03 1 / 2014

Moving this here so it won’t get lost on my Twitter feed.

10. Jay Bell 1999 baseball-reference.com/players/b/bell… a solid shortstop who hit 124 dingers in 12 years suddenly blasts 38 out of nowhere

9. Ken Caminiti 1996 baseball-reference.com/players/b/bell… Did so many steroids that he died and robbed Mike Piazza of his rightful MVP.

8. Esteban Loiaza 2003 baseball-reference.com/players/l/loai…. A career 69-73 with a 4.88 ERA pitcher suddenly leads the league in strikeouts.

7. Rich Aurilla 2001 baseball-reference.com/players/a/auri… outside of 2001 the man had a .740 OPS. Randomly hit 37 dingers and hit .326 that year

6. Brady Anderson 1996. baseball-reference.com/players/a/ande… Because he did a ton of roids he’s the only man with a 50 dinger season and a 50 steal season

5. Sammy Sosa 2001 baseball-reference.com/players/s/sosa… The man hit .328/.437/.737 and wasn’t anywhere near being the best player in baseball.

4. Luis Gonzalez 2001 baseball-reference.com/players/g/gonz… i.imgur.com/QBXFsfd.jpg

3. Eric Gagne 2003 baseball-reference.com/players/g/gagn… a decent pitching prospect suddenly becomes the most unhittable pitcher of all time

2. Brett Boone 2001. baseball-reference.com/players/b/boon… Boone increased his WAR by 8.6 from 2000 to 2001, the biggest jump ever

1. It’s a five way tie! Barry Bonds 2000-2004 baseball-reference.com/players/b/bond….Remember that Barry’s biggest detractors say he could have destroyed the game whenever he felt like it.

30 12 / 2013

Since I’m the sort of nerd that will spend weeks trying to put how bad Luis Cruz’s 2013 season was in context this challenge was exactly up my alley. It’s easy to make an obviously terrible ballot, but one that makes everyone mad is like a well played game of chess. Thought about it for a bit, and I came up with the recipe for the most aggravating ballot possible.

  • No one can agree with it. A blank ballot or just Jack Morris would piss off most people, but Murray Chass would read it with an approving head nod.
  • It can’t just be straight up bad. There’s a group of people (me) that would appreciate an Armando Benitez/Mike Timlin ballot.
  • Should be as hypocritical as possible. If two guys have similar cases, make sure to only include one of them. Arbitrarily decide what stats are and aren’t important.
  • Include as many hot button candidates as possible. This basically means Jack Morris plus a couple dudes that did a tremendous amount of roids
  • Have less than 10 guys. There are 12-16 obvious Hall of Famers on this ballot, make sure you miss most of them.

So with that in mind, I came up with the six names (and one bonus!) that can come together to piss everyone off.

Roger Clemens, but not Barry Bonds - If you try hard enough you can find a reason to disqualify almost any Hall of Fame candidate. Mike Piazza had terrible defense and his numbers wouldn’t get him in if he wasn’t a catcher. Jeff Bagwell has only 447 home runs. Name one single memorable thing Mike Mussina has done, etc. However, there’s absolutely no quantifiable argument against Clemens or Bonds, the only way you can leave either of them out is if you refuse to vote any roiders, so let’s only put one of them in.

An easy check mark. I don’t care how many steroids Clemens did he’s still one of the five best pitchers of all time. You can’t ignore greatness like that.

Tom Glavine, but not Greg Maddux - Tom Glavine is a no doubt Hall of Famer that pitched on the same team as a guy that was way better than him. Make it clear we acknowledge the 90s Braves, but find some absurd reason to only stick with Glavine.

300 game winner, did his best work in the heart of the steroid era and just a guy you could count on for 220 good innings year in year out. Some will say that Greg Maddux was the best pitcher of the 90’s Braves but let me ask you this: who did Bobby Cox send out there to clinch the Braves only World Series win? Glavine was the guy you knew would get it done and he didn’t need his own personal catcher to do it like certain other Braves.

Jack Morris - If you’re reading this you’ve heard the arguments for Morris a million times that ultimately come down to “he threw a lot of innings, pitched a really good game in the World Series”. To Morris’ credit, he wouldn’t be the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame, he would be like, the third worst. A Morris vote has made people angry for years so let’s keep that party going.

First name I selected. Best pitcher of the 80s, amazing clutch performer, enough said.

Lee Smith - Lee Smith’s entire case rests on being the first guy to be used as a closer for most of his career. His entire argument rests around career saves and his total looks less and less impressive every year. It’s really hard to argue Smith had a more impressive career than say, Troy Percival. A perfect way to burn a vote on a stacked ballot. Plus you get bonus subtle hypocrisy by celebrating the former saves leader will ignoring the current home run leader.

You just can’t ignore the career leader in a major stat. Sure Smith has seen his record get passed by a couple guys since he’s on the shelf, but you have to put his career in the context of his era.

Sammy Sosa, and no other guys that have even the mildest rumors of steroids - Sosa is one of the worst of the major steroids era candidates, his entire case is “hit a lot of home runs in five years” and historically something like that isn’t enough. Not only did Sammy do tremendous amounts of steroids he also got caught with a corked bat to really hammer home that we don’t care about roids or cheating. If any one choice can piss anyone off, it’s this one.

The most exciting offensive player of the steroid era, bar none. Sure Mark McGwire “won” the home run chase, but Sosa’s MVP award shows we all knew who the real winner was. As a follow up performance, all he did was hit more home runs over a five year stretch than anyone in history. Slammin Sammy saved baseball, and I’m not supposed to put him in the Hall of Fame? Right…..

A totally off the wall choice like Paul LoDuca - To top things off, throw in a guy that no one would possibly vote for.

A hell of a story, a hell of a player, and a class act to boot. At 28 years old he was nothing but a career minor leaguer with a dream. But one year later, all his hard work paid off, he was named starting catcher of the Dodgers and he rewarded them with one of the best seasons for a catcher ever. If you need any evidence that he meant more to his team than any other player in baseball look at how badly the Dodgers fell apart after they traded him to the Marlins. But he never let success get to his head, after a late night in the clubhouse, Paulie held the elevator open for me on his way out. Pure class.

Write In Pete Rose (as suggested by Justin Drummond) - We can throw away a vote and show we have no concept of baseball history! Plus more fun Bonds hypocrisy.

How can baseball’s all time hits leader be out of the Hall of Fame? Pete was just trying to help his team win and if that’s a crime, then lock me up and throw away the key.

Questions, comments, suggestions? E-mail bbwaa@aol.com

06 5 / 2013

Historic levels of awfulness have always fascinated me, so Luis Cruz’s start to 2013 has been totally amazing other than the fact that he’s causing my team to self destruct. As of this writing he’s had 70 PA and is hitting .091/.116/.091 with no unintentional walks or extra base hits. Cruz’s awful start has inspired me to start finding other historic streaks of ineptitude.

As far as I can tell, this is the worst start to a season in history. No one has ever had numbers like Cruz’s has appear on a scoreboard and been allowed to do a job other than pinch running. 

What’s harder to find is stretches like this in the middle of the season where a season’s worth of numbers can mask a horrible cold streak. Streaks like this have happened before, even to Hall of Famers. In July of 1986 Carlton Fisk hit .082/.100/.082 and stayed in the league for seven years after that.

Since these massive cold streaks can be so hidden I want to try to unearth the worst stretch of baseball in history and see if Luis Cruz can beat that. 

My current gold standards of horrible:

Doug Clemens for the 1965 Cubs August 5th-October 3rd: 79 PA .056/.139/.056

Mark Belanger for the 1967 Orioles July 30th-September 26th: 91 PA .072/.125/.072

Bob Lillis for the 1963 Colt 45s June 28th-August 10th: 134 PA: .147/.167/.147 (longest stretch I can find with no unintentional walks or extra base hits)

Tommy Thevenow for the 1931 Pirates April 14th-June 27th 150 PA: .101/.155/.101

If you can find anything worse than this please, let me know, and let’s see if Luis can enter baseball immortality.

31 1 / 2013

Only have 45 seconds to get ready for the 2013 MLB season? Then this is the preview for you.

NL WEST

Dodgers – The most expensive team ever has a good shot at a wild card spot

Giants – Some very good players, and some very crappy ones that’ll probably have career years and make me hate everything.

Diamondbacks – Kevin Towers sold his soul for a donut.

Padres – Eric Stults is their ace and Chase Headley probably isn’t the best player in baseball

Rockies – I’ve wrapped up CarGo and Tulo forever, goin’ on break for the next five years

NL CENTRAL

Reds – One of the best teams in the NL adds elite outfielder.

Cardinals – Really unfair when a team that’s already good can add three top prospects to their roster

Brewers – An 83 win team comes back missing two of their three best starters

Pirates – Pitching staff is a wreck, let’s fix it by signing a guy that’s been worse than Luke Hochevar the last two years

Cubs – Well on their way to becoming a good team in 2016

NL EAST

Nats – A really good team (will have the exact same review in three years)

Braves – Bloo bloo bloo my team traded Martin Prado for Justin Upton – Braves fan

Phillies – Will have five sub replacement players in their lineup at least once this year and will still win 80 games thanks to their pitching

Mets – Accomplishments: Re-signed David Wright, tried to convince people 11 is less than 10.

Marlins – Most popular Marlins in 2012: Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff Conine, The Dinger Machine

AL WEST

Angels – “Look how weak the Angels rotation is” he says as they win 7-5

Texas – Sure we lost our best player to our big rival, our ace is Matt Harrison and we missed every player we targeted, but we got AJ Pierzynski!

Athletics – Not having an infield is the new market inefficiency

Mariners – LOL Jack Z

Astros – If you aren’t hyped about this team making a run at 40 wins I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

AL CENTRAL

Tigers – Gave 2000 plate appearances to horribly bad players in 2012, they’re all gone now

White Sox – A good rotation surrounded by a lot of guys that have contended for worst player in baseball recently

Royals – If all of their hitters progress and James Shields pitches like he did in 2011 they just might make a run at .500.

Indians – We don’t got pitchers and we don’t got Choo but we got Swish and he’s the ish.

Twins – Signed Kevin Correia looks like six more weeks of winter

AL EAST

Blue Jays – Let’s sell everything to become a contender but still play Adam Lind at 1st

Yankees – Hahahaha Yankees oh wait they’re still above average almost everywhere

Rays – Is making James Loney your 4th best hitter part of the extra 2%, or is it a 98% kind of thing

Red Sox – This is what rebuilding with a 160 million dollar payroll looks like

Orioles – Orioles magic is sustainable, right?