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Mailbag - Smoltz, Rice, Bagwell, & Wrigley

August 10, 2007

Dear BE:

Great site, I'm only just now finding it.

On your Tigers team page, Denny McLain is missing from a few lists on the right hand side of the page.

Cy Young winners: Won in 1968, 69 (shared)
MVP: 1968
Under 2.00 ERA: 1.96 in 1968.

Side comment, Tigers "Worst trade." Several ways to look at trades, lots of room for debate, but I'm one who believes you don't judge a trade by what the player who you trade away then goes on to do in his career. He's gone, done, invisible. The question is always, what was his value at the moment the trade was made? 1987, the Tigers are in a hot race for the division title, and they get Doyle Alexander in mid August, and he was not exactly anybody's idea of an impact pitcher by that point in his career, 36 years old. He goes 9-0 for Detroit down the stretch run, 1.56 ERA, just about single-handedly wins the division for the Tigers. Meanwhile John Smoltz was a peachfuzz A-ball prospect, drafted 22nd round, who nobody, including the Braves, could have sanely predicted would become who he did. It was an outstanding trade by Detroit (and astonishing dumb luck for the Braves) -- the Tigers got exactly what they needed for next to nothing.

Mike Dooley


Thanks so much for the email. Denny McLain was a huge oversight, one for which there is no excuse. Absurd of us it was to forget to include him. The situation has been rectified.

Who do think deserves the MVP this season? I sense that it will go to A-Rod (and probably should) but I think in many ways Magglio Ordonez makes a better candidate than Rodriguez.

I only ask because I only just realized that the Tigers last four AL MVP winners have been pitchers - Hernandez 84, McLain 68, and Newhouser 44 and 45. That is shocking considering the infrequency with which pitchers win MVPs.

As for your take on trades, I must respectfully disagree. I'll first say that your point about the Smoltz trade is right on - who knows if Smoltz would have even been successful with the Tigers. The Tigers got a guy who had been terrible for the better part of two years, and all he does is go out and have the best run of his career and take the Tigers to the playoffs.

At the same time, I wouldn't make this a broadly applicable principle. If you only judge a trade by value at the moment, then giving up prospects for a big star would always favor the team that got the big star, and sometimes these are just dumb moves.

Take the Jeff Bagwell Larry Anderson trade of 1990 for example - Larry Anderson went 22 innings down the stretch for the Red Sox with 25 K, 3 BB, and a 1.23 ERA and subsequently left via free agency, while Jeff Bagwell became a Hall of Famer over the next fourteen years for the Astros. But by your logic, the trade favored the Red Sox, because of Anderson's 22 innings. While that was certainly a good pickup for the Red Sox to make their run with, and there was certainly value to that trade, at the same time I think you'd have to admit that there isn't a Red Sox fan alive who wouldn't undo that trade given the opportunity.

That having been said, do you have a Tigers trade in mind that you would rather see there? We would love to hear from an actual Tigers fan on the subject.

Asher B. Chancey

i think u should definitely place jim rice in he votings, he had 2452 hits and 383 homers, 1451 RBI's, and a .298 batting average... u could also put don newcombe in consideration with a 149-90 record, and 1129 strikeouts.. don baylor is also a good choice with almost 2200 hits and about 330 homeruns he also had about 1300 RBI's.. i know don baylor is a stretch but i think jim rice and don newcombe were screwed out of the hall of fame, how bout u put them in your hall of fame..

Travis Warrner

Thanks for the email, Travis. When we set out to make our Baseball Evolution Hall of Fame, the idea was to raise the standards of Cooperstown. Sometimes we enshrine players neglected by the official voters, but more often, we weed out undeserving players who were voted in.

As Don Newcombe is not even among the top 100 pitchers in wins or strikeouts, I'm not sure why you would cite those statistics as evidence that he belongs in the Hall. If every pitcher with 150 wins got enshrined there, the Hall of Fame would have to move to a larger city than Cooperstown.

Jim Rice indeed does possess some impressive milestone statistics, but he also did a lot of detrimental things for his team, including leading the league in GIDP four straight seasons (he is 6th all time for his career). Also, much of his success was derived from playing at Fenway Park. If you peruse our site, you'll find several articles on Rice's merits, as he is always a hot topic of discussion.

While these guys were fine players, were we to include them, it would conflict with our goal of raising the standards of Cooperstown. We also use the same eligibility rules as the National Hall of Fame does, meaning that we cannot include Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe. If you would like to check out where we think those two rank among the best players ever, take a look at some of our player rankings.

~Keith Glab

Travis: thank u for replying, i get what you are saying, who do u expect to get into your hall that is not in cooperstown

You can sort our list that way by clicking on the Cooperstown? column heading. Right now we do have 41 players and managers on our list that were not elected to Cooperstown.

Darrell Evans, Davey Johnson (as a MGR), Bill Freehan, Ron Cey, and Willie Randolph were all near misses in last year's voting.

~Keith Glab

Have you written any books yet? I'd like to buy them if you have. You are arguably one of the best fictional writers of our time. Like most so called journalists, I' m sure you have certifiable " facts" regarding the bullshit you put online. With fans like you, who needs baseball?

Go and read a very famous baseball book called Ball Four written by Jim Bouton. You'll see that baseball has been using performance enhancing drugs since day one.

Oh, and you must be a Cardinal fan if you really think that Mark McGwire has never used something to that effect.

Have a nice day.

David Valdez

"I don't know anything about it," Oswalt said. "They tell me to pitch and I pitch. That's all I do."

Mr. Valdez,

Thank you for writing. It is always good to know that people are checking out the site.

I also want to congratulate you on spotting one of the major red flags in my article that indicate that it is truly a satire. I threw the McGwire comment in there as a tongue-in-cheek indication that the whole thing was a farce, a satire meant to poke fun at the whole steroid thing back in 2004. I think it is a sign of the times that people always got that it was a joke back then but take it more seriously now.

Thanks again for writing,


Yeah, I get it now. I must apologize for that was the first article from your site that I've read. However, since then I have yet to tear myself away (and I really must get back to work).

I congratulate you on a wonderful site. I just got through reading the steroids debate and I loved it!

I really do love your site—Thanks for writing back so soon. I'd like to forward you my reasoning behind why it's no big deal that any steroid…err, performance enhancing drugs…were used if you're interested.



Asher: Absolutely. I'd love to hear it (read it) and if it is publishable, we may use it.

Brandon Peacy RE: PNC vs. Wrigley

You also forgot all the history at PNC Park... all the great baseball moments!

Oh - wait...

Like Bartman, Brant Brown, Leon Durham, and September of '69?

Hopefully, the Cubs will do something to earn Wrigley Field a different kind of reputation this year.

~Keith Glab

Brandon: Nope - more like Babe Ruth, Gabby Hartnett, Don Cardwell, and Ernie Banks.

BTW - Brant Brown dropped the fly ball in Milwaukee County Stadium. Leon Durham's gaffe happened in San Diego.

So far, things look good.

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