Results tagged ‘ Rickey Henderson ’
I know I’m really late on this, but I do want to share my thoughts on the recent Hall of Fame voting…
Rickey Henderson: Obviously a first-ballot HOFer, and 95% of the votes affirmed that feeling across the nation. Sure, he seems to be an arrogant jerk, but being a gentleman isn’t necessarily a qualification for the Hall. Rickey was the greatest leadoff hitter of the modern baseball era (only perhaps Ty Cobb in the history of the game eclipses him) and easily the best base stealer. If I had to guess, I’d say that right now–pushing 50 years old–Henderson could still swipe at least 15-20 bags in the majors (assuming he could get on base in the first place, of course).
Jim Rice: I did not see Jim Rice play (way before my time), but I do not think he is a Hall of Famer. He had a lot of hits (2,452), but not an astounding amount. He had a lot of power (382 HR), but that is far from a tremendous amount. To me, his most impressive statistic is his .298 career batting average, which is very impressive. However, taking all his stats into consideration, I just don’t see them measuring up for a plaque in Cooperstown. I guess the BBWAA felt differently.
-Of course, it was again a crying shame that Bert Blyleven was not inducted this year. It was bad enough that Circle Me’s Dad passed away before he could hear his son’s induction speech, but now it has become just ridiculous. The only thing I could think of his that Blyleven really ********** a bunch of writers during his playing days, as his stats are much better than many players already enshrined.
-Finally, Andre Dawson also nearly made the cut this year. I don’t consider him to be worthy, either. Much like Rice, I consider him to be a great player, but one that never really pushed himself past that “invisible threshold” of Hall consideration.
Now that the traditional (not the Veterans Committee) Hall of Fame ballots are out, I would like to quickly point out two players that I have not yet discussed on this blog:
-First off, Ricky Henderson is obviously a first-ballot shoo-in for the Hall, as he was (and nobody has come close to surpassing him since) the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of the game. Yeah, he may have been an arrogant jerk with an affinity for speaking in the third person, but he did more than enough on the field to warrant a trip to Cooperstown.
-The other player I wanted to discuss, Bert Blyleven, is currently my biggest pet peeve about the Hall of Fame voters. I know this gets brought up every year about how Bert should be in the Hall, but let me assure you it isn’t just a Twins fan griping about a favorite player/personality. The statistics completely speak for themselves:
287 wins, 4,790 innings pitched, 242 complete games, 60 shutouts, 3,701 strikeouts, 3.31 ERA
Now, if those stats aren’t good enough to get a guy into the Hall of Fame, then I don’t know what are. Sure, Bert could be surly with the media and was a little crude at times (as evidenced by the picture posted above), but once you get to “know him” (I say this from listening to him broadcast Twins games for many years) you find that he just likes a good laugh…he isn’t really trying to be mean.
The other big knock on Bert is his 250 losses to go with all his wins, but you can’t necessarily blame him for the (mostly) terrible teams he played for. And, think of it this way…the two really good teams that Blyleven played for (’79 Pirates and ’87 Twins) ending up winning their respective World Series titles in LARGE part due to the contributions of Bert’s masterful pitching.
Finally, there are also some people who say that a player must dominate in a certain area of the game to be HOF-worthy, but Bert meets that qualification as well, as he had the greatest curveball of any of his contemporaries. You don’t top 3,000 K’s (and close in on 4,000) without a tremendous “out” pitch (think Johan Santana’s changeup or Francisco Liriano’s slider), and Bert had the curve.
So, here’s to hoping that Bert finally gets his dream of ascending those Cooperstown steps to receive his bronzed plaque. Let’s just hope he doesn’t moon the audience in the process!