I wouldn’t support his candidacy. (QED: I don’t particularly support Dave Parker.)

  16. 16
    Mac Thomason Says:

    When I say that Bagwell is one of the five best first basemen of all time, I mean he’s third. Seriously; there have been fewer truly great first basemen than people realize. The only true inner-circle first basemen are Gehrig and Foxx; I’d rank Bagwell third and Murray fourth.

  17. 17
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    With an asterisk marked “among eligible players.” Pujols is already ahead of Murray.

  18. 18
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Yes, with the asterisk. Pujols is entering his age 31 season and already has 408 homers and 1900 hits. Gehrig at the same age had 299 and 1756.

  19. 19
    braves14 Says:

    I wouldn’t put Edgar or McGriff in. I like Fred but unfortunately he is Hall of the Very Good. Is Bobby eligible next year since he is over 65?

  20. 20
    spike Says:

    At the risk of blog bullying, does Thomas not make the list because he is not considered a first baseman in your view, or because regardless he doesn’t crack the top 4 or 5*?

  21. 21
    ububba Says:

    spike!

    Stop!

    That hurts!

  22. 22
    Mac Thomason Says:

    He might be fifth, with the asterisk. Thomas’ most-similar hitter is Bagwell, but… Great hitter, terribly slow baserunner (Bagwell was very good on the bases, stole 30 bases twice) nearly as little defensive value as Edgar. B-R has Frank’s defensive WAR at -7.3, which seems about right.

  23. 23
    ububba Says:

    Big Frank was a DH for a reason.

  24. 24
    spike Says:

    The thing about Thomas is that his 5 and 10 year peaks are pretty phenomenal. I think unless you were watching baseball (that old canard again) at that time, it would be tough to grasp that he came out of the chute hitting like Foxx, and didn’t stop for 8 years. It was something I’d never seen before, and really only associated with 30′s baseball.

  25. 25
    braves14 Says:

    So, when does Bobby become eligible?

  26. 26
    spike Says:

    oh, and just for the heck of it,

    Roberto Alomar
    Bert Blyleven
    Barry Larkin
    Alan Trammell
    Tim Raines
    Jeff Bagwell
    Fred McGriff

  27. 27
    chris Says:

    mac…seriously? you’d put

    Gehrig
    Foxx
    BAGWELL?

    wow…there have only been a few “great” first basemen? seriously? Hank Greenberg? .331 career BA with 331 HRs and 1200 RBI? Willie McCovey? He of the .270 career BA with 520 HR and 1500 RBI? Dan Brouthers? I know he’s old but the dude had a a career BA of .342 and was THE Pujols of the deadball era. Buck Leonard? The best 1B of the Negro Leagues. Then there’s McGwire (’cause if you’re putting in Bagwell and his PED possibility, then you HAVE to put in McGwire). I’d also put Dick Allen (.292 with 351 HR) ahead of Bagwell. I, personally, like Frank Thomas more than Bagwell, but that’s just me.

  28. 28
    Mac Thomason Says:

    No offense, but you’re crazy. Greenberg was a terrific player, but his career was very short, and it’s not all just the war, but injuries as well. I’m a great admirer of McCovey, but a lot of his career he was just hanging on. Brouthers — give me a break, 19th century baseball? McGwire did nothing at all as well as Bagwell except hit home runs, and there’s a bit of a difference between a PED possibility and a PED certainty, and McGwire is much closer to the latter. Thomas was a great hitter, but I’ll reiterate — his most-similar hitter is Bagwell (Bagwell’s, however, is Chipper), and Bagwell did everything else better, plus he spent his prime years in the Astrodome.

    You want the big stats? Bagwell hit .297 with 447 homers (again, playing his best years in the Astrodome). He hit as high as .368, scored as many as 152 runs, won an MVP and was Rookie of the Year. And nobody paid much attention because he was in Houston. If he’d stayed in Boston, he’d have a statue by now.

  29. 29
    braves14 Says:

    I think he was referring to what you would expect out of the first base position being one of the premium offensive ones on the diamond. And the guys you listed as the cream of the crop (which aren’t even accurate) prove his point.

  30. 30
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Okay, then… To me, to be a truly great player, you need both dominance and career length, and the only modern players who have that at the position are Gehrig and Foxx, with Pujols needing a few more seasons. Part of the problem at first base is that career first basemen tend to have short careers — or short career as top players, with lots of hang-around seasons — because career first basemen usually have “old player’s skills”. A lot of the time, the position winds up manned by slowed-down outfielders or third basemen. Only two guys who were first basemen most of their careers had 3000 hits (Murray and Palmeiro; Anson was listed with 3000 for a long time but is now counted at 2995).

    For what it’s worth, Bill James’ top ten first basemen:

    Gehrig
    Foxx
    McGwire
    Bagwell
    Murray
    Mize
    Killebrew
    Greenberg
    McCovey
    Thomas

    That was ten years ago now.

  31. 31
    Coop Says:

    I remember Musial more as a first baseman, but he probably did play longer in the outfield. Musial was THE MAN.

    Yeah, he played 1890 games in the outfield and only 1016 at first base. Too bad he got a dead arm and had to quit pitching. He might have been something special.

  32. 32
    spike Says:

    Interesting chris, you raise some very valid objections. Just for fun, I went through and looked to see if I could support Mac’s premise – not saying it’s what I think, but plausible. I used WAR for the most part, just cause it was handy.

    Brouthers – well, depends on how you value pre-1900 baseball. I’m not sure the different rules of the day make them really comparable

    Greenberg – One of my favorites, but if you like WAR, Bags has him handily. Now if you want to give him WAR-time credit (heh), this gets a lot closer. He’d need three really good (5+ WAR) to get in range.

    McCovey – WAR really likes Bagwell here too – a 15 point edge.

    Leonard – Again, how do you value statistics from a fundamentally different environment?

    McGwire – Lots of DL time, and Bagwell’s perceived defensive advantage are the apparent difference. WAR rates Bagwell as 5 better. Pretty close.

    Allen – Close offensively, but WAR really hates his defense, durability issue here too.

    Seems if you believe in defensive metrics, then Bags gets a good jump on most folks.

    So that was fun. Thanks.

  33. 33
    Smitty Says:

    Bagwell was an amazing player. If he hadn’t had to play in the dome, he hits 600 home runs. Great glove too.

    Bagwell and Biggio are one of the best right sides of an infield in baseball history.

  34. 34
    Bethany Says:

    Bagwell also knew how to rock a beard. That has to count for something.

  35. 35
    kc Says:

    I guess I never realised Bagwell was really THAT good in respect of where he stands in history. We all know he is good.

    I love the way Joe P ends the following article:

    http://joeposnanski.si.com/2010/12/20/uh-oh/

  36. 36
    spike Says:

    He took a wide stance.

  37. 37
    david15 Says:

    I will just never understand the argument for Murphy over Larry Walker, I guess. Walker played 18 years and never had a season after his rookie year where he wasn’t really, really good, even accounting for Coors Field. They both had excellent peaks, so with Walker’s WAR advantage of 25 or so, what’s the argument for Murphy?

  38. 38
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    Great discussion. FWIW:

    Bagwell
    Blyleven
    Larkin
    Alomar
    Trammell
    McGriff
    Parker

    I really like AAR’s comment about Murphy….

  39. 39
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I didn’t directly link this, it’s part of the Murphy series:

    Murph and the Cobra.

    I was mostly talking up Murphy in that post, but Parker is manifestly qualified for the Hall, a better pick than the contemporary outfielders (Rice and Dawson) who have gone in the last two years.

  40. 40
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Mac, I loved that Parker piece then, and it’s extraordinarily persuasive now. The only thing I really take issue with is this: “My guess is that at one time or another 90 percent of the players in baseball in the late seventies tried cocaine. That’s just what the late seventies were like. Parker let it take over his life, but that was just his bad luck. The problem is what that drug use did to his team.”

    I guess it’s hard for me to call that “bad luck.” I’m not ready to excommunicate a player for drug use — I support Tim Raines, and Barry Bonds — but I’m definitely going to dock him credit. I wouldn’t mind Parker being inducted, and I’d certainly support him before Rice or Dawson, but but I don’t think I could vote for him.

  41. 41
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Maybe bad luck isn’t the right phrase, and 90 percent may be high (though I’ll bet that a majority, perhaps a vast majority, of established players tried cocaine at some point). But most of them didn’t become addicts, and I don’t really understand why one person got addicted and another person didn’t. Character flaws? Genetics? Bad timing? Who knows.

  42. 42
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It may not be completely “fair” to blame Parker’s life spiraling out of control on Parker himself — addiction is a disease, after all, and it’s commendable that he was able to clean himself up and return to an elite level.

    But if I’m going to commend him for cleaning himself up, I have to punish him for what he did to himself and his team. I’m probably being overly harsh, and if he played in the ’30s or ’50s and had 150 more homers because of the higher offensive context, I’d probably want him in the Hall. But… as it is, he’s just hard for me to get behind.

  43. 43
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    I think that a distinction needs to be made about drug use: those which are taken for recreational pleasures and those which are used to enhance preformance. Both are bad, but it is hard for me to see why the former should become a decisive criteria for inclusion or exclusion into the HOF. Alcohol consumption (even during the Prohibition) has never been used as an argument against a player being elected to the HOF. Therefore, I don’t quite understand the complaint about Parker.

    I do think that Parker’s arrogance has not helped him, but from my point of view its not relevant to whether he should have a plaque at Cooperstown….

  44. 44
    Kevin Lee Says:

    I wish that HOF voting took into account the fans’ anticipation of seeing a player.
    Bagwell and Biggio and a cast of Killer B’s were a big part of the National League story for 15 years.
    Bags had over 600 plate appearances 12 times!
    It’ll be great remembering his weird stance as I rooted desparately for Maddux and Glavine and Smoltz to get him out.

  45. 45
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Quite frankly, if Parker could have handled the deleterious effects of cocaine as well as Babe Ruth handled those of booze — I wouldn’t dock him as seriously.

    I get your point and I don’t disagree: I think a guy’s personal stats should be discounted more heavily for PED use than for the use of non-performance enhancing drugs. And certainly, the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse of those days was pretty much a drug den — seven different drug dealers pleaded guilty or were convicted in what was baseball’s biggest drug scandal before the steroid hearings. So that’s part of what Mac is getting at when he talks about Parker’s “bad luck” at being unable to simply do cocaine recreationally, like other players, and not suffer a nearly career-killing dependency. There were a ton of players who used, and Parker may have been more of a victim of the drug culture in Pittsburgh, than a catalyst.

    But it’s impossible to escape the feeling that Parker’s peak would have been longer and his numbers would have looked more, well, Hall-like, if he just could have managed or kicked his habit sooner. Through his age 28 season, he had an MVP, two All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, and an OPS+ of 143 — he had five consecutive full seasons with an OPS+ over 130. Over the next 12 seasons of his career, his OPS+ was 109, and he only had a single season with an OPS+ over 120.

    Or look at it another way: through age 28, he had 31.1 career Wins Above Replacement, and five consecutive seasons with more than 3.5 WAR. After that, he only had two seasons with more than 2 WAR, and seven seasons with between 0 and 1 WAR. In other words, he went from a Hall-of-Fame caliber player to basically league-average or replacement-level, and just hung around for a decade.

    If he was Dale Murphy, I’d be more willing to forgive that.

  46. 46
    spike Says:

    Parker is a tough one for me – such a short peak, regardless of why, but so clearly talented that he was a serviceable player long past his sell-by date. If you are a big hall kinda guy he’s pretty much in – this is a particularly good Keltner test review for him.

    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/burley_2002-12-30_0/

  47. 47
    c. shorter Says:

    I like Mac’s list on Murphy: http://www.bravesjournal.us/?p=2169

    And in the comments, I enjoy the quotes that ububba pulled on him:

    ububba Says:
    Selected quotes about Murphy stolen from The Baseball Page:

    “If you’re a coach, you want him as a player, If you’re a father, you want him as a son. If you’re a woman, you want him as a husband. If you’re a kid, you want him as a father. What else can you say about the guy?” – Joe Torre

    “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever pitched to” – Nolan Ryan

    “Just look at him over there, Doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t take greenies, nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, hits the hell out of the ball, hustles like crazy, plays a great center field and isn’t trying to get anything from anybody…Doesn’t he just make you sick?” – Terry Forster

    “I can’t imagine Joe DiMaggio was a better all-around player than Dale Murphy.” – Nolan Ryan

    “The best player I’ve seen since Willie Mays.” – Billy Connors

    “Last year he was our league’s most valuable player. And this year he may be the most improved player in the league. What does that make him?” – George Bamberger

    “The only way to stop him is to throw him balls. Throw away, away, away. Even then he might hurt you.” – LaMarr Hoyt

    “I’ve never known anyone like him. God only makes one like Dale every 50 years.” – Chuck Tanner

    “I don’t challenge Murphy, even if he’s 0 for 20. Not him, not ever.” – Mario Soto

    “It would be a different team without him. I don’t think there would be too many people watching us play.” – Zane Smith

    “What’s really special about him is that he knows how to run the bases. He gets up his speed, and he knows what his capabilities are. If he tries for a base, you know he’s going to make it.” – Hank Aaron

    “If you could improve Andre Dawson, he would be Dale Murphy.” – Jerry Royster

  48. 48
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Olney has an article (insider only) where he ranks the top rotations in baseball. Anyone with ESPN insider care to list the top ten?

  49. 49
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Olney has an article (insider only) where he ranks the top rotations in baseball. Anyone with ESPN insider care to list the top ten?

  50. 50
    BFedRec Says:

    Anybody catch the “Greatest Games” thing on MLB network? I caught a brief glimpse and two up for voting are 91 game 7, and the Astros vs Braves from ’05… painful

    edit: http://mlb.mlb.com/network/greatest_games/index.jsp

  51. 51
    BFedRec Says:

    damn… Sid’s slide is the ONLY Braves game out of the seven on the list with a positive Braves outcome.

  52. 52
    spike Says:

    1- Phillies
    2- Giants
    3- A’s
    4- Rays
    5- Red Sox
    6- Brewers
    7- Tigers
    8a- Braves
    8b- Cardinals
    10a- Dodgers
    10b- White Sox

  53. 53
    IthacaBraves Says:

    Thanks Spike. I can’t believe the Brewers are getting so much love, I mean I realize that they’ve added two AL staff anchors, but are Gallardo and Wolf that good? In terms of WHIP there’s a huge drop off between their two and three starters.

    Greinke 1.245
    Marcum 1.147
    Gallardo1.368
    Wolf 1.391

  54. 54
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Happy birthday, Reid Gorecki, Wes Obermuller, David Nied, and Lonnie Smith!

  55. 55
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Gallardo’s really good, at least sometimes. Randy Wolf is Randy Wolf, but they have a real solid top three — if Marcum is healthy, which is always a question.

    I’m not quite sure about putting the Tigers ahead of us, though. That seems a little screwy.

  56. 56
    Spike Says:

    He did a top six in Feb that was just as dumb. Olney must be Latin for “bandwagoning front runner”

  57. 57
    csg Says:

    Gallardo is a very good pitcher

  58. 58
    sansho1 Says:

    I’m still no on Parker and, reluctantly, Murph. They both spent far too much time on the field not helping their teams win. Fully half of their careers were spent as players that there was no reason to be particularly fearful of.

  59. 59
    ububba Says:

    I’m more of a small-Hall guy, too, I guess. I’d go:

    Alomar
    Bagwell
    Larkin
    McGriff
    Raines

    And, despite my feelings about DH, it probably wouldn’t take much to nudge me toward Edgar. His numbers are ridiculous.

    Foot-in-Mouth Dept.
    But I’m sorry, my thoughts on HoF entries have been ruined today by the Jets’ latest bizarre turn… FootGate.

    Translation: Rex Ryan & his wife, apparently, posted foot-fetish videos on the web.

    Deadspin entry: http://tinyurl.com/2vcc7hm

    I loved the Jets’ response when asked about it today, “This is a private matter.” Well, not really. He did, apparently, put this stuff on the internet.

    As they always seem to say with the Jets, you cannot make this up.

  60. 60
    Stu Says:

    Hey, so, Tennessee lost again.

  61. 61
    csg Says:

    hard to explain beating a top 5 team on the road and then losing 3 straight to unranked opponents

  62. 62
    sansho1 Says:

    UGA made short work of an overmatched opponent last night — which wouldn’t bear mentioning, except that Travis Leslie continues to be inexplicably quiet. He struggles against zone D, which we’ll be facing often.

  63. 63
    Dusty Says:

    No Blyleven ububba?

  64. 64
    Smitty Says:

    Wow, Stu made it 14 hours! I thought for sure he would have something up by midnight last night.

    Scotty Hopson has vanished. I think he had a great game against Pitt and went ahead and entered the NBA draft.

    They could easily go down Thursday night too.

  65. 65
    spike Says:

    That Ryan thing is sad – they are breaking no laws, staying true to their marriage, and yet are going to be mocked mercilessly for engaging in a very common and harmless kink.

    /oh and what 63 said – wtf, no blyleven?

  66. 66
    ububba Says:

    spike,
    Of course, but it’s funny. What did he think was going to happen?

    #62
    Travis Leslie, as physically talented as he is, can be really challenged in a half-court offense.

    At first glimpse, one might think he’s like Dominique—hops, hands, scary in transition. But, he doesn’t have ‘Nique’s vast array of post-up moves.

    Wilkins was a streaky shooter, but when he wasn’t on, he knew how to get fouled—go to the basket & rack up the FTs. He was good at that, too.

    But I agree with Sam in that Leslie is the real wild card on this team. I’m pretty happy with were they are at the moment, but this team has some real unanswered questions right now, and Leslie is the main one.

    Dusty/Spike,
    Really tough one, but no. He was just not dominant enough for my taste.

    Would it break my heart if he got in? Of course, not.

  67. 67
    JoeyT Says:

    That’s the weird thing. I don’t know why it’s funny, but it is.

    Ryan should just own up to it. He’s in New York, not Houston or Cincinnati. Other than maybe San Fransisco, there’s no better city in the country for alternative sexualities.

    I can’t imagine how many people would show up to a Rex Ryan-hosted play party. It would be like the BDSM event of the decade.

  68. 68
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I just wish they were playing at the Patriots this week.

  69. 69
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Ryan is a representative of his team, no different from a CEO or other high official. If they want to do this in private, that’s fine, but they do have some responsibility to not embarrass the organization. It’s not that they have a foot fetish; it’s that they felt the need to make it literally available to the entire world. I think the Jets have every right to be pissed. I couldn’t care less if he had sex with a cow but don’t put it on the internet. But maybe I’m old-fashioned.

  70. 70
    JoeyT Says:

    They stopped doing it when he became a “high official.” These videos are not new. According to the deadspin article, “her online activity petered out . . . around the time that Rex was entering the New York media spotlight.”

  71. 71
    JoeyT Says:

    Plus, if you want to meet other fetishists for “erotic email exchange, performing only, watching only, or active participation,” how do you do that besides making an online profile?

    If they put up videos about their coin collection and posted a ihaveprettycoins profile on a numismatics site, there wouldn’t be an issue.

  72. 72
    ububba Says:

    OK, but… numismatics? Not funny.

    Foot worship? Funny.

    Really, I don’t care one way or the other. I just like to see the Jets ongoing soap opera. But, one might consider the future ramifications of posting such a thing.

    I mean, I’ve destroyed all my lederhosen pics.

  73. 73
    spike Says:

    So you think.

  74. 74
    Stu Says:

    Has Tennessee lost any games today, yet?

  75. 75
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Hawks, Thrashers ownership group settle lawsuit | ajc.com.

  76. 76
    Mac Thomason Says:

    UT is off the hook — South Carolina just lost to Furman. By 16. Let’s face it, the SEC is now a mid-major.

  77. 77
    ryan c Says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove10/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=5946218

  78. 78
    braves14 Says:

    We suck at basketball. South Carolina won the East 2 years ago and still didn’t make the tournament.

  79. 79
    Adam M Says:

    75 – I gotta say, as a fan I’m far less concerned about what kind of negative impact the lawsuit had than on the insane mindset that facilitated the most recent Joe Johnson contract. After this summer’s shenanigans, I finally started to come around to Belkin’s way of thinking.

  80. 80
    DG Says:

    Ryan:
    Great article. I didn’t know that Brian Jordan had questioned Chipper’s commitment to fitness. I remember questioning it myself when I read this a few years ago: http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/sportscolumns/entries/2007/03/04/chipper_optimis.html

    Chipper was talking about drinking a bunch of milkshakes from Chic-Fil-A as part of his spring training program. I think somebody mentioned it on here before, but most of these guys get paid millions to do this. They can obviously afford personal trainers, nutritionists, etc. They need to do the right thing. Period. Heck, even Matt Diaz did P90X to get in shape and he makes a pittance compared to Chipper.

  81. 81
    jj3bagger Says:

    77, after reading that article, I think Chipper just nominated a video for one of Mac’s game thread posts for next year : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOiVaE-pKqM&feature=fvst

  82. 82
    Ethan Says:

    Combined Conference Records

    Big 10: 99-21, .825
    Big East: 148-35, .809
    Big 12: 111-28, .799
    ACC: 96-42, .696
    SEC: 89-41, .685
    PAC 10: 74-38, .661

    A little simplistic, but I think the point’s made. Personally, I think the Big 10 is a little soft as the conference’s best win is either OSU over Florida or Minn over UNC. Mizzou and Texas also handled Mich St. and Illinois tonight. Still, I think the SEC is at least as good as the ACC or PAC 10.

  83. 83
    BFedRec Says:

    Morning playing-with-numbers exercise… With a potential 3 seasons left to play on his contract… if Chipper gets another 400 ABs per season (about the average of what he’s done the last three seasons), he’ll need about 342 hits total between the three seasons to retire with a .300 average… which means he’ll need about a .286 average (which he hasn’t had the last two seasons… but before that was his .364). Though if last season becomes the “norm” for his ABs he’ll still have a .300 career average if he only hits a smidge over .250.

  84. 84
    FlaBravesFan Says:

    Found out my new neighbor was Fredi Gonzalaz’s neighbor in Viera when he coached the Brevard Manatees. He said they talk semi-regularly and could probably land me an interview plus some choice seats for ST at Disney’s Sports Complex.

    1.) Does anyone have any questions for Fredi

    2.) Anyone wanna go to some ST games?

  85. 85
    ryan c Says:

    the nationals look truly awful on paper this year.

  86. 86
    sansho1 Says:

    I have a hard time believing Chipper has 400 ABs left in his career. He’s one of 20 players to have a career .300/.400/.500 stat line, and I don’t think it’s in jeopardy.

  87. 87
    sansho1 Says:

    The list, by OPS: Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Pujols, Foxx, Greenberg, Hornsby, Manny, Helton, Musial, F. Thomas, L. Walker, Ott, O’Doul(!), Cobb, Chipper, Shoeless Joe, Edgar, Heilmann, Speaker

  88. 88
    BFedRec Says:

    Sansho, truth be told, unless he comes out of the gate strong next season I halfway expect him to retire after 11 too… and in that case, it wouldn’t be in jeopardy (well… if he had 400 ABs and hit worse than .180 I guess it would be).

  89. 89
    IthacaBraves Says:

    No Bonds? I mean I know there’s the Steroids issue, but pre-juice he OPSd .9+ twice and then a remarkable run of seven straight 1. + seasons. Then of course he had seven more OPS 1.+ seasons and a humorous .999.

  90. 90
    BFedRec Says:

    He’s not on the 300/400/500 list… he’s .298/.444/.607… so yeah, he would ALMOST be on the list (and right ahead of Pujols)

  91. 91
    IthacaBraves Says:

    I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I thought that was just a list of players ranked by OPS. Not a list of 300/400/500 guys.

  92. 92
    BFedRec Says:

    yeah, it took me a second to put that together… cause on the Career OPS list Chipper is tied with Willie Mays for #29

  93. 93
    ryan c Says:

    Brian McCann is a good McMan.
    http://tinyurl.com/2g38nw3

  94. 94
    ububba Says:

    #87
    For about 5 years, Lefty O’Doul was totally bad-ass. (Talk about peaks.) He hit in the same Phils lineup with Chuck Klein.

    I used to love to play that 1930 team in APBA. Klein hit .386 (1.123 OPS with only 50 Ks) & O’Doul hit .383 (1.057 OPS with only 21 Ks). Klein had 170 RBI. They had 4 guys who hit over .340. In fact, the entire team hit .315.

    Unfortunately, they had the worst pitching staff of all time: 6.71 ERA. Ouch. That 1930 was one freaky offensive season.

    FWIW, there’s also a funky little piano bar in San Francisco named after O’Doul. Very quaint. You walk in there & it’s a buncha folks surrounding the piano man, holding snifters & singing Patti Page songs.

  95. 95
    spike Says:

    @93, I think there is something in my eye.

  96. 96
    Ethan Says:

    Just checked: 7 Gold Gloves, an MVP, .300/.400/.500 guy, 230 SB.

    If the only reason Larry Walker doesn’t get in is because of Coors Field, it seems pretty shitty to me. Does that mean any good offensive player from the Rockies shouldn’t make it? Because if he doesn’t clear that bar, I don’t think it’s a lock that Helton does either.

    Seriously, what would it take for a Colorado guy? A career of 2003 Bonds numbers? I’m not saying the Coors effect shouldn’t be taken into account, but right now it seems like it disqualifies your from the outset.

    Also, Walker’s last year in Montreal was .324/.394/.584 with 44 doubles in the strike shortened season. The guy was an all-around outstanding ballplayer and it seems like he gets no credit

  97. 97
    spike Says:

    Walker would be a perfectly acceptable selection based on the WAR of the current HOF peer group. I just don’t know how to figure out the HR issue. He was a 20/full year guy and became a 35/yr guy when he went to COL. It impacts the slg percent, and by extension, all the stats that flow from it. His BA shot up as well. I could certainly be convinced, but I am not sure as of today.

  98. 98
    ryan c Says:

    There are too many players being looked over because of factors they cant control, such as Larry Walker and the Coors effect. If he doesnt get in, who for the Rockies will ever get a chance? Are the voters going to make the opposite pre-determination for, say, Ubaldo Jimenez if he decides to stay in Coors for his career and his era is half a run inflated due to playing there? I highly doubt it.

    Guys from the Steroid era, such as our Crime Dog, who were clean, probably won’t get in due to inflated power numbers from other guys that were on steroids.

    Hall of Fame voting is becoming a crock of shit.

  99. 99
    spike Says:

    Walker also misses some of the counting stats (500HR/3000 Hits) – not that I care about them, but voters do, especially for a Colorado player.

  100. 100
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Walker’s stats, normalized through the B-R function, are .299 .384 .539 with 365 HR, 2092 hits. One of the ten players on his most-similar list is Moises Alou, another is Ellis Burks, though Walker’s stats are just a shade better, even adjusted. I still don’t think that, even without taking account of Coors Field, he’s quite there, and he’s obviously behind Parker.

  101. 101
    justhank Says:

    What in the world happened to LSU basketball?

    I mean, you can’t swing a cat in Baton Rouge without hitting 4-star and those people love their team. Just don’t get it.

    Guess I could ask the same questions about Wake Forest basketball. Oy.

  102. 102
    spike Says:

    I dunno about “obviously behind” – Walker’s got 20 points of OPS+ and THIRTY Wins on him. That’s a lot to chalk up to Coors, and Walker was considered to be the better defender by both dWAR and GG’s (well they used to count for something). Parkers’ normalized line is .291/.340/.473 – 40 points of OBP and 60 points of SLG to Walker. That’s a lot, more than Parker’s longer career can overcome, I think.

  103. 103
    Ethan Says:

    102- Well said. I would also point out that Walker stole 230 bases at a 75% success rate. Parker took 154, but did it at a 57% clip.

    Additionally, while there isn’t a great way to quantify it, there was rarely a game I watched with Walker playing that an announcer didn’t mention him as one of the best/smartest base runners in baseball. I can’t speak on Parker for that though.

    Overall, I just think Walker was a superior player at every aspect of the game, and he doesn’t get enough credit for being that kind of total package

  104. 104
    ububba Says:

    Five Ohio State players (including QB Terrelle Pryor) suspended for first 5 games of next season for selling items & getting “other benefits.”

    The games: Akron; Toledo; @Miami (Fla); Colorado; Michigan St.

    They aren’t, however, suspended for the Sugar Bowl vs. Arkansas.

    http://tinyurl.com/24zkt86

  105. 105
    spike Says:

    Good lord, the NCAA rules are like so many angels dancing on the head of a pin. A byzantine mess designed solely to prop up the notion of some sort of “amateur athletic purity” that probably never existed, let alone exists now. Even the penalties are incomprehensible and capricious, let alone the actual rules.

  106. 106
    ububba Says:

    Yup, and keep in mind that we have a “governing body” that does not have subpoena power over a manifestly corrupt system.

  107. 107
    Weldon Says:

    @94 – Their best pitcher was Phil Collins. I think that explains it all.

  108. 108
    ububba Says:

    And even that guy had a big year at the plate—3 HRs that season.

  109. 109
    mravery Says:

    BP’s take on Atlanta’s off-season thus far:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12633#73134

    Nothing there is super-enlightening. Basically, they note that the team made one big improvement without sacrificing the future and otherwise treaded water. Given that the did well last year and have good prospects coming up, this was viewed as a wise choice despite Philly’s moves.

  110. 110
    justhank Says:

    Mac hates it when I do this, but I gotta give props to Pat Robertson:

    http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Pat-Robertson-Endorses-Decriminalization/2010/12/23/id/380933?s=al&promo_code=B5B4-1

  111. 111
    FlaBravesFan Says:

    @109 Nice write up, wish I could see the whole thing, but it does give you a sense of hope. All the pitching in the world cant win you a World Series, as we witnessed in the 90′s. My main concern continues to be A.) Will Freeman produce ENOUGH, and B.) Can McClouse come back and if not, who takes that all important roll of CF and leadoff?

  112. 112
    Johnny Says:

    re OSU Normaly I am a big follow the rules guy but the penalty borders on the absurd. OSU football is a 200 million dollar enterprise for crying out loud.

  113. 113
    braves14 Says:

    111 — I think Prado is the top candidate to lead off. At least, he should be.

  114. 114
    braves14 Says:

    Larry Walker’s peak was really, really good. From 1997-2001 he had a 157 OPS+. I think he’s a better candidate than Parker or Murphy, plus he was an excellent player in his non-prime years.

    If you want to argue about similarity scores with guys that aren’t HOF caliber, Murphy’s and Parker’s are far worse. You see names like Garret Anderson, Joe Carter, and Ruben Sierra, for starters. Murphy only has one guy on his Top 10 who is in the HOF (Duke Snider).

  115. 115
    braves14 Says:

    Interestingly, Murphy’s most similar batter is Andruw. Similar in falling off a cliff from a seemingly HOF-bound career as a Braves’ CF, I guess.

  116. 116
    kc Says:

    @113

    Prado
    Heyward
    Chipper
    McCann
    Uggla
    Freeman
    AAG
    Nate

    Bet on it.

  117. 117
    sansho1 Says:

    I like that lineup, but I think we’ll begin the season with AAG batting sixth and Freeman seventh.

  118. 118
    csg Says:

    Fredi already stated several times that he wants Nate in the 2 hole and Heyward hitting after Uggla and Bmac

    here is what he’s listed

    Prado
    Nate
    Chip
    Uggla/Bmac
    Bmac/Uggla
    Heyward
    AAG
    Freeman

  119. 119
    Ethan Says:

    116- I really hope Freeman hits as a rookie cause I’m worried McLouth and AAG are going to suck offensively. 4 anchors at the bottom of the lineup would kill a lot of rallies.

  120. 120
    Johnny Says:

    Merry Christmas everyone.
    Mac many thanks once again for all you do.

  121. 121
    chris Says:

    @115

    seeing that Murph started as a Catcher, I’m not quite sure I’d agree. #3 on the list of player most like Murphy is Duke Snider.

  122. 122
    spike Says:

    119 – You and me both. Alea iacta est as far as McLouth/AAG go. They are going to hit or not (my guess is hit for the former, not for the latter), and there is no real way to improve either position given the realities of the day. The season rests as much or more on two of Nate, AAG, and Freeman being respectable at the plate as anything else. I like the chances of that happening.

  123. 123
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    In this part of the world it will soon be Xmas–I want to wish Mac and everybody that comes to this wonderful site (and celebrates the holiday)a Merry Christmas.

  124. 124
    td Says:

    I get the feeling that if Canizares makes the team and doesn’t get traded, he’ll be a key factor before the end of the year. The guy hits everywhere he goes and is developing some power. If Freeman falters or if Chipper can’t come back for long I can see Prado moving to first or third and Barbaro in left. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with 10-12 hrs and 300 abs at the end of the season – hopefully it will be with the Braves.

  125. 125
    csg Says:

    td, how do you know Barbaro can play LF? He’s awful at 1b, but has he ever played the OF?

  126. 126
    c. shorter Says:

    If Heyward hits right in front of him, how many DP’s can AAG ground into?

    Merry Christmas to everyone.

  127. 127
    spike Says:

    @118, that is really not a good order at all. I hope Spring training changes this kind of thinking.

  128. 128
    Mac Thomason Says:

    O those eyes, Mize – SweetSpot Blog – ESPN.

  129. 129
    Smitty Says:

    Merry Christmas to all, except Philly and Met fans.

  130. 130
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, Phillies fans are all Satanists anyway and presumably don’t celebrate Christmas.

  131. 131
    spike Says:

    Interesting – that article made me come to the exact opposite conclusion after reviewing the stats. Mize was SO dominating pre-war and post-war, that while Bagwell certainly has a lead in some counting stats, and by extension, WAR, there is little question WWII is the only reason why. I don’t really cotton to “credit” arguments of any kind, but this one is pretty compelling. What a beast. And a Georgia boy to boot.

  132. 132
    Mac Thomason Says:

    For the anti-Bagwellians… If you believe in WAR (which I don’t always) every eligible player with more than Bagwell is already in, and lots and lots of Hall of Famers are behind him (Bagwell is 57th.) Not-yet-eligibles are Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, Maddux, Pujols, and Chipper. You know, that kind of guy.

  133. 133
    ryan c Says:

    on mclouth…
    fredi never said mclouth would be his 2-hole hitter. he said if he’s hitting, he could be an ideal #2 hitter, then went on to post a lineup where mclouth is hitting. if i were a betting man, heyward will be in the top 3 somewhere.

  134. 134
    spike Says:

    Oh he’s in, definitely. I don’t think anyone is arguing that he’s not a deserving HoFer. Just where he stands regarding his peers at the position.

  135. 135
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Merry Christmas, Braves Journal. Mac, thanks for everything.

  136. 136
    td Says:

    @125 – I thought Canizares had spent some time in LF, but I could be wrong. I think the Braves will do everything possible to keep him out of the lineup because of his terrible fielding. I just think they’ll either trade him or find some place for him to play if others fail miserably. Left seems to be the least costly position to play him from a fielding standpoint.

  137. 137
    spike Says:

    If any of you guys are travelling tomorrow, Delta has pre-emptively canceled 300 or so flights out of Hartsfield.

    One more reason to hate Frenchy.

  138. 138
    kc Says:

    Merry Christmas to you all!!!

    Delta sucks. It has almost become common sense.

  139. 139
    billy-jay Says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone! No KFC for dinner this year.

  140. 140
    ububba Says:

    Merry Xmas & Happy Holidaze to all.

    Once again, I raise a glass to Mac & all the posters for offering an entertaining and (relatively) sane place for discourse.

    BTW, there’s no way Heyward’s hitting 6th next season.

  141. 141
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New thread.

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