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In which we pore over Jon Heyman’s Hall of Fame column

Dec 20, 2010, 3:13 PM EDT

jack morris-thumb-250x375-4861

Jon Heyman has posted his Hall of Fame column in which he explains his votes.  Keeping in mind this morning’s thoughts on the Hall of Fame — and trying hard to be a little more charitable than I have been in the past to Mr. Heyman — I will say that I am glad that he writes a lengthy and thorough column explaining his votes each year. I will further say that I am glad how the tone he has taken this year — particularly with his long introduction — is a positive one.  Unlike some past things has he written or tweeted on the subject, I really do get the sense that Heyman has put a lot of consideration into this.

That’s especially true when it comes to Bert Blyleven. He’s respectful of the folks who support his candidacy and takes pains to note that he respects Blyleven as a truly great pitcher. He just disagrees that he’s a Hall of Famer.  Fair enough. Though I support him, I’m not going to pretend that he’s Tom Seaver here.

I think the biggest source of disagreement on the subject comes when he gets into Jack Morris. Setting aside the whole “if you vote for Morris you have to vote for Blyleven” thing which I have beaten into the ground lately, I just can’t come to terms with an argument that begins with “to some degree, you had to be there,” which is a direct quote from Heyman’s piece.

When it comes to Jack Morris, I was there. I may not have been a professional sports writer then, but Morris was the ace for the team I watched over 100 times a year. Tigers fans at the time appreciated Morris for the excellent pitcher that he was, but everyone acknowledged that, at times, Dan Petry or Milt Wilcox pitched better. Even as kids we knew or at least felt that the generation of pitchers that was winding down as Morris was cranking up was far, far superior to him. So superior to where a second-tier guy of the Seaver/Carlton generation — like Blyleven — was better in many important ways.  Even as kids we knew that the generation immediately following Morris had guys who were better than him. Guys like that Roger Clemens kid who struck out 21 Seattle Mariners in ’86 or that fellow in New York they were calling Dr. K.

In this morning’s thread, commenter ChurchOfThePerpetuallyOutraged posted his favorite quote from the movie “Memento.”  It’s more than apt here:

Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.

Ultimately, Heyman’s reliance on memory and the general vibe that surrounded Jack Morris misleads him. The facts disprove the notion that Morris was better than Blyleven in any appreciable way. They show that the competition against whom Morris competed for those Cy Young votes and All-Star starts Heyman cites was vastly inferior to that which Blyleven faced.  The facts likewise show that the final argument Heyman makes for Morris — the oft-cited “he pitched to the score” argument — is simply not true. And even if it is true, the same measure, applied to Blyleven, shows that he did it better.

But that’s said and done. Like I said earlier today: I respect his vote. I don’t agree with it. At times I think he is inconsistent in his standards. But I respect it.  Moving on to other highlights:

  • I agree with him 100% that Roberto Alomar should have been in last year. It’s a near-crime that he didn’t make it. He should this year;
  • Ditto on Barry Larkin;
  • He says yes on Dave Parker. I say no, but I don’t begrudge his vote here. He’s always supported Parker and I believe he supported Jim Rice and other hard-hitting corner outfielders like them;
  • Big props to Heyman for reassessing his position on Tim Raines. He did not support him in the past. He does support him now. I would too;
  • He says yes on Mattingly. One of the reasons: ” he has career stats very similar to Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.”  A Puckett comparison is highly misleading, however, given that he was forced out of the game in his prime due to a freak malady that was otherwise divorced from the normal baseball durability concerns. If he had continued to play and was allowed to decline like normal players, he would have clearly out-shined Mattingly, and that’s before adjusting for the fact that Puckett played one of the most valuable positions on the diamond while Donnie Baseball was a first baseman;
  • He says yes On Dale Murphy. Again, I disagree , but this is merely a difference of opinion.  If you’re a big-Hall guy, I could see Murphy fitting. Of course, if you’re a big-Hall guy I’d say Blyleven has to make it too, but we’ve already beaten that to death. The point is, I’m not aware of Heyman being inconsistent on an apples-to-apples basis with other CF/RFs like Murphy;
  • Among his no votes, I get the sense that he’s open-minded on Alan Trammell. He doesn’t explain his vote on Fred McGriff, but he notes how good he was, so I assume he and I are of the same mind on the Crime Dog (i.e. close, but maybe not).
  • His no on Jeff Bagwell is still rather astounding to me. He doesn’t explain here beyond saying that he’s a close call and wants more time to consider.  I’d really like to know what’s holding him up, though, because I think Bagwell should be a first-ballot guy.
  • All of the rest of his no votes don’t require a ton of explanation, I don’t think.

No, I’m not going to take this approach with every Hall of Fame voter who publishes an explanatory column. I do feel I owed it to Heyman, though, as I am often critical of him and because he has been the focal point of the Morris-Blyleven debate.

Overall:  though one may agree or disagree with him, good show by Heyman for being so transparent with his thought process. I wish every voter would do so.

  1. billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Heh…he says “this is the 15th straight year that I did not vote for Blyleven.” It’s only Bert’s 14th time on the ballot. So while technically true, from that angle he should measure either from his own age or the age of the earth. “This is something approaching the 4,550,000,000th straight year that I did not vote for Blyleven.”

  2. Tapps - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    I just don’t get how, in any universe, Bagwell is a close call, but Mattingly’s in. Makes no sense.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:26 PM

      In the Borg Universe, Mattingly gets in but Bagwell is a close call. And only in the Borg Universe. Don Mattingly is NOT a Hall of Famer. Period. He didn’t have enough truly great years…and he wasn’t the Sandy Koufax of First Basemen. I falbert Pujols died tomorrow, HE would be a Hall of Famer. Why? Because he has had enough historic years that he is in just on what he has done. Mattingly? Yeah he knocked in 110+ runs in 5 of 6 years from 84-89. Yeah, he batted .307 lifetime. But the .358 OBP isn’t all that special and his great years weren’t great on the scale that Koufax’s great years were. He should be in the hall of injured, career-shortened players, but putting Mattingly in is pretty freaking ludicrous if you ask me. He hit 222 Home Runs from the First Base position. Ryan Howard hit more Home Runs in his first 4 full seasons. Give me a break with Don Mattingly. I guess if you play in New York and you get a cool nickname(Donnie Baseball) you get Hall consideration.

      • Tapps - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:03 PM

        Spot on. I wrote about the two (http://firerickreilly.com/2010/12/20/jeff-bagwell-don-mattingly-and-the-hall-of-fame/) and Bagwell pretty much trounces Mattingly in every category, except BA, but as you alluded to, Mattingly’s OBP was a full FIFTY points lower than Baggs’s. The fielding is the only thing, but Mattingly couldn’t have been that much better to make up for his lagging offensive stats.

  3. BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    I actually had to go back and look at Parker’s stats. A bit below Rice, but Parker was also a beast of a fielder for the first dozen or so years of his career. I’d lean no, but it’s not as vehement of a no as I would have first stated.
    I would say yes on Bagwell, but again, I just have the suspicion he’ll have trouble getting in. Don’t really know why.
    Murphy, I agree no. Kind of a short peak. It was a really good peak, but he fell off the table at age 31.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    But it’s hard to go back and look at his individual seasons and see a case where he should have ranked in the top 10 in MVP voting in any of his 22 years. He never dominated in any one season and was never among the very best.

    I just can’t see how you [Heyman] could write this, and then vote for Morris. Let’s look at some stats, first the arbitrary ones:

    BB – 3x voted in top 5 of CY (two 3rd finishes), two MVP votes, lead IP two years include K’s once, highest ERA+ of 158 (11x over 120), career 118 ERA+
    JM – 5x voted in top 5 of CY (two 3rd finishes), four MVP votes (stretching here), lead IP once (’83), highest ERA+ of 133 (6x over 120), career 105 ERA+

    Except for the award voting*, seems like Bert wins here. Add the awards in and maybe slight edge to Morris. Now for the actual stats:

    BB – 4970IP of 118ERA+, 3701 K’s with a 2.8 K/BB ratio, 60 Shutouts
    JM – 3824IP of 105ERA+, 2478 K’s with a 1.78 K/BB ratio, 28 Shutouts

    1100 more IP at a better ERA+, almost 1300 more K’s and more than double the shutouts. I don’t get it. How could you really say that JM was the better pitcher? Is G7 skewing people’s views that much?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

      Sonofa, forgot the posterisk. Seems like a cyclical argument to make when writers talk about how a player wasn’t viewed as a great player, so he didn’t get MVP/CY votes. Then later when talking about how the player isn’t a HOFer, they use the same award voting to prove their HoF vote…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

        Holy crap I missed this:

        2. Morris. He finished with 254 wins and 175 complete games while leading the league at various times in wins (twice), starts (twice), complete games, shutouts and innings pitched.

        Wins – once with 14(!) and he also lead the league in walks that year
        Starts – ok, not really important but BB lead once
        CG – lead once with 11 in ’90. BB lead the league once in ’85 with 24(!)
        Shutouts – once with 6. BB lead thrice with 9, 5 and 5
        IP – once with 293. BB lead twice with 293 and 271

        So with all those numbers you stated, 3/5 BB performed better. I’m so confused

  5. billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I really want to embrace this nice guy just-be-consistent thing, but there’s just SO much stupid here.

    Heyman’s entire case against Blyleven comes down for his pitching for bad teams. “He never finished higher than third in the Cy Young balloting and only four times finished in the top 10…” because his teams didn’t let him win enough games.

    “Simply put, there were pitchers who had better seasons, from Jim Palmer in 1973 to Bret Saberhagen in 1985 and 1989, two pitchers who won Cy Young awards in in years Blyleven finished in the top 10 of the balloting.” But they didn’t have better seasons, they “won” more games (and/or took fewer “losses”). In particular, Blyleven was clearly better than Palmer in 1973, and probably would’ve won if those two seasons had been repeated in 2010. Blyleven’s 1984 also probably wins in 2010, notably not even mentioned by Heyman. Now, Saberhagen’s CYAs were probably deserved, but his argument is already gone by that point.

    “He only made two All-Star teams, which may be explained in part by the fact that he was a slightly better second-half pitcher…” but, on the other hand, is definitely explained by the fact that he pitched for bad teams that didn’t score enough for him to pile up wins.

    And then he finally does address “wins” and says this: “I did promote Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young, but I still see winning as the ultimate goal in each game, and Blyleven didn’t win all that many more games than he lost.” And my head explodes. Try to tackle in-sentence consistency, and then worry about consistency on your HOF ballot.

    “But with Morris, to some degree, you had to be there. And I don’t mean just Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, which was indeed one of the more remarkable and important performances in baseball history, when Morris pitched all 10 innings to win 1-0 and deliver his hometown Twins a championship.”…I WAS there, and I DO mean Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. That game was great. Morris’ career was not.

    “Morris was arguably the best pitcher in the 1980s.” …this is true only in the sense that everything anyone can think up is “arguable.” By any rational method, he was no better than the 8th or 10th best pitcher in the 1980s. By any rational method, Bert Blyleven was a better pitcher than Morris in the 80s, and that was Blyleven’s second full decade in the Major Leagues.

    Re Martinez: “Terrific hitter, but if you’re going to have career total numbers that are less than eye-popping…” you’re going to be a worse player than Edgar Martinez. How can you look at his line and not think it’s “eye-popping”?

    And then there’s the steroids moralizing, the fact that there’s no possible way to justify voting yes on Morris and no on Kevin Brown, either…ugh. I really want to play nice, but I can’t do it with this much dumb. Heyman’s an embarrassment.

    • thinman61 - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:14 PM

      *Heyman’s entire case against Blyleven comes down for his pitching for bad teams. “He never finished higher than third in the Cy Young balloting and only four times finished in the top 10…” because his teams didn’t let him win enough games.*

      Ding ding ding ding ding! And the entire argument for Morris is that he got better run support from the other players on his team.

    • baseballisboring - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:02 PM

      “I really want to embrace this nice guy just-be-consistent thing, but there’s just SO much stupid here.”

      Sums up my feelings perfectly.

  6. ramsbladdercup - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    IMO, Mattingly does not belong in the HOF. But your reasoning doesn’t seem sound on the Kirby/Donny injury take. I don’t think it matters how an injury happens. And it’s believed that Mattingly originally hurt his back doing something not basball related anyway. If you are saying that a guy whose career is affected by a freak injury should be treated differently than one with a baseball breakdown related injury, I think you are wrong.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:33 PM

      Heyman’s point about Mattingly also politely ignores the fact that Puckett put up his numbers as a center fielder, while Mattingly was a 1B. Huge difference, considering positional adjustment.

  7. marshmallowsnake - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Heyman must be in a secret relationship with this guy…he states:

    “Morris has a high lifetime ERA, 3.90. But some of that is due to the 6.19 and 5.60 marks he put up in his final two seasons. And part of it is due to him pitching to the scoreboard, which the very best pitchers could do.”

    Now, I took away those two seasons and he still had a 3.73 ERA…so it was not just those two seasons.

    I also did this for Bert, and his ERA went from 3.31 to 3.16….So, his argument is rubbish!

    • largebill - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:01 PM

      Wait, wait, wait, if you take away all of Morris’ bad starts he has a much lower ERA. However, then he is down to about only 1,200 innings pitched which is a little low and his total wins goes down to 150. Bottom line if you have to use such convoluted “logic” like Heyman does to support Morris then there is no way to justify the vote. Also, if Heyman wants to ignore Morris’ last two years’ effect on his ERA then he has to ignore the last two years counting stats as well. So, drop 17 wins, 294 innings and 203 K’s. Losing his last couple seasons drops him further from HoF contention not closer.

      • marshmallowsnake - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM

        Exactly! I was just trying to prove that Morris’ high ERA was not a result of the last two seasons of his career.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    I love that some writers are beginning to think in a more progressive way, and acknowledge that it is a change in their philosophy, and even recognize that all writers should look to advance the way they see the game. It is truly great and wonderful.

    Then these same writers discredit ball players because the writers of 20 years ago did not share their new progressive way of thinking. Using MVP or Cy Young or even All Star tallies only proves that the press at the time, using rather archaic criteria, often did not properly recognize the best players. It is even more frustrating when it was their very own vote (or lack there of) being used as ‘evidence’ against the player. i.e., if 1990 Jon Heyman didn’t vote for this guy for Cy Young or MVP, how can 2010 Heyman vote him into the hall of fame? They player gets penalized twice for Heyman’s lack of understanding, even though he claims to understand now.

  9. thinman61 - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Didn’t Joe P put the lie to the “best pitcher of the 80′s” thing back in 2007?

    http://joeposnanski.si.com/2007/12/29/best-pitcher-of-the-1980s/

  10. marshmallowsnake - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Oh, and I think he waits on Bagwell to “make sure” that there were not enhancers there…

    • Tapps - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:04 PM

      I guess that kind of makes sense….but we will probably never know.

      • marshmallowsnake - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:52 PM

        Nah, we will not.

  11. plivengood - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    As a lifelong Seattleite and Mariners fan, I was (again) most disappointed by Heyman’s treatment of Edgar Martinez. Heyman wants to characterize Edgar with pleas to the lack of intangible qualities and suggest that he somehow “didn’t measure up” to his otherwise Hall-worthy statistics, to which I say: Jon Heyman must not have seen Edgar Martinez play very much.

    Portland Oregonian columnist John Canzano recently said that the late, great Maurice Lucas was the heart and soul of the great Blazers teams of the 1970s and 1980s in ways that other Blazer greats like Walton, Drexler, and Roy could not be. Without diminishing those greats, he wrote that “the contributions of Lucas cannot be quantified any more effectively than you can catch a man’s spirit in a pillow case.” And so it was with Edgar, whose everyman’s work ethic, dignity, and quiet humility closely matched the ethos of the town he chose to spend his entire career playing for.

    While not the most flashy, Edgar was the engine of the Mariners offense in their greatest years. There was no way to get the man out – he’d simply adjust, and hit the ball hard no matter where you pitched it, and if you didn’t thrown it in the strike zone, he simply didn’t swing at it. He was the protection, and the reason Ken Griffey, Jr. saw so many fastballs that he could hit (or nearly hit) 50 home runs in four consecutive seasons.

    Oh wait! I am appealing to intangibles, like Jon did? Although mine has the benefit of being true, it’s kind of hard to rebut that kind of argument, isn’t it, Jon? I respect the hell out of Heyman as a reporter, but I really wish he would check the record against his memory, to make sure he’s even remotely close to being right, or consistent, with such an important vote. And really, that’s the point of Craig’s quote from “Memento” as well as his recent pleas for consistency. It’s not really too much to ask.

    In the past Heyman has cited the lack of high placement in MVP voting as somehow evidence of Edgar’s lack of necessary dominance, but of course that is a kind of circular argument because so much of that is precisely because of the kind of anti-DH bias Edgar is facing now, as a HoF candidate.

    Fortunately, we now have better tools to check our memory and opinion on these sorts of things, against an objective record. Fangraphs now has an ability to look and see who led MLB, or the AL, for a 1, 3, or longer-year period in all kinds of things: WAR, wOBA, RC+, WPA, you name it. Let me tell you what it shows:

    1) There was never any rolling three-year period in Edgar’s career as a regular, from the 1990-1992 period all the way until the 2001-2003 period, when he didn’t finish in the top ten in the AL in both wOBA and wRC+, which are probably the best adjusted offensive stats out there. In fact, he only finished outside of the top 10 in either of those categories in all of MLB in three 3-year perods: 1992-1994, when he was injured (still, 12thin wOBA and 9th in wRC+); 1999-2001 (12th in MLB in wOBA but 8th in wRC+); 2000-2002 (again, during periods of injury, but still 21st in MLB in wOBA, and 16th in wRC+); and 2001-2003 (19th in wOBA and 15th in wRC+).

    2) Edgar led virtually every offensive measure in 1995 (specifically, led MLB in AVG, OBP, TOB, OPS, 2B, RC, RS, offensive WAR, wOBA, wRC+, OPS+, Win Probability Added, and several more) and by all rights should have been a much more serious MVP candidate, if not the winner.

    3) During Edgar’s peak, from 1995-2001, he hit .329/.446/.574, 163 OPS+, with per-162 game averages of 191 hits, 47 2B, 1 3B, 32 HR, 111 RS, 123 RBI, and 120 BB. He earned nearly 41 WAR during that seven-year stretch (the median HoFer has only 58 WAR, *career*), even after the heavy negative positional adjustment DHs face with the WAR stat (only four players in history have ever had a higher negative positional adjustment than Edgar Martinez, and all of them either saw significant time as a DH as well, or were among the worst defenders at positions that also see high negative positional adjustments such as 1B and corner OF, and none of them played anything close to the 564 games Edgar played – as a slightly above-average defender – at the relatively more difficult defensive position of 3B). In the AL, over this period, he had the second-highest WAR behind only A-Rod (all of which was due to the positional adjustment; Edgar was worth almost 125 runs more – 12+ wins – than A-Rod offensively); 1st in wOBA, wRAA, WPA, wRC+, the highest BA of anybody with at least 3000 PA over those 7 years (roughly 400 PA/yr), the highest OBP (.016 better than Frank Thomas), was top ten in SLG (and 6 of those ahead of him are admitted or suspected PED users), AND among all the contenders for these top offensive categories, Edgar led in GP, PA, and hits, too. If that’s not dominant, I don’t know what is.

    People criticize Edgar for a too-short career (on a 162-game basis, it was only about 12.5 years, and he really only spent 14 seasons as a regular), and that is a fair criticism – though as you know, also not entirely fair to Edgar, as he absolutely dominated AAA while the Mariners favored Jim Presley for about three years. But his GP and PA totals are far from unprecedented in the HoF, and many of those with similar numbers were far less than the consistent offensive force Edgar was.

    Again, using the new Fangraphs database, from 1990-2003, in all of MLB, Edgar was: 4th in WAR behind only Bonds, Bagwell, and Griffey (and just *ahead* of Frank Thomas); 5th in wRC+ behind Bonds, Pujols, Thomas, and Ramirez; 8th in wOBA (at .414 in a virtual tie for 4th with Walker and Thome, behind the group of Pujols, Thomas, Ramirez, and Helton in the .423-.433 range, and then Bonds in another world); 8th in BA (behind Helton, Pujols, Ichiro, Nomar, Vlad, Piazza, and Jeter); 10th in hits, 2nd in doubles, 9th in XBH, and 5th in Wins Probability Added (behind only Bonds, Bagwell, Sheffield, and Thomas).

    It was virtually an entire career of dominant-level performance. While not ONE thing particularly stands out for its excellence (aside from OBP perhaps), the BREADTH of excellence as a hitter is unmatched in his era, and nearly unmatched in history outside of the elite inner circle of the Hall. As you yourself once emphasized to Larry Stone (even though you pooh-poohed it in your latest article, there are only 11 retired players who have played more than 2000 games and retired with at least a .300/.400/.500 slash line, and all of those are in the Hall of Fame. And I’ll go you one better: there are only seven men ever to have that slash line, 3500 or more times on base, 500 or more doubles, 300 or more home runs, 1000 or more RBI, all while making fewer than 6000 outs. They are Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Edgar, Manny Ramirez, and Al Simmons. Of those players, Edgar made the fewest outs. Isn’t that the point? [And, anticipating your objection that those guys had many more TOB, if you look at TOB/Outs, Edgar trails only the first four of those men; in fact, if you look at the Top 1000 players in TOB in history, and then measure TOB/Outs Made, Edgar is 15th on that list, and everybody ahead of him who is eligible is in the Hall of Fame.]

    I realize that Edgar isn’t Babe Ruth, or Ted Williams, but he is significantly better than the average HoF hitter. Should the fact that he spent two-thirds of his career count against his case? Perhaps, but again, WAR already adjusts for that and still shows that Edgar clears the bar by a pretty significant margin.

    From 1990 to the end of his career, Edgar had 8392 PA. If you look at all players with at least 7000 PA in that span, only Bonds and Frank Thomas were better. Edgar is in a group with Thome, Sheffield, Bagwell, and Junior vying – closely – for the title as the third best hitter of their generation. Expand that a bit, to the entirety of their careers, and anybody born within 10 years or so of Edgar, and you add Manny to that list, and maybe Chipper or even Jason Giambi (putting PEDs aside, as I am here for Bonds, Sheffield, and Manny, too). Edgar’s in the discussion of the best and most dominant hitters of a generation. Those kinds of players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

    The man defined a position that, like it or not, has been around for 40 years and isn’t going away. The City of Seattle named a street after him, and Major League Baseball named an award for those who excel in the role he once defined after him. If character and integrity count, let’s remember this is a man never associated or suspected of PED use, a Roberto Clemete Award winner who is in the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He is worthy, on EVERY level.

  12. largebill - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Now that I’ve read Heyman’s column I’m convinced you were way too nice to him. I don’t think he could be more open to ridicule if he was trying to draw flack. In fact I’d compare his column to the stuff Skip Bayless says on that ESPN morning show just to be provocative. Bayless isn’t an idiot, but he takes outrageous positions in order to rile up the audience. Heyman even went to the “pitch to the score” garbage which no one with any understanding of the game buys.

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 6:28 PM

      Well, CJ Nitkowski (http://twitter.com/CJNitkowski) claims that *every* pitcher does it. Of course, if that’s true, then Morris still doesn’t deserve any extra credit for it.

  13. stankfinger - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Bagwell was clearly a steroid guy (yes, in MY OPINION, but look at those arms and the abnormally severe, sudden deterioration in his health towards the end), which is why he gets a no vote from Heyman most likely. Sportswriters tap dance around steroids unless the person’s been caught red-handed though which is why he didn’t even mention it in passing.

  14. jhu1997 - Dec 20, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    I know I’m a Giants fanboy, and I know my team has more undeserving Hall of Famers than any other, but…

    Rick Reuschel had a better career than Jack Morris.
    Will Clark had a better career than Don Mattingly.

    Did Heyman vote for those one-and-done candidates?

  15. phillysoulfan - Dec 20, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    “His no on Jeff Bagwell is still rather astounding to me. He doesn’t explain here beyond saying that he’s a close call and wants more time to consider. I’d really like to know what’s holding him up, though, because I think Bagwell should be a first-ballot guy.”

    I can answer this one. There’s a belief in baseball circles, that there will be someone who took steroids that we do not know about that will get into the Hall. There is also a belief that once one gets in, ALL of them will have to be put in. The most popular name to fit this is Jeff Bagwell. Second is Mike Piazza. Third is Edgar Martinez.

    • phillysoulfan - Dec 20, 2010 at 6:44 PM

      Of course the other side of this coin would be relief because then the voters would not have to take steroids into the equation.

    • stankfinger - Dec 20, 2010 at 7:12 PM

      That’s a good point, but I don’t see any reason why someone voted into the hall couldn’t then be kicked out if something like that was found out. Even presidents of the US can get evicted.

      • phillysoulfan - Dec 21, 2010 at 9:55 AM

        You can’t kick someone out of the Hall. If you could, half the guys in there would be gone already.

    • plivengood - Dec 20, 2010 at 7:15 PM

      I can understand how you *might* lump Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza in with the PED crowd (Bagwell for the reported association with Kelly Blair, and Piazza for things written by Murray Chass, and in “The Rocket That Fell to Earth”), even though there is nothing more substantial than innuendo and hearsay against either man. Where there’s smoke, perhaps there is a fire – at least maybe we should wait and see if their house burns down or not.

      But Edgar Martinez? Other than your say-so, do you have even a shred of evidence, hearsay or not, that suggests he was a PED user? I paid very close attention to Edgar’s career throughout, and have never even seen that suggested. Usually, it is the contrary….

      Believe what you want, but don’t make things up and try to pass it off as some kind of reasonable, fact-based suspicion.

      • phillysoulfan - Dec 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM

        I remember when he retired that some Seattle beat writer said something like he wouldn’t rule it out only because he was typically one of those “first to arrive last to leave guys”. If you look at who tested positive so far, it’s those guys.

    • marshmallowsnake - Dec 21, 2010 at 12:15 PM

      Didn’t Canseco say that there is a HOFer in there who took steroids? The only name that comes to mind for me is Ricky Henderson because he was a Canseco teammate.

  16. heiniemanush - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Memento…real deep.

  17. Walk - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    plivengood your comment on edgar martinez was better than any i could possibly write. Well done. Edgar will forever suffer from the curse of the dh. He will always be compared to a broad array of position players when in fact he should be compared to other designated hitters. Couple that with the fact that people still dislike the dh and you have a player who may forever be denied his rightful place. I agree whole heartedly that he deserves hall of fame consideration and hopefully enshrinement. As for jeff bagwell he suffers from playing in the steroid era and being a slugger so i can understand voters wanting to wait a few years and make sure nothing comes out in the mean time. His numbers speak for themselves though so i believe he will make it into the hall in the end barring any unsavory connections to performance enhancers.

  18. beenstew - Dec 22, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    Our take on Heyman’s vote: http://thebeenstew.com/2010/12/22/heyman-you-kidding-me/

  19. NickT - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    Speaking of memory being unreliable, Clemens struck out 20 Mariners in ’86, not 21.

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