Tuesday, January 9, 2007

So Long Big Mac

Maybe it doesn’t mean much. Maybe it will only take 365 more days till it happens, but right now Mark is not joining his first ballot mates, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn. Both those men are well deserving although there is some good debates about whether Ripken should actually be in the hall of fame. When you think about it, other than his amazing streak. Which truly is amazing and will probably never be broken, although in sports, records are made to be broken. When you think about some of members in the hall of fame, think of the fear that some of them possessed when your home team faced them. Did Cal Ripken have that effect? The answer is no, the 19 time All-Star, former Rookie of the Year, 2 time Gold Glover, 3000+ Hit Machine with over 430 Home runs really didn’t strike fear in your home ball club. I wonder why? In any even Tony Gwynn had the same effect; only he was a big man. But he never had the power numbers to go along with the big man image. The man never hit more than 17 in a season, over 3100 hits, amazing batting average at .338 and he only struck out 434 times in 9,288 at bats. Want to do the math? No? Well, I will, that is striking out once every 21 at bats, that is about once every 6 games on average. Add to this he was an 8 time NL batting champion that ties him with Honus Wagner for the League record. 5 gold gloves as a Right Fielder and a 15-time all-star. The man was a beast that could drop down a bunt. Who else could do that? These are impressive numbers in a sport that is controlled by numbers. Jack Morris great pitcher but his ERA was above 4.00 most years. 3.77 was his lowest in 18 years. He is short of 300 wins so it doesn’t guarantee him a spot but he does have 7 more years of eligibility if I am not mistaken. And never say never with baseball writers. Back to the main point, Mark McGwire. Now what exactly has he done? Well other than the obvious of breaking Roger Maris’ single season Home Run mark of 61, and eventually went on to hit 70 in that year. Career marks are not that impressive other than one big power number and the ratios and averages that come from the one category. 6187 at bats and only 1626 hits, this translates to a .263 career batting average. So since he wasn’t really hitting the ball for hits he was clearly striking out as he has only 30 less Strikeouts than he did hits. That is almost 4 time more than the likes of Tony Gwynn. See this is the perfect example of how baseball is all about numbers. So out of his 1600+ hits there were 583 home runs. Impressive. Very. 7th on the all time list. And if my man KGJ Ken Griffey Junior himself can last one or two more seasons and hit at least 20, he will surpass McGwire. And back to the main point. His numbers are impressive in one area and very lacklustre in the rest. Also there is the whole issue about steroid use. Whether he did or not well lets just wait till he has a press conference next year to help his hall of fame balloting. But are you not suppose to just judge the man on his on field performance only. At the time when McGwire had the bottle of Andro in his locker there was a big uproar about it. and I remember calling him a cheat and that it was disgraceful. Now a little older I realise that personally I didn’t like what he did but he did follow the rules. Whether it was a supplement, whether it was steroids, what ever it is there was no rule saying he could not have it. and rightfully so for one year he is going to be snubbed. And maybe for the next 5-7 years baseball writers will snub him. Eventually Big Mack will be in the hall and whether you agree or disagree with whatever he did. Both He and Sammy Sosa made us believe in the spirit of the American Pastime. At least until this steroid scandal came out.

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