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2015 Baseball Hall of Fame Selections: Tough Choices Abound 2

Posted on January 02, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Pedro Martinez seems to be a lock for the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class.

Pedro Martinez seems to be a lock for the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class.

After seeing three first-year candidates join the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, the class of 2015 has the potential to match or exceed that total. However, unlike a year ago when all three inductees appeared clear-cut (as much as any in this post-PED era), there are fewer guarantees and more questions surrounding the 2015 candidates.

Even with there being more unpredictability amongst the potential 2015 class, there are two players whose inclusion seems to be nearly certain.

Last year the Hall of Fame welcomed the two most consistent pitchers of the 1990s and early 2000s in Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. This year it should open the doors for the two most dominant pitchers of the same era (at least among pitchers not linked to PEDs) in Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.

With 303 career victories, two no-hitters and 4,875 career strikeouts, there seems little doubt that Johnson will reach the Hall of Fame in his first season of eligibility.

The same should be true for Martinez. Though he won significantly fewer games (219) than several pitchers who have fallen short of HOF selection, his career ERA of 2.93 during the PED era might be one of the most impressive statistics of all-time. In addition, his three Cy Young Awards and .687 career winning percentage are also worthy of a spot in the Hall.

It is very possible that a third first-year-eligible pitcher could earn selection, but this is when the 2015 selection process starts to move into the land of confusion.

To some, the combination of his 213 career victories and 154 career saves, along with an amazing 15-4 post season record is enough to warrant a vote for John Smoltz. However, critics will point out that except for the 1996 season when he won 24 games and the Cy Young Award, Smoltz never won more than 17 games in a season and his time in the bullpen was so brief (only three seasons) that it really shouldn’t be a boost to his candidacy the way his relief career was for Dennis Eckersley.

Given that his career resume isn’t significantly better than that of two other pitchers who have received only minimal support since becoming eligible (Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling), it could be a tough road for Smoltz to Cooperstown.
Read the rest of this entry →

Statistics Can Be Misleading When Selecting for the Baseball Hall of Fame 2

Posted on January 02, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Rafael Palmeiro hit 25 home runs in three seasons with the Chicago Cubs before going on to bigger and better things with the Rangers and Orioles.

If career statistics were the only judge, then picking the members of the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame induction class would be pretty easy. However, the continuing shadow of the “Steroid Era” in baseball has ensured that for the next decade or so picking Hall of Famers will be anything but easy.

There are 19 newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot for 2011 and it is difficult to predict if any will ever receive a plaque in Cooperstown.

Statistically speaking, there seems to be two “no brainers” and a third who would probably earn a spot. However, it is likely that only one of those three will be a serious contender for the Hall of Fame.

Based purely on the numbers, Rafael Palmeiro has the credentials to be an easy HOF pick. He is one of only four players in major league history with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. The other three players are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray.

However, the number for Palmeiro that most Hall of Fame voters are likely to remember is one, as in failed steroid tests after emphatically claiming to Congress that he had never used steroids.

That alone seems enough to ensure that Palmeiro will never be inducted into the Hall of Fame and will probably have a hard time earning enough votes to stay on the ballot for his entire 15 years of eligibility.

In some ways, Palmeiro is as much a poster child of the steroid era as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, but in a different way.

While Bonds and Clemens were likely Hall of Famers before ever using steroids and McGwire and Sosa used the drugs to break single season records, Palmeiro pretty much flew under the radar and despite being accused of using by Jose Canseco would have probably earned a Hall of Fame plaque had it not been for his positive test.

Of course we have no idea when Palmeiro started using steroids, but the change in his statistics is pretty pronounced.

Palmeiro was a solid player during his first five major league seasons hitting .296 with 602 hits and 47 home runs between 1986 and 1990. He hit a then career-best 14 home runs in 1987 while with the Cubs and matched that total with the Rangers in 1990. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Paul Warfield: The Perfect Receiver
      December 10, 2018 | 3:36 pm

      Warfield-DolphinsThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was perfection personified as a wide receiver during his NFL career.

      Known for his fluid movement, grace and jumping ability during his 13 year NFL career, Paul Warfield was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and key performer for the Miami Dolphins during their 17-0 campaign in 1972.

      Because the role of the wide receiver has changed so much and today’s star receivers get the ball thrown to them so many more times than in the pre-1978 era, Warfield is often overlooked when discussing all-time greats.

      But, think about this. Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per catch for his career (427 receptions, 8,565 yards) and 19.9% of his receptions went for touchdowns (85). By comparison, Julio Jones has averaged 15.5 yards per catch for his career and a touchdown in 6.9% of his receptions (46 TDs in 669 catches). Antonio Brown averages 13.4 ypc and a TD in 8.7% (70 of 804) of his receptions. Terrell Owens averaged 14.8 ypc and a TD in 14.2% of his receptions. Even Jerry Rice, considered the greatest receiver of all-time, averaged only 14.8 ypc and a TD in 12.7% of his catches.

      Read more »

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