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MLB Reports Hall Of Fame Predictions: Class Of 2014 Players

The deadline of December 31st has come and gone for The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Members were asked to submit no more than 10 names of players they "deem" worthy of induction towards this year's National Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony set for July.

The deadline of December 31st has come and gone for The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Members were asked to submit no more than 10 names of players they “deem” worthy of induction towards this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony set for July.

By Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent)

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Results are scheduled to be announced on January 8th.

Players must receive at least 75 percent of the votes in order to be inducted by a voting body of roughly over 500 eligible writers.

There are many player names worthy of discussion, however, few will see enshrinement, now or ever.

Greg Maddux Tribute:

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Passing The Torch From Greatest MLB Player To Player During The Years 1979 – 2013: From Brett To Cabrera

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013.  He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles.  Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe.  He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs.  The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.

Cabrera has had back to back AL MVP seasons in 2012 and 2013. He has also won 3 straight AL Batting Titles. Cabrera is the best player offensively in the universe. He has put up 10 straight 100+ RBI campaigns, but he has racked in 276 RBI, and also 88 HRs – while featuring an OPS well north of 1.000. The 11 Year Veterans totals would have even been higher in 2013, but he fought a torn groin for the last half of the year.  The 8 time ALL – Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner has improved even greater on his totals over the last decade.  Cabrera has a Career 3 Slash Line of .321/.399/.967 – with 365 HRs and 1260 RBI in just 1660 Games Played.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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While watching Miguel Cabrera this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time. 

I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow-up articles.  I didn’t rank defense as  highly as offense when I came up with the players. 

I agonized over players like Mike SchmidtJim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration. 

In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion. 

The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting (if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

Cabrera’s 3 HR Game – 2013

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Enough With PED Users Being Rewarded! Peralta Signs For 4 Years With St. Louis

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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For those fans that may not think about it very much, every time a PED user is gaining an advantage with the crap they are ingesting or shooting them, they are talking away another guys opportunity to make the big leagues.

The Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta to a 4 YR/$52 MIL deal yesterday.  I am not certainly not faulting the St. Louis for conducting business the way they have to.  They are just following the rules.

What I am choked about is how an offender of the drug policy, can just resume his career, and double his last contract with no real consequences.

It is absurd on so many levels…

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When Can The Baseball Writers For The Hall Of Fame Consider Cheating Through PED Use, Or Not?

Barry Bonds once admitted to a Federal Jury that he used PED's. As MLB's ALL-Time HR King with 762 Round-Trippers, will the BBWAA ever consider looking past this and elect him into Cooperstown?

Barry Bonds once admitted to a Federal Jury that he used PED’s. As MLB’s ALL-Time HR King with 762 Round-Trippers, will the BBWAA ever consider looking past this and elect him into Cooperstown? —Photo by sportsagent.com.

Prof. Wes Reber Porter and Dan Dressman (Special Guest Writers):  and

When the 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot is released in November, the heated discussion will begin about which controversial candidates, if any at all, would be inducted into Cooperstown (HOF). 

While isolated athletes have come up in previous years, this year represents a first real tension between the modern era of baseball – the “steroid era” – and traditional standards for admission into the Hall. 

The 575 baseball writers are, and should be, entrusted to weigh cheating and use of PEDs against the HOF’s criteria of “character,” “sportsmanship” and “upholding the integrity of the game” (the integrity standards). 

These writers each will struggle, however, with a preliminary question that falls outside of their expertise:under which circumstances may a HOF voter consider, at all, a candidate’s connection to cheating and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)?    Read the rest of this entry

Baseball Academies In The Dominican Republic

dominican-republic-baseball-2009-1-26-0-34-51

Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

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In 2012, almost ten percent of all major league players were born in the Dominican Republic. This is despite the population of the United States of America being more than thirty-one times greater than that of the D.R.

How does the Dominican Republic produce so many baseball players, one might ask.

Well, baseball academies run by major league teams and player agents are one of the driving forces increasing the number of professional baseball players from the D.R.

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Orioles’ Chris Davis And Manny Machado Primed For Big Second Half

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Friday, July.05, 2013

Chris Davis is one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball, and is showing everyone that he is a great all-around hitter as well. He is on pace to hit at least 60 HRs this season, and this would put him in some exclusive company.

Chris Davis is one of the premier sluggers in all of baseball, and is showing everyone that he is a great all-around hitter as well. He is on pace to hit at least 60 HRs this season, and this would put him in some exclusive company. The last time a player hit 60, is when Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. Crush as the fans in Baltimore like to call him has a chance to not only lead the Orioles to another post season berth, but also a division crown. The last time they won the division was in 1997. He has a WAR of 4.3 that is 3rd in the AL and is 1st in AB per HR with 9.5 this season.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

Baltimore Orioles are proving that their post season appearance last season was no fluke and that they are not a one-hit wonder with their play this season. The Orioles are second in the American League East division and they trail the Boston Red Sox by 3 ½ games.

This is very good considering the division that they play in is the toughest one in baseball, where all but one of the five teams is under .500. Baltimore can attribute some of the success this season to their offense.

Chris Davis 2013 Highlights- So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Harmon Killebrew’s 1955 Topps Rookie Card

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Saturday, April.20, 2013

Killer was an 11 Time All - Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 4 times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career.  The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew's patience...He Walked 1559 times  in 2435 Games Played.  His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884. Killebrew also had a great eye leading the League in Walks in 4 separate seasons (66', 67', 69', 71).

Killer was an 11 Time All – Star and an 6 time HR King and led the AL in RBI 3  times as well. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career. Killenbrew also had a great eye – in leading the American League in  Walks in 4 separate years.  Overall, he Walked 1559 times in 2435 Games Played. His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 10

Harmon Killebrew

This week’s article features a member of the 500 Home Run club.

During the decade of the 1960’s, sluggers named Hank Aaron,Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, and Frank Robinson, in the prime of their careers, bashed balls out of the ballpark in record fashion.

In 1961, Mantle and Maris duked it out as the baseball world watched their assault on Babe Ruth’s single season Home Run record. But after the dust had settled on the 60’s, it was a quiet gentleman named Harmon Killebrew who wound up hitting more Home Runs in the decade than anyone else.

Nicknamed “The Killer”, although he was anything but, he pounded 393 Home Runs in that ten year period:

Harmon Killebrew Tribute:

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Chris Carter: The Future Star That Will Make Billy Beane Regret His Trade Mistake

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Monday February 11th, 2013

Chris Carter had a 3 Slash Line of .239/.350/.864 in 218 AB during the 2012 season. He clubbed 16 HRs and 39 RBI. He hit 11 HRs in just 122 AB away from o.co Coliseum. At just Age 26 - and team controllable until 2019, it is weird that Billy Beane would trade away the slugging 1B/DH

Chris Carter: A career .283 hitter in the minors, with a .378 OBP and .535 SLG. The perfect combination of power and patience. He will prove to be the one that got away from Billy Beane.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Mark down the date of February 4th, 2013. The day that Billy Beane broke my heart. In preparing for my latest A’s feature, the working title of the article was “Chris Carter: The Next Great A’s Superstar”. Then fate intervened. Or rather, Beane decided to pull off one too many trades. After a successful offseason that saw the A’s GM bolster significantly bolster his playoff squad, Beane decided that one more blockbuster move was in order. Jed Lowrie was headed to Oakland, with Chris Carter (the good one), Max Stassi and Brad Peacock going over to the Astros. For the purpose of this piece, I will be focusing on the loss of Carter. Stassi is a former 4th round pick of the A’s and a young 21 Year Old catching prospect. With Derek Norris ready to grab the A’s catching job for the next decade, I can see how he was expandable. Peacock was a 41st round pick of the Nationals. A 25 Year Old arm that may develop one day, but crashed and burned last season in AAA. With the A’s pitching depth, I can see how he could be ticketed out-of-town for a change of scenery. But Chris Carter?  Really Billy??!! You worked your magic to get him in the first place from the Diamondbacks. I certainly hope that your return pans out (Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez). Right now, I simply cannot see the logic of this move.


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Adam Dunn: The New Dave Kingman?

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Wednesday, February.06/2013

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic '3TO' AKA 3 True Outs: HR/BB or SO. At The MLB Reports, we call it a 'Dunn Trick' when he does all 3 in a game.

Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HRs 6 times in his career and 38+ HRs in 8 of the last 9 years. He is the Classic ’3TO’  Guy. AKA 3 True Outs Guy: HR/BB or SO.  At The MLB Reports, we call it a ‘Dunn Trick’ when he does all 3 in a game.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): 

.159 Batting Average, 11 HRs, 42 RBI, 177 SO, $12 Million. Those are the #’s posted by Adam Dunn in 2011 during his first season with the Chicago White Sox in just 415 AB or two-thirds of a season. Quite possibly one of the worst statistical seasons in MLB history. Far from Dunn’s previous season averages leading up to that point in his career:  .248 Batting Average – with 33 HRs and 82 RBI. These were not the #’s the White Sox thought they were getting when they signed Dunn to a 4 YR/$56 Million Contract prior to the 2011 season. Dunn never was a high average kind of guy,  has always struck out a lot (as a lot of power hitters do), but also walks a lot. Much to Dunn’s credit, he turned everything around in 2012 hitting (only) .204, but with 41 HRs and 96 RBI. His turnaround season was a big reason for  Chicago’s success in 2012.

Dunn has been one of the game’s premiere power hitters since 2004. Yet, to this date, has never been on a playoff team. He and the Sox came close in 2012, but fell short behind the Tigers. Dunn surpassed 400 HRss last year for the Sox, ( the same year that his teammate Paul Konerko  hit his 400th. Konerko actually hit his 300th HR in the same game, back-to-back with, then teammate, Jermaine Dye) and has a great chance to surpass 500 HR’s. While Dunn will probably fall short of 500 HRs in his next 2 seasons with the Sox, you have to figure he’ll catch on with a team in 2015 and get there. A common complaint about Dunn is, and has been, his average. Last year Dunn hit a “robust” .204, yet still managed to have an OBP of .333. Not quite as good as his career OBP of .370, but not awful either. For a guy that strikes out as much as he does, Dunn sure walks a lot. Though Dunn walked 105 times last year, his K’s more than doubled that amount with 222.

Adam Dunn  Highlights:  Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind The Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign

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Sunday, January.13/2013

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers and BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Jim Rice and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their piers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) - but are trounced on by the ballooned 'Steroid era" numbers.

Dwight Evans falls into that category with Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, Will Clark and Keith Hernandez. Guys that were the best players amongst their peers, (offensively and defensively) plus BBHOF Worthy (In some cases) – but are trounced on by the ballooned ‘Steroid era” numbers.

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?

http://nesn.com/2012/12/dwight-evans-hall-of-fame-candidacy-languishes-with-veterans-committee-video/

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.

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Paul Konerko Has Asserted Himself As An ALL-Time South Sider

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Sunday, January.13/2013

Paul Konerko heads into the last year of a contract.  At 37, Konerko has hit 415 HRs as a White Sox Players and is 33 Round-Trippers short of Frank Thomas for the ALL-Time Franchise Lead.  Will he reach the 'BIG HURT' in 2013?

Paul Konerko heads into the last year of a contract. At 37, Konerko has hit 415 HRs as a White Sox Player – and is 33 Round-Trippers short of Frank Thomas (448) for the ALL-Time Franchise Lead. Will he reach the ‘BIG HURT’ in 2013? Better yet, if he re-signs with the team past 2013, he may enter the top 10 of ALL-Time HRs for one team.  Currently Lou Gehrig and Eddie Matthews sit tied in 9th with 493 HRs each for one club.

By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent):  

The South Side of Chicago. U.S. Cellular Field. You’re likely to have heard chants of “Let’s go White Sox!!”, “Ozzie!! Ozzie!!, and maybe even “Oh-E-Oh, Magglio!!”, over the years at this beautiful, yet underrated ball park. But, for the last 14 seasons, you probably would have heard “Paulie!! Paulie!!”, more than any other. No, not Paulie from Rocky fame. Paul Konerko, the 6 time ALL-Star and 2005 World Series Champion First Baseman of the Chicago White Sox. Some would say he’s underrated, much like the stadium he’s called home since 1999. Acquired via trade from the Cincinnati Reds in late 1998 by the White Sox for Mike Cameron, Konerko has been a consistent producer for them for 14 seasons.

He’s averaged more than 32 HRs and 101 RBI in that time frame for the Sox – and has combined for a few quality 1-2 punches over the years with some big hitters. Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, and now Adam Dunn, to name a few. He is said to be one of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s favorite players of ALL-time. He should be, as he helped guide the White Sox to their first World Series Championship in 88 years back in 2005. Konerko even presented the “3rd and final out ball” to Reinsdorf at the victory parade, bringing the owner to tears in front of thousands of screaming Sox fans.

Paul Konerko 2012 Highlights:  Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Bartolo Colon: Ready For One More “BIG” Season in Oakland

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Sunday January 13th, 2013

bartolo colon

Bartolo Colon saw his 2012 season end early due to a PED suspension. He is scheduled to return in April. Does he have one more big year left in the tank?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Bartolo Colon (or Fatolo as he is known in inner-baseball circles), is set to make his major league return in April, 2013. Back in August, 2012 Colon received a 50-game suspension for the use of a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). This suspension came a week after Melky Cabrera received his 50-game ban. With only 5 games left in his suspension, Colon will be back in early-April (health permitting). But as much as fans discuss his performance on the field, Colon’s weight always seems to be the center of attention. Generously listed at 5’11″ and 265 lbs. on the Baseball Reference site, Colon won’t be winning modelling contests anytime soon. Billy Beane said it best in Moneyball, when he made it clear to his scouts that the team wasn’t trying to sell jeans. They were trying to win ballgames. Regardless of his weight and appearance, as long as Bartolo Colon can get the job done, I say hand him the ball every 5th game. Babe Ruth wasn’t a small guy, but he sure got the job done. Colon may not have the talent possessed by Ruth, but he can still be effective on most given nights. When baseball has 1-2 pitchers falling to Tommy John surgery on a weekly basis, there is something to be said for a pitcher that can go out there and give his team a good chance of winning. That is the Bartolo Colon that the A’s are hoping for in 2013. With a $3 Million salary this year and approximately $2 Million in incentives to be earned, Colon has all the incentives in place to give the A’s the workhorse they need this upcoming season.


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Cincinnati’s Favorite Son (Pete Rose) Still Awaits Baseball Re-Instatement And A Spot In Cooperstown

Thursday, October.18/2012

Always driven by the “Almighty Dollar” Pete Rose has appeared in several WWE Pay-Per-Views and was paid to be unceremoniously dumped on his keester like this picture dictates. He was always feuding with the wrestler ‘Kane.” Rose usually showed up at the events as the San Diego Chicken first.  This time he sent someone else as the Chicken and tried to sneak attack ‘The Big Red Machine ” with a baseball bat only to be caught.  I guess Kane wasn’t a fan of the 70′s “Big Red Machine Player.”

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):

I started watching baseball when I was really young.  Back in the day in the early 1980′s, one of my favorite players was Pete Rose.  I mean who couldn’t admire the ALL-Time Hit Kings all out effort in running the bases?  As a young baseball player myself, I emulated Rose by sprinting to first base when I drew a walk.  I always love why he said he did this: “There is no point in not hustling down to first because that just makes you that much closer to second.”  He was monikered with “Charlie Hustle” for his tenacity towards the game.  Who could ever forget how he wiped out Ray Fosse in the 1970 ALL-Star Game?  Pete Rose was ‘old school’ as they come.  He is the ALL-Time leader in Games Played (3562) At Bats (14059), Plate Appearances (15890) and of course his 4256 hits still sits 1st on the Career list.  The man also had 10-200 hit seasons (Tied for 1st ALL-Time with Ichiro Suzuki) and has won 3 batting titles.  He was on 3 World Series Championship teams including being the key transaction in putting over the 1980 Phillies to their first franchise World Series Title ever.  Rose had a .303  Career Avg while hitting .300 in 17 different seasons and making 17 different ALL-Star Teams.  He was the Rookie of the Year for the Reds in 1963 and was the NL MVP in 1973, when he hit .338 and collected 230 hits.  Rose also holds a 426-388 Career Record as a Manager with the Reds.

I wish every MLB Player would adopt Pete Rose’s intensity for the game of baseball. I am happy to see Mike Trout and Bryce Harper hustle their muscles off like Pete Rose did. Maybe others will follow.

Rose was also last Player/Manager in the Major Leagues, when he played and called the shots with the Cincinnati Reds in 1986.  All of these incredible achievements should have placed him in Cooperstown by the early 90′s, however he was just as competitive in something else that would later be revealed.  On Aug.24/1989, Pete Rose was issued a lifetime ban from the MLB for betting on the game of baseball.  It shocked the world and was the biggest scandal in the National Pastime since the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.  Pete fought for his innocence with as much reckless abandonment as he displayed with his famous head first slides. Read the rest of this entry

Meet Haley Smilow’s Assistant: Ethan Smilow’s Premiere Wrigley Field Interviews

Wednesday September 26th, 2012

 

Marc Smilow (Dad):  So today my 11-year-old daughter Haley comes to me and says: “dad… my assistant has an idea that we would like you to send Jonathan over at MLB Reports.”  Now my first reaction is what is Haley talking about? Her assistant!?  Then they proceed to show me the interview that they have been working on together.  So I would like to introduce you Haley’s assistant, Ethan Smilow.  Ethan is Haley’s seven year old brother and like his sister, is Yankees fan but loves the game of baseball. Haley is the MLB Junior Correspondent for MLB reports. Well now, baseball has certainly turned into a family affair in the Smilow household.

Ethan Smilow plays catcher, second base and right field for the West Little League Novas in New York City.  Ethan is also the reason we started our quest for 30 stadiums.  In the summer of 2010, the family was watching the Yankees vs. Royals on television and Ethan said, “I want to go to Kauffman Stadium and see the fountain one day.”  I turned to my wife and said yeah right, like we were ever going to Kansas City!!  One year later, we all were sitting at a game in Kauffman Stadium.  Over the last two summers we have been to 16 ballparks and learned that the rules of baseball don’t change at each location. But every ballpark has its own unique style, sites, food and history.  On a recebt family visit to Wrigley Field, Ethan found it interesting and unique that most of the ushers at the ballpark were the same age as his grandparents.  He couldn’t imagine his grandparents working at Wrigley.  So he decided to ask several of the usher some questions about Wrigley and this is what he found out: Read the rest of this entry

Miguel Cabrera: Baseball Royalty is Ready to Take the AL Triple Crown and a Spot in Cooperstown

Tuesday September 25, 2012

Alex Mednick:  1967 was the year that boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship because he refused to join the U.S. Army.  There were 475,000 US Troops in Vietnam.  The Beatles had just come out with Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Woodstock music festival was still 2 years away.  Never had a man stepped foot on the moon, a gallon of gas cost $0.33 and Federal Minimum Wage was $1.40 per hour.  It was also the last time that any professional ballplayer was awarded the triple crown: Carl Yastrzemski.

Carl Yastrzemski was the last major league baseball player to ever win the triple crown, 45 years ago in 1967.

Here we are, in present day 2012, and 29-year-old phenom Miguel Cabrera is vying to be the first man to hit for the triple crown since 1967…after almost a half century.  Back in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire reignited national interest in our pastime, they were pursuing Roger Maris’ single season record for most home runs.  Without deducting any valor from the record which I believe still belongs to Mr. Maris, the triple crown does not only take home run power into consideration; rather the triple crown validates a hitter based upon the three most important (Sabremetrician’s may disagree) measures of a hitters overall productivity. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball in the Olympics: Born in 1904 to Elimination in 2008

Monday August 6th, 2012

           

Robert Whitmer:  Have you ever loved something so much that the only way to see if it loved you back was to set it free and see if it came back to you?  Most people apply this concept to human relationships.  The strongest emotions possible by a human are between family members.  Husband and wife, parent and child, even sibling to sibling; the emotion of love runs the entire world.  Wars have been fought and countries destroyed because of an emotion.  If I could, for a moment, steal a set of lines from The Matrix: Revolutions about love.  “It’s a… human emotion. Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies. I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?”  What would you give?  This word is often times tossed around with reckless abandon.  We often say it without considering the aforementioned connection that the word implies.  When someone or something that we have connected this word to leaves us, or is no longer available to us, we go through a withdrawal.  We yearn for it, strive for it, and in the most extreme of circumstances, kill for it.  You are reading this right now because you have a love for a sport.  Don’t deny it, because you know that it’s true.  You watch it, study it, and put aside mere mundane tasks to be near it.  Isn’t that what you do for things that you love?  You…  no we are here because we love the sport of baseball but has it always loved us back?

We are about a week into the 30th Olympiad.  We have our usual events that grab out attention for three weeks out of every four years.  If you try to sit there and tell me that you follow USA handball team then I will sit here and call you a liar.   I can probably count on one hand the number of sports that are in the Olympics that are even on TV in those four years.  Only because of national pride do the Olympics get the ratings that it does.  There has been talk of including new sports and events into the Olympics but then they continue to take events out.  One of the more recent sports to get the axe was baseball. During a 2005 IOC meeting, it was decided that baseball and softball would no longer (starting in 2012) be included in the Olympic Games.  This is not going to be a bash the Olympics read, but more represent a discussion as to why I feel that baseball is not an Olympic event.  To understand this, we must start at the beginning.  Let us hop in our time machine and travel back to a time when baseball was king. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball As My Muse: Baseball Artist Margie Lawrence – Guest Blog

Saturday June 9th, 2012

Margie Lawrence (Guest Blogger):  Having grown up blocks from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, I had no choice but to fall in love with the Cubs. 

 

The organ music and cheers of the crowd would drift through the open windows of my school, which sat a mere block from the bleacher entrance. And like many of my loves, the Cubs have disappointed me, but I still keep the hope alive that one day everything will be all right in the world and they—we— will win a World Series.

 

My first baseball memory involved 20 or so family members crowded around the portable TV cheering Sandy Koufax on during the 1963 World Series. Later on, I would pretend I was Sandy or Fergie Jenkins or Ken Holtzman, throwing what I perceived to be a curve ball at a small painted square on a brick wall. That square was always Mickey Mantle, for some reason. I was 11, it was 1969. My height was about that of a munchkin, and I may have weighed at 65 pounds.  If only I could have played on a Little League team…but damn those girl chromosomes. (And damn those Mets!) Read the rest of this entry

Passing of the Torch as The Greatest Player in The MLB: From Pujols to Hamilton

Wednesday June.6, 2012

Josh Hamilton is on pace for 64 HRs and 177 RBI in 2012 with a .345 AVG. He has taken over as the best player in MLB from Albert Pujols -Photo Courtesy of http://www.real-fans.com

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- While watching Josh Hamilton this year, I started thinking about the best players in the MLB over the last 33 years.  I am talking the best player of the game at any point of time.  I tracked back to 1979 for this article.  I may expand further back in follow up articles.  I did rank defense highly when I came up with the players.  I did agonize over Mike Schmidt,  Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken for some of the years given in specific time frames.  These gentlemen were given every consideration.  In the end, we are talking about the best player in the game though and it is always subject to debate and personal opinion.  The criteria had to involve leading the league in several different offensive and/or defensive categories, followed by routinely being in the top 7 in MVP balloting(if not taking home the honor), All-Star Appearances for every year I listed them for and most of them won silver sluggers and/or Gold Gloves as well.

George Brett won batting titles in 3 different decades and flirted with .400 in 1980 while hitting .390 for the year. -Photo courtesy of lanius.wordpress.com

George Brett 1979-1983-George Brett was the best hitter in the game from 1979-1983.  He hit for a .320 average and slugged his way to having the Royals as perennial contenders.  He led the league in triples (20) and hits in 1979.  In 1980, he hit .390 with a .454 OBP, 664 SLG and a 1.118 OBP which led the league.  In 1983, Brett led the league in slugging an OPS once again.  Brett won the MVP in 1980 and was the runner-up in 1979.  In 1985, George Brett would lead the Royals to a World Series.  He later won a batting title at age 37 with a .329 average.  This was the toughest time frame to judge from 1979-1983.  Mike Schmidt was an incredible force at third base with huge power and Jim Rice also put up mammoth numbers, but in the end I chose  George Brett because he was more consistent out of 3. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – June 2nd, 2012

Saturday June 2nd, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

JH: Before we get to your questions, we have to send a big shout out to the one and only, Johan Santana. We have enjoyed countless e-mails, tweets and comments on the Mets this year. The Mets faithful have been loud and supportive this year and represent the largest fan base we hear from every week. So this little note is for you.

The incredible Santana, in his first year back from major surgery that threatened to de-rail his career, threw a no-hitter. Not just any no-hitter. But the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Think about that one. It will boggle your mind. The amount of quality pitchers that have pitched for the Mets over the years is astronomical. Nolan Ryan. Tom Seaver. David Cone. Dwight Gooden. Frank Viola. How is it possible that this team had never spun a no-hitter before? Fate and luck are the biggest reasons. It is not that easy to get a no-hitter. Many things have to go right for a no-no to occur. So finally, in the whole history of this franchise, the Mets have a no-hitter of their own. Plus, it came from not just any pitcher, but one of the best pitchers of our generation. Johan Santana. I can’t say enough good things about the man. He has been as solid as they come over his career. From a Twins ace for all those years, Santana came to the Mets to take them to the promised land. But critical shoulder surgery, combined with the team’s other injuries and off-field issues put a damper on the entire teams and its players. The 29-23 Mets have been amazing this year though. With only David Wright as their leading hitter, this team has been incredible. R.A. Dickey. Frank Francisco. Jon Rauch. Bobby Parnell. Daniel Murphy. The Mets just don’t give up. Now with the no-hitter in the books, this season has turned magical for the Mets and its fans. Santana was on fire tonight. Despite giving up 5 walks, he struck out 8 over a complete 9 innings. He needed 134 pitches to complete the no-no. In front of only 27,069 Mets fans, Santana pitched the game of his life on home turf. Lucas Duda with the home run and 4 RBIs. Daniel Murphy with 2 hits and 3 RBIs. The Mets won this one as a team and the city of New York gets to celebrate the reincarnation of the Miracle Mets. At least for 1/3 of a season to start. Well done Johan Santana, we’re proud of you! Read the rest of this entry

Looking Ahead to the 2013 Hall of Fame Ballot

Saturday February 4, 2012


Rob Bland:  When Barry Larkin was elected into the Hall of Fame, it was obvious going in that he would likely be included.  As it turned out, he was the only player voted in by the BBWAA in 2012.  Larkin received 86.4% of the vote, a jump from 62.1% the year before, when he had the highest vote total of those who did not receive the requisite 75%.  

The 2013 class boasts 13 players who received less than 75% but more than 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot.  There are also 32 new players on the list.  Players must have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have been retired for 5 full seasons to be eligible for the ballot.  Of returning players, the most notable are Jack Morris (66.7%), Jeff Bagwell (56%), Lee Smith (50.6%), Tim Raines (48.7%), Mark McGwire (19.5%) and Rafael Palmeiro (12.6%).  It’s hard to imagine that two of the best home run hitters of all time (McGwire and Palmeiro) could garner less than a quarter of the vote, in McGwire’s 7th year on the ballot and Palmeiro’s 3rd respectively.  However, due to steroid usage and their laughable performances in a congressional hearing, this is the case.  

2013’s ballot gets a whole lot crazier when you add baseball’s all-time home run leader, and possibly best player in history, one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers of all time, the best slugging catcher of all time, and a guy who hit over 60 HR THREE times, and totalling 609 blasts.  

Barry Bonds.  Roger Clemens.  Mike Piazza.  Sammy Sosa.  All four of these players have in some way or another been connected with steroids, whether it is pure speculation, or blatant proof.  Knowing what we know about McGwire and Palmeiro’s statuses in the Hall of Fame voting, 2013 could prove to be the most heavily debated election year ever.  Many believe that players who used steroids should never be elected in the Hall, and all records should have asterisks beside them.  Many others believe they should let them in, and that because steroids and PED usage was so rampant in the “Steroid Era” that it doesn’t affect the way they vote.  

Jack Morris’s case for the Hall has been so widely discussed that it bears not repeating.  He was a good pitcher on some very good teams that scored a lot of runs.  Bagwell put up tremendous numbers and has never been proven to be linked to PEDs but is kept out of the Hall because some suspect him of it.  Raines is inching closer to being elected, and Lee Smith is nearing the end of his run on the ballot.  Since I have already given my vote for 2012, and my opinion has not changed on any of those players, I won’t go into too much detail, other than the fact that I believe Morris will be elected in his 14th year.  

Bonds and Clemens would have been first ballot Hall of Famers, no doubt about it.  But because of this cloud of PED usage hanging over their heads, it could be a while, if at all.  

Bonds’ CAREER OPS 1.051 is higher than every player in the MLB not named Jose Bautista in 2011 alone.  His peak season in OPS+ was 268 in 2002.  268!  Career OBP of .444.  514 stolen bases.  He holds the record for most career home runs with 762.  Bonds was a 7-time National League MVP, 14-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover, and 12-time Silver Slugger.  Simply put, steroids or not, Bonds was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and should be treated as such.  He should be in the Hall, but may not be elected for many years due to his links to PEDs, his perjury charges, and his overall sour disposition when it came to dealing with the scrutiny of the media.  

Clemens was one of the top 3 pitchers in a generation dominated by hitting, along with Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.  He has the highest fWAR of any pitcher (by a landslide) with 145.5 Wins Above Replacement.  His 8.56 K/9 ranks in the top 10 all time for starters with over 250 GS.  At age 42, (albeit possibly aided by PED) he went 13-8, 1.87 ERA, 185K/62BB, and ERA+ of 226.  Clemens won 7 Cy Young Awards while attending 11 All-Star Games and even winning the AL MVP Award in 1986.  Clemens was always known for his military-style workouts and his bulldog mentality, but as with Bonds, his links to PEDs will taint his legacy.  

Mike Piazza is another case where others have implicated him, and there has been no proof of his taking any PED.  Highest career slugging of any catcher in history; .545.  #1 in ISO; .237.  7th in fWAR; 66.7.  1st in HR; 427.  If these stats don’t make Piazza look like the best offensive catcher in history, I don’t know what else to say.  Maybe his .308 AVG and 140 wRC+, 9th and 1st all time for catchers, respectively, will convince you.  A 12-time All-Star, Piazza also won the 1993 NL MVP award with the LA Dodgers.  He also won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and was voted in the top 10 for the MVP 7 times.  Piazza should be voted in the first ballot as well, but, like Bagwell, will likely wait many years even though there has not been a shred of credible evidence that he took a PED.  

Between 1998 and 2001, Sammy Sosa hit 243 home runs.  60.75 home runs per year.  In the history of the MLB, there have been eight seasons where a player has hit 60 HR.  Sosa owns three of them.  With 609 career home runs and an OPS of .878, it is no wonder Sosa was regarded as one of the best power hitters of his generation.  Sosa played in 7 All-Star Games, won the NL MVP in 1998, and was voted in the top 10 six other times.  He also won 6 Silver Slugger Awards.  Sosa tested positive for PED use in a 2003 supposedly anonymous survey.  Also, not helping his reputation as a cheater is that he was caught using a corked bat on June 3, 2003.  

Curt Schilling needs to get a long hard look as well.  He was able to amass only 216 wins, but his career 1.13 WHIP and 128 ERA+ are very good.  Schilling also compiled over 3100 strikeouts while walking only 711 in 3261 innings.  If Jack Morris gets into the Hall of Fame with much lesser career numbers, but gets in on the merits of his Game 7 victory in the 1991 World Series, Schilling should be elected in his first 3 years of eligibility.  Before Game 6 of the ALCS in 2004, in which the Red Sox were down 3-2 to the Yankees, Schilling tore a tendon sheath in his ankle.  Doctors built a wall of stitches in his ankle to hold the tendon in place so that he could still pitch in the game.  Schilling went 7 innings, all the while blood oozed out of the wound through his sock.  He gave up 4 hits, no walks, and struck out 4 batters, and gave up 1 run.  The Red Sox won the game, and won the series the next night.  The game will forever be known as the Bloody Sock Game.  Schilling’s performance on one leg was one of the gutsiest events I have ever witnessed in this game.  

There are so many other notable names of good to great baseball players, but none should have a real chance of being elected into the Hall of Fame this year…with most likely never getting in.  These players include Craig Biggio, Jose Mesa, Roberto Hernandez, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Shawn Green, Julio Franco, Sandy Alomar, and of course, Jaret Wright.  Remember that guy?  

2013’s ballot is littered with guys who SHOULD be in, but won’t be elected.  Not now, and maybe not ever.  Personally, I vote Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa and Schilling.  Due to their PED connections, the first four won’t get in, and Schilling may take a few years to pay his dues through the process.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  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 Blandy on Twitter***

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