Like Common once said, “Everybody gotta eat, right? It’s the food, baby!”
Today In Stupid Ballots: Hey, remember when we talked about Randy Galloway’s really stupid ballot? I got another one for you, and it’s even dumber.
MLB.com writer Marty Noble takes the cake this time. I always talk about the dumb writer who voted for Jack Morris alone when he had at least ten other guys who are worthy of being in Cooperstown (because I am always and forever salty), but this makes that guy look relatively sane.
What did Noble do that was so stupid?
In addition to voting for the obvious choice in Junior Griffey, dude voted for Jeff Kent. And only Jeff Kent. And called Jeff Kent the Babe Ruth of second basemen.
Wow. I’d like the ghost of Frankie Frisch to come haunt the hell out of Marty Noble for such a stupid comment. Robbie Alomar and Ryne Sandberg can team up and take turns kicking his ass. Hell, Bobby Doerr is almost 100 years old and I would hope that he would at least flip him off.
At least Randy Galloway’s ballot, as silly as it was, had his second vote be a guy that many people honestly believe should be in the Hall. This? I mean… Jeff Kent? Time for my favorite gif here.
I will agree with him on one thing, though – Junior’s swing was beautiful.
And speaking of beauty…
Carlos Gomez, Professional Cheese Grater: I knew that CarGo went hard, but damn. Dude has some serious stomach muscles going on.
I have often seen Gomey and his taut tummy before when he was with Milwaukee, but this is crazy. I’m over here like the Pillsbury Doughboy and Gomey is using his abs as stone masonry tools.
30 thoughts on “The Midnight Snack – Monday”
Okay, so a strong case can certainly be made for Kent. He was a fine second baseman and one of the better ones. But a Babe Ruth comparison? As it stands Kent is a borderline candidate, but that is just crazy. He’s one of those at the edge of falling off ballots simply because there are ten better players on it….
Oh, is that impressive?
Did I miss the news about Verlander retiring from baseball and joining Cirque du Soleil?
Sorry, but this photo just reminds me of Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York, stabbing the pig’s carcass hanging in his butcher shop and explaining, “This is a wound, and this is a kill.”
The guy that is getting massively screwed and that will fall of the ballot his first year is Jim Edmonds. His counting stats don’t look great because he wasn’t a full-time regular until he was 25, but if people are going to act enlightened and act like defense and base running matter while a guy is playing, they shouldn’t stop mattering after a guy has retired.
Edmonds averaged 5.2 fWAR per 162 games, which is 57th all time among position players. Better than Cal Ripken, better than George Brett or Frank Thomas or Barry Larkin or Duke Snider or Rod Carew or….yes, Ken Griffey Jr….also better than Yaz, or Manyy, Or Lou Whitaker (also an all-time fail by the voters) or Alan Trammel or Ryne Sandberg or Robert Alomar or Tony Gwynn or Time Raines or Willie Stargell or Derek Jeter (nearly 1 full win per 162 better than Jeter) or Paul Molitor or Ernie Banks or Robin Yount or Eddie Murray or Pete Rose or Craig Biggio.
In short, the guy was really really fucking good at hitting the ball and really really fucking good at playing defense. He is easily among the all-time top 10 CFers as he actually played CF essentially his entire career (instead of moving to a corner for the 2nd half like many did). Besides Griffy Jr., the only CFer the last 50 years that might have been a better all around player is Andruw Jones, who will probably also not be elected because people mostly stop caring about defense after a guy retires..
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I was a huge fan of Edmonds during his playing career. I used to say that if there was a single non-pitcher I could bring to the Astros, he would have been it. A lot of people claim that he was making spectacular catches because he didn’t take good routes to the ball. I’m going to go all “eyeball test” here and say he looked damn good to me. I can accept that he might be one of the marginal cases, but his body of work from 1995-2005 should be enough. And damn, I loved to watch that guy play.
But what can you do, Paper? There are no clear objective metrics that say “This man is a HOF’er”. So worthy candidates fall, and popular mediocrities rise.
Speaking of “Eyeball tests” and idiots (we were talking about them, weren’t we?), I was greatly impressed by the writer for the Chicago Herald (I think) who was okay with Bagwell being elected, but confessed that he “just wasn’t that impressed” with him. So I see the Great Purge of HOF voters was only partially successful in weeding out those who know nothing about baseball.
As to Jeff Kent, I confess to letting personal animosity getting the best of me. Okay, he hit that one three-run homer to propel the Astros in the playoffs. But the clubhouse cancer thing plus the fact that he was a second base DH was too much. If I had a nickel for every time he waved as a grounder rolled by his feet, I’d have a big pile of nickels.
Yeah, Kent looks better because he was a 2B than if he played a similarly difficult position such as 3B or CF….he’d be getting no love then. He wouldn’t be the worst choice by the writers over the last decade, but he’s really only being considered because of the HRs…he wasn’t a good or even average defender, he just stood in the 2B area…..but as voters have shown with their Edgar Martinez votes, they give a lot of credit to sucking instead of not playing defense. If Martinez has played in the pre-DH era, he would have just been a bad 1B/3B/RF and have sailed into the HOF.
FWIW, the advanced metrics liked his defense just fine until he got old (i.e. over 35), they and the data they are based on didn’t exist for the first several years of his career when he was better in the field.
That last comment was about Edmond’s defense and the metrics matching the eye test….not Kent’s defense….though those metrics were also only around for the last several years of his career, DRS was not impressed by Kent, but UZR suggests that he may have been averagish while with the Astros and then horrible after moving to LA.
And speaking of “eyeball tests”, Scott Miller at Bleacher Report, said he didn’t vote for Piazza or Bagwell because “the evidence of PED use is purely circumstantial( both men’s bodies got a whole lot smaller after retirement)”
Per Scott Miller, badhair. You can’t fix stupid.
Stex, I think Bill Engvall said it best. “Here’s your sign”!
On “not getting the love,” or never getting the love, and actually fielding that position, Bobby Grich is way better than him. Sweet Lou is better. If you go by WAA instead of WAR on BRef, they’re way, way ahead.
Playing longer isn’t the same as being better.
I’m fine with Kent being inducted. He was an excellent hitter over a long career. His charming personality contributed to him playing for six different teams and never anywhere for too long. I would prefer to see Whitaker, but I can’t hold it against Kent’s case that the voters have jobbed Lou so badly.
Edmonds’ exclusion kind of mirrors the attitude towards him during his playing days. Apparently he had the kind of personality that just rubbed a lot of old school assholes the wrong way. He wasn’t what you would call an iron man, only playing over 150 games four times in a 17 year career. He sustained a lot of injuries because he played balls out most of the time.
And this is where it gets weird. Stex, I don’t remember Edmonds getting criticized for taking bad angles that much. There used to be guys who grumbled that he purposely made some catches look tougher than they were, even timing them so he would have to make a highlight film catch on a relatively easy play. I know there are Major Leaguers who do this stuff. Super utility hot dog Derrell Thomas – who I adored – used to do this in batting practice all the time, and often in games, too. I watched a lot of Angels games with Edmonds and I never thought he was doing that, but that perception did exist. He also got criticized for “giving away at bats”. A nebulous insult you see leveled at a lot of young players when people can’t think of any actual stat based criticisms.
What happened to Edmonds has happened to a lot of guys who simply make the game look easy. Von Hayes caught a lot of the same crap because no moron was ever going to affectionately refer to him as a Dirt Dog or a Scuzz Bucket or whatever stupid term describes grit these days. The list of black and Latin players who’ve labored under this bullshit is long and it contains a lot of guys who should have polled better for Cooperstown.
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Just to clarify, I’m not comparing Hayes to Edmonds or suggesting he had a HOF case. Just noting that his smooth style of play didn’t endear him to the angry drunks in Veterans Stadium. Hence the Five-For-One nickname, even if Julio Franco was the only one of the five worth anything.
I don’t know what to make of the “bad routes” thing, yahmule. I have read that in recent comments on why he made so many spectacular catches. Many of them on our recent and lately lamented other blog. I didn’t have a good feel for the baseball knowledge of the people who said it.
I know that BRef dWAR wasn’t exactly in love with him. But I again don’t know how good a measure that is.
My eyeballs wanted him in center field for my team, though.
Major props for recognizing the “guys that make the game look too easy often get criticized for not trying or not caring” thing.
That described JD Drew and Beltran really well, too….but like you said, that pile of crap is thrown at black or latin players way more often than white guys….I think it was thrown at Edmonds because of the frosted tips and the fact that he ALWAYS watched his HRs too long….that was even in a scouting report of him when he was in the minors.
In some ways, the internet helped expose these old school jerks. The abundance of cerebral baseball sites and the brilliant satire of Ken Tremendous played a large role in that.
On the other hand, it seems like the internet is full of guys who claim to love sports, but seem to hate athletes. Nobody can just have a shitty game. Nope, they’ve “Lost focus” because they’re “not motivated enough”. So tedious.
I love Edmonds, but seriously he is the definition of a borderline player, probably on the outside looking in. Call me back when Larry Walker and a lot of others who should be obvious HoFers are in and only Edmonds remains. 60 career bWAR do not do it for me, and like it or not injuries do matter.
His defense was always a matter of debate. The eyeball test is unreliable, based on that Jeter was a terrific defender. Having watched Edmonds extensively here in the AL West I felt he was flashy but about average. A career dWAR of 5.9 backs that perception up very well. He certainly had a plus bat, but keeping him on the field was always a challenge.
I just don’t see it. He had several contemporaries that were as good or better, most of whom are struggling to get in. Larry Walker is the obvious comparison here. I’d really like to hear a solid case for Edmonds from someone who is not a St. Louis fan.
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bWAR and it’s component are pretty screwed up for older data (which would include most of Edmonds career.
According to B-ref, Ozzie Smith was more valuable offensively than defensively….which, of course, if fucking retarded.
Just one of the many reasons that B-Ref metrics should be viewed skeptically. I guess call back when you use metrics that seem to represent something like reality.
That argument goes both ways. You made the claim that advanced metrics bear out the eye test with Edmonds. I watched him play. He was acrobatic and a great entertainer. I did not find him to be a great defender. The stats, as inadequate as they might be, seem to bear that out. Your point that the stats are incomplete in no way makes the case that he was a good defender, at best it somewhat discredits any authority loaned by them.
You also made the unsupported assertion that Edmonds was ‘better’ when he was younger defensively. Yet the majority of the time I saw him play when he was younger and I disagree with your assertion. Lots of players improve their defense as they get older. In fact it is often a necessity if they want to remain at their original position and in the face of declining range.
The eye test is, as always, subjective. The stats we have, while inadequate, do not support the claims of many who use the eye test. The stats are likely wrong to some degree, but that could go in either way. I was shocked when I glanced at Mike Cameron’s defensive stats. He was widely considered one of the best defensive center fielders of his time, yet the stats don’t bear that out. I’ll believe the inadequate stats over my eyes, which are easily impressed by a fence clearing grab but are unlikely to realize when he was not in the optimal position to start an at bat.
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A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
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The guy could swing pretty, couldn’t he?
It’s just like seeing an alternate universe, a photo negative if you will, of myself back in the day. Except for the swing, contact, batspeed, grace, fluidity and talent, he’s a fucking dead ringer for me.😯
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But can he play guitar like you can?
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I loved Edmonds with the Angels.
He’sgood enough to get some love and hang around on the ballot for several years so discussions could ensue and perhaps help settle the defensive value question. Like No-mah and perhaps Billy Wagner he deserves better than one and done but he does not deserve election to the Hall. Another ex Angel, Garret Anderson, is going to disappear from the ballot as well. Edmonds played in 18 games in 1993, Anderson 5 games in ’94, both careers ended after 2010. Anderson is reviled for accumulation stats and never being all that good. In that period, Anderson accumulated 580 more hits. 85 more doubles. Anderson is 107 back in HR but up by 166 in RBI. Anderson ended up with 13 more SB and 3 fewer CS for his career, and Anderson had less than half the BB. So (offensively) they are considerably different players but while I like HRs as much as anybody that leaves only BB/OBP and hits separating them. Anderson ahead on hits and Edmonds on BB. So why is nobody surprised Anderson has one vote on Thibodeaux’s HOF public ballot tracker but I keep hearing outrage about Jim Edmond’s six public votes?