Tag Archives: Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg Says Sosa Shouldn’t Go To Hall of Fame! But, Why Is Sandberg In The Hall??

24 Jun

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg said in a recent sports radio interview that Sammy Sosa shouldn’t make the Hall of Fame due to Sosa’s use of performance enhancing drugs.  Sandberg made the point that baseball’s Hall  lists integrity as one of the voting criteria for election to Cooperstown.  Rightly, Sandberg feels that Sosa and others like him who cheated the game should not be rewarded with sporting immortality.

I could not agree more with Ryne Sandberg.  It was brave of him to say it.  I’m glad he said it.

Then, I got to thinking.  Why exactly is Ryne Sandberg in the Hall of Fame?

In parts of 16 seasons, Sandberg hit 282 home runs with 1,061 RBI, a .285 batting average and a .344 on base percentage.  Not horrible by any stretch.  In addition, he managed to win about 30 Gold Gloves.

Still, a lot of guys had offensive stats like him and didn’t make the Hall anywhere as easily as Ryno.  And some worked at much tougher positions that Sandberg.

Sandberg contemporary Lou Whitaker played second for Detroit for 19 seasons.  He didn’t win an MVP like Sandberg, but he did win a Rookie of The Year Award and won a World Series unlike Sandberg.  Whitaker hit 244 homers, knocked in 1,084 runs, batted .276 with a .363 on base percentage.  Whitaker didn’t win the 300 Gold Gloves that Sandberg managed to win in just 16 seasons, but he did win three as well as four Silver Sluggers as the AL’s second basemen with the most pop in his bat.

It’s no slam dunk that Whitaker has a better Hall case than Sandberg, but they’re clearly in the same range.  Yet, Sandberg got in relatively easily and Whitaker has never gotten a serious sniff from Cooperstown.

And you don’t have to go much further.  Take a look at Whitaker’s double play partner all those years in Detroit.  Alan Trammell’s stats include 185 homers, 1,003 RBI, .285 and .352.  And this was all in an era in which shortstops didn’t need to contribute much to the offense.  Yet, Trammell’s vote total seems to decline every year and didn’t start out with much Cooperstown support to begin with.

We all know Joe Torre as a future Hall of Famer due largely to his managerial success with the Yankees.  Yet, Torre’s stats as a player don’t look all that much different than Sandberg’s.  18 seasons, 252, 1185, .297 and .365.  Torre has never threatened to enter the Hall as a player.

Frankly, Sandberg’s career stats don’t even dwarf Ray Durham, who in 14 seasons put up 192, 875 along with a .277 batting average and .352 OBP.  Ray Durham was a respectable major leaguer but he’s rarely confused with a baseball immortal.  So, why are even his stats within shouting distance of Sandberg’s?

I guess there’s a few answers for that one.  Seems to me that Sandberg was undeniably talented.  He won a lot of gold gloves and was beloved in Chicago.  His really good years were on a different level than most of the other guys on this list and that helped his legend grow.  The one MVP year didn’t hurt him at all either.

It’s not that Sandberg wasn’t a good player.  He was.  Chicago knows their baseball.  And again, he did pile up Gold Glove Awards year after year.

It’s that Sandberg’s prime if you really look at it was too short to have merited getting into the Hall so quickly.

On Sandberg’s page of baseballreference.com his page sponsor’s quote is that Ryno was the best Cub the sponsor ever saw. 

Guess he never saw Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, or Billy Williams to name just a few…  And by the way, Santo’s not in the Hall of Fame.

PS – here’s a link to Ryne Sandberg’s stat page:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sandbry01.shtml

Scandal! How Did These Guys Get Into The Hall Of Fame Before Gossage?!

29 Jul

Sorry to rain on Rich Gossage’s Hall of Fame parade, but I’d like to know just how come it took so long to get the Goose into the Hall of Fame.  Gossage has been incredibly gracious about the whole thing and I admire him for it.

I, not being Goose Gossage, don’t have to be gracious.  I’ve never been a Yankee fan.  In fact, I’m a card carrying Yankee hater, but I also believe myself to be capable of making unbiased calls on our all important Hall of Fame debates.

The reality is that Goose Gossage belonged in the Hall of Fame way before he actually got in.  To me, there are two ways to get into the Hall.  Actually, there are three ways and Gossage accomplished all three.

First, you can be a compiler.  This is a player with a long, consistent career who ends up putting up some very big career numbers.  Check that off for Gossage, who played over twenty years and was usually in the discussion of the top closers in the game.

Second, you can just be the top dog.  That category is reserved for the Ruths, Mantles, Mays, Seavers and Koufax types.  This is the kind of player who is simply the very best at his position for a very long time.  Check that off for Goose too.  Gossage was debatably the top closer in the game from the mid 70s through the mid eighties.

Finally, you can be a game changer or as they more typically say in football, a game breaker.  This is the kind of guy who strikes fear into his opponents’ hearts and singlehandedly changes the way the game is played.  Think LT in football.

Gossage was that in baseball.  He was an intimidater.  You knew that if your team didn’t put runs up before he got into the game you sure as hell were not likely to score any more once he got onto that mound.  In that respect, Gossage is very similar to today’s Yankee closer, Mariano Rivera.  Of course, Gossage was doing it two innings or more at a time…

So, by all my standards, Gossage was a clear Hall of Famer sincethe very moment he became eligible.  Yet, somehow the Goose didn’t make it in for nine long years.

Let’s take a look (and some admittedly cheap shots) at the guys who beat Gossage into Cooperstown and grade them as better or worse picks for the Hall than Goose Gossage:

Class of 2000 – This is the first year Gossage is eligible (if I counted backwards properly)

Tony Perez – RBI machine, but lots of guys in his position in the Big Red Machine’s lineup would probably be able to say that.  Outside of one or two truly great years, was he even ever the third best player on his own team (remember he played with Bench, Morgan and some guy named Pete Rose…)?  ADVANTAGE: GOOSE

Carlton Fisk – all time leader in most catching categories because he played for about 100 years, definitely one of the top 10 catchers ever.  Impacted the game both on offense and defense in a very critical position.  ADVANTAGE: FISK

Class of 2001

Dave Winfield – great athlete, played all three major sports, very good hitter for a long time, but he wasn’t Reggie Jackson as George Steinbrenner can tell you.  I agree with George for once!  ADVANTAGE: GOSSAGE

Kirby Puckett – may he rest in peace, great player who was on pace for some great numbers prior to his eye injury,  Championship Center Fielder on two Twins’ World Series Champs  ADVANTAGE: TIE

Class of 2002

Ozzie Smith – great defensive shortstop, couldn’t hit that much until later in his career.  Am always amazed at how easily Smith got in.  Sure he was The Wizard, but it should have taken him much longer to get to Cooperstown.  Consider that Alan Trammel will likely never get into the Hall, yet during their primes you probably wouldn’t have traded Trammel for Smith even up.  Trammel was way more valuable.  ADVANTAGE: GOOSE

Class of 2003

Eddie Murray – super consistent slugger, yet never hit for a truly amazing amount of home runs in any given year.  ADVANTAGE: MURRAY (But just slightly)

Gary Carter – I go with the Fisk argument here again.  A catcher with his offensive ability is a rare thing.  ADVANTAGE: CARTER

Class of 2004

Paul Moliter – the man could flat out hit.  If not for injury and some youthful foolishness, who knows what his numbers could be.  Interesting thought that essentially he, like Gossage, was a specialist for much of his career, yet that didn’t hurt him in the Hall vote as much as Goose.  ADVANTAGE: MOLITER

Dennis Eckersley – amazing career as a quality starter and then transitioning to a modern day bullpen ace.  Still, with all that, in my book you take care of the people who blazed Eck’s trail first.  ADVANTAGE: GOSSAGE

Class of 2005

Ryne Sandberg – hit great for a second basemen.  Had an amazing ten year run and then, poof!  He was done.  ADVANTAGE:  GOSSAGE (who had about double his run in baseball)

Wade Boggs – tough to argue with his lifetime batting average and the handful of batting titles.  ADVANTAGE: BOGGS

Class of 2006

Bruce Sutter – sure, he perfected a pitch that changed the game.  And sure, he was dominating.  But, he played about half as long as Gossage.  Gossage’s prime lasted longer and Sutter was never clear cut better than Gossage.  If the baseball gods were fair, they would’ve gone in together.  But, since, they’re not…. ADVANTAGE: GOOSE

Class of 2007

Tony Gwynn – like Boggs, only better.  No argument here.  ADVANTAGE: GWYNN

Cal Ripken Jr – how do you argue against a guy who breaks Gehrig’s record and “saves” baseball.  Plus, he revolutionized the position of shortstop and paved the way for guys like A-Rod, Nomar and oh yeah, Jeter.  ADVANTAGE: RIPKEN