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Bonehead Baseball Analyst of the Month:

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Hall must never call ornery Belle

By Keith Glab, 1/18/05

Teddy Greenstein dares to claim that not only does Albert Belle not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but that the 40 votes he received this year were way more than he deserved. The consequenses of such bold words include winning Baseball Evolution’s first Boneheaded Baseball Analyst award for the new year.

Teddy begins predictably, by citing Albert’s poor behavior, especially to sportswriters, during his baseball career. While this should disqualify him for the Hall of Nice, I don’t think it should play a large role in determining his place in the Hall of Fame. Albert has already been penalized for his ornery demeanor by not winning the MVP in a strike-shortened season wherin he became the inaugural member of the 50-50 club (homers and doubles).

"Character counts," argues Greenstein. "If it didn’t, Pete Rose would be adding ‘HOF’ to all those autographs he hawks." Greenie fails to realize that Rose is INELIGIBLE for the Hall of Fame. If he ever does become eligible, he will be elected immediately, his performance on the field far outweighing his deficiencies in character. Just the way that Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and soon, Barry Bonds, the four best position players ever, are still Cooperstown material.

But Teddy has the gall to call Belle a "borderline Hall of Fame player" who "did nothing to warrant enshrinement." He cites Andre Dawson’s lead of 57 in career home runs, adding that Dawson’s "eight Gold Gloves on bad knees" still weren’t enough to get him elected. A few things:

  1. Andre may have the edge in career home runs, but Belle’s career ended at age 34 due to a degenerative hip condition; Dawson hit a home run every 22.7 at bats while Belle hit one every 15.4. A guy named Hank Aaron hit a homer every 16.4 at bats.
  2. Dawson drove in 100 or more runs in a season four times while Belle managed it nine straight seasons. Plus, Dawson scored over 100 runs just twice while Belle accomplished the feat twice as often.
  3. Belle’s career batting average is 16 points higher than Dawson’s, his OBP 46 points higher.
  4. Dawson garnered 317 votes this year, almost eight times as many as Belle, and you’re saying that Belle got too many?
  5. If we’re going to give Andre Dawson credit for playing on bum knees, then shouldn’t Jim Abbott have been elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibilty?

Teddy covered the White Sox in 1998, and claims that Belle piled up meaningless stats, doing "nothing until June, when the Sox were already 15 games under .500." Well, that’s why you can’t judge a players career by watching him play for just one year. In 1995, Belle led Cleveland to its first postseason play in 41 years by hitting an amazing 31 homers in the final two months of the season. His career SLG with the bases loaded is .914, and he also has nine RBIs in seven career postseason games despite being walked seven times.

Now the corked bat incident that Greenstein brings up is a point against Belle. But since Belle had three seasons of comparable value to 1994 after the questionable 1994 season, it’s reasonable to assume that corked bats weren’t a big reason for his success. He’s not quite a Norm Cash, who after hitting .361 during his corked 1961 campaign, never again hit above .283.

I’m not familiar with Teddy Greestein’s body of work, so I can’t tell you whether Albert Belle committed a personal effrontery against Greenstein, or whether he tends towards making emotional, biased, and self-serving analyses of ballplayers. But I do know that for January of 2006, he is the biggest bonehead that we could find.




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