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.

Pomeranz Emerges As Unlikely Ace

Despite a less-than-stellar beginning with the Red Sox last season, Drew Pomeranz has become an unlikely ace this season. Pomeranz emerges as a reliable pitcher in the wake of a string of lineup injuries this season. David Price is just now returning. Steve Wright had season-ending surgery a while back. Rick Porcello is struggling to meet this season’s expectations. Eduardo Rodriguez is back on the DL. So with the Red Sox struggling to climb to first, manager John Farrell seems to depend more on Pomeranz’s control. At 5-3 with 64 K’s for the year, Pomeranz is on his way to having a career year.

Part of Pomeranz’s success this season stems from his cutter. A cutter is a fastball thatPomeranz Emerges cuts away towards the pitcher’s glove as it crosses home plate. While it’s been around since the 50’s, Mariano Rivera perfected it when he rose to dominance as a reliever. Another reason behind Pomeranz’s success is that few paid attention to him when the season began so the expectations, and the pressure, were low. All eyes were on Chris Sale and David Price. On top of that, Pomeranz had a terrible 2016 season with the Red Sox. He went 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA after joining the Sox in a trade from San Diego where he’d been an All-Star. No one expected him to perform.

Pomeranz Emerges As A Dependable Pitcher

A sorely missed David Price returned to the Red Sox last week. While he dominated the Orioles in his first game back, he may still not be 100%. Rick Porcello continues to struggle on the mound. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the DL again. Chris Sale is as solid as always. But the Red Sox only benefit by having Pomeranz in their rotation as he continues to develop his artillery of pitches. His National League experience helps too.

Who knows whether the Red Sox will take first place and the division this year. But one thing is for sure. As Pomeranz emerges as an unlikely ace, he’ll benefit the Red Sox as Price and Porcello find their consistency. If all four pitchers can come together to dominate the American League, it’ll be in parr to Pomeranz’s developing abilities.

Red Sox Add Kimbrel, Send Signal of Intent

When the Red Sox traded for San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel last week, shock waves reverberated around the baseball world. Such a trade can be viewed as a defiant signal of intent, a confirmation of Boston’s rekindled commitment to acquiring elite talent.

Red Sox add kimbrel

In Kimbrel, the Red Sox added a genuine star. The bullpen ace will turn 28 in May, but has already amassed 225 saves in five full Major League seasons. Only thirty-eight pitchers have ever saved more games in baseball history, which is indicative of Kimbrel’s prodigious ability. Given his relative youth, Craig figures to have a legitimate shot at 500 saves, a plateau reached only by Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman thus far.

Of course, the Red Sox didn’t want to give up dazzling prospects such as Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen, but the opportunity to rebuild a woeful bullpen around one of the two best closers in the game was too good to pass up. Dave Dombrowski has often struggled to construct a strong relief corps, but Kimbrel gives him an enviable cornerstone.

Moreover, this trade was highly symbolic. From a philosophical perspective, it indicated that, after years of indifference and indecision, the Red Sox are ready to go all-in and recommit to investing heavily to win now, rather than just stockpiling assets for a tomorrow that may never arrive. Dombrowski is the ultimate win-now architect, and ownership has clearly granted him autonomy to reshape the Red Sox into a powerhouse.

So, what is his next move towards achieving that objective? As every baseball fan on the planet knows, the Red Sox need a bonafide ace, a bulldog to head the rotation. And, as Dombrowski indicated recently, that piece will likely be acquired via free agency. Accordingly, Boston figures to compete heavily in the market for David Price, who seems the perfect antidote to the franchise’s pitching problem. Alternatively, Zack Greinke may be a target, although his advancing age will test ownerships’ resolve, while Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann will also be worthy of consideration.

However, I think the Red Sox need two, not one, additional starters. At present, the perpetually inconsistent Clay Buchholz will start on Opening Day, while Wade Miley or Rick Porcello would likely pitch Game 4 of any potential playoff series. Quite frankly, that simply isn’t viable if the Sox hope to seriously compete for a world championship. Therefore, I expect Dombrowski to finally solve the ace problem before wading into the secondary market for a strong mid-rotation arm like Mike Leake, Doug Fister, Jeff Samardzija, or Mat Latos.

Hypothetically, a rotation of Price, Leake, Miley, Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez would instantly improve the Red Sox beyond measure, and go a long way to redressing the balance between offence and pitching that was so distorted last year. Dombrowski could possibly offset the salary burden by working some kind of trade including Joe Kelly, Porcello, or, ideally, Hanley Ramirez.

At this point, speculation is the lifeblood of baseball fans. A lot can happen between now and Opening Day. However, with one trade, one sacrificing of homegrown talent in order to obtain elite external reinforcements, the Boston Red Sox made a new commitment to their fans, and fired a warning to their rivals. Dave Dombrowski wants to win immediately, and the journey to that end promises to be greatly intriguing.

David Ortiz Will Not Waive Trade Clause

Take one Red Sox veteran off the trade block. David Ortiz has said he will not consent to a trade if the Red Sox try to deal him before the July 31st trade deadline, according to SI.com:

“No chance,” Ortiz said, according to The Boston Globe. “This is the team I’ll be with the rest of my career.”

“I couldn’t do that to my family. I couldn’t just go to another team and fit in after all of these years. I want to be here.”

I appreciate David’s loyalty, and I’ve been a huge fan of Papi’s through the years, but whatDavid Ortiz good would a trade do for the team? Probably nothing. It looks like Father Time has finally caught up to him – he’s currently hitting at a .229 clip, which would be a career low for him if he doesn’t improve significantly. That begs the question: Who would take Ortiz, even if he was on the market? Right now, the only team that would take Ortiz are teams that are young and could use a veteran presence to help them develop, or possibly teams looking for a leader to take them over the top. The latter seems less likely, though, as he wouldn’t do much for them in terms of production with the way he’s been performing this season.

The other question is: What could we get in return? I don’t think we would get a lot, unless some team overpays for his reputation. That seems unlikely. Maybe we could a prospect or 2, but I don’t think teams would clear out their farm system or trade their star guy to get Ortiz at the moment with David on pace for career lows in average (.229), on base percentage (.313), and slugging (.408).

His best option would be retirement after this season. Don’t shoot me, Sox fans, but the hard truth of it is that Father Time has finally caught up to Big Papi. As I mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of his. I love what he did for us in helping the Sox win 3 rings, and I’ll always remember when he went on NESN and dropped the F-bomb after the Marathon bombings a couple of years ago, but I think it’s about time to let go. Maybe if he announced it soon, he’ll get a mini-farewell tour like a Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. At least it would fill seats up in a crummy season.

My Thoughts on the 2013 All-Star Game

all-star game

The All-Star game was pretty decent this year, and even better, because Robinson Cano got hit by a pitch and Dustin Pedroia got the go-ahead to play. It was great to see Pedey out there. I was so proud of him, my heart surged. He earned and deserved to be out there with this year’s other greats.

It was also great to see Cano hit by that pitch. There were the typical dramatics from the broadcasters— “Oh no, this could be bad. He’s being seen by the trainer. Nope he’s okay.” God bless the broadcasters, they can create a story line that rivals a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Still, it seems Matt Harvey didn’t help us out enough. We don’t want that juicehead Cano coming to Boston, but he is. (Speaking of Matt Harvey, great pitcher, why don’t we pick him up Mr. Cherrington?) Harvey needs to be a household name; he will not, if he remains a Met.

Yes, it was nice to see the respect paid to Mariano Rivera, but to say that he is the “greatest pitcher of all time,” I am not sure. He is the greatest closer of all time. Yes, I know semantics, but let’s look at this fact. Statistics are inflated because of limited innings he pitches. As I tweeted on Tuesday night, the best thing about Rivera is that he is a Metallica fan. To come out to “Enter Sandman” every night, definitely sets a certain psychological tone to the other team. He is a class act, and I guess, should be a hall-of-fame closer. Did they really have to give him a truck? Please! Yech!

And finally, the respect Joe Buck paid to Jim McCarver was a true tear-jerker. McCarver really got choked up when Buck told him his scorecard would be headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a real touching moment to end, a somewhat memorable, All-Star game.

“Sweet Caroline” Becomes Baseball’s Anthem Cross Country

Sweet Caroline

It was the year 2002 “Sweet Caroline” became the anthem as the bottom of the eighth inning approached for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park.  Ever since, it has played without hesitation at every Red Sox game.  It has become Boston’s anthem.  But it is now 2013 and tragedy has struck our beloved city. However, that just means stronger camaraderie as a city and as a country. This Tuesday proved just that when Neil Diamond entered the infield at Citi Field, in New York.  It was the bottom of the eighth at the 84th annual Midsummer Classic, the All-star game.  45,000 fans sprung up from their seats and sang along with Mr. Diamond as “Sweet Caroline” resonated the park. It must have been the largest sing-a-long to date.

Mariano Rivera


Called in during the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star Game, Mariano Rivera soaks up an ovation. He tossed a perfect inning and was named MVP in the AL’s win.

History was made not only as Neil Diamond entered the field,but also when Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect inning (ironically) at the bottom of the eighth. With only 16 pitches, Rivera retired the side for what would be his last inning in attendance at the All-Star game.  The 43 year old will be retiring after this season. With 638 career saves under his belt, it was only right to have a standing ovation as he approached the mound.   

As for the Red Sox, Clay Buccholz attended the game, but was unable to play due to shoulder soreness.  The DH for the American League was our beloved David Ortiz who went 0-2 as did Dustin Pedroia before he was replaced by the Indian’s, Jason Kipnis.

It was the tragedy that fell upon our city on April 15, 2013 that brought our nation together in every sports stadium.  I remember the Bruin’s shirt on the statue that stands before TD Bank that stood for the 11 year old boy killed in the bombing.  The Celtics also paid homage to the city as their season came to an end, and the Red Sox, of course, paid tribute in their own way.  Nobody will ever forget David Ortiz’ speech.  I don’t think I have to repeat it.  “Sweet Caroline” is not just the Red Sox’ anthem anymore, it’s our entire country’s.  Thank you Neil Diamond for being such a true patriot!

neil-diamond

(PHOTO:YouTubeClip)Neil Diamond at Fenway in Boston.