Charlie Hustle Receives Small Break From Lifetime Ban

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Commissioner Rob Manfred recently granted permission for Pete Rose to appear at a AAA game this season. The all-time hit king will be appearing at a Rochester Red Wings game on July 21. In typical Pete Rose fashion, he will be signing autographs for $50 and doing meet-and-greets for $125.

In January, Rose was also granted permission by Manfred to appear at his Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame induction this upcoming June where his number will be retired. If you’re a Reds fan, go. This is the only time you’ll see Rose be inducted into a Hall of Fame anytime soon (however, he should be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Stay tuned for that article).

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Barry Bonds, 2030 Hall of Famer?

040914-MLB-San-Francisco-Giants-Barry-Bonds-JT-PI.vresize.1200.675.high_.55Let’s face it, the Marlins are out of the playoff race after only 4 games this season. The team has a decent amount of talent (more than you would think) but they aren’t anywhere close to making the postseason. Come September, why even bother going to a Marlins game? Two words: Barry Bonds. And I don’t mean go watch him coach during BP. That’s right, Barry Bonds should suit up for the Miami Marlins. Hear me out.

The Marlins don’t have a big fan-base. Dating back to 2001 (as far as our data goes) the Marlins have finished in the bottom-5 in average attendance every season except for 2012 when the team moved into their new eye-sore of a stadium. *FUN FACT* When the Marlins won the World Series in 2003, they finished 28th in the Majors in average attendance with 16,290 fans a night, roughly 44% max capacity (only Tampa Bay and the deceased Montreal Expos had worse attendance).

Despite having Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, two of the most exciting players in baseball, people just don’t care about going to Miami games and they definitely won’t care when the team is 12 games back at the beginning of September. Barry Bonds would change that.

*Note – I’m about to call Barry Bonds the all-time Home Run King. Please do not yell at me in the comments section. This is based purely on statistics and nothing else. We’ll save the PED talk for another day.

With the playoffs out of the picture, why not let the all-time home run king suit up again? Despite being 51, Bonds has proven that he can still hit by beating multiple Marlins hitters in a Home Run Derby in Spring Training. It might take him a few swings to catch up to a 98 MPH fastball, but Bonds could probably still hang with most Major League pitching. After all, the guy did have a killer .480 OBP in his final season before he was questionably forced into retirement despite having the desire to still play. *Side note – here is a cool article by Jesse Spector about how every team needed Bonds in 2008.

Since he has proved to the Marlins he can hit, why not show it off to the world? Despite being hated in all US cities outside of San Francisco, Bonds would draw fans from all over. The all-time home run leader coming out of retirement to face Clayton Kershaw in a game that counts? Sign me and every single baseball fan up. With increased attendance and media coverage, the Marlins get exactly what they want, and Bonds will get his.

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Barry wants to be in the Hall of Fame. It means something to him. He wants his face on a plaque in Cooperstown and for it to hang for eternity in the same room as his godfather’s (Willie Mays). While he has the numbers, Barry has been denied the Hall of Fame in all 4 years of his eligibility, never garnering more than 44.3% of the vote. He actually gained 8% this previous year, but that was due to the committee being drastically reduced in size. Despite gaining that 8%, Barry actually lost 7 votes.

With the way the trend is going, Bonds will not see the Hall of Fame. This is due to older voters shunning him for allegedly using PEDs (but come on, he totally did). Many younger voters, however, have showed their support for Bonds in recent years and are campaigning for him to get in.

That’s why Barry would come back. Coming out of retirement and playing in a Major League game would reset his Hall of Fame clock. Instead of having 6 more years with older voters who do not want him in the Hall, Barry’s clock would reset and start again in 2021, meaning his last year of eligibility would be 2031, long after the older voters are retired or, you know…

With a slew of new, young voters that grew up idolizing Bonds, it would almost be a guarantee that we’d see Barry in Cooperstown. So why not come back? It’s a win for Miami and a win for Bonds.

 

What do you think? Do you want to see Bonds come back? Would this crazy idea work? Let us know in the comments section!

No Halo in Hall of Fame Heaven

andersonI promise that not every other article will be about Hall of Fame snubs (however, we do have 2 more lined up that are Hall of Fame related).  Today I make the case for the greatest Angel of all-time, Garret Anderson.

After an impressive 17 year career that featured 2,529 hits, 522 doubles, 1,365 RBI and 8 consecutive seasons with 150+ games played, Garret Anderson received one Hall of Fame vote.  Honestly, it was one more than I thought he was going to get.  Still, I’d like to see him enshrined in Cooperstown.

Growing up an Angels fan, it was hard not to love Garret.  He was the model of consistency and played the game “the right way”.  I felt comfortable about our chances of winning each day knowing #16 was going to be out in left field.

As mentioned earlier, Anderson is the greatest Angel of all-time.  Well, that is until Mike Trout shatters all of his records with both hands tied behind his back (that’s the only way to make it fair at this point).  As of now, Garret is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, extra-bases, runs and RBIs.  He also made it to 3 All-Star Games (including 2003 when he won the All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby, a feat only matched by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.)  and won 2 Silver Sluggers towards the end of the ‘Steroid Era’.

However, it will be for Game 7 of the 2002 World Series that Anderson will be most remembered.  At-bat with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning of a 1-1 game, Garret ripped a double down the right field line that scored all 3 runners.  With young stud John Lackey on the mound, that’s all the Angels would need to secure their first and only World Series title in franchise history.

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However, there are two big knocks against Garret’s career: 1) due to the likes of Troy Glaus and Vladimir Guerrero, he was never really considered to be the best player on the team and 2) he had zero plate discipline.  You know how Vladimir Guerrero swung at almost everything?  Well Garret swung at literally everything.  In his 17 year career he only averaged a measly 25 walks per season.  This led to Garret owning a slightly above average .324 on-base percentage.  (This is also a common knock against Ichiro, however, he is a Hall of Fame lock.)

I will admit, my longing for Garret Anderson to make the Hall of Fame is rooted in my fandom, but come on, literally no one enshrined in Cooperstown is wearing an Angels’ hat.  That might change next year with Vladimir Guerrero who is a likely first ballot Hall of Famer and is deciding between the Angels and the Expos.  If not, we’re going to have to wait another 20 some years for Mike Trout, assuming he doesn’t leave for somewhere like New York or Philadelphia (which he definitely will.)  Ugh.

No Love for the Glove: Edmonds No Longer Eligible for the Hall

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Lost in Ken Griffey, Jr.’s record breaking vote and the continued debate on steroids, Jim Edmonds fell off the Hall of Fame ballot rather quietly.  Receiving only 11 of 440 possible votes, Edmonds fell 11 votes short of the 5% threshold that is required to stay on the ballot for next year.  Not many people noticed, but those that did were stunned.  Jim Edmonds, an 8-time Gold Glove winner, is a one-and-done guy while Sammy Sosa, a notorious juicer, is still on the ballot after 4 years?  That doesn’t seem right.

Right now you might be saying, “Only 11 out of 440 baseball writers voted for him, do you actually think he belongs in the Hall of Fame?”  My short answer is, no, I don’t think Jim Edmonds is a Hall of Famer.  When I released my rule-breaking Hall of Fame vote on Twitter, something I will address in a later article, I left Edmonds off.  He’s very close, but to me, Edmonds is one of those guys who belongs in the Hall of “Very Good” and not the Hall of Fame.  However, I do believe he should have been in serious consideration.  Here are a few reasons why:

The Catches:

When you first think of Jim Edmonds, you think the jaw-dropping, acrobatic catches.  The argument can certainly be made that Edmonds is the most exciting defender in recent baseball memory.  He won 8 Gold Gloves in a 9 year span and made one of the most iconic catches in MLB history.  If you have some time to kill, search “Jim Edmonds catches” on YouTube.  You’ll get lost for hours, look at the clock, and realize it’s 4 in the morning and you wanted to go to bed 6 hours ago.  I would know because it’s happening to me right now.

The Numbers:

I won’t go into a statistical overload (like I did in my Fred McGriff article) because the Twitter account @JimEdmondsHOF has already done that for me (check it out, it’s fascinating).  Still, here are some charts to whet your appetite:

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The 2004 NLCS:

The 2004 MLB Postseason is remembered for the Red Sox hoisting their first World Series trophy since 1918.  However, we should not forget Edmonds’ outstanding performance in the 2004 NLCS.  Edmonds showed throughout his career that he had a flair for the dramatic and, against the Houston Astros, it was on full display.  Edmonds put up a .292/.357/.625 slash line with 2 home runs, one of them being the iconic Game 6, 12th inning walk-off home run to stave off elimination and force a Game 7.  And what does Jim Edmonds do in that Game 7?  Well he makes a patented Jim Edmonds diving catch to save two runs from scoring.  The Cardinals went on to win Game 7 and earn the right to lose to the Red Sox in the World Series.

 

Is Jim Edmonds a Hall of Famer?  No, but he certainly deserved better.

 

Do you think “Jimmy Baseball” belongs in the Hall of Fame? Sound off in the comments section!

Yet Another Fred McGriff, Hall of Fame Article

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Every year there are hundreds upon hundreds of articles written about the latest MLB Hall of Fame vote and it seems like all of them are about what the Hall of Fame got wrong; this is one of those articles.

Fred McGriff, also known as ‘Crime Dog’, has been on the Hall of Fame ballot for 7 years and has never garnered more than 23.9% of the vote (2012).  With only 3 years remaining on the ballot, it seems safe to say that he will never be enshrined in Cooperstown; but should he be?

First, let’s look at some of McGriff’s career numbers: he boasted a slash line of .284/.377/.509, with 2,490 hits, 493 home runs, 1,550 RBI and 441 doubles.  Impressive numbers.  In his 50 career playoff games, Crime Dog was even better, hitting .303/.385/.532 with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 11 doubles.  He also was the cleanup hitter for the 1995 World Series winning Atlanta Braves.

McGriff was one of the most feared hitters in baseball in the late ‘80s, early 90’s.  He led the Majors in intentional walks in 1991 (26) and was given a free base 23 times the following season.  On top of that, he had a phenomenal eye.  From his age 25-28 seasons he drew 90+ walks and repeated that performance at age 36.

With all of these incredible numbers, why is he not in the Hall of Fame? Well, it really comes down to three things: 1) the infamous 1994 strike shortened season, 2) despite being clean, he played during the ‘Steroid Era’ and 3) the Hall of Fame’s atrocious voting rules and crowded ballot (an article for another day).

1994 was a dark year for baseball fans.  The players went on strike after 114 games and there was no World Series to be played.  This played a huge role in deciding McGriff’s Hall of Fame fate.  As previously stated, McGriff hit 493 career home runs.  After playing in 113 of the Braves’ games that season, he hit a whopping 34 homers and drove in 94 runs.  If the season had played out in its entirety, McGriff would have been on pace for 49 homers, pushing him past the magic number of 500 career home runs.  Hitting 500 home runs basically guarantees a hitter that he will make the Hall of Fame unless he is tied to steroids, which McGriff was not.

Now I’ve heard the argument before, “You don’t know how he would have played the rest of the season.  He could go through a long slump, plus, he could have gotten hurt and ruined his career.”  True, but let’s take a closer look at those claims.

In the last 10 games before the strike, McGriff hit 7 home runs and had an astounding .421/.476/.1.026 slash line.  He was getting better and had a real chance at hitting 50+ home runs.

As for the injury claim, McGriff was one of the most durable players in baseball history.  From 1987-2002, McGriff averaged 146 games per year.  He was only placed on the Disabled List once in his career and that was his age 39 season.  Therefore, you can toss the injury probability right out of the window.

In recent years we are seeing very few people who played during the ‘Steroid Era’ garner Hall of Fame votes.  Clean players like Larry Walker and Jeff Kent would be Hall of Famers if they played during any other era, yet they have never received 20% of the vote.  The reason is that their numbers don’t stick out in the record books, ironic considering players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will never sniff the Hall of Fame because their numbers stuck out too much (due to PED use).

Had McGriff played in a different era he would already be in the Hall of Fame.  From 1988-1994 he lead the Majors with 242 Home Runs.  Second place was Barry Bonds, the greatest home run hitter of all-time, at 218.  For 7 seasons, McGriff was easily the best, most consistent power hitter in the game.  How is that not Hall of Fame worthy?

To top it all off, McGriff’s numbers dwarf those of Tony Perez, Frank Chance and Orlando Cepeda, all Hall of Famers, and are identical to Willie McCovey, a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1986.

Not voting Fred McGriff into the Hall of Fame?  That’s a crime, dog.