Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A False Spring
2006-01-10 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Or something to that effect is what we're currently experiencing in New York, which is uncommonly warm at the moment. Last night, I could swear that I was smelling those first signs of spring through the chilly air. Then I had to remind myself, "Dude, we've still got plenty of Old Man Winter ahead of us, relax yourself Chester." Still, pitchers and catchers will report before long, won't they? In fact, there was an encouraging photograph in the Daily News today--that of David Wright taking batting practice at a Mets mini-camp clinic down in Florida. I hope that Wright becomes to the Mets what Derek Jeter has been for the Yankees--not just the leader of the team, but a guy who has bonafide and sincere passion for the game (right now Wright's youthfulness, talent, and disposition suggests that good things may be in store for the Mets).

But the hubub of the day will come later this afternoon when the Hall of Fame announces if they'll be electing any new members this year. It appears likely that nobody will make it, though Bruce Sutter and Jim Rice may be close--while Bert Blyeleven and Goose Gossage are entirely deserving. The Hall of Fame is an endless source of kibbitzing for baseball fans. What do you guys think? Anyone get in today? And if so, who'll it be?

2006-01-10 05:55:08
1.   JVarghese81
Year of the HOF reliever: Bruce Sutter & Goose Gossage
and if we're lucky, Bert Blyleven (hopefully).
2006-01-10 06:39:29
2.   Felix Heredia
The baseball hall of fame should show up the football hall of fame by accepting Harry Carson.
2006-01-10 06:41:43
3.   Sliced Bread
I grew up as a Yankees fan in the 70's and 80's, so Gossage and Rice are the Hall of Fame candidates who had the biggest impact on me.

Goose, the ever-intimidating workhorse, will always be a Hall of Famer to me, no matter how the vote goes. I'll never forget one of my first visits to Yankee Stadium. I had a bird's eye view of the bullpen. I remember how the thundering sound of Gossage's warm-up pitches gave me chills. He left our entire section 'thunderstruck,' even before he entered the game, and closed out the 8th and 9th.

As difficult as it is for a Yankee fan to begrudgingly give props to a lifetime Red Sox player, Rice also belongs in the Hall in my opinion.

I remember him doing a lot of damage against the Yanks, and I looked up his career numbers this morning.

With the rare exception of his 1978 MVP season, in which he hit a pedestrian .269 against the Yanks, Rice pretty much owned NY.

In 170 career games against the Yanks, just a few games over a full season, Rice hit .330, with 36 homeruns, 129 RBI, 212 hits, with a .582 slugging percentage.

It's worth noting, Rice faced Goose 34 times and managed to rack up 8 hits, including 1 homerun. Gossage wiffed Rice 9 times, containing him to a .235 average and on-base percentage.

If you were lucky enough to see these guys in their prime, I think you'd agree they were among the dominant players of their time, and are worthy of the Hall.

2006-01-10 07:26:00
4.   YankeeInMichigan
The twentieth century gave us 2 relievers who were thoroughly dominant for over a decade, Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage. Goose's absence from the Hall is a mystery, as an objective glance at his career stats (strings of high strikeout totals and low ERAs) is just as convincing as the eyewitness impression discussed by Sliced Bread.

Both Gossage and Sutter enjoyed big leaps in their vote totals last year. These leaps can be attributed to Eckersly "opening the door" for relievers. Both relievers should see similar leaps this year (due to the weakness of the first-year candidates), so Sutter can't miss (though his credentials are more borderline), and Goose could make it as well.

Blyleven, who can compete with Gossage for the "most shafted by the BBWAA" award, has gained vote percentage for 6 straight years (growing form 14.08% in 1999 to 40.9% in 2005). Thanks in part to Rich Lederer's campaign, he will enjoy another big jump this year. My guess is that he'll make it in 2008.

The other candidate for "most shafted" is Alan Trammell. His career stats bear a striking similarity to those of fellow shortstop Robin Yount (20 years with one team, career BA of .285, one off-the-charts season, 4-5 more really good ones). The only glaring difference is in hit totals, attributable to the facts the a) Trammell's career spanned two strikes, while Yount's spanned only one, b) Yount batted higher in the lineup (I think), c) Yount was more of a workhorse, d) Yount was a starter for his entire career, while Trammell spent his rookie year and his last two seasons on the bench. These last two factors give Yount an edge but not a 1st Year HOFer vs. 17%er edge, especially since Trammell was stronger defensively. And Trammell certainly compares favorably to HoF shortstops like Luis Aparicio (OPS .654) and Phil Rizzuto (.696). But Trammell's HoF candidacy has yet to gain traction, and the bad press that he got as manager will not help his cause.

2006-01-10 07:45:18
5.   Alex Belth
As Joe Sheehan mentioned yesterday in his column at Baseball Prospectus, Rice's home/away splits hurt him.
2006-01-10 07:50:39
6.   Levy2020
I could try to make a complex argument about OPS, Kirby Puckett, MVPs, playing on a bad team, etc. etc.

But I think everyone knows what I mean when I say:

Mattingly, Mattingly, Mattingly, Mattingly, Mattingly, Mattingly, Mattingly!

2006-01-10 08:32:47
7.   bp1
Geez. Is it the Hall of Fame or "Hall of Individual Statistical Achievements"? Sometimes I fear there is too much emphasis on numbers, and not enough on context and anecdotal evidence.

I'm sure my Yankee bias is showing, but Goose is a no brainer to me. It should be obvious.

Jim Rice was the Manny Ramirez of his time. I remember Scooter saying something like "Walking Rice every time he bats isn't such a bad thing" (or something like that - apply your Scooter-eeze translator). Maybe during Righetti's no hitter? Anyway - he was a scary hitter for a number of years. If I had a vote, he'd get mine.


2006-01-10 08:47:26
8.   Ben
It's all too arbitrary to mean much. A guy like Gossage doesn't make it unless a weak first year class happens to surface during his eligibility. Not quite the same as a first year voter inner, is it? Oh well, go Goose, go hawk!
2006-01-10 08:52:55
9.   Matt B
I have no idea if anyone gets in this year, but Gossage is a no-brainer. Rice felt like a hall-of-famer to me at the time, but looking at the numbers, to me, he's just shy. That said, if Tony Perez is in, how can you keep out Rice?
2006-01-10 09:54:09
10.   celli23
I agree with BP that the determining factor should not only be statistics.

Why should Mark McGwire's possible steroid inflated numbers get in when he basically only hit 100 more HR's than Dave Kingman. He couldnt hit for average or field a lick.

Mattingly should make the HOF based on his quality batting numbers and the fact that he might be the best fielding first baseman to ever play the game.

2006-01-10 09:55:19
11.   Bob Timmermann
Jim Rice needs to have teammates already in the HOF campaigning for him. But he has none who are quite vocal as Yastrezmski is not nearly as loquacious as Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench.
2006-01-10 10:01:52
12.   TheOneTrueGod
We will know shortly. A lot of these guys are border line. Rice and Dawson probably have the best shot due to the steroids controversy. The sympathy vote could come into play. They did it naturally, unlike McGwire, Canseco, Palmeiro, Giambi, etc... If there were two no brainers this year I don't think any of these guys would have a strong shot. They were all fun to watch growing up and you would have one heck of a team if you could field all of them.
2006-01-10 10:23:20
13.   NetShrine
The thing that always stood out to me was Rice's 1984 season. To the layman, you see: 28 HRs and 122 RBI (and, remember, this was not the Long Ball Era) and you say "Wow!" But, in terms of sabermetrics, they tell us that Rice's 1984 season was one of the worst ever by a "slugger" with 700+ PA.

That year, he had -8 RCAA, and an OWP of .453. That's bad. That was pretty much the end for Rice, at age 31. He did rebound for a great 1986. But, basically, his good years ended at age 30. And, it's hard to make it to the HOF that way.

2006-01-10 10:53:06
14.   unpopster
has anyone heard that the most reknowned orthopedic surgeon in the US, Dr. James Andrews , suffered a heart attack this past wknd?

This is the guy that ALL professional athletes go to for shoulder and knee surgery. Andrews is the doc who mastered Tommy John surgery and has lengthened many a major league baseball career.

Jeez, pro players, front offices and agents all over the country must have suffered heart attacks of their own when they heard the news.

He's reportedly okay.

2006-01-10 11:15:43
15.   rbj
Goose only gets to gander at the Hall.
It's only Sutter. I think Goose should've gotten in too, as well as Blyleven. Next year it'll be Ripken and Gwynn, so Goose is going to have to wait until '08. (McGwire is going to have to wait a few years.)
2006-01-10 11:17:56
16.   Alvaro Espinoza
Somebody voted for Walt Weiss.


2006-01-10 11:29:45
17.   Alex Belth
Bruce Sutter 400 76.9%

Jim Rice 337 64.8%

Rich Gossage 336 64.6%
Andre Dawson 317 61.0%
Bert Blyleven 277 53.3%

I'm not a real fan of Rice's but there have been worse selections. I think all five guys who got over 50% should be in there. To have Sutter and not Goose is foolish. But maybe this will set a trend...

2006-01-10 11:42:49
18.   ChuckM
What they SHOULD do is try changing their selection process for who is allowed to vote. Hal Morris gets 5 votes?!
2006-01-10 12:21:29
19.   Fred Vincy
Sutter: 68-71, 300 SV, 2.83 ERA, 661 G, 1042 IP

Gossage: 124-107, 310 SV, 3.01, 1002 G, 1809 IP

Am I missing something, or is this a complete mismatch? Goose was robbed.

2006-01-10 12:41:40
20.   bp1
Fred Vincy,

You're not missing anything. And like I said before, numbers don't tell the whole story, but they sure do support my (our) argument in this case. Goose was a Hall of Fame pitcher, no if's, and's, or but's.

The evil little guy on my shoulder has been whispering "anti-Yankee Bias" in my ear all afternoon. I try to tell him to shutup and go away, but he's a persistent bugger.


2006-01-10 12:49:14
21.   rbj
The voters need to be forced to stand up and defend their votes.
2006-01-10 12:53:03
22.   Levy2020
I also came here to be shocked about the Walt Weiss vote.

And ask why no one is talking up Orel Hersheiser.

2006-01-10 13:02:54
23.   Sliced Bread
Weird deal for Goose. If anything, Sutter should have ridden in to the Hall on Gossage's coattails.

Oh, well, better luck one of these years, Goose.

In the meantime, let's not forget Gossage's historic performance in the 1978 Bucky Dent game at Fenway. Dent smacked that monumental home run deep in the top of the seventh. Guidry came out to start the bottom of the inning, but retired one batter before Gossage got the call. Thanks to a Reggie blast in the 8th, the Yanks were defending a one-run lead in the bottom of the 9th. Two on, two out, Goose gets Yaz to pop up, Yanks win one for the ages.

Guidry picked up his 25th win of the season that day, but lost the AL MVP trophy to Jim Rice.

I think Rice was robbed by the Hall of Fame voters this year -- but I think his greatest contribution to Yankee lore was that infamous bloop single, that Reggie allowed Rice to turn into a double. Billy immediately benched Reggie, and all hell broke loose in the dugout. Elston Howard and Yogi had to break it up. Ah, the good old days. I was 12 years old and already a Yankee fan for life.

2006-01-10 13:19:46
24.   YankeeInMichigan
Yes, you are missing strikeouts.
Goose: 1502
Sutter: 861

And even with ERA, Goose had better numbers in his peak years.

I think that voters paid a bit more attention to Sutter because he was running out of time. Goose in 2008!

2006-01-10 13:21:40
25.   YankeeInMichigan
I believe that in the Bucky Dent game, before Goose got Yaz to pop up, he struck out Rice.
2006-01-10 13:56:14
26.   NetShrine
The last 8 years of his career, Goose was about average, and basically just ran up his strikeout and IP totals.

Basically, it's Goose as a great closer for 10 years vs. Sutter at nine years.

It's pretty close between the two.

2006-01-10 14:27:40
27.   wsporter
What a load of crap, if Sutter is in Goose has to be in. They were both outstanding. I don't know which one was better. I do know I wouldn't want to live on the difference. They have to fix this in '08. Looking at the numbers again makes one really appreciate Mariano, don't you think?
2006-01-10 14:55:23
28.   Dimelo
Our favorite Yankee SS bachelor...from today's NY Post.

January 10, 2006 -- DEREK Jeter getting cozy with Penthouse Pet runner-up Cassia Riley at Light in Las Vegas and their leaving the Penthouse Lingerie party together....

2006-01-10 14:56:48
29.   Oscar Azocar
Goose has got to get in before Sutter.

I think NetShrine has something there. The last 8 years of his career, Goose was just average. I started watching baseball in '85, and unfortunately, I only remember him as an ok, journeyman pitcher. This might be biasing some of the voters. In contrast, Sutter wore out his arm with that splitter of his, so he didn't have a long period of mediocre pitching at the end of his career. He was just plain finished at 35.

This really isn't fair, though. Upon a quick look from Sutter's prime to Goose's prime, they are similar.

2006-01-10 19:44:50
30.   Fred Vincy
NetShrine has something of a point, but I still don't buy it:

First, even completely omitting Goose's last 8 seasons, he still comes out somewhat ahead:

Sutter: 68-71, 300 SV, 2.83 ERA, 661 G, 1042 IP, 861 K

Gossage: 96-82, 257 SV, 2.80 ERA, 677 G, 1418 IP, 1212K

The big difference is Goose pitched at the same level but for almost 40% more innings. Half that is the year Goose was a starter, but take that out too, and the mismatch as dominant relievers becomes clearer:

Sutter: 68-71, 300 SV, 2.83 ERA, 661 G, 1042 IP, 861 K

Gossage: 87-65, 256 SV, 2.58 ERA, 646 G, 1194 IP, 1077 K

And Goose still has 15% more innings.

Finally, I disagree with the idea that Goose's last 8 years as an average reliever count for nothing. What would we have given last year for a 42 year old Goose, who would have been our 3rd or 4th best reliever and given us 40 innings where Proctor, Rodriguez, Quantrill, or the lefty-du-jour wouldn't have made us pull out our hair.

2006-01-10 20:11:54
31.   Fred Vincy
And one more: Joe Sheehan (who correctly predicted Sutter yes, Goose no):

"There is absolutely no rational argument for having Bruce Sutter on a ballot, but not having Rich Gossage on it as well. You can vote for Gossage alone, you can vote for both or neither, but all ballots that list Sutter and not Gossage are fundamentally flawed, and reflect a lack of understanding of what the two pitchers accomplished in their careers."

Link ($):

2006-01-11 04:21:28
32.   bp1
Fred (re: #31),

It seems clear to me that some folks feel the Hall of Fame already has more than its share of players in pinstripes. I'm only guessing that Goose would go in as a Yankee (anyone know for sure?), but I think most folks remember him as a Yankee. The bwpaa voters certainly do, because (like Sheehan said), selecting Sutter but not Gossage makes no sense at all from any point of view.


2006-01-11 05:44:58
33.   Simone
Has anyone seen Murray Chass' pro-Red Sox article in today's NY Times? First, he writes a pro-Larry Lucchino, now this one. Why exactly are these Red Sox articles in the sports section of a NY paper? The NY Times should be embarassed, but obviously not enough to make people pay for this dribble.
2006-01-11 06:25:15
34.   rbj
Dimelo, what's yer point re: Jeter. The guy's got a $100+ million contract, four WS rings, plays for the NY Yankees, and is a bachelor. If that were me, I'd be doing the same thing as he is. Only question is why the runnerup and not the winner.

Goose was his most dominant as a Yankee, which is when he won his World Series, so I'd have him as a Yankee. BTW, Goose's post season numbers are better than Sutter's too.

2006-01-11 07:10:44
35.   wsporter
Simone, I don't see the problem with our "paper of record" printing a story about our closest rival. It's their job to write about things relevant to us. From a sports POV the Sawx are relevant. I suppose the fact that they maintain an ownership interest in the Sawx raises the specter of an appearance of impropriety but as long as we've been informed I can live with it. Chass clearly has an agenda where the Yankees are concerned so don't let him bother you. The guy is a great baseball writer and I want to hear what he has to say on any number of issues. The problem is as he shows his bias and allows it to cloud his opinions they become less objective and therefore less valuable. Is what he wrote a shot at the Yankees? Maybe, but it does represent a significant point of view and therefore I don't think you can call it drivel.

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