Tag Archive | "Roberto Alomar"

The Bruce Chen All-Stars

Today I read an interesting article from Matt Snyder about the careers of Jamie Moyer and Omar Vizquel.

Moyer, of course, is the 49 year-old pitcher trying to make yet another improbable comeback, this time with the San Francisco Giants. Vizquel is the 45 year-old SS trying to catch on with the Blue Jays. Both have shown incredible endurance to hang on in this game far longer than most, and as a result, they’ve played with a fairly incredible roster of Major League stars. It got me to thinking about Royals journeyman pitcher Bruce Chen. While Chen isn’t nearly as old as the two mentioned in the article, he’s nearly as well traveled, having played on 10 Major League clubs in his 13 year career. So I thought it would be fun to put together a similar list for Chen. So I present to you the Bruce Chen All-Stars:

Lineup:

Craig Biggio OF

Roberto Alomar 2B

Ken Griffey, Jr OF

Mark Texieira 1B

Manny Ramirez OF

David Ortiz DH

Chipper Jones 3B

Mike Piazza C

Barry Larkin SS

Rotation: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling

Bullpen: Brad Lidge, Billy Wagner, John Franco, Jose Mesa, Joakim Soria

Bench:  Jeff Bagwell, Vladimir Guerrero, Jimmy Rollins, Tim Raines, Lance Berkman

Manager: Bobby Cox

Wow that’s quite a list of teammates for a guy that’s rarely broken 90 mph. Pretty incredible to think that Chen has essentially played with a team full of Hall of Famers over his less than remarkable career. I bring this up for entertainment purposes obviously, but also to remind folks what a cockroach Chen has been. There are plenty of people wanting to write him off after he’s started spring training like Hiram Davies.  I say not so fast. For one thing, like I mentioned on I70 baseball radio a few weeks ago, Chen is not the type of pitcher that can throw one (or even two) pitches and get through an outing unscathed. He relies on trickery and if he’s working on something, he may not have that luxury. Perhaps more importantly, this is a 34 year old pitcher that’s played with everyone from Tim Raines to Jarrod Dyson. You don’t worry about Spring Training stats with someone of his experience level. Chen knows what he needs to do to get ready, and he’ll be ready in April.

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BBA Recommends Larkin, Bagwell For Hall Of Fame

In the annual polling of members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin and former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell were recommended for induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is the third year the organization has conducted this survey of the membership.

Larkin, a 12-time All-Star who fashioned an .815 OPS over 19 seasons, received the largest percentage of votes, being named on 84.25% of the 148 ballots cast. This is the highest percentage garnered by any player in the three years of BBA voting.

Bagwell, who hit 449 HR and had a .948 OPS in his 15 seasons in Houston, was selected on 115 ballots for a 78.77% rate. As with the official voting done by the Baseball Writers of America, a player must be named on 75% of the ballots to be recommended by the alliance.

Last year, the BBA recommended second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven, both of whom were inducted into Cooperstown during the summer. In 2010, no player reached the 75% mark in BBA balloting, the year that outfielder Andre Dawson was selected for the Hall by the baseball writers.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s vote has no impact on the official vote taken by the Baseball Writers of America. However, the BBA has often been a predictor of major awards granted by the writers.

The final voting results are as follows:

Barry Larkin 84.25%
Jeff Bagwell 78.77%

Edgar Martinez 60.27%
Tim Raines 57.53%
Alan Trammell 44.52%
Mark McGwire 41.10%
Larry Walker 35.62%
Lee Smith 33.56%
Jack Morris 32.19%
Don Mattingly 29.45%
Rafael Palmerio 28.77%
Fred McGriff 28.08%
Dale Murphy 16.44%
Bernie Williams 11.64%
Juan Gonzalez 6.16%
Javy Lopez 2.74%
Brad Radke 2.05%
Tim Salmon 1.37%
Bill Mueller 0.68%
Phil Nevin 0.68%
Ruben Sierra 0.68%
Tony Womack 0.68%
Jeromy Burnitz 0.00%
Vinny Castilla 0.00%
Brian Jordan 0.00%
Terry Mulholland 0.00%
Eric Young 0.00%

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was established in the fall of 2009 for the purpose of fostering collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball. The BBA has quickly grown to its current membership of 347 blogs, including some of the most prominent blogs on the Internet, spanning all major league teams and various other general aspects of the game.

More information about the BBA can be found at their website, baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com, or by contacting the founder and administrator of the organization, Daniel Shoptaw, at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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Royals Find Little Room in Cooperstown

Last week Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The event goes by without much interest from the Royal fan – not since George Brett was enshrined in 1999 has a Royal received serious consideration for the Hall.

Going nearly unnoticed, two players with a tie to the Royals received votes in the 2011 balloting for the Hall of Fame. Juan Gonzalez garnered 30 votes for 5.2% of the total vote on his first time on the ballot. Benito Santiago got one vote. Gonzalez’s name will remain on the ballot for next year because he topped 5%, but Santiago can say “adios” to his chances.

Gonzalez’ vote total may seem paltry, but it’s actually the first time a former Royals’ name has remained on the ballot for consecutive years in a long time. Sadly it’s been more than a decade since a Royal has even received a significant number of votes.

With the Hall of Fame voting on the minds of baseball fans, I thought it warranted a closer look. I’ll leave the whole “Does Bert Blyleven deserve to be in?” and the “Mark McGwire and Pete Rose should get in” arguments to someone else.

Instead I’ll focus on the Royals, as irrelevant as they may be to the Hall. In this article, I’ll take a look at how Royals have fared in past votes. In a future article, I’ll play a little “What about so-and-so?” game and analyze who we think should have been given more consideration.

If you think Brett is the only Royal in Cooperstown, you’re wrong. Technically.

The first man who wore the Royal blue to enter the Hall was Harmon Killebrew, who suited up for KC in his final season – 1975. In 1984 he earned 83% of the vote in his 3rd time on the ballot. (75% is required for enshrinement.)

Second came Gaylord Perry, the quirky, ageless wonder who pitched in KC in 1983 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. In his 3rd time to be on the ballot, Perry earned 77% of the vote that year.

The third Royal to be enshrined in Cooperstown was Orlando Cepeda, who made the last stop of his career in Kansas City in 1974. Cepeda’s name dropped off the regular ballot in 1994 when he fell just 1.5% shy of regular election. But he was voted into the Hall by the Veterans Committee in 1999, the same year Brett was voted in via the regular process.

Brett, of course, is the only player whose bust and all other regalia represents his career with the Royals. Brett cruised into the Hall with 98.2% of the votes in his first year of eligibility – just 9 voters left him off their ballots.

A large number of players’ names show up on the ballot each year, and most of them garner at least a few votes. As stated before, those who do not get at least 5% are left off all future ballots. As much as we Royals fans love Frank White, Willie Wilson and others, the boys in blue have barely caused a ripple of interest by Hall of Fame Voters.

The man who’s come closest to becoming the fifth Royal in the Hall has been all but forgotten, not just in KC but anywhere. Vada Pinson, an outfielder who spent his best years in Cincinnati, wound up his career in KC in 1974 and 1975. Support for Pinson topped out in 1988 when he secured 15.7% of the votes cast.

The next best finish by a former Royal was in 1993 when Vida Blue garnered 8.7% of the votes cast. Blue was a key member of the pitching staffs of the 1982 and 1983 Royals teams.

Sadly, and somewhat amazingly, no other Royal has ever received the requisite 5% to remain on the ballot past their first year of eligibility.

The reason? Could it be media bias? There have certainly been some very good players who made their mark wearing in Royals uniform. Are the players whose best seasons were spent in Kansas City not getting the votes of the East and West Coast writers?

Well, before we dive into a conspiracy theory, consider Lou Piniella, one of the Royals players I assumed would have received the most support by Hall of Fame voters. He was popular and spent a lot of his career as a New York Yankee. But Piniella got just two votes in his one year on the ballot.

How about Bret Saberhagen, who won lots of national awards, shone in the World Series spotlight and pitched for both the Mets and Red Sox? A mere seven votes in 2007.

It would appear, much as I hate to say it, that our great players just weren’t great enough. Not Hall of Fame great, anyway. The highest finishes by those players who really made their name while wearing the Royals uniform are as follows:

David Cone – 3.9% in 2001

Dan Quisenberry – 3.8% in 1996

Frank White – 3.8% in 1996

Willie McGee – 2.3% in 2006

Willie Wilson – 2% in 2000

If you study the annual ballots too closely, it’s quite sad: Kevin Appier and Dennis Leonard – 1 vote apiece; Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Paul Splittorff, John Mayberry and Cookie Rojas – 0 votes.

So don’t pay too much attention. A trip to Cooperstown is expensive and the crowds are a pain… Just take a drive up to Kauffman Stadium and bask in the warm glow of the Royals Hall of Fame, where our beloved boys in blue are forever remembered for the joy they brought us.

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Monday Morning Links: Hall Of Fame Style

This week on I-70 Baseball Radio, we will take a break from talking Cardinals and Royals and talk about baseball as a whole. More specifically, we will talk about the upcoming elections to the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

The folks in Cooperstown will announce the results of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s vote for the official inductees for 2011. The Baseball Bloggers Alliance held their unofficial vote, and voted for Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar to be enshrined.

A panel of sportswriters will join us for the show at 10 pm CST, which can be found by clicking here. Members of that panel are:

Kary Booher, Springfield Cardinals beat writer for the Springfield News Leader.
Shawn Anderson, who has been breaking down the candidates on his site The Hall Of Very Good.
Michael Lynch, who runs an amazing baseball site known as Seamheads.
Mark Healey, the online editor for I-70 Baseball’s parent site, Baseball Digest.

These gentlemen will join myself and Matt Kelsey to break down the 33 names on the Hall Of Fame ballot and help us determine who deserves to go, who deserves to be left in the cold, and who could go either way.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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