December 6, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013
The people who hold the keys to the Baseball Hall of Fame have decided to move slowly. They're not sure what to think, what with all the crazy home runs and questionable substances floating around the game a few years ago. So they're taking their time. They're not going to vote any of these big galoots into the Hall just yet.
The times were confusing; the evidence is gray. Pimpled backs and shady teammates. The voters are quite happy to let things stew for a while.
Truth is, these voters have always been slow. Only 39 players have made it into the Hall on their first ballot (outside of the initial class and a couple of special cases). Voters seem to like to use the balloting process as a way of gaining consensus—like talking over a beer, but just once a year for just a second each time. Ralph Kiner went from about 1 percent of the vote his first year to immortality his 15th year. Don't understand it? Me, neither. That's just the way these guys roll.
So we shouldn't be surprised that no one from this greatest, albeit most controversial, class ever didn't pass the threshold. Our voting representatives like to take their time, and these times were terrifically confusing. Some of the fallout was interesting, though.
Jack Morris, who seemed to be a lock to make it into the Hall after last year, stayed about even. Alan Trammell, Lee Smith and Fred McGriff lost ground. Surprisingly, Tim Raines picked up some votes. Perhaps Raines can cut through the morass in the next few years and stand for induction, along withMike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. These should be easy decisions, and I think eventually they will be inducted.
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A few days ago, baseball celebrated the 100th birthday of arguably the greatest NL first baseman of the 20th century, Johnny Mize. Today, the game has the 75th birthday of Mize’s main competitor for that honor, San Francisco Giants great Willie McCovey.
Sure, 75 isn't quite as nice a big, round number as 100, but McCovey has one big advantage over Mize: he’s still alive to celebrate his big b-day.
McCovey was one of the game’s greatest sluggers, ending his career tied with Ted Williams at 521 homers. Just the 12th member of the 500-homer club, he truly could claim to be one of the best home run hitters of all-time.
Strangely enough, though, McCovey has no claim at all to being the best slugger from his hometown born in the 1930s. McCovey was born on Jan. 10 (obviously), 1938 in Mobile, Alabama, just 47 months after a young Hank Aaron entered the world as a Mobile man.
A lot of great black athletes came out of Alabama in those years. Aside from Aaron and McCovey, you had Willie Mays, and Billy Williams. That’s a nice four-some of Hall of Fame talent.
Actually, there’s a really great All-Alabama-born team anchored by those guys. Here it is:
C – Luke Sewell
1B –Willie McCovey
2B – Frank Bolling
SS – Ozzie Smith
3B – Joe Sewell
RF – Hank Aaron
CF – Willie Mays
LF – Billy Williams
SP – Satchel Paige
SP – Don Sutton
SP – Jimmy Key
SP – Virgil Trucks
SP – Jake Peavy
RP – Clay Carroll
Bench: Heinie Manush, Amos Otis, Lee May, Willie Wilson, George Foster, Rudy York, Riggs Stephenson, Jim Davenport, Spud Davis, Matt Cain, Jeff Brantley, Al Worthington, Doyle Alexander.
That’s some lineup, especially the outfield.
McCovey was a great talent, and today he celebrates his 75th birthday.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago). Today. Here they are, with the better items in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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