Tag Archive | "Hr Record"

Votto’s contract shouldn’t worry Royals fans

For many Kansas City Royals fans, Joey Votto’s 12-year $251-million deal with the Cincinnati Reds was the worst news they had heard all spring. Fans speculated on Twitter that this would make Eric Hosmer worth at least $300 million in 4 years. Sam Mellinger wrote of how the Reds could afford such a deal, and yet the Kansas City Royals (with a slightly larger TV market) have put themselves in a position where they could not. For many the idea that Eric Hosmer is destined to leave Kansas City in 4-5 short years is just further proof that this team will never compete, the Kool Aid Drinker says not so fast.

Now it’s certainly possible that I am a little more optimistic about Hosmer’s prospects than most. I did predict he would break Steve Balboni’s HR record and win an MVP this season. While that may seem a little bit far-fetched, the odds of him doing both within in the next 4 years may be better than anyone that has ever put on a Royals uniform. If he does, the Royals have virtually no shot of locking him up long term, short of him giving the club one of the biggest hometown discounts ever. Who amongst us would fault him for not doing that? Who thinks the Royals should really lock up $250-$300 million in one player?

I’m sure a large percentage of Royals fans wonder how losing a player of this caliber could not be a complete disaster for a franchise, and to them I would suggest looking at the Texas Rangers after they lost Mark Teixeira. In 2007, the Rangers traded 1 ½ years of Tex for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Jarros Saltamacchia. Andrus, Feliz and Harrison all contributed heavily to last year’s AL pennant winning club. Now sure, there’s no guarantee when trading for “prospects” that things will turn that well, but I’d like to think that Dayton Moore’s success in dealing Zack Greinke bodes well.

The Rangers had learned of the perils of a $200 million contract before anyone else thanks to Alex Rodriguez. The also had the foresight to see that a Scott Boras client of his caliber was going to test the free agent market and end up with a ridiculous contract. I’m sure at the time it was a terrible feeling for Rangers fans, but do you think the last two years have been?

While it may be depressing to think about, the fact is the Royals were probably never going to have Eric Hosmer for more than the 6 years that they are guaranteed, and that is not a complete disaster. Dayton Moore has set this club up to make a serious run over the next 4-5 years, and the nucleus is almost completely locked up over that time frame. Eric Hosmer looks to be one of those rare players that hits the ground running, and should only improve over that time frame. As Royals fans we should not be worried about Hosmer being so good that he becomes too expensive in 5 years, we should be hoping he does exactly that because it will most likely lead to our best chance at a World Championship in nearly 30 years.

For far too long we as Royals fans have had to manufacture reasons to get excited about this club as plan after plan failed miserably. Today, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas homered, our starting pitching shut down the Angels for a second consecutive day, and we fielded a lineup of (mostly) homegrown up-and-coming players that are virtually guaranteed to stay together and improve over the next 4 seasons. Our minor league system is second only to last year’s in the history of the franchise. We may very well be standing in line for what proves to be the greatest ride this club has ever given us. Let’s not start crying now about being sad that it’s over, it’s only just begun.

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BOOK REVIEW: Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero

I started blogging because I like talking baseball. One of the unexpected benefits of that love is the occasional opportunity to review books on baseball. Recently I was asked if I was interested in receiving a copy of Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero, by Tom Clavin and Danny Peary. Of course I was.

One could sum up what I knew about Roger Maris (before reading this book) in about three sentences. He broke Babe Ruth’s single-season HR record in 1961. He was a Yankee in his prime and won 2 MVP awards. He spent the last 2 seasons of his career with the St Louis Cardinals. During the summer of 1998, his family was center-stage while Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased, and eventually broke, his record.

I read the 393-page book during a recent business trip. It was a surprisingly easy read. The main part of the book covers Maris’ 1961 season – for which he is most famous today – but the authors try to explain why Maris treated the media the way he did during that season by providing some insight into his childhood and family dynamics. Roger Maris was always a closely guarded man, not sharing personal details with just anyone, and certainly not with the media; his experiences as a youth, as well as a strong family tradition of being secretive, shaped that part of his personality.

Clavin and Peary make a reasonable case that Maris’ reticence, coupled with a new, younger breed of sports reporter who felt largely unencumbered by their predecessor’s code of keeping baseball player’s dirty laundry out of the press, were the causes of virtually all Maris’ trouble in New York. Roger did stick his foot in his mouth (and flash a prominent digit) on a couple of occasions, which didn’t help him, and the press was all too ready to publish those quotes/actions far and wide. No wonder Maris was so ready to get out of New York by 1966.

The book reminds the reader Roger Maris was much more than a home run hitter during his career. It talks about his defense (including his famous play in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series), his baserunning, and his all-around game instincts.

It also reminds us of what the game used to be like. Two separate leagues, with two separate styles of play, where players rarely jumped leagues and most major leaguers learned about the other league’s players by reading about them in the press. It’s interesting most of the 1967 Cardinals thought they knew what kind of a guy Roger Maris was based on the descriptions of him in the newspaper. They were surprised when Maris the man turned out to be nothing like the Maris they had read about.

Once Maris hangs them up following the 1968 season, Clavin and Peary take us rather quickly thorugh the remaining years of his life, touching on his Old-Timers Day appearances, his charitable work, and his business venture as a beer distributor for Anhieser-Busch in the Gainesville Florida area. The authors also talk about the effort George Steinbrenner made to repair the burnt bridges between Maris and the Yankee organization. Maris vowed never to go back to Yankee Stadium after he left the team in 1966. Steinbrenner believed a grave injustice had been done to Maris because of how he had been treated while a Yankee and really worked overtime to fix it. The description of Maris’ first appearance in the House that Ruth Built after he retired (April 1978) may bring a tear to your eye.

I try to keep it simple with book reviews. Was it well-written, did I learn something, and do I recommend it.

Was it well-written? Yes. As mentioned, it was an easy and informative read. I did get a little lost in the beginning when all the relatives were introduced and described. A flow chart would have been a nice touch. Then again, I have trouble following all the ‘begats’ in the book of Genesis, so that’s more a knock on me than anything.

Did I learn something? Yes. I learned a ton. Some examples:

  • Frank Lane, GM of the Cardinals in the late 1950s, tried to trade Stan Musial. Owner Gussie Busch had to step in and stop it (page 92). Can you imagine the outcry if Lane had succeeded?
  • Bob Turley tipped pitches for Mickey Mantle when Mantle was at the plate (page 132).
  • Maris was the first player in the modern era to hit 50 HR in a season before 1 September (page 189).
  • In 1961, Maris hit 60 HR in 684 plate appearances. In 1927, Babe Ruth did it in 687 PA. Puts the whole asterisk discussion in a different light, doesn’t it? (page 217)
  • Mike Shannon had to move to 3B from RF after Maris was acquired (page 311). I suspect some of you already knew that, but I didn’t.

Do I recommend it? Yes. I found it well written and well researched. I was entertained, and the book made two cross-country flights much more enjoyable, not to mention pass much faster than they typically do.

Disclaimer: The author received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon and Schuster, Inc., and received no compensation for this review.

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