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Posted on: November 28, 2009 1:11 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2009 2:39 am
 

My Hall of Fame Ballot

The Hall of Fame is a touchy subject for me.  I love baseball and have a hard time coping with the fact that most of the great feats of recent history are 'Steroid Enhanced'.  However one thing that means a lot to me is being a dominant player.  Arguably the best at your position for a short stretch and one of the best for a long stretch.  That to me is what being a 'Hall of Famer' is all about.  That being said here are my opinions on the Hall of Fame class of 2010 in order of who I think is most deserving:

1) Roberto Alomar - The best 2nd baseman I've seen play in my lifetime.  The off the field stuff doesn't matter to me.  He was undoubtedly the best at what he did.  Nobody else was close in my opinion.  If he doesn't get in on the 1st Ballot I'll be surprised.  If you saw him play you remember how great he was.

2) Andre Dawson - The Hawk was the guy you would want to build a team around in the early 1980's.  There was nobody with better all around tools.  He truely was a dominant force with his bat, glove, arm and speed.  Injuries took away some of his luster, but when he was right, I can't think of a more complete outfielder from his generation.  A definite Hall of Famer.

3) Jack Morris - The ACE of the 1980's.  Nobody was better.  He was a big game pitcher with big game stuff.  People talk about his ERA being high, and it is, but that's his only knock.  He was a horse, he was a winner and he was a big game pitcher.  He was undoubtedly the best at what he did for a stretch and is overlooked bigtime in my opinion.

4) Dale Murphy - Why is this guy ignored?  Is it the nice guys finish last thing.  I know his numbers dropped off the table pretty fast, but boy was he great for a while.  He put up ridiculous number from 1980 to 1987 playing for some pretty offensively challenged Atlanta Braves teams.  He is a multiple MVP award winner.  He hit over 35 homers 5 times in an era where that was enough to lead the league.  I rate him as one of the best players of the 1980's so I think he deserves to go in.

5) Tim Raines - Let's imagine for a minute that Rickey Henderson never played.  He'd be remembered as the best leadoff hitter of the last quarter century.  Yes Tim Raines would be... who was better?  His numbers dropped off too but boy was he scintilating at times.  He hit .300 or better 7 times, stole over 70 bases 6 times.    He's 5th alltime in steals behind Cobb, Henderson, Brock and Billy Hamilton.  He was great and I think he deserves to go to Cooperstown.

6) Barry Larkin - 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Slugger Awards and 12 All Star Teams.  Impressive.  It should be enough to get him in.  He was much better than Ozzie Smith, a similar player to Alan Trammell, even though Trammell was slightly more durable.  So I'll give him the nod on the basis he has an MVP award and he is the shortstop I think of as the best one in the NL throughout the decade of the 90's. 

7) Bert Blyleven - He had a very good career.  He was very good for a long time, but was he ever the 'Best' at what he did?   He was a very good pitcher, but fell short in a lot of ways.  I will say I've changed my mind in recent years and would vote him in.  But he's one of those borderline guys, because he didnt have that dominant run.  Kind of stayed under the radar. 

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Posted on: May 19, 2009 10:55 am
Edited on: May 19, 2009 10:59 am
 

Speed vs Power

I find myself looking at the Detroit Tigers current roster with Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames on the DL and thinking, are they really that important to the Tigers winning?  Don't get me wrong, I realise they are both good hitters who will produce, but Detroit hasn't exactly struggled without them.  Clete Thomas, Josh Anderson and Ryan Raburn of late have performed well.  My feeling is that with the combo of these three they are defintely more flexible, and can 'manufacture' more runs.  On the other hand you've got to expect them to slow down and Guillen and Thames to pick it up.  However if I had my choice now, I'd try to deal one of the veterans.  I realise Guillen's contract is almost undealable, but in the post steroid era, young players with speed seem to be the way to go.  Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but I feel like we have a quality mix of versatile 'speed' players and power as is right now and if it ain't broke we shouldn't fix it.  Regardless it's nice to be worrying about having a surplus of good ballplayers as opposed to a shortage.  Laughing

Posted on: May 12, 2009 4:56 am
Edited on: May 12, 2009 5:00 am
 

Subtraction by Addition

Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman were two of my favourite pitchers to watch.  Dontrelle had the ability to create a buzz everytime he took the mound with his youthful exuberance and his genuine enthusiasm for the game.  He has an infectious personality and that herky jerky delivery is just fun to watch.  He's the biggest personality to take the mound in Detroit since Mark Fidrych.  Jeremy Bonderman has had stretches where he was as dominant as any pitcher in baseball.  His slider is one of the most wicked pitches in the Majors when it's working and he has big strikeout potential.  So why am I afraid that Detroit's rotation is going to get worse when these two come back? 

Well recent history has a lot to do with it.  Dontrelle's struggles are well documented and although I pray he finds his groove, I don't think it's unreasoable to expect him to struggle.  He's replacing Zach Miner who aside from one horrible outing this year has kept the Tigers in touch in every game he's started and has been solid in all his previous stints as a starter.

Bonderman is seperate case, but the one thing that scares me to death about Bonderman is the velocity on his fastball.  Bonderman has been able to get by with two pitches because both were filthy.  He had an underrated mid-nineties fastball with movement to go with the filthy slider when he was dominant.  His changeup has never developed despite all the chatter we hear at the beginning of every season.  If his fastball isn't back I think we're going to see the Jeremy Bonderman we saw at the beginning of 2008 and that's wasn't pretty.  I don't know who he'd knock out of the rotation, but I'd assume it would be Rick Porcello, unless Armando Galarraga collapses. 

I'm thrilled to see the Tigers are off to a good start this season, but I almost think that the return of these two could hurt the club as they may feel forced to put them on the mound even if they aren't the best options.  I hope I'm wrong, because I'm a fan of both and would love to seem them both succeed.
Posted on: January 19, 2009 7:07 am
 

Arizona's is for real!

How can anyone deny the Arizona Cardinals now?  People will say they're lucky, others will say they stand no chance against the Steelers.  My feeling is - these people haven't been watching.  Arizona outplayed Atlanta in every facet of the game, everyone thought - 'that's no big deal Atlanta isn't that good anyways.'  Then they demolished, destroyed and obliterated Carolina.  Many people thought that was a fluke, well what do you have to say now after they put up points at will against the vaunted Eagles 'D'?   They have the best receiving tandem in the NFL.  They have an experienced QB who reads the blitz as well as anyone in the NFL.  They have a tandem of running backs in the backfield who have enough ability and versitility to keep defences honest and they have a damn good defence, that has come up with stops and forced quarterbacks to make bad decisions. 

I'm not trying to take anything away from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They have an amazing defence and deserve to be where they are too, but nobody is questioning them.  Everyone seems to agree they're good.  We know all about Ben Rothlisberger, 'Fast' Willy Parker and Hines Ward.  You have to have been living under a rock to no know about all the superstar players on their defence.  They may very well stomp out the Cardinals on SuperBowl Sunday, but I'm sure of one thing, they better not overlook them.  Arizona will be tough and will once again show the world they deserve their place in the NFL's showpiece game. 

My prediction - Final Score 27-24 Arizona shocks the world!

Posted on: December 6, 2008 7:19 am
Edited on: December 6, 2008 10:44 am
 

Big Unit in Detroit?

Yes the headline says what you read originally, don't do a doubletake.  I know the Tigers want to get younger, and I hope they do.  I also know Randy Johnson is as old as dirt.  The thing is we all figure he's holding on to get to 500 wins, well if he's healthy he should do that by end of May.  I'm sure that wouldn't be a bad thing for selling tickets, at the same time, it might help the Detroit Tigers later in the season  where they so badly needed it -  the bullpen.  Randy Johnson closing out games still sounds good to me.  Maybe he's not as dominant as even 2 or 3 years ago, but he's still better than what we got now. 

If we're going to be a serious playoff contender we need a good bullpen, the teams that win it all always do, and Johnson being added to the pen in the dog days of summer would help.  Do I believe it will happen?  No.  Do I think it would help the Tigers??  HELL YES!!! He was still dominant at times last year... nobody on the Tigers was. 

Another interesting aspect of this is nobody knows more about controlling a wild arm action and finding release point than this guy, he was very wild as a youngster.  His advice and influence on guys like Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson could be invaluable.  It's not going to happen, but I really wish it would!

Posted on: September 22, 2008 10:25 am
 

Detroit Lions - Bad as ever.

Prior to the preseason when I looked at the NFL schedule I guessed the Detroit Lions would finish 5-11.  After an impressive pre-season, I started eating a bit of cornbread and washing it down with a bit of cool-aid.  I figured maybe 7-9 or even dare I say 8-8.  So week 1 rolled around and I was so confident I layed some coin in the Lions to not only beat the Falcons, but to cover the spread against them.  Well somehow I forgot... they're the Detroit 'Freaking' Lions.  Before I took my first bite of Nachos they were down 21-0 and Michael Turner looked like Bo Jackson.  I still managed to find a silver lining.  Calvin Johnson looked good and Detroit started rolling after a slow start.  I figured they're still a 5-11 team though if they lost to lowly Atlanta. 

Week 2.  The big bad Green Bay Packers came to town.  I expected this to be a loss after all Green Bay were in the NFC championship last year.  Well it started off worse than I hoped.  But the Lions showed hope... they fought back.  Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson was living up to the hype the 'D' was making stops late in the game... the Lions took the lead with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter... and lost by 3 scores.  Only the Lions could do that at home.

Week 3.  This was the worst and most devestating loss thus far.  SF is not a good team.  I'm back to reality... Detroit sucks.  Jon Kitna is useless.  The offensive line is useless.  The defense is useless.  They got killed.  So my assessment... this team is going to go 2-14... just because it's the NFL and it's almost impossible to go 0-16.  I pray to the lord that my 7 month year old son is not a Lions fan.

Posted on: July 29, 2008 10:26 am
Edited on: December 12, 2008 11:07 am
 

2009 Baseball Hall of Fame Class

For me a Hall of Famer is a player who at some point in his career was the best at his position for a stretch.  If he wasn't the best he may have been second best behind of one of the all time greats but nothing less.  That being said I can understand the selection of Goose Gossage because he was the best fireman in baseball for stretch he also had longevity on his side, which I agree should be a factor, just not the deciding factor.  I'll break down my feelings on the guys who will be up again in 2009 and what I think of them.

Rickey Henderson - I don't need to say a lot about Rickey.  He's one of the best players ever.  Any writer that doesn't vote for him is a moron and should have their credentials taken away.

David Cone - Was considered one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball for a good stretch and seeing him at his peak I say he deserves serious consideration.  At the same time I wouldn't vote him.  He falls just a hair short for me.  I don't think he'll necessarily get the credit he deserves for being much better than the average guy during the early days of the steroid era.  He's also got a CY Young so I'd hope he sticks on the ballot for a while at least.

Jim Rice - He was the most feared hitter in the AL for a good stretch, a good outfielder and his numbers add up.  8 All Star games is impressive.  For me he deserves to be in already and I think he'll get there eventually. 

Andre Dawson - Although I think he was a better all around player than Rice at his peak, his inability to stay healthy puts him a notch below Rice in my opinion.  Had he stayed healthy he'd be in already.  At the same time I feel he's deserving because he was considered the best OF in the NL at his position for a stretch and was a 7 time All Star an MVP a two time MVP runner up and Rookie of the Year.  I'd vote him in.

Bert Blyleven - His career number are impressive.  At the same time I don't feel he was ever considered the best at what he did, not even for one season.  He never won a major award, he only pitched in one All Star game.  I saw him pitch and he had one of the best breaking balls I've ever seen, but I can't say i'm convinced he deserves to be in.  I'm not saying he doesn't deserve consideration, but for me he didn't have a strech of dominance which put him over the top.  Maybe if he played for a better team he would have, but life isn't always fair so I leave Bert out.

Lee Smith - Fantastic closer, a 7 time all star.  He probably never got the credit he deserved during his career, he was considered the best at his position for a few seasons and had a long career.  I'd give him the nod but at the same time I still doubt myself at times when it comes to him.  I guess it's because I've never been a big fan of the save statistic.   I hope he gets in eventually he was one of the best to ever finish games.

Jack Morris - The best starting pitcher of the 1980's in my opinion.  A 5 time All Star and one of the best big game pitchers to ever take the ball in the postseason.  I don't care if his ERA is a bit high, he won over 250 games and was widely considered the best at what he did for a strech in his league.  He goes in for me.

Tommy John - Long Career and a very good pitcher but not a great one in my opinion so I'd say no.  Although I have a feeling he'll get in eventually because of his surgery.  I just can't put him in ahead of Blyleven as I feel Bert was better and I didn't select him to go in.

Tim Raines - Had an amazing stretch at the beginning of his career that was Hall of Fame like, but he fell off into being mediocre pretty quickly.  I'd vote for him having seen him at his peak, but after everyone else I've said I'd vote for.  I think he might be a veterans committee type guy, but I hope he gets in eventually because he was the 2nd best leadoff hitter of a generation and that's ok considering how great Rickey was.

Mark McGwire - No... not only because of the Steroids, but that's part of it.  Before the Roid Era he wasn't the best in my opinion.  I think he was the best for a stretch but that was the Roid stretch so I'll take those 3 amazing years away from him.  I rather see Fred McGriff go in ahead of him.

Alan Trammell - No, I don't feel he was dominant enough.  He was a very very good SS and maybe even the best for a 2 season stretch.  I think he was way better than Ozzie Smith, but I don't think Ozzie deserves to be in so I won't use Ozzie to justify Trammell.  As good as he was Cal Ripken without the streak and Robin Yount were a hell of a lot better.

Dave Conception - No... he was good... not great.  He's very similar to Ozzie who as you know I think is vastly overrated.

Don Mattingly - One of my favourite players and he was the best for a 3 year stretch, an MVP and bunch of Gold Gloves but no.  I'd put him in ahead of McGwire though, because Mattingly got hurt and his career was substanically diminshed by that, much like Kirby, but I still feel he didn't do quite enough.

Dale Murphy - He deserves way more consideration than he gets.  He won multiple MVP's.  He had one of the more dominant stretches in the 80's of anyone and did this for a bad team so I'd give him the nod.  I know he didn't produce much after the amazing 5 out of 6 seasons but he was what I think a Hall of Famer should be during that stretch. 

Dave Parker - 7 time All Star, former MVP, but threw it away during what should have been his peak.  It's a shame because he definitely had the ability to be the best, but never hit the heights for a long enough stretch in my opinion.  The Cobra was excellent, but just falls short for me.

 

Posted on: July 26, 2008 8:49 am
 

My Ultimate Staff

If I could put together a starting rotation of pitchers I feel are the best in the game it would look something like this:

SP1 - Roy Halladay - This guy is what an ace should be.  He can blow guys away with heat and rack up the K's when he chooses too, but he also knows how to use his heavy sinker to induce the groundballs and keep his pitch count down to give the pen a rest.  He has excellent numbers against the toughest offensive teams and seems to raise his level when he plays them.  It's just a shame he hasn't had the opportunity to pitch in October yet, I suspect when he finally gets the call in the playoffs he'll be lights out. 

SP2 - Cole Hamels - I don't think i'll ever get tired of watching players look silly swinging at his changeup, heck they even look silly when they don't swing.  I think he's surpassed Johan Santana as having the best changeup in the Majors and he's still young and should only get better.  I also think the fact that he plays in a bandbox is overlooked.  I see a Cy Young award in his future if he stays healthy. 

SP3 - Justin Verlander - The term 'great stuff' is so overused it makes me sick, but Verlander doesn't only have 'great stuff' I think he has the best stuff.  His fastball can register triple digits and has pretty good movement.  His curve buckles my knees as I eat nachos watching him on my sofa.  He takes about 13MPH off his fastball with his change on average with the same arm action.  He's that good.  He's also got a lot left to learn, if he improves his control he's going to be the best pitcher of his generation.

SP4 - C.C. Sabathia - So he got off to a slow start and he should probably start hitting the salad bar with Prince Fielder, but he's damn good.  He's been a winner since day 1 and now he's entering his prime.  All I want to see from him now is to see him do it in the postseason because he was a big letdown last year.  A move the NL seems to be just what he doctor ordered for big C.C. and so far he's put it all together pretty well on the senior circuit.

SP5 - Greg Maddux - Yeah I know he hasn't won a game in forever and he's closer to being a senior citizen than to being a rookie, but I love the guy.  He managed to succeed in the steroid era using his location and guile.  Although we can't know for sure he never juiced, i'll take my chances on him.  So just as a mentor I think he'd be valuable to my staff.  Randy Johnson & Pedro might have been more dominant but Greg was the smartest pitcher of his generation by a long long way.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com