According to an ESPN source, the Cubs will hire Bill Buckner to be the hitting coach of their Class A affiliate in Boise. Boise is where Buckner currently resides.
It’s nice to see the Cubs bring Buckner back into the organization. Bill played 8 of his 22 seasons with the Cubs from 1977 trough part of 1984.
I think it’s fair to say that Buckner’s best overall production came as a member of the Cubs. During his 8 seasons he had a cumulative .300 batting average, including a league leading .324 in 1980; he also received MVP votes in four different seasons and was an all-star.
To the casual, or even just the younger fan, Buckner is only remembered for one thing, a ground ball through the legs in the 1986 World Series. But older Cubs and Dodger fans will remember Bill Buckner as a solid major league professional that played the game 100% at all times despite a myriad of leg and ankle injuries that severely hampered his ability to run. He may not have been what today’s prototypical power hitting first baseman is, but he could always hit (2,715 hits/60th all-time) and he was a leader.
Welcome Back Billy Buck!!
Could the Brewers receive worse news? First they are gonna lose their all-star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency, and now they get word that their 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for PED’s.
I don’t know if Braun is guilty of the charge against him, he is claiming it’s a false positive, but I do know that no player has successfully appealed a possible suspension (50 games) after a positive test has been announced by the league.
As bad as this news is for Brewer fans, I think it’s really worse for the league as a whole.
MLB has had a great three months.
It began in late September when we had one of the most exciting nights in baseball history when Tampa overtook Boston to reach the AL playoffs after two crucial games ended within minutes of each other in walk-off fashion.
October saw several fine playoff series, and then we had a great 7 game World Series that included the best Game 6 since 1975 (Yes I know, there have been other great game 6’s since, but I still love the Red Sox-Reds game the most).
November has been no less interesting. The owners and players agreed to a new CBA which extends the years of labor peace, which is currently the longest of the four major professional sports. One of the center pieces of this new agreement is the addition of blood testing. Blood work is needed to test for HGH.
Then comes the winter meeting in Dallas where the best hitter in the game, Albert Pujols, decides to leave the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals and signs a new free agent contract with the LA Angels. One player like Pujols can go a long way to making west coast baseball relevant again. Even though the Giants won the WS in 2010, they were 1 of only 2 west coast teams to make it to the WS in the last 10 years.
But now all of that goes away……..
NL MVP Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s ………………………..will be the only headline to dominate the baseball news until the start of spring training.
It’s a bad day for baseball.
Christmas certainly has come early in Anaheim and Miami for the fans of the Angels and Marlins. Over the past week the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle to long term deals, while just today the Angels spent $327M to bring in Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson.
Heath Bell (3yr/$27M)– I like this signing. Bell has been solid the last 3 years, converting 90% of his opportunities to reach 132 saves. Those 132 saves are the most by any pitcher over the past 3 seasons. And I really like the deal when you compare it to the contract that the Phillies signed Jonathon Papelbon (4yr/$50M) to last month. Papelbon may be 3 years younger than Bell, but over the past 3 years he has fewer saves, fewer wins, fewer K’s, and a higher ERA.
Jose Reyes (6yr/$106M) – This is an interesting signing. Reyes won the NL batting title last year, although the way he pulled himself out of the last game of the season after getting a bunt hit must have had Ted Williams frozen head spinning. However, it’s the only time in Reyes’ career that he has gone over the .300 mark and I would think it unlikely that he could match last years.337 average again.
The more important part of the signing is what will happen with Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez has made it fairly clear that he doesn’t want to move from the shortstop position. I will not be surprised if Hanley is traded before the start of spring training.
Mark Buehrle (4yr/$58M) – Buehrle is probably the most consistent pitcher in the game. He has pitched 200+ innings each of the last 11 seasons; he has won between 12 and 19 games in 10 of those 11 years, and he has a lifetime 3.88 ERA while only going over the 4.00 mark 3 times in the last 11 years.
CJ Wilson (5yr/$77M)—Wilson stays in the AL West, leaving Texas for the Angels. I think it’s a great move for LA. Wilson put up some excellent pitching numbers in a hitters ballpark in Texas and moves to Anaheim were conditions are neutral to slightly favoring pitchers. Adding him to a staff that already includes Jared Weaver and Dan Haren puts the Angels right at the front on the list for potential AL champions.
Albert Pujols (10yr/$254M) – If people want to debate the fiscal sanity of the contract, let them. All I know is that Albert Pujols is the best hitter in the game, and when you have a chance to put the best hitter in the middle of your lineup, you take it.
42HR/126RBI/123R/.328BA ………………… that isn’t last year, that’s his CAREER 162 game average. Case closed.
I’ve been in hibernation for the past couple of months, but this morning I awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, fruit cake, and an old leather baseball glove. I’ve slept well and I feel refreshed and invigorated. It’s time to rejoin the world in a meaningful and participatory way.
It seems that much has happened over my 10 week slumber and it may take me a few weeks to catch up on the news, however, the most recent of headlines has caught my eye and moves right to the top of the list.
Yesterday the Golden Era Committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Ron Santo had received enough votes to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame next July. Santo received 94% (15 of 16) of the vote; he was the only candidate on the ballot to exceed the 75% threshold needed for election. There were others that I feel should have been elected like Jim Kaat and Minnie Minoso, but I’ll leave those arguments for another day, or better yet, visit the “Art of the Pale Hose” to read about Minoso. Art was involved in the campaign to get Minoso elected and can provide Minnie’s case more eloquently than I can. Today though is for Ron Santo.
Santo played his last game just over 37 years ago, since then it’s been a long uphill battle to the Hall of Fame. His first time on the writers’ ballot for HOF consideration was 1980. Ron only received 15 votes (3.9%); 23 other players (11 of whom are now HOF members) received more votes that year than Santo. By rule, Ron was dropped off the HOF ballot because he received less than the minimum 5% needed for retention. However in 1985 Ron Santo, Curt Flood and several other players that had been deemed overlooked during their original stay on the ballot were reinstated for a second chance. Over the next 14 years Santo received vote totals ranging from 13 to 43 percent, far short of the 75% needed for induction.
Then in 2003 Santo was placed on the newly reformed Veterans Committee ballot. With the backing of Bill James, who ranking Santo as the best eligible player not in the hall, as well as legions of Cubs fans and the SABRmetric crowd; it appeared as if Ron would finally make it into the Hall. Santo invited the media into his home while he waited for the call. Unfortunately the call he received was not what he and his fans had hoped for, Santo did not get in. Ron continued to wait for a call that he never received in 2005, ’07, and ’09.
In 2010 the Veterans Committee once again was reorganized. This time they would look at candidates by era. Last year they had 1973-present when they elected Pat Gillick. This year, the “Golden Era” was from 1947 through 1972. As we now know today, Ron Santo was finally elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame from that ballot. While it is a happy day for Santo’s family, friends, and fans; it’s bitter sweet knowing that it comes 1 year and 2 days too late for Ron.
Congratulations to Hall of Fame member Ron Santo.