Tag Archive | "Sammy Sosa"

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Former Orioles Mussina, Benitez, Palmeiro, Sosa on HOF ballot

Posted on 27 November 2013 by WNST Staff

(Cooperstown, NY) – Pitchers who won a combined seven Cy Young Awards and position players who totaled three Most Valuable Player Awards are among 19 new candidates on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot that is being mailed this week to more than 600 voting members of the BBWAA.

Pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Eric Gagne, first baseman-designated hitter Frank Thomas and second baseman Jeff Kent join 17 holdovers from the 2013 balloting that failed to produce a winning candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the first time since 1996.

Craig Biggio, who totaled 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), topped the 2014 ballot with 388 votes – 39 shy of the 427 required for election. His total reflected 68.2 percent of the electorate, which consists of BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage.

Players must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to earn election. Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (59.6), catcher Mike Piazza (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines (52.2). Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in any year. This is the 15th and final year of eligibility for Morris.

Maddux won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and a record 18 Gold Glove Awards in a 23-season career in which he compiled a 355-227 record with a 3.16 earned run average and 3,371 strikeouts in 5,008 1/3 innings combined for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The righthander led the NL in ERA four times and won at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons, another record.

Glavine, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner (1991 and ’98) and 10-time All-Star, was 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons combined with the Braves and New York Mets. The lefthander was a five-time 20-game winner and won four Silver Slugger Awards. Gagne had 55 saves and a 1.20 ERA in 77 appearances with the Dodgers in his Cy Young Award season.

Thomas, who won consecutive American League MVP Awards with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and ’94 and placed in the top three in the voting five times overall, finished his 19-year career with 2,468 hits, including 521 home runs. He drove in 1,704 runs, scored 1,494 and had more walks (1,667) than strikeouts (1,397).

Jeff Kent, the NL MVP in 2000 with the San Francisco Giants, also played for the Mets, Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros in a 17-season career during which he slammed 377 home runs, 351 of which were as a second baseman, a major league record. The five-time All-Star had at least 20 homers and 100 RBI in eight seasons, the most by any second baseman in major-league history.

Hideo Nomo, the 1995 NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year winner and the owner of two no-hitters; and two World Series heroes, outfielders Moises Alou (1997 Florida Marlins) and Luis Gonzalez (2001 Arizona Diamondbacks), are also on the ballot for the first time. Joining them are righthander Mike Mussina, who had a .638 winning percentage (270-153) over 18 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees; lefthander Kenny Rogers, whose perfect game for the Texas Rangers in 1994 was the highlight of a 20-year career; reliever Armando Benitez, the 2001 Rolaids Relief Man of the Year and first baseman J.T. Snow, a six-time Gold Glove Award winner. Other newcomers are relievers Todd Jones and Mike Timlin, first basemen Sean Casey and Richie Sexson, second baseman Ray Durham, catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Jacque Jones.

Among others returning to the ballot are first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro; outfielders Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Larry Walker; pitchers Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Lee Smith; shortstop Alan Trammell and third baseman-DH Edgar Martinez.

Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce. Results will be announced at 2 p.m., EST, Wednesday, January 8, 2014, on MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.

The ballot: Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Armando Benitez, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Sean Casey, Roger Clemens, Ray Durham, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, Richie Sexson, Lee Smith, J.T. Snow, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.


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Why the 2012 Orioles are Different

Posted on 21 July 2012 by Big Chee

Think back to the past decade of Orioles baseball and try and recall moments of success. Yes, this dismal decade might be a bit of a blur; however, the 2005 season had some moments of hope, at least in the first half of the year. Baltimore spent 62 days in first place in the AL East, and came into the All-Star break 47-40. The O’s came out of the break, and won two straight over Seattle. Shortly after, the O’s traded outfielder Larry Bigbie to the Colorado Rockies for slugging outfielder Eric Byrnes. The team believed they could be contenders. However, the deal at the deadline for Byrnes, as well as their success in the first half, could not be sustained. By the end of August, the O’s were 51-53. Rafael Palmeiro was busted for steroids and lying to congress. By season’s end, it was more of the same sad story for the Orioles. Their combined record post All-Star break was 27-48, and their 74-88 record was 21 games behind both the Red Sox and the Yankees.

There have been pessimistic comparisons out there, from fans and media alike, that 2012 will turn out like 2005. Heck, maybe you can’t blame people for thinking that way. The Orioles came into the All-Star break with a 45-40 record. They also enjoyed a stint in first place during May and early June. Dan Duquette has been telling the media and the fans that he has been given the green light to buy at the deadline, in hopes of continuing the push towards the team’s first potential postseason appearance since 1997. However, the trigger has not been pulled on any one of significance yet, a la Ryan Dempster or Zach Greinke. The Yankees are still eight games ahead of Baltimore in the AL East. After struggling out of the gate post-ASB, losing 4 of 5, the O’s have won three straight, including their 10-2 drubbing of the Indians last night in Cleveland. Their ace, Jason Hammel, is on the DL with a knee injury. Could the comparison to 2005 come to fruition?

Whether or not the Orioles are able to make their first postseason appearance since 1997 is irrelevant to this argument; 2012 will be different than 2005. To begin the comparison, one must look at the man who leads the players every day, the manager. Lee Mazzilli, who led the Orioles for the first half of 2005, had not even managed in the Majors for two years. Sam Perlozzo, who succeeded Mazzilli after the midseason firing, had a career record of 128-172; not much better.

Buck Showalter has won AL Manager of the Year twice. He managed both the Yankees and Diamondbacks, and left right before they both became World Series Champions. His experience and style has changed the culture in a locker room, which has been accustomed to losing for a long time. Buck is not going anywhere. However, if he was to leave, and if history is any indication, that means the Orioles will be World Series champions soon; right?

Secondly, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles lineup has been built much differently than seven years ago.  In 2005, the Orioles had sluggers, and supposed-to-be Hall of Famers, with Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro in the heart of the lineup. I think we all know how that turned out. Before the season started, Rafael Palmeiro adamantly denied steroid use, after Jose Canseco mentioned, in his book, that he had. Palmeiro went to Congress, looked them dead in the eyes, and said, “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” Well, on August 1st, he was suspended 10 days after testing positive. From then on, Palmeiro would need ear plugs the rest of the season to drown out the boos in Baltimore and opposing stadiums when he would come to the plate.

Sammy Sosa? He hit a dismal .221, with only 14 home runs and 45 RBIs. Tejada had a down year, compared to an MVP like season in 2004. Eric Byrnes, who was acquired at the 2005 deadline, hit .192 with 11 RBI in 31 games with the O’s.

The 2012 Orioles lineup is infused with young talent that will be part of the nucleus for years to come. Adam Jones, who signed a 6 year deal worth $85.5 million this year, made the All Star team and currently leads the Orioles in Average (.294), HRs (22), RBIs (63), Runs Scored (63) and SBs (11). Chris Davis, at 26 years-old, is a consistent power threat, and is second on the team in homeruns with 15. Matt Wieters, also age 26, is second on the team in RBIs with 46, and has been one of the best defensive catchers in the league. Nick Markakis is off the DL, trying to build on some of his strong moments in the first half of the season, before his injury. In this post-steroid era of baseball we now live in, the younger, fresher lineup allows for guys to play fundamentally sound baseball, on an everyday basis.

With the next three games against Cleveland, and July ending with series against division foes Tampa Bay and New York, this stretch will serve as a test of where this team will go this season. In addition, it will provide GM Dan Duquette a plan, as to the players he needs to target and the teams he needs to call before the July 31st trade-deadline. Regardless, 2012 has been assembled and guided in a much more effective manner than 2005, and the Orioles are finding success they have not had in a very long time.

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