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Monday Bantering: Baseball Bits

2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Preview Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Happy Monday. We've made it to the start of another week, our first full week with the lockout.

The former Veteran's committee, now the 'Era Committees,' has elected six to the Baseball Hall of Fame:

  • Buck O'Neil. Negro League star, the first black coach in the MLB, a successful scout, and a great ambassador for the game of baseball, the Negro Leagues and the the Negro League Hall of Fame, which I want to see at some point. His autobiography is one of my favourite books ever. But, of course, it would have been so much better if they had inducted him while he was still alive, but such is life.
  • Minnie Miñoso: Also played in the Negro Leagues. Then he had a long MLB career. He played in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and then in three games in the 70s to keep the streak going. He played two games in the 80s. He wanted to play a game in the 90s, but the commissioner decided it was not in the best interests of the game. He turned 65 in 1990. He had a terrific career, including his Negro Leagues career. He played 20 seasons, hit .299/.387/.461 in 1946 games. Again, it would have been nice to do this while he was still with us.
  • Bud Fowler: I don't know much about him, but he is considered the first black professional baseball player, playing back in 1878. SABR has a profile of him here.
  • Gil Hodges: Hodges played with the great Dodgers' teams in the late 1940s, 50s and early 60s. He had an excellent 18-year career, hitting .273/.359/.487, making eight all-star teams and winning three Gold Gloves. When he was on the Writers' ballot, he generally got between 40 and 60 percent of the vote. So I think of him as a 'Hall of Very Good' type. On those Dodger teams, he was never the biggest star. Generally, he was considered the fourth or fifth best player on the team. But he had a solid career.
  • Tony Oliva had a very good 15-year career, all with the Twins. He hit .304/.353/.476 with 220 home runs in 1676 games and made eight All-Star teams. There was a stretch of eight seasons where he was one of the 5 to 10 best players in baseball. In his 15 years on the Hall of Fame ballot, he topped out at 40.7%. So again, I see him as a 'Hall of Very Good' player. But then, he played when offensive numbers were way down.
  • Jim Kaat: Kaat had a very long career, playing 25 MLB seasons. He finished with a 283-237 record and a 3.45 ERA. In 15 years on the Hall of Fame ballot, he never got more than 30% of the vote. He never won a CY Young (finished fourth once, the only time he got any votes) and made three All-Star teams. He gets in for longevity. He didn't have many great seasons (though throwing 304 innings, with a 25-13 record in 1966, is pretty terrific). There were a lot of great pitchers in his day. The cynic in me thinks he got in because of politicking from the broadcast booth, but he was a good pitcher. I'd much rather have Dave Stieb in the Hall than Kaat.

Congratulations to each.

Dick Allen came up one vote short of making the Hall. I think he is deserving.

We'll have polls on some of the players on the BBWAA ballot starting this week.

What do you think about the news that MLB used two types of baseballs this past season? Is it a big story, or is it nothing?

If I were a gambler, I'm sure I would be upset about this story. Maybe mostly upset that I didn't know which games got which balls. But if you are betting over/under on runs scored, it would be handy to know if they are using a lively ball or a less lively one.

I guess both teams are using the same ball during a game. It doesn't change too much. But if I were a manager, I'd also like to know which ball is being used before the game. But, of course, I guess if I was a pitcher, it might get into my head if I knew I was throwing a livelier ball.

Anyway, let's have a poll:


I think the ball switching is a

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Big story
    (176 votes)
  • 42%
    Interesting, but unimportant
    (158 votes)
  • 9%
    A non-issue
    (37 votes)
371 votes total Vote Now

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Silent Auction is heading into the home stretch. There are a lot of good items up for bid. So if you have a baseball fan on your Christmas list, there might be something there that would be perfect.

My Spanish is non-existent, but it sounds like we have another excellent catching prospect joining the system. @Aarne13 pointed me to this.

Google Translate has the story saying:

On January 15 of next year the 16-year-old catcher will officially sign a contract with the Canadian team. Minoso according to scouts has a compact swing and good power to the opposite side. The terms of the deal and the amount of your bonus have not been disclosed until now.

On defense, the Matanzas native is a good pet and has a good physique behind the plate, while his time of 1.84 in shots to second base is excellent. Miñoso, who left Cuba in 2019, also has good hands and was listed by several teams from the big top.

And there is this:

I’m not sure how he fits in our outfield, but having too many good players isn’t a bad problem to have.