Thursday, December 18, 2014

My 2015 Baseball Bloggers Alliance Hall of Fame Ballot

In early January the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the election of the newest members of Cooperstown, baseball's highest honor.


As usual, there are arguments for and against all eligible players on the ballot, as cast by members of the BBWAA. 



As a  member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance it is my honor and privilege to cast a ballot for the BBA and its 200+ bloggers.





This year the BBA tweaked the ballot to allow a "Yes" or "No" vote for all eligible ballplayers.




My "YES" votes are for....


Jeff Bagwell... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bagweje01.shtml



Craig Biggio... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/biggicr01.shtml



Randy Johnson... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/johnsra05.shtml



Edgar Martinez... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/martied01.shtml



Pedro Martinez... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/martipe02.shtml




Don Mattingly...http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mattido01.shtml




Fred McGriff... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mcgrifr01.shtml




Mike Piazza... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/piazzmi01.shtml




Tim Raines... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/raineti01.shtml




Curt Schiilling... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schilcu01.shtml




Gary Sheffield... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sheffga01.shtml




Lee Smith... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/smithle02.shtml




John Smoltz... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/smoltjo01.shtml




Alan Trammell... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/trammal01.shtml




Larry Walker... http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/walkela01.shtml






Its too much to go through each name on my ballot so I've linked each players baseballreference.com page after their name.




Everyone knows how I feel about Trammell and his playing in Detroit and not New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago as the reason writers are holding him back from election.




The Hall of Fame is something special,  and it takes a special ballplayer to get into Cooperstown.


I continue to vote "no" for the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, out of respect for the game I love.


To many times I've written in disdain for the BBWAA for keeping great ballplayers like Jim Kaat, Tim Raines,  Dale Murphy,  Lou Whittaker,  and Jack Morris from their rightful place in the Hall.





Lasy year I couldn't understand how a great ballplayer like Craig Biggio couldn't get elected.



3,000 hits, no frills, no steroids or controversy,  but he plays in Houston,  and didn't win a World Series.



Edgar Martinez was a designated hitter for most of his big league career, starting as a 3rd Baseman for the Seattle Mariners.






Martinez wasn't just a DH, he was the best DH in baseball history, and belongs in the Hall as the FIRST DH in the Hall of Fame.



Well, thats my ballot, the men I believe belong in the hallowed baseball museum in Cooperstown,  New York.



Ill be back with the update after the elections early next year.


Merry Christmas,  Happy Hannuka, and Season's Greetings!


Play Ball!

















Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sy Berger (1923-2014)

Baseball card collectors everywhere, myself included, lost a little piece of us on Sunday when Topps Cards pioneer and baseball card legend Sy Berger passed away at the age of 91.





There have been many tributes the past couple of days, and I'm late in writing this post since I first saw the news on Twitter on Sunday.


The best tribute?


To me it's from baseball card collector Keith Olbrrmann...










Growing up collecting baseball cards in the 1960s and 1970s ment one thing...Topps Baseball Cards...Series 1, and Series 2.





It took all year to collect the entire set, if you could, because Topps released the first series during Spring Training, and then waited until the fall to release the second series.



It was a labor of love for me, and from 1968-1980 I acquired one complete Topps set every year, collecting many doubles and triples of cards through the years.



I would always separate my Detroit Tigers cards from the set, waiting on those doubles and triples to complete the 660-762 card sets that Sy Berger put together.


And, of course, my first priority every year was to open a Topps pack containing a Bill Freehan card.





Sy Berger arrived at Topps in the late 1940s, and sitting at his kitchen table created the iconic 1952 Topps Baseball card set.



Although I dont have a '52 Mickey Mantle,  I do have a few '52 Tigers cards that are in less than good condition.



I was given these '52 Topps cards back in the '70s because someone had cut off the edges of the cards, but I didn't care because they were old Tigers players.









Today's collecting for me is almost non-existent,  picking up a pack of Topps at Walmart if I can afford to.



I'm already very excited for 2015 Topps, and I've made it know to my better half that I want an entire box of cards for my 55th birthday in February.



I'm sure the folks at Topps will have a special Sy Berger card for us to collect in the set.


God Bless you Sy, we love you and will see you at the big card store in Heaven one day.




This Week's Sports Illustrated Cover...Jon Lester

Brand new Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester is staring us down on this weeks Sports Illustrated national cover.


I love baseball themed SI covers, and I'll have to go out and get this issue.


The best part of the cover?


The traditional great old Cubbies home ball cap Lester is wearing.


I'm sure the issue will be flying off the shelves on Chicago's North Side this week.

•photo from @SInow on Twitter•

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why is it so hard to elect players to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

The other day the Golden Era Committee failed to elect anyone into the 2015 Class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.







All the players on the ballot were active between 1946-1972, and the committee is made up of HOF players, broadcasters,  and media members who know the game.



Two players, Tony Oliva and Dick Allen, received 11 of 16 votes,  just one vote short of the required 12 votes(75%), to be elected.





This is not a post to detail the merits of any one player, but I found it frustrating as a lifeling baseball fan that Gil Hodges, the former Brooklyn Dodger first baseman and Manager of the 1969 Miracle Mets received just 3 votes.







Hodges three votes,  and the fact that no player was selected is the reason I'm writing this.


In addition,  two BBWAA members have already announced that they will not even bother to cast a ballot for 2015 because the ballot will not be increased to 15 names.



I'm a baseball blogger, and am honored to be able to cast a HOF ballot every year as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.



Every year I vote for players that I believe belong in the HOF, and there has never been a year in which I couldn't find worthy HOF candidates.


It's almost tine again to vote for the Class of 2015, and I will again place Jack Morris, Alan Trammell,  Dale Murphy, and Tim Raines, to name a few, on my ballot.



It amazes me that year after year the various writers and committee's entrusted to vote for baseball's highest honor fail to accomplish the simple task of placing 10 players names, or 12 in case of the Golden Era, in selevtion to Cooperstown,.




Craig Biggio collected over 3,000 base hits in his career, and yet has failed to appear on the required 75% of the BBWAA voters ballots.


Why do voters find it so hard to vote for 16 time Gold Glove Award winner Jim Kaat, or pinch hitter extrodinare Minnie Miniso.





According to baseballreference.com  18,408 players have officially been a part of big league baseball since 1871.



According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame just 211 ballplayers have been enshrined at the HOF in Cooperstown, New York.



Just 211 players out of 18,408, and only 306 total members when you include owners, Negro Leaguers, umpires, and managers.


0.01146241%.... 211/18,408.



Yes, it should be hard to get into the HOF.


But 0.011%?



Now that's exclusive.



And ridiculous.



In the days since the failure of the Golden Era Committee,  there have been plenty of articles and posts on social media denouncing the committee for it's neglect, including this one by  Rolling Stone Magazine.





211 of 18,408.



I know there are baseball purists out there who like the limited number, and there are new baseball Sabrmetrics fans and writers who believe many in the HOF don't belong.



Here's a terrific post at Baseball Past and Present by my Twitter friend Graham Womack on why no player shoukd be kicked out of the HOF.



Yes, there have been players who've gotten into the HOF because of friends, fellow ballplayers, but there has also been many snubs for the same reason.



Look at the original HOF Class of 1936.



The most hated, mist despised player in baseball between 1871-1936, one Tyrus Raymond Cobb,  received the most votes,  and was the very first player ever elected into the HOF.





If player's back in the day can put in the one man they despised the most, then surely voters on the Golden Era, Veteran's Committee,  and the BBWAA can start doing their job and elect deserving baseball players into the HOF.




Play Ball!
















Monday, December 8, 2014

Madison Bumgarner is your 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

Sports Illustrated has named San Fransisco Giants left hander Madison Bumgarner the 2014 Sportsman of the Year.


Bumgarner was simply spectacular in the 2014 baseball playoffs, leading the Giants to their 3rd World Series Championship since 2010.


The World Series Most Valuable Player, Bumgarner came on to pitch five scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 just two days after his Game 5 victory over the Kansas City Royals at A T & T Park in San Francisco.


In the 2014 playoffs Bumgarner pitched 52 2/3 innings, allowing just 6 earned runs, striking out 45 batters with a ERA of 1.03.


Madison Bumgarner was born on August 1, 1989, in Hudson, North Carolina.


Madison attended South Caldwell High School in Hudson and was drafted by the Giants with the 10th pick in the 1st round of the 2007 Amateur Player Draft.


Madison made his big league debut on September 8, 2008 at the age of 20.


In six years with the Giants the left handed pitcher is 67-48, with a 3.06 era in 14 starts.


In 2014 Bumgarner was the Giants starter on Opening Day and went on to compile a 18-10 record with a 2.98 era, 219 strikeouts and a career best 1.090 WHIP.




Madison is the first ever San Francisco Giants player to be honored as the SI Sportsman of the Year, and the 14th baseball player (2004 Boston Red Sox make 15 baseball winners) to be honored as the SI Sportsman of the Year, and the first since Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in 2009.


The very first SI baseball Sportsman of the Year was Brooklyn Dodgers LHP Johnny Podres in 1955.


                SI cover from @SInow on Twitter.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Bill Freehan...Go Blue!

It's Michigan-Ohio State game day.

Happy Baseball Birthday to former Big Ten batting champion and Wolverine football player William Ashley Freehan.

Go Blue!

Play Ball!

Friday, November 28, 2014

How to be a Big League catcher

We love vintage baseball advertising.

Facebook is a great place to find pages dedicated to the history of our National Pastime.

Thanks to Baseball by B-Smile on this great post from their Facebook page....






Catching lessons from New York Yankees Hall of Fame backstop Bill Dickey.


"Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions"


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving today to all the great baseball fans all around the world.

Thanks so much for taking time to read my blog.

Have a great Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Gettysburg Address

151 years ago today, on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address commemorating the final resting place for the fallen soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg during the United States Civil War.

"Four score and seven years ago."

Baseball was a huge part of the Civil War, as soldiers used the game to interject some fun and recreation during the lulls in between conflicts.

Baseball was recently a new sport in the 1860's, and play during the Civil War helped the expansion of the game throughout the United States and the Confederacy.

Baseball boomed after the war as soldiers from both sides took the game of baseball back home with them and introduced baseball to their hometown's across the country.

President Lincoln spoke for a little more than two minutes, yet the few words he did speak became this countries greatest speech ever given by a sitting Commander In Chief.

Happy Baseball Birthday to the Gettysburg Address!

PLAY BALL!