One thing was made perfectly clear to me yesterday; Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa will Never get elected to the Hall of Fame………NEVER!
And that goes for you too Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte and Manny Ramirez.
Not this year, not next year, or 10 or 15 years from now……..Never.
The Baseball Writers of America own the keys to the front door, and you ain’t getting a copy.
And for those of you that think that maybe this was just a First Ballot punishment and that we need to see where the vote totals go next year, forget it. We need look no further than Mark McGwire’s vote totals over the years to give us some perspective.
Yesterday was the seventh time McGwire has been on the ballot, it was also the lowest vote total (16.9%) that he has ever received. He is not moving up with time and perspective, as some have suggested will happen with Bonds and Clemens, he is moving down.
The writers, many of whom in their own way were at least indirectly responsible for the popularity of the “steroid era”, have now determined that they are the moral compass.
Sound like a bad deal? Too bad, because the system isn’t changing and you and I don’t get a vote.
While I think fans would always like to see someone go in each year and the writers might get some minor heat for not putting anyone through, the next couple of ballots will give the writers and the HOF itself plenty of cover to avoid calls for any changes to the voting procedures.
In just the next three years (2014-16), I can see as many as 11 players getting elected into the HOF.
K Griffey Jr
Electing that many players from one era will allow the writers to easily stay away from the “steroid” guys and the so-called “steroid era”.
However, if there was one way for the “steroid” players to get in, it would be this. A large group of current HOF players would have to stand up en-mass and say that only the numbers matter, not how they were obtained. If Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron and Billy Williams and Johnny Bench and other Hall of Fame players from the 60’s and 70’s said it was ok, then Bonds and Clemens might have a chance; but I don’t believe that will ever happen. So as I said, the steroid guys will never get in.
As for Craig Biggio not getting in, it’s embarrassing.
It is obvious looking at voting patterns from the last couple of years that a large block of writers continue to practice “first ballot” protection voting.
Craig Biggio IS a HOF caliber player and I’m sure he will go in next year. Yet there were plenty of voters out there yesterday that just don’t think he is in the same league as Joe DiMaggio or Jimmy Foxx or Rogers Hornsby or Ted Williams or Eddie Mathews or Juan Marichal or Billy Williams or Etc………and while they might think that and you reading this might think it as well, the HOF plaque doesn’t mention if you are a first or second ballot guy.
Oh; btw. Of the seven HOF players I just mentioned in the last paragraph, only one went in on the first ballot. I’ll leave you to figure out which one it was.
Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and Geovany Soto all are sent packing while the Cubs get 5 minor league players in return. If I had to make a snap judgment right now, I’d have to call the Cubs losers in the trade game. And the losing started when Ryan Dempster said no to the Atlanta trade.
As a 10 and 5 player, Dempster has a certain set of rights when it comes to trades, and I fully support those rights. But if media reports are to be believed, Dempster had listed the Braves as a team that he would be willing to go to in a trade, and then changed his mind when the Cubs actually agreed to a deal that would send Ryan to Atlanta. Apparently Dempster really wanted to go to the Dodgers. While that’s great for him, it put the Cubs on the wrong side of the scale when it came time to negotiate a deal with L.A. It’s hard to drive a hard bargain when in a trade when one side knows the other side has no other option.
This is where I really credit Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. When the Dodgers offered far less than what the Cubs thought Dempster was worth, they just said no. They put the ball back in Dempster’s hand and said we can work out a deal to NY or Texas; or you will just stay in Chicago (and all the fans will know you blocked the Cubs future progress) .
So instead of getting a Major League ready Randall Delgado from Atlanta for Demspter, the Cubs end up sending both Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson for two lower level minor league players.
Then they trade Soto for minor league pitcher Jake Brigham. My friend Steve over at One Strike Away…Twice likes Brigham as a potential 4th or 5th starter in the rotation. I’ll take that in return for an oft injured and disappointing Geo Soto.
Then back to Dempster. With the deadline rapidly approaching, the Cubs went back to the Rangers and worked out a deal that would send Ryan to Texas for two more minor league players.
Look, I know the Cubs were going to lose Dempster after the season anyway and should be happy that they got some mid-level prospects back in return instead of nothing, but the truth is, it seems like the Cubs didn’t get what us fans thought Dempster would bring in return. After all, if Andrew Cashner brought Anthony Rizzo, shouldn’t Dempster have also brought a top of the list prospect?
Volume 4 – Donnie Moore
Less than 18,000 men have played Major League Baseball, that’s it. Think about that, if every player that ever played in the Majors sat in the stands at Wrigley Field, the place would be half empty.
When put in those terms, it seems like we baseball fans would have a fairly solid handle on almost all the players that have played the game. Yet for the overwhelming majority of those players, their careers are nondescript. They pass like a blur, only to be remembered by friends and family or on the pages of the Baseball Encyclopedia and Baseball-Reference.com.
So to be remembered for playing Major League Baseball is a special thing. Why they are remembered though is a different story.
Some are remembered for great careers; Ruth, Aaron, Jeter.
Others are remembered for the events of just one game; Don Larsen, Harvey Haddix
And still others are remembered for just a single play or pitch or at-bat; Fred Merkle, Al Downing, Brant Brown, Ralph Branca. It’s this category that our latest ‘He Was A Cub’ falls into.
The moment we remember came on Oct 12th 1986 in game 5 of the ALCS as Donnie Moore was pitching to Dave Henderson.
Moore and the California Angels were leading Boston 3 games to 1 in the best of 7 series as they headed to the 9th inning with a 5-2 lead over the Red Sox in Game 5. I think there is little doubt that if that game was being played today; Donnie Moore, the team closer, would have been brought in to start the inning. However the Angels stayed with starting pitcher Mike Witt. Witt allowed a leadoff single to Bill Buckner (who went on to play a significant role in Game 5 of the WS that year), then struck out Jim Rice before giving up a two-run home run to Don Baylor. Witt then got Dwight Evans to pop-out to third base. With left-handed hitting Rich Gedman due up, the Angels went to the bullpen and brought in lefty Gary Lucas. On his first pitch, Lucas hit Gedman. So with a 1-run lead and a runner on first, Donnie Moore comes in to face Dave Henderson. Henderson gets to a 2-2 count before fouling off two more pitches……….and then it happens…………….
Donnie Moore was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the supplemental draft in January of 1973. He signed that summer and was sent to the Cubs rookie league team. In 1974 he played for the Cubs single and double A teams. He was a combined 11-16 with a 3.26 era as a starter. In 1975 he again pitched for AA Midland. As a starting pitcher, he was 14-8 with a 2.97 era. That season’s minor league performance earned Donnie a September call-up to the Cubs.
Donnie Moore made his Major League debut on September 14th 1975 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming into the game in relief of starter Steve Stone, the first batter Moore faced in his career was future HOF third baseman Mike Schmidt with two runners on base. Schmidt hit a single that ended up scoring both runs with the help of an error by catcher George Mitterwald. Moore pitched in 3 more games that fall.
Donnie spent all of the 1976 season and half of 1977 back in the Cubs minor league system. For the remainder of the ’77 season as well as 1978-79, Donnie would be shuttled back and forth between the Cubs major and minor league teams.
During his career with the Cubs, Moore pitched 233 innings over 141 games. His record was 14-13 with a 4.44 era.
Just after the 1979 season ended, Donnie was traded by the Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Tyson. Moore started the year on the Opening Day roster, but was sent back to the minors in May for the remainder of the 1980 season.
Donnie spent all of the 1981 season in AAA until he was purchased in September in what was basically a rent-a-player deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Moore pitched in 3 games that month for the Brew Crew before being returned to the Cardinals after the season.
The next spring Donnie was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Like he had done with the Cubs and the Cardinals, Moore spent the next two seasons moving back and forth between the Major League team and AAA. It wasn’t until 1984 that Donnie spent the entire season in the majors. That year he had a 2.94 era and was the primary closer in a closer-by-committee bullpen.
That winter he was taken by the California Angels in the Free Agent Compensation draft. It was a great pick for the Angels and Moore. Donnie had what would be his best career season. He was 8-8 with 31 saves. He made his only All-Star team and finished 6th in the AL MVP balloting. It was perfect timing for Moore as he became a free agent after the season. The Angels re-signed Moore for $2M over two years, a huge contract at the time.
Although 1986 wasn’t as good for Moore as ’85 had been, he still was 5th in the AL in saves and the team made it to the playoffs.
After the heartbreaking loss in the ’86 ALCS, 1987 was not kind to Moore. Because games 6 and 7 of the previous years ALCS were in Boston, the fans were getting their first chance to “greet” their players after the Championship Series loss, and they vented their disappointment at Moore the most. Donnie was routinely boo’d by the home town fans early in the season; and although he didn’t pitch horribly, he started out by blowing 2 of his first 5 save chances and gave up runs in 5 of 6 outings. Eventually, Donnie ended up spending most of the 1987 season on the DL.
That winter Moore was re-signed as a free agent again by the Angels for $1M. Moore had a poor season in 1988 and was released by the Angels on August 26th.
Donnie was signed as a free agent by the KC Royals in 1989 and sent to AAA. Unfortunately he didn’t pitch well there, a 6.39 era in 7 games, and was released in June. He never pitched in a professional game again. His last big league appearance came on August 7th, 1988 against the Chicago White Sox.
Just a month after his release from the Royals, Donnie Moore got into an altercation with his wife during which he shot her. Tonya Moore survived the shooting, but Donnie turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
One can never know for sure what ultimately lead Moore to take his own life, but it’s clear that Donnie’s life changed both professionally and emotionally after giving up that home run to Henderson and it without doubt played a role in his eventual demise.
And so maybe Donnie Moore will always be remembered for one pitch that he delivered to Dave Henderson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Anaheim in Game 5 of the ALCS………….
But just for one day………….let’s remember that………….
Donnie Moore was a Cub………………..
While the first half of the season was wrapping up and the league was holding its annual All-Star game, I was taking a vacation with my family around the east coast. We spent time in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Cape Cod and then finished up with a day at Niagara Falls.
I’d like to say I got to see some baseball during the trip, but other than an hour at the Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame and a quick 15 minutes or so each morning checking the box scores, the past two weeks was strictly family and vacation fun. I’m not going to go through every detail of my trip, however I would like to mention a couple of things.
The great thing about the trip was, if it wasn’t going to include a lot of baseball, it was going to include another favorite topic, history.
I’m not exactly a Civil War or Revolutionary War buff (actually if I had to pick one period of time I’m most knowledgeable about it would be WWII), but I do appreciate getting a chance to learn about any U.S. History. The really great thing is that I have kids that are willing to learn as well. So while it’s always good to sprinkle in a day at the beach or a trip to the local park into the schedule, I am lucky not to have kids that are always trying ‘just to get through’ things so that they can get back to the hotel pool.
We started our trip in Philadelphia. I know everyone likes their local fireworks and backyard barbeques, but is there a better place to spend the Fourth of July than in the city that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence was written? We rose early that morning and went to see the Liberty Bell, then got a great spot for the parade just across the street from Independence Hall.
That night we watched the fireworks bursting in air above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Spectacular! And yes, the next day I did run up the 72 steps and jump around. Just check out that 7 inch vertical.
We then moved on to New York City. The Cubs were in town to play the Mets in the final series before the break. I was planning on going to one of the three games, but it just never worked out. Instead we visited Central Park, Bryant Park, Radio City Music Hall, Intrepid Air and Space Museum, and other iconic NYC landmarks like Times Square. It’s crazy to see all of the video boards lit up and running ads. It’s also just as fun to see yourself with your daughters, and hundreds of others, on a huge screen.
We also went to the 9/11 Memorial. I’d never been to New York before this visit, and so despite having full knowledge of course of what happened that day, it never really fully hits you until you stand there at the footprint of the World Trade Center towers and start reading the names of all the people that were lost that day.
We also saw the Statue of Liberty. I’ve seen every monument and memorial in Washington DC, all amazing in their own right, but to pass by the Statue of Liberty at sunset is something a picture can say a lot better than I can.
(You can click on this or any of the others pictures to see them in full size)
After New York, we went to Boston. I was in Boston last year to see the Cubs play the Red Sox and what I wrote about that trip last year has been my most viewed post.
This year I didn’t see a game, but I did see most of Boston. It is a beautiful city. We walked the Freedom Trail, spent a lot of time in the Public Gardens, and took a duck boat tour. I have a lot of great pictures from historical sites all around the city, but my two favorite are when my youngest daughter actually got to sit in the driver’s seat and “drive” the duck boat while we were on the Charles River.
As great as my daughters are about seeing historical sites and taking tours around different cities, they still need to have fun on vacation. So we went to Cape Cod for three days of Sun, beach and relaxation ( I also squeezed in a little baseball).
There are 10 teams in the Cape Cod league and it has produced many Major League players, enough so that they have their own Hall of Fame in Hyannis. It’s small, basically one room in the basement of the J.F.K. Museum, but it’s worth a stop if you are in that part of the world.
The real highlight of the trip to the Cape was the sunset sand dune tour we took of the National Seashore protected lands off Provincetown. We took the tour with Art’s Dune Tours. They are the best. If you ever want to feel like you are at the “end of the Earth”, take this tour.
And so now I’m back, and so is baseball. The Cubs have started the second half off great with a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and next up is Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins. Lets Go Cubs!!!
Thanks to everyone that has been stopping by Wrigley Regular for the past 10 days, the whole year actually , I’ve been on vacation with the family and haven’t had a chance to add any new posts.
I will be back after the All-Star break, but until then you can read my post from last year on how to fix the All-Star Game, they implemented part of one of my suggestions for this year.
Or you can enjoy this number from Jimmy Buffett………….
If you are reading this post, you are most likely a fan of baseball. Maybe you’re a Cubs fan, or an Angels fan, or the Cardinals or Rangers or DBacks; it doesn’t matter the team, you are a fan.
Unfortunately with times such as they have been, it’s hard to just be a fan, now we find ourselves being judge and jury also.
We all watch the game through the window that sits in the middle of our living room. We don’t “know” the players, but we watch what they do. And we watch with a suspicious eye. We don’t want to, but we have to.
For a “baseball generation”, steroids have been a prevalent part of the game. Based on some estimates, upwards of 40% of the players used steroids. Ken Caminiti famously claimed back in 2002 that 85% of the players were using steroids. However, other than just a handful of admitted cases, the list of players that we know without doubt that took steroids is very small. Even the players that have been suspended for failing the leagues banned substance test have refused to admit taking the drug.
And so we watch through the window, looking for the Thorwald in the crowd, which I hate doing because it taints all the players. I particularly hate it when a great player like Jim Thome gets traded.
Yesterday Jim Thome was traded from the Phillies to the Orioles. Here is a player that has 609 career HR’s. He is tied for seventh on the all-time list. It should be headline sports news when a player of his caliber is traded. Think of Aaron going from the Braves to the Brewers, or Mays going from the Giants to the Mets. Yes these players were in the twilight of their careers, but it was headline news.
And no, I’m not saying that Thome is an equal to Aaron or Mays, but his trade deserves more of a mention than two sentences in the transaction column of the local paper. Yet that’s all he gets because he has played his entire career during the steroid era, even though he has never been implicated with steroids as far as I can remember.
So we are ambivalent to his 609 HR’s. And the thing that makes it worse, he’s actually tied on the all-time HR list with Sammy Sosa, a player that almost everyone assumes did use steroids.
I for one though, even if it’s just for the day, want to take a moment and just be a fan.
I want to acknowledge the great player that I’ve had the privilege to watch on tv and to see play in person. I want to think about all the home runs that Jim Thome has hit and not have to think about how he hit them.
Tomorrow I can be Mr. Jefferies again; today I just want to watch without suspicion.
You can watch this 2 minute video reviewing some of Thome’s career.
Good Luck in Baltimore Jim!
One of the most eye-roll worthy comments that a nightly baseball anchor desk reporter can make is “He was just a triple short of a cycle”. Why do they say it? Why? You don’t have to answer, I know sometimes they just talk to talk, or they grew up hearing the phrase, or whatever the reason may be; I just wonder if they ever stop to think about it.
Let’s start with “just a triple”, the most exciting play in baseball.
1003 different men have come to plate this season at least once, less than 25% (232) have hit a triple at any point during the season. Last year the numbers for the entire season were similar (339 of 1284, 26%). The numbers drop even further, approx 12%, for players with more than one triple. But you don’t need to hit multiple triples for the cycle, you “just” need one.
So for argument sake, let’s say that just 1 in 4 players even really have a realistic chance at a triple. Rod Barajas has over 3000 career at-bats, with 1 triple. To ever suggest that he “just” needs a triple for anything, let alone a cycle, would take quit a leap of faith to expect it to happen. Hitting a triple is not easy.
But here’s the main thing about the “just a triple short of a cycle” comment that drives me nuts……. It’s not an event rare enough to be worthy of mention.
The 2012 baseball season is 85 calendar days old; each team has played around 78 games. So far this season, “just a triple short of a cycle” has happened 86 times. 86!! Something that happens on average every day is not something that is worthy of mention.
Hit for the cycle like Aaron Hill did last night (his second of the year and only the second time in the last 100 years that a player has had two cycles in a season) and it’s worth mention. It’s worth more than a mention actually. There have been 5 no-hitters this year and just 3 cycles.
If the anchor guys really want to make a big deal about almost getting a cycle, how about — “Just a single away from a cycle”.
A player having a double, triple, and HR in one game without getting a single has only happened 4 times this year.
Show the video of the guy coming to the plate just needing a single…………
Here’s Johnson with a chance for the cycle. He just needs a single. Third baseman back. Maybe he could lay one down the line. And the pitch. It’s a line drive into left-center for a single. It’s a cyc…..wait Johnson is hard around first….he’s going for two. Here’s the throw. Safe! It’s a cycle-stealing double for Johnson. If he would have just shown less hustle or had been called out at second he would have had his cycle.
Now that would be worth watching.
The Cubs may have hired Theo Epstein last October, but the real era under his management begins tonight. Just two months after taking over the Cubs organization, Epstein and new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer made Anthony Rizzo the center piece of a trade with San Diego that sent Andrew Cashner to the Friars. It was the first major move that signaled a new philosophy to build the Cubs from the ground up.
Last season Rizzo dominated in AAA Tucson, hitting 26 HR’s in just 93 games. He struggled though after being called up by the Padres, hitting just .141 in 153 plate appearances. This year he has again crushed AAA pitching. Playing for the Iowa Cubs, Rizzo is hitting .342 with 23 HR’s in 70 games.
So tonight he gets called up to start at first base and hit third. Barring injury, I expect Rizzo to be in the lineup everyday for the remainder of the season regardless of how he hits.
Cubs fans are hoping that tonight is the first of twenty-five hundred or so that Rizzo will play at first over the next two decades. **No Pressure**
The Sox made a nice trade Sunday afternoon. They traded Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart to the Boston Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis and cash. Considering that the White Sox were getting the worst production of any team at the third base position, Youkilis just has to be on the field for him to be a major upgrade for Chicago. Of course that has always been an issue for Youk. Youkilis has played just 136, 120, and 102 games the last three years. This year he played in 42 of Boston’s 72 games before the trade.
One interesting thing about the trade of Youkilis, it feels like Boston was sort of dumping to the White Sox. After all, Boston is last in the AL East and the White Sox are in first in the AL Central. But here is the crazy thing, both teams have the same record, 38-35.
Sometimes you get into a rut; Taco Tuesday, cut the grass Wednesday, sleep in late and pretend you can’t hear the kids yelling for breakfast Thursday , watch the Cubs lose Everyday; sometimes though you have to try something different.
Sometimes you have to look in the back of the cupboard to see what’s in there. Then you remember it. You used to serve it all the time back in 2007 and ’08. Are there any cans left? Are they beyond the expiration date? Surely there must be at least a few remaining……….and then you see it, and what a perfect night to serve it.
Cubs 12 – Sox 3