It hasn’t happened since 1996…until this year. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Cooperstown, NY will not be hosting a grand event in the summer heat to welcome another man into brotherhood that is the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. The closest one to reach baseball immortality? Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, as the 3,000-hit club member racked up 68.2% in his first year on the ballot, just short of the mandatory 75% needed for entrance into the Hall. Mike Piazza was unfortunately lumped into PED suspicion, as he received support from 57.8% of the voters. Rising Apple staffer Kevin Baez broke the news on our site the minute we caught wind of what happened.
Although I was prepared to not hear Piazza’s name called yesterday afternoon on MLB Network, I’m still not happy about it. Here’s a guy that is considered the “greatest hitting catcher of all time,” and just because people think he might have used PEDs (without any concrete proof), they’re assuming he did since he played in the same era as Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, but as writers continued to publicize their ballots in the week leading up to the announcement, I came to the realization Mike would not be enshrined in the Hall this summer, and was actually a little surprised over 50% of the voters felt he was worthy.
What surprised me more was that no one got voted in. Whenever we talk about “Hall of Fame caliber” statistics, it’s understood that career milestones such as 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, and 300 wins are automatic when it comes to a player’s candidacy. This year’s ballot was star-studded, but the one definite I thought would be getting the 75% he needed for entry was Craig Biggio. This is a player who owns a career .281/.363/.433 triple slash to go with 3,060 hits (21st all-time), 1,844 runs scored (15th all-time), and 668 doubles (5th all-time) to go with a squeaky clean image. If he’s not a first ballot Hall of Famer, we’ll be in for a rude awakening in the coming years when more high profile players from the last 15-20 years enter the voting. Michael Lecolant shared his reactions to the voting results, and we talked about it on The Rising Apple Report.
In case you couldn’t catch any of the press conference yesterday, the Blue Jays officially introduced R.A. Dickey in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. He was first saddened that his career with the Mets ended, the team that finally gave him a chance to succeed at the Big League level, but it didn’t take him long to get excited about joining the Blue Jays, as their acquisitions this winter have instantly made them serious postseason contenders. I watched a bit of the live stream, and as always, Dickey spoke very well.
David Wright has made it a habit to get to Port St. Lucie early for Spring Training to get extra work in, and this year is no different; fresh off his eight-year/$138 million extension that was finalized last month, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports the third baseman is planning on heading down to Florida shortly after the Super Bowl, which is scheduled for February 3rd. With the World Baseball Classic being played this March, Wright said he’d like to see more live pitching to prepare, as he’s representing Team USA.
Earlier this week, it sounded as if the Mets and Yankees were the last two teams trying to acquire free agent Scott Hairston, as he could be deciding within a few days. Now that we’re towards the end of the week, the Bombers have seemingly dropped out of the conversation, as Hairston could get more significant playing time elsewhere, like across town. However, Rubin states a baseball official told him an agreement for the outfielder with any team isn’t on the horizon just yet, and the Mets could end up offering him a two-year deal.
If this is where the Mets spend their one multi-year contract this winter, I won’t be happy about it. Yes, Hairston has had success against lefties (.286 BA, 11 HR in ’12), but a platoon/bench player shouldn’t be getting a two-year deal, especially when the Mets have the kind of leverage they do in negotiations. No other team is able to offer Hairston the type of playing time he could get in Flushing, so Sandy Alderson should stick to his guns and only offer him a one-year deal, because he’d be silly not to take those reps on the field to showcase his talents and possibly raise his price again for next winter.