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February 10, 2011 – Andy Pettitte and the Hall of Fame . Does Andy Pettitte belong in the Hall of Fame? His 50.2 WAR ranks 77th all-time among pitchers, just ahead of Rube Waddell, but also just behind Kevin Appier and David Wells. He did lead the league in wins once, but never in any other major pitching category. He's only ranked among the top 10 in his league in ERA three times and has never won a Cy Young Award. Known as a big game pitcher, Pettitte has a postseason winning percentage of .655 and a postseason ERA of 3.83, both of which are right in line with his career averages.

Basically, Pettitte was a good pitcher for a long time who benefited from only playing on good teams and performance-enhancing drugs. If he were elected to the Hall of Fame, it would not only open the floodgates for a dozen superior "Steroid Era" players, but also for other fringe-worthy pitchers such as Appier, Wells, Jimmy Key, David Cone, and Brett Saberhagen.



Your New Leader
April 9, 2010 – The Poster Boy for a New Era. Something bizarre happened today as I was trolling about looking at potential future Hall of Famers: a bunch of the numbers on Andy Pettitte’s career statistics line were italicized, including the wins, losses, games started, innings pitched, hits, earned runs, homeruns, strikeouts, and batters faced. It took me a second to realize the importance of this, but then it hit me: Andy Pettitte is currently the active leader in career wins and career strikeouts! (and all those other categories, too).

Only then did it dawn on me – all of our great pitchers are gone. Clemens and Johnson; Pedro and Schilling; Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine; even Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown. They’re all gone. And now our active leader in career wins has 229, and our active leader in career strikeouts has only 2154.

For the record, the last time the active leader in career wins had 229 or fewer was in 1972, when Juan Marichal was the active leader with 227. And the last time the active leader in career strikeouts had 2154 or less was in 1960, when Early Wynn had 2150 (and, amazingly, was in the fourth year of a five year run as the active leader).

UPDATE: Thanks to reader J. Thompson, who points out that Jamie Moyer has 258 wins. I blame Baseball-Reference.com, which has Pettitte listed as the active leader. I guess as soon as Moyer starts his first game, he will re-become the active leader. Anyway, mea culpa for not remembering Moyer on my own, given that I had just written about him getting ready to join the Four Decade Club.

September 7, 2009 - Why We Hate Jeter - From cbs.sportsline.com:

"[Alan] Trammell, whose 2,365 hits rank seventh in Tiger history (1,535 behind Ty Cobb), has long been a [Derek] Jeter admirer, in large part because he feels that Jeter plays the game the way Trammell believes it should be played.

'He plays the game to win,' Trammell said."

These are the types of accolades that make Derek Jeter impossible for a non-Yankees fan to love. And frankly, it isn't even Jeter's fault. In a season in which the Yankees are back on top in baseball, Jeter's offense is rejuvenated and he is a defensive force at shortstop for the first time in, possibly, a decade. In many ways, Jeter's defensive renaissanace is one of the top stories of 2009, and his climb up several career leaderboards will be one of the early stories of the next decade.

Then Alan Trammell comes along and says he admires Jeter because he "plays the game to win," a non-sensical comment that insults every other player in the game by implying that Jeter is somehow uniquely self-sacrificing for the sake of the team while every other player in the game is a stat-grabbing, glory-hogging, money-grubbing jackass who couldn't care less about winning.

So, while we should be praising Jeter and celebrating his career, we are forced instead to respond to yet another assanine quote attempting to annoint Jeter rather than simply praise him.

It's a shame it has to be that way.

--ABC

September 3, 2009 - Jeter the only one chasing Rose? - It is the standard conventional wisdom of New York Yankees fans that of all current major league players, Derek Jeter has the best shot at topping Pete Rose’s major league record for career hits. Jeter is currently 35 years old and has 2711 hits as of September 1, 2009. Assuming he averages about 180 to 190 hits per season for the rest of his career, he would cross the Pete Rose threshold of 4256 in about eight more seasons, or at the age of 43.

I think expecting Jeter to average between 180 to 190 hits per season until the age of 43 is optimistic, but it is certainly do-able. The question, though, is whether he is the person on the best pace to pass Rose.

Here is an interesting thought: Derek Jeter’s teammate Alex Rodriguez is currently 34 years old, and will be for most of next season. He currently has 2498 hits as of September 1st. If he finishes the season with 2500 hits, and averages 180 hits per season for the rest of his career, he would need about ten more seasons to pass Rose. Like Jeter, he would be 43 years old when he gets to 4256.

So why aren’t Yankees fans all over A-Rod? Well, for one thing, A-Rod doesn’t get as many hits per season as Jeter. For A-Rod to average 180 hits per season, he would have to do better than he has for the last four seasons, while Jeter could do it despite falling off a little bit. For another thing, A-Rod has been hurt the last two seasons while Jeter has played 150-plus games in almost every season of his career.

At the end of the day, though, we know the real reason Yankees fans aren’t on top of this one –this is just another example of Jeter being Mickey Mantle, and A-Rod being Roger Maris, and Yankees fans will always root for Jeter to be great and root for A-Rod to fail.

--ABC

06/28/09: Top Four Thoughts When K-Rod Walked the 39-year old Mariano Rivera with the Bases Loaded in Mo's third career plate appearance -

4. Players like Miguel Olivo who cannot/will not draw walks are pathetic
3. What is more embarrassing, allowing Mo a bloop single there or walking him?
2. What is more memorable for Rivera, RBI #1 or Save #500?
1. What are you, an idiot, K-Rod?


Top Three Thoughts When A-Rod Charged A Sac Bunt and Threw to Second To Get the Lead Runner on Sunday Night Baseball with Derek Jeter Picking the Low Throw Out of the Dirt -

3. Risky play, A-Rod!
2. Wasn't Rodriguez supposed to be the worst third baseman at fielding bunts all-time according to The Fielding Bible II?
1. Derek Jeter would make a great first baseman
--KG

2/7/09: Avoid A-Roid - Four sources told SI.com that Alex Rodriguez tested positive during the 2003 drug testing that revealed “5-7%” of MLB players were using steroids. It’s a pity that Senator George Mitchell could not corral any of those four sources during his report on performance enhancing drugs last winter. It is decidedly odd that thos sources were comfortable confiding in Sports Illustrated but not the Senator. Either Mitchell purposely omitted A-Rod’s name from his 409-page report, or that report is even less comprehensive than we thought it was. --KG

2/7/09: Avoid A-Roid - Four sources told SI.com that Alex Rodriguez tested positive during the 2003 drug testing that revealed “5-7%” of MLB players were using steroids. It’s a pity that Senator George Mitchell could not corral any of those four sources during his report on performance enhancing drugs last winter. It is decidedly odd that thos sources were comfortable confiding in Sports Illustrated but not the Senator. Either Mitchell purposely omitted A-Rod’s name from his 409-page report, or that report is even less comprehensive than we thought it was. --KG

12/26/08: You Think Santo's a Travesty? - A catastrophic Hall of Fame event nearly occurred with the 2009 Veteran’s Committee ballot. Allie Reynolds – he of the career 182 wins, 110 ERA+, and eight 100+ walk seasons – fell just one vote shy of election. Zito Carno, who currently sponsors Reynolds’ Baseball-Reference-page, claims that Allie’s “fast ball was clocked at better than 100 miles an hour,” despite the fact that the radar gun was not invented until Reynolds’ final major league season, 1954. Maybe we should just put everyone who has ever been a Yankee in the Hall of Fame regardless of actual facts. --KG

12/16/08: Worst-Case A-Rod Projection - Ken Griffey Jr. has hit only 143 home runs after the age of 32.  If Alex Rodriguez does the same thing, he will finish just shy of 700 home runs.  Of course, Griffey already had two injury-riddled seasons prior to those 143 homers while A-Rod is coming off two fantastic campaigns, so it's still very reasonable to assume that he will eventually become the new home run king, especially since he has extra pecuniary motivation to do so. --KG



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