The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind The Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign
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By John Tuberty – Special Guest Writer and Cooperstown Correspondent (Owner of The Wesbite Tubbs Baseball Blog, please view here . )
Under current Hall of Fame voting rules, the Expansion Era Committee meets once every three years to vote on retired players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, have been retired 21 or more seasons, and made their biggest contributions to the sport after 1972. In addition to the retired players, the Expansion Era ballot also includes retired managers, umpires, and executives from the post-1972 era. One player who is eligible to be included on December’s Expansion Era ballot is former Red Sox Right Fielder, Dwight Evans.
Despite owning impressive career totals such as 385 Home Runs, 2,446 Hits, and 8 Gold Glove Awards, Evans struggled to draw support in BBWAA Hall of Fame voting and fell off the ballot after failing to draw the necessary five percent needed to stay on the ballot on a very crowded 1999 election. However in recent years, Evans has become a popular Hall of Fame debate in the sabermetric community and several articles have been written in support of his overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy. One particular writer, Patrick Languzzi is spearheading a campaign to put Dwight Evans on December’s Expansion Era ballot. Languzzi, who writes for MLB Reports as the Hall of Fame Correspondent, created his own website, Call to the Hall, which is devoted to bringing awareness to Dwight Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy. Languzzi even started a petition which calls for Evans to be selected as one of the twelve finalists on December’s Expansion Era ballot. Languzzi was nice enough to take the time for me to interview him about his Call to the Hall website and petition.
JT: Patrick, you, along with Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe were recently interviewed by Tom Caron on the New England Sports Network (NESN) to discuss Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy (see link below). What was that experience like?
PL: The experience was validating for me, meaning, when I started this project, I never imagined it would have gone as far as it has, and gotten the attention it’s drawn. It’s great to see that I’m not the only one that feels that Evans’ case deserves to be revisited.
JT: You mention in the NESN clip that you got a chance to meet Dwight, what can you tell us about meeting him?
PL: Through all of my research, I’ve gotten to know Evans, and what I’ve found is that he is extremely humble and unwilling to discuss himself as a possible Hall of Fame candidate. He was humble as a player too. A good example of this is the clip from the 1987 All-Star game (see link to clip below) when Dwight fields a fly ball and fires a strike to home plate, Tim Raines the player at third holds from tagging up.
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024 This team has played for almost 130 years. As such, they have a great deal of history, so there are going to be several more hitters than pitchers as is the case with most Franchises. For the first seasons as the Quakers, they had some decent pitchers. It wasn’t until Pete Grover Alexander joined the club, that Philadelphia Phillies fams got to see a Hall of Fame pitcher before their very eyes. From Alexander, to Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, to Jim Bunning, Rick Wise and Chris Short, to Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw and Jim Lonborg, to Curt Schilling and Mitch Williams, to Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, the Phillies Pitchers have been improving in each generation.
Last year when the club won a record 102 games for the Franchise, they had the best 4 starters they had ever assembled in Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Roy Oswalt to take the mound. Having Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton as your 5th starter is an option most teams would love to have. The Phillies have been one of the best teams in the National League since 1975. They have appeared in 9 NLCS’s and 5 World Series while winning 2 of them. That is an impressive 36 year run. Going forward, the clubs pitchers still look solid. Cole Hamels just signed a 6 year extension, Cliff Lee is around for 3 more years and Roy Halladay still has 2 more years left after this. The club also signed Jonathan Papelbon up until the end of the 2015 season before 2012 began. Papelbon may have a chance to make this list when someone else chronicles the best pitchers in Phillies history one day 25 years from now.
If you ask me to have a Mount Rushmore of Pitchers it would be: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Grover Alexander and probably Cole Hamels because of his instrumental pitching since the 2007 season.
For Part 1 of the Phillies Article Series: The Franchise click here:
For Part 2 of the Phillies Article Series: The Hitters click here:
For Part 4 of the Phillies Article Series: Team Payroll and Contractual Statuses click here
For the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Franchise 5 Part Series click here
Steve Carlton Highlight Reel:
Wedesday August 22, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer) Follow @chuckbooth3024 Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of. The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over. It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury. When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team. I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager. Honestly, no one could hit the guy. As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him. Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams. There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher. He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004. Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk. Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing junk until they are finished high school. There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude.
Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while. The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly. If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching! Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter. Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite. Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.
This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage. I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time. This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years. Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.
Sunday July 1st, 2012
Robert Whitmer (Baseball Writer):
There are many firsts that you have in your life. Your first date, your first kiss, your first…. Yeah. This was my first live interview. I had the honor of interviewing the former MLB all-star Dmitri “Da Meat Hook” Young. It was challenging, but yet when it was over, I had an accomplished feeling and a greater appreciation for the man who is Dmitri Young.
This is a man who needs no introduction in baseball circles. If you know and love baseball, then you know “Da Meat Hook”. A 1st round pick of the Cardinals (4th overall) in 1991, Dmitri made his MLB debut in 1996. He played 13 seasons for 4 different clubs (St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit and Washington). Dmitri had many outstanding seasons, with his finest coming in Detroit as part of the 2003 season. Dmitri finished that year with a career high 29 home runs, to go along with 85 RBIs, 78 runs, .297 AVG and .909 OPS. He was named an All-Star that season, as well as his 2nd last year (2007- Nationals). In 2007, Dmitri was also named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. He was versatile, playing mainly first and the outfield, with a little bit of third base as well. His calling card was his bat and ability to get base hits. A career .292 hitter, Dmitri has 1389 career hits. A legend and baseball warrior, Dmitri was a player that any team would have loved to have on their side when a game was on the line.
Now in his post-MLB career, I got to spend some time talking baseball recently with Da Meat Hook. About his start in the game, from the draft day experience, his first MLB at-bat, and all the way to his current baseball projects. You know that smiling face you saw in the ballpark and on tv? That’s the same Dmitri Young I spoke to. Down to earth and loving life, Dmitri is a man who takes nothing for granted and has a love affair with the game of baseball to this day. If only we had more Dmitri Youngs in today’s game. So without further ado, here is the transcript from the interview: (you can listen to the audio version by clicking on the Dmitri Young Interview) Read the rest of this entry
Monday January 9th, 2012
Daniel Aubain (Guest Writer @DJAubain): When it comes to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, there seems to be two schools of thought on which players are deserving of induction; those who see it as an inclusive process, and those who see it as an exclusive process.
I’ll let you know right off the bat which group I fall into…the inclusives. Just look at the official name of the place again. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. AND MUSEUM. Their website lists “Preserving History”, “Honoring Excellence” and “Connecting Generations” as what can only be described as the core values or mission statement of the Hall itself.
A lot of people want to point to Section 5 of the BBWAA Election Rules which states, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played”, as an instant ban for not only proven PEDs users but also those suspected to probably have used (but no proof was ever discovered).
Give me a break. Let’s stop talking about a player’s “character” and “integrity”, as the Hall’s first inductee was Ty Cobb. Or that we’ve left the voting to a group, the writers, of whom only 77.5% felt Jackie Robinson was Hall worthy. You know, THE Jackie Robinson who has an award named after him, an entire day dedicated to celebrating his career accomplishments and the only player to have his uniform number unilaterally retired by all teams. In fact, there has NEVER been a unanimous selection into Cooperstown. Not Babe Ruth. Not Cal Ripken. Not Hank Aaron. How is that possible?
This is the same group of individuals who regularly use the phrase, “[Player X] is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” What the heck does that even mean? Either a player is “hall worthy” or he isn’t. It shouldn’t have to take an internet-based campaign by so-dubbed “statheads” to convince baseball writers that a player like Bert Blyleven belongs in the Hall.
Baseball has well-defined “eras” such as the “Deadball Era”, “Expansion Era” and now the “Steroid Era”. Players should be judged against the players they played against rather than against the greatest of all time. There are no Babe Ruths and Cy Youngs playing these days and there probably never will be again. They set the standards for players of their respective eras because they accomplished things no one had ever done prior to them. So for that, I refuse to weigh whether a player’s accomplishments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s compares to a player of the 1940s, 1950s and such.
Okay. So now that you know my opinion of what the Hall should be, here is my 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. But first, section 4.B of the BBWAA Election Rules states, “Electors may vote for as few as zero (0) and as many as ten (10) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election.” As such, I will be using all 10 of my votes today and will rank them in order of worthiness, in my eyes. I found this chart on Baseball-Reference.com to be very helpful in weighing my decisions.
- Jeff Bagwell
- Barry Larkin
- Edgar Martinez
- Tim Raines
- Larry Walker
- Alan Trammel
- Dale Murphy
- Rafael Palmeiro
- Mark McGwire
- Don Mattingly
I don’t think I need to go into the individual numbers of each player’s career accomplishments. But as you can tell, I am NOT keeping out PED users (proven or suspected) or a “DH-only” player. I’m voting with my eyes for the first nine players on my ballot and the last one with my heart. I’m okay living in a world where the “Hall of the Elite” exists.
I’m okay if we celebrate players who had human flaws just like you and me (Pete Rose, Joe Jackson, Palmeiro, McGwire, Barry Bonds, etc.) After all, it’s not like any of these guys ever killed a man. Right, Ty Cobb? Right?
Thanks to the great folks at MLB reports for allowing me the opportunity to share my voice with their audience. I truly appreciate it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for updates on what the future has in store for me and all other guest posting articles I’ll be doing this offseason.
Monday December 5, 2011
Doug Booth- Guest Baseball Writer: Okay, it is time for me to make my argument for my favorite player of all time to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. There will be several people that will say that Don Mattingly’s career stats of: H-2154, HR-222, RBI-1099, AVG-.307 and 9 Gold Gloves are not enough in just 14 seasons. I am not counting his 7 game-stint in 1982 with this. As a rookie in 1983, Don only .hit .283 with 4 HR’S and 32 RBI’s. In Donnie’s first year as a full time first baseman, he led the AL with a .343 AVG-with 23 HR’S and 110 RBI’s, also leading the league in hits with 207 and 2B’s with 48.
They say that if you have a shortened career-(and Mattingly’s back injury in the late eighties certainly robbed him of a definite Hall of Fame Career,) then you better have an incredible stretch as the best player in baseball. It is my belief that Don Mattingly was the best all-around player from 1984-1989, with apologies to Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, Don’s incredible consistency during this 6 year stretch included these numbers. A .327 AVG with 160 HR’s and a staggering 682 RBI’s with 257 doubles and 1219 hits. Nobody had more RBI’s and extra base hits in that time frame. Only Wade Boggs had more hits. The 6 year AVG breaks down to an AVG of .327 with H-204, 2B-43, HR-27 and RBI-114. What is most impressive is that Mattingly only averaged 33 strikeouts a season/or about 1/23 Plate appearances in this stretch.
During this stretch-Mattingly was also an All-star for 6 straight seasons-and was a Gold Glover for 5 years straight from 85-89. Donnie led the league in doubles three times, (84-86), hits twice, (84-86), total bases twice, (85-86), AVG in ’86, slugging and OBP in 1986. Don’s 145 RBI’s in 1985 were the most RBI’s by a left hander since the 1960’s. The same could be said for his 388 total bases in 1986. Other dominant stretches included his 1987 power streaks, in which he hit a record-6 grand slams(since equaled by Travis Hafner,) and also is still tied for homering in a record-tying 8 straight games (and should be the official leader because only Don hit 10 HR’S in that stretch of 8 games.) Mattingly is a silver slugger three times over (84-86), and The Sporting News Player of the Year for the seasons of (84-86). Don was the AL MVP in 1985, and finished 2nd in 1986 to Roger Clemens, but for hitting he was listed as #1. His 1984 and 1987 seasons also garnered serious MVP considerations. All impressive for a man who was not considered a power hitting prospect.
Back injuries slowed Mattingly down from 1990-1995, where he lost most of his power, but he was a .290 contact hitter who would still drive in about 80-85 RBI’S per year. If he could have kept playing healthy, instead of retiring at the age of 34, he would have had nearly 3000 hits, and probably would have hit 600-700 2B, and 300 HR’s-with about 1600 RBI’S. He probably would have finished up career with an AVG. that was near .300. You could probably add 3-5 more Gold Gloves as well. Instead, he finished with 2154 hits. His .307 career average will be one of the higher averages never to be in the Hall of Fame if he is not voted in. Don’s average season is still .307 with 20 HR’S, 97 RBI’S, with close to 200 hits and 40 doubles.
Another fact that gets overlooked was Don’s strikeout ratio to plate appearances. Mattingly only struck out 444 times in 7721 PA’s, or once every 19 times. This stat is unbelievable for a modern age hitter-and 444 Strikeouts is only 2 less doubles than the man hit in his career with 442. Only Tony Gwynn has had a better ratio for striking out in the last 50 years. You add the 9 Gold Gloves-(2nd all-time for a 1B), and this man should be gaining more consideration for the hall.
Other comparisons in numbers for players already in the Hall, would be Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, Puckett for average and power, while Rice has similar offensive numbers for his 162 game AVG. Rice had a few more HR’s and RBI’s while Mattingly had a better AVG. and had more hits/doubles for an average season. Both played 14 seasons.
For all of those kids watching Donnie Baseball play live, or on TV, we saw a guy that exemplified a professional hitter. Amongst fielding 1st baseman that I have seen, no one has ever been better. His swing was pure poetry in motion, even when he older, it must have drove pitchers crazy that they could not strike him out. I am only sad that Don Mattingly has missed out on all of the Yankees championship seasons.
At least his fans can always recall his last at bat in the 1995 playoffs where he crushed a homer in a 5th game loss to the Mariners in the ALDS. It was a great career shortened by back injuries. If defensive prowess is deemed a lot more lucrative for a Hall of Fame bid, once again they have to consider ‘Donnie Baseball.’
*** Thank you to Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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Sam Evans: Dale Murphy was one of the best baseball players of the 1980′s. He played in 2180 games, hit .265, with 398 home runs. Now, after twelve years of eligibility, Murphy still has not been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Dale Murphy was not a dominant player during his era. He was a very good player, he won two MVP’s and five straight gold gloves. However, when you look back at his two “peak” years, he only posted a 6.1 WAR in those years combined. We can’t fully be sure of WAR’s (wins above replacement) ability to fully show the defensive prowess of players, but either way that is not impressive enough for a Cooperstown candidate.
On the field, Murphy was an inspiration to others. He truly looked like he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world. Off the field, he wasn’t any different. Just ask Joe Torre, who had this to say about Murphy, “If you’re a coach, you want him as a player. If you’re a father, you want him as a son. If you’re a woman, you want him as a husband. If you’re a kid, you want him as a father. What else can you say about the guy?” Murphy truly was an American hero as evidenced by his Lou Gehrig award and Roberto Clemente award.
From 1980 to 1989, Murphy had more total bases than anyone in the majors. He had a perplexing career in terms of statistics. He never dominated any one category. A typical season from Murphy would look along the lines of: 30 HR, 90 RBI, 130 K, 15 SB, and a .265 AVG. That is a pretty good year by all standards. The player that was most similar to this stat line in 2011, was Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds.
Let’s make one thing clear. Based on his statistics alone, Dale Murphy is definitely not a Hall of Famer. A 44. WAR is not enough for a Hall of Famer. That is in fact less than Red Sox fourth outfielder J.D. Drew. However, if you want to make a case for Murphy’s election by including his contributions to the game of baseball off the field, I can see a stronger case for his candidacy.
Last year, Murphy received only 12.6% of the BBWAA voted for the Hall. He has a long ways to go, in terms of voting, and not a lot of time to do it. I really am indifferent to whether or not Dale Murphy is Hall of Famer. If he makes it in, I will be pleased that his great character and steady numbers had been noticed. The bottom line is that regardless of whether he is eventually elected into Cooperstown, Dale Murphy should always be remembered as a tremendous player that truly was a role model to kids and adults who followed his career. Even if he does not fit the Cooperstown mold, he was one of the top players of his generation and should be regarded as a strong role model for future wave of Major League Baseball players to come.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.***
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