2022 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Newcomers

The BBWAA recently released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2022, with the results of the vote due to be revealed on January 25th with induction returning to its usual July weekend, July 24th to be precise.  With nobody elected in last year’s voting, the new ballot contains 17 holdovers along with 13 newcomers.

Last week, we looked at the returning candidates.  Today, it’s time to look at the newcomers and who may be thankful come January.

Carl Crawford

He was never able to come close to the success he enjoyed as a Ray during the second part of his career.  I would doubt he makes it to a second election.

Prince Fielder

A neck injury ended his career prematurely, which didn’t give him enough of a chance to pile up the numbers that he would have needed for induction.

Ryan Howard

A late start to his career, winning the Rookie of the Year award in his age 25 season, will likely leave the longtime Phillie on the outside looking in.

Tim Lincecum

Lincecum had a 4 year peak that would stack up against anyone, but his career only lasted 10 years and those 6 non-peak years were middling at best and ugly at worst.

Justin Morneau

I mean, he had a nice career and all, with 1600 hits and 247 home runs, but no.

Joe Nathan

He is 8th on the all time saves list, but I don’t think that, or the World Series ring he got for 3 appearances with the 2016 Cubs at the end of his career, will put him over the top.

David Ortiz

OK, now things start to get interesting.  His 541 home runs would normally be a surefire ticket to entry, but there is a slight taint of PED use, right or wrong, to his career.  Will the writers, who have kept Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, amongst others, out put Ortiz in?  My guess is yes.

Jonathan Papelbon

Yeah, that’s going to be a no.

Jake Peavy

Peavy ended up having a pretty nice career, but nice career’s do not get you to Cooperstown.

A.J. Pierzynski

At first glance, the easy answer is to say no.  But, his 19 year career behind the plate, where his most similar comparison is to Yadier Molina, who most people assume will get in easily once he is eligible, makes you wonder if he will get more support than you would initially think.

Alex Rodriguez

Yet another 10 year referendum on PEDs that we have to look forward to.  If I had to guess, and that is what I am doing here, I’m going to say he never gets in.

Jimmy Rollins

Rollins had a great career, but not enough to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Mark Teixeira

He’s kind of borderline, but I don’t think he makes it.

By The Numbers – 30

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #30.  76 different players have donned #30 while playing in Chicago, 32 for the White Sox and 44 for the Cubs, who have retired it for two different players.

Signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1991, Magglio Ordonez made his major league debut wearing #30 on August 29, 1997, going 2-3 in the interleague victory against the Astros at Comiskey Park.  He became the regular right fielder for the White Sox in 1998, appearing in 145 games and finishing the year with a .282 average, 14 home runs, and 65 RBIs, good enough to finish in 5th place in AL Rookie of the Year voting.  1999 was a breakout year for Ordonez, earning his first All Star selection and finishing the year hitting .301 with 30 home runs, 117 RBIs, and an OPS of .858.

Ordonez’s hot streak continued in to 2000, putting up a .315 average with 32 home runs and 126 RBIs as the White Sox won their first division title since 1993.  While the White Sox failed to replicate their success in 2001, Ordonez kept up his end of the bargain, earning his third straight All Star nod and hitting .305 with 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, and a .914 OPS.  2002 was the his best season to date, setting career highs with a .320 average, 47 doubles, 38 home runs, 135 RBIs, and a .978 OPS while finishing in 8th place for MVP voting and earning his second Silver Slugger award.

2003 was another excellent year for Ordonez.  He was named to his fourth All Star team, going 0-1 in his home stadium of US Cellular Field, and finished the year hitting .317 with 29 home runs and 99 RBIs.  His 2004 season was on track to match his career norms when, during the May 19 game against the Indians, he collided with second baseman Willie Harris on Omar Vizquel’s popup to right field.  Two trips to the disabled list and two surgeries on his left knee later, his season was over after only 52 games.  Following the season, he became a free agent and his White Sox career came to an end.

On the north side, Steve Stone was assigned #30 after being acquired from the White Sox in December of 1973.  Over three seasons with the Cubs, Stone went a combined 23-20 with a 4.04 ERA.  His 1976 season was cut short due to a torn rotator cuff, which he decided to treat with cryotherapy rather than surgery.

Against The Rockies All Time Leaders – Through 2021

rockiesIn the past, we’ve looked at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  This offseason, we will take our first ever look at those leaders against all 30 clubs.  We continue today with the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies began life in 1993, joining the National League along with the then-Florida Marlins.  I saw them for the first time in 2002, as they came to town to battle the Cubs.  Since then, I’ve seen them 15 additional times, most recently in the 2018 Wild Card game.

Home Runs

Name Total
Todd Walker 2
15 tied with 1

Hits

Name Total
Derrek Lee 10
Alfonso Soriano 8
Aramis Ramirez 6
Corey Patterson 6
Mike Fontenot 6

Runs

Name Total
Derrek Lee 6
Alfonso Soriano 5
Ryan Theriot 5

RBI

Name Total
Aramis Ramirez 6
Alfonso Soriano 4
Mark DeRosa 4
Jeromy Burnitz 4

Doubles

Name Total
Aramis Ramirez 3
Mike Fontenot 3
Corey Patterson 2

Triples Continue reading →

Tribe No More

On Friday, the franchise in Cleveland officially changed their name from Indians, which dates back to 1915, to Guardians, inspired by a pair of stone monuments a quarter of a mile away from Progressive Field, ending years of controversy and resistance.  I’ve seen the Indians 58 times over the years, first in 1987 at old Comiskey Park and last at Guaranteed Rate Field this past July.  In between, I saw them at two other ballparks, Games 4 & 5 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field and the final two games of a September series against the White Sox at their home stadium of Progressive Field in 2019.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Cleveland Indians 31 27 0.534
Chicago Cubs 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 26 30 0.464

The Guardians are scheduled to make their first trip to Chicago in early May for a 3 game series against the White Sox, starting a new chapter of Cleveland baseball history.

By The Numbers – 31

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #31.  59 different players have donned #31 while playing in Chicago, 26 for the White Sox and 33 for the Cubs, who have retired it for two different players.

Greg Maddux wore #31 when he got his start with the Cubs in 1986.  Over the first seven years of his career, he became one of the shining stars of the National League, helping lead the team to the 1989 NL East title and winning the first of his 4 consecutive NL Cy Young awards in 1992.  Eleven seasons after before being allowed to leave as a free agent by GM Larry Himes, Maddux returned to the Cubs in 2004.  He defeated the Giants in August of that year to win his 300th game and, in July of 2005, he struck out his 3000th batter.  In 2006, with the Cubs far out of contention, he was traded to the Dodgers for their stretch run.

On the south side of town, Liam Hendriks burst on to the scene in 2021, wearing #31 as he took over the closer role for the eventual AL Central champs, leading the league with 38 saves and closing out the All Star Game for the American League.  He is signed for two more years, so this will either get cemented or I’ll look back at a horrible choice.  Time will tell.

By The Numbers – 32

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #32.  96 different players have donned #32 while playing in Chicago, 40 for the White Sox and 56 for the Cubs, including a familiar face for both sides of town.

Steve Stone was acquired by the White Sox in a November 1972 trade with the Giants.  He wore #32 for the 1973 season, before being traded to the Cubs.  He returned to the White Sox in 1977 as a free agent, going 27-24 over the next two seasons, before once again becoming a free agent.  Upon his retirement, he moved in to the broadcast booth, joining the Cubs booth in 1983 alongside Harry Caray.  He left the Cubs booth in 2004 and joined the White Sox radio booth in 2008, moving over to television in 2009, where he remains a fan favorite to this day.

On the north side, pitcher Jon Lieber donned #32 over two stints with the Cubs.  Acquired via a trade with the Pirates in December of 1998, Lieber quickly became a mainstay of the Cubs rotation, culminating in a 20 win season in 2001.  He left as a free agent following the 2002 campaign, returning in 2008, working mostly out of the pen for the eventual division champs in his final major league season.

By The Numbers – 33

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #33.  60 different players have donned #33 while playing in Chicago, 22 for the White Sox and 48 for the Cubs, including a World Series champion.

Aaron Rowand joined the White Sox organization in 1998, selected in the first round of the draft.  He earned his first call up to the show on June 15, 2001 and made his major league debut the following day.  He took over as the starting center fielder in 2002 following the mid-season trade of Kenny Lofton.  Rowand switched to #33 in 2003, but earned a return trip to Triple A in 2003 after hitting .133 in his first 60 games.  After a little more than a month, he returned to the big leagues, hitting .387 the rest of the way and ending the season with a .287 average.

2004 was a breakout year for Rowand, becoming a  full time starter for the first time and setting career highs with a .310 average and .905 OPS.  The good times continued in 2005, as he hit .270 with 13 home runs and, defensively, committed only 3 errors in 394 chances.  Rowand went 4 for 10 against the Red Sox in the ALDS, driving in 2 runs and scoring 3 more in the 3 game sweep.  In the ALCS against the Angels, Rowand managed only 3 hits in the 5 game series, all doubles.  He bounced back in the World Series, going 5-17 against the Astros as the White Sox won their first title in 88 years.  Less than a month after the final out of the World Series, Rowand, among others, was traded to the Phillies for Jim Thome.

On the north side of town, a rookie donned #33 when he made his major league debut on July 30th, 1983.  Joe Carter would appear in 23 games for the Cubs that season, hitting .176 without a home run.  He made his biggest mark for the Cubs the following June, when he was packaged, along with Mel Hall, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks, in a trade with the Indians which netted Ron Hassey, George Frazier and, of course, Rick Sutcliffe.

Against The Diamondbacks All Time Leaders – Through 2021

dbacksIn the past, we’ve looked at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  This offseason, we will take our first ever look at those leaders against all 30 clubs.  We start today with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks began life in 1998, joining the league along with the Devil Rays. I’ve seen them play 16 times at 4 different stadiums, starting in their inaugural season, including the final game of their 2007 sweep of the Cubs in the NLDS and, after a 7 year drought, this past July at Wrigley Field.

Home Runs

Name Total
Sammy Sosa 3
Henry Rodriguez 1
Willson Contreras 1
Mark Grace 1
Aramis Ramirez 1
Paul Konerko 1
Alfonso Soriano 1

Hits

Name Total
Derrek Lee 7
Sammy Sosa 5
Aramis Ramirez 5
Todd Walker 5

Runs

Name Total
Sammy Sosa 3
8 tied with 2

RBI

Name Total
Sammy Sosa 6
Aramis Ramirez 4
Derrek Lee 3
Angel Pagan 3

Doubles

Name Total
Neifi Perez 2
Bill Meuller 2
Kosuke Fukudome 2
Jacque Jones 2

Triples Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 34

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #35.  82 players have donned #34 on each side of town, including 50 for the White Sox and 32 for the Cubs.

Kerry Wood was the fourth overall selection in the first round of the 1995 draft, making his major league debut for the Cubs less than 3 years later.  Making his fifth major league start in May of 1998, Wood would cement his place in Cubs lore and baseball history, striking out 20 and giving up a single hit against the Astros.  Wood helped the Cubs to the Wild Card, their first post-season appearance since 1989.  An injured elbow, however, cost him the 1999 season and, just maybe, altered the course of his career.  He led the Cubs rotation as they made a surprising run towards the World Series in 2003, coming up a mere 5 outs short.  By 2007, he was moved to the bullpen full time,  After quick detours with the Indians and the Yankees, he returned to the Cubs in 2011 and retired in May of 2012, striking out Dayan Viciedo in his final appearance in a crosstown tilt.

On the south side of town, young phenom Michael Kopech may end up owning the number across both teams.  But for now, we will split the difference between three pitchers, each of whom helped lead the White Sox to a playoff appearance.  Richard Dotson switched to #34 in 1983, just in time to go 22-7 as the White Sox won their first division title.  Acquired in 2004, Freddy Garcia donned the number while winning the clinching game 4 of the 2005 World Series.  His replacement in the rotation, beginning in 2007, was Gavin Floyd, who also wore the number as the White Sox won their latest division title in 2008.

Turning Over The Front Office

Last November, with one year left on his contract, Theo Epstein stepped away from the Cubs and general manager Jed Hoyer took his spot as president of baseball operations.  The ongoing pandemic left the remainder of the front office as is, until this week, when the Cubs quietly (or as quietly as the Cubs can do anything) announced they had hired Carter Hawkins as their new general manager, filling Hoyer’s former role.  Hawkins had spent his entire 14 year career in Cleveland’s front office, mostly on the player development side.

Elsewhere in the front office, assistant GM Randy Bush, who has been with the team since 2005 and in his position since 2006, announced this week that he would be “stepping back” after a pandemic-fueled life assessment.  He will move into an advisory role that will allow him to spend more time with his family at their Florida home.  The Cubs are expected to hire Ehsan Bokhari as assistant GM following the World Series.  Bokhari is currently the Senior Director of Player Evaluation for the Astros, who won the AL pennant last night.

Finally, at least for now, senior vice president of player personnel Jason McLeod announced he would be leaving the organization.  He joined 10 years ago, along with Theo and Jed, and oversaw an overhaul of the scouting and player development groups before transitioning to his current role.