Pete Rose Decision Understandable, But Flawed

Pete Rose

Pete Rose (photo by Kjunstorm from Laguna Niguel, CA, US. Color-corrected, cropped and red eye removed by Daniel Case 2008-07-16 – Pete Rose. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org)

It was a near certainty that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was going to deny Pete Rose the chance to be reinstated in baseball. Podcast #36 and host Gene Gumbs breaks down why this decision, while understandable, has flaws. Major League Baseball needs to clean up its house in regards to the daily gambling of fantasy games on sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel before it can preach that it wants to keep the specter of wagering away from its sport.

Is it a stretch to think that there are current players participating in fantasy games/leagues on those sites? I don’t think so. Is that not gambling? Is that not betting on baseball, the same thing Pete Rose was banned for? I’d be willing to be the ranch that it’s happening. Those companies aren’t going to divulge who is playing. Even if they did, it’s nothing to have a friend or family member place the bet for you.

While the idea doesn’t actually bother me all that much, it does bother me to think that Major League Baseball is in bed with these companies. Hell, their hosts on the MLB Network’s morning show picked guys for a Draft Kings fantasy lineup every morning! Are you kidding me? You can’t ban a guy for gambling on baseball but then accept advertising money from these companies and have your employees engaged in promoting them!

As to the Hall of Fame? That’s another issue. There’s quite a rant on that in the podcast. Enjoy.

Also in this Episode:

  • A look at the pans still cooking on the hot stove
  • Jason Heyward signs with the Cubs
  • With the addition of Cueto, the Giant’s rotation is scary good.
  • Mets still need a bat, but Neil Walker makes them better
  • My pick for team of the week

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think!

My Hall of Fame Ballot – Part II

BaseballThe second half of my hypothetical Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is where most of the debate will come, I suspect – especially since I left off a guy that got over 50 percent of the votes in 2014. My final five are:

Craig Biggio – He fell just a couple of votes short last season, but certainly deserves to be in. The 3,060 hits he compiled alone are grounds for automatic selection to the HOF. With the exception of speed numbers (stolen bases and triples), Biggio’s numbers are equal to or better than Joe Morgan, who’s already in the Hall of Fame. He had 500 more hits, 200 more doubles, more homers, and more RBI than Morgan. He also batted ten points higher. Morgan has him in OBP, but the previous comparisons alone tell you Biggio belongs in the HOF.

Mike Piazza – Here’s another guy who had PED whispers – yet he seems to get more consideration than Bonds and Clemens. There is no arguing the fact the Piazza is the best hitting catcher in the history of the game. The 1993 NL Rookie of the Year, Piazza was a 12-time All-Star who had 427 career homers and batter .308. The only current HOF catcher with more hits than Piazza is Carlton Fisk – whose career lasted eight years longer.

Tim Raines – Outside of Rickey Henderson, he’s the best leadoff hitter I ever saw play. I think he was as good or better than Lou Brock, who is also in the Hall of Fame. Raines had 808 career steals, which is fifth all-time (the top four are all in the HOF). He hit a solid .294 in his career and won the NL batting title in 1986. He was a seven-time All-Star and stole 40 or more bases 11 times. I wonder if all the moving around in the latter part of his career (five teams in his final six seasons) is what has hurt his candidacy.

Curt Schilling – Look up “winner” in the dictionary and you’ll likely find Schilling’s picture there. He had 216 career wins, 3,116 strikeouts (15th all-time), and a strike out to walk ratio that is second best all-time. He was a six-time All-Star. He never won a Cy Young, but finished second three times. He won twenty games three times – amazingly, all of those were in the final six years of his career. All that aside, he may be the best “big game” pitcher ever. He was 11-2 in post-season play, including a 4-1 mark in the World Series, with a 2.23 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96. Whether you believe the tale of “The Bloody Sock Game” or not, his playoff numbers don’t lie.

Alan Trammell – I put him on my ballot ahead of a couple of others for one reason – he belongs to be in the HOF and his time on the ballot is running out. Trammell was a GREAT shortstop. If you compare his numbers with Barry Larkin (a first-ballot HOFer) you’ll see Trammell compares more than favorably. Larkin hit a few points higher and stole more bases, but the averages of the two men over 162 games are very close. Frankly, I also think Trammell was a better fielder, though he won four Gold Gloves to Larkin’s three – very close. I just feel like one of the better shortstops in modern times is being shuffled aside because of some gaudy offensive numbers by other players.

 

There you have it. Yes, I left off Jeff Bagwell, another player with PED whispers that will eventually get in – but if the writers are going to vote people like him and Piazza in, how can they draw a line and say they’re “clean,” but Clemens and Bonds are less clean. Without definitive proof the members of the BBWAA have are appointing themselves judge, jury, and executioner.

Mike Mussina (a guy I think will get in eventually), and Edgar Martinez (another guy that probably deserves it) also warranted strong consideration. I think some worthy players are going to be left out unless the BBWAA increases the number of players that can be included on the ballot from the current ten to, say, twelve. I think that is even more important now that the Hall of Fame has reduced the number of years a player can be on the ballot from fifteen to ten.

I think Pedro and Randy Johnson are automatic selections for this year, and I think Biggio will also get in. I think Smoltz should, but the BBWAA hasn’t elected four players in one class in the last fifty years. In fact, they’ve only done it three times in 75 years. Smoltz and the rest of us will just have to wait and see what the decision is on January 6.

My Hypothetical HOF Ballot – Part One

baseballhoflogoWith the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement coming up on January 6, I decided to fill out my own hypothetical ballot. Having watched and covered thousands of games at all levels in my 54 years, I figure I’m just as qualified as many of the members of the Baseball Writers Association – though I am sure they would disagree!

Right up front I’ll tell you that my vote includes Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two guys who have been named numerous times in the PED scandal. I use the eye test. Were these guys HOF-type players before the time it appeared they got involved with steroids—in other words, before their bodies exploded and they started looking like the Incredible Hulk? In my mind, both of them were going to be in the Hall without steroids. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa? Not so much.

My other reasoning for this is that I would be willing to be my house that there is at least one player already in the HOF that used steroids. It’s just a matter of time before we find that out. PED use was rampant in Major League Baseball, and there is no way to tell exactly who did and who didn’t. Also, if a roided-up Bonds hit homers off a bunch of juiced pitchers, shouldn’t we look at it a little different? Same thing with Clemens—how many guys on PEDs did he strike out or get to pop up?

Since this is going to be a rather lengthy post, I am going to break it into two parts. I’ll post part two tomorrow.

So, after all that, here is the first half my 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot:

Pedro Martinez – A career ERA of 2.93 and a WHIP barely over one. His winning percentage of .687 is sixth-best all-time, and his average of 10.03 Ks per nine is third all-time. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is also third best all-time. Take all that into consideration and then look at his physical stature, and it makes his accomplishments even more phenomenal.

Randy Johnson – The Unit was flat out scary – especially if you were a left-handed batter. Who can forget John Kruk bailing out of the batters box when facing him in an All-Star game. It was comical, but it was also a microcosm of how uncomfortable he was to face. He had 303 wins and over 4,875 strikeouts, that last number second only to Nolan Ryan. You don’t need to know anything else to make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

John Smoltz – I’d put him in the first year as well perhaps solely because he was one of those rare pitchers who was dominant as both a starter and a reliever. He had 213 wins and 154 saves in a 21-year career. After posting 44 saves in 2004, he moved back into the rotation in 2005 and 14-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 229 innings. He only won twenty games once (24 in 1996), but he was an impressive 15-4 in the post-season with a 2.67 ERA and four saves.

Roger Clemens – The Rocket won seven Cy Young awards (four of them likely before possible PED use). He was a nine-time All-Star, had one MVP award, won 354 games, and 4,672 strikeouts. He won twenty games four times. He and Pedro were perhaps the two most dominant right-handers in baseball history. PED allegations aside, this really is a no-brainer.

Barry Bonds – Look, I can’t stand the guy’s arrogance, but I can’t deny his impact. Do I think he had 100-150 homers because of ‘roids? Yep. But he’d be in the Hall of Fame without those. A .298 career hitter, the one thing you can’t use steroids as an excuse for is his 2,558 walks – the best ever by a mile. His 688 career intentional walks is also tops all-time. If you want something else to knock besides his PED use, Bonds was nothing special in post-season play. He hit just .245 with nine homers and 24 RBI in 208 plate appearances.