Scott reacts to Craig Biggio’s 2015 Hall of Fame election (along with first-timers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz) and explains why there were 8-9 other deserving candidates who won’t join them this year. Korban then joins in for a discussion of the knuckleball, Tommy John surgery, and Charlie Hough.
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Scott returns after a sixteen-month absence to bring listeners his 2015 hall of fame ballot. First, he allows his new co=hosts Kaleb and Korban introduce themselves. Kaleb and Korban are both millenials sitting in to share insights and learn from the lectures, but Korban takes a run at a Hall of Fame Ballot.
Scott then lists off his top-ten hall of fame-worthy players on the 2015 ballot. He initially complains about the 2013 no-winners fiasco, and then again complains about Craig Biggio missing induction in 2014 by 2 votes. Scott makes the argument that there are more than ten qualified potential Hall of Fame entrants, and calls for the Baseball Writers Association of America to do away with the maximum entry of ten.
Please bear with us as we re-start the podcast. i hope you like the new format, and we’ll be back next week to discuss a legendary player. Like the Baseball Experience podcast on Facebook, and follow @scotteiland on twitter. Also check out our sister podcast, Gaming at a Glance
Most baseball writers believe that Jack Morris will be elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014, his final year of eligibility. Despite his lifetime 3.90 earned run average and otherwise pedestrian numbers (he does have 254 wins, but that’s more a function of his run support and rubber-armed ability to pitch deep into ballgames.). Stieb’s numbers, when you strip away circumstances beyond his control, are arguably superior to Morris’s, but there is no ground swell of support for his Hall of Fame induction. In his only year of eligibility (2004) Stieb only garnered 1.7% of the vote. Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Is HE, not Jack Morris, the best pitcher of the 1980s? Have a listen and make a judgment call!
Dave Stieb: Baseball Reference
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Darryl Kile may not be a Hall of Famer, but I will never forget him.
He was never considered the best pitcher in baseball, but he was very good, and was emblematic of the rise of the Astros in the 1990s. Drafted in the 30th round of the same draft that included Craig Biggio, Kile was called up to the Show in 1991 and went on to be a very good cog in the Astros machine in the early-to-mid 1990s. On September 8, 1993, he pitched a no-hitter against the hapless New York Mets. (an interesting side note – the lineup of that 1993 team that no-hit the Mets included Biggio, Steve Finley, Luis Gonzalez, and Jeff Bagwell. It also included whiff machine/power threat Eric Anthony, who would go on to be traded to the Seattle Mariners for a pitcher named Mike Hampton. As much as I complain about Astros trades, that one was a good one for the rainbow warriors.
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Don Sutton looks, at first blush, like a no-doubt Baseball Hall of Famer. He won 324 games, struck out 3574 batters, and compiled 58 shutouts in his career. He never missed a start and, had the 1981 player’s strike not happened, would have pitched over 200 innings in 21 consecutive seasons. He NEVER missed a start. He struck out 207 batters as a rookie in 1966, and was a model of consistency that the Baseball Writers Association of America elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998 with 82 percent of the vote.
So why the controversy?
He was very, very good for a very long time, but rarely considered the best pitcher in baseball. He was an all star four times, and in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting five times, but never the winner or runner-up. He pitched in the Era of the Pitcher, also known as the “Second Dead Ball Era,” so while the numbers he posted seem outstanding, he was only 120th all time in Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement. He was very good. Was he good enough for the Hall? Listen to find out.
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Scott discusses the Hall of Fame case of Minnesota Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett (1960-2006). Puckett was the face of the Twins franchise during the mid eighties and early nineties, coinciding with the Twins World Series titles in 1987 and 1991 (both World Series rings, not coincidentally, were won in seven game series in which the Twins had home-field (or is it home-warehouse) advantage. Puckett became a more controversial figure after his 2001 Hall of Fame induction (elected with 82 percent of the vote), with allegations of physical and emotional spousal abuse and one allegation of sexual assault and false imprisonment sullied his then-sterling reputation.
What, then, to make of Kirby Puckett’s case for the Hall of Fame? Should he be in? Answer the poll below! For Scott’s take, download the episode. You can email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can post in the comments below, or you can like us on Facebook. Don’t forget to follow Scott on twitter @scotteiland!
Scott discusses the Hall of Fame case of Detroit Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker. Whitaker was never given serious consideration from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, getting only 2.9 percent of the vote in 2001, his only year of eligibility. Scott figures out possible reasons the BBWAA gave him the shaft, and makes a possibly-controversial call as to whether Lou should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Recently, there have been several incidents of questionable umpiring. Between Bo Porter taking a pitcher out of a game before he faced a batter and Angel Hernandez’s willful blindness disallowing a home run, the pundits in the baseball media have been discussing how to handle bad umpiring. In the Bo Porter/Astros case, the protest was rescinded after the Angels came back to beat them after Porter’s allowed illegal maneuver. This upset me, because I would have enjoyed the eventual resumption of the game after Commissioner Bud Selig (who, according to many Houstonians, has a history of hurting the team) upheld the protest. It also got me thinking about past protests, and the famous one involving FOUR Hall of Famers (George Brett, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Dave Winfield, and Gaylord Perry) from July 24, 1983.
Listen to the show for a breakdown of the 1983 Yankees, the strange place the franchise was in, and how the game affected the 1983 pennant chase. When you’re done, go to iTunes and review the show! Got a deeply-held grievance or comment? Leave it below or email email@example.com!
It’s May 9, and fans of the Astros, Blue Jays, Marlins, Padres, and others are despairing. Their teams are off to terrible starts, and in some cases it’s hard to find hope.
That’s where the St. Louis Browns come in.
The Browns (1902-1951) hold the distinction of being the worst franchise in Major League Baseball history, a team so full of failure that the only time they won a pennant (1944) it occurred when most of baseball’s best stars were fighting World War II. So pathetic were they that a midget was signed as a publicity stunt (in 1951), they employed a one-armed outfielder named Pete Gray (1945), and finished with a winning record so infrequently it’s amazing they actually DREW WELL initially. They moved to St. Louis from Milwaukee in 1902 (they were the American League’s original Milwaukee Brewers) and stayed there until 1951 before slinking off to Baltimore to become the Orioles. They were such an embarrassment that the new Orioles have erased virtually every bit of evidence of their St. Louis past, with the notable exception of retaining the same color scheme.
Notably, the Browns tried to fix the 1910 American League batting title for Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie, orchestrating the infield so that Lajoie could get five bunt hits in six times at bat. When Lajoie reached on an error in the sixth at bat, the manager and another coach tried to bribe the official scorer to give Lajoie another hit. When AL President Ban Johnson found out about the way the Browns tried to fix the batting championship, he ordered the Browns’ ownership to fire both men, informally banning both of them from baseball for life.
Check out the baseball E-Cyclopedia on the Browns and check out their logos therein.
I discuss George Sisler‘s career and note the difference between baseball’s first “Dead Ball Era” (1901-1920) and the lively-ball era that followed, showing the difference in Sisler’s offense numbers.
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Rogers Hornsby (1896-1963) is one of the greatest players in the history of Major League Baseball. Thanks to Babe Ruth (who was the player who saved baseball after the destructive Black Sox Scandal) and Ty Cobb (another contemporary who is the only player to finish his career with a higher composite batting average), Hornsby is one of those players well known only to baseball junkies and historians. The brash, opinionated Texan was the best hitter in the 1920s not named Ruth or Cobb, and for a six year stretch (1920-1925) was absolutely unbelievable. He led the National League in batting in each one of those years, with averages of .370, .397, .401, .384, .424(!), and .403, an unheard-of run that will never happen again. He was also a power hitter, leading the NL in homers in 1922 with 42 (the second-place guy, Ray Grimes, hit only 21.) He regularly boasted OPS (on base average plus slugging percentage) numbers over 1.000. Because of a steep decline that occurred as the 1920s wore down (Hornsby had his share of injury problems), he finished his careeer with 2930 hits, seventy short of the almighty mark of 3000 hits. (more…)