Category Archives: Ex-Players

Harold Baines and Lee Smith elected to HOF. Piniella just short, no Boss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

George Steinbrenner didn’t come close to making the HOF, as he got less than 5 of the 16 votes from the “Today’s Era” panel.

Making the hall through this method were OF/DH Harold Baines, and relief pitcher Lee Smith. Lou Piniella, who was being considered as a manager, not a player, missed out by one vote.

Baines played for the White Sox (1980-1989), Rangers (1989-1990), A’s (1990-1992), Orioles (1993-1995), White Sox again (1996-1997), Orioles again (1997-1999) Indians (1999) Orioles yet again (2000) and finished with yet another tour with the White Sox (2000-2001). His #3 was retired by the White Sox in 1989…. when he was still playing.

Baines never got more than 6.1% from the writers while on the ballot. He had 2866 hits in his career, 384 HR. He was a 6x All-Star who finished in the top 10 for MVP voting twice. His 162 g. average was .289-22-93, OPS+ 121. He hit .324-5-16 in 31 postseason games.

Smith is third on the all-time saves list with 478 saves. He pitched for the Cubs (1980-1987), Red Sox (1988-1990), Cardinals (1990-1993), Yankees (1993), Orioles (1994), Angels (1995-1996), Reds (1996) and Expos (1997). He was a 7x All-Star who never got more than 50.6% on the writer’s ballot. He was 71-92, 3.03 in his MLB career, and his 162 g. average was 5-6, 3.03, 32 saves, ERA+ 132. In four postseason games, he was 0-2, 8.44 with one save.

Piniella, who missed by one vote, managed the Yankees (1986-1988), Reds (1990-1992), Mariners (1993-2002), Devil Rays (2003-2005), and Cubs (2007-2010), winning the WS with the Reds in 1990. He managed seven teams to the postseason. He was 1835-1713 as manager, winning pct. .517. His 2001 Mariners went 116-46 before losing to the Yankees in the ALCS. Eight of his teams won 90 or more games in a season.

 

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Beltre, one of the greatest 3B ever, retires.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Adrian Beltre announced his retirement from baseball today, and will most likely be a first ballot HOF in 2024.

Beltre, listed on baseball-reference.com as the 4th greatest 3B ever (behind Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews and Wade Boggs, and ahead of George Brett, Chipper Jones, Ron Santo and Brooks Robinson) finishes his career with 3166 hits (16th on the all-time list) and 477 HR (30th). He was a 4x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger, and 2x Platinum Glove winner. Six times he finished in the top 10 for MVP voting, including a runnerup finish in 2004 and a 3rd place finish in 2012. He played for the Dodgers 1998-2004, Seattle 2005-2009, Boston 2010, and Texas 2011-2018. My guess is he goes into the HOF as a Ranger. His 162 game average was .286-26-94, OPS+ 116. In 28 postseason games, he hit .261-5-11.

A passing. Ken Howell, who pitched in the majors from 1984-1990, passed away November 9 at the age of 57. He pitched for the Dodgers 1984-1988 and the Phillies 1989-1990. His best season was in 1989 for the Phils, when he went 12-12, 3.44, ERA+ 103. He went 38-48, 3.95, ERA+ 92 in his MLB career, 162 game average 9-11, 3.95, ERA+ 92. He got into one postseason game with the Dodgers in 1985 against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

I’ve seen some news about the Yankees and Manny Machado that make me laugh and want to shake my head.

First off, Reggie Jackson is raising some concerns about the statements Machado made that he isn’t “Johnny Hustle”. Now I do agree that Reggie has the right to question Machado’s remarks, and mentioned that a lack of hustle wouldn’t play in NY. But lest we forget June 18, 1977, when REGGIE’S lack of hustle after a bloop single made Billy Martin pull him from a game in Fenway and which almost caused a brawl between Billy and Reggie in the dugout? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Also, A-Rod apparently is calling Machado a “fine young man.” So a guy who was suspended from baseball for an entire year due to steroid usage is being a character witness for Machado? (Shaking my head).

 

Managers of the Year selected today. … and what is or isn’t a rookie?

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Awards week continues as the Managers of the Year will be named tonight.

With last night’s win of the AL ROY by Shohei Ohtani, it once again begs the question of when a Japanese player comes to the U.S. and MLB, what is and what isn’t a rookie?

Ohtani won because of his two-way play, not only hitting .285-22-61, 10 SB, OPS+ 152 in 104 games, but also going 4-2, 3.31, ERA+ 126 in 10 starts before his elbow blew out. That was enough to beat out the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar, who hit .297-27-92, OPS+ 126, but who had defensive liabilities.

The vote wasn’t as close as maybe it should have been. 25 first place votes to 5. (The Yankees’ Gleyber Torres finished third, but received no first place votes).

Because of his two-way status, I really feel that as long as Ohtani didn’t fall flat on his face, and he didn’t, that the novelty of being the first true two-way player since Babe Ruth almost 100 years ago would win him the award, and it did.

Ohtani had spent five years in the “Japanese major leagues” though. Other Japanese players have won the Rookie of the Year Award after coming over to the U.S., notably Ichiro Suzuki, who won both the AL ROY and AL MVP in 2001.

But what about 2003, when Hideki Matsui was denied the award in part because people felt he wasn’t a “rookie”, because he had spent 10 years in the “Japanese majors”?

The inconsistency of the BBWAA is still astonishing.

Of course, in a couple of months, some members will prove their ignorance in how they voted in the HOF voting.

 

70 years after his death, the Babe gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom honor.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From ESPN.com:

President Donald Trump has included three sports figures among his first recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as former New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and nine-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Alan Page are set to be honored.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest honor for a civilian. A ceremony to award the medals has been scheduled for Friday.

Ruth, Staubach and Page are all Hall of Famers in their respective sports. Ruth is considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, Staubach led the Cowboys to a pair of Super Bowl titles, and Page was the NFL MVP in 1971 with the Minnesota Vikings before going on to a legal career that included more than two decades as a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Medals will also go to Miriam Adelson, a doctor and wife of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Republican donor, and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring after more than 41 years in the U.S. Senate. Trump will also posthumously recognize the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Elvis Presley.

Yanks retain infield depth. Re-sign minor leaguer Urshela. Twins’ Mauer retires. Catching up with the AFL.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks have apparently re-signed Gio Urshela, 3B, to a minor league contract to provide minor league depth.

Urshela, 27, finished last year at SWB. In 167 MLB games, with Cleveland and Toronto, he has hit .225-8-39, OPS+ 57. He is known more for his defense.

In 2018, he only played in 19 MLB games, all with Toronto, and hit .233-1-3 in 43 at bats.

Twins C/1B Joe Mauer, 35, has announced his retirement. Mauer was a 6x All-Star, won 3 batting titles, the 2009 MVP (he finished in the top 10 three other years), 5x Silver Slugger winner. He also won 3 Gold Gloves. His 162 g. average was. .306-12-80, OPS+ 124. He hit .275-0-1 in 10 postseason games.

On baseball-reference.com, Mauer is listed as the 7th best catcher of all-time, between Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.

Catching up with the Arizona Fall League,  the Glendale Desert Dogs, who have some Yankees’ prospects on the team, are 10-15. The season ends next Thursday, Nov. 15 and the Desert Dogs have been eliminated from the playoffs. Not too good numbers by these guys:

SS Thairo Estrada .250-0-7
1B Steven Sensley .179-0-7
CF Estevan Florial .169-0-8

SP Jordan Foley 0-2, 10.34
RP Hobie Harris 1-0, 4.50
RP Matt Wivinis 1-0, 1.59
RP Kyle Zurak 0-1, 16.20

 

 

Fischer, who gave up Mantle blast in 1963, dies. Free agency begins. A minor move by Yanks, and Texas has a new manager.

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Free agency season has begun, and we will see how the bidding shakes out and who goes where.

Bill Fischer, the pitcher who gave up the HR on 5/22/1963 to Mickey Mantle that almost cleared Yankee Stadium, died Oct. 30 at the age of 88. The blast missed clearing the facade (frieze) by about 18 inches.

The Yanks made a minor move on Friday, getting infielder Hanser Alberto from Texas off the waiver line. Alberto, 26, plays all infield positions and has 89 games of MLB experience, hitting .192-0-9 in 182 MLB at bats, OPS+18. He is a righty batter. Like I said, a minor move.

Forget about Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers opting out of his contract. He signed a 3 yr. extension worth $93MM.

Texas named a new manager. Dodgers’ 3B coach Chris Woodward, who last year interviewed for the Yankees’ job that went to Aaron Boone, is the choice.

 

Gardner back; Classless Cora; RIP Willie McCovey, Hall of Famer.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks will have Brett Gardner back in 2019, and it was a good move in how they are bringing him back.

The Yanks declined his $12.5MM contract, buying him out at $2.5MM. They then turned around and brought him back for 2019 at $7MM, saving $3MM in the process.

A good move on both ends. Gardner remains with the only MLB team he has ever been with, the Yankees. The Yankees don’t have to pay as much next year for a 35 year old coming off a bad season (.236-12-45, 16 SB, OPS+ just 86, 14% BELOW league average). Not only that, in the final couple of months, Gardner lost his job to Andrew McCutchen, expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

If Gardner can revert back to form in 2019, a good deal for the Yanks. Cost-effective production. If not, it is a 1-year deal, and the Yanks could trade or cut Gardner mid-2019, it won’t cost too much to do, and maybe Clint Frazier or Jacoby Ellsbury can do something in place of Gardner. Of course, both Frazier (concussion) and Ellsbury (various incidents inc. hip surgery) are question marks right now.

(Updated 11/4: I can see a platoon of Gardner/Frazier in LF if Frazier is healthy, and perhaps Frazier takes over. As for Ellsbury, who knows? At 35, Gardner’s playing time will probably be, and would have to be, reduced. Gardner hit .260 up until July 9, .206 thereafter.)

Alex Cora, manager of the WS Champion Red Sox, proved he has absolutely NO class. In the postseason celebration today, he said something that even if I were a Red Sox fan, I would be quite upset about it if I had a young child with me at that celebration. I won’t repeat it. He mentioned about how the Red Sox scored 16 runs in Game 3 of the ALDS and used a profanity afterward. No class. Hey Alex, congratulations on winning 108 and then the WS. Need I remind you that you were a great manager this year (I don’t know about the future) but that you were NOT that great a player? Really, I wonder how you lasted 14 years in the majors with a 162 G. average of .243-4-36, OPS+ 72 (28% below league average), and in only 5 of those 14 years did you play in 100 or more games. Pick up a lot of splinters in your ass while riding the pine? Anyway, can you imagine someone like Joe McCarthy or Joe Torre using those words to denigrate an opponent? And you wonder why the world is like it is in a lot of ways today. NO CLASS CORA.

Hall of Famer Willie McCovey died today at the age of 80. With two out and men on second and third in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 of the 1962 WS, McCovey scorched a liner right at Yankee 2B Bobby Richardson to end the game. If that ball were hit six feet to either side of Richardson, the Giants win the game 2-1 instead of the Yanks winning 1-0. Especially since the runner on second was Willie Mays. It was the last title of the Yanks’ great dynasty era. They lost the WS in 1963 and 1964 then the dynasty collapsed in 1965.

McCovey hit 521 HR in his career, the same total as Ted Williams and Frank Thomas. He won the ROY award in 1959,  when despite playing in just 52 games, he hit .354-13-38.

In his very first MLB game, he went 4 for 4 (single, triple, single, triple) against HOF pitcher Robin Roberts in 1959.

McCovey played in 4 decades, 1959-1980. SF Giants, 1959-1973, San Diego Padres 1974-1976, and back with the Giants 1977-1980.

He won the 1969 MVP Award, hitting .320-45-126, OPS+ 209 that year, leading the NL in HR, RBI, and the majors in OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+ and intentional walks. The runnerup for MVP that year was Tom Seaver of the Amazin’ Mets.

Three other times he finished Top 10 for MVP, inc. 3rd in 1968, when he also led the NL in HR and RBI.

He led the NL in HR 3X. RBI 2X. The majors in walks, once. He hit 2 HR in the 1969 All Star Game.

He was a 6x All-Star. He hit 18 grand slams.

McCovey Cove, the bay behind the RF wall at the Giants new ballpark, is named for him.

He played in 2 postseasons, the 1962 WS and the 1971 NLCS. In 8 games, he hit .310-3-7.

He was the 1977 Comeback POY at the age of 39.

Mostly a 1B, he did play some LF in his career.

His 162 g. average was .270-33-97, OPS+ 147.

After a rough 2018 in which he only hit .212-7-23, OPS+ just 79 in 63 games for Houston in 63 games, the Astros declined the option on Ex-Yankee Brian McCann. McCann did win a WS ring with them in 2017 when he hit .241-18-62 in 97 games, OPS+ 106. While with the Yanks 2014-2016, he was average. Had some pop, averaging 23 HR and 76 RBI / yr, but the shift killed him, as he only averaged a .235 batting average.

It appears his future (he turns 35 next year) is as a backup.