The Newest Hall of Famers Were Inducted into Cooperstown

Since 1936, baseball greats have been elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That was no different on Sunday, as six legends turned Hall of Famers were inducted into Cooperstown. From the legendary Mariano Rivera, to the late Roy Halladay, Sunday was a day to celebrate these men and their accomplishments as Major Leaguers.

Their accomplishments on the field, and off the field is what makes them role models. Tohall of famers see players like Harold Baines, Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez get their special moment is truly remarkable, and a long time coming.

For Mike Mussina, who pitched for two American League East teams, it was definitely a special day for him, as those who doubted his ability to be enshrined in Cooperstown got to see him take the stage.

For the Halladay family, the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations and their fans, it was a day to remember a man who was a force on the mound. Roy Halladay will forever be remembered as a pitched no batter wanted to face.

Last, but not least, Mariano Rivera. The MLB saves leader was finally enshrined in Cooperstown, just north of the ballpark he called home. When Mo was warming up in the bullpen, the game was basically over.

The Class of 2019

This class consisted of six total players: four pitchers, and two batters. When it comes to Hall of Fame inductions, there is criticism when it comes to who does, and who doesn’t, get elected. This class, however, has a mix of some pretty amazing former players.

The Pitchers

Mariano Rivera – The lifelong New York Yankee made history in January, as he is the first and only player to be elected unanimously into the Hall of Fame. The Panamanian won five World Series rings with the Yankees, and is MLB’s all time saves leader, with 652. The 13 time All Star has a lifetime ERA of 2.21. The man known as Mo is a true Hall of Famer. Mariano Rivera went into the Hall with the Yankees logo on his hat.

Roy Halladay – The late and great starting pitcher was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The former Blue Jay and Phillies pitcher was a force on the mound, winning two Cy Young Awards and pitching a no-hitter in the postseason for Philadelphia. The eight-time All Star had a career record of 203-105, and a ERA of 3.38. Doc, as he was known, has his number 32 retired by the Blue Jays. He is also in the Phillies, and Blue Jays, Hall of Fame. Additionally, Roy Halladay’s hat doesn’t have a logo on it, as he played for two teams in his career.

Mike Mussina – In his 6th year of eligibility, the former Baltimore Oriole and New York Yankee made it into the Hall of Fame. Mussina, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, finished his career with a record of 270-153, with an ERA of 3.68. He also was selected as an American League All Star five times, and is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. “Moose,” as he was known to fans, had eight seasons where he won 17 games or more. In his final season with the Yankees, he won 20 games. Like Halladay, Mussina does not have a logo on his hat.

Edgar Martinez Gets His Day in Cooperstown

After a very long wait, Edgar Martinez was finally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The former Seattle Mariner was elected into the Hall of Fame in his tenth year of eligibility. The third baseman and designated hitter spent his whole career with the Seattle Mariners, and has his number 11 retired by the team.

Martinez was selected for seven All Star games in his career, and won five Silver Slugger Awards as well. In 2004, Martinez also won the Roberto Clemente Award. He has a lifetime batting average of .312, with 309 home runs and 2,247 hits. The Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer was finally honored in Cooperstown this past Sunday, to the delight of Mariners fans. His plaque has the Seattle Mariners logo on it.

The Honorable Mentions

Below are two great players who were elected into the Hall of Fame on the Today’s Game Committee ballot. These Hall of Famers were also honored on Sunday along with Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina.

Harold Baines – The former outfielder played from 1980-2001. The six-time All Star has a career batting average of .289 with 2,866 hits, 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI’s. In his 22 year career, he played in 2,830 games, most notably as a member of the Chicago White Sox. As a coach for the White Sox, Baines received a World Series ring in 2005. He also won the Silver Slugger Award in 1989, has his number 3 retired by the White Sox, and is in the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Harold Baines went into the Hall of Fame with the White Sox logo, as he played for the White Sox for 14 seasons, split over multiple seasons.

Lee Smith – The former Major Leaguer pitcher played from 1980-1997 and was a member of the Red Sox from 1988-1990. Smith pitched in 1,022 games, had 478 saves, with a 3.03 lifetime ERA. He was a seven-time All Star, three-time Relief Man of the Year, and was the saves leader four times in his career. Lee Smith went into the Hall of Fame with the Chicago Cubs logo, which is fitting since he pitched for the Cubs from 1980-1987.

Future Hall of Famers

In January 2020, another group of legends will be elected into the Hall of Fame. A year from now, they will forever be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There will be many first timers on the ballot in 2020. Some of the most notable names are Josh Beckett, Derek Jeter, and Paul Konerko.

Of course, there will be a lot of returning names to the ballot. The most notable names are Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Larry Walker. Now, if I had to choose between these guys, I’m going with Schilling and Walker. Schilling was amazing in the postseason. He was the co-MVP of the World Series as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. He also has a lifetime ERA of 3.46, with a 216-146 record. Walker, despite spending the majority of his career in Colorado, truly deserves the honor. He has a lifetime batting average of .313, with 383 home runs.

The Continued Greatness of Theo Epstein

While some hipsters may argue for Andrew Friedman and his Dodgers think tank, Theo Epstein is still by far the most talented executive working in baseball today. The former Red Sox general manager didn’t necessarily build this current Boston team, but he certainly laid the foundations with astute draft picks and legendary signings. Meanwhile, in Chicago, he’s constructed a juggernaut that looks set to dominate for many years to come, affirming his reputation.

Theo Epstein

Epstein’s achievements in Boston are meticulously documented, to the point where people tend to forget the magnificence of his everyday maneuvering. The overarching narrative is intoxicating. Theo’s expertise in statistics and scouting delivered the first Red Sox championship in eighty-six years. As if that wasn’t enough, the wonder kid then plotted a further title run in 2007. The Red Sox were transformed from streaky contenders to serial winners.

Of course, things didn’t end particularly well between the Red Sox and Theo Epstein. Epstein felt pressure from ownership to make extravagant free agent signings that helped television ratings but hindered his vision for a sustainable baseball machine. Nevertheless, despite receiving some unfair criticism in recent years, Epstein left a strong legacy that we still see on the field every single day at Fenway Park.

The Legacy of Theo Epstein

Dustin Pedroia, the heart of this team, was drafted by Theo. So was Clay Buchholz, but hey, you can’t have them all. Theo also signed David Ortiz and Junichi Tazawa, two key pieces on the 2016 Red Sox. However, what many people don’t acknowledge is that Theo also drafted Betts, Bradley Jr., Swihart, Vazquez, Owens and Shaw. As for Xander Bogaerts, that guy playing shortstop and leading the league in hitting? Well, Epstein signed him, too.

Obviously, a lot has happened since Theo left Boston for Chicago, and Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski have made worthy tweaks to this team. But facts must be respected, and one such fact is that the fingerprints of Theo Epstein are all over this Red Sox team. Though it may pain some bitter fans, he deserves greater recognition for that.

How the Cubs Were Built

While Boston is a fine offensive ball club, the Cubs are in a different universe right now. Chicago is 44-19, and has a legitimate shot at beating the all-time record of 116 regular season wins. As a team, the Cubs get on base at a .347 clip, second only to the Red Sox, but every starter has an ERA below 3.00 and the bullpen has been solid. Oh, and the Cubs also lead the league in several defensive stats, as if they weren’t dynamic enough.

Perhaps most impressively, this team was built from scratch by Theo and Jed Hoyer, his trusty lieutenant. They inherited a mess at Wrigley Field, and decided that the best way to get better was first to get worse. Short term pain for long term game was the mantra. Epstein was given the space, time and revenue to execute his Utopian plan for the ultimate baseball team.

First, a young core was established, mostly in the minor leagues, courtesy of trades and brilliant draft choices. Then, once it had matured, external free agents that made sense were signed to compliment the homegrown nucleus. That’s how the Cubs wound up with such a formidable team, with elite players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber primed to lead the North Side resurgence for perhaps a decade to come.

Theo’s Visions for Boston Carried Out in Chicago: What will the Future Hold?

Right now, we’re seeing at Wrigley Field what Theo Epstein once envisaged for Fenway Park and the Red Sox. Many people are quick to say that this fan base wouldn’t tolerate such an aggressive rebuild. Surely it was more purposeful than the general cellar-dwelling of recent times. Yes, the Red Sox won a World Series in 2013 while the Cubs tanked, but Chicago now has a window to win multiple rings while Boston’s future is very bright but far more uncertain.

Ultimately, Theo Epstein was the architect responsible for the two most potent offenses currently dominating Major League Baseball. While he certainly made mistakes in Boston, and developing pitching has always been an issue for his front offices, Red Sox fans must appreciate his continued influence on the team’s fortunes.

Perhaps the Sox and Cubs will meet in the World Series this year. After all, both teams are in strong positions. However, when the last generation of Theo players leaves the Red Sox, the true test will present itself. Can Dave Dombrowski match his forebear in creating a sustainable, organic winner? Only time will tell.

Red Sox Fans Watched Jon Lester Struggle Sunday Night

Jon Lester

As Red Sox fans woke up on Easter Sunday morning, they had to be excited that Spring Training games were finally over and their hometown team was opening the season on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia. Before Clay Buccholz and Sox took on Cole Hamels and the Phillies, the season opening game, on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball featured a match-up between NL Central rivals. Jon Lester took the mound for the first time with the Cubs against the Cardinals in prime time.

First off, the choice of teams was a bit of a head scratcher. The Cardinals have been one of the best teams this century, but the Cubs? Jon LesterThe Cubs have been in the basement since Steve Bartman. Why doesn’t Major League Baseball start off the season like the NFL. Have their champion open the season against a rival or a team they beat on their way to a championship? The Patriots will open the NFL season, so the Giants should have opened the MLB season.

As baseball fans tuned into Sunday’s game, some Red Sox fans may still have a sour taste in their mouth. Lester won two World Series’ with the Sox, and many fans felt as if they were teased into thinking he was coming back after a trade deadline deal with Oakland. I felt the trade to Oakland only meant that it would be easier for him not to return, after experiencing another clubhouse, and thinking, “maybe I could play somewhere else.” Lester went on to sign a six year, $155 million deal with the Cubs. The Red Sox came in with an offer substantially lower, so he walked to Theo Epstein and the Cubs, which many felt made the sour taste in their mouth that much more bitter.

The start for Lester did not go as planned. He did not get out of the fifth inning— tossing 4 1/3, allowing 8 hits and 3 runs. The Cubs continue to be the Cubs right? Obviously the Cubs have more talent than they have had in the past decade, so Lester will have better outings this season. With the report of Lester having “dead arm” this spring, one has to think the Cubs will keep an eye on Lester’s pitch count until he is comfortable, but some Cubs fans are holding their breath already while Red Sox fans should be more open-minded about not bringing Lester back.

Many fans have still not let the signing of Lester go, saying the Red Sox need an ace. Ben Cherington will find a top of the rotation starter this season. The Red Sox decided not to pay a pitcher in his 30’s premium money, a move I support. The Yankees are going through a tough time with C.C. Sabathia, as are the Phillies with Cliff Lee. Jon Lester will have some great years in the Chicago but he will also likely not be worth the money in the long run.