The Trade for Mickey Cochrane

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In the 1930’s Philadelphia A’s manager/owner Connie Mack made some moves that would probably make Wayne Huizenga blush. As the Great Depression took its toll on the nation it also sent Mack and the A’s into financial dire straits. Starting with the 1932 sale of Al Simmons (along with Mule Hass and Jimmy Dykes) to the Chicago White Sox for $100,000, Mack proceeded to trade three other future Hall of Famers over the next five seasons. On December 12th, 1933, he sent Lefty Grove to the Boston Red Sox and in 1935 Jimmie Foxx followed him. On that same day in 1933, Mack also traded catcher Mickey Cochrane to the Tigers in exchange for catcher Johnny Pasek and $100,000.

Cochrane had spent nine seasons with Philadelphia. He was the American League MVP in 1928 and helped the club make it to three World Series (winning in 1929 and 1930). When he joined the Tigers his leadership skills were put to the test as he became player-manager of the club. This move proved exceptional as the Tigers won the American League by seven games over the New York Yankees, but lost in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Cochrane somehow won the American League MVP in 1934 beating out Lou Gehrig who won the Triple Crown (Gehrig finished fifth). In 1935, Cochrane led the Tigers to their first World Series championship, and even scored the series winning run in game six over the Chicago Cubs.

Cochrane quickly gained popularity among Tigers fans, but the good times were behind him after those first two seasons. In 1936, Cochrane suffered a nervous breakdown, and Del Baker managed the team for 34 games. In 1937, he was beaned by Yankees pitcher Bump Hadley. He nearly died, and while he made it back to the dugout he never played on the field again. Cochrane eventually was fired during the 1938 season after several disputes with management, and replaced by Baker who managed the club until 1942.

Only spending four seasons in Detroit, Cochrane was popular enough to have National Avenue renamed Cochrane Street. In 1969, he was selected by Tigers fans as the greatest Tigers catcher ever. He was honored with other Tigers Hall of Famers during a ceremony in 2000 at Comerica Park. His number 3 was not retired during this ceremony, but many modern-day Tigers fans would argue that shortstop Alan Trammell (who wore 3 from 1977-96) is more deserving of that honor.

Cochrane was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1947, and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1957. Cochrane was later a scout and vice-president of the Tigers before dying of cancer in 1962.

Benfitting from the financial needs of the A’s, the Tigers grabbed the fire that was needed to lead the club to their first World Series. Unfortunately, medical issues, a near-death experience and a tempermental owner in Walter Briggs possibly kept Cochrane and the Tigers from achieving more. Over the past 40 years Cochrane catchers like Bill Freehan, Lance Parrish and Pudge Rodriguez have come and gone, but Cochrane’s name is still regarded by many as the greatest behind the plate for the Tigers ever.

The Tigers Career of Mel Rojas

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With our inaugural edition of Tigers birthdays I will be looking into the brief Tigers career of pitcher Mel Rojas (born December 10th, 1966). Rojas’ time with the club lasted 26 days during the 1999 season, and included one of the worst pitching performances of all-time.

April 16th, 1999
Rojas is traded with fellow pitcher Dave Mlicki from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Tigers in exchange for minor leaguers Robinson Checo, Aposto Garcia and Richard Roberts. Checo pitches in nine games for the Dodgers in 1999, his final big league season. Garcia and Roberts never make it past AA. Mlicki pitches three more seasons with the Tigers and Houston Astros never having an ERA under 4.50.

April 18th, 1999
With the Tigers leading the New York Yankees 3-1, Rojas enters the top of the sixth relieving C.J. Nitkowski. He gets Shane Spencer to fly-out ending the inning with one pitch. He returns in the seventh, and after giving up a lead-off double to Joe Girardi retires the next three batters.
Rojas’ Tigers ERA: 0.00

April 23rd, 1999
Rojas enters the seventh inning with the Tigers losing 5-0 to the Chicago White Sox. He pitches 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out two batters. The Tigers drop to 7-9 on the season with Willie Blair picking up his second loss.
Rojas’ Tigers ERA: 0.00

April 26th, 1999
With the Tigers leading 7-0, Rojas pitches the bottom of the ninth inning against Seattle. He begins the inning by striking out David Segui and Russ Davis. The Mariners are finished off when Rojas gets catcher Tom Lampkin to ground-out to end the game. Brian Moehler picks up his third win and the Tigers are 9-10.
Rojas’ Tigers ERA: 0.00

April 29th, 1999
In the final game of a four game series in Seattle, Rojas relieves Nitkowski in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and the Tigers leading 6-3. He hits Russ Davis with the first pitch he throws, gets Tom Lampkin to flyout before giving up two singles, a walk and finally a grand slam to Ken Griffey Jr. He gets Edgar Martinez to flyout to finish the fifth inning, the Tigers are losing 12-6. Manager Larry Parrish elects to let Rojas pitch the sixth. The Mariners send nine batters to the plate, and Rojas serves up four hits including back-to-back home runs to David Bell and Griffey Jr before striking out Martinez. The Tigers are now losing 18-6, and would end up losing the game 22-6. Rojas throws 41 pitches in 1 2/3 for 11 earned runs, three home runs, two hit batters and eight hits. Sports Illustrated lists this pitching performance as the fourth worst of the last fifty years.
Rojas’ Tigers ERA: 17.47

May 3rd, 1999
Rojas replaces Blair in the bottom of the third inning against Tampa Bay, with the score tied at six with runners on second and third. A fielder’s choice and single lead to two Devil Rays runs and an 8-6 lead. Rojas returns in the bottom of the fourth, and puts together this amazing string of plays: a walk to Fred McGriff, a hit batter in John Flaherty, a single for Wade Boggs (scoring McGriff), a double to Paul Sorrento (scoring Flaherty) and finally a walk to David Lamb. He leaves the game with the Devil Rays leading 10-6, replaced by Sean Runyan. Runyan gives up four more runs in the inning and the Tigers eventually lose 14-6. Blair is 0-4 and the Tigers drop to 12-14.
Rojas’ Tigers ERA: 22.74

Rojas does not throw another pitch for the Tigers. He is released on May 12th, and signs with the Montreal Expos five days later. His second stint with the Expos (his first was 1990-96) lasts a little over a month, and he is released again on July 3rd. Rojas never pitches in the majors again.

Other Notable December Birthdays
December 6th: Gary Ward (1953)
December 15th: Jim Leyland (1944)
December 18th: Ty Cobb (1886)
December 19th: Al Kaline (1934)
December 23rd: Victor Martinez (1978)
December 25th: Gene Lamont (1946)
December 27th: Rick Porcello (1988)

Changes On the Way

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It has been nearly eight months since I posted here at Ground Rule Double. I had a busy year with a baby, a new house and transistioning careers. Anyway I am posting again to inform those of you who will read this that Ground Rule Double will be veering away from baseball as a whole, and will become a primarily Detroit Tigers-centric blog.

I attended my first Tigers game when I was six in 1984. It was against the Baltimore Orioles and the pitching match-up was Jack Morris versus Storm Davis. The Tigers actually lost that game, but the memory is still cemented in my brain. I love baseball, but I think I love the Detroit Tigers more.

That said I have made the decision to focus on the Tigers in the hopes that I can post more frequently. My goal is to have a couple of posts a week until the season starts, and then we will just go with the flow. This might be wishful thinking, but it is the goal I am setting for myself.

One other aspect that I am hoping to add to Ground Rule Double is a more social or pop culture look at Tigers baseball. I am a pop culture junkie, so I looking to write about things outside of the normal day-to-day dealings of the club. This could include book reviews, movie reviews, or just a funny breakdown of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker’s appearance on Magnum P.I. I get bored with post after post of stats and player analysis, and I figure you might as well.

Thanks for reading and please return soon.

2011 Season Preview: American League West

This division is a two-horse race between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. Oakland and Seattle will have far too much trouble scoring runs to win this season.

Los Angeles Angels 89-73
The addition of Vernon Wells and the return of Kendry Morales should provide enough pop to lead the Angels to the AL West crown. The starting rotation is solid, and the club still has the genius of Mike Scioscia on the bench. Look for the Angels to make a deal or two to strengthen the lineup.

Texas Rangers 86-76
The loss of Cliff Lee and Vladimir Guerrero will be huge for the Rangers this season, and if you add the Michael Young trade drama things are not looking good for the Rangers. Even with Lee gone the Rangers have a good rotation, but is it good enough to win consistently? The Rangers should be able to score runs, and if the rotation and bullpen duplicate last season the Rangers will be in it until the end of the season.

Oakland A’s 76-86
The A’s are hoping that the additions of Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham will be enough to score more runs, and help a decent pitching staff win baseball games. Without an ace in the rotation or a reliable hitter in the lineup it will be another long season for the A’s.

Seattle Mariners 70-92
Poor Felix Hernandez. If he played anywhere else but Seattle he might be considered the best pitcher in baseball. Last season he won the Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record. 13-12! Of course he also had a 2.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 232 K’s. The problem with the Mariners is scoring runs. They ranked last in seven offensive categories, and they are banking on Jack Cust and Miguel Olivo to help them out. Those two will not be enough, and the Mariners could be on their way to another 100-loss season.

AL West MVP Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas
AL West Cy Young Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle
Al West ROY: Hank Conger, C, Los Angeles

2011 Season Preview: National League West

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It will be interesting to see if the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies have enough to take this division title away from the defending World Series champions.

San Francisco Giants 91-71
For all the talk that Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will receive in Philadelphia we should not ignore the potent 1-2 punch the Giants have with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Lincecum and Cain were a combined 6-1 in the postseason with a 1.55 ERA in 8 starts. The rotation does not drop off much after those two, and having Brian Wilson closing games will make it tough to score runs on the Giants. Of course the Giants will have trouble scoring runs themselves, but the pitching alone will guide them into the playoffs.

Colorado Rockies 87-75
The Rockies finished last season 1-13 to finish nine games out of first after being within a game in mid-September. Even with the collapse the Rockies did little this off-season to shake things up, and instead decided to stick with a team and manager that got them into the 2009 playoffs. They have the offense and starting pitching to contend for most of the season, but a shaky bullpen could be the Rockies downfall this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers 81-81
The beginning of the Don Mattingly era in Los Angeles will get off to a mediocre start. Even with Manny Ramirez gone, and Clayton Kershaw on the mound the Dodgers will still have trouble winning games. Some big off-season moves to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda and sign Ted Lilly will need to pay-off for the Dodgers to win this title or make the playoffs. It does not help that the messy divorce proceedings of owner Frank McCourt have put some limitations on spending for the club.

San Diego Padres 72-90
Last season the Padres hung around the top of the division for longer than anyone expected. This season the Padres will come back to earth. The trade of slugger Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, and the free agent losses of Jon Garland and Kevin Correia will definitely make 2011 a tough season in San Diego. The offense struggled last season with Gonzalez and does not have anyone on the roster this season that hit over .288 or 13 home runs in 2010.

Arizona Diamondbacks 62-100
In full disclosure Kirk Gibson was my favorite player growing up, so it pains me to place the Diamondbacks in last place. Gibson’s first full season with Arizona is going to be a long one. The big off-season addition for this club was reliever JJ Putz who is probably past his prime, but the Diamonbacks are hoping he can resurrect his career. The rotation is weak and so is the offense. In fact, the bench might have more firepower on it than the roster with Don Baylor, Matt Williams, Alan Trammell and Gibson all on the coaching staff.

NL West MVP: Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco
NL West Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco
NL West ROY: Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco

2011 Season Preview: American League Central

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The American League Central has had some close races over the past few seasons, and this season should be no different.

Chicago White Sox 91-71
The White Sox made two big moves during the off-season, re-signing Paul Konerko and signing Adam Dunn, both moves will give the White Sox a very potent offense this season. With a solid bullpen the question mark for this club will be the starting pitching. Mark Buehrle had a down season in 2010 and Jake Peavy is starting the season on the disabled list. If the starters struggle another team will pounce on the White Sox.

Minnesota Twins 88-74
It seems like every season their are doubts about the Twins, and every season the make a run at the playoffs. This season should be a lot of the same. The Twins still won the Central last season without closer Joe Nathan and slugger Justin Morneau missed three months. With both back, and virtually the same team from last season, the Twins will be battling for first place all season.

Detroit Tigers 80-82
On paper the Tigers are a very good team. They have superstar Miguel Cabrera, an ace pitcher in Justin Verlander and a solid bullpen. Unfortunately, the Tigers also have big question marks in their starting rotation after Verlander and Max Scherzer, a weak defense and a history of folding late in the season. This team could win the division, but another .500 season is more likely.

Cleveland Indians 70-92
There is a big drop off from the third place team in the Central, and fourth place. The only bright spot for the Indians is the emergence of Shin-Soo Choo. A big arm and great bat will make Choo a hot commodity at the trading deadline. It could be a few season before the Tribe is even close to contending again.

Kansas City Royals 64-98
The Royals have an outside shot at not finishing last this season. They have some good young talent in Billy Butler, Mike Aviles and Joakim Soria, but they also have a piecemeal starting rotation. If there is a silver lining to this club is the fact that the Royals do have some prospects that should get some big league time now in hopes of winning later.

AL Central MVP : Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit
AL Central Cy Young : Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit
Al Central ROY: Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City

Next: The National League West

2011 Season Preview: National League Central

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The National League Central race should be an interesting one all summer long. The only team that has absolutely no shot at the Central title is the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cincinnati Reds 94-68
The Reds are the defending Central champs, have the reigning NL MVP in Joey Votto, a solid young rotation and manager Dusty Baker. All this adds up to back-to-back division titles for the Reds. The offense should have no problems producing runs, and if Aroldis Chapman emerges as a reliable starter the Reds may run away with first place.

Milwaukee Brewers 85-77
The Brewers made the most changes in the off-season, and they had to after a disappointing 2010 campaign. Manager Ken Macha was replaced with rookie manager Ron Roenicke, and general manager Doug Melvin traded for pitchers Zach Greinke and Shawn Marcum. The potential loss of Prince Fielder at the end of the season to free agency gives this team a sense of urgency. If Greinke rebounds from a dismal 2010 season, the Brewers have a chance to make the pennant race a close one.

St. Louis Cardinals 81-81
The loss of pitcher Adam Wainwright (who had Tommy John surgery in February) added to a painful winter for Cardinals fans as the team was unable to re-sign the league’s best player Albert Pujols to a contract extension. The team still has the bats of Pujols, Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus, the managerial wisdom of Tony LaRussa, and Chris Carpenter in their dugout. The distraction of Pujols and the loss of Wainwright will be too much for this team to overcome.

Chicago Cubs 80-82
The Cubs finished the 2010 season nicely (24-13) once Mike Quade took over when Lou Pinella stepped down. The rotation is a big question mark, but can be effective when Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are pitching well. The offense added Carlos Pena, and while he adds a left-handed bat he also adds age to an already aging line-up. If Zambrano melts down it could be a very long season on the north side of Chicago.

Houston Astros 76-86
The Astros did almost nothing this off-season, and for a team that could have used help that means another sub-.500 season in Houston. Outfielder Hunter Pence should have another good season, but Carlos Lee will continue to make Astros fans wonder why management gave him so much money. The entire pitching staff is questionable, but could see nice seasons from Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. It may take the sale of the team to bring changes in Houston.

Pittsburgh Pirates 60-102
The Pirates are essentially an AAAA team. Their biggest move was hiring former Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle to steer the ailing team to another 100-loss season. As long as team ownership continues to worry more about revenue sharing than winning baseball games the Pirates will continue to have triple digit loss seasons.

NL Central MVP: Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis
NL Central Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee
NL Central ROY: Aroldis Chapman, P, Cincinnati

2011 Season Preview: American League East

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The American League should be a two team race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Look for a good season from the Toronto Blue Jays, and a return to bottom dwelling for the Tampa Bay Rays.

New York Yankees 98-64
They did not land Cliff Lee, or any major free agent during the off season. The Yankees still have Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeria in the line-up, and should score runs in bunches. The starting rotation is solid with ace C.C. Sabathia the anchor and Phil Hughes coming off his best season in the majors. If A.J. Burnett figures things out, and the front office makes a move this season the Yankees could be playing in the World Series.

Boston Red Sox 97-65
The Red Sox will have to rely on their line-up to win games for them this season, and the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez should ease doubts in Boston. If Josh Beckett returns to form the Red Sox will have one of the best rotations in baseball. Worries about Jonathan Papelbon and the rest of the bullpen could derail championship hopes. It should be a dog fight between the Red Sox and Yankees for the American League East title.

Toronto Blue Jays 89-73
Poor Toronto. They could contend in almost any division in baseball this season, but will end up finishing third and out of the playoffs. They may not have the offense of New York or Boston, but they have a rotation that is close to the division leaders. Toronto does have some star players, and a couple prospects that could make the Blue Jays a contender in a couple seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays 81-81
The list of players moving out of Tampa Bay is long. The bullpen was decimated, the team traded a proven starter in Matt Garza and Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena left in free agency. Evan Longoria and David Price are still in Tampa Bay, but it will be a long season at Tropicana Field. Which will give Tampa Bay “fans” another reason to not attend any games.

Baltimore Orioles 74-88
In July of last season Buck Showalter was named the manager of the Orioles and the team responded by finishing the season 57-34. That is an incredible feat with the roster that was in Baltimore. The team added some veteran bats this off-season and are hoping the youngsters can make progress at the plate and on the mound. Baltimore will be an interesting young team to watch this season, and could be a surprise.

AL East MVP: Carl Crawford, OF, Boston
AL East Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia, SP, New York
AL East ROY: Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto

Next: The National League Central

2011 Season Preview: National League East

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The National League East appears on paper to be a runaway win for the Philadelphia Phillies. The only team that could challenge the Phillies would be the Atlanta Braves, but the arms in Philly should be enough to overcome the Braves.

Philadelphia Phillies 101-61
Boasting a starting rotation that could end up being one of the greatest of all-time nothing short of a World Series championship is the goal for the Phillies. With the only major loss being the bat of Jayson Werth, to the Washington Nationals, the offense will use the crutch of its starting pitching if age becomes a problem. The bullpen could become an issue for the Phillies especially if the health of Brad Lidge does not improve.

Atlanta Braves 90-72
The Bobby Cox era is officially over in Atlanta with Fredi Gonzalez taking over the reins this season. Gonzalez inherits the National League Wild Card winners from last season, and a team with a good mix of veterans and newcomers. Expect a big season from Jason Heyward and a possible Rookie of the Year run from first baseman Freddie Freeman. This team has a shot to win the Wild Card again in 2011.

New York Mets 75-87
A new manager in Terry Collins, a new general manager in Sandy Alderson and Bernie Madoff. Nothing seems to come easy for the team from Flushing, New York. The Mets were one of only three teams to lose money last season (along with Detroit and Boston), and it is Alderson’s job to clean this team up and save money. With huge contracts still on the books for some aging and injured players (Johan Santana, David Wright, Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez) it may be a few seasons before the Mets contend in the East.

Florida Marlins 73-89
Next season the Marlins move into a brand new stadium with a retractable roof and 30,000 less seats. Unfortunately that is next season. This season should be much of the same for the Marlins. Playing in front of less than 10,000 fans, flirting with the Wild Card and dealing with their at-times troubled star Hanley Ramirez. If Ramirez and ace Josh Johnson put together big seasons the Marlins have a shot at .500 or over by the end of their time at Sun Life Stadium.

Washington Nationals 65-97
The Nationals shocked quite a few people around baseball when they signed Jayson Werth for seven years and $126 million this past off-season. By the end of the season Werth might be shocked as well. The Nationals do have Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but neither should be in the capital before the end of this season, and quite possibly not until next season. We will have to wait to see what the impact of the Nyjer Morgan trade will be, but it will not matter as the Nationals will struggle to win 70 games this season.

NL East MVP: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida
NL East Cy Young: Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia
NL East ROY: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta

Up Next: The American League East

My Hall of Famers

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Obviously I do not carry a Hall of Fame vote, but that does not mean I do not have opinions on the matter. Here are the five players that I consider worthy of induction in Cooperstown:

Bert Blyleven
He was five votes shy of induction last year with 74% of the vote (75% is needed for induction). He has 287 wins, and almost as many losses, but Blyleven played on some very mediocre teams. One could also argue that he played poorly when he was on good teams (he won 44 games in 105 starts in his three seasons with Pittsburgh 1978-80). He does have some interesting lifetime statistics: 3,701 strikeouts (fifth all-time), 60 shutouts (ninth all-time) and was on two World Series champions (1979 Pirates and 1987 Minnesota Twins). He was also a vocal critic of his own teams and was traded five times in his career. This all adds up to making Blyleven wait for his induction into Cooperstown until now.

Roberto Alomar
Spit on an umpire once and you have to wait a year before induction. Alomar was eight votes shy last year, but should walk into Cooperstown easily the second time around. Alomar was the best second baseman of the 1990s. He won 10 Gold Gloves, was a lifetime .300 hitter, a 12-time All-Star and won two World Series championships with the Toronto Blue Jays. The only thing that may hold him back this year would be a messy public divorce along with allegations that Alomar is HIV-positive and did not tell his wife or former girlfriends.

Jack Morris
If Morris was a nicer guy he would probably already have a plaque in Cooperstown. Possibly the best pitcher of the 1980s. Morris had 254 wins in 18 seasons, a somewhat inflated ERA of 3.90 and won four World Series championships (1984 Detroit Tigers, 1991 Minnesota Twins, 1992-93 Toronto Blue Jays). Also, Morris had arguably the greatest World Series pitching performance since Don Larsen, a 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Alan Trammell
Trammell’s numbers are slightly above average, maybe even just average. A lifetime .285 hitter, four Gold Gloves, six All-Star appearances and one World Series championship with the 1984 Tigers. What makes Trammell’s case for induction stronger is the inclusion of Ozzie Smith into the Hall of Fame in 2002. Smith was a lifetime .262 hitter, won 13 Gold Gloves, had 15 All-Star appearance and won one World Series with the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals. Trammell had to contend with the likes of Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken Jr., and Robin Yount for American League shortstop awards in the 1980s. Smith had to compete with Barry Larkin after 1986, and you could probably make the case that Larkin was a better shortstop than Smith. Trammell is one of those above average players that should be in based on who is already in.

Jeff Bagwell
This is Bagwell’s first-time on the ballot, and he should not have to wait for his plaque. Bagwell hit 449 home runs, batted .297, won the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year, the 1994 NL MVP, was a four-time All-Star and won one Gold Glove. He also averaged 100 RBIs and runs a season. He did all this playing for the Houston Astros. Easily during the greatest period of that franchise’s existence, but it was still in Houston and not Boston or New York.

There are a couple of players who fall just short for me. Barry Larkin was just as good, if not better, than Ozzie Smith, and falls into the same criteria as Trammell. If Trammell gets in then Larkin deserves a closer look. Edgar Martinez was a lifetime .312 hitter with 309 home runs, in a different era Martinez would probably be first ballot material. The same argument could probably be made for Larry Walker. Walker also would have gained my vote if he was just as good a player before he went to Colorado.

I still have problems with the performance enhancing drug players. That is why it will be some time before I am OK with players like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero gaining induction. McGwire’s admission of using PEDs is a step in the right direction, Palmiero’s steadfast denial is a step backward. In the coming years as more and more players from that era fill the ballot it will only be a matter of time before one of them gains enough votes for induction.

Lastly, here are the players that should earn zero votes: Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson and Kirk Rueter. Seriously, how do these guys end up on the ballot? Though I do have to admit as a life-long Tigers fan that Higginson had some great seasons here.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be announced at 2pm on January 5th. They will join former Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, who was voted in by the Veterans Committee.

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