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6. Alex Rodriguez

We know.

Alex Rodriguez was paid a lot in a contract that the Texas Rangers realistically couldn’t afford.  However, the fact is that A-Rod did his job with the Rangers and his three years in Arlington are in the top four sabremetric seasons of all time for Texas.

Alex Rodriguez

Let’s get all of the derogatory stuff out of the way…and yes we know there is a lot.

While we talked about PED use a lot with Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds et all, they were baseball superstars who took enhancements (allegedly) when the players union and Major League Baseball had not yet agreed that they were a banned substance.  That is important to note as Alex Rodriguez was caught when there were penalties in place leaving no doubt that he cheated and as such he was suspended from the game for the entire 2014 season. 

Alex Rodriguez to retire. PEDs will keep him out of the HOF

This must be the week for the Yankees and retirement.

When it was announced yesterday that the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez would be having a press conference today it was widely assumed that this meant that the slugger would be announcing his retirement at the end of the season.  As it turns out, his last game will be Friday.

A-Rod will be released from his player contract and take on a role with the Bronx Bombers as an advisor and instructor.  In what will now be his final year in Baseball, Rodriguez is batting only .204 with a .609 OPS and has been demoted to the bench. 

Many of the articles or opinions being brandished about concerning Alex Rodriguez concerns his lofty contracts and PED use, as he infamously signed the largest contract in sports ($252 million for ten years with the Texas Rangers in 2003) and being caught using PEDs twice, the latter resulting in a full season suspension in 2014.

Rodriguez will be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022, and statistically he should be a lock.  He is 4th all time in Home Runs (696), 2nd all time in RBIs (2,084), 19th all-time in Hits (3,114) and 8th overall in Runs Scored (2,021).  He will retire with a career slash line of .295/.380/.550 and a bWAR of 117.9.  His trophy case has 3 MVPs, 14 All Star Game Appearances, 10 Silver Sluggers and 2 Gold Gloves.  5 times he led the league in bWAR, has a Batting Title, 4 Slugging Titles and 5 Home Run Titles.

Statistically, the biggest knock on Rodriguez was his poor playoff performance and while that is true, he did gain some kind of redemption with his 2009 playoff run, where he helped the Yankees win the World Series.

We say all of this but we know why he won’t get in.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not likely to be inducted and they were never actually caught. 

Rodriguez was…twice.

While we say all of this we will be doing our best to watch his final at bats as a Major League Player and it looks like we have another player who will be ranked in our top five on the Notinhalloffame.com Baseball list in what may be perpetuity.   

Our 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Futures are now up

It never stops for us at Notinhalloffame.com and nor do we ever intend for it to.

Early in the new year, the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announcing the Class of 2019 but before that we have updated our Baseball Futures and here are the potential additions to the that ballot in 2022.

In alphabetical order by their first name:

A.J. Pierzynski:  The Catcher was certainly famous (or infamous in some cases) is a two time All Star, one time Silver Slugger but importantly was the pulse that helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series.

Alex Rodriguez:  Love him or hate him, PED or not, A-Rod was one of the greatest players of all time. A three time MVP and fourteen time All Star, Rodriguez retired with 696 Home Runs, 3,115 Hits, 2,086 Runs Batted In and a bWAR of 117.8, which are all first ballot Hall of Fame numbers however he WAS caught with PEDs and suspended.  He does however have a job broadcasting so his forgiveness trail seems much quicker than some.  

Angel Pagan:  Pagan was a two time World Series Champion with the San Francisco Giants and he would lead the National League in Triples in 2012.  Pagan is also a two time Silver Medalist at the World Baseball Classis representing Puerto Rico.

Billy Butler:  Mostly used as a Designated Hitter, Butler would go the All Star Game in 2012, which would be the same season he was named the winner of the Edgar Martinez Award.

Carl Crawford:  Crawford was at his best when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays and it was there where he would become a four time All Star who woud also lead the American League four times in Triples and in Stolen Bases.  He would collect 1,931 Hits over his career.

Coco Crisp:  Crisp would help the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2007 and he would also lead the AL in Stolen Bases in 2011.  He would have 1,572 Hits over his Major League Baseball career.

Colby Lewis:  Lewis would have a decent career as a starter where he would win 77 Games.

David Ortiz:  “Big Papi” is a legend in Boston and how can he not be?  Ortiz powered the Red Sox to three World Series Championships and he was a ten time All Star.  Ortiz is in the opinion of many the greatest Designated Hitter that ever lived and he has 541 career Home Runs with an OPS of .931.  He should receive a very healthy first year ballot percentage.

Jake Peavy:  Peavy was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2007 and was a three time All Star. He would win 152 Games, 92 of which were with the San Diego Padres.

Javier Lopez:  Lopez only won 30 Games with 14 Saves over his long career as a Relief Pitcher but he is a four time World Series Titles, one with Boston and three with the San Francisco Giants.

Jeff Francouer:  Francouer would win a Gold Glove in 2007 and would have 1,373 Hits over his career.

Jimmy Rollins:  A three time All Star at Shortstop, Jimmy Rollins would win the National League MVP in 2007 and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series the nest year. He retired with 2,455 Hits and 231 Home Runs.

Joe Nathan:  Nathan was a six time All Star closer who won the Rolaids Relief Award in 2009.  He finished his career with 377 Saves.

Jonathan Papelbon:  Papelbon was named to the All Star Game six times and he was huge part of the Boston Red Sox 2007 World Series win.  He retired with 368 Saves.

Juan Uribe: Uribe was a two time Wilson Defensive Player and the infielder would accumulate over 1,500 Major League Hits.

Justin Morneau:  The 2006 American League MVP with the Minnesota Twins was a four time All Star. Late in his career he would have a resurgence where he won the Batting Title (2014) with the Colorado Rockies.

Kyle Lohse:  Lohse would win 147 Major League Games and he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2011 World Series.

Mark Teixeira:  A five time All Star, Mark Teixeira would blast 4009 Home Runs with 1,862 Hits over a career that is best known with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.  A member of the Yankees 2009 World Series Team, the First Baseman is also a three time Silver Slugger and five time Gold Glove winner.

Marlon Byrd:  An All Star in 2011, Marlon Byrd would have over 1,500 Hits over his career.

Matt Thornton:  A Relief Pitcher throughout his career, Matt Thornton was an All Star in 2010 and a World Series winner the next season with St. Louis.

Michael Bourn:  A two time All Star, Michael Bourn would lead the National League in Stolen Bases three times and was also a two time Gold Glove winner.  Bourn also would finish first in Total Zone Runs twice.

Omar Infante:  Infante was an All Star in 2010 and collected 1,427 Hits over his career.

Prince Fielder:  Fielder was a powerhouse like his father and the six time All Star was the Home Run leader in the National League in 2007.  A three time Silver Slugger belted 319 Home Runs over his career.

Ryan Howard:  The 2006 National League MVP played his entire career with the Philadelphia Phillies and he would later propel them to the 2008 World Series.  Howard blasted 382 Home Runs over his career and was a two time league leader in that statistic.

Ryan Vogelsong:  Vogelsong was a two time World Series Champion with the San Francisco Giants who was also an All Star 2010.  He would win 61 Games over his career.

Scott Kazmir:  Kazmir was a three time All Star who won 108 Games over his career.  As a Tampa Bay Devil Ray, he would lead the American League in Strikeouts in the 2007 season.

Tim Lincecum:  Lincecum was a two time National League Cy Young Award winner who was also a four time All Star.  “The Freak” would win 110 Games in the Majors.

You know what we want you to do!

Take a look at the full list of 2022 Future Baseball Hall of Fame Eligibleplayers and cast your vote and offer your opinions.

As always, we here at Notinhalloffame.com thank you for your support!

A-Rod comments on Bonds and Clemens and the Baseball HOF

The day after the Baseball Hall of Fame, or really any Hall for that matter the natural conversation comes to those who will be eligible soon.  Alex Rodriquez will be eligible for Cooperstown in 2022 and he was asked by ESPN’s First Take about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who both saw their tally creep towards 60% on their seventh year of eligibility. A-Rod had this to say:

"Look, I pray every day I get a chance to get in. The Hall of Fame is the ultimate place.

If you think about Roger and Barry specifically ... if you stopped their career at the age of 33 or 34, they were both first ballot and then the noise [about PEDs] started. For me, it's just a shame. I am certainly cheering for both of them. I like them both very much. They're both friends, and I'm in their corner.

I've taken the approach that I think talking about it is best…I've made my mistakes, I've paid huge penalties.

I would love to get in [to the Hall of Fame], but I understand that I made my own bed. So if I don't make it to the Hall of Fame, I can live with that. I will be bummed, it would suck and I can't believe that I put myself in this situation. But if that happens, I have no one to blame but myself.”

Rodriguez certainly has the Hall of Fame numbers.  This is a 3 time MVP, 10 time Silver Slugger 14 time All Star who gas 2,1155 career Hits with 696 Home Runs.  Where we disagree with Rodriguez however is his perceived association with Clemens and Bonds. Those two were linked with PEDs before Major League Baseball and the Players Union had agreed on how to handle that issue.  Bonds and Clemens were ever suspended.  Rodriguez was.

In our eyes, A-Rod is in the same category as Manny Ramirez who was popped for PEDs after the agreement was made, though one major difference is that Rodriguez is back in Baseball as part of Fox Sports and Ramirez does not enjoy the same level of post playing exposure.

As always we here at Notinhalloffame.com will be paying attention.

Kenny Lofton speaks on the Baseball HOF

This one is really interesting to us!

In an interview with the New York Post, former Outfielder Kenny Lofton was very blunt about his feelings about why he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He had this the following to say:

“I was expecting to do better. But I’m a realist. I look back at the situation, and at that time, I think what happened for me was I came out on the ballot in the wrong year. There was so many people on the ballot, and so many people who had a potential situation with the performance-enhancing drugs. I felt a lot of voters wanted to keep those guys on the ballot, and that was votes taken away from me…

 

…I just don’t like it. It pisses me off when they still talk about the guys who did PEDs still have the opportunity to get in. You cheated the game. Look at somebody like Pete Rose not in the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying what Pete Rose did was right, but his numbers that he put up were real numbers. If it’s all about numbers, guys who cheated the game shouldn’t be in. PED guys piss me off. I just get irked every time I hear people talk about it.

 

You’ve got Fox having a guy who got caught with PEDs doing the World Series. I can’t even watch the World Series now.  That’s sad, you have a game that I love, I played 17 years in it, and you have Major League Baseball allowing a guy that knowingly cheated the game twice, and he’s the face of baseball, doing the World Series. That is not cool.

To see somebody who cheated the game blatantly is doing the World Series? Come on, people. You’re basically telling kids nowadays that it’s OK to cheat the game of baseball.”

When you take a deep dive into the 2013 ballot, Lofton isn’t wrong.  First off, Lofton entered the ballot the same year as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.  All three of those players have been accused of PED use and it is widely believed that they did partake in those and substances.  With Clemens and Bonds you have in terms of individual awards and statistics these this is the best pitcher and hitter respectively in their day. Sammy Sosa at one time was also considered a lock.  Clemens would receive 37.6% of the vote while Bonds was slightly behind at 36.2%.  As for Sosa he had a paltry 12.5%.  

Leading up to this ballot many of the baseball writers who had Hall of Fame votes were open upon their disdain for the suspected (and proven) PED users.  Some of them went as far as to publicly question the entire era and ballot.  Comments such as “we don’t know who cheated” became commonplace and it was clear that there was going to be a backlash.  

Keep in mind that the ballot did not just contain three suspect candidates in Clemens, Bonds and Sosa.  Mike Piazza also debuted on the ballot and had steroid talk around him.  So did Jeff Bagwell, who was on his third year of the ballot at the time.  Both would eventually get inducted but later than they should have.  The 2013 ballot also had Rafael Palmeiro who was caught taking PEDs and he barely hung on with 8.8% but he would fail to make the required 5% in 2014.  Mark McGwire who was an admitted user was on his seventh year and he did not even hit the 20% mark.  This is a lot of people who turned off Hall of Fame voters.  Keep in mind that in 2013 the Baseball Hall of Fame voted in NOBODY, though they would later elect Piazza, Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez on that ballot.  Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell who were also on the ballot would be chosen via the Veteran’s Committee.

The other factor that worked against Lofton was that this was a very crowded ballot.  Beyond the names already mentioned, Curt Schilling, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams were eligible for voting.  As a voter can only select ten players, it is possible that even had there been no voter backlash it is possible that Lofton might not have gotten past the first year of eligibility.

This is not to say that Lofton is not a Hall of Famer, just the victim of a crowded ballot and as he stated a backlash against the era in which he played.  Statistically he has a career bWAR of 68.3, a very good number that aligns with another members of Cooperstown, though his JAWS is slightly lower (55.9) than the average Hall of Fame Centerfielder (57.8).  Still, this is higher than Hall of Famers such as Andre Dawson and Kirby Puckett.  His traditional numbers of 2,428 Hits with a .299 Batting Average also fits into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The negative surrounding Lofton is that some perceive him as a bit of s baseball nomad.  Lofton is most associated with Cleveland where he played parts of 10 of his 17 seasons, but he also had stints with Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Texas, Los Angeles, the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Houston and the Chicago White Sox.  That type of activity can rightfully or wrongfully decrease a perceived value.   

While Lofton is not in the Hall of Fame now, he could potentially get inducted in the future. Other players have been on one and done on the ballot and would be nominated by the Veteran’s Committee.

Going forward, Lofton raised an interesting that question that all who are looking at the Baseball Hall of Fame futures are wondering about…Alex Rodriguez.  A-Rod is at the level of a Bonds and Clemens but Rodriguez remains in the public eye both in terms of baseball in regards to work as an analyst with Fox and in entertainment as he is currently in a relationship with pop mogul, Jennifer Lopez.  If you were Kenny Lofton, wouldn’t it look to you as though Rodriguez was “forgiven”?

As for us, we here at Notinhalloffame.com have discussed the merits of Kenny Lofton on multiple occasions and our latest ranking places him #44. 

Awards = HOF? Part Nine: The Silver Slugger (Third Base) (MLB)

We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential.  In basketball, the team sport with the least amount of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher.  In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.

Awards = HOF? Part Twenty-Six: Gold Glove Shortstop

We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential. In basketball, the team sport with the least amount of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher. In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.

We are now taking a look at the Gold Glove Award, given annually to the best defensive player in MLB in each respective position.
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