December 3, 2008

MOnster (Jim) EDitions

Hall of Fame balloting for the Class of 2009 includes first timer Mo "Hit Dawg" Vaughn and once again the one the only Jim Rice. Honestly I don't see why both don't get the nod this year. Maybe I'm a little biased being a Sox fan, but you have two MVP caliber hitters (Rice '78 & Vaughn '95) who undoubtedly were top 5 players of their generations.

The 8x All-Star Rice has been held out of the Hall, some say, due to his rocky relations with reporters during his playing days. He has never apologized for his actions and certainly won't make any excuses for being a cocky S.O.B., that's what makes Jim Ed Jim Ed. You have to wonder if Vaughn's steroid use late in his career is going to hurt him when it comes time to vote. There is however no evidence that Vaughn was juicing during his prime years with the Sox and that may benefit him unlike Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire.
Both men are the prototypical power hitters. The guys who are there to clean up the base paths with just one swing. If you look at their numbers it is hard to deny their contributions to the Red Sox and Major League Baseball.

Rice's Career Numbers: .298 BA, 382 HR's, 1,451 RBI's, 1978 MVP, 8x All-Star
Interesting Stat: Rice remains the only player ever to lead his league, and Major League Baseball in triples, home runs, and RBIs in the same season 1978.
Hall O' Fame Worthy Stat: Only nine other retired ballplayers rank ahead of him in both career home runs and batting average. They are: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams.

Vaughn's Career Numbers: .293 BA, 328 HR's, 1,064 RBI's 1995 MVP, 3x All-Star
Interesting Stat: Hit one of the most prodigious home runs in Shea Stadium history (in the middle of the "Bud" Sign on the monstrous Shea scoreboard)
Hall O' Fame Worth Stat: One of less than 260 Major Leaguers to have over 1000 career rbi's. Ranks 91st on All-Time HR list.

It looks like Jim Ed might finally get in for his contributions in 2009 with over 70% of the vote in the 2008 balloting. If someone like Don Mattingly gets in over Rice this year it will prove that the voters are being subjective and holding a mans personal short comings in higher esteem then his on-field achievements, which is wrong on so many levels. I don't see how a bunch of writers get the say on it anyhow when most have never tried to hit a 90 mph fastball. I probably can see Mo getting passed over due to the stigma of the steroid era and his penchant for late night strip club runs. The Hit Dawg has been very charitable in his time away from the game (not just to single mommas trying to earn a buck) and owns a number of inner city buildings in New York and that should reflect well on his chances down the road. Hopefully for both these feared sluggers the Hall is only a call away. I know I'll always remember the Mo Vaughn era it was the begining of the prime of my Red Sox fanhood.

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Teddy Ballgame

Teddy Ballgame
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