Baseball HOF: The Cuts (Part 1 of 3)

Each year when the Baseball HOF voting occurs, we are all reminded of the great players who graced the fields in years past. We celebrate those who made it – Ripken and Gwynn this year – and we debate those who came close (roughly 50% of votes) – Gossage, Dawson, Rice, and Blyleven this year. Feverish factions renew efforts to get those who weren’t really close more support next year(25-50% votes received) – think Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and Tommy John. Meanwhile, local press wax poetic of their hometown’s heroes who garnered some support but not a substantial amount (5-25%) – Garvey, Concepcion, Trammel, Parker, Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Baines. On the plus side all of these men remain on the ballot for next year.

Personally, I find myself more drawn to the other names at the bottom of the Hall news release, those players who did not receive the required five percent of the vote to remain eligible next year. So before these names fade into baseball history, I thought it would be fun to share a few thoughts on each of these gentlemen.

To keep you coming back for more, I’ll profile five players per day for the next three days. Also, I have included links to the baseball-reference.com page for each, in case you want to do further reminiscing.
Orel Hershheiser (Career Earnings: $38 million) First thought: The Scoreless Inning Streak; Second Thought: A flashback to the pain of the 1988 World Series; Third Thought: He couldn’t get 5% and Dave Concepcion does?; Fourth Thought: He could have been the A’s Manager this year.

Wow! That was a lot of thoughts. A glance at his numbers 204-150 in an 18 year career. Three time all star, finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting four times. Best year 1988. Won the Cy Young with 23-8, 2.26 ERA, 15 complete games.

Albert Belle ($97 million) First thought: Crazy Person. Second thought: He could absolutely mash the ball. Third thought: Don’t call me Joey. Fourth thought: A guy I played basketball with in high school played baseball with Joey at LSU and told me he was a nice guy, but crazy.

Again with the four thoughts, not sure I can keep up this pace, but we’ll see. Mr. Belle hit 381 HRs, made five consecutive all star teams, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting five times (second once, third twice) hit .357 in 1994. Best season 1995: 50 HRs, hit .317, 126 RBIs, only 80 SOs.

Paul O’Neill ($61 Million) First thought: Overrated while with the Yankees. Second thought: Liked him early in his career with the Reds. Third thought: I think there might even be a bunch of Paul O’Neill rookie cards somewhere atmy folks house. Fourth thought: Tall, sweet swinging lefty.
The numbers say: Five time all star (mostly because he played for the Yankees). Never hit 30 HRs (only more than 25 once). Remarkably consistent: hit between 18 and 24 HRs each of his 9 seasons with the Yanks. Never drove in 100 runs until age 34, then did it four straight years. (Something fishy there.) Other statistical oddity: had a career high 22 SBs in his final season at age 38. Went out as a regular with 510 ABs his last year. Best season: In interupted 1994 campaign hit .359 and finished fifth in MVP balloting.

Bret Saberhagen ($48 million) First Thought: Didn’t he win win two Cy Youngs? Second thought: Didn’t he have a period when he was effective every other year. Third thought: Still picture him as a Royal. Fourth thought: Potentially great career derailed by injuries.

His stats paint this picture: Debuted at 20, averaged 260 IP over the three years he was 23-25 years old. Reached 150 IP just four times in the next eleven seasons. Certainly an example of why franchises today treat young pitchers so carefully. On the plus side, won ’85 and ’89 Cy Youngs, career mark of 167-117. Best season 1989 when he won the second Cy with a 23-6 record and 2.16 ERA. Honorable mention for the bounceback 1994 campaign when at age 30 he went 14-4 with a 2.74 ERA and finished third in the Cy voting.

Jose Canseco ($45 million) First thought: 40-40. Second thought: The neck twitch. Third thought: ‘Roids. Fourth thought: Bash Brothers. Fifth thought: Traded for Sierra, Witt, Russell. Fifth thought: Juiced. Sixth thought: Batting practice. Seventh thought: Ball bouncing off his head in the outfield. Eighth thought: Tried to pitch just recently. Ninth thought: I’m tired of thinking.

As you can tell, I was (am) an A’s an, so I know a lot about Jose. He was awesome for a few years, just like the other guys reviewed today. The historical record says he hit 462 HRs. He was ROY in 1986. A six time all star. Made the all star team as late as 1999 at age 34. He struck out 1942 times walking only 906. His best season was 1988 at age 23 when he won the MVP with 42 Hrs, 40 SBs, 120 runs, 124 RBIs, hitting .307. It was awesome to watch. Too bad about everything that happened after 1988.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2…That’s it for now…Dr. Dick.

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6 Responses to “Baseball HOF: The Cuts (Part 1 of 3)”

  1. Andy Fidler Says:

    Go Eagles. The Eagles will be hosting the NFC Championship after this weekend.

  2. Keven Malkewitz Says:

    All nice and good, but you really need to get around to who is really getting jobbed, Alan Trammell.

    Not to mention Sweet Lou Whitaker…together they (Alan and Lou) played more games as a double-play combo than anyone else.

    Ever…

    In the history of Baseball…

    Which means “since people started playing baseball”…

  3. Baseball HOF: The Cuts (Part 2 of 3) « Dr. Dick’s Splog (Sports Blog) Says:

    […] Dr. Dick’s Splog (Sports Blog) Just another WordPress.com weblog « Baseball HOF: The Cuts (Part 1 of 3) […]

  4. Mindi Sue Says:

    Why you gotta be playa-hatin’ on a stand up second part of his career Yankee in PAULY-O!! Come On. Next you’re going to tell us that the Raiders sucked so bad this season because they really wanted the number one draft pick so they can inflate their O & D lines. Where’s Darryl Russell when you need him for a good GHB story…”Bass” has been very quiet since D-Russ has been relieved of his playing days!

  5. Reilly Says:

    I want no part of Michael Vick. He would be bigger headache than Porter and Moss combined and it would be a steal for Atlanta (in my opinion)

  6. Tyson Says:

    Does anyone really think Morris was a better pitcher than Saberhagen or Hershiser?

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