Results tagged ‘ Mike Schmidt ’

Can Derek make the All-Star team?

Do not be surprised if Derek Jeter earns a spot on the American League All-Star squad even though he probably won’t play an inning of baseball before the game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field in Flushing.

The Captain is extremely popular with fans all over the country. Just last year, he received more than 4.4 million votes, the third highest total of any AL player. Only Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista were ahead of him, and no other shortstop was within three million votes of Jeter.

Jose Reyes, in his first year in the AL with the Blue Jays after being traded from the Marlins, might have threatened Jeter’s hold on the All-Star vote at shortstop. But Reyes is also out for three months with an ankle injury, so his chances of overtaking the Captain seem out of the question now.

How weird would it be for Jeter to win an All-Star spot without having played a game? Well, go back to 1989. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt retired in late May while batting .203 in 148 at-bats. The All-Star balloting was only a week old, and yet when it was over Schmidt was voted onto the National League squad as the starting third baseman, even though he had not played for six weeks. You could say that at least Schmidt played as many as 42 games, but then again, he was not very good in many of them. The future Hall of Famer was invited to the game that year at Anaheim Stadium and took a bow, but his place in the NL starting lineup was taken instead by the Mets’ Howard Johnson.

So don’t bet against Jeter.

Jeter climbing yet another list

Derek Jeter was back in the Yankees’ lineup Tuesday night for the opener of the Red Sox series at Fenway Park. The Captain sat out the night game Sunday at Baltimore because of a bruised right knee, the result of fouling a ball off it in the afternoon game Sunday.

Jeter’s appearance in the day game Sunday at Camden Yards brought his career total of games to 2,402, the most of any player to wear a Yankees uniform, thereby breaking what Mickey Mantle had considered his most cherished career record. DJ has been moving up a lot of lists this year with the push past 3,000 hits and a climb up the career list for runs as well.

On that games played list, he also passed the Mick in another area: that of games played for one team. Like Jeter, Mantle played all his games for the Yankees. Jeter is now 16th on that list. His game Tuesday night got Jeter to 2,403, one behind Mike Schmidt for 15th. Schmidt played all 2,404 games of his career with the Phillies.

The record for most games played for one team is 3,308 by Carl Yastrzemski with the Red Sox. Also ahead of Jeter on that list are Stan Musial (3,026 with the Cardinals), Cal Ripken Jr. (3,001 with the Orioles), Brooks Robinson (2,896 with the Orioles), Robin Yount (2,856 with the Brewers), Craig Biggio (2,850 for the Astros), Al Kaline (2,834 with the Tigers), Mel Ott (2,730 with the Giants), George Brett (2,707 with the Royals), Ernie Banks (2,528 with the Cubs), Dave Concepcion (2,488 with the Reds), Tony Gwynn (2,440 with the Padres), Roberto Clemente (2,433 with the Pirates) and Luke Appling (2,422 with the White Sox). All but Biggio and Concepcion are in the Hall of Fame, and Biggio is not yet eligible.

While Jeter was back in the Yankees’ lineup, Alex Rodriguez was not. He is not expected to swing a bat in the series due to a nagging left thumb sprain that required a cortisone injection Monday. Those shots usually take a couple of days to take effect, so A-Rod is not likely to play in Boston unless needed in an emergency situation as a defensive replacement or pinch runner.

Another holiday list

As each year comes to a close, baseball writers center on their annual responsibility of voting for the Hall of Fame. Ballots are mailed out to writers Dec. 1 and due back in the hands to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America by a Dec. 31 postmark.

So it is not just Santa Claus who makes a list and checks it twice come the Christmas season.

As secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA, I have conducted the election since 1995, the year Mike Schmidt was elected. I will be busy with Hall of Fame business the next few days but will find time to share some thoughts with Yankees fans about the election. Results will be announced at 2 p.m. Wednesday on bbwaa.com, baseballhall.org, MLB.com and the MLB Network.

The ballot contains 33 names this year, eight of whom spent a portion of their careers with the Yankees, including two of the most popular figures in the franchise’s history, first basemen Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez. Others on the ballot who spent time with the Yankees are pitchers Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Lee Smith, outfielders Tim Raines and Raul Mondesi and first baseman John Olerud.

Mattingly has been on the ballot for 10 years and has never done better than 28 percent of the vote going back to his first year. To gain entry into Cooperstown, 75 percent is required. Mattingly was at 16.1 percent last year. Martinez, his successor at first base for the Yankees, is a first-time candidate this year. It is doubtful writers will find Tino’s candidacy all that compelling, any more than they did another Yankees fan favorite Paul O’Neill two years ago. Martinez’s goal should be to get five percent of the vote necessary to stay on the ballot, which players must do to stay in contention for the full 15 years of eligibility. O’Neill failed to do that and was dropped after one year.

Brown, whose time with the Yankees was filled with controversy, had a fine career, but New York fans rarely saw him at his best except when he pitched against the Yankees for the Rangers. Yankees fans know Brown for breaking his pitching hand in anger and his implosion on the mound in Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship, the franchise’s worst moment.

Leiter started and ended his career with the Yankees but had his best seasons with the Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets. His 162-132 record and 3.80 ERA does not spell immortality.

Raines, on the other hand, is an interesting case. He came to the Yankees after years with the Expos and White Sox and was a key role player on the World Series title teams of 1996, ’98 and ’99. With 2,605 hits and 808 stolen bases, Raines has some Hall of Fame numbers, but after three years on the ballot he has done no better than 30 percent.

Smith, Olerud and Mondesi had limited time in pinstripes. Olerud and Mondesi are on the ballot for the first time and are not likely to get the five percent of the vote necessary to stay on the ballot. Smith, who pitched in only eight games for the Yankees in 1993, once held the major-record for saves with 478 but has yet to attract even half the vote in eight previous elections.

The favorites this time around are second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven, each of whom came close last year. Blyleven was on 74.2 percent of the ballots cast and missed by five votes. Alomar missed by eight votes at 397, or 73.7 percent.

The only player not to get elected when eligible the year after getting more than 70 percent in the vote was pitcher Jim Bunning. He was on 74 percent of the ballots in 1988 and missed by four votes. The next year, however, with a thicker ballot consisting of first-year inductees Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski and fellow pitching greats Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins, Bunning lost 34 votes and dropped 11 percent in his final year on the ballot. He was eventually elected by the Veterans Committee in 1996.
 
The most accomplished of the new names are first basemen Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro and outfielders Juan Gonzalez and Larry Walker. Palmeiro and Gonzalez will have a rough time.

Despite being only the fourth player in history to get more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, Palmeiro is a long shot because of his positive test for anabolic steroids in 2005, the same year he testified before Congress that he had never taken them. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray, the only other members of both the 3,000 Hit and 500 Home Run Clubs were elected in their first years of eligibility.

Gonzales, a two-time AL Most Valuable Player, showed up in the Mitchell Report as a steroids user, which could hurt his chances for a big vote. After all, Mark McGwire with his 587 home runs has been on the ballot for four years and is hovering at 23 percent.

Bagwell, who had an amazing career (.297, 449 home runs, 1,529 RBI, 1,517 runs, .408 on-base percentage, .540 slugging percentage), never failed a drug test but faced suspicions of possible performance-enhancing aid after he felt in love with the weight room in the mid-1990s. Walker, like Bagwell a National League MVP, had some very good years in Montreal and then some monster years in Colorado. Will the Coors Field effect hurt his chances?

See, this voting stuff isn’t easy. After thorough study, I finally filled out my ballot.

Checks went to Alomar, Bagwell, Blyleven, Walker, Mattingly, Raines, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff and Jack Morris.

My take on Bagwell was that he is innocent until proved guilty. Larkin is following a path not dissimilar to another NL MVP middle infielder who took a few years to get to Cooperstown, Ryne Sandberg. Ask any Yankees fan who watched the 1995 Division Series about Edgar Martinez, who was simply one of the greatest right-handed hitters I ever saw. McGriff, who came through the Yankees system but was traded away, slugged 493 homers the clean way and made a major difference on the only Atlanta Braves team to win a World Series. Morris was the ace of every staff for which he pitched, including three teams that won the World Series – the 1984 Tigers, ’91 Twins and ’92 Blue Jays.

Let the arguments begin. I’ll be back after the election.

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