Tag Archive | "Baseball Writers Association Of America"

The Hall Will Be A Bit Emptier This Year

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The Hall Will Be A Bit Emptier This Year

Posted on 10 January 2013 by Trish Vignola

After days of speculating, today we found out that no player was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for 2013. This has easily been the most controversial vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BWAA) since they were a part of the election process. Today shows us that trauma of the steroid era has clearly not healed.

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The first page in baseball’s history of the “steroid era” has been written. The owner of baseball’s most cherished records, Barry Bonds, was clearly rejected. Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens, might have skirted prison time in 2012, but today he did no better. Only Craig Biggio came close to election. He got 68.2% of the vote, falling 39 votes short.

With 569 members of the BWAA returning ballots, the Los Angeles Times reports that 427 votes would have been needed to meet the 75% standard for election. This is only the eighth time since 1936 that there has been no election class. The last was 1996. Former Detroit Tigers ace Jack Morris, in his second to last year on the ballot, was second with 67.7%. Jeff Bagwell got 59.6%, followed by Mike Piazza at 57.8% and Tim Raines at 52.2%.

This is the first time the Baseball Hall of Fame will host a ceremony with no living inductees since 1960. The July 28 ceremony will honor the three inductees of baseball’s pre-integration era. Each of these inductees had been dead for at least 74 years.

Barry Bonds holds the career and single-season home-run records. He is the only seven-time most valuable player and was only named on 36.2% of the ballots. Clemens is the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner and was named on 37.6%.

Players remain on the ballot for 15 years, provided they receive at least 5% of the vote. However, this has easily been the most baffling ballot in the Hall’s history. Links to alleged steroid use has turned a player the Times described as “a first-ballot lock into an also-ran.” Voters were divided between those who wanted to deny induction to any player with ties to performance-enhancing drugs, those who are taking a “wait and see” approach to what additional information might emerge about those players, and those who just want to vote for the most dominant players of their their era.

Mark McGwire got a paltry 16.9% of the votes. In his six previous appearances, he never received more than 23.7%. McGwire and Sammy Sosa were credited with reviving baseball in 1998, when the two players battled for the single-season home-run record. McGwire ended with 70. Sosa finished with 66. In 2001, Bonds hit 73 home runs.

Bonds leads the all-time home-run list at 762, with Sosa eighth at 609 and McGwire 10th at 583. The trio is the only men to hit more than 62 home runs in a season – Bonds did it once, McGwire twice and Sosa three times. Yet, these former historic impact players are now dim long shots for Baseball’s Valhalla.

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A Look at this Year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot – Meet Fred McGriff

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A Look at this Year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot – Meet Fred McGriff

Posted on 28 December 2012 by Trish Vignola

Fred McGriff played 19 major league seasons with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers. He is one of 37 players on the 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) ballot for the Class of 2013 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He returns to the ballot for the fourth time after receiving 23.9 percent of the vote in 2012.

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BBWAA members who have at least ten years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election. The results will be announced Jan. 9. Any candidate who receives votes on at least 75 percent of all BBWAA ballots cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 28 in Cooperstown.

Born on Oct. 31, 1963 in Tampa, Florida, McGriff was drafted in the ninth round of the 1981 amateur draft by the New York Yankees. Nicknamed the “Crime Dog” in honor of his surname’s similarity to the children’s character “McGruff”, the following year he was traded to the Blue Jays. By 1987, he was playing full-time at the major league level.

In his second full season, he hit 34 homers. That was the first of seven consecutive seasons with 30 or more, a feat he accomplished 10 times. The following season he finished sixth in MVP voting and took home his first of three Silver Slugger Awards at first base. His 36 home runs led the league.

“When he comes up, we hold our breath,” said then-Rangers manager Bobby Valentine reports Samantha Carr of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1990, McGriff finished 10th in MVP voting. He was then traded to the San Diego Padres with Tony Fernandez in exchange for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. McGriff was not ready to be brushed to the footnotes of baseball history yet.

In his two full seasons with the Padres, he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice. He earned another Silver Slugger Award and made his first All-Star Game appearance. In 1992, he led the league in homers with 35, making him the first player since the dead-ball era to lead both leagues in home runs.

“He has outstanding bat speed,” said former Padres manager Greg Riddoch to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “When that ball jumps off his bat to left-center field, it’s like a shot out of a cannon.”

In 1993, McGriff was traded to the Braves. He went on an offensive tear over the second half of the season to rally the Braves to the division title. He finished fourth in MVP voting that season and won his third Silver Slugger Award.

In 1994, McGriff was named MVP of the All-Star Game and finished second in the Home Run Derby to Ken Griffey Jr. He was hitting .318 with 34 home runs before the strike ended the season. The next year, McGriff has another quality season – 27 home runs, 93 RBI – hitting cleanup for the Braves and hit two home runs to help Atlanta win the World Series title.

A quiet leader in the clubhouse, McGriff was known for his positive attitude and love of the game. “McGriff’s smile lights up a room,” said Riddoch.

In 1998, McGriff was picked up by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he stayed productive for four seasons before ending his career with stops with the Cubs, Dodgers and eventually back with the Devil Rays.

McGriff finished his career just seven homers short of the 500 home run club, tied with Lou Gehrig for 26th all-time. He had a career .284 batting average, 2,490 hits, 441 doubles and 1,550 RBI. He and Gary Sheffield are the only players to hit 30 home runs for five different major league teams. In 10 postseason series, he batted .303 with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 100 total bases. He was named to five All-Star Games, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times and ranks 42nd all-time in RBI.

“He had a marvelous career,” said former Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella. “He’s a classy person. He’s been a dominant player at his position for years. He played on a world championship team. If I had a [Hall of Fame] vote, I’d vote for him.”

With a ballot frought with controversy, a candidate like McGriff is refreshing. He gives legitimacy to baseball’s recent past and is more than deserving of enshrinment.

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Jacob Ruppert is Headed to the Hall of Fame

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Jacob Ruppert is Headed to the Hall of Fame

Posted on 08 December 2012 by Trish Vignola

Umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Era Committee. This week O’Day, Ruppert and White were each named on the necessary 75 percent of all ballots cast by the 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee. The ballot considered of six former players, three executives and one umpire whose contributions to the game were significant and dated from organized baseball origins through 1946. The Pre-Integration Era Committee held meetings on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., site of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. O’Day, Ruppert and White will be joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 by any nominees that emerge from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting. The rest of the class, if any, will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

The 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton; major league executives Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gary Hughes and Bob Watson. It also included veteran media members and historians Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Peter Morris, Phil Pepe, Tom Simon, Claire Smith, T.R. Sullivan and Mark Whicker. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Pre-Integration Era Committee. Jacob Ruppert and Hank O’Day each received 15 votes (93.8%). Deacon White received 14 votes (87.5%). The next closest in voting was Bill Dahlen who received 10 votes (62.5%).

O’Day, who passed away on July 2, 1935, umpired in the first modern World Series in 1903, one of 10 times that he worked the Fall Classic. O’Day was a National League umpire for 30 years and made the defining call in the famous 1908 Giants vs. Cubs contest that featured Johnny Evers forcing out Fred Merkle at second base after what appeared to be the game-winning hit. O’Day becomes the 10th umpire elected to the Hall of Fame.

Ruppert bought a struggling Yankees franchise in 1915 and quickly changed the team’s fortunes by purchasing Babe Ruth from the Red Sox and building Yankee Stadium. While Ruppert owned the Yankees, New York won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles. Ruppert passed away on Jan. 13, 1939.

White played 20 seasons for teams in the National Association, the National League and the Players League, compiling 2,067 hits in only 1,560 games. White led his league in batting average twice and RBI three times, and was a standout bare-handed defensive catcher before switching to third base later in his career. White passed away on July 7, 1939.

The Pre-Integration Era Committee will next consider candidates in 2015 for the 2016 Induction year, as the process to consider candidates by era repeats on a three-year cycle. In 2013, the Expansion Era Committee – which met previously in 2010 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1973 through the present. In 2014, the Golden Era Committee – which met previously in 2011 – will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1947-72. Committees will continue to meet at the Winter Meetings.

Hall of Fame Weekend 2013 will be held July 26-29 in Cooperstown, NY, with the Induction Ceremony slated for Sunday, July 28, 2013. The BBWAA election results will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The election of O’Day, Ruppert, and White brings the total number of Hall of Famers to 300.

Also this week at the Winter Meetings, two Hall of Fame award winners will be announced, with the BBWAA selecting its annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday, Dec. 4 for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Museum will announce the Ford C. Frick Award winner, given for excellence in baseball broadcasting.

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R.A. Dickey, National League Cy Young award winner, is the Toast of the Town

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R.A. Dickey, National League Cy Young award winner, is the Toast of the Town

Posted on 19 November 2012 by Trish Vignola

R.A. Dickey will deservedly be accepting the Cy Young Award at the BBWAA’s annual awards dinner this January. The 38-year-old knuckleballer for the Mets, found a fitting epilogue to his storybook season tonight, when he was named winner of the 2012 National League Cy Young Award.

Dickey earned 27 of 32 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals. The awards are voted on every year by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).

Dickey amazed baseball fans and beyond this season, harnessing the previously unruly knuckleball to devastating ends – something even the greatest knuckballers have claimed to not be able to do. He was 20-6, becoming the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, and led the league in innings pitched (233 2/3), strikeouts (230), complete games (5) and shutouts (3). He finished with the lowest earned run average of his 10-year career (2.73) and was named to the All-Star team for the first time.

Regardless, the New York baseball writers were still planning to honor the Mets knuckleballer whether he won the award or not.

This week, Dickey was named the winner of the Toast of the Town Award, presented by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. It is an award given to the player who captivated the city over the season, and boy, did he. Let’s face it. At some point this season, R.A. Dickey was the only reason to keep watching the New York Mets.

The awards dinner will be held Saturday, Jan. 19 at the New York Hilton. It will feature the BBWAA presentation of the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie and Manager of the Year awards. It will also feature the Toast of the Town as well as eight other local honors. R.A. Dickey will not be the only local to be honored though. CC Sabathia will also be honored, as he is awarded the Joan Payson Award for community service. Current/Former/Future Yankee (who knows what the off-season will bring) Nick Swisher was named this year’s Ben Epstein/Dan Castellano Good Guy Award winner for his professionalism with the media. Jim Abbott will receive the You Can Look It Up Award to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his no-hitter. The chapter will honor the 1973 Mets on their 40th anniversary with the Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award award.

The chapter will also name two winners of its Arthur and Milton Richman “You Gotta Have Heart Award,” honoring both MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner, former Mets GM Jim Duquette and his daughter, Lindsey. Weiner was treated for a brain tumor, while Duquette donated a kidney to his own 10-year-old daughter.

Miguel Cabrera, the front-runner for AL MVP honors, was named the chapter’s Sid Mercer/Dick Young Player of the Year. Pablo Sandoval, who led the Giants to the World Series title with his three-homer Game 1 against the Tigers, won the Babe Ruth Award for postseason excellence. Chipper Jones, the long-time Mets nemesis, was voted the winner of the William Slocum-Jack Lang Long and Meritorious Service Award upon his retirement.

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Barry Bonds: The invisible man

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Barry Bonds: The invisible man

Posted on 02 May 2012 by Graham Womack

I had an exchange this past Saturday with a blogging colleague, Wendy Thurm. It started with a tweet from Wendy:

This led to something of a debate between Wendy and I about the relative merits of Pujols. I think it’s a closer debate than some people might allow, down to the fact that Pujols posted a higher OPS+ through his age 31 season than Bonds did, 169 to 161. Of course, it must be noted in the same breath that Bonds averaged a 205 OPS+ in the 11 years that followed his age 31 campaign to bring his lifetime OPS+ to 182, and Pujols doesn’t look on any remotely similar trajectory, at least not a month into this season.

In a deeper sense, though, I think Wendy has a point. Bonds doesn’t get his due as an all-time great thanks to the probability he used steroids. In about six months, Bonds will debut on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for the Hall of Fame, and I don’t expect him to get more than 50 percent of the vote. Writers have shown an unwillingness, by and large, to give much consideration to anyone thought to have used steroids, old news to anyone who’s followed the Cooperstown bids of Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and so many others. It’s gotten to the point that it’s difficult to have a rational discussion about this.

I’ll admit I didn’t vote for Bonds in a recent project I conducted for my website having people vote on nine player all-time dream teams. I went with Ted Williams in left for my personal vote, and while I rationalized it by telling myself I’d love a 3-4-5 batting order of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Williams, part of it had to do with my distaste of anyone who’s used steroids. There’s a caveat that I’ll add to this shortly, but I don’t see why I have to like that a generation of players were pressured to use to keep up. I’ve noticed an attitude within parts of the baseball research community to dismiss the effects of steroids on playing ability, and I think that’s bunk.

By that same token, I’m also not into historical revisionism. I don’t believe in excluding steroid users from Cooperstown, being that steroids were no more a part of the game than amphetamines in the 1960s or all-white play prior to 1947. I also don’t believe in pretending Bonds didn’t set the records that he did or in striking his name from the books or giving him an asterisk. Every generation of baseball history deserves to be put in context. Nothing in the game happens in a vacuum. If I could give Bonds a vote for the Hall of Fame this fall, I would. I’ll marvel at his 2004 slash line of .362/.609/.812 even if I hope that no player ever again accomplishes it by the means I assume he did.

I might not like the steroid-addled version of Bonds which emerged in the last half of his career, but if Bonds wasn’t the best hitter in baseball of the past 30 or 40 years, he’s part of a very short discussion. It’s a discussion I wish would happen more often.

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