The Week That Was in Baseball: January 3-9, 2011
The HOF Ballad of Bobby and Bert • Hey Michael Young, Can You Move Again?
The Bright Side of Rafael Palmeiro's 11% • Ryne Duren, in Memoriam
Become a fan of This Great Game on Facebook. We’re embracing this opportunity to invite TGG followers and those of baseball in general to share their insights, queries and good knowledge with TGG’s powers-that-be, Eric Gouldsberry and Ed Attanasio.
Our goal with this page is to bring value to all who wish to become our fans, even correspondents to our continued mission of providing an enriched and unique perspective to our comprehensive catalog of baseball history, past, present and future.
Want to sound off on current events? Have good trivia you want to share? Roaming about the country on a ballpark tour? Need advice on that baseball book you’re trying to sell? Got something of interest we could share within the main site, such as our Weekly Comebacker? Have any praise or criticisms of TGG? We want to hear from you. It’s your soapbox, too.
Alomar received a solid 90% of the vote after falling just short in 2010, his first year of eligibility. Some believe the additional votes came from those who may have penalized Alomar a year for the one thing that, unfortunately, he’s best remembered for: Spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck (and his vicious comments afterward claiming that Hirschbeck was “bitter” since the death of his son) in the heat of the 1996 pennant race. It’s hard to argue against Alomar’s inclusion into Cooperstown based on his more positive moments in baseball: He hit .300 with 2,724 hits, 474 steals and displayed dynamic defense at second base. Alomar played for seven different teams and although he’s heading into the Hall wearing the cap of the Toronto Blue Jayswho he helped win two World Series forhe was at his productive best during his three years in Cleveland (1999-2001), batting .323 while averaging 21 homers, 103 RBIs, 121 runs and 35 steals per season.
As for Blyleven, we couldn’t help but frown at his touch of arrogance when, during a post-election news conference, he applauded voters for “getting it right.” (Jeezwe’ll take it that entitlement never felt so deserving.) We actually don’t think the voters got it right at all; Blyleven was a definitive workhorse who accumulated big numbers over his career (287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts), but consider this: He won 20 games just once (in 1973, while losing 17), never won a Cy Young Award (he received votes in just four different years), was named to just two All-Star games and, while we understand that he often pitched for some miserable teams in Minnesota and Cleveland, he did appear for two World Series championsthe 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1987 Minnesota Twinsbut he’s hardly the first person people will associate with those teams. Frankly, how Blyleven went from 14% of the vote in 1999 to 79% 12 years later is beyond us, but his induction is a triumph of quantity over quality.
Of the first-time entrants on the 2011 ballot we spotlighted last week, almost all of them fared terribly. Our “if-we-had-to-pick-one-guy” choice of Jeff Bagwell resonated somewhat with voters, as he attracted the highest percentage of votes among the newbies at 42%. Larry Walker picked up 20% of the vote, two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez just a hair over 5% (barely making the cut just to stay on next year’s ballot), and John Franco, Kevin Brown, Tino Martinez and John Olerud all failed to accrue the 5% vote necessary to remain active for future Hall consideration, until the Veterans Committee picks up their cause years from now.Which leaves us with Rafael Palmeiro, who managed to get voted on just 11% of the ballots. Last week we made the case against Palmeiro even if he was clean, using the same argument as with Blyleven abovelaying out a clear distinction as to whether he was a very good player or a great one, one you don’t have to think about when opining on whether he should be in Cooperstown. Truth be told, we expected a higher percentage for Palmeiro, and his paltry total clearly suggests that voters either agree with us and/or simply feel he cheated. If it makes Palmeiro feel any better, remember that Blyleven got as little as 14% of the vote in his early years of eligibility. We’ll see if time becomes Palmeiro’s best friend.
The Bronze Boss II
Trenders at the Top
Coming Soon to TGG
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Errand Boy Blues
So the short straw was drawn and Young was contactedand to everyone’s relief, the anticipated tantrum did not occur. In fact, Young said he would be willing to do what he could to help the team out. So with Beltre on board for five years and $80 million, Young moves to the role of designated hitterwhich spells the end of Vladimir Guerrero’s short stint in Arlington. (Los Angeles of Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia says he would welcome a return of Guerrero back to the Angels.)
What Fox News and MSNBC Wrought
Ryne Duren, 1929-2011
Duren was thrown into the busy Kansas City-New York pipeline of the 1950s when he was dealt to the Yankees in 1958 in a deal that sent Billy Martin and Ralph Terry to the A’s (Terry eventually returned). In his first year wearing pinstripes, Duren saved an AL-high 20 games and was a busy man at the World Series, winning one, losing one and recording a save against the Milwaukee Braves. Duren was a heavy drinker and it ended his career when, pitching in a 1965 game for Washington with a hangover, he was removed, left and drank more, deserted his car, climbed a bridge and began shouting; Senator manager Gil Hodges had to be called out to talk him down. Duren eventually overcame his alcoholic struggles and later began counseling others afflicted with the addiction.
A Necessary Conversion.
Tokyo or Bust
Mo' Better Bullpen Blues
|Baseball's Ten Most Memroable Home Runs
Our list of ten long balls that are the most deserving for their fame, importance and pure spectacle. Check it out now!
After Further Review: Making the Right Call on Replay