Quick Takes

          Please be advised that I have changed my website e-mail address. It is now: sportsjunkie@cox.net. Keep those e-mails comin', even the ones that disagree with me.

          Bellamy Road was horsing around last Saturday in Kentucky, but thatís what it took to get the Yankees on track; they were all afraid to face George when he returned from the Derby. But itís not gonna matter; when 2005 is history, the Yankees will again be a Bronx piece of tale. (I thought it was clever. Itís my website and Iíll write whatever I want.)

          My good friend, Stephen Murphy, sent me this. The ďQuote of the DayĒ on Bob Dunwoody.com of May 4. Per NHL legend, Stan Mikita: ďIf you play to win, as I do, the game never ends.Ē Thatís great! And if you remember Stan Mikita, as I do, you know how he played the game.

I had planned to eventually do a feature story on Lance Armstrong. I'll not be doing it because the June 2005 issue of Playboy did it for me. Itís a great interview along with all kinds of very interesting stats regarding his legendary accomplishments. You donít want to miss it. (P.S. When the subject for discussion is the greatest athlete of all time, best that due consideration be given Lance Armstrong!)

My hat is off to Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, for telling Terrell Owens to put his demands for a renegotiated contract where the sun doesnít shine. Owens just completed the first year of a seven-year Philly contract, and heís already determined he deserves more than $7 million a year. The pins in his leg should have been in his head.

Story of the Week

THE MYTH OF COOPERSTOWN

          Iím going to start this article with a couple of questions for you:

1.   Assuming a player played MLB for 17 years, had a lifetime batting average of just .260, hit just 138 career homers, had just 853 career RBIís (not a leadoff hitter), had a career slug percentage of just .367, had just 27 career stolen bases, and was a very good defensive second baseman with a career fielding average of .983, would you vote him into the Hall of Fame?

2.  If ďyesĒ to the above, shouldnít other players with better credentials be admitted into the Hall? After all, fair is fair! Right? Wrong!

 

The Hall-of-Famer who owns the above stats is Bill Mazeroski. Without spending weeks scrutinizing all members of the Hall to find a less deserving member, Iím satisfied to use Mazeroski as my example. The Pirates second baseman did one thing in his career that catapulted him into Cooperstown. On October 13, 1960, he hit the home run in the last half of the ninth inning that ended the seventh game of the World Series at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh to give the Pirates the Series victory over the Yankees. Thatís why Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame; that is the only reason why he was voted into the Hall! Yes, he was a very good defensive second baseman, but he certainly doesnít deserve to be there for that reason; he did not rewrite the description of his position defensively as did, for example, Ozzie Smith at shortstop.

There are many veteran players who are far more worthy of being in the Hall of Fame than Mazeroski. Those veteran players make it only by being voted into the Hall by the veterans committee. This year, the committee had 83 voting members. If you can believe this, three of them didn't even bother to vote for something so prestigious and important to so many people. That in itself is a Cooperstown travesty of justice.

 

The following is a list of the top 10 veteran vote-getters for possible entry into the Hall this summer. This list is in the order of their votes. In order to make the Hall, the veteran player must be on 75% of the ballots cast. This year, that number is 60 ballots of the 80 voting members. 

Ron Santo:          .277 ba with 342 homers, 1331 rbiís, .464 slg over 15 years.

Gil Hodges:         .273 ba with 370 homers, 1274 rbiís, .487 slg over 18 years.

Tony Oliva:         .304 ba with 220 homers, 947 rbiís, .478 slg over 15 years.

Jim Kaat:            898 games, 3.45 era, record of 283-237 over 25 years.

Joe Torre:          .297 ba with 252 homers, 1185 rbiís, .452 slg over 18 years.

Maury Wills:       .281 ba with 586 stolen bases over 14 years.

Vada Pinson:         .286 ba with 256 homers, 1170 rbiís, .442 slg over 18 years.

Luis Tiant:           573 games, 3.30 era, record of 229-172 over 19 years.

Roger Maris:        .260 ba with 275 homers, 851 rbiís, .476 slg over 12 years.

Marty Marion:     .263 ba with 36 homers, 624 rbiís, .345 slg over 13 years.

          Santo and Hodges were tied for the top spot with 52 votes, which means that no veteran will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer.

 

          The most glaring oversight is obviously Pete Rose, but he will receive no votes for entry until MLB makes him eligible for same. My position on that subject is quite clear as Iíve written about it enough. Pete Rose, the top hit-maker of all time, should be in the Hall of Fame!

          Roger Marisí lifetime batting average is the very same as that of Bill Mazeroski. Mazeroski hit one home run of major significance in his entire career. Maris hit 61 of them, each part of the requisite that broke Babe Ruthís record in 1961, an obviously major accomplishment that stood for 34 years, and heís not in the Hall. Incredible!  

          Marty Marion was a very good defensive shortstop and a mediocre hitter. He doesnít belong in the Hall any more than does Mazeroski. But he finished in 10th. place with 16 votes. That is amazing to me as I can name a list of several veteran players who are more deserving than both of them, but who did not finish in the top 10 this year. (Iíd love to be on the HOF veterans committee, and guess what------Iíd even take the time to vote!  To be sure, that would be a distinct honor.)

          All of this speaks to the myth of so-called excellence of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Last Weekís Trivia

          What single sports event leads in spectator attendance each year? Itís not even close; itís the Tour de France. The route is 2235 miles through five countries, and attracts millions of fans during the three-week event. For example, more than one million people were on hand for the 16 kilometer stretch run at Alp dí Huez alone. My thanks to my information source, Frankie Andreu, an expert on the subject, and his very responsive e-mail. His website is www.frankieandreu.com. (To know the Tour de France is to understand why Lance Armstrong deserves to be considered the greatest athlete of all time. Not exactly as simple as my biking around Henderson, NV. a couple of miles at a whack.)

Trivia Question of the Week

          The 1963 Dodgers swept the Yankees in the World Series using only four pitchers. Who were they? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.