Sports Outside the Beltway

Jeff Kent retires; next stop Cooperstown

Jeff Kent has retired and will most certainly be headed to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The all time leader in home runs by a 2nd baseman, Kent may possibly the third best in baseball history to play the position (offensively at least, while more than capable defensively he was certainly no Frank White or Ryne Sandberg). Here is how he stacks up against the best 2nd baseman. (Stats include games played at all positions.)

Player AVG/OBP/SLG HRs RBIs OPS+ All-Star MVPs
Rogers Hornsby .358/.434/.577 301 1584 175 0(no games in his era) 2
Joe Morgan .271/.392/.427 268 1133 132 10 2
Ryne Sandberg .285/.344/.452 282 1061 114 10 1
Jeff Kent .290/.356/.500 377 1518 123 5 1


Results are in but Hall questions remain

Now that Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice are set to be enshrined along with Joe Gordon this summer we can take a look at the voting that got us there – there are plenty of questions but unfortunately due to the secrecy regarding individual ballots there may not be any answers.

Why did David Cone only receive 3.9% support?

- I covered this in more detail here but he was one of the best pitchers of his era, from 1988-1998 he was fourth in wins and third in strikeouts. He was certainly a much better pitcher than Jack Morris (44% support). I don’t believe he was Hall-worthy but he should at least been in the discussion several more years.

Why did Tim Raines receive less support this year?

- This one really baffles me as he went from 24.3% to 22.6%, maybe it’s the Rickey Henderson effect as voters felt that two leadoff shouldn’t be enshrined in the same year. Whatever. Rock had 2604 hits in his career and his 808 stolen bases are 5th all time and oh yeah only 40 players in baseball history got on base more than him. He was also a 7 time all-star.

Has 13 wins really kept Bert Blyleven out of the Hall of Fame?

- Seems that way. He did receive 62.7% support but still the guy should have been elected years ago. Consider this: he’s 5th in career strikeouts and 9th in shutouts. Everyone except Blyleven that has 3000+ strikeouts and is Hall-eligible is in the Hall, Blyleven had 3701. Everyone except Blyleven that had 50+ shutouts is in the Hall, Blyleven had 60. If he won those 13 extra games to get him up to the magical 300 he would have been a slam dunk first ballot HoFer. 13 more wins in 22 seasons. Amazing.

Mark McGwire’s support is going backwards, will he ever make it?

- It’s looking doubtul at this point. The general consensus was that he would have to wait a few years even though he was 12 time all-star and 8th in career home runs (583). But voters seem to think that PED’s played too big a part in his career. This does not bode well for Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro’s chances.

Should Tommy John have been elected?

- Hard to say, like Blyleven he didn’t miss the 300 win by much (288). His 3.34 ERA and 110 ERA+ is better than Jack Morris (3.90, 105) who isn’t Hall worthy but received more support than John. John was in his final year of eligibility so he will go down in history as having the most wins among non-HoFers.

Who will get elected next year?

- I think both Barry Larkin and Roberto Alomar will be elected in their first ballot year and I will predict one holdover (either Andre Dawson or Blyleven).


Henderon & Rice elected to Hall of Fame

There were no surprises today as Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice became the newest members of baseballs Hall of Fame. Henderson in his first year on the ballot was named on 94.8% of the ballots while Rice in his last year of eligibility sneaked in with 76.4% – 75% is needed for induction. Henderson has generally been regarded as the best leadoff hitter in baseball history while Rice was perceived as the “most feared hitter of his era”.

Henderson in a career that spanned 25 years collected 3055 hits (21st all time) and is the major league record holder in runs (2295) and stolen bases (1406). His 130 stolen bases in 1982 remain a single season record. A 10 time all-star he was also the American League’s MVP in 1990.

Rice, an 8 time all-star, hit 382 home runs in a 16 year career that was spent entirely with the Boston Red Sox. The 1978 AL MVP also had 2452 hits and 1451 RBI’s. Always a borderline candidate his election may  now pave the way for future induction for Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy, similar sluggers of his era.

Bert Blyleven fell short once again with 62.7% support and in his final year on the ballot 288 game winner Tommy John received only 31.7%. David Cone, the 1994 AL Cy Young award winner and the owner of five Worls Series rings, recieved only 3.9% in his one and only year on the ballot. Candidates must receive 5% to remain on the ballot.


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