Results tagged ‘ Hank Aaron ’
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.
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………………..
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!