In my last blog entry I made the prediction that Bernie Williams, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez would recieve enough votes (75% worth) to make the Hall of Fame this year–given Bernie Williams was a long shot being a newcomer. Yesterday, at 3 0′ clock Eastern, the announcement was made that Barry Larkin–long time Cincinnati Red’s short stop–was the only player from the 2012 ballot to exceed the 75 percent of the votes needed to make the Hall. (Larkin recieved 495 votes, or 86.4%.)
Before I get into my thoughts on Barry Larkin being the only player elected this year, I want to take a second to say that I’m shocked at the voting results for the newcomers to the ballot. Of the 13 newcomers, Bernie Williams is the ONLY one of them that recieved enough votes to return to the ballot again in 2013. (6 of the 13 newcomers didn’t recieve a single vote whatsoever.) Although I didn’t see any of the other newcomers (besides Williams) getting into the Hall of Fame this year, I didn’t think that they’d all be completely blanked in the votes category. To me it’s unreal.
Getting back to the only newcomer to recieve more than 5 percent of the vote, Bernie Williams (who recieved 9.6%), I think he will eventually get into the Hall of Fame. Maybe not next year, due to the many great names that are due to make the 2013 ballot. Maybe not in this decade. But my gut tells me that Williams will get into the Hall before his 15 years of eligibility are up. He had average career stats for a center fielder, but when you look at his post season stats, they’re off the charts. Combine those post season stats with four Gold Gloves and four World Series rings, and you get what I feel is a Hall of Fame worthy player.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, I’ll get back to Barry Larkin. Larkin made the largest percentage jump to gain election since Herb Pennock, back in 1948–jumping from 62.1% last year, to his 86.4% this year. Larkin’s election makes him the 297th member of the baseball Hall of Fame. He also becomes the 24th short stop and 48th player to play with the same team his entire career, to be elected. Truly remarkable.
Barry Larkin had this to say about his feelings on being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame:
…an unbelievable experience….almost an out of body experience….I’ve got young kids out there doing their thing, but 20, 30, 40, 100 years from now when they’re old–and gone–and their grandkids, or their kids, are there doing whatever, they’re always going to be able to say “that guy right there”, my grandfather, great grandfather, great great grandfather, whatever it is, he was one of the best in the game. I am so phenomenally proud to be a new member of the Hall of Fame.
Barry Larkin will be officially inducted into the Hall, on July 22nd, in Cooperstown, NY.
The Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York, first opened its doors back on June 12, 1939. The first five players to be inducted being: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson–who were named in 1936. Since then 296 individuals have been viewed as Hall of Fame worthy. (206 former Major Leaguers, 35 Negro Leaguers, 19 managers, 9 umpires, and 27 pioneers, executives, and organizers.)
With the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees to be announced on Monday, I wanted to give my predictions and opinions as to which players will make the cut, and which won’t. There are a total of 27 players on this years HOF Ballot. Of those 27, 13 are first timers–including standouts, Bernie Williams and Bill Mueller. To be inducted into the Hall, a player must recieve a minimum of 75 percent of the votes. The number of inductees varies from one year to the next.
Although there are 27 players eligible for induction this year, I’m not going to take time to talk about them all. I’m just going to make cases for the ones which I feel will be selected for the Hall–starting with the newcomers.
FIRST TIME ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT
BERNIE WILLIAMS- I know this is going out on a limb, but I honestly think Bernie Williams is the only newcomer that has a shot at getting into the Hall of Fame the first go around. (Given it is a slight chance.) I know everyone is saying that he was fun to watch play, but isn’t worthy of the Hall, but I have to disagree. Looking at his career stats of 2,336 hits, 1,257 RBI’s, and a .297 batting average, I think he’s worthy of the Hall eventually–if not a first year induction. But that’s just my opinion.
JEFF BAGWELL- When you look at Jeff Bagwell’s career stats of 449 home runs, off of 2,314 hits, and 1,529 RBI’s you begin to wonder why Bagwell wasn’t a first year Hall of Famer. His stats are certainly good enough to warrant it, however the speculation that he did steroids is what is holding him back from already having a plaque in the Hall. I do however see the possibilty that the voters look beyond that this year, given his impressive stats. Not a very great chance, but a chance none the less. (Juan Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro all fall into this category with Bagwell of great stats, but steroid usage.)
BARRY LARKIN- This is a sure bet for me. Barry Larkin is the best player–in terms of stats without steroid usage–on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, and a .295 batting average in his 19 season career. (While 198 home runs might seem low for a Hall of Fame worthy player, short stops aren’t generally known for their power hitting.)
EDGAR MARTINEZ- While I feel that Barry Larkin is the best player on the Hall of Fame ballot, Martinez isn’t far behind. Having a career batting average of .312, with 2,247 hits, and 309 home runs is good enough to earn him an induction to the Hall. While he wasn’t the best player on the Mariners back in the early 1990’s, he still found a way to stand out amongst teamates Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, by coming up big in big spots.
RECAP OF MY 2012 HALL OF FAME PREDICTIONS
To recap everything that I said above, I feel that Bernie Williams is the best overall player of all the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot. Of the players that have been on the ballot at least once before, I feel that Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez are the ones that stand the best chance of making the cut. (Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire, only if the voters put the steroid issues aside. Which I don’t think they will.) Be sure to watch MLB Network at 2 o’ clock, Eastern, on Monday, to see the live Hall of Fame election.
So that’s my view on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. What’s yours?
I want to take the time to thank all of the people who read my blog regularly or that have just checked it out once or twice. Without the viewers, I would have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m bringing this up due to the blog that was posted recently on MLB.com Blogs Central. The blog has a list of the top 100 Fan blogs for the year of 2011, by views. Want to see where I ranked? Go check it out: CLICK HERE.
Thanks again for reading.
There have been hundreds of great baseball movies over the years. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to list them all, so I’m not going to try. Below there is a list of 10 of my favorite baseball movies that I’ve ever seen. Please vote for which of them is your favorite baseball movie:
If you voted other, please leave a comment below with which one is your favorite.
Happy New Year everybody! We can now officially say that MLB starts THIS year! Below is a picture to recap the major trades and signings that have occured so far this off season:
In case you’re like me, and can’t wait for baseball to start, CLICK HERE.
Hopefully this’ll help you keep track with how much longer you have to wait for regular season baseball.
Danny Worth has only been in the Majors for two seasons, but has shown a lot of promise. He’s a player to watch in the years to come. Worth–current third baseman for the Detroit Tigers–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?
I started playing at the age of 5. I became interested in becoming pro when I was 12. Baseball was always my first love growing up.
2.) Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played all major sports growing up until I was 14. Played baseball year round from the age of 9-on.
3.) Describe what your Major League debut was like.
My ML debut was everything I expected it to be and more. It was an unreal feeling when my major goal in life was accomplished. I loved it.
4.) What pitch do you find hardest to hit?
The pitch I find hardest to hit would be a couple: backdoor curve from LHP, and a backdoor sinker from a RHP.
5.) How different were the play offs from regular season ball?
The playoff atmosphere was a lot of fun to be apart of. The players keep it the same more or less, but the fans bring a lot more intensity.
6.) Favorite food?
A nice filet mignon, medium rare.
7.) Favorite sport besides baseball?
8.) Favorite T.V. show?
All time- Seinfeld. Right now- Survivor.
9.) Favorite shoe brand?
It’s official. According to the Yankees’ Jorge Posada, he will NOT be returning to the Yankees for the 2012 season. But after the Yankees made it clear towards the end of the 2011 season that his services were no longer needed, you pretty much figured this was coming.
Posada was part of the ‘core four’ in the late 1990’s. A group of four Yankees that consisted of Posada, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. The four came up through the minors together and continued their togetherness stretch on up into the 2000’s. They won four World Series titles in a five year span–earning the name ‘core four’. Three of the ‘core four’ members (Jeter, Posada, and Rivera) played together for 17 consecutive years (1994-2011.) Andy Pettitte’s retirement earlier this year (Febuary 4th) caused the ‘core four’ to become the ‘key three’. Which now–with Posada’s career as a Yankee over–makes Jeter and Rivera the last remaining members of the 1990’s Yankees.
You know Posada wishes that his time with the Yankees could continue for at least another season. A wish made apparent by the following statement that he made yesterday:
I will always be a Yankee. The New York Yankees, for me, is my second family. It’d be tough to put on another uniform for real and learn a new set of rules. But it’s one of those things where I have to see if I wanna keep playing. At the end of the day, it’s a business. You look back and you wish there were some things that could’ve gone differently, but they didn’t. Everything happened for a reason. I’m not bitter at the Yankees. I’m not bitter at Joe Girardi. I’m not bitter at Brian Cashman. It just happens.
It may “just happen”, but I hate to see him go. I’ve been a fan of Posada for as long as I can remember. I feel that he’s a great guy–on and off the field–and is one of the most unappreciated players in all of MLB. (At least as far as last season goes.)
In honor of Posada’s fantastic career as a Yankee, I decided to talk about some of the highlights from his career:
Jorge Posada’s Major League Debut–September 4, 1995
Posada’s first game of his career in 1995 was also his only game of the year. He didn’t play another game in a Yankee uniform until 1996 when he played in eight games. He didn’t make the post season roster that season, however.
Jorge Posada’s First World Series Ring–October 21, 1998
The 1998 World Series saw the New York Yankees taking on the San Diego Padres. The Padre’s were no match for the Yankees, as they were swept in four games. Posada had one home run in the entire series, but with the help of his teamates, was able to win his first World Series title, and ring. Posada, and the Yankees, would go on to win three more World Series titles. (1999, 2000, and 2009.)
Jorge Posada’s First All-Star Game–July 11, 2000
Posada was lucky enough to be on a winning team for the first All-Star game of his career. The year 2000 saw the American League winning 6-3. Posada has been in four All-Star games since, (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2007), with the American League team coming out on top every single time. (Unless you consider the 2002 All-Star game as a no-win for both teams. That years game ended in a 7-7 tie, after both teams ran out of players.)
Jorge won the first of his five career Silver Slugger Awards in 2000. That season he hit 28 home runs and collected 86 RBI’s off of 145 hits. Posada has won four Silver Slugger Awards since 2000. (2001, 2001, 2003, and 2007.)
Jorge Posada’s 1,000th Career RBI–July 23, 2010
Most of the fans in the stands for this game were there to witness Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run of his career. They didn’t get to see that, however they did get to see something just as awesome. For it was in this game that Posada collected his 1,000th RBI of his career off of a double to center field.
As you can see, Jorge Posada has had an amazing career with the New York Yankees. Whether he’ll come back to play for another team for the 2012 season is still yet to be seen. Posada did however make the following statement regarding his thoughts on next season:
I started working out again on Nov. 1 like I always do, but I have no idea what’s gonna happen. A lot of teams called after the season was over. I’m undecided. I don’t know if I wanna play or stay home. I’m having fun with the kids and my family, but I don’t know what I wanna do. I don’t wanna make the mistake of telling you that I’m not gonna play or telling you that I am gonna play when I don’t know what I wanna do.
No matter what happens, Posada will always hold a spot in Yankee history as one of the “good guys.” He was a great player on the field, and an even better person off of it. When a Major League ballplayer is as grounded as Posada is, it’s hard to not respect him. As they say, “respect is earned, not given.” I can tell you this: Jorge Rafael Posada has earned my respect.
Should Posada give up baseball altogether? Or should he come back and play with another team for the 2012 season? Let me know what you think:
I’m going on vacation tomorrow, and although I’ll have Internet access I don’t plan on blogging again until I get home. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely shutting out baseball from my weekend. As a matter of fact, I don’t plan on missing a single pitch from any of tomorrow and Saturday’s games. Just no blogging about it.
Below are the stats of MLB players that lead all of baseball in something. (Accurate as of 1:00p.m. on September 17, 2011). They are broken down into Hitting and Pitching, but not into NL or AL:
MLB LEADERS (AL and NL)- HITTING
Most Games Played-Prince Fielder (151)
Most At-Bats-Starlin Castro (631)
Most Hits-Adrian Gonzalez (198)
Most Triples-Jose Reyes (16)
Most Home Runs-Jose Bautista (42)
Most RBI’s-Ryan Howard (113)
Most Base On Balls-Jose Bautista (121)
Most Strikeouts-Drew Stubbs (193)
Most Stolen Bases-Michael Bourn (55)
Most Caught Stealing-Juan Pierre (14)
Most Intentional Base On Balls-Prince Fielder (29)
Most Hit By Pitch-Carlos Quentin (23)
Most Sacrifice Flies-Adam Jones (12)
Most Total Bases-Jacoby Ellsbury (326)
Most Extra Base Hits-Robinson Cano (76)
Most Grounded Into Double Plays-Albert Pujols (29)
Most Ground Outs-Ichiro Suzuki (262)
Most Air Outs-Ian Kinsler (220)
Most Number Of Pitches Faced-Curtis Granderson (2,888)
Most Plate Appearances-Ian Kinsler (677)
MLB LEADERS (AL and NL)- PITCHING
Most Wins-Justin Verlander (23)
Most Losses-Jeremy Guthrie (17)
Most Games Pitched-Jonny Venters (80)
Most Saves-Jose Valverde (45)
Most Innings Pitched-Justin Verlander (236)
Most Hits Allowed-Carl Pavano (242)
Most Unearned Runs Allowed-Fausto Carmona (118)
Most Earned Runs Allowed-Bronson Arroyo (108)
Most Home Runs Allowed-Bronson Arroyo (44)
Most Srikeouts-Justin Verlander (238)
Most Complete Games-James Shields (11)
Most Shutouts-Cliff Lee (6)
Most Hit Batsmen-Jonathan Lackey (19)
Most Games Finished-Jose Valverde (65)
Most Groundouts Achieved-Jake Westbrook (278)
Most Wild Pitches-A.J. Burnett (25)
Most Stolen Bases Allowed-Ted Lilly (33)
Most Pickoffs-James Shields (11)
Most Batters Faced-C.C. Sabathia (955)
Most Pitches Thrown-Justin Verlander (3,705)
Bernie Williams, a member of the 2001 Yankees team, had this to say about his memories from September 11, 2001:
It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since September 11, 2001. Like everyone, I remember exactly the events of that day as if it was yesterday. We were on a homestand, so I was at my home. We were going to play the Red Sox that night. I recall waking up that morning, stirring around, and turned on the TV, and when I saw the images on the screen, I guess I was still half asleep because I thought for a second it was a movie…and then I saw the LIVE in the corner of the screen and knew this was real..this was happening.
It was horrifying and surreal. I felt so helpless, and I did not know what to do. I felt this whole sense of panic… and then was wondering what is going to happen next…. are there bombs going to go off…are we all in danger?
We knew we were not going to be playing baseball for a while., The game, the season…all of that was the farthest thing from our minds. After a couple of days, when communication was restored, you got in touch with the team, your teammates, you continued to watch these horrific images on TV, and you just felt so heartbroken, angry, and helpless. What could we possibly do at a time like this?
Then we all began to realize that one of things we could do was to go down there, as a team, and show our support to those working around the clock in the rescue effort. We went to see all the volunteers, the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, rescue workers, all those searching through the rubble . We went to the firehouses, the hospitals, shelters…I remember they had the Javitz center set up as a command center where responders could go and clean up, get fed and rest before they went right back out. I felt good doing it but at the same time my heart was breaking for the families grieving and those waiting for news about their missing loved ones.
I remember so vividly that in the middle of all the chaos and misery, that when we arrived and announced that the Yankees are here – I saw everyone stop . You saw the change in their faces. They lit up and said, “Wow, they are here”, and for even a few minutes, we were able to bring a little joy, and be a distraction to those who were going through so much sadness. That is what we were able to do, and if it brought smiles to people’s faces, we would be there. Like the entire Yankee organization, the Mets were terrific and were doing the same. We were all united, and that became our duty and how we could contribute those first few days following the attack.
I have told this story before, but what will always be with me is that we went to visit the armory, which was being used as a center where people were going to find out about their family members who were missing, and if they were being identified. Family members were showing up with personal effects of their loved one, anything with their DNA so they could work to find a match. It was heart wrenching to see all this. Well, I saw this lady there, and she looked so sad. Icould see was suffering so badly, and soon she was introduced to me. I believe she had lost her husband. My first impression was that I have no idea what to say to her. I’m not a psychologist, so what do you say to someone like that, and only thing I can come up with was to say “ I really don’t know what to say to you, but I think you could really use a hug”. So I just hugged her. She began to cry, and I began to cry…and it was moments like that put this all in perspective.
Ten years later, I think we as a city, and all of us in this nation, have become more vigilant. It has changed our way of life forever, but I think it has made us more careful, more watchful, and we all look out for each other more than we used to. We have to be more mindful that there are bad people in this world who resent our freedom and way of life, and want to hurt us. Well, they learned that they can knock us down…but they also learned they will never knock us out. I am proud to be a New Yorker, and proud to be an American. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families, and every person who was impacted by the events of that day.
This Sunday, to commemorate the 10thanniversary of September 11th, I will be in Mt, Kisco, NY where a 9-11 Memorial will be dedicated in the center of town by the Fire Department. I am part of a band of local musicians, led by my friend and great sax player Mark Rivera. We will perform a concert in the fire house parking lot as part of the remembrance, and I am honored that I will be with my neighbors in the Westchester community on this most solemn day. We will get started at 4 pm. I hope all of you will be with family and friends on this day wherever you are, and together we can all pay tribute, in our own special way, to those who lost their lives, and be grateful to those who serve and protect us every day of our lives – here at home, and all over the world.
God Bless You All,
Everyone has a story like Bernie’s. You remember exactly where you were, and what you were doing when you heard of the tragic events that took place on that day. Thus it remains as one of the only days, if not the only day, from your life, that you can flashback to an exact date. You can close yours eyes and picture it. A nightmare of a picture, yet it’s one that you should put into a golden frame so that you never forget.
Although it is painful to remember back to September 11, 2001, it is something that is important to do, so that the heroes from that day are never forgotten. They musn’t be. For the heroes formed on that day were regular people, that were just doing their jobs.
“Remembering the past gives power to the present.”–Fae Myenne Ng
September 11, 2001. NEVER FORGET.