- Dawson and only Dawson:
I went into my Hall of Fame selections and why they should or shouldn't be inducted on December 7th. My list of inductees included Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez. The only one to get in was Dawson.
I've long been a supporter of Andre Dawson for the Hall of Fame, so it's about time he got in. (For the record, he should wear an Expos hat into the Hall.) Amid all the numbers that are presented as reasons for Dawson to be kept out, it's conveniently forgotten that Dawson wasn't asked to get on base at a .400 clip to validate him as a star. He was required to drive in runs and that's what he did. He was also an excellent outfielder.
Because so many people fancy themselves as baseball experts since they read Moneyball or have access to out-of-context stats, they automatically anoint themselves as the arbiter of the cutoff that "make" a Hall of Famer. That's about as bad as the stupid argument made by some of, "I know a Hall of Famer when I see one".
Blyleven and Alomar just missed induction. Blyleven by 5 votes; Alomar by 8. Both will get in, probably next year.
I was against Blyleven for years before even I was convinced by his numbers outside of wins/losses and that so many people I respect support him. That said, I do believe I've been unduly influenced withoutexamining his candidacy in depth----something I intend to do in the coming days. It's also possible that Blyleven's incessant whining over not being elected has influenced me to support him so he'll be elected and finally shut up.
With Alomar, obviously, the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck in 1996 was held against him. It would be understandable if Alomar and Hirschbeck were still mortal enemies, but the men have become friends and Hirschbeck supports and respects Alomar for both his playing career and as a man. The writers keeping Alomar out because of that are just doing so out of spite.
With the other candidates, Fred McGriff is getting screwed. 21.5%? Please.
Edgar Martinez (36.2%) is a Hall of Famer because of what he did with the bat and the writers leaving him out since he was primarily a DH aren't looking at the entirety of what Martinez accomplished. Not only was he quite possibly the most dangerous hitter in the American League during his heyday, but what he did in taking the role as a permanent DH was actually completely unselfish.
How hard would it have been for Martinez to go to the Mariners and----in pure self-interest----insisted that he play at least 100 games a year at first base to bolster his candidacy? He could've been a diva; he could've been a hard case and been a stone glove at first base who happened to play the field and look better to the voters as his name popped up for induction. He didn't do that. He stayed at DH, was the best at what he did; did if for the team and is now being punished for it.
Barry Larkin received a surprisingly low total (51.6%) considering the fervent support he got beforehand as a no-doubt Hall of Famer. I'm on the record as saying that Larkin should wait a couple of years as long as Alan Trammell is still sitting out and fading (22.4%). At this rate, Larkin's going to eventually get in, but he might be an 8-10 year guy on the waiting list rather than a first ballot glide that some thought he should be.
And I'd like to know what dunderhead voted for Pat Hentgen for the Hall of Fame.
- Cardinals sign Matt Holliday to a 7-year, $120 million contract:
One can assume that Matt Holliday and Scott Boras were simply happy to surpass the Rockies offer of $72 million over four years. After Holliday rejected the offer and the Rockies saw where this was going, they turned around and traded him to the Athletics.
Holliday had a bad half-season in Oakland and was traded to the Cardinals, where he reverted to something similar to the player he'd been in Colorado. The idea that Holliday was going to get paid in the vicinity of the $180 million that Mark Teixeira got from the Yankees last year was quickly scuttled as one team after another fell out of the bidding.
It does seem like a lot of money for a player like Holliday when Jason Bay settled for nearly half of Holliday's guarantee. I'm a bigger fan of Bay over Holliday, so it's looking more and more like the Mets got a bargain in their 4-year, $66 million deal with Bay.
Did the Cardinals overpay for Holliday? It depends on whether you think they were bidding against themselves or not. I do not think they were bidding against themselves. The Orioles have been very aggressive this off-season and despite Andy MacPhail's denial that the Orioles had made a massive $140 million offer for Holliday, that doesn't mean they didn't jump in with something close to what the Cardinals offered.
Could the Cardinals afford to take that chance in a weak division with Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter not getting any younger? Tony La Russa has proven that he can get his teams into the playoffs and outmanage the competition while there with sub-par personnel (the 2009 NLDS washout notwithstanding); they couldn't risk the Orioles or even the Red Sox jumping in on Holliday.
Johnny Damon in left field wasn't going to cut it and they needed a bat to protect Pujols. Holliday is that bat.
- Viewer Mail 1.7.2009:
Matt AKA Anonymous from yesterday writes:
Easy there internet tough guy. My name is Matt, I like your blog, but happen to disagree. I didn't feel a need to sign up to comment with a name.
If you read my blog regularly, then you had to know the reaction you'd get by commenting anonymously. You don't even have to put your real name; just any name or initials is sufficient to prevent such a response. To me, if you have something to say, identify yourself.
It also doesn't help if you're disagreeing with something I say and not leaving your name; that says to me that you're not interested in standing behind your argument. I'll debate with anyone about anything at anytime and print their comments regardless of what they're saying even if they try to rip me apart or call me names. The anonymous thing gets me fired up because there's no need for it. If you don't want to be identified, comment on PAULLEBOWITZ.COM at the bottom of the screen in the form and let me know you don't to be identified by anything more than "M" or whatever and it's fine.
As for the "internet tough guy" comment? I don't consider myself an internet tough guy; or a tough guy in general. I'm more of a natural occurrence like a hurricane, a rainbow, a sunrise----or all of the above. If someone wants know firsthand about the tough guy stuff either way, they're more than welcome to step into the ring in any context and find out on their own.
Jeff: Not sure I'd put Randy Johnson as the best ever -- but he's certainly in the conversation.
Jane: Randy Johnson the best ever? He was certainly intimidating but being 7 feet tall didn't hurt.
These arguments of the "best ever" can go on forever, but Randy Johnson's obviously in the top five. Dominance and lineup devastation puts him ahead of the Madduxes, Spahns and Marichals of the world. While the numbers can be similar for certain pitchers, there's a difference between a Johnson----against whom hitters didn't have a chance; and a Maddux----who used control and guile (and some say a spitball). It's not fair, but it's the law of the jungle.
Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE Pedro Martinez:
I believe that Pedro has a case, a serious case, for being the most dominant pitcher over a short period of time. But maybe that is just me...
Pedro's run was similar to that of Sandy Koufax, but Koufax didn't have to deal with the juiced up players, the DH and bandbox ballparks. Pedro's problem is his longevity. In that seven year span of 1997-2003, Pedro is right up there with any of the greats.