Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mailday Roundup: Thanksgiving Break with Very Old Vintage

I did not have a chance to pick up my mail for several days.  And so when I got to the office Monday morning, I had a pile of packages.  I wish every day could be like that.  And away we go:

Up first is a real old vintage card that I picked up on Ebay for cheap after doing the pre-WWII portion of my wantlist.  I wanted to see if I could find something for less than $10.00 and I did:
This is a 1919-1921 W514 card of Everett Scott, the terrific defensive shortstop for the Red Sox in the late 1910's/early 1920's.  Scott was not much of a hitter, but his defense was far and away better than other shortstops of the time period.  The artwork leaves a little something to be desired here, I am not sure how close it is to looking like Scott, but I am not going to turn down a card this old.  That is likely to be my next big project is picking up as many cheap, pre-WWII cards I can find.

Up next are a couple of Heritage cards of pitchers currently with the team:
The Steven Wright is the chrome black refractor.  My Wright collection has slowed a bit, but that is more due to cards drying up than anything.  And the next card is a relic of Rick Porcello, the AL's 2016 Cy Young Award winner.

The next several scans are the 2016 and 2015 Topps mini cards and I am not going to go into detail.  This post is long enough as it is.  The first card is the red parallel of Koji Uehara and it is serial numbered to just five.  It is also the primary reason I worked out this deal.
And last, but not least, this is a minor league card of Matt Stairs with the New Britain Red Sox.  I got the idea after purchasing a bunch of minor league cards of guys that never appeared on cardboard with the Boston Red Sox.  Stairs is one of the players that bothers me the most, so I decided one day to just look.  And here it is:
So, that's it.  Lots of good stuff.  The Scott is my favorite of course and joins my Tubby Spencer T206 and my Moe Berg 1940 Play Ball.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Red Sox Team of the Decade: 1930-1939

The 1930's started out the way the 1920's ended: with the Red Sox in last place.  It ended with the Red Sox in second place.  What changed was ownership.  Tom Yawkey, a multi-millionaire, bought the team and immediately began making changes.  A number of high profile players were purchased and several good young stars were signed from the minor leagues.  The Red Sox were not quite contenders yet, as the Yankees were still blowing everyone out of the water, but they were in a much better place than the 1920's.

This is not close at all.  Catcher had been an offensive black hole for the Red Sox for years prior to Ferrell being traded to Boston.  Ferrell was an All Star every season he spent in Boston.  Even though he did not have much power, he was an excellent contact hitter and a very good defensive catcher.  Ferrell is also in the Hall of Fame and wears a Red Sox cap on his plaque.  For his Boston career, Ferrell hit .302/.394/.410 with 16 home runs, 111 doubles, and 240 RBIs in 522 games.  He actually spent more time with the Browns and Senators but was generally better with the Red Sox.  His best season was 1936 when he hit .312 with a career high eight home runs.  Gene Desautels is the runner-up.

Jimmie Foxx was already one of the top sluggers in the game when Boston engineered a trade to get him from the Athletics.  He had already been an MVP twice and would add one more to his resume with the Red Sox.  In his first season with Boston, Foxx shattered the team's single-season home run record previously held by Babe Ruth with 41 home runs.  But Foxx was not just a slugger.  He won his second batting title in 1938 with Boston when he hit .349.  Foxx set single season records with 50 home runs and 175 RBIs as well in 1938 and that was the year he was named AL MVP.  For his years in Boston, Foxx hit .320/.429/.605 with 222 home runs and 788 RBIs.  Foxx wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.  Dale Alexander is the runner-up after winning the 1932 batting title.

Second base is a weak position in the 1930's.  Bobby Doerr is the only player that really played well enough for long enough to get consideration.  And Doerr was not yet at his best in the 1930's.  He made his Major League debut in 1937 and played in just 55 games that season.  He was the regular second-baseman in 1938 and 1939 and he started showing signs of being the Hall of Fame second baseman he turned out to be.  1939 was his first great season and he hit .318/.365/.448 with 12 home runs and 73 RBIs and played a terrific defensive second base.  Doerr spent his entire career with the Red Sox and is in the Hall of Fame.  Max Bishop, Marty McManus, and Johnny Hodapp played well in limited time at second base.

Owner Tom Yawkey spent a shocking amount of money to pry Joe Cronin away from the Washington Senators.  He paid $250,000.00 (twice the amount Boston received for Babe Ruth) and an infielder named Lyn Lary.  Cronin was a terrific hitter for a shortstop and was also a manager.  He stepped in as player-manager when he joined Boston.  Cronin's best year in the 1930's for Boston was 1938 when he hit .325/.428/.536 with 17 home runs, 94 RBIs, and led the league with 51 doubles.  He drove in 100 runs three times with Boston and hit over .300 four times in years in which he was a regular player.  Cronin, like the three above players is also in the Hall of Fame with a Red Sox cap on his plaque.  

The first non-Hall of Famer on the team, Werber was an underrated player for the Red Sox in the mid 1930's.  He and George Pipgras were purchased from the Yankees early in 1933 in a rare deal that went well for Boston.  Werber did not do much that season but he led the league in stolen bases each of the next two seasons (40 in 1934 and 29 in 1935).  Werber could also hit for a high batting average (.321 in 1934) and had a little bit of power (14 home runs).  For his time in Boston, Werber hit .281/.367/.425 with 38 home runs, 234 RBIs, and 107 stolen bases.  He was a good defensive third baseman who also played shortstop and outfield for Boston.  He was later traded to the A's for Pinky Higgins, whose two consecutive seasons of 100+ RBIs make him the runner-up for third base.  Jim Tabor was also considered.    

Earl Webb did not play long for the Red Sox.  He came to the team in 1930 after bouncing around between the Majors and minors.  Webb could always hit, but he was not much of a fielder.  Immediately upon joining the Red Sox, it was clear that Webb was the best hitter on the team.  For his time in Boston he hit .321/.391/.509 with 35 home runs and 196 RBIs in two-plus seasons with the Red Sox.  It was 1931 that gained Webb notoriety.  That season he hit 67 doubles to set a Major League record that has yet to be broken.  Webb was traded in 1932 for Dale Alexander and Roy Johnson.  Ted Williams is the runner-up for his phenomenal rookie season in 1939 but since it was only one season and Williams will show up in the next two posts, Webb squeaks by.

Another castoff from the Philadelphia Athletics, Doc Cramer was a very good contact hitter.  He was a five-time All Star, including four times with the Red Sox after being acquired along with Eric McNair.  Cramer did not have much power, he hit just one home run his entire time with the Red Sox, but he did hit around 30 doubles each year.  Cramer had a 200 hit season with the Red Sox in 1940, leading the league in hits that year.  For his time with the Red Sox, Cramer hit .302/.349/.378 with 940 hits.  Carl Reynolds and Tom Oliver were the runners-up.

Left field was another weak position, though it will become a very strong position in the coming posts.  Johnson was acquired in the same trade as Dale Alexander, a trade that worked out quite well for the Red Sox.  Johnson was a very good contact hitter who had a little bit of speed and a little bit of power, but was not very impressive in the field.  In close to four full seasons, Johnson hit .313/.386/.458 with 31 home runs, 30 triples, 130 doubles, and 48 stolen bases.  Joe Vosmik is the runner-up.

Rick Ferrell's brother Wes was a terrific pitcher and a very good hitter as well.  He was such a good hitter that he was often used as a pinch hitter.  He actually has ten more career home runs than his brother, who was a position player his entire career.  Wes had been a four-time 20 game winner with the Indians when he was sent to Boston.  He continued his winning ways upon joining the Red Sox staff, winning 20 games two more times.  He had his best season with the Red Sox in 1935 when he was 25-14 with a 3.52 ERA.  He led the league in wins, complete games (38), innings pitched (322.1) and finished second in the AL MVP vote.  Ferrell was 62-40 with a 4.11 ERA in three-plus seasons with the Red Sox.  He was traded to Washington along with his brother in a deal that brought Ben Chapman and Bobo Newsom to Boston in 1937.

Grove was possibly the highest profile acquisition that Tom Yawkey made upon taking over the Red Sox.  Grove had been an MVP, won 20 games in seven straight seasons, and won four ERA titles in his time with the Philadelphia A's.  Grove was not an immediate success.  He was injured in 1934 and finished just 8-8 with a 6.50 ERA.  Not quite what Yawkey had in mind.  But Grove learned how to be a pitcher and not just a hard-thrower in his time with the Red Sox.  He won 20 games one more time and won four more ERA titles.  In his eight years with the Red Sox, Grove was 105-62 with a 3.34 ERA and 743 strikeouts in 1,539.2 innings.  His last win with the Red Sox (which was the last win of his career) was his 300th career win.  Grove wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Ostermueller was a decent pitcher that was used both as a starter and as a reliever for the Red Sox.  He came up in 1934 and had a pretty good year, going 10-13 with a 3.49 ERA.  He was at his best in 1938 and 1939 with the Red Sox when he was 13-5 with a 4.58 ERA and then 11-7 with a 4.24 ERA.  He was never really a top starting pitcher, but pitching is kind of weak in general for the Red Sox in the 1930's and is the primary reason they were not able to compete with the Yankees in the latter half of the decade.  Ostermueller was 59-65 with a 4.38 ERA in seven seasons with the Red Sox from 1934-1940.

Like Ostermueller, "Black" Jack Wilson was used frequently in relief as well as starting games.  Wilson was highly effective in 1937 when he was 16-10 with a 3.70 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 221.1 innings.  Though saves were not an official stat, Wilson was later credited with seven.  He also started 21 games that season.  In 1938 he was 15-15 and then 11-11 in 1939.  Wilson played for the Red Sox from 1935-1941 and was 67-67 with a 4.44 ERA and was credited with 20 career saves.  

Joe Heving was a rarity.  He was a relief specialist at a time when there were not many such specialists in the Majors.  Heving had varying degrees of success before joining the Red Sox in 1938.  He pitched in just 16 games that season but was 8-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 82 innings.  He started 11 of those games, but he was almost exclusively a reliever in 1939 when he started just five out of the 46 games he pitched.  He was 11-3 with a 3.70 ERA that season and notched eight saves.  Heving played one more season with the Red Sox and finished the Boston portion of his career 31-11 with a 3.83 ERA.  His brother Johnnie was a catcher with the Red Sox from 1924-1925 and 1928-1930.

Monday, November 28, 2016

1991-2016 All-Underrated Team: Third Base

I have been watching baseball for 26 years now. In that time, I have been obsessed with under-the-radar players. These are my picks for an All-Underrated Team. I have picked one player for each position and their best season.
The Red Sox finished below .500 three seasons in a row coming into 1995.  This was the season that started late due to the strike of 1994.  Boston completely overhauled its roster, bringing in several new players and jettisoning others.  One trade that was made was to send All Star third-baseman Scott Cooper to the Cardinals for Mark Whiten and Rheal Cormier.  That left a hole at third base, but rather than acquire someone to plug in at third, they simply moved Tim Naehring to third full time.  It was a good move.
Naehring had been a touted prospect for several seasons and had been given multiple opportunities to stick in the lineup.  But injuries had kept him away from becoming a full-time player.  Finally, in 1994 Naehring appeared to turn a corner and filled in at second base for injured Scott Fletcher.  He also played a few games at third.  It was not known at the time, but Naehring would take the third base job permanently in 1995.
All but one game of Naehring's 126 games were spent at third base in 1995.  And that full season was actually better than either of Scott Cooper's All Star seasons by a considerable margin.  Naehring hit .307/.415/.448 and had a career high 27 doubles to go along with ten home runs and 57 RBIs.  His OBP was buoyed by walking 77 times versus just 66 strikeouts.  He also was one of the few players to perform well in the ALDS against the Indians, hitting .308 with a home run in the three game set.  On top of his hitting performance, Naehring was also an impressive fielder.  He was tagged with 16 errors, but most of those were throwing errors that were more a product of Mo Vaughn's rather poor ability to scoop throws out.
Naehring looked to be finally fulfilling his potential and he crushed 17 home runs with 65 RBIs in 1996.  In 1997 he was hitting .286 with nine home runs when he suffered a career-ending injury.  Just like that, Naehring was done at just 30.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (Scott Cooper and Shea Hillenbrand do not qualify as they were All Stars in their best seasons and Bill Mueller's Silver Slugger in 2003 eliminates him from consideration for that season):
Bill Mueller 2004
John Valentin 1998
Mike Lowell 2006

Sunday, November 27, 2016

R.I.P. Dave "Boo" Ferriss (12/5/1921 - 11/24/2016)

Dave "Boo" Ferriss passed away on Thanksgiving Day.  The former Red Sox pitcher was 94 years old.  Ferriss had a short Major League career, but his first two seasons were incredible.  He made his Major League debut in 1945 and was immediately one of the best pitchers in the league.  Ferriss had a record of 21-10 with a 2.96 ERA in 1945.  As it was a war season, there was some concern about whether Ferriss could repeat his success, but in 1946, Ferriss was 25-6 with a 3.06 ERA and was an All Star for the first time on a terrific Red Sox team that made it to the World Series.  He was 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two games in the World Series that year.  The next year however, Ferriss started his decline.  He was just 12-11 with a 4.04 ERA in 1947, then 7-3 in 1948.  He pitched in just five more games in 1949-1950.  Injuries prematurely ended his career.  Ferriss went on to become a pitching coach for the Red Sox for a few seasons and then coached college baseball at Delta State University.  With Ferriss's death, Bobby Doerr is the last surviving member of the 1946 Boston Red Sox.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Loyalty and Longevity Pt. 5: Mel Parnell

In this series, I look at players who played their entire Major League career with the Red Sox, as long as said Major League career lasted at least ten years.
Mel Parnell just barely qualifies.  He played exactly ten years and the last few of those seasons he was just barely hanging on.  Unfortunately injuries and overwork derailed what had been a very promising career.  But Parnell is still one of the greatest left-handed pitchers to ever pitch for the Red Sox.
Parnell missed the 1946 World Series run as he had spent some time in the service during World War II and then spent the 1946 season in the minor leagues in Scranton.  He had a terrific season for Scranton and pitched at Louisville to start the 1947 season then was brought to the Majors.  He was not terribly impressive in his rookie season, going just 2-3 with a 6.39 ERA in 15 games, including five starts.  But Boston stuck with him and it really began to pay off quickly.
1948 was a terrific season for both Parnell and Boston, even though it ended badly.  Parnell was one of the most reliable starters for the Red Sox down the stretch.  He finished the season 15-8 with a 3.14 ERA and pitched 212 innings.  He should have been the starting pitcher in the one-game playoff at the end of the season against the Indians to determine who would meet the Boston Braves in the World Series.  But manager Joe McCarthy chose to go with his gut instinct and pitch Denny Galehouse.  Parnell was ready to go.  Galehouse was shelled and the Red Sox missed out on the World Series.
If the Cy Young Award were given out in 1949, Parnell likely would have won.  He led the Majors in wins (25) and complete games (27).  He also led the league in ERA (2.77) and innings pitched (295.1).  Parnell was named to the All Star team for the first time and finished fourth in the MVP vote (teammate Ted Williams won).  Parnell and Ellis Kinder pretty much carried the Red Sox into a final series against the Yankees to determine who would win the pennant.  Unfortunately Boston folded in the final two games.
The next three seasons saw Parnell win 18 games twice.  He continued to provide well over 200 innings and ERAs in the 3s.  He was also an All Star one more time in 1951.  Parnell's record dipped to 12-12 in 1952 before improving to 21-8 in 1953 with a 3.06 ERA.  But that was his last great season.
Parnell suffered an injury to his left wrist when he was struck by a pitch from former teammate Mickey McDermott and he would never be the same.  Over the next three years, Parnell's record was a disappointing 12-17.  He had one last gasp of excellence in his final season of 1956 when he pitched the only no-hitter of his career.  It was against the White Sox at Fenway Park.  Parnell called it quits after 1956 but went on to a career as a broadcaster and held that position during the Impossible Dream season.
Mel Parnell spent his entire big league career with the Red Sox.  He continues to hold the team record for wins by a southpaw (123).  Jon Lester came close, but ended his Red Sox career with 110.  Parnell's record is safe for now.  But even if he does get surpassed, he will still be remembered.  It is a shame injuries cut short his terrific career.    

Friday, November 25, 2016

An Idiot's Autograph

This is actually my first autograph of Kevin Millar.  I thought I had gotten one at some point, but apparently not.  Millar was one of the quintessential "Idiots", the nickname self-imposed by members of the 2004 Boston Red Sox.  Millar was a huge part of the team, playing first base and hitting .297/.383/.474 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs.  He led the league in getting hit by pitches.  Millar also played a big part in the team coming back from a 4-3 deficit in Game 4 of the ALCS, which they then trailed to the Yankees three games to none.  Millar drew a crucial walk against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth then was replaced by Dave Roberts.  Roberts stole second then scored the tying run on a base hit by Bill Mueller.  It is Millar's place on the 2004 team that will mean that he will never have to pay for his own drink in Boston ever again.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Red Sox With No Cards: 2006

A lot of the players without cards in 2006 actually had decently long careers and some track record for success.  None of the players are what I would consider household names, but some of them may have been fan favorites for some teams.

Burns played in parts of three Major League seasons with four different Major League teams.  He made it into 27 games in his rookie season of 2005 with the Astros when he was 26.  Burns started the 2006 season with the Reds.  He was traded to the Red Sox in August for a minor leaguer named Tim Bausher.  Burns made it into just seven games with the Red Sox, throwing 7.2 innings of 4.70 ERA ball.  He notched seven strikeouts against just a single walk.  It is a little surprising that he did not make it back to the Majors in 2007.  He spent the entire season in Pawtucket.  He joined the Pirates organization in 2008 then made it back to the Majors for the last time with the Brewers in 2009.  Burns does have a Pawtucket Red Sox card from 2007.

Prior to 2006, Huckaby's contribution to the Red Sox came from sidelining Derek Jeter for a couple of months at the beginning of the 2003 season when Jeter separated his shoulder sliding into the then-Blue Jays catcher.  Huckaby was mostly a backup, when he played in the Majors, which admittedly was not often.  He made it into 88 games for Toronto in 2002 but never more than 35 any other season.  Huckaby was signed by the Red Sox as catching depth before Spring Training in 2006 and spent most of the season in Pawtucket.  He made it into eight games with the Red Sox late in the season and had just one hit and an RBI.  It was the last time he appeared in the Majors.  Huckaby does have a Pawtucket Red Sox card.

Harris was fast.  It was his primary skill.  He played for seven teams over the course of his career and managed to break through as a full-time player later in his career.  Harris had spent several seasons with the White Sox early in his career, including being a bench player for the 2005 World Champions.  He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in January of 2006 and spent the first half of the season as an extra outfielder in Boston.  His numbers were not impressive.  He hit just .156/.250/.200.  He had two doubles and one RBI.  He did steal six bases though.  After the season, Harris signed a contract with the Braves and became a full-time player.

Primarily a reliever with the Angels, Holtz had some decent years in the late 1990's/early 2000's.  Holtz was the main setup man in 1996-1997 before his ERA started to climb.  He missed out on the Angels' World Championship run though as he left as a free agent prior to the season.  After the 2002 season, Holtz stuck in the minors for a few seasons.  He re-emerged in the Majors with the Red Sox in 2006 after pitching well in Pawtucket, making it into just three games and pitching just 1.2 innings.  His ERA was an unsightly 16.20.  He had two strikeouts and four walks.  He was released by Boston in June and never played again.

Despite a very poor record, Jason Johnson was able to hang on in the Majors for 11 years.  He finished with a 56-100 record, mostly pitching for some bad teams in Baltimore and Detroit.  He was 8-15 in 2004 and 8-13 in 2005 with Detroit.  Johnson started the 2006 season with the Indians and was 3-8 with a 5.96 ERA when he was sold to the Red Sox in June.  He lasted just two months with the Red Sox, starting six games while going 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA.  He struck out 18 and walked 13 in 29.1 innings over those six games.  It was a time that Boston's staff was being decimated by injuries.  He was not the answer and was released in August.  He latched on with the Reds and improved somewhat.

Miller was a career backup catcher, never playing in more than 39 games in the Major Leagues with any team.  He originally came up with the Reds and had been a top prospect.  But he never really got things going in the Major Leagues.  He played for Cincinatti for a few years then spent a season in Minnesota before joining the Red Sox organization in 2006.  He spent almost his entire season in Pawtucket and does have a card with the PawSox.  He played a single game with the Boston Red Sox on August 6.  He had four at-bats without a hit.  After the season he played a few more seasons as a backup catcher and returned to the Reds at one point.

Mohr came to the Red Sox expecting to be the team's fourth outfielder in 2006.  He had been a decent player with the Twins and Giants from 2002 through 2004.  He had a career high 17 home runs for the Rockies in 2005, the season before he joined the Red Sox, so he came to Boston with a pretty decent track record.  But Boston did not really have room for Mohr and he did not hit well when he played.  Boston already had Trot Nixon, Coco Crisp, Wily Mo Pena, and Manny Ramirez in the outfield and Willie Harris offered the team speed as a backup.  Mohr played in just 21 games for the Red Sox and hit just .175/.233/.350.  He did hit two home runs and drove in three runs.  He played the next season for Tampa Bay and that was it for Mohr's Major League career.  Mohr also has a Pawtucket card.

Willie Harris played the most games with the Red Sox of any of the players in this post, but even he only played in 47 games.  None of the players really played well.  If I had to pick one player that I would have liked to see on a Boston Red Sox card, I would probably pick Harris, just because of the number of games he played.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

I'm going to get to this early this year.  Here are my thoughts on the 34 players on the Hall of Fame ballot this year.

Bagwell should already be in the Hall of Fame.  I won't rehash his case here but he was one of the best first-basemen of all time.  He probably will get in this year as he is very close.

Undoubtedly the biggest "huh?" on the ballot.  Blake had a few nice seasons but the guy was never even an All Star.  I had no idea he played for half the teams he did.  He was decent enough, but if he gets even a single vote, I will be shocked.

The all-time and season-high home run hitter.  I don't care much for the steroids argument keeping players out.  Bonds should be in.

I remember when Boston drafted him, but then tried to low-ball him.  Dan Duquette was not much of a negotiator.  Burrell had several good seasons as a power-hitting outfielder for the Phillies.  But he was fairly one-dimensional.  I don't see him getting any votes.

There are a lot of players on the ballot that were on either the 2004 or 2007 Red Sox World Championship teams.  Cabrera is the first and will always be remembered as the shortstop who had a million high-five routines.  Cabrera was decent most of the time, but never really a star.  Not a Hall of Famer.

Cameron spent a couple of injury-plagued seasons with the Red Sox.  He was mostly known for his time with the White Sox, Reds, and Mariners and had a four-home run game.  He had some very good years, but ultimately is not a Hall of Famer.

Seven Cy Young Awards.  354 wins.  4,672 strikeouts.  Yeah, he should be in.  But like Bonds, Clemens is kept out because of the steroid situation, even though he was never suspended.  He should be in, and he should be wearing a Red Sox cap on his plaque.

If the Hall of Fame just took talent into consideration, Drew would be a no-brainer.  But his talent never really manifested into great numbers.  Drew was a member of the 2007 Red Sox World Championship team and won the 2008 All Star Game MVP.  But he is not a Hall of Famer.

He had better career numbers than Orlando Cabrera, but the result is probably the same.  He was once traded for Randy Johnson.  Not a Hall of Famer.

One of the most interesting new players on the ballot.  Guerrero had a ton of talent and was a lot of fun to watch.  He fell short of some of the major milestones but he could always hit, even when his knees completely gave out and he could no longer run.  I think he could get in eventually, but not this season.

Closers just do not seem to have much luck getting into the Hall of Fame.  Hoffman was one of the best of all time, and he had an impressive vote total last year.  He could sneak in this year.  He better move quickly though because when Mariano Rivera comes on the ballot, all of the other closers will plae in comparison.

I am a proponent of getting Kent in.  He is one of the best-hitting second baseman of all time.

A longtime Cubs favorite.  For a few years there was a big debate between Cubs and Cardinals fans as to who the better first-baseman was, Lee or Albert Pujols.  Lee was just not good enough for long enough though.

Now that David Ortiz has retired, the question is which DH will make it in first.  I think Edgar should be in, but I think Ortiz deserves it more.

I remember him when he was a power-hitting first-baseman with the Blue Jays.  That seems like a lifetime ago.  I support McGriff getting in, but I doubt it happens very soon.  Maybe he has a better shot with one of the Veterans' Committees.

Okay, I take it back.  Mora is the biggest "huh?" on the ballot.  He did hit 171 home runs as a third-baseman and was the best player the Orioles had for a few years, but those were dark times for Baltimore.

Mussina should be in.  I don't go to bat for many Yankees, so I will choose to just think of him as an Oriole.  He should be in, but I would like to see Schilling in first.

He was once traded to the Red Sox for Nomar Garciaparra.  That was when Boston was supposed to be getting Alex Rodriguez for Manny Ramirez as well.  Ordonez had some nice seasons, even MVP-quality, but he is not a Hall of Famer.

As the catcher for the Yankees and accumulating five rings, Posada will get a few votes.  He might even stick on the ballot for a few years.  I don't see him getting in personally, but he is worth debating.

Raines should be in.  Like Bagwell, I argue this every year.

Based entirely on his production, he should be in.  As I said, I don't believe steroids should keep a player out, but Ramirez was suspended for PEDs twice (both times after leaving Boston at least).  Ramirez was the World Series MVP in 2004 and was an All Star and Silver Slugger several times.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with Ramirez.

Boston never should have brought Renteria in and let Cabrera go.  Renteria did have better career numbers, but his time in Boston was worse.  He was the World Series MVP for the Giants in 2010.  He is not a Hall of Famer though.


Rodriguez is the most likely new player on the ballot to make it in on the first try.  He is without a doubt one of the greatest catchers of all time.  He was terrific both offensively and defensively, a complete player.  Unfortunately, he was named in the Jose Canseco book, so there might be some question in voters' minds.  Even the suspicion of PED usage has slowed the induction of otherwise worthy candidates like Bagwell and Mike Piazza.  I think he should be in.  But I would not be surprised if he doesn't make it in this year.

A former Red Sox prospect who made it into 32 games with Boston before being traded in a terrible deal to the Pirates.  He was a three-time All Star and won a batting title.  But if every player who ever won a batting title were in, Dale Alexander, Carney Lansford, Bill Mueller, and Billy Goodman would be in.  But that is not the case and it should not be for Sanchez either.

Schilling should be in.  I have covered this several times.  I think his political views is the biggest thing keeping him out.  He has a tendency to say some horrible things at times.  He was a dominant pitcher and a terrific post-season performer.

There is an argument for him out there.  I am not a big believer in it myself, but I would listen.

I really like Lee Smith and I would love to see him get in, but my feeling is that if he is not in yet, he likely never will be.

Sosa's Hall of Fame argument relies entirely on his 609 home runs.  From a pure fame standpoint, he should be in, as almost nobody was more famous in the late 90's.  However, Sosa was not really THAT good other than a few seasons.  And it would be hard to justify him being in but Sheffield being out.

Almost completely forgotten, but one of his 265 home runs came with the Red Sox.  Stairs doesn't get in.

As much of a fan of Jason Varitek as I am, I simply do not see him getting any support.  He may pick up a vote or two, but that is likely to be it.

Wagner does not have the gaudy save numbers that Hoffman does, but he was actually a better pitcher.  But nobody notices that because of the save numbers.  I don't really see him getting in.

Like Varitek, Wakefield will always be one of my favorite players, but, like Varitek again, he is not getting in.  He is a Red Sox Hall of Famer though.

Walker has some terrific career numbers.  But the fact that a lot of his best seasons took place in Colorado gets in the way.  I liked Walker and I think he should be considered strongly, but I can understand the concerns.

If I had a vote, I would vote for the following players: Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines.