Category Archives: Player Profile

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Jack Morris‘s Hall of Fame case has been debated for more than a decade. The erstwhile “ace” of the Tigers, Twins, and Blue Jays sparks many a debate among baseball writers, so I thought it’d be a good idea to dive into the case – pro and con – and see if I could come up with a conclusion. I was all set to record the show Tuesday when breaking news regarding one more manufactured performance enhancing drug scandal hit the news wire, so we’ll discuss that at the end of the show today.

But first, the Hall of Fame case of Jack Morris.

David Schoenfeld of ESPN presented an excellent breakdown of the case for Morris on the ESPN Sweet Spot blog that states, essentially, you’re relying on one game.

The case for Morris:

1. He was an innings eater, a workhorse, and didn’t get hurt. This was during a time when there weren’t many guys who could throw 240+ innings consistently.

2. He was an icon of the 1980s. Complete with Tom Selleck-like mustache, Jack looked like the lead character of a detective series. He won the most games in the 1980s and often stayed in the game an inning or two longer when the situation called for it, allowing his admittedly unspectacular ERA to have some context to it– maybe he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but he was an invaluable asset to his team, giving the bullpen a night off when he could. Nobody will pitch as many innings as he did per year again, and even though the 1980s is an “arbitrary end point,” he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of the pressure he took off of his manager (Sparky Anderson, a Hall of Famer without question).

3. GAME SEVEN, 1991. Morris pitched ten shutout innings to lead his Twins over the Atlanta Braves, 1-0, to give the Twins a rare World Series title in that eyesore of eyesores, the Hubert H Humphery Metrodome.

The case against Morris:

1. If elected, he would have the highest ERA of any pitcher in the Hall, a full tenth of a run behind Red Ruffing.
2. He never came close to winning a Cy Young Award – he came in third twice.
3. He was never considered the best pitcher in the league.
4. There are a few pitchers in Morris’s era who were better than him (Rick Reuschel, Dave Stieb, Luis Tiant, Bret Saberhagen)

Ultimately, I’m a small-Hall guy. So what’s a man to do? Listen to the show for my verdict.


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musial
One of the top ten players in baseball history passed away over the weekend, as Stan “The Man” Musial died Saturday at the age of 92. The hero to millions of baseball fans west of the Mississippi River in the era before the “Western Expansion” (when the Giants and Dodgers moved from New York to California), Musial was the St. Louis Cardinals’ stalwart left fielder for 23 glittering seasons. He was the key player on four pennant winning clubs and the best player on the team for all 23 years he played – from his rookie season in 1941 until he finally retired at age 42 in 1963. Musial captured the imagination of a generation of baseball fans, many of whom listened to Harry Caray describe the action.

My own father was a huge Stan Musial as an adolescent; the Houston Astros weren’t founded until 1962, so the Cardinals were the closest team and Dad’s rooting interest. Musial was a hero to millions of boys in my father’s era, and his numbers certainly back up his first ballot hall of fame status. Read ’em and weep:

3630 hits (the most ever in the National League until Pete Rose broke the record in 1981.)
Seven batting titles
Three MVP Awards
725 doubles (3rd all time)
6134 total bases (2nd all time)
1951 RBI (6th all time)
123 Wins Above Replacement (9th all time)
1949 runs scored

In the last segment, I make the case that Marvin Miller deserves to be in baseball’s Hall of Fame, and it’s a perplexing tragedy that he’s not in the Hall today. Miller, a former economist for the United Steel Workers, became the executive director of the Major League Player’s Association from 1966-1982. Largely because of his leadership in helping players gain free agency and

Dave Schoenfeld says that Musial may have been the best left fielder of all time
Stan Musial’s Baseball-Reference page
Bill Simmons Hall Of Fame Pyramid Scheme
Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame


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craig biggio

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) managed to do something it hadn’t done since 1996: it elected no new members to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.

This is an outrage. Pointing at the “steroids era” in which otherwise-qualified players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry into the Hall- is what caused the lack of consensus. Astro franchise icon Craig Biggio came closest with 68.2% of the vote, and will likely be elected next year. Jack Morris came the second closest with 67.7%. Eventual inductee Jeff Bagwell (also an Astros franchise icon) came in third at 59.6%.

Players Association director Michael Weiner sums up my feelings on the matter:

“Today’s news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad,” said Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association. “Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify.

“Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings — and others never even implicated — is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.”

bagwell
While we’re here, let me run down MY Hall of Fame ballot for 2013. These are the ten players (and there are at LEAST ten qualified players on the list this year) who would earn my vote if I had one:

Craig Biggio – 3000 hits, plus his unique status as the only man to make an All Star Game as a catcher AND a second baseman
Jeff Bagwell – one of the top five first basemen statistically in the history of the game.
Mike Piazza – best offensive catcher ever, at least in the 2nd half of the 20th century
Tim Raines – GREAT leadoff hitter in the 1980s penalized by the presence of Rickey Henderson, the best leadoff hitter ever.
Roger Clemens – either the best or 2nd best right handed pitcher ever.
Barry Bonds – Home run king. The Hall is a JOKE without him
Curt Schilling
Sammy Sosa – 609 Homers.
Mark McGwire – 1998, plus 61!
Alan Trammell – best all around shortstop of the 1980s. Better offensively than anyone in his era not named Cal Ripken, and better defensively than anyone not named Ozzie Smith.

Why no Morris? He wasn’t the best pitcher of his Era, never won the Cy Young. He gets consideration entirely for his postseason accomplishments. Reasonable people can disagree, but I’m leaving him off the ballot for me.

Jeff Bagwell: Should he be in the Hall of Fame? I answer that question (and many more) in this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show at http://thebaseballexperience.com/itunes and support the show at http://thebaseballexperience.com/gamefly. You can subscribe to the show through any podcatcher at http://feeds.feedburner.com/thebaseballexperiencespodcast.


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rose, pete
Hello everyone and thank you for listening after the elongated break I took.

It’s fair to say that the grind of following the happenings of a depressing Astros baseball season wore me down in 2012. On top of that, my spare time was consumed with a new venture – a foray into professional wrestling – that continues to dominate my time. So the stretch run, the collapse of the Texas Rangers, the flameout of the Yankees, and the consistently excellent pitching of the San Francisco Giants in 2012 never made it to my air.

But I still love baseball.

SO what do we do? I still have an audience that has probably given up on me, and a love and passion for the game of baseball that continues to this day. SO what do I do? And the answer hit me :

I need to create content that is independent of events, that may allude to them but that can be consumed any time. My show needs to focus on an area of the game that is being RUINED by the legacy media and people treating their Hall of Fame votes like garbage (turning in a blank ballot) or as if they’re the moral arbiters of history (refusing to vote for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, or Roger Clemens because of PED usage)

Therefore, I am returning to a weekly schedule, and doing what I love: talking about baseball players of yesteryear and arguing for players I believe belong in the Hall of Fame. Each show will feature one player, and I’ll go through the stories of the player’s career, include audio clips where possible, and make my argument.

The writers and the curmudgeons are destroying the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. I am relaunching the Baseball Experience podcast to combat this.

The biggest and most egregious miscarriage of justice in Hall of Fame history, in my opinion, is the exclusion of the all-time hits leader from the Hall of Fame. Let’s talk about Pete Rose.

Pete Rose’s Biography

Career highlights:

1963 Rookie of the Year
An extremely rich man’s Tony Phillips; Rose played all three outfield positions, second base, third base, and first base.
1973 MVP
All time hits leader (4256) leads also in games played, at bats,
Big Red Machine leader
led 1980 Phillies to first World Series win in franchise history

On the show, I make the argument that Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and his plaque can disclose the mistakes he made and the damage he almost caused the game by betting on it.