The 12 new inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame, announced on Monday, combined to make 58 All-Star teams. Half of them did it at least five times. They were the pioneers of the sport, and while most of them don’t have a ticker value next to their names, they all deserve to be saluted for their unique impact on the game.
Jose Bautista’s workbook makes it look like one man’s Immaculate Grid: Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Pittsburgh in year one. Atlanta, New York Mets and Philadelphia at 15.
In between, Bautista was a force for the Blue Jays. From 2010 to 2015, he hit 227 home runs. They did not gather about 200 preachers in those days. Few players have grown from utilityman to premier slugger so dramatically.
“Our scouts really didn’t think he was going to be an everyday player,” said former Mets general manager Jim Duquette, who traded Bautista for Chris Benson in 2004 as part of a three-way deal with the Royals and Pirates. . “The Pirates were high on him, and they thought of him as a role player. We don’t think he left an impact.”
Bautista had little impact with the gang. But in the year Instead, Bautista puts his weight on his back leg, flexes his front hip and raises his knee, like a snake lunging at its prey. He then hits one of the worst home runs of all time.
You can remember this:
Adrian Belte played third base. Instead of passing the ball, Beltre would stop and release the throw. His manager, Texas Rangers infield guru Ron Washington, was impressed.
“When the legs stop moving, the ball can play to you,” said Washington, now the Angels’ manager. “Belte is one of the most talented. I never saw him play ball. Most people who do it the way he does eat.
Beltré won five Gold Glove Awards — only three of the third basemen of fame (Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen) have more — but his arm was his superpower, with the ability to throw accurately from all angles. Three-time Gold Glover Evan Longoria couldn’t help it at all.
“He’s got a good arm, so he can flat-foot it from anywhere,” Longoria said of his time with Tampa Bay. “You can’t teach that.”
Belte has traditionally tried to play third base, but has found that the lower his legs, the more accurate his throws become. In the year In 1997, his last full year in the minors with the Dodgers, he made 37 errors. In the year In 2004, the final year before free agency, he made 10.
Beltre would hit 48 home runs that season and finish with 477, hitting 3,166 times. Rangers’ number 29 was retired and he celebrated with them on the field on November 1, when they finally wrapped up the championship that eluded him as a player.
“I know how hard it is to win a World Series,” Belte said. “Rangers fans are very loyal, and they deserve it.”
When he first worked with Bartolo Colon in 2013, Stephen Vogt asked another Oakland catcher, Derek Norris, for advice.
“Sit back and enjoy it,” Norris replied, and that’s exactly what Vogue did. He caught for 10 seasons in the majors and said no one was easier or more fun to catch than Colon.
“I didn’t know if it was going to be four stitches or two stitches, but it doesn’t matter because, either way, it’s right on my glove that I set up,” said Vogt, now the manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Everybody in the world knows he throws a fastball, but he doesn’t miss it at the plate. It always ended up on my glove. “
It takes incredible skill to hit your spot every time by repeating the delivery perfectly. But Colon – a rotten righty called “Big Sex” – was always more talented and athletic than he was. He pitched 21 seasons and finished with 247 hits, more than any other Latin American pitcher. Colon For four teams, Colon had two 20-win seasons, a Cy Young Award — and one big home run.
Colon didn’t make it into the Hall — he served a suspension for a drug performance, and his 4.12 career ERA would be the highest in Cooperstown — but he’s an all-time character who made the game fun.
“The way the writers choose is out of my control. It’s up to them,” Colon wrote in the memo with Michael Stahl. “I’m a Hall of Famer in my mind, and in the minds of my family, friends and the people of the Dominican Republic.”
In the year There were three superstars in the first round of the 2000 MLB draft: Chase Utley of the Phillies and two players who never made it to the team they selected. One was Adam Wainwright, who was traded by Atlanta to St. Louis for JD Drew before the 2004 season. Another was Adrian Gonzalez, the first overall pick from the Marlins to the Rangers in July 2003.
Uguit Urbina, a pitcher who helped the Marlins win the World Series, was offered. This made the deal successful, but the price was high. Gonzalez was an All-Star for three teams (San Diego, Boston and the Dodgers) and stands as one of the most successful first overall picks in 59 draft years.
Only five top picks have a career bWAR higher than Gonzalez’s 43.5: Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Moyer and Bryce Harper. All of these players won MVP awards, and Gonzalez did not finish in the top three in the voting. But, as the first player drafted in the 2000s, he has achieved everything the Marlins could have hoped for – he just isn’t a Marlin.
You’ve heard the term “Hall of Goodness” often, often used in reference to a player who didn’t deserve Cooperstown. It sounds like an insult, but there has to be a line somewhere, after all. And the nature of baseball makes you wonder how the best guys do with a team of Hall of Famers.
You sound a lot like Matt Holliday in baseball referencing retired players after World War II. None of them are in the Hall of Fame, but boy could they hit: Moises Alou, Magglio Ordoñez, Shawn Green, Ellis Burks, Will Clark, Reggie Smith, Adrian González and Paul O’Neill.
Add Holliday to that group and you have a basher lineup that can cause problems on any plate at their best. Neither won MVP, but Holiday was the runner-up in the National League with Jimmy Rollins in 2007 — and won that honor in the NLCS, leading the Rockies to their only World Series.
Holliday’s son, Jackson, was 3 years old that season, but he was already so good with the bat that rookie pitcher Josh Fogg predicted he would one day be a first-round draft pick. Could Jackson one day be a better hitter than Matt? “I bet yes,” Fogg said, and the early returns are encouraging — Jackson, now 19, was the first overall pick in the 2022 draft by Baltimore, and is widely considered the No. 1 prospect in baseball.
In 2014, Victor Martinez hit .335 with 32 homers and a .974 OPS. Only one other switch hitter in major league history has reached all the milestones in one season: Mickey Mantle, who did it twice. Martinez was the best hitter on a Detroit Tigers team, the most star-studded roster to never win a playoff game.
The pitching staff had five past or future Cy Young Award winners: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price, Rick Porcello and Robbie Ray. The bullpen had Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria. The offense includes Miguel Cabrera, JD Martinez, Torey Hunter, Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez.
The Orioles swept those Tigers in the division series. The team wasn’t as strong as the sum of its parts: some players were past their prime, some were rookies, and Verlander was getting hurt. But the collection of names is impressive — it’s the last Tigers team to make the playoffs — and Victor Martinez might be the best of the bunch that season.
Joe Moyer made his pro debut at age 18 with the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins in the summer of 2001. He was a hometown boy in St. Paul, and fans in Minnesota could dream about him. Maybe, just maybe, a cash-strapped football club – dead last in payroll – could keep him for the rest of his career.
Then, that fall, major league owners voted to eliminate the Twins franchise. It was a short-lived ruse, but in retrospect it’s pretty wild: Officially, for the record, MLB wanted to solve its economic problems by letting the Twins and Montreal Expos just… die.
The Twins apparently stayed in Minneapolis, eventually opening a fancy outdoor ballpark. And somewhere along the way, Moyer’s career seemed less than perfect. He made more money, hit more singles and missed more games. The teams have never won a playoff game. At age 30, he quit because of a concussion.
But remember the context. If you told the Twins in November 2001 that not only would the Twins escape the death penalty, but the St. Paul kid would win the MVP, three Gold Gloves, three shutout games and hit a home run for his entire career — all the while conducting himself with class and dignity — you’d have totally signed up for it.
Imperfect careers can still be unusual.
In the final home run of his 17-year career in 2018, Brandon Phillips did something no Red Sox player had done before: hit a ninth inning in his first game for the team.
Phillips wore 61 when he peaked with Cleveland in 2002. In his last five major league stops, he wore No. 0. With one on and two outs in the ninth inning, Boston trailed by a run. In Atlanta, Phillips took a swing at a first-pitch fastball, swinging so hard that he nearly lost his balance, touching his entire back. The Sox held on to win 9-8.
“It was amazing for me to get here and do what I did today,” Phillips, who grew up in Georgia, later said. “Especially in Atlanta in front of my family and friends.”It was one of the most memorable victories for the 108-win Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series. Phillips, alas, was too late for the roster, meaning his final game of the season would be a loss against Cincinnati in the 2013 NL wild card game.
That night in Pittsburgh, Phillips said the Reds choked, a word athletes never use. Then he asked in style what he did in the game. Phillips went hitless, leaving three runners on base.
“I choked,” he concluded. “I didn’t do anything. It’s not the team’s fault, it’s my fault. I had a chance to get into the team but I didn’t do that.
Strong words, to be sure. But you’ve got to admire a player willing to share honest, raw emotions in a piece he’s proud of.
Jose Reyes is the last major leaguer to steal 75 bases in a season. In the year He did it in 2007, when he slugged 78 for the Mets, and even last season’s rule changes — bigger bases, limited pickoff attempts — couldn’t match him. Ronald Acuna Jr. led the majors with 73.
Rays led the NL in steals three times before turning 25, but never again. He was traded to Toronto after one season and left the Mets in December 2011 on a six-year, $106 million contract with the Marlins. Reyes’ skills haven’t aged well, and that’s not unusual.
To date, 13 players have completed nine-figure contracts after 30 seasons. Speed was a part of every player’s game – but when they lost it, their value dropped dramatically. Check out how all these players (except Derek Jeter) got paid after getting paid.
(*Rodriguez opted out of his original contract after 2007 and signed another 10-year deal. His stolen bases in the second contract were 18.)
Reyes was an impressive young player in ways MLB wants to encourage. But as they say, age is not defeated.
James Shields He wore a three-piece suit during his first road trip with the Kansas City Royals in 2013. The team had a travel dress code — sport coats and pants — but shields for general manager Dayton Moore. It represents a more serious commitment to professionalism.
“Getting young people to do, OK, well, they’re going to do whatever they want,” says Moore, now a senior adviser to the Texas Rangers. But then James Shields came and dressed like that on the plane. And people look at that and say, ‘Who cares about that anyway?’ But it’s important when you’re looking for veteran-type players who embody greatness and promise for youth at the highest level.
Maybe Shields didn’t have the greatness of, say, CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez, all of whom won the Cy Young Award. But from 2007-2012 — the six seasons before the Royals traded for the Shields — those were the only pitchers who threw more innings.
They knew what they were getting in Shields: a durable, fearless competitor, and that’s exactly what Moore wanted. That’s why the Rays traded away some of their top prospects for Gasha and Wade Davis in hopes of snapping a young team that had gone through four consecutive 90-loss seasons.
“After the press conference, we went to the Capital Grille,” Moore said, “and this guy was all about: ‘We’re going to win.’ I mean, this thing is over. We’re winning here.”
And they did. In Shields’ two seasons with the Royals, the team had its first back-to-back winning streak (in non-strike years) since the 1980s. The Shields pitched more innings than any American League pitcher during those years, and when the World Series finally returned to Kansas City, in 2014, the Shields threw the first pitch.
In the year It was a midweek afternoon in August 2006, hot in Atlanta, and two teams were buried in the ranks. In the seventh inning, Chase Utley ripped a three-run double to left to put the Phillies ahead of the Braves. On the next pitch, Ryan Howard cut a ball off the plate. Platter scooped it up, flipped to first for routine — and Utley went, charging around third, safely home under the throw. Two bases on the pitcher’s grounder.
“Wow!” exclaimed Chris Wheeler, the Phillies’ broadcaster, who then delivered a line that would follow Utley for the rest of his career.
“Chase Utley,” said Harry Callas, “you’re the man!”
St. Louis had Stan “The Man” Musial, and Philadelphia had “Chase Utley, you’re the man” — the whole phrase, delivered beautifully by Callas’ signature. That moment began Utley’s transition from superstar to civic icon. Two years later, he became the champion.
“He didn’t want attention, he didn’t want: ‘You’re the man,'” Wheeler said last week. “But to come from Harry, he always appreciated it, and it was important to him. Harry was always called ‘The Man’, so he went on air that day when he made that incredible play.
Attlee didn’t say much, he didn’t need to. In Philadelphia, everyone bowed down to him. His Baseball Reference page lists two nicknames: “The Man”, and also “Silver Fox”. He was strong, he was cool and he knew.
David Wright is part of a 30-year-old club, which is stocked with Saints, one-name titans of the game: Aaron, Brett and Clement; Cobb, Gwynn and Ichiro; Jeter, Mays and Musial; Ripken, catch and yours. Each is the career leader for a major league franchise.
But it’s funny: more than a third of those in their 30s aren’t in the Hall of Fame. It will be Ichiro Suzuki, and Todd Helton is trending this way. Pete Rose is not eligible. Still, that’s a record 10 players who have franchise rights but aren’t in Cooperstown.
Garrett Anderson, Angels: 2,368 Bert Campaneris, A: 1,882 Luis Castillo, Marlins: 1,273 Carl Crawford, Rays: 1,480 Tony Fernandez, Blue Jays: 1,583 Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks: 1:6 Rollins, Phillies 37 1,77 7 Michael Young, Rangers: 2,230 Ryan Zimmerman, Nationality: 1,846
Rollins is back on the ballot for the third time this year, and Zimmerman is yet to qualify. The remaining seven did not meet the 5 percent requirement to stay for more than a year.
Neither might Wright. After turning 32, he played fewer than 100 games, limited by back pain. But in the year He was healthy for the Mets’ World Series run in 2015 and returning for a cameo at the end of the 2018 season shows every athlete’s desire to win despite physical limitations.
“I believe I’ve reached my ceiling as an athlete, playing the game the right way and pushing myself to the limit,” Wright wrote in his memo with Anthony DiComo. I don’t think many players can say that.
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(Top photo of Adrian Beltre and Joe Moyer in 2017: Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images)