The Rookie of the Year awards were announced today as a whole week of awards will be announced. The AL ROY was 2B Dustin Pedroia of Boston. Pedroia, who played with a cracked bone in his wrist during the postseason, hit .317 this year.
The NL ROY was Ryan Braun, 3B for the Brewers. Braun won with a .324 batting average, 34 HR and 97 RBI. Braun had stiff competition from Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki. Braun’s 29 BB/112 K and his below average (.895 fielding pct., 26 errors) fielding were what made this race close. His offensive numbers however, were set in only 113 games. Tulowitzki hit .291-24-99 this year and committed only 11 errors. The margin of victory for Braun was only 2 points. A controversial selection to be sure.
As for this year’s HOF ballot, here are the nominees (from Wikipedia):
Dave Concepción will be on the ballot for the 15th and final time:
Rich “Goose” Gossage
The newly-eligible candidates will include 17 All-Stars, but only one (Tim Raines) who was selected more than five times. In contrast to the remarkably deep field of candidates in 2007, when those newly eligible had been named to the All-Star team a combined total of 103 times, the 2008 field of new candidates were selected a total of only 43 times. José Rijo, who appeared on the 2001 ballot before returning to the major leagues in 2001-2002, will again become eligible. Darryl Kile, who died during the 2002 season, was included on the 2003 ballot under a standard provision for players who die before the five-year waiting period has elapsed. This same provision allows Rod Beck (who played his last game in 2004 but died in 2007) to appear on the 2008 ballot.
Players eligible for the first time are: Luis Alicea, Brady Anderson, Alex Arias, Rod Beck, Andy Benes, Mike Benjamin, Dennis Cook, Delino DeShields, Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley, Darrin Fletcher, Travis Fryman, Rich Garcés, Chris Haney, Dave Hollins, Bobby J. Jones, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, Tom Lampkin, Darren Lewis, Mike Magnante, Dave Mlicki, Mike Morgan, Robb Nen, Hipólito Pichardo, Tim Raines, Armando Reynoso, Henry Rodríguez, Lee Stevens, Todd Stottlemyre, Greg Swindell, Mike Trombley, John Valentin, Randy Velarde, Ed Vosberg, and Mark Wohlers.
I would vote for six players. Raines, Gossage, Blyleven, Rice, Dawson and Trammell. I’d get (and already have received) arguments on others (in this case, Mattingly– who I love–, Raines and Morris). As for Donnie, his 1984-1989 were fabulous, but it is hard to put someone in on those few years of greatness (Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax notwithstanding). The dividing line between 1984-1989 Donnie and 1990-1995 Donnie is so thick. As for Morris, I’m sorry, but Morris’ 3.90 ERA and ERA+ of 105 just don’t do it for me. Consider this. Mike Mussina’s career ERA+ is 122, Andy Pettitte’s 118 and Tom Glavine’s 119. Blyleven’s is a 118. That means they were at least 18% better than their peers ERA-wise. Morris? Just 5%. Morris was very good, as seen by his 254 wins. Do I think he was dominant? No. Some others? John 110, Kaat 107, Clemens 143, Randy Johnson 138, Maddux 134, Ford 133 and Pedro 161. Let’s say 115-125 is HOF worthy, and 125+ is dominant. That 105 just sticks out like a sore thumb. Gutty, gritty, some great postseason performances, but HOF? It’s a tough call for Morris because of the ERA–not just for me, but for the BBWAA. As for McGwire, we went through all that last year.
Rice hit .298 with 382 HR, but what seals the deal for me is the fact that in a twelve-year span, from 1975-1986, he finished in the top 5 of MVP voting six times. Six times top 5 MVP in twelve years? To me, that is dominating and why I think he should be in. Trammell was a fine fielding SS with a .285 career average–a better batting average than say, Reese, Rizzuto, Aparicio or Smith. Dawson had over 400 HR and over 300 SB. He won one MVP award and finished 2nd twice. Raines hit .294 with over 2600 hits and over 800 SB. Blyleven won 287 games, struck out over 3700 batters and had a 118 ERA+. Gossage was, quite simply, the most intimidating and dominating reliever of the late 1970s and early 1980s–a true force when he entered the game, which frequently was EARLY. For example, three times Goose pitched 133 or more innings in a season ALL IN RELIEF. (He also topped it as a starter one year). In 1978, he had 63 appearances and 134.3 IP–that is over 2 IP per appearance.
Those are my choices. You can see how hard it is to get in. To get in, you need 75% of the vote, and there is so much lack of consensus regarding some players, that attaining 75% is difficult. I have selected who I believe to be the best starting pitcher on the ballot (Blyleven), the best reliever (Goose), the best OF (Dawson and Rice), the best middle IF (Trammell) and someone who was one of the great baserunners and leadoff men of all-time (and how many of you remember Raines starting his career at 2B?). I think it’s balanced and hope you agree. Congratulations to whoever gets in and I only wish my vote counted. I only wish Donnie Baseball were dominating from 1990-1995 and a good player for a few years after that. After all, he was only 34 in his last season.
HOF voting being what it is, I’ll probably get some slack. Feel free to give your vote and why you feel the way you do.
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