Tag Archives: Hall of Fame

One of the greatest teams ever, but how many HOF?

The 1998 Yankees were probably the best team I ever saw (and sorry Seattle Mariners fans, your 116 wins of 2001 is GREATLY diminished by losing to the Yankees—in only FIVE games, no less—in the 2001 ALCS. Not only that, they had to go to the limit against Cleveland in the ALDS. The 1998 Yanks went 11-2 in the postseason). If the 1998 Yanks weren’t the best I ever saw, then they were one of the best.

Now the 1927 Yankees have Huggins, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Ruth, Combs, Hoyt and Pennock in the HOF. The 1961 Yankees have Mantle, Berra and Ford. The 1975 Reds have Anderson, Bench, Morgan, Perez (and should have had Rose if Pete didn’t screw up).

But how many players from that 1998 Yankees team will get into the Hall? It may be a short number for a team that won 114 games and who won four, and almost five world series in a six year span (1996-2001).

Here are the major stars from that 1998 team. Stats from that year.

Posada (C): .268-17-63, OPS+ 115. Not eligible for the HOF ballot until after the 2016 season. .273 career hitter, 275 HR. A solid 121 lifetime OPS+. 2x top 10 MVP voting. 5x All-Star, 5x Silver Slugger. HOF standards: 40 (average HOFer 50). HOF Monitor: 98. Likely HOFer 100. JAWS ranks him #19 among all catchers. A close call, but he probably misses out.

Tino Martinez (1B): .281-28-123, OPS+ 124. .271 career hitter, 339 HR. OPS+ 112. Runnerup for the 1997 MVP. 2x All-Star. Got 1% of the vote in 2011 and dropped off the ballot.  HOF monitor 41/100, standards 26/50. JAWS ranking 88th among all 1B.

Bernie Williams (CF): .339-26-97 OPS+ 160. 7th in MVP that year, GG, All-Star. Led AL in batting average. 2x top 10 for MVP. 5x All-Star. 4 GG awards. .297, 287 HR, OPS+ solid 125. 1996 ALCS MVP. 22 postseason HR. Got 9.6% of the vote in 2012 but only 3.3% this year and drops off the ballot. HOF monitor 134/100 (way above “likely HOFer”). HOF standards 48/50 (just short). JAWS ranks him #26 for CF. Bernie deserved more love. Maybe not to get in, but a much greater vote total.

Paul O’Neill (RF):  .317-24-116, OPS+ 130. All-Star, 12th in MVP vote. 5x All-Star. 1 top-10 MVP year. .288 hitter, 281 HR. OPS+ 120 (solid). 2.2% of the vote in 2007, and dropped off the ballot. JAWS 60th for RF; HOF monitor 71/100 and HOF standards 37/50. Good but not great.

Darryl Strawberry (OF/DH): We all know the story. He should have hit 500 HR in his career and messed himself up with the dope. He doesn’t deserve to get in, but screwed himself. .247-24-57, OPS+ 132. Great year for a part-timer. 8x All-Star. ROY in 1983. Runnerup for MVP in 1988, 3rd in 1990. 4x Top 10 MVP. .259, 335 HR, OPS+ 138 (fabulous). HOF monitor 56/100, HOF standards 30/50. JAWS has him ranked 41st for RF (above O’Neill). What could have been. Got 1.2% of the vote in 2005 and dropped off the ballot.

Tim Raines (OF/DH): I think he should already be in the HOF. Overshadowed during his career by Rickey Henderson (the greatest leadoff man ever), Raines deserves to get in.  In 1998 he was a backup, hitting .290-5-47, OPS+ 107. But his career shows .294, 2605 hits, 808 SB and an OPS+ of a solid 123. 7x All Star. 3x top 10 MVP finishes. Black ink 20/27. HOF monitor 90/100. HOF standards 47/50. JAWS has him ranked 8th among all LF. Led league in runs scored twice, doubles once, SB 4x, batting average and OBP once. Slowly gaining support. This year, his sixth on the ballot, he got 52.2% of the vote. But he’s still far short of that 75%.

David Wells (LHP): 18-4, 3.49. ERA+ 127. Perfect game. Led league in winning pct., shutouts (5), BB/9, WHIP and K/BB. 3rd in CYA that year, 16th for MVP (two years later, 3rd and 17th in those categories for Toronto). 3x All-Star. 239 career wins, but his 4.13 ERA (ERA+ 108) hurts him. 10-5, 3.17 in the postseason. 1998 ALCS MVP. 1x 20-game winner. This year got 0.9% of the vote and now he drops off the ballot. HOF monitor 88/100, standards 40/50. JAWS 125th (starting pitcher).

David Cone (RHP): 20-7, 3.55, led majors in wins. ERA+ 125. 4th in CYA. Perfect game in 1999. 5x All Star. Won CYA in 1994. 2x top 10 MVP. 194 wins, ERA+ 121, ERA 3.46. Probably needed to get over the 200 win plateau to have more of a shot. 8-3, 3.80 in postseason. Got 3.9% of the vote in 2009 and dropped off the ballot. HOF monitor 103/100 (higher than “likely HOF”), standards 39/50. JAWS 62nd for starting pitcher. 2x 20-game winner.

Now for the actives:

Andy Pettitte (LHP): 16-11, 4.24, ERA+ 104. Career 245 wins to date, ERA 3.86, ERA+ 117. The ERA probably hurts him. CYA runnerup in 1997. 3x All-Star. 2x 20-game winner. 2001 ALCS MVP. HOF monitor 123/100 (more than “likely HOF”). HOF standards 42/50. JAWS 92nd for starting pitcher (below Cone, above Wells). 19-11, 3.81 in the postseason. Close call. See Posada.

Derek Jeter (SS). A first-ballot, no-doubter. .324-19-84 with 30 sb, 3rd in the MVP vote that year. 3304 hits and counting. .313, 255 HR, OPS+ 117. 13x All Star. Runnerup for the MVP in 2006, 3rd in 1998, 2009. 8x top 10 for MVP voting. Led majors in runs scored once, hits twice. 348 SB. ROY 1996. 158 postseason games, .308 average. 20 postseason HR. 2000 ASG MVP, WS MVP. HOF monitor 334/100 (is there any doubt?) standards 67/50 (is there any doubt?). JAWS 10th all-time for SS.

Mariano Rivera (RHP): 3-0, 1.91, 36 saves, ERA+ 233. 2.21 career ERA. ERA+ 206 (all-time leader). 608 career saves and counting (all-time leader). All-time leader in games finished. Runner-up for CYA in 2005, 3rd in 1996, 1999, 2004. 12x All-Star. Two top-10 MVP finishes. 8-1, 0.70(!) ERA in the postseason with 42 saves. 1999 WS MVP. 2003 ALCS MVP. Five Rolaids relief awards. A first-ballot, no-doubter. HOF monitor 251/100 (is there any doubt?) Standards 29/50 (it’s low because he is a closer). JAWS #2 relief pitcher (behind Eckersley, who was a starter for half of his career; almost all would agree on Mo as the greatest closer ever).

Then we come to Joe Torre, who while managing the Yankees won four WS in five years (1996-2000) and narrowly missed another in 2001. He led the Yanks to the postseason in each of the twelve years he managed the team, and to another WS in 2003. He won 2326 games as manager, and had a .538 winning percentage. He led the Braves to the 1982 NLCS and the Dodgers to the NLCS in 2008 and 2009. But it’s the Yankees’ years (.605 winning percentage) that define Torre and his probable induction into the HOF.

So what do we have from a team that won 114 games and was 11-2 in the postseason? What do we have from probably the greatest single season team I’ve seen in my lifetime?

Two sure-shot, first-ballot Hall-of Famers in Jeter and Rivera. A manager who will probably get in.

One other player in Tim Raines who has an outside shot.

Two players who are borderline in Posada and Pettitte.

And a bunch of good players who got little support and who will never get in (unless some Veterans Committee puts them in years after I depart this earth).

A team that was greater than the sum of the parts.

And at least one player (Bernie) who deserved more support than he received.

Note: Roger Clemens is not written about here. He joined the Yanks and was with them 1999-2003 and 2007 but the article is on the players who were on the 1998 team.

 

Will anyone make the HOF today?

There are lots of big names on the ballot, but will anyone make the HOF today when the BBWAA announces the results of its ballot?

Steroids allegations hurt many big name players, of which Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Palmeiro and McGwire are just several.

It’ll be interesting to see & hear whose name—if any—is announced as a new HOFer later today.

Billy and George in the HOF together? Odds extremely long, but…

No, can’t happen, can it?

It probably won’t, but they are both on the Veterans’ Committee ballot this year.

From MLB.com:

The 12 individuals who will be considered by the Expansion Era Committee in December for Hall of Fame induction in 2011:

Former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner. Martin and Steinbrenner are deceased; all other candidates are living.

The ballot will be reviewed and voted on by a 16-member electorate at the 2010 Winter Meetings. The results of the vote will be announced on Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

 

I’d put in Marvin Miller, but the execs will probably do everything possible to keep him out. Billy’s managing may suggest he go in, but he has serious character issues. It will be interesting to see if sentiment gets George in. After all, he was suspended from baseball twice, so he has character issues of his own.

I’d consider Tommy John. The problem there is that people consider him a “compiler.” He did have 288 wins, but over a very long career. He was a good pitcher, and his surgery did change the game, but…

maybe it’s Dr. Jobe that should go into the HOF. With his successful surgery on John, HE is the one who changed the game and deserves the HOF acclamation the most.

I’m sure that every pitcher who had the surgery, and whose career was saved, would agree.

Jerk alert.

Calling all jerks and idiots.

Now you may wonder what that is about. (I was going to use another word, but thought better of it; it’s a body part beginning with “a”).

I’m watching the news and seeing Jeter’s hit last night. I’m thinking of him and Rivera.

Two of the classiest, most well-respected players in the sport. Legendary players.

First-class people. First-ballot Hall-of-Famers.

So why procrastinate? When something can be done now, shouldn’t it be done now, and not years from now?

What I’m getting at is this. No one has ever been elected to the HOF unanimously. Not Ruth, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Seaver, Ripken…guys you think would be no doubters. No one.

So let’s get it over with. All those with HOF ballots and who expect to have those votes and ballots in say eight to twelve years (or the approximate time frame that Jeter and Rivera first become eligible for the Hall) who will not be voting for Jeter or Rivera when they become eligible, please declare yourselves now.

Let’s know who the jerks (idiots, “a”-word) are now.

Why wait?

Assholes in future HOF vote
Alright, we’ll say the a-word.   

Game 151. Jeter sets mark, but Pettitte’s mark in dire jeopardy as Yanks lose 6-2.

Yanks 80-70, tied for 3rd.
2 games better than Pythagorean.
OPS+ 104. ERA+ 98 (probably won’t change much from here on)

Damon DH .305-14-63-28-OPS+ 120 (100 is average)
Jeter SS .304-11-68-108 (needs that one hit)
Abreu RF .301-17-89-19-123
Rodriguez 3B .305-34-100-17-157 (2 HR off the AL lead)
Giambi 1B .251-30-92-2-134
Nady LF .283-11-33-0-123 as Yankee. Total .314-24-90-1-135
Cano 2B .260-13-61-1-81 (don’t do it again)
Molina C .218-2-15-0-53
Gardner CF .170-0-10-8-22 (No Melky…Brett getting a look, better start hitting. 88 AB).
Pettitte LHP 13-13, 4.52. ERA+ 95. Andy is tied with Pedro and Rick Reuschel on the all-time wins list. His next win ties Jim Perry and Stan Coveleski.

From Pete Abraham:

This release from the Hall of Fame:

Ten former major league players, whose careers began in 1943 or later, will be considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 by the Veterans Committee, with results to be announced December 8 at baseball’s Winter Meetings, it was announced today.

Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre and Maury Wills will be considered for election by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement in 2009, with votes to be cast by Hall of Fame members this fall. Any candidate to receive 75% of the vote on all ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame and will be enshrined on July 26, 2009.

There were 21 players considered, with the screening narrowed to 10. The entire list:

Allen, Ken Boyer, Bert Campaneris, Rocky Colavito, Mike Cuellar, Steve Garvey, Hodges, Kaat, Ted Kluszewski, Mickey Lolich, Roger Maris, Lee May, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Oliva, Oliver, Pinson, Santo, Tiant, Torre and Wills.

Also in December, a 12-member voting committee will consider the candidacies of 10 former major league players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier: Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Allie Reynolds, Vern Stephens, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters and Deacon White. Any candidate to earn votes of 75% of ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame, with enshrinement on July 26, 2009.

As for post-1943, all have plusses and minuses. I’m kind of partial to Santo. Diabetes, both legs amputated, 342 HR (in a pitchers era) and considering the small number of 3B in the Hall…When Santo retired, I think only Mathews had more HR for a third baseman. As for pre-1943, I’m partial to Allie Reynolds.

Remember this is for playing careers only, especially as it relates to Hodges and Torre. Maybe they should have a “lifetime achievement award” for the two, but the managerial career, I don’t believe, is listed here. Note the wording of the HOF release: players.

I’ll be on the phone with a friend tonight and taking care of other things. There is a huge job fair in my area tomorrow which I’m preparing for and researching and printing resumes for, and I received some sad news from a friend today regarding a mutual friend of ours. So I’ll try to be in, but I do have a full plate tonight. I will be checking up on the Yanks and SWB tonight.

1st. Jeter does it. A hit (official scorer decision) is #1270 for him at the Stadium, passing Gehrig for most hits by a player at Yankee Stadium. Although Damon and Jeter lead off with hits, they are left stranded. Abreu had a hot shot which looked like a ribbie, but it was speared. No Dp, though. A-Rod whiffed before the Big G ended the inning. 

Quick notes and recap: The Yanks lost 6-2, scoring two runs or less for the 48th time this year. Andy Pettitte, once 12-7, 3.76, falls to 13-14 and the 4.52 he entered the game with will go up. In order to keep that mark he shares with Ruth, that of being the only pitchers with 10 or more years to have a winning record in EVERY season they pitched in, Andy will need to win both of the starts he has left. Sunday night in the Stadium finale, then up in Boston.

Brett Gardner had a single and double, scored a run and stole two bases. The two steals gave him 10 for the season (in 11 attempts). A significant number. How so? It’s one more than Melky had all year before the Melkman found his way to the doghouse and AAA. I don’t ask for much from Gardner, and know he doesn’t have power. I just wonder, if he can hit .270, how many steals could he get? Between AAA and the majors this year, 47 steals.

The other Yankee run came on a solo HR by the big G. #31 on the season, and #395 for his career, one behind Joe Carter. But typical of the 2008 Yanks, the HR is solo. Later, with the bases juiced and two out, he whiffed.

When Jeter sacrificed early in the game, Michael Kay drove me nuts. He hated it, and gave the “because he’s Derek Jeter” line. God how I hate that line. Hell, Mantle bunted every so often. I loved how Flaherty liked the bunt and that the former player put the non-player (journalist/broadcaster) in his place so to speak. Has Kay forgotten how the Yanks won in all those years he was next to Sterling broadcasting the championships? Through unselfish play. Just the line “because he’s (fill in the blank)” speaks, to me, to a selfishness that has to be struck from the team. Flaherty remarked about littleball, making something happen, giving yourself up to get the runner over…all things the Yanks have been lacking in over the past few years and all things it seems like Kay forgot about. Good for Flaherty.

Watching Pettitte falter, I’m reminded of how we were concerned about Pettitte faltering or whatever not only from age, but because we were worried about possible subpoenas and the possible distractions of testifying in the Clemens’ case. We haven’t heard anything or much from Roger lately, have we? Not since Mindy anyway. I guess he went to the same island McGwire is on…along with the Skipper, Gilligan and company.

I’m waiting for Hank to now tell Andy to “pitch like Moyer” like he did with Mussina.

Veras, Giese and Robertson finished up. Veras and Giese gave up runs. Robertson gave up a hit and a walk, but K’d the side.

Griffey wants to continue on, but I think this should be it for him. He is tied with Sosa with 609, and I hope he passes Sammy. But it’s amazing to think that since the trade to Chicago, Junior has just one HR in over 100 at bats. Junior, if that isn’t telling you that it’s time to retire, then nothing will.

Game 131. Boston in for probably the last time at this Stadium. 7-3 Boston as Alex, Andy are awful.

Recap: At one point in the game, the Yanks top 3 hitters were 6-10, but the Yanks had just 3 runs, two on two solo HRs by Johnny Damon. Which tells you how Alex and the big G were with runners on base. Awful again, and Alex heard the boo-birds, who were angry at seeing the 9th DP from Alex in his last 19 games. Pettitte gave up 6 in 4 2/3, the victim of questionable umpiring, a couple flukey hits, and Boston doing what the Yanks haven’t done all year—get the big hit. The Yanks needed a sweep. They won’t get it. You can hear the funeral music. Hit more for more news, and a great quote from the “Yankee Truth”… Continue reading

Comparing the packages for Santana

7:30 a.m. Bryan Hoch of MLB.Com and Bombers Beat (link at right) has a comparison of the packages offered the Twins by the Red Sox, Mets and Yankees. If you were Bill Smith, which one would you take? Would you take any of them or just keep Santana and see where you are and what happens at the trade deadline? If you are Santana, to whom would you waive your no-trade?

MLB Trade Rumors reports that Texas is close to signing P Jason Jennings. Jennings is coming off a torn tendon in his elbow which required surgery last August. Jennings went 16-8 as the 2002 Rookie of the Year, but hasn’t had a winning season since. Granted he was with Colorado before he went to Houston in 2006, but only once since 2002 has his ERA been under 5.00.

MLBTR also reports the Yanks interest in Mike Cameron (and the A-Rod endorsement, mentioned some posts ago). Should this happen, what happens with Melky? Does the Santana deal go through? Is Melky then used in another deal if the Yanks decide not to pursue the Santana deal (like, perhaps, a deal for a lefty reliever like Damaso Marte?) Would the Yanks risk putting Johnny Damon and his arm in CF for the first 25 games of the year? Remember Cameron will start 2008 with a 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant.

The righty hitting Cameron is 35 and has three Gold Gloves. A two-year deal should be sufficient—enough for Austin Jackson (21) and Jose Tabata (19) to develop. His average would be less than Melky’s (.250 as opposed to .280) but he would give righty power to complement A-Rod (probably .250-20-80 as opposed to Melky going .280-7-70), good defense, and steal more bases than Melky (probably 20 to Melky’s 12-15). Of course he would cost more. Would the cost be worth it? I think the answer to that is only found in who you would get for Melky. Cameron’s positives? Power, experience, Defense, Righty bat to complement a lot of lefties. Negatives? The suspension, age, money, and a TON of strikeouts (160 last year). Cameron hit .242-21-78 with 18 steals in 23 attempts for the Padres last year. He had 67 walks, but also those 160 Ks. His 162 game career average is .251-22-82 with 28 steals and 156 strikeouts (OPS+ 106; Melky’s is 90). I wouldn’t do this if I were the Yanks unless they have a plan in order which means dealing Melky for help.

The question is, outside of the Santana deal, do they have another deal in place in which Melky is part of it?

Update, 3 p.m. Jacobs Field in Cleveland has been renamed. It will join the corporate brigade and now be called Progressive Field (Progressive Insurance). I hope Yankee Stadium never gets a corporate name. It just wouldn’t be right.

As for the former Jacobs Field, it would have been interesting to hear Yankees fans ideas on what the new name should be. After the attack of the midges in Game 2 of last year’s ALDS, some of the proposed names would have been interesting, and probably unprintable.

Update 4:30 p.m. MLBTR is reporting from Ken Rosenthal of Fox that the Brewers have signed Cameron. The Brewers were looking at a couple of CF, including 40 year old Kenny Lofton.

There are also reports of the A’s possibly dealing Mark Kotsay to Atlanta. In just 56 games (206 AB) last year, Kotsay hit .214-1-20 (OPS + 57). Kotsay is 32 and a .282 hitter (OPS + right at the league average, 100). If he can get back to form, he can possibly give .282-10-60. It would be another “dump a player for prospects” move for the A’s.

11 p.m. In a sign that the Kotsay deal may be done soon, the A’s signed OF Emil Brown. The 33 year old Brown hit .257-6-62 (OPS+ 68) for KC last year. Despite a bit of an off-year, the 62 RBI still led the team. It was the third consecutive year Brown led the Royals in RBI. In 2005 and 2006, Brown drove in over 80 runs as he posted OPS+s of 113 and 109 while hitting in the .280s with 17 and 15 HR. Those last three years are the only years of Brown’s MLB career that he has had more than 150 AB in a season. 2005-2007 symbolized a comeback for Brown, who played in the majors from 1997 to 2001, then was out of the majors for all of 2002-2004.

Update, 1/12, 8:20 a.m. Here is an interesting article by ESPN’s Jim Caple:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple/080110

Are you aware that no starting pitcher who has started his career after 1967 has yet made the Hall of Fame? Dennis Eckersley doesn’t count. Although Eck began his career as a starter (and won 20 for the 1978 Red Sox), he is in the Hall primarily for his relief work.

If you like seeing pictures and/or diagrams of old ballparks now no more (which the original Yankee Stadium will be soon) here is a site worth your while:

http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/

  

Clemens’ Congressional hearing pushed back

4:45 p.m. The NY Daily News has a report that the hearing before Congress that will involve McNamee, Clemens and Pettitte has been pushed back. Apparently the one involving Selig, Mitchell and Fehr is still on for Tuesday.

I just had to add a new category of Scandal to the blog. Between the Hearings, the Mitchell report, Leyritz…. let’s just hope it doesn’t get used too often….

Don Mattingly got a “bump” in votes yesterday. I still don’t think he gets in, and I was a huge Mattingly fan. Maybe some voters are looking for a guy they know is clean, conducted himself well and was a credit to the game? In that case, Dale Murphy could see a bump in years to come as well. Murphy won back-to-back MVPs and had 398 HRs, but is hurt by a) the launching pad that Atlanta was; b) a batting average of only .265; and c) some really bad years, like 1978, 1988 and 1989.

The NY Daily News also has a contest on which Yanks are the greatest at their positions. Some are no-brainers. As much as I love Mattingly, Gehrig should be (but isn’t) unanimous. Same with Ruth. Unfortunately, you can’t just vote for three outfielders and slide Mantle over to LF and keep Joltin’ Joe in CF. You have to choose between the Mick and DiMaggio. If only the Presidential race had two such superb opponents. Sigh.

One shock is that at 3B, A-Rod only leads Nettles 47-42 percent. Are you kidding me? Graig was good, but A-Rod is far superior. Is the anti-Alex element that bad?

Manager is another tough vote and it shocks me. Torre tied with McCarthy with Stengel third? I humbly disagree. No offense to Joe, but …

Finally righty starter. Hunter over Ruffing, Reynolds or Stottlemyre? Um. No.

Catfish was with the Yanks for only 5 years, and those years were

23-14
17-15
9-9
12-6
2-9

63-53? Love the Cat, but his best years were in Oakland.

Update 8:30 p.m. I now read that the Clemens, Pettitte, McNamee, etc., hearings are pushed back to Feb. 13th. Great. I only say that for Pettitte’s sake. Right before pitchers and catchers. Pettitte confessed to twice using HGH, and that was over 5 years ago. Why penalize the guy now for something he did twice, and especially right before he is to start spring training? Besides, Paul LoDuca’s name is much more prevalent in the Mitchell Report than Pettitte’s is. LoDuca is quite convenient to bring before Congress since he will play for Washington in 2008. Why not call him to testify? Or do some Congressmen want to lose their choice seats in the new Stadium???? What a crock.

Gossage to enter Hall as a Yankee

12:50 p.m Goose will go into the HOF as a Yankee. I saw a lot of people were doing searches on what cap he would have on. There was a nice touch at the press conference as 1978 teammate and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson welcomed his ex-teammate into the Hall. The only other surviving member going in this year, Dick Williams, will be going in with an A’s cap—the team he led to World Series titles in 1972 and 1973.

It looks like “Everyday Eddie” Guardado could be going to Texas. After elbow surgery in September of 2006, Eddie probably needs a new nickname. He pitched in 15 games for the Reds last year and had no decisions or saves to go with a 7.24 ERA. At 37, he is a risk. You don’t know how his comeback will turn out. He is 41-55, 4.32 (ERA+ 108) with 183 saves for his career. Hey, if you are lefty and can still lift your arm, some team will sign you.

From Dave Pinto’s Baseball Musings: Miguel Cairo has signed with the Mariners. Miggy hit .253-0-15 with 10 steals (OPS + 66) for the Yanks and Cards last year. For his career, he is at .267 with an OPS + of 75. As we know, he has no power—only 27 HR. He does have an excellent SB success ratio of 78%. It’s been the norm to blast Miggy in the past few years, and I don’t know why. Miggy isn’t an all-star, but if he was, he wouldn’t be a role player off the bench, would he? He is who he is…a role player off the bench who can play different positions. He does the little things. You hope he hits .260 or so. He’ll steal a base, and lay down a bunt. His defense will be decent and not kill you. For the people who have criticized Cairo, may I point out who was on the bench in recent Yankee championships? Check the bench of the great 1961 Yankees team. Now throw out Johnny Blanchard. Hector Lopez hit .222. Billy Gardner hit .212 in 99 at bats. Joe DeMaestri was 6 for 41. Andy Fox hit .196 for the 1996 Yankees. From 1999 to 2001, Clay Bellinger hit .200, .207 and .160. Fred Stanley hit .219 for the 1978 Yankees. I think the critics should get off of Miggy’s back.

Ex-Red Sox owner Buddy LeRoux has died at 77.

Some blogs are reporting a Brian Roberts to the Cubs deal. Pinto’s blog has a reference to Andy MacPhail saying it’s not a correct rumor.

Pete Abraham’s blog lists the Yanks top 10 prospects as listed by Baseball America. You can go there for the whole list. Here are some observations.

#2 is 21 year old Austin Jackson, who hit .304-13-59 with 33 steals, mostly at A ball. A bit of a surprise in that he passed # 3 Jose Tabata, who hit .307-5-54 with 15 steals at A ball. The 19-year-old Tabata had surgery on the hamate bone in his hand, and that limited him to only 103 games. If you are wondering, Joba is # 1 and Ian Kennedy # 4. Hughes pitched too many major league innings to qualify for the list.

# 6 is Jesus Montero, who is only 18. Montero got 107 at bats in the Gulf Coast Rookie League last year, and went .280-3-19.

Check those ages. Then consider that Kennedy is 23, Joba 22 and Hughes just 21. Yankee fans hope the future is quite bright. Keep in mind, though, that Eric Duncan was atop the list a few years ago and now he isn’t in the Top 10 and I don’t think he’ll ever make it. In fact, Eric Duncan was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, and no team picked him up.

Finally, Hank Steinbrenner opens his mouth again. Hal is quiet and never heard from. As for Hank, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Now he states that while the Santana deal is still on, that the extension wouldn’t be for more than five years if the Yanks do get Santana. Hank, zip it. 

Rich “Goose” Gossage makes the Hall of Fame

2:55 p.m. Rich “Goose” Gossage has made the HOF. He was the only member voted in by the BBWAA. He received 86% of the vote.

Goose was 124-107 with 310 saves in his career, but look past the numbers. His breed of closer was the kind that didn’t just go one inning (no offense to Mo). From 1975-1985, Goose never had an ERA over 3 (except for 1976, when he started). FOUR times his ERA was under 2.00 in that span, and in 1975 it was 1.84 in 141 2/3 innings—all in relief, and in 1977 it was 1.62 in 133 innings. That is significant work—the work of someone coming in in the 7th inning or 8th inning and who had no safety net behind him. Heck, all you have to do is look at the “Bucky Dent” game, Oct. 2nd, 1978. Game 163 for the A.L. East title. Loser goes HOME. NO WILD CARD. Goose got the last eight, count them, EIGHT outs in that game. Granted he walked a tightrope with 2 on when he got Yaz to pop up for the last out, but he went 2 2/3 for the save. Oh yeah, that year he just missed yet another sub-2.00 ERA. He wound up with a 2.01 in 134 1/3 IP.

In three years, 1975, 1977 and 1978, Gossage pitched a total of 409 innings in 195 games. That is an average of 2.08 IP per appearance.

I didn’t hear what hat would be on the “Goose’s” plaque. After all, he pitched for the White Sox, Pirates, Padres, Cubs, Giants, Rangers, A’s and Mariners besides the Yanks. My guess is that it will be a Yankees cap. It seems to be where Goose had his greatest seasons, and it’s where he won his only World Series ring (1978). The Hall makes the call. Can there be a blank cap? Sure. Before the Hall took control and the players asked for a certain team’s cap, Catfish Hunter couldn’t decide on the A’s or Yanks. The “Cat” has a blank cap on his plaque.

I heard Keith Law on Jim Rice. I disagree with Law entirely, and really have to blast him. I’d love to know Law’s age. I’m 46 and was 16 in 1978. I saw Rice’s whole career, a career that saw six top-5 MVP finishes in 12 years. It was a time when Graig Nettles could lead the A.L. with 32 HRs (1976). You have to compare him to his time, and Rice was one of the top hitters in the A.L. from 1975-1986. Law’s argument on ESPNEWS was ridiculous, and I don’t think he saw Rice in his prime. I think he is strictly going by the numbers, and even though I’m a stats guy, I’m also going by what I saw. Let’s face it, if Law is say, 35 years old, then he was born in 1972 and was 14 when Rice had his last prime year. Believe it or not, this was one argument when Steve Phillips was right.

Jim Rice missed by just 16 votes. Next year he will be in his last year on the ballot, and no one who has gotten this close has missed out. I think it will be a shame if Rice misses out.

In his first year on the ballot, Tim Raines got only 24%. I have to wonder what the heck the voters were thinking there. He is one of the best leadoff men EVER. .294. 2605 hits and 1330 walks equal 3935 times on base right there. 808 steals. The only man EVER (nope, Rickey didn’t do it) to have six consecutive years of 70 or more steals. Isn’t that what you want? A leadoff guy who gets on base and can steal a base? A winning ballplayer. The best Expos teams were those with Raines and Dawson on them (outside of 1994). The White Sox went ten years without a playoff appearance (1983 to 1993). Who was on the 1993 team to help lead them to the playoffs? Raines. In 1996 the Yanks won their first World Series in 18 years. Who was on the team (albeit only as a backup?) Raines. Hearing Phillips on Raines, he is back to his ridiculous self.

Of all the newcomers next year, only two stand out. Rickey Henderson is a bona-fide first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and will deservedly get in with his 3055 hits and 1406 stolen bases. In my opinion, the only other newcomer next year who will draw some support will be David Cone, but Cone comes up short of HOF consideration. With 194 career wins, Cone probably needed 50 more for true consideration, and I’d be shocked if he gets over 30% of the vote.

As for others, Andre Dawson got 66% (looks good for him in the future), and Bert Blyleven received 62%. As for Mark McGwire, no significant bump from last year, either up or down. He got about 23.5% last year, and received only 23.6% this year. Ironically, the number of votes for him were the same.

Player Votes Pct.
Goose Gossage 466 85.8
Jim Rice 392 72.2 (16 short)
Andre Dawson 358 65.9
Bert Blyleven 336 61.9
Lee Smith 235 43.3
Jack Morris 233 42.9
Tommy John 158 29.1
Tim Raines 132 24.3
Mark McGwire 128 23.6
Alan Trammell 99 18.2
Dave Concepcion 88 16.2
Don Mattingly 86 15.8
Dave Parker 82 15.1
Dale Murphy 75 13.8
Harold Baines 28 5.2

Others receiving votes

(or, as I call it, THESE IDIOTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR VOTING RIGHTS REVOKED):

Rod Beck 2, Travis Fryman 2, Robb Nen 2, Shawon Dunston 1, Chuck Finley 1,
David Justice 1, Chuck Knoblauch 1, Todd Stottlemyre 1.

6:40 p.m. Something I should have added before. In 1985, the Yanks won 97 games, as they were led by Henderson, Mattingly and Winfield. The rest of the lineup was a bit shaky. For example, Don Baylor had 23 HR and 91 RBI but only hit .231. Pags had 19 HR but only hit .239. Wynegar hit .223, Meacham .218 (Yup, the same Bobby Meacham who is the new 3B coach) The pitching saw a good bullpen but outside of Ron Guidry (22-6, 3.27 in his last good year) the starting pitching was suspect. Still, 97 wins. Not enough. 2 games back of Toronto, and no wild card back then.

Now suppose if Goose would have stayed in NY and been the closer in 1985. Suppose Righetti had remained in the rotation. Goose went 5-3, 1.82 with 26 saves in S.D. that year. Granted he pitched less innings than Righetti, but who knows how many innings would have been needed by Goose in NY if Rags solidified the rotation. Righetti went 12-7 with 29 saves and a 2.78 ERA. The 1985 Yankees had 24 starts that year from Dennis Rasmussen (16) and Marty Bystrom (8). Combined they were 6-7, 4.48. 11 other starts were by spot starters/long relievers Rich Bordi and Bob Shirley. There was 35 starts. You know that if Rags had those 35 starts, he would have done better than that quartet (and Bordi and Shirley could have been bullpen only). Who knows. Had Goose stayed and been the closer in 1985 with Rags in the rotation, maybe Donnie Baseball would have been in the playoffs in his prime rather than at the close of his career. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. We’ll never know, but we can speculate…