Sully Baseball Podcast – The Hall of Fame Announcement – January 24, 2018

 

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CBS News

I give my thoughts, predictions and wishes for the Hall of Fame ballot and then watch the results announced on MLB Network

Crowning immortals in this episode of Sully Baseball.

While we are at it, enjoy the In Memoriam video.

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Vladimir Guerrero 2007 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for March 14, 2017

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Vladimir Guerrero was the American League MVP in 2004 after having a wonderful season in his first year as a member of the Anaheim Angels. (That’s what they were called back then.)

Angels fans loved him as did the writers and he helped lead the Angels to the AL West title.

Even though he was great and exposed more people to what a wonderful and dynamic player he was, I wished he wasn’t in Anaheim that year. I wish he was in Montreal.

2004 was the last year for the Montreal Expos and Vlady was the last great Expo.

Guerrero was born in the Domincan Republic and was not considered to be much of a prospect. The Dodgers and Rangers passed on him, thinking he was out of shape and undisciplined. Expos scout Fred Ferreria (aka The Shark of the Caribbean) saw something and spent $2000 on the right handed hitter.

Whether those dollars were Canadian or American, it was $2,000 well spent. He skyrocketed through the Expos organization, quickly establishing himself as one of the best prospects in baseball. He made a cameo in Montreal in 1996 and was a Rookie of the Year candidate in 1997, where he was teammates with another Domincan named Pedro Martinez.

As the Expos struggled in the late 1990’s, Guerrero became their biggest star. He hit for a high average, slugged homered, stole bases and had a cannon for an arm. But beyond the numbers, a Vladimir Guerrero at bat was a sight to behold. He swung at EVERYTHING! In the dirt, above his head, inside, outside, he took a hack at it.

But here is the thing… he would HIT it! Vlady was a nightmare for pitchers trying to pitch around him because he did not allow that to be an option. Make him chase outside, it was a double down the line. Bust him inside and he would fist it into left. Pitch it into the dirt and he would golf it into the stands. His strikeout total was shockingly low for such a free swinger.

He got MVP consideration in all of the 6 full seasons in Montreal. Fans began to wonder if a new stadium was around the corner and if Guerrero would be one of the factors to keep the Expos in Quebec.

But in 2002 and 2003, when MLB took over the ownerless team and forced unreasonable financial restrictions on the team, Guerrero would play in front of 3/4 empty houses and indifference by the fans who knew their team was going to move to Washington DC.

But in those years, the Expos were surprising contenders under manager Frank Robinson. Guerrero’s OPS reached above 1.000 and his power kept the team in the hunt into September.

However it was not to be and eventually economic reality for a lame duck franchise was too real. Guerrero signed with the Angels after the 2003 season ended and the Expos were scheduled to play one final year in Montreal before moving to Washington where they would rechristened “The Nationals.”

As Guerrero did it all in Anaheim, leading the league in total bases and runs scored, the Expos stumbled in their final year. The team gave an emotional farewell in their final day before a packed house as Vlady was preparing for the Division Series against Boston.

It didn’t feel right that Guerrero wasn’t there. He was the Expos final hope and who knows what his legacy would have been had the Expos managed to pull off the unlikely Wild Card in 2002 or 2003.

He had two more top 3 MVP finishes in Anaheim, leading them to two ALCS appearances and another Division Title, smacking a dramatic hit to help eliminate the Red Sox in 2009.

In 2010 he played in his only World Series as a member of the Texas Rangers, his last great season. He played 2011 in Baltimore before injuries finally cost him.

His numbers never plummeted. He always hit for a high average and with power. Only his body breaking down caused the end.

Beloved in Montreal and Orange County, he received 71.7% of the Hall of Fame vote his first year on the ballot, making him a lock to make Cooperstown in either 2018 or 2019 at the latest where he will join his former teammate Pedro Martinez.

Both were linked together in Montreal. If baseball ever returns to Quebec, Guerrero will no doubt be honored along side Martinez, Dawson, Raines and the late Gary Carter.

He was the last great Expo. He should have been there for the end.

 

Sully Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

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Getty

I do not have a vote. This blog post does not influence who gets into the Hall of Fame. While I am vigorously working on changing that situation, I might as well cast a fake ballot.

If I were voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame and had to abide by their silly “No More Than 10 Names On The Ballot” rule, this would be how I would fill out my ballot.

They all played in 1999, so they will be represented by their 1999 Topps Cards.

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BARRY BONDS
Bonds would get my vote even if he played with a needle sticking out of his arm as he came to the plate. You might not like him. You might not like PEDs and that is your right to not support him. I believe he is one of the 5 best offensive players in baseball history and was already a Hall of Famer before he bulked up.

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ROGER CLEMENS
Like Bonds, is an all time great who was a Hall of Famer before he ballooned up. Like Bonds has been his own worst enemy in terms of winning the fans and press over to his side. He was one of the greatest I ever saw and pitched at a super high level for a generation and then some. It wasn’t ALL PEDs.

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VLADIMIR GUERRERO
An MVP with the bat and his monster arm, Vlad delivered monster power numbers in three different decades and being an all around dominating force in Montreal. He won the MVP in Anaheim and helped the Angels and Rangers in post season runs.

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EDGAR MARTINEZ
The Designated Hitter is a spot in the lineup. As long as that is the case, players who were primarily DH’s should be eligible for the Hall of Fame. The ones that get in should be extraordinary, like Edgar Martinez. The best right handed hitter of his time, he posted a higher career OPS than Hank Aaron all the while posting eye popping numbers year in an year out.

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MIKE MUSSINA
As steady an ace as there was in his era, Mussina won big year after year in the powerful AL East. Forget his relatively high ERA. He was in the middle of the roids era and still bringing the goods, right up until his final year, a 20 win season.

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TIM RAINES
It took a decade for people to realize that Rock was one of the best players of his era. His greatest sin was not being as good as Rickey Henderson. Few were. Tim Raines put up Hall of Fame numbers and will hopefully have the plaque to go with it.

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MANNY RAMIREZ
Am I biased because he was the 2004 World Series MVP and one of my favorite players? Sure. Did he get suspended for PEDs? Sure twice! Was he a monster at the plate and put up jaw dropping numbers along the way? Of course. Would he give the most insane speech in Cooperstown history? No doubt.

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IVAN RODRIGUEZ
The best overall catcher I ever saw play, Pudge could throw, call a great game and hit. Granted he didn’t deserve that MVP in 1999 (that was Pedro’s!) But he did lead the Marlins to the 2003 crown with big hits in each round. PEDs? Sure. Still gets my vote.

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CURT SCHILLING
Hey! Another 2004 Red Sox player! OK, so I won’t talk politics with him. But there is no denying his dominance in not only the post season but in the regular season as well. He didn’t win a Cy Young because he was in the same league as Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson. He was as good a big game pitcher as I have ever seen in my life. And yes, I was at the Bloody Sock game.

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LARRY WALKER
Hey! I am voting in a Colorado Rockie! Walker would be the first ever enshrined. Yeah, I know he played in both the Steroid Era AND in Coors Field, which makes a lot of people not consider his stats. But he also was a great player in Montreal and put up consistent MVP caliber stats year in and year out while playing great defense as well.

 

So yes, I want all 10 of those players in. I wish all 10 would get elected. I want a super crowded stage.

Clearly PEDs are not a huge deterrent for me. I would give Sammy Sosa some love if I had room on the ballot.

Chances are Jeff Bagwell and Trevor Hoffman are getting in. You could convince me of Bagwell and you could convince me of Gary Sheffield. Maybe they will be on the ballot next year. I am not a big Trevor Hoffman guy. Specialists can’t wet the bed in the big game as often as Hoffman did. Same goes for Lee Smith. Billy Wagner has a more compelling case than them. I hope he stays on the ballot.

I always felt Jeff Kent was overrated, Fred McGriff falls just short. Meanwhile 2004 Red Sox Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Orlando Cabrera will be one and done.

So let’s see what happens tomorrow.

My prediction?

I predict that Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Trevor Hoffman will be elected. While Bagwell and Hoffman were not on MY ballot, I will not protest. There are other things to get mad at in this world. Nobody will ever be elected who had a bad career.