Results tagged ‘ Frank Thomas ’

A Braves New Day in Cooperstown

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This has not happened since 1996 that this large an induction class (6 members) consisting of great former Baseball heroes of the clay and grass get their names forever struck in bronze and will hear their stores and accolades echoed upon the summer air in Cooperstown on July 27, 3014. Even more amazing is the fact every inductee is currently drawing breathe and would make this the largest living class induction since 1941.

thHT376MVKI think I can safely predict that on that great summer day in Cooperstown, New York this baseball hamlet might hold a 24 hour distinction of being dubbed ATL-North. It is amazing that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Joe Torres (played in Atlanta) and Frank Thomas will forever be aside the bronzed likenesses of such baseball icons as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle as well as newer members Ripken, Boggs and Brett.  571 voters cast their votes for the induction class.

For the record, Maddux topped the list with 97.2% followed in order by Glavine (91.9), and Thomas (83.7%).  Interesting enough, if Craig Biggio had been placed on 2 more ballots he would had beaten the requirement of at least 75 percent and made this the largest first year player ballot since 1955.

Biggio’s 74.8 percent tally might make him a heavy favorite for 2015 induction, but as we have seen in this year’s results, not until they are cast can the bronze plaque design begin. Lest we forget such dominating past baseball names like Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez will be newbies on next year’s Hall of Fame ballot and some would predict early favorites to be inducted next January.

One of the biggest question that was being pondered and debated before the official announcement was if Maddux could top Tom Seaver’s historic Hall of Fame induction percentage mark of  You can bet more than a few comments and profanity-laced communications will be directed at the 16 BBWAA voters who decided to not to name Maddux on their ballot sealing his demise of not gaining the most percentage point ever for Hall of Fame induction. That will be a small side story told cross the country today, but one we all hoped might happen just for the sake anointing a new standard for voting excellence. But with 3 Braves caps heading into the Hall of Fame corridors, the South at least for today has risen high and can thump its chest out proud once again.

It is simply amazing that Braves icons pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and their always positive Manager Bobby Cox will share that grand day all receiving yellow jackets, bronze plaques. The Atlanta duo was expected to join Cox on the stage in 2014, but not until their names were bellowed loud and proud could the ATL faithful begin to search venues and hovels for their pilgrimage to Cooperstown

thCVXVSV95Joining these 3 Braves into induction in his first year of eligibility will be the “Big Hurt” Frank Thomas who not only showed the grace of hitting for average, but could punish any pitch with a swing that was the envy of so many other MLB masters. Thomas who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada was one of those guys you could bet with certainty even before the New Year began would be “bronzed”. Thomas played the game with integrity, honor and I do not think even a whisper ever was heard about him abusing PEDs or altering the scope of the game in any way.  That in itself is a true testament of why Thomas deserves his plaque in an era where voices carried untruths and soured even the best of honest intentions within the game.

Even more amazing is Thomas’s selection might have opened wide the further discussions on a Designated Hitter getting the call for the Hall of Fame. Thomas did not play the DH spot all his career as such Hall hopefuls as Edgar Martinez. But what Thomas’s selection has grooved is the ideal that being a DH will not in the future possibly dismiss you from Hall consideration or have your stats discounted because of your spot on the lineup card, but not on the field.  This could speak to many within the game finally giving credo to the DH evolution of the game and possibly we could see someone like Martinez garner more future Hall consideration and votes as well as open the Hall of Fame doors wider for future eligible Hall of Fame candidates like current Boston DH David Ortiz to becoming a more acceptable chance at garnering a Hall selection after he hangs up his well-used spikes.

Today’s Hall of Fame announcements did have a darker side as some players saw their chances become bleaker and darken with another year passed and no movement up the proverbial hill in voting percentages. The biggest name to see a slide due to his last year of eligibility on this ballot was former Tiger pitcher “Black” Jack Morris who now will have to go the Expansion Era committee route to gain induction after only garnering 61.5 percent of the vote. Morris also received 6.2 percent less support this year than in 2013.

bigpizAmazingly the only 2 players to garner more voting percentage point this year in their second year of eligibility were Biggio (6.2%) and Mike Piazza saw his own increase in his voting numbers to 62.2 percent, a 4.2 % increase over last year’s ballot.  4 players saw double digit decreases in their voting percentages as former closer Lee Smith garnered 17.9 % less votes this year. The other 3 losing ground towards the Hall summer stage were Alan Trammell (12.8%), Larry Walker (11.4%) and Edgar Martinez (10.7%).

Names you will not see on the 2015 ballot based on low percentages or no votes cast besides Morris will be: Rafael Palmero (4.4%), Moises Alou (1.1%), Hideo Nomo (1.1%), Luis Gonzalez (0.9%), Eric Gagne (0.4%), J T Snow (0.4%), Armando Benitez (0.2%), Jacque Jones (0.2%), Kenny Rogers (0.2%). The following names did not garner a single vote and will also be excluded from consideration for the Hall of Fame next winter. They are: Sean Casey, Ray Durham, Todd Jones, Paul Lo Duca, Richie Sexon and Mike Timlin.

I want to again congratulate Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and the Veteran’s Committee inductees Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre into the Cooperstown Hall and salute the BBWAA for their insight and votes in completing and enshrining each of these great men into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

With the names of those selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is now official and complete it is time to focus upon another long awaited moment……Pitchers and Catchers report in 37 DAYS!!!!!

Taking a Whack at 2014 Hall of Fame Voting

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I have to say I’m glad I’m not one of those 600+ members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) who have put in the mandatory 10 plus years of service covering own slivers of the Major League Baseball fishbowl who have to parlay their thoughts along with slicing and dicing their own set in clay adverse and varied opinions about the nominated few and somehow find a cohesive way to whittle down their list of potential former MLB players for possible selection and immortalized in bronze forever within the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
20140102-161419But wouldn’t it a hoot if I did have a envelope to send into Cooperstown. That my own personal baseball opinions could be voiced upon that black and white card of my 10 selected baseball heroes from the past that I personally would LOVE to see in bronze for eternity. The reality is I will never have that opportunity. I wasted my chance at being within that brotherhood long ago when I left my Sports Correspondent slot soooo long ago. But I would cherish and relish a chance to send just such an envelope into the mail and then sit back and see how many of my picks could/would get a phone call and the prestigious yellow jacket this summer.

I would consider such an envelope a huge responsibility both as a life-time baseball spectator as well take into account morally that I not only follow my gut reaction for such voting, but also toil and weather such stormy matters as if a finalist had used or ever abused the pre-PEDs mandates (McGwire) and testing regulations (Clemens/Bonds), whether a career-long DH (Martinez) merits a hearty Hall nod. Or maybe I might wrestle on a solid and concise benchmark for statistic considerations of both starters and relievers. I would hope I can show empathy with finalists who might have suffered in their careers by playing on mediocre teams (Morris/Raines) that did not parlay their own bits of success into playoff berths or shot in the World Series. Does getting a World Series ring (or 2) trump a player with a den full of MLB hardware?

And even if I did produce 10 ducks in my selection row, that the moment the selection process is finalized I could end up with a whittled down list maybe into the single digits and as low as 3 of my selections receiving that prestigious phone call on Wednesday, January 8th. But no matter the results, I know there will be chatter, both realistic and convoluted as some inductees and finalists will miss the cut and not meet both the required minimal votes for this summer’s Hall induction and possibly fall off the 2015 ballot due to lack of support or future consideration by the growing group of 600+BBWAA voters.

My first 5 selections will bode well with most voters, but my other 4 might ruffle some PED feathers or be called into question because of their non-God like stats, plus I added 1 Hometown hero to my selection list but that is what this voting blog post is all about……my personal Hall of Fame choices.

Without further ado, this would have been my ballot for the Hall of Fame Class of 2014:

1) Greg Maddux 355 W’s, 17 seasons of > 15 W‘s, 4 Cy Youngs. Could garner over 98.84% of votes
 2) Tom Glavine 305 W’s, 14 seasons with >200 innings, 5- 20 W seasons, 2 Cy Youngs
 3) Frank Thomas 7 straight seasons with .300 AVG,20+ HR,100 RBIs, 100 Walks, + 521 career HR
4) Craig Biggio 3,060 hits, 668 doubles are most by any right-handed hitter
5) Jeff Bagwell 7 100R/100 RBI seasons, NL ROY, Gold Glove, MVP, .408 OBP.

6) Mike Piazza 427 HRs, 12 X All-Star
7) Barry Bonds 762 HRs, 1,996 RBIs, 2,935 hits, 7 MVP, 8 Gold Gloves, 14 All-Star selections.
8) Jack Morris 15th (Last) year on ballot. His 3.90 ERA would be the Hall’s highest.
9) Lee Smith Was MLB Saves (478) leader when he retired. Great pressure guy.
10) Fred McGriff 493 HR were done clean and legal. 200+ HR in both AL and NL

Rays Trivia: What other Hall of Fame finalist besides Fred McGriff played for the Rays during his career?

Answer: Hideo Nomo who wore # 11 while going 5-8 in 100.2 innings in 2005.

Rookie Rockets Rays Past A’s

 

Rays 7, Athletics 6

 

Worst part of a game starting at 9:30 at night, you might not get to the pillow until maybe 1 AM. Worst part of last night’s game, what pillow?.  When you win a game like that, the “zombie” walk that is part of the next day is acceptable behavior in my book. Hopefully my customers will not ask me any questions, for I will be sleeping on my feet today……….snore….

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Until 1954, players were able to leave their gloves on the field while their team batted.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters

 

                                    The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                                     The Good

 

The Rays rookie, Evan Longoria has had a dream year so far in 2008. He is leading all AL third baseman in fielding percentage (.997), he has been rewarded with a long term contract by the club, and he is hitting the ball like a guy who has been here for a long time.

People forget he was not with the Rays for the first 10 games of the year But since then, you can’t get the kid off the hot corner.

                                 

Longoria went 3-6 last night with 3 RBI’s. Evan also got a stolen base off of Kurt Suzuki and Keith Foulke in the top of the 8th inning.  To put the icing on the cake, Longoria got his 2-run shot of former Ray Chad Gaudin in the top of the 13th inning.

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

 

*** Akinora Iwamura is siliently putting together another hitting streak for the Rays. At the beginning of the year, it looked as though Aki would not be a good lead-off candidate for this Rays squad.

Since then, he has come through in the clutch and shown he can deliver in the top spot.  With 29 hits in May, Aki leads the AL in that category and only trails Houston’s Lance Berkman by 6 for the MLB lead in hits this season in the month of May.

              

** When Jason Hammel was demoted to the bullpen after Scott Kazmir came back, he took it in stride and still worked out strong and hard to keep in the mind of manager Joe Maddon.

Hammel pitched 3 innings last night and helped the Rays protect the lead with 1 hit and three strikeouts in his outing. Hammel was rewarded with his 3rd win of the season for his efforts.

                    

* Eric Hinske leads the Rays with 18 extra base hits this season. His 2-run homer to tight in the 5th inning started the scoring for the Rays tonight.

His 8th homer this year is two more than he had all last year with  the Boston Red Sox.  Hinske also got one of the Rays 5 doubles on the night in the 3rd inning.

                               

                                                      The Bad

When Frank Thomas came to the Oakland A’s after being let go by the Toronto Blue Jays, most people felt he might be entering his last sunset in the MLB.

Do not tell Frank that, as he belted two homers off Rays starter James Shields tonight. For the night, Shields gave up 3 homers, two to Thomas and one to Emil Brown.

Before tonight, Shields had only given up two homers the entire season. His control was not amazing tonight as his cheangeup was missing the corners all night long. Shields did not look comfortable ot there and struggled in his 7.2 innings. He gave up 5 hits and 5 earned runs tonight, while only striking out 3 batters.

                                       

                                                        The Ugly

I must say the biggest “Ugly” in tonight’s game is the tarp covered upper deck area of Oakland’s stadium. It is in that ugly dark green hue that makea a great backdrop, but takes the beauty of the stadium away and just make sit look drab and dull.

                               

Players have said that this stadium is the worst for sun-aided outfield drops and mis-plays. The outfield sun backdrop is a monster in the early evening as the sun that beats down  at an 85 degree angle on you. Shades and your hand covering your eyes to adjust to the sun do not help in this stadium. Most times you just have to hope you have great positioning as the ball makes its ascent to the turf. 

Oakland’s own player Jack Cust seemed to have that same situation last night in the top of the 3rd inning on a double by Eric Hinske.

Cust looked to have the play, but when the ball got within 10 feet of him he froze and could not locate the ball in the setting sun. The ball fell a few feet to the right of where he was standing and trickled to the wall before centerfielder Ryan Sweeney retrived the ball for the A’s.

 

        

Former Rays Player of the Night:

                                                                 

When the Rays traded Brendan Harris to the Twins in the off season, more than one Rays fan cried “foul.” They did not see why you would get rid of a guy who was a working class baseball player, who did his job nightly and did not seek the limelight for himself.

Well, Brendan, you are my ex-Ray of the night because of your 3-5 night against the Texas Rangers.  Harris was listed as the Twins DH for the night, until taking over at short in the extra innings.  Harris currently hitting .262 for the Twins.

 

 

Tonight is a another late start ( 10:05 P.M.) with Scott Kazmir taking the mound for the Rays.  I am not sure if I am going to make this telecast, but we shall see………..if the kids let me catch a catnap, I might actually see a bunch of innings.

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