Tag Archives: hall of fame debate

Hall Of Fame Debate: Looking Ahead To The Possible Class Of 2015

Hall Of Fame Debate: Looking Ahead To The Possible Class Of 2015

Ok, so now we know what players made the cut with the ‘Class of 2014’ and which ones will have to wait at least one more year to see if they earn election in 2015.

And we also know the players that will be eligible for the first time in 2015.

They are:  Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Paul Byrd, Tony Clark, Carlos Delgado, David Dellucci, Jermaine Dye, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Randy Johnson, Mark Loretta, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Troy Percival, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Julian Tavarez, Jarrod Washburn, David Weathers

The list is interesting to say the least.  It is packed with All-stars, memory makers, and World Series champions.

But, is it packed with future Hall of Famers as well??

Well, at first glance, there are a few names that stand out for me – and probably you as well.  The names of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz stand out among the pitchers on the list.  And while there is no ‘top-tier’ offensive player on the ballot for the first time in 2015, the name of Gary Sheffield should make you at least pause for a few minutes.

To be honest, of the four guys mentioned above, not one of them can hold a candle to the single at-bat that Aaron Boone had in the World Series a few years ago.  But, when looking at the full careers, both regular and post season, this ballot is stacked at the top and then there is a major drop-off.

There is no Mike Piazza on this list.  Or Mike Mussina.  Or Jeff Kent.

So, what do you think – Four contenders and a bunch of pretenders or am I missing something??

NationalBaseballHallOfFameLogo

Hall Of Fame Debate: Will There Ever Be A Unanimous Election??

Hall Of Fame Debate: Will There Ever Be A Unanimous Election??

Johnny Bench did not do it…

Nolan Ryan did not do it…

Rickey Henderson did not do it…

And most recently, Greg Maddux did not do it.

Will it ever happen?  This is certainly a good topic for debate.  And timely too!

Ultimately, I think that there are just way too many voters in the Hall of Fame election process for all of them to agree to a 100% vote for any single player.  Will players get close?  Sure.  But, 100% of the vote is going to be very, very tough – especially when the voters seem to have such differing views as to what amounts to a Hall of Fame player.

At times over their careers, it seemed like guys like Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr, and Albert Pujols were all lined up to amass incredible numbers when their time for election was due.  But, things change.  And they change rapidly.  Injuries, change of scenery, rapid drop-off in production, etc. all lead to someone taking a vote or votes away.

Personally, I don’t believe that it will ever happen.

But, of all of the future eligible players, I think that the player with the best opportunity to get close to 100% is Mariano Rivera.  Numbers-wise, he is heads and shoulders above all relief pitchers.  Plus, he did it in the biggest media city in the US.  And he did a majority of it in pressure situations.  The biggest knock against him is that he ‘is just a closer’.  And that horrible phrase may be enough to keep a few votes out of his pocket too…

What do you think?  Will we ever see a player earn 100% of the votes cast for Hall of Fame induction?  Does that player exist today?

Let me hear it!!!

Hall of fame voting

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

I think that it is safe to say that in time the trio of Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony LaRussa will all be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If I was a betting man, and this was a bet with any kind of odds, I would bet the house on this one.  Each of these managers left an impression on the sport, on the fans of the teams that they coached, and maybe most important – they left impressions on the teams and fans that were battling against them.

I could comfortably state that Torre, Cox, and LaRussa are the cream of the crop as it relates to successful major league managers from their eras.

With that all being said – how easy is it to say which one is better?

It’s not.

Because what the manager does is not measured in numbers.  At least not in any numbers in which they are awarded for good decisions and penalized for bad ones.

But the good ones, the really good ones, seem to get the best out of their best players and the best out of the ones that are lower on the totem pole as well.

Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa can all take great pride in the team and individual successes of the players that the managed as they certainly had a hand in that success.

For tonight’s ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ I am asking for you to give me the order in which these three great coaches should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  They’re all going to get in – it’s just a matter of time before that happens.

But, who deserves to get in first, second, and third??

While you cannot judge all that a manager does by the numbers his teams put up, it is nice to compare both players and managers in similar categories.

So, here is a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the trio:

  Cox Torre LaRussa
Years 30 30 35
Wins 2504 2326 2728
Losses 2001 1997 2365
Win % 0.556 0.538 0.536
100-win seasons 6 4 4
1st place finishes 15 13 11
Last place finishes 4 4 2
Division Championships 15 13 11
League Championships 4 6 6
World Series Titles 1 4 3
Manager Of The Year 4 2 4

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The numbers stack up pretty well for these three guys, huh?  For me, the only thing that really stands out is how close to a .500 winning percentage each manager is over the course of their careers.  Deemed as uber-successful, they are all very close to 50%.

And now, time for me to divulge my rankings.

First, a little chatter about each guy:

  • Cox – you cannot ignore the consecutive seasons in which his Braves teams won their division.  I find it to be one of the most impressive feats in baseball history.
  • Torre – he had to manage a ton of egos during his run as the manager of the Yankees. He did it with grace, and it looked like all of his players valued his style.
  • LaRussa – he did it twice, with two clubs.  And he did it with the game’s greatest players on his roster both times (Canseco & Pujols).  His bullpen use is highly criticized, but it resulted in a lot of wins.

But who ranks the highest? 

If you had to select the order in three consecutive induction years in which these three former managers would be inducted, what order would you place them in??

Cox.Torre.LaRussa

Here is my ranking:

  1. Tony LaRussa
  2. Bobby Cox
  3. Joe Torre

When I think back to LaRussa, I never saw him as a ‘losing’ manager.  He took hold of the A’s and Cardinals franchises and took them both to the pinnacle.  I witnessed both Cox and Torre manage losing clubs before they got their ‘breaks’ with the Braves and Yankees.  And while they both had a ton of success, they also had ridiculous lineups – Cox with his Hall of Fame pitching rotation and Torre with his All-World offenses.

For me, LaRussa did the most with the least.  He gets top-billing in my book!!!

LaRussa

How about you?  How would you rank these managers if you had to pick the order in which they entered the Hall of Fame?

Yes, it is splitting hairs as all are deserving – but it is fun nonetheless!!!

Thanks for reading.