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Judging by how close he came (16 votes shy), I assume that Jim Rice will meet the requirements next year to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Until then I get to plead my case for his induction.

The Numbers
.298 Batting Average
1249 Runs
2452 Hits (97th All-time)
382 Home Runs (53rd All-time)
1451 RBI (54th All-time)

The Awards
1978 MVP
2 Silver Sluggers
8 All-Star Appearances
6 Times in Top 5 in MVP Voting

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Six times
On Base % – Twice
Slugging % – Eight times (Led league in 77 & 75)
OPS – Six times (Led league in 78)
Runs – Six times
Hits – Eight times (Led league in 78)
Doubles – Three Times
Triples – Four Times (Led league in 78)
Home Runs – Seven Times (Led league in 77, 78 & 83)
RBI – Nine Times (Led league in 78 & 83)
Total Bases – Nine Times (Led league in 77, 78, 79 & 83)

His 406 total bases in 1978 were more than anyone since 1948 (Stan Musial) until the Steroid Era where there have been five higher totals (Sosa twice, Luis Gonzalez, Barry Bonds, and Larry Walker). He is also the only player to lead the league in Home Runs, Triples, and RBIs in the same season. Rice was the first person with three straight 200 hit, 35 home run seasons.

If a wrist injury didn’t cost him the 1975 postseason, who knows how the story would have gone. He could have been the difference to help the Red Sox knock off the Big Red Machine. Had that happened, I’m sure Rice would have received the call years ago. Hopefully, next year is the one.

References
http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Jim_Rice_1953
http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/riceji01.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Rice

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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I have been trying to do my part to spread the word about a great gentleman that has been a part of baseball for over seven decades. His commitment to the game, even as it continually shunned him, is admirable. In his playing days, he was not allowed to play in the big leagues because of the color of his skin. As hard as that is to fathom, the decision to omit him from the HOF when the “special” committee reviewed the Negro Leagues may be even worse. I use the word special loosely because there was nothing special about their decision. Maybe his playing stats didn’t justify his admission. However, they know what Buck has done for baseball (the Negro Leagues in particular) for the past half century. Keeping Buck out was a slap in the face to a baseball icon. They can try and spin it any way, but they can’t justify their decision in my mind. Now that he’s passed, there is no way to make it right. They can choose to let him in now. I guess I’d have to be OK with it. I just wish they could have done it while he was alive so he could enjoy it. Robbing this man of the joy of playing in the big leagues wasn’t enough. They had to rob him of the joy of being recognized for his service to baseball. They should be ashamed of themselves.

I’ve posted this before on my Sporting News site, but I’ll do it here as well.

A heralded player stepped into the batter’s box. This two-time batting champ didn’t crowd the plate. He didn’t strike fear in the pitcher he faced. Respect yes, but not fear. Why, you say? Because the leadoff hitter in the Northern League All-Star Game this summmer was one Buck O’Neil. The 94 year old former Negro League player was signed by the Kansas City T-Bones to a one day contract. He became the oldest player to ever play in a professional league with his at bats. (Buck walked in the top of the first, got traded to the opposition, and walked in the bottom of the first). T-Bones GM Rick Muntean wanted to use this appearance to raise attention to the snubbing Buck O’Neill received from the committee reviewing Negro Leagues. The T-Bones were trying to formulate a grassroots movement to petition to get Buck O’Neill in the Hall of Fame. Click Here to vote to Induct Buck The 12-person panel reviewing the Negro Leagues for entries into the Baseball Hall of Fame has preserved the history of injustices experienced by the players of this generation. Failing to elect Buck O’Neil and Minnie Minoso is a slap in the face not only to these two great ballplayers, but also to the sanctity of the Hall of Fame. They were the only living members among the 39 candidates on the ballot. While they are not Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb, both of these players merit being in the Hall of Fame.

Minnie Minoso played 17 seasons in the major leagues and was a career .298 hitter. He was a seven-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove outfielder. He finished fourth in MVP voting four times. He had among the top ten batting averages eight times between 1951-1960. Nine times he had among the top ten on-base percentages during that timeframe. Six times he had a top ten slugging percentage. Nine times he was top ten in runs, eight times he was top ten in hits (including leading the league in 1960), nine times he was top ten in total bases (including leading the league in 1954). Eight times he was in the top ten in doubles (led the league in 1957), six times in triples (led the league in 1951, 1954, and 1956). Twice he was in the top ten in home runs, five times for RBIs, and four times for walks Nine times he was in top six in stolen bases (led the league1951-1953). He also led the league in hit by pitch ten times (was top four 12 times). He was 57 years old when he played his last game. Do those sound like Hall of Fame credentials to you?…it’s because they are.

Buck O’Neil’s stats aren’t as gaudy as Minoso’s, but his impact on the game is just as great. Buck led the Negro League in batting in 1940 and 1946. He finished his career as a .288 hitter. He managed the Kansas City Monarch from 1948-1955, guiding them to five pennants and two Black World Series. He helped launch the Major League careers of Ernie Banks, George Altman, Gene Baker, Francisco Herrera, Elston Howard, J.C. Hartman, Connie Johnson, Sweet Lou Johnson, Satchel Paige, Hank Thompson, and Bob Thurman. In 1962 he became the first black coach in the Major Leagues with the Cubs. He helped discover stars like Lou Brock and Joe Carter. He spent 33 years with the Cubs before joining the Kansas City Royals as a scout in 1988. Buck chaired the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Board of Directors, and served on the Veterans’ Committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Perhaps the most important thing Buck O’Neil did for baseball was keep the memory of the Negro Leagues alive. He fought to make sure that the injustices of the black players were not forgotten. Unfortunately, he had to relive it when this panel made their ridiculous decision. He died at 94 years old. I said it would be a shame for him to have to die before being recognized for his contributions…and it is.

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews
Tommy John

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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Three hundred wins is the magic number for a pitcher to join the Hall of Fame.  If you go slightly below that mark you’ll find Tommy John.

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Most young fans know his name for the surgery that has he made famous, but Tommy John was a heck of a pitcher too. He won 288 games (5th most among lefties) at a .555 winning percentage and a 3.34 ERA over a career that spanned 26 years. He also had a 6-3 record with a 2.65 ERA in postseason play. Tommy was a four-time All-Star and won the Hutch Award and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. He was in the top 10 in ERA and wins six times, Win-Loss % 10 times (led the league in ’74), Walks/9 innings pitched 12 times, Complete Games 4 times, and Shutouts 7 times (led the league three times). He injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm in 1974, and after a revolutionary surgical operation he was able to pitch until he was 46. For the amount of victories, the brilliant control he exhibited over his lengthy career, as well as his lasting mark on the game with the surgery he helped coin I believe Tommy John is overdue induction into baseball’s hallowed Hall.

UPDATE:  Upon further review I just don’t think Tommy John cuts it.  He was solid, but never one of the very best.  His win total is impressive, but not quite enough to merit induction.

References
http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/johnto01.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_John

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire
Bobby Matthews

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

A friend of mine (JDIN827) on SportingNews is asking for participation in the “Great Blog Crossover Challenge”. The assignment calls you to write about your least favorite player on your least favorite team.

I am going to do a two-parter. I can’t decide between Terrell Owens or Alex Rodriguez. Why not cover both? Since I dislike the Yankees more than the Cowboys, I’ll start with A-Rod.

A-Rod is easily one of the best ten players to ever strap on the cleats and step on a baseball diamond. He is a force on offense and usually a solid fielder. He gets a lot of bad ink for being a selfish player, but how many players would be willing to switch positions so easily? When you consider he’s a better shortstop than A-Rod, it makes it even more impressive. He gets a lot of heat for not showing up in the playoffs. What about the numbers he puts up to get his team into the playoffs? The playoffs are a much different animal than the regular season. Does he press a little too much? Probably. I just wonder why the fact that Barry Bonds is a .245 (.200 pre-steroids) hitter in the playoffs never comes up. Or the fact that Barry has just one pre-steroid playoff home run. How about Ted Williams only having one playoff appearance? Or the fact that he hit .200 without an extra-base hit and just one RBI. How about Willie Mays’ .247 playoff batting average with just one home run and ten RBI in 25 games. Just because their playoff numbers aren’t good, doesn’t mean they aren’t exceptional ball players. I know A-Rod gets plenty of heat that he deserves because of the position he puts himself in, but he gets much more than he should.

My other oh so favorite guys is Terrell Owens aka MeO aka Terrible Owens. I used to really like T.O. He is a gifted player who plays with a lot of emotions. I thought it was kind of funny when he celebrated on the Star. I liked the Sharpie celebration. Then he starts to badmouth Jeff Garcia and forces a trade to Baltimore. He gets mad at that and forces his way in Philadelphia. Everything started off so well. The Eagles were winning. T.O. and McNabb were setting the world on fire. Then he gets hurt. Most guys would have packed it in, but T.O. was determined to return. Was it to make more money and achieve more fame? I’m sure that accounts for some of his desire to return. I also think some has to be contributed to his love of football. Say what you want about the guy, he does love this game. He plays it as hard as anybody in the league. He brings a lot of baggage with him, but on that field he is determined to succeed. T.O. and Parcels clashed. Really? Who could have seen that coming? Wait, everybody could have. There really weren’t any T.O. issues this year. He came up with a goofy line about getting your popcorn ready, but I can’t get mad at a guy for being lame. Yesterday when the questions were swirling about how Yoko Romo (aka Jessica Simpson) is to blame or Tony Romo is to blame, he said “that they lost as a team”. Was he sincere? That’s the $25,000 question. Honestly, I think he was. He may have hammed it up a bit for the cameras, but I think he does have a good relationship with Romo and is upset with the unfair criticism he received. Blaming Jessica Simpson or Romo’s relationship with her for the loss is plain stupid. Was it wise for Romo to go on vacation during the playoffs? Probably not. However, I wouldn’t say that’s the reason they lost. The Giants were just a better team down the stretch, and it showed on Sunday.

There you have it. Even though I’m not fond of these guys, I am willing to go on record to say how good they are. One is the best player in baseball. The other is the best receiver not named Randy Moss.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NFL | Tagged: Jessica Simpson |

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There hasn’t been a starting pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame since Nolan Ryan in 1999.  I’m going to go way back for one that I feel is deserving.

Bobby Matthews pitched from 1871-1887 and compiled 297 wins for the Fort Wayne Kekiongas, the Baltimore Canaries, the New York Mutuals, the Cincinnati Reds, the Providence Grays, the Boston Red Caps, and the Philadelphia Athletics. His career ERA was 2.89. If he had three more wins, 1 more win every five years of his career, he would have been a lock for the Hall of Fame. He had a three year stretch where he went 96-63. He has another three year stretch where he was 90-48. He was in the top 10 ten times in ERA (including leading the league in 1874), twelve times in Wins (2nd in 1874 with 42), twelve times in Winning Percentage, nine times in Strikeouts (led the league twice). He won 25 or more games seven times in his career. He was the first to develop the spit ball. He also was one of the first pitchers to master the curve and sinking fastball. He’s the only pitcher to win 50 games in three different major leagues (National Association, National League, and American Association). He was the winning pitcher in baseball’s first professional league. In 1878 and 1880 he pitched in non-sanctioned leagues for more money, so he is not credited with as many wins as he could have been. Judging by his record, his innovation in the art of pitching, his excellence, and his longevity, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.

References:
http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/M/Mathews_Bobby.stm
http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mathebo01.shtml

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Mark McGwire

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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Does Mark McGwire deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Yes, he hit a ton of home runs (583 to be exact), but he’s a career .263 hitter. You know he used steroids. Would he have reached the 500 mark without juicing? I don’t know. While I don’t think he should be the scapegoat for the whole Steroid Era, I really don’t know if I’d punch his ballot. I’m kinda glad I don’t have to make that decision.  Here are the numbers.

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Stats
583 Home Runs – (7th All-time)
1167 Runs
1414 RBI – (60th All-time)
1626 Hits
.263 BA
1317 BBs – (34th All-time

Awards
Rookie of the Year
12 All-Star Games
1 Gold Glove
3 Silver Sluggers
3 Top 5 MVP finishes

Top Ten Finishes
Runs – Twice (’98 & ’99 when he was juicing)
Home Runs – Ten Times (spanned his career)
RBI – Six Times (Never really impressive until ’98 & ’99)
BBs – 6 Times

So the $25,000 question. Do I elect Mark McGwire into the Hall of Fame. My answer….No. He was pretty much a one trick pony. 1626 hits. That’s not enough for me. Sure, he busted out all of those home runs, but how many were steroid aided? Was his career extended because of steroids after all of those injuries? Did he start juicing early in his career like Canseco making him even more of a fraud? Sorry Big Mac fans. If he did more than launch steroid home runs into the stands, I’d probably vote for him. I don’t think the HOF needs a one-trick pony with strong steroid ties.

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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Dale Murphy was a great player. Arguably the best in the league from ’82-’85. He was not only a great hitter, but an excellent fielder as well. I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Here are his credentials.

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398 Home Runs (45th All-time)
1266 RBI (110th All-time)
1197 Runs (160th All-time)
2111 Hits (197th All-time)
7 All-Star games
2 MVPs (Back-to-back)
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Roberto Clemente Award
5 straight Gold Gloves
1 30-30 season
4 Silver Sluggers
Led the league in Slugging % in ’83 & ’84
Led the league in Runs in ’85
Led the league in Total Bases in ’84
Led the league in Home Runs in ’84 & ’85
Led the league in RBIs in ’82 & ’83
Led the league in Walks in ’85

Although his case is not as strong as Andre Dawson’s, I still feel he was dominant enough to earn a spot in Cooperstown.  Like The Hawk, The Murph played on crappy teams most of his career, playing in only one postseason.  Yet, he was able to put up solid numbers every year.  If I had a ballot, I’d punch Dale Murphy’s name.

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven
Andre Dawson

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

Friday Tidbits 1/11/08

11 January 2008

Joe Gibbs retired. I think this time it’s for good. Seattle smoked Washington on two INT returns for TDs. Santana Moss made the laziest play on one of them. Jacksonville twarted a late comeback by Pittsburgh on a David Garrard 32 yard scramble. MJD scored twice and Fred Taylor found the endzone. Tom Brady was named MVP. Big surprise. Rich McKay will remain Atlanta’s President, but he handed over the GM duties. Seattle signed DT Craig Terrill to a three-year extension. Finally, an NFL Award that didn’t coincide with the Lester Awards. Bob Sanders was named Defensive Player of the Year. St. Louis fired OC Greg Olson. Fred Taylor was named to the Pro Bowl to replace Willie Parker. Browns rookie Joe Thomas was added to the first of I’m sure many Pro Bowl teams, replacing Buffalo’s Jason Peters. Cleveland announced that Derek Anderson will start at QB next year. Hines Ward didn’t waste any time having his knee surgery. T.O. returned to practice. Brett Favre said he’d be back next year. At one point, I was equally annoyed with Favre and Clemens. Seems like an eternity ago.

Jason Kidd messed around and got back-to-back-to-back triple-doubles.  He’s up to ten on the season.  Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 22 rebounds in a New Orleands victory over Golden State.  New York lost, but Zach Randolph grabbed 22 rebounds to go along with his 18 points.  Former player J.R. Rider was arrested on outstanding warrants.  He’s classy.  LeBron just missed a triple-double (39 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists).  The Timberwolves won.  They beat the Heat without Shaq so don’t be too impressed.  Charlotte handed the Celtics their fourth loss of the season.  Denver G Chucky Atkins needs surgery to repair a sports hernia.  Sounds like fun.  Shocker of the year.  Grant Hill will miss a couple weeks.  This time he’s having an appendectomy.

This week’s shutouts:  Dominik Hasek vs. Dallas and Colorado.  Martin Brodeur vs. Philadelphia.  Detroit’s Pittsburgh’s Ty Conklin vs. Florida.  St. Louis Manny Legace vs. Carolina.  Edmonton’s Mathieu Garon vs. NY Islanders.  Carolina’s Cam Ward vs. Boston.  Nashville’s Chris Mason vs. Los Angeles.  Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere vs. Toronto.  Philly’s Antero Niittymaki saved 54 shots in a victory over Toronto.  Philly will have to play without Joffrey Lupul for a couple weeks because of a head injury.  Dallas signed C Mike Ribeiro to a five-year $25 million deal.  Edmonton lost LW Raffi Torres for the year with a torn knee. Chris Osgood signed G Chris Osgood to a three-year deal.  Florida traded a 7th round pick for Chicago D Magnus Johansson.  Washington broke the bank, handing Alexander Ovechkin a 13-year, $124 million contract extension.  Philly’s Scott Hartnell netted a hat trick against the Rangers.  The Wild changed ownership. Craig Leipold, who used to own Nashville, is the new chairman.

Goose Gossage was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Bert Byleven got screwed.  Roger Clemens had his say on 60 Minutes.  He filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee.  It’s going to be another case of He Said-He Said.  He won’t have to speak to Congress just yet as the hearing got pushed back.  Hideo Nomo signed a minor league deal with Kansas City.  Texas signed Ben Broussard to a one-year deal worth $3.85 million.  The Phillies signed Jayson Werth to a one-year deal.  Seattle signed Miguel Cairo.  Colorado signed Marcus Giles to a minor league contract. 
 
LSU beat Ohio State 38-24 to win the National Championship.  Matt Flynn threw four TD passes.  Rutgers ran all over Ball State in the prestiguous International Bown.  Ray Rice had 280 yards and 4 TDs.  He is entering the NFL draft.  Joining him are Texas A&M TE Martellus Bennett, Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall, Kansas CB Aqib Talib and LT Anthony Collins, Michigan WR Adrian Arrington, Clemson RB James Davis, Vanderbilt WR Earl Bennett, West Virginia WR Darius Reynaud, and UCF RB Kevin Smith have declared for the NFL draft.  June Jones resigned from his post at Hawaii to take on SMU.  His AD Herman Frazier got canned.  QB Ryan Mallett is leaving Michigan.  Notre Dame CB Munir Princei is transferring to Missouri.  LSU topped off a memorable week by bring home the Outland Trophy. 
 
Coach K won his 787th victory.  He’s now sixth on the All-time list.  You know Dickie V had a tear in his eye.  #1 UNC beat #19 Clemson behind Wayne Ellington’s 36 points.  #14 Texas beat #24 St. Mary’s behind D.J. Augustine’s 30 points.  Oregon upset #21 Arizona 84-74.  West Virginia upset #11 Marquette.  #16 Villanova edged #13 Pitt 64-63.  #9 Tennessee held off #15 Mississippi 85-83 in the battle of double letter teams.  Charlotte upset #19 Clemson.  #22 Dayton beat #20 Rhode Island.  Arizona State beat #24 Arizona.   
 
That concludes the Tidbits. As always, feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL | Tagged: NCAA, NHL |

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Andre Dawson was a five-tool player (Hit for Power, Hit for Average, Field, Throw, Run). He was one of the best players in the game for over a decade. I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, especially before we get knee deep in the steroids era.

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438 Home Runs (35th All-time)
1591 RBI (32nd All-time)
1373 Runs (88th All-time)
2774 Hits (45th All-time)
8 All-Star Games
Rookie of the Year
1 MVP
8 Gold Gloves
4 Silver Sluggers
Led the league in Hits in ’83
Led the league in Total Bases in ’83 & ’87
Led the league in Home Runs in ’87
Led the league in RBIs in ’87
3 25-25 seasons

The Hawk played on crappy teams most of his career, playing in only two postseasons. The fact that he put up great numbers consistenly on bad teams shows how steady he was. His numbers would likely be even better if he had a better supporting cast. Andre Dawson was an all-around great player who should be voted into the Hall of Fame.

Past Chronicles
Bert Byleven

 | Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |

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Before I get started, I want to congratulate Goose Gossage on his election in the Hall of Fame.

Circle Me Bert…right into the Hall of Fame
How long does Bert Blyleven have to wait until the Hall comes knocking on his door. He has 287 wins…287 wins. He pitched 22 seasons. Do the math and you see that if he won about .5 more wins per game in his career he would have the magical 300 wins and I wouldn’t be typing this post. The fact that he pitched on some pretty bad teams should factor into the equation. I understand he never won the Cy Young awards, but neither did a lot of pitchers…including Nolan Ryan. I’m not saying he’s on the same level as Nolan, but they do have some similarities. They both pitched on some pretty bad teams and shared success despite that circumstance. The fact is Bert is the 5th all-time leading strikeout pitcher in the history of MLB. He was third when he retired, but has since been passed by The Rocket and The Big Unit. He is 9th on the all-time shutout list with 60. Most pitchers in today’s generation won’t have 60 complete games, yet alone shutouts. He won a World Series in 1987 so he’s won the big one. Critics will say that he hung around to accumulate the stats, but he had some impressive single-season accomplishments as well. He was twice name as an All-star. He finished 13th in 1989 in MVP voting. Not bad for a pitcher in the beginning of the Steroid Era. He finished third in Cy Young voting twice and fourth once so at least he was invited to that party. Ten times he was in the top ten in ERA. Six times for wins. Eleven times (including first in 1977) he was in the top ten in WHIP. Fifteen times (including first in 1985) he was in the top ten in strikeouts. Eleven times for innings pitched. Twelve times he was in the top ten in complete games (including a league high 24 in 1985). Ten times for shutouts (tops in ’73, ’85 and ’89). I realize he lost a lot of games and gave up a ton of homers, but I think the numbers speak for themselves. After all, how many of todays coddled pitchers are going to even approach the 300 win total? Tom Glavine could be the last one in a long time to reach that plateau. I’m not comparing him to Randy Johnson in dominance, but he only has 284 wins. Mike Mussina Mussina…250. David Wells…239 (which is more that I would have expected), Jaime Moyer…230.  Schilling….216.  Kenny Rogers…210. Pedro…209. There are thirty nine pitchers in the HOF with less wins than Bert (take a look for yourself ). Now Bert is a good broadcaster for the Twins. Given his past success and his continued involvement in baseball, I believe it’s time to let him in.


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