Category Archives: 1990’s
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America do not have much respect for Larry Walker‘s hall-of-fame candidacy. This year the Canuck garnered fewer HOF votes than Jeff Kent and Fred McGriff. His future chance of election by the writers is very slim.
The lack of support for Walker can be explained partially by the ten player ballot limit and mostly by anti-Coors Field sentiment. Writers point to his monster season of 1997 and say “He benefited from hitting baseballs in Denver so he really wasn’t that great”.
If he wasn’t that great then why did you select Walker as MVP that very season?
Despite the Rockies 3rd place finish LW received 92% of the writers NL MVP votes.
Maybe instead of Slugging .720 and hitting 49 home runs the right fielder should have only slugged .600 and hit 40 bombs.
Walker’s video game-like numbers are used to justify not voting for him as a hall-of-famer when the very same numbers were used to justify voting for him as MVP.
Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci was interviewed today on The Dan Patrick Show. When Dan asked about hall-of-fame voting (specifically comparing the baseball vs. football HOF process) Verducci replied with:
“I don’t know that anyone has been voted info the Hall-of-Fame that doesn’t deserve to be in there, as far as the baseball writers go.”
I would say that Tom Verducci’s statement is mostly correct. Of course this depends upon how big you like your hall. A “Big Hall” guy would include the writers’ recent inductees Jim Rice, Kirby Puckett, Tony Perez, Bruce Sutter and Catfish Hunter. If you are a “Small Hall” guy then these five inductions from the past three decades conflict with Verducci’s statement.
If Tom is a “Big Hall” guy then his statement is accurate and he would support the hall cases of Tim Raines, Kenny Lofton, Tommy John, Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner, Lou Whitaker, Larry Walker, Trevor Hoffman, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent and Alan Trammell. Consistency would merit eliminating the cap on the number of players that the writers could vote for leading to a much larger Hall.
There is a common misconception that Roger Clemens was toast when the Boston Red Sox decided to not re-sign him after the 1996 season. Sox GM Dan Duquette became infamous in our little world of baseball for saying that Roger was entering the “twilight” of his career.
The Blue Jays disagreed with Duquette’s assessment of Clemens and signed the 34-year old starter to a four year deal worth ~$31 million. To put the money in perspective, Clemens was paid more than Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey in ’97 & ’98.
What made the Blue Jays so sure that Clemens was worth MVP level money when Boston said good riddance to him? It’s pretty simple actually. In 1996, Clemens last year with the Red Sox he led the American League in strikeouts. He whiffed 42 more batters than the league runner-up Chuck Finley.
Roger Clemens was far and away the best strikeout pitcher in the AL when Duquette said he was in his “twilight”. This is akin to suggesting that Cliff Lee today is nearly washed up.
In addition to leading the league in strikeouts by a mile the ’96 version of Clemens was top-ten in the AL in strikeout/walk rate, fewest home runs allowed, innings pitched, complete games and E.R.A. In his 32nd start of the 1996 season “The Rocket” went to Detroit and tied his own MLB record for most strikeouts in a 9-inning game by sending down twenty Tigers batters on strikes while allowing no walks and no runs.
Roger Clemens did not have to go to Toronto and use PED’s to revive his career. When the Red Sox let the former Texas Longhorn walk he was still an elite major league pitcher.
“The Chief”, aka Geronimo Berroa finished his MLB career in 2001 with a total of 101 home runs. The journeyman slugger spent time with nine teams in eleven seasons. His four best years came with the Oakland Athletics for whom Berroa hit 87 home runs.
During this time with the A’s Geronimo slugged .499 including a relative pedestrian .451 SLG in 1995. Berroa finished ’95 with twenty-two bombs.
Perhaps nothing interesting here except for the fact that Berroa hit 27% of his long balls against one team. In only 13 games against the New York Yankees Berroa slugged six home runs plus three doubles and two triples. In 47 at bats he slugged .894 against the Yanks, .894!
In addition to the power surge, Geronimo Berroa was walked in 17% of his plate appearances against New York in 1995.