Bobby Cox: One More Year

24 September 2009

Bobby Cox
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Atlanta Braves will have one more year with skipper Bobby Cox after he announced that he will retire following the 2010 season.  Cox made the postseason 14 consecutive seasons and won the World Series in 1995.  He earned four Manager of the Year Awards (’85, ’91, ’04, ’05) and is 4th in MLB history in Wins trailing Tony LaRussa, John McGraw, and Connie Mack.  His playoff appearances are a record, which will likely be tied by Joe Torre as the season wraps up.  Currently he has a 2409-1924 (.556) lifetime record.  He’s 2054-1632 (.557) with the Braves.

He will easily be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

Sammy Sosa White Sox Sosa Cubs
Images courtesy of Icon SMI

The New York Times is reporting that Sammy Sosa failed a drug test in 2003.  The New York Times cites “lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year” as their source.  This is the latest black eye for baseball as yet another star is linked to performance-enhancing drugs.  Unlike Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez, Sosa’s failed test does not come as a shock to most baseball fans.  He has been presumed guilty for years, and this “new” knowledge won’t have the ripple effect among baseball fans.  Instead of outrage, I imagine most people’s reactions will be in the neighborhood of “I thought so”.  Although you may be disgusted when looking at the top ten HR list.

1.  Barry Bonds, 762 – steroids
2.  Hank Aaron, 755
3.  Babe Ruth, 714
4.  Willie Mays, 660
5.  Ken Griffey, Jr., 617 – PLEASE BE CLEAN
6.  Sammy Sosa, 609 – steroids
7.  Frank Robinson, 586
8.  Mark McGwire, 583 – steroids
9.  Harmon Killebrew, 573
10.  Rafael Palmeiro, 569 – steroids

With four of the top ten (A-Rod at 12, ManRam at 17) being steroid users does a lot to damage the history of the game.  Sosa can kiss the HOF goodbye.  He was already on thin ice because of the corked bat and the speculation.  It gives a whole new meaning to his nickmame “Say it Ain’t Sosa”.  I wish I could.  I wish I could.

randy-johnson-giants
Image Courtesy of Icon SMI

As if Randy Johnson needed any more ammunition to support his case for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Well, he got another notch on his belt tonight as he became the 24th pitcher in Major League history to join the 300 Win Club.  Ironically, the last member of the club (Tom Glavine) was released yesterday by the Atlanta Braves.

Just how good was Randy?  Let’s take a look at the numbers.

300-164 Record
.647 Winning Percentage
3.28 ERA
4845 Strikeouts
100 Complete Games
37 Shutouts
Three 20+ Win Seasons
Fourteen 200+ Strikeout Seasons
Six 300+ Strikeout Seasons
4097-1/3 IP
597 Starts
5 Cy Young Awards
10 All-Star Appearances

Hall of Fame Yardsticks

Black Ink Pitching – 96 (7), Average HOFer ≈ 40
Gray Ink Pitching – 277 (16), Average HOFer ≈ 185
Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching – 320 (4), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
Hall of Fame Standards Pitching – 64 (13), Average HOFer ≈ 50

As long as Randy Johnson’s name doesn’t come up in steroid talk, he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.  He is one of the best Lefthanded Pitchers in baseball history.

Here’s the list of 300 Game Winners:

Rank Player (age) Wins Throws
1. Cy Young+  511 R
2. Walter Johnson+  417 R
3. Pete Alexander+  373 R
  Christy Mathewson+  373 R
5. Pud Galvin+  364 R
6. Warren Spahn+  363 L
7. Kid Nichols+  361 R
8. Greg Maddux  355 R
9. Roger Clemens  354 R
10. Tim Keefe+  342 R
11. Steve Carlton+  329 L
12. John Clarkson+  328 R
13. Eddie Plank+  326 L
14. Nolan Ryan+  324 R
  Don Sutton+  324 R
16. Phil Niekro+  318 R
17. Gaylord Perry+  314 R
18. Tom Seaver+  311 R
19. Charley Radbourn+  309 R
20. Mickey Welch+  307 R
21. Tom Glavine (43) 305 L
22. Lefty Grove+  300 L
  Early Wynn+  300 R
24. Randy Johnson (45) 300 L

Congratulations Randy.  Cooperstown awaits.

I decided to profile Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler, who was enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1968.
 

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

kiki-cuyler
Image courtesy of BR Bullpen
 
The Numbers
1879 Games
7161 At Bats
.321 Batting Average
.474 Slugging %
.860 OPS
2299 Hits
1305 Runs
394 Doubles
157 Triples
128 HRs
1065 RBIs
676 Walks
328 SBs

Eight .300 Seasons
Five 100+ Run Seasons
Three 200+ Hit Seasons
Five 30+ Double Seasons
Five 10+ Triple Seasons
Three 100+ RBI Seasons
Six 30+ SB Seasons

World Series:  3 World Series, 1 Ring, 16 Games, 64 At Bats, 18 Hits (.281), 9 Runs, 5 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs, 2 Walks, 1 SB  

Awards
1934 All-Star
MVP Votes in 4 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – 5 Times
On-Base % – 5 Times
Slugging % - Twice
OPS – 3 Times
Games – 4 Times (Led league in 1925, 1926 & 1930)
At Bats – 4 Times
Runs – 5 Times (Led league in 1925 & 1926)
Hits – 6 Times
Doubles – 5 Times (Led league in 1934)
Triples – 6 Times (Led league in 1925)
Home Runs – Twice
RBIs – 5 Times
Walks – 3 Times
SBs – 10 Times (Led league in 1926, 1928, 1929 & 1930)
Extra-Base Hits – 5 Times
Hit by Pitch – 10 Times (Led league in 1925 & 1930)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
 

Black Ink Batting – 20 (107), Average HOFer ≈ 27
Gray Ink Batting – 137 (119), Average HOFer ≈ 144
Hall of Fame Monitor Batting – 118 (119), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
Hall of Fame Standards Batting – 46 (96), Average HOFer ≈ 50

 
When I saw his average of .321 I figured it would be a slam dunk, but his induction is actually borderline questionable based on his statistics.  He had a solid run from 1924 to 1932 and a couple of other good years in 1934 and 1936.  He had a signature season in 1930 when he hit .355 with 155 Runs and 134 RBIs.  He had signature moment in the second game of the 1925 World Series when he hit a game-winning Home Run and series-winning Double off of Walter Johnson.  It’s close, but despite not reaching the majority of the HOF yardsticks, I’ll say he deserved to be inducted.

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Dick Allen
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Dan Bancroft*
Jake Beckley*

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Earle Combs*
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Stan Coveleski*

Mike Cuellar
Bill Dahlen
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Wes Ferrell
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Lefty Gomez*
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Joe Gordon
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Chick Hafey*
Jesse Haines*

Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Waite Hoyt*
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
Joe Kelley*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Rube Marquard*
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Carl Mays
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Vada Pinson
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Allie Reynolds
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Vern Stephens
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Luís Tiant
Joe Torre
Alan Trammell

George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Mickey Vernon
Frank Viola
Bucky Walters
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Deacon White
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*
Ross Youngs*
Veterans Committee Ballot
 

* Signifies actual Hall of Famers

I decided to profile Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski, who was enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1969.
 

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI
stan-coveleski
 
The Numbers
Played 1912-28 (14 seasons)
215 Wins – 142 Losses
.602 Winning Percentage
2.89 ERA
1.251 WHIP
981 Strikeouts
450 Games
385 Starts
3082 Innings Pitched
224 Complete Games
38 Shutouts
21 Saves

Five 20+ Win Seasons
Two Sub-2.00 ERA Seasons
Six Sub-3.00 ERA Seasons

World Series:  1 Ring, 5 Games, 5 Starts, 41-1/3 IP, 3-2, 1.74 ERA, 11 Ks, 4 CGs, 1 Shutout

Awards
MVP Votes in 1925

Top Ten Finishes
Wins - Six Times
ERA - Nine Times (Led league in 1923 & 1925)
Winning % – Four Times (Led league in 1925)
WHIP – Six Times (Led league in 1920)
Games – Six Times
Starts – Ten Times (Led league in 1921)
Innings Pitched – Eight Times
Strikeouts – Six Times (Led league in 1920)
Complete Games – Seven Times
Shutouts – Nine Times (Led league in 1917 & 1923)
Saves – Four Times

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
 

Coveleski’s HOF standards are half for enshrinement and half against it.  While I would prefer he had more wins, he did have a solid run as one of the game’s best Pitchers from 1917-1925  In fact, the 177 games he won during that stretch were the most by any Pitcher.  Only Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander had lower ERAs.  He had his signature season in 1920 when he was 20-5 with a league best 2.84 ERA.  He went 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and three Complete games to help Cleveland beat the Brooklyn Robins in the 1920 World Series.  I can see both why he had to wait for the Veteran’s Committee and why they eventually let him in.   

References
Baseball-reference.com

Past Chronicles
Dick Allen
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Dan Bancroft*
Jake Beckley*

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Earle Combs*
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Mike Cuellar
Bill Dahlen
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Wes Ferrell
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Lefty Gomez*
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Joe Gordon
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Chick Hafey*
Jesse Haines*

Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
Joe Kelley*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Rube Marquard*
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Carl Mays
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Vada Pinson
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Allie Reynolds
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Vern Stephens
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Luís Tiant
Joe Torre
Alan Trammell

George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Mickey Vernon
Frank Viola
Bucky Walters
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Deacon White
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*
Ross Youngs*
Veterans Committee Ballot
 

* Signifies actual Hall of Famers

Black Ink Pitching – 22 (78), Average HOFer ≈ 40
Gray Ink Pitching – 193 (48), Average HOFer ≈ 185
Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching – 109 (83), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
Hall of Fame Standards Pitching – 38 (78), Average HOFer ≈ 50

A decade or two ago Gary Sheffield’s accomplishment on Friday night would have meant something.  Joining the 500 HR not only placed you in very elite company, but it basically punched your ticket in the Cooperstown. 

Flash forward to 2009 and Sheffield’s 500th HR gets a little more than a yawn out of me.  The timing couldn’t have been worse for Sheff because so many of us were reminded of the late Harry Kalas’ call of Michael Jack Schmidt’s 500th HR.  Now that was an accomplishment.  It is still an elite group with merely 25 members.  It just doesn’t take on the same meaning.  Not with the steroids, the HGH, the cream, and the clear.  To me, there is no chance Sheffield gets into the Hall of Fame.  Some other steroid era players could have a hard time as well.  Obviously the Mt. Shamemore of the steroit era (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro) will struggle to get in.  Same with Jim Thome, although he hasn’t been linked to steroids.  Despite meeting the milestone, I would actually put Sheffield’s Uncle (Dwight Gooden) in the Hall before I considered him.

cooperstown-chronicles

The votes are in.  The 2009 Hall of Fame class will consist of Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice.  Rickey got in on his first try and Rice on his last.  As a Red Sox fan I am thrilled that Rice got in, but as a baseball fan I’m saddened that he did not have more company.  As good as Rice was, I think that there were more deserving players left off the ballot.  Andre Dawson for example was also a incredible hitter that happened to run well AND played Gold Glove defense.  Bert Byleven won 287 games and was a strikeout and shutout king.  Jack Morris was the winningest pitcher in the 80′s with an amazing postseason resume.  Maybe next year for them when only Roberto Alomar makes a strong case for first-ballot induction.  Here’s a look at the votes.

2009-hall-of-fame-voting

I don’t know how you can maintain voting eligibility if you did not vote for Rickey Henderson.  He’s only the all-time leader in Runs, Walks, and Stolen Bases and a member of the 3000 Hit Club.  There are 28 writers that have some explaining to do.  If they can’t come up with a good reason they left him off their ballots, like temporary amnesia or something, they should be thanked for their service and never heard from again.


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