Friday, March 11, 2005

Future call to the hall?

THe first question in this article asks how many future hall of famers are on the 2005 Red Sox roster. The writer, Ian Browne, answers with Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling. I definately agree with Manny. Barring some kind of major injury he'll have over 500 home runs by the time his career is done and he'll top it off with an avg over .300 and an obp over .400. He already has the 43rd most homers in the history of the game and with a strong showing this year he could climb up to 36th. With 7 top 10 MVP finishes, 8 all-star appearences, and a World Series ring already under his belt and at least another five years left to go, I'm willing to put money on the fact that Manny will be in Cooperstown one day. Schilling, on the other hand, I'm not sold on. He's had 5 top 5 Cy Young finishes and even 2 top 10 MVP finishes. He's a postseason hero and the ace on one of the best Red Sox teams of all time. His personality is bigger than his accomplishments and he's loved by New Englanders everywhere. The only problem with Schilling is that he didn't turn dominant until after he turned 30. He has no chance to get 300 wins and his 3.32 career ERA would be one of the highest in the Hall. I have a feeling that Curt is going to be one of those yearly debates. If he puts up a couple more very impressive years he may have a shot, but as of right now, I'd have to say he's not going to make it. As for the rest of the team, there really aren't any players who look like they're heading for the hall. Ortiz blossomed far too late in his career and Damon has been a pretty average player over the course of his career. He'd have to put on one hell of a performance in his declining years to even be considered. Foulke has never been a lights out closer and it's tough enough as it is for a reliever to get into the Hall.

What about the Yankees? Well, Alex Rodriguez is already pretty close to a lock. He's been the best player in the game for close to a decade now. As much as Boston fans and players are growing to hate the guy, there's no denying that we're watching one of the best shortstops/thirdbasemen of all time play the game. Jeter will likely also make it. There's no question that he's one of the most over-rated in the game. But that doesn't change the fact that many actually do rate him that high. Many voters will give Jeter the nod based on his "intangibles" alone! Either way, at the end of his career his numbers probably will make him a legitimate hall of famer. He's going to close in on 3000 hits and have a .300 average by the time he's done. His fist full of rings and the fact that he's the face of the team will give him more then enough support to make it. A strong case could be made for two of their outfielders. Bernie Williams may be far too old be be patroling centerfield now, but in his prime he was a hell of a player. The five years he played in his prime (96-00) are very impressive. Personally I wouldn't give him a vote. Being great for five years doesn't really make you a hall of famer. But the guy is going to get a lot of consideration. Gary Sheffield may be one of the game's biggest assholes and his name will be forever tarnished by steroids. But if you look past the guy and look at his performance on the field, it's pretty impressive. He's going to finish very close to 500 homers and if he plays a few more years he should reach 500. He's been very inconsistent throughout his career, mostly due to injuries. There's one three year stretch where his home run total went from 16 to 42 to 21. And another three year period where it went from 36 to 25 to 39. But when all is said and done his career will look very solid. Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina will both get consideration, but both should fall short. They've both been good pitchers over their careers, but not great. Brown has had periods of greatness, but has been bitten far too hard, far too often by the injury bug. The ace of the staff, however, is nearly a lock to get in. Randy Johnson is one of the top lefties to ever play the game. Unless he has a couple of stellar seasons with the Yankees, he won't hit the magic number of 300 wins, but his 4161 strikeouts is third on the all time list. He's won five Cy Youngs and has a ring. There's really no debate about Johnson. There is one more Yankee who will be up for consideration when he retires. Mariano Rivera is considered by most to be the best closer over the last ten years. The guy is considered to be dominant and his postseason success is icing on the cake. He always seems to have trouble against the Red Sox, but he's unhittable to everyone else. It is tough for a reliever to get into the hall, but Rivera is one of the game's best and will likely get in.

So what are the totals? Well, the Sox have one, possibly two, future hall of famers. The Yanks have quite a few more. Four of their players are near locks, two will get strong consideration, and two will have their names tossed around for a bit before they drop off the ballet.

While we're on the subject of the Hall of Fame, I'd like to make a quick case for someone that I've always thought deserves to be in. The arguement against Bert Blylevin is that he wasn't dominant. He only won 20 games in a season once and he was never considered to be one of the greats. He only made two all-star games, never won a Cy Young, and his career ERA isn't spectacular. But the guy was very good for a very long time. I think after a while of putting up really good numbers, a guy is considered great. He came close to 4000 strikeouts and 300 wins. Think of it this way. Let's say you're starting a major league baseball game and you can predict the future. If price were no issue and you knew that you could have either Bert Blylevin or Sandy Koufax on your team, who would you want? You know exactly how both careers will turn out and you know what numbers they will put up. You know how long they are going to pitch for and how good they'll be. Would you rather have 22 years of a really good pitcher who will be there year after year to lead your staff or would you rather have 12 years of a great pitcher who had only five dominant years and a few decent ones? Sandy Koufax and his five years of brilliance are in the hall. Bert Blylevin and his 22 years of solid performance are not. I'd take Blylevin in a heartbeat.

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