01 September 2005

Pete and Pete and Petey and the Hall of Fame...

So I flew solo last night to the Mets/ Phillies game, securing a really solid Upper Deck seat from the Mets Clubhouse store on 42nd and 5th, and settling in for my fifth Pedro start- the other four all having been ranging from excellent to dominant (see sidebar), I was thinking this would be a fun game to see. Plus, the Mets were coming off a huge come-from-behind win the night previous thanks to a huge 2-R bomb off the bat of Ramon Castro. Philadelphia is one of the teams New York is chasing for the NL wild card, so this added even more late-season "drama."

So I headed out to Queens right after work amid numerous foreboding forecasts of "serious storms" and "thunder/ lightning." All I had was my work shirt, my copy of Ulysses and a small D'Agostino's bag, so I was at the mercy of the gods, as it were.

I made my way up to my seat around 545- the 7 express train is amazing- and stopped first in the mezzanine. My seats were actually in fair territory, and there were a few dudes opining to Ryan Madsen, begging for a BP baseball. None came this way. I was thinking that if it were me, I'd have yelled to him, "hey, Madsen, think you can get a ball up here? I don't know, it's pretty high..." Think he's gonna ignore that? Come on. Terrible job by the knuckleheads at Shea there.

THEN, I head up to my seat- section 47, upper deck, row B seat 14. Guess who is sitting in section 47, upper deck, row A, seat 13? Well... Pete Wrigley himself- Jeff McAllister, the one and only... Michael Maronna ("His Dad is strange..."). Weird, huh? Seemed like a nice guy- also seemed like the exact kind of guy that just wanted to watch a Mets game with his friend. So I curbed the "oh man, Pete and Pete was one of my favorite shows growing up..." stuff. I just stared with my head in my hands, sighing and blowing spit bubbles. Eh, nevermind.

Pedro just didn't have it this night. He got some great swings-and-misses on the changeup, but the curve wasn't falling for strikes, he wasn't getting enough on the fastball, and homeplate umpire Marvin Hudson was really squeezing him all night. He started off well- but by the end of his night he'd surrendered 5 runs on 4 HR- two to Chase Utley and one each to Ryan Howard (opposite field) and Mike Lieberthal. Not good. His final line:

7 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 4 HR

Around the 6th inning, rain started and stopped for the next hour or so- once or twice it really, really started to pour, but for the most part it was a varying mist-like precipitation. Nothing getting me out of my seat, in other words.

Of course, I also scoreboard-watched nearly the entire night. Well, no- the entire night. No "nearly." The Sox fell behind right out of the gate 1-0, then 5-1, as I tried not to look at the score more than the game on the field, but the people around me all were oddly interested in the Red Sox game as well. Each time the Sox crept closer, someone blurted it out. When they finally tied it in the 5th inning, I had a lot of trouble ignoring it from then on, right up until the eventual 7-6 victory was posted. So that was cool. I can't believe I missed 2/7ths of Kevin Millar's season power output, but hey, what're you gonna do?

Last night while at the game, my mind started to wander a bit, and it was really incredible to me the more I considered it that I was watching- for the fifth time- one of the great pitchers of all time. The greatest foreign born pitcher of all time. A first ballot Hall of Famer even if he called it quits within the next fifteen minutes.

And that got me thinking... what players, were they to retire right now, would be Hall of Famers? For instance, Albert Pujols will, barring severe and significant injury, be elected to the Hall of Fame. The only thing that stands between him and it is playing out the string of his career- that or a huge steroid scandal/ murder/ gambling fiasco, which after reading how exceptional a guy he is (is that Gammons-copyright infringement?), I'm guessing is unlikely.

But, of course, someone like Manny Ramirez is in. Right now. That's an obvious one. Some though, weren't. I also, for ease of use, just eliminated the spectre of steroids- for now- from the list. I'm just going to go on achievement, and whomever else can decide on, for instance, Gary Sheffield, later. Here's the list, by team:


BALTIMORE: Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa
BOSTON: Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling
NEW YORK: Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Randy Johnson, Bernie Williams, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina


DETROIT TIGERS: Ivan Rodriguez




ATLANTA BRAVES: Chipper Jones, John Smoltz
NEW YORK METS: Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Tom Glavine


HOUSTON ASTROS: Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: Jim Edmonds*, Larry Walker


SAN DIEGO PADRES: Trevor Hoffman
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: Barry Bonds, Omar Vizquel*

OK, a tiny bit of explanation. I used, among other things, Baseball-Reference.com's Hall of Fame Monitor Leaderboard, and it's Hall of Fame Standards list. In addition, I looked at their grey ink and black ink tests.

Yes, I left out Jeter- he's going to make it, but I don't think, if he retired right now, he'd be worthy, nor would he get the vote (though it would be close). I also left off Nomar for the same reason, but in a much more pessimistic point of view. A "*" denotes a guy whom, admittedly, I had a tough time on. These players, in this instance, include:

Jim Edmonds
Omar Vizquel
Jim Thome

Now, Edmonds gets in, to me, if Bernie Williams does- and most certainly, Bernie Williams does. Consider that CF, along with 3B, is one of the most under-represented positions in the Hall of Fame. Here's a list, from The Sabermetric Encyclopedia, of the greatest CF according to Runs Created Above Position (as of the end of last season):

1 Ty Cobb_____________________1078
2 Mickey Mantle_______________1009
3 Willie Mays__________________856
4 Tris Speaker_________________777
5 Billy Hamilton_______________648
6 Joe DiMaggio_________________629
7 Ken Griffey Jr.______________543
8 Pete Browning________________478
9 Bernie Williams______________367
10 Jim Edmonds_________________361
11 Duke Snider_________________334
12 George Gore_________________326
13 Hack Wilson_________________325
14 Earl Averill________________321
15 Larry Doby__________________308

Now, Bernie's certainly lost a step or a thousand defensively over the last few years, but at his peak, he was a very good defender, and an excellent hitter. Thing is, Edmonds was a better defender, hasn't lost nearly the steps Williams has, and has had a much longer and stronger offensive peak than Williams as well. Bernie has the postseason pedigree, but since we're not debating his candidacy- just Edmonds'- it only raises Bernie to Edmonds' level, career-wise, and for that reason, I think they both get in. Jim Edmonds may be one of the most criminally overlooked all around baseball players of the last 40 years.

Quick look at Omar Vizquel's candidacy:

OMAR VIZQUEL____.275__.341__.358___66 HR___318 SB____9 GG
OZZIE SMITH_____.262__.337__.328___28 HR___580 SB___13 GG
PHIL RIZZUTO____.273__.351__.355___38 HR___149 SB__n/a GG

Rizzuto and Smith are in the Hall of Fame. Now, Rizzuto is pretty widely considered the absolute worst player in the Hall, and someone that does not belong there- so inasmuch as Vizquel comps with him offensively, that may not be the best place to start. That being said, Rizzuto was never considered a terribly gifted defender- while Smith and Vizquel most certainly are/ were. It may be instructive to have thrown Bill Mazeroski in there- the greatest 2B of all time (Jody Reed and Pokey Reese right behind him) who couldn't even carry a load comparable to Vizquel and Smith. But he played 2B, so that's a tough call.

Smith has the clear edge in SBs and Gold Gloves- he was probably better than Vizquel defensively, but it would be a marginal improvement. I don't think I would ever vote Vizquel in, but according to some standards, he may get voted in. I included him for that reason only.

Finally, with Thome- maybe he's not as borderline as I'd thought. He is a 1B, and the Hall has plenty of those. But the numbers:

.284/ .410/ .569, 423 HR, 151 OPS+

...are pretty hard to keep out.

Any arguments, debates, "you're an idiots" are totally welcome and anticipated in the "comments" section, though I'm pretty sure I kept it basically consensus. I mean, I could have played the "what if?" game, and David Wright would be on there right now, but where's the sense in that?

Finally... I finished. The marathon is over. I got through the 783rd page of Ulysses last night on the 4 train home from the Met game. Pretty amazing book.

I pretty much started this final, in-earnest attempt at it as I started this blog, so that it took me this long (with an approximately 6.5 month break in the middle) speaks to how much of a challenge it is getting through it. Totally worth it, though.

I'm not sure what my favorite episode was, simply because there were a bunch that really hit me-
  • Penelope

  • Telemachus

  • Calypso

  • Circe

  • Nausicaa

  • In contrast, the 'Oxen of the Sun' episode was one of the most difficult things I've ever read, and I had an almost equally tough time with the 'Cyclops' episode. Still all great though- the 'Oxen' one in particular left my eyes and brain totally exhausted, but it was exciting to know that I got through it, and I still knew what was going on.

    Of course, I definitely helped myself here and there to some cursory help, but no harm in that. It was helpful to get some foggy things cleared up here and there.

    I never thought I'd do it. Next... Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald. I think.

    I don't usually do the politics or current-events thing here because it's not what I do and I don't do it well if I wanted to... but the Katrina business has me pretty down. So, I decided to just link the Red Cross donation page in hopes of offering up some sort of help and recognition. Seems silly arguing over baseball and Nintendo without at least acknowledging it.

    Donate $$ to the Red Cross Here.

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