“Hall Of Famers” …. As We Stand Here Today

July 08, 2010 |

I can’t help it. I’m a baseball junkie …..

It’s my favorite sport and regardless of the Orioles demise, I still get wrapped up in anything and everything concerning America’s pasttime. And, as much as I don’t really care for next week’s Homerun Derby, I still get excited about the lure of the All Star Game. So, I write about baseball, to include, my memories and opinions.

Over the past week, I’ve covered current All Stars, as well as MVPs, Cy Youngs and Rookies Of The Year. Where else can I go?

Well, I can take the historical path, I suppose.

Are there sure-lock HALL OF FAMERS in the game, today? You bet. In fact, my list includes players, managers, executives and owners. As with anything else, it’s puely subjective. However, I do feel I’m absolutely right about 99.9% of this crowd …..

Chipper Jones

Quite frankly, he’s going to be a benificiary of NOT being tied to any Performance Enhancing Drug scandals. Did he use? I don’t know. However, as we look at him TODAY, there are no smoking guns.
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Over 17 seasons, Chipper has achieved some HOF-worthy stats – .306 avg, 2464 hits, 432 homers, 487 doubles

He also owns an MVP, as well as a ring. And, he’s well liked. Chipper has spent his entire career in one city and I think such an honor and loyalty gets rewarded by media voters. Perhaps, he’s not a first ballot guy. But, he’s in Cooperstown.
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John Schuerholz

Baltimore guy makes good, huh? Schuerholz has evolved into one of the most respected scouting minds in the game. He was instrumental in the construction of the Kansas City Royals of the 80′s, and more famously, the Atlanta Braves of the past 20 years.
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Schuerholz’s Braves have appeared in the postseason 13 times over his two decades at the helm. He owns two rings and has drafted a gang of future Hall Of Fame players.
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Bobby Cox

Indeed, he’s earned his bust, in Cooperstown. Bobby Cox has skippered the Atlanta Braves through their era of dominance, in the National League’s Eastern Division. Heck, he’s even been recognized with a CAKE, at the U.S. Capitol …..
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His managing career includes 5 Pennants and a World Championship, along with a .556 winning percentage. Bobby Cox is absolutely a Hall Of Famer. And, with his retirement at the end of this season, he probably won’t be waiting too long.
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Omar Vizquel

Before you say “NO WAY,” just consider one name ….. Ozzie Smith. Lets look at their careers …..

Smith – .262 avg, 2460 hits, 580 steals, 13 Gold Gloves

Vizquel – .272 avg, 2735 hits, 391 steals, 11 Gold Gloves
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I think Omar Vizquel is another player who might wait for a “thin year” of candidates. But, I do think he’s ultimately a Hall Of Famer. I’ll admit part of my reasoning is also tied to some dissent. I didn’t think Ozzie Smith’s career was really HOF-worthy. Very good? Yes. Great? No. Thus, I think Vizquel reaches the Ozzie Smith threshhold and earns his place in Cooperstown.
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Manny Ramirez

I’m not part of the group that thinks players with direct ties to Performance Enhancing Drug usage will be denied entry to the Hall Of Fame. This was the Steroid Era – period. Some users will make, some will not. Mark McGwire was not a HOF-worthy player. Manny Ramirez is …..
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Manny’s numbers are undeniable – .313 avg, 2553 hits, 554 homers, 544 doubles. Although, he lacks the organizational commitment of a Chipper Jones, he has been dominant over the course of his career. In fact, he’s a first ballot guy.
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Joe Torre

He’s in …. regardless of the advantages the New York Yankees have enjoyed over other organizations. Torre was a guiding, laid-back influence, who managed an array of attitudes. And, he never panicked under pressure.
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Joe Torre has managed 5 different ballclubs, over 29 years. He owns a .540 winning percentage, along with 6 Pennants and 4 World Championships. Yes, all of these titles came with the Yankees, but he still has them.
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Trevor Hoffman

He’s just short of 600 career saves. Of course, Hoffman is also the all-time saves leader. It’s pretty difficult to deny his dominance in this role and, along with Mariano Rivera, he’s been the standard for closers over the last several years.
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I would’nt be surprised if Trevor Hoffman fails in his first HOF ballot. I think closers always run that risk. But, he’ll gain entry into Cooperstown. After all, his name is always mentioned when discussing the greatest closers in the history of the game.
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Jim Thome

Some people actually agonize over this one. It’s a SLAM DUNK. Jim Thome is another player who has no direct tie to Performance Enhancing Drugs during the course of his career. Are we suspicious? Sure …. but, all players have really earned a lifted eyebrow.
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Thome’s stats are career defining – 574 homers, 423 doubles, 1593 rbi and 1646 walks. Of course, the longball really makes Thome. He’s closing in on 600 homers and in a limted role, he’s swatted 10 in the first half of the season. He’s also a nice guy and voters remember that.
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Mariano Rivera

While he is not the career saves leader, many observers believe Rivera is the most dominant closer in the history of the game. Overtaking Trevor Hoffman is not out of the question, but health and age are crucial, at this point. Regardless, Mariano Rivera has enjoyed a great career …..
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With 545 saves and a 2.22 era, he could walk away today and anticipate his induction into the Hall Of Fame. And, that’s the spirit of this blog …..
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Alex Rodriguez

Yep, he certainly gets lumped in with Manny Ramirez and other sluggers who’ve been busted for Performance Enhancing Drug usage. That said, A’Rod has been the game’s best player over the last 15 seasons. He’s on pace to succeed Barry Bonds as the All-Time Homerun King, probably by 2015 …..
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A’Rod is 3 homers shy of #600 …. 1 stolen base shy of #300 …. 388 hits shy of #3000 and just 35 doubles shy of reaching his 500th two-bagger. Unless, he does something very “OJ-ish”, A’Rod is a shoo-in …..
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Derek Jeter

The Yankees are flowing in now, huh? Jeter is another first ballot guy. He, too, is closing in on 3000 hits. Jeter has certainly been the backbone of a formidable New York franchise, over the last 15 seasons. While he has stellar stats, he also possesses an array of the intangible qualities.
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Derek Jeter is universally respected for playing the game the right way. He’s got a handful of rings and a noted reputation for good character and loyalty. He’s an absolute lock for first-ballot induction into Cooperstown.
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George Steinbrenner

Uh-oh …. here come the negative comments and f-bombs. Hey, it is what it is ….. and George Steinbrenner owns a franchise that has reinvented itself, a couple times. He also has 7 World Championships during his ownership and that’s difficult to diminish.
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I’ll concede Steinbrenner has his critics and dissenters. He’s also been banned from the game; earlier in his ownership. That said, his “business of baseball” has been legendary and he’ll be remembered as such. Some folks will think his dealings hurt the game and some will disagree. I think he was innovator.
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Jamie Moyer

Count ‘em …. 267 wins. Moyer is 33 shy of the magical 300 mark. However, even more amazing is his durability and longevity in this game. He’s 47 years old and midway thru his 24th Major League season.
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Some observers may think he never dominated, and that’s okay. But, Jamie Moyer will be recognized for everything else. He’s headed to the Hall Of Fame – and, regardless, of how many ballots it takes, he’s gonna be an old dude when he gets there. Good for him !!!! It’s a great story …..
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Ichiro Suzuki

Without a doubt, he’ll be coming back across the pond a mere five years after he hangs it up. Ichiro has arguably been the best player in the game, since arriving just nine years ago. In that brief time, he’s hit for a .332 clip and achieved 200+ hits in EVERY full season, along with Gold Gloves. He’s also been an All Star, each season.
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He has shown no signs of slowing down. And, I do wonder where his numbers would climb, if he played in a good lineup. He’s in his tenth season, and Ichiro is a slam dunk first-ballot Hall Of Famer. Don’t even argue it …..
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Albert Pujols

Yeah, he’s in. I’ve always been skeptical of his inflated numbers and behemoth frame. But, once again, there are no direct ties between Pujols and Performance Enhancing Drugs. He’s been a monster over the last ten years.
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Look at these numbers – .332 avg, 1810 hits, 386 homers ….. since 2001. If he retired today, Albert Pujols would be inducted on his initial ballot. There is little doubt of that. And, he’s just 30 years old. That’s just sick …..
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Tony LaRussa

Yep, he’s a Hall Of Famer. LaRussa has managed 32 seasons, while garnering 5 Pennants and 2 World Championships. And, he sports a .535 winning percentage …..
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There is also the argument that Tony LaRussa has been a WINNER wherever he goes. Joe Torre does not have that distinction. And, LaRussa has managed teams with far lesser payrolls. He’ll be elected to the Hall Of Fame at some point.
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Vlad Guerrero

If Chipper Jones is a Hall Of Famer, so is Vlad. While he has battled injuries over his 15 seasons, he’s been a steady, if not dominant performer during the course of his career. In fact, he could’ve been one of the game’s greatest players, but he’s missed nearly 200 games, due to injury.
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The career numbers don’t lie – .322 avg, 2350 hits, 426 homers, 434 doubles. Although, his Major league resume’ is nearing an end, Vlad could reach the 500 homerun club, if he stays healthy. That’s a BIG if …. but, he’s a Hall Of Famer.
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Ivan Rodriguez

While he will always be remembered for his defensive prowess, and a ROCKET arm, “Pudge” has also enjoyed a very stellar offensive career. He has a career batting average of .299, along with 2772 hits, 306 homers and 561 doubles.
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Yet, it’s his skills as a catcher that really makes Pudge the complete Hall Of Famer. He has 13 Golden Gloves and many obervers regard him as possessing the best arm EVER, for catchers. That’s difficult to argue. Welcome to Cooperstown …..

Well, that’s it. Agree? Disagree? We’ll chat about it TODAY @ 2pm …..

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