Results tagged ‘ Paul Byrd ’
…or “word” for those that don’t get. Yeah, so it’s my own take on rhyming and writing.
actually ironic that in his first start of the 2009 season, Paul Byrd
was facing the Toronto Blue Jays. In a span of three consecutive starts
(1 with Cleveland, 2 with Boston after we was traded in a waiver wire
deal) in August of 2008 he faced those Blue Jays. 5 of his last 10
starts of 2008 were against the Blue Jays as well. He was 2-2 with 1
no-decision in those 5 starts. So what were the expectations today? 5
innings? 3 runs? Keep the game close against Blue Jay ace Roy Halliday?
I think all of those would have been more than what the Red Sox would
have like to get out of Byrd. What did they get?
How about 6
shutout innings. 3 hits allowed to go along with 3 walks. I don’t even
think a performance like that entered anyone’s mind, not even Byrd’s.
What a follow up to Clay Buchholz’s splendid start the night before. It was a great lift for the Red Sox tattered starting rotation, and
hopefully this is something Byrd can build off for the rest of the
However, Byrd was not the only who made a big impression in their 2009 Red Sox debut. This guy was outstanding as well:
(well, it was almost a week ago now) acquired reliever Billy Wagner
final appeared in his first game as a Red Sox. He showed how nasty of
lefty he can be. He struck out the side, around a double in while
pitching the 8th inning. 11 of his 16 pitches were for strikes. Not
more you could have expected from him either. He will be a great weapon
to have in that bullpen down the stretch and during the playoffs (being
optimistic the Sox will end up winning the wild card) as well.
was a great way to end the homestand with a sweep of the flailing
Toronto Blue Jays. The Sox now head on a 7 game road trip to their
house of horrors in Tampa Bay and then the Windy City. This will be an
opportunity to knock the Rays right out of the wild card race, as well
as put the final nail in the White Sox playoff coffin that the Yankees
started closing up this weekend.
I’ve recovered from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, My Birthday (Nov 29, and yes I do accept belated gifts), and Cyber Monday. Phew!
Now, it is that time of year again. The Hall of Fame Ballot has been published.
There are only 23 players on this year’s ballot. That is the smallest amount ever. 10 of those players are appearing on the ballot for the first time. Those 10 players are highlighted by Ricky Henderson who is a SURE THING to be voted in.
Of the players who are back on the ballot again, there is Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Mark McGwire, and Jim Rice, who is entering his 15th and final year on the HOF Ballot and is the subject of today’s blog entry.
Jim Rice was one of the most dominant and feared hitters of his era (1974 – 1989), yet he has been unable to garner the necessary 75% of the BBWAA votes to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Why is that?
Obviously, that answer is subjective. However, it can probably be a combination of various things.
Firstly, Rice does not have any “Magic Numbers” in his career statistics. He did not hit 400 HRs (which was pretty much the magic HR total before the steroid era pushed it up to 500) nor did he collect 3,000 career hits. Now, what do these Magic Numbers truly mean? They mean you were either an super extraordinary player or you were a good play who played a long, long time. There can be lots of arguments with regards to using this as a standard of Hall of Fame enshrinement; I mean just compare Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. However, it is pretty much an unwritten rule that reaching these milestones will garner Hall of Fame induction.
Secondly, when you compare Rice’s numbers to other Hall of Famers, there are some things that don’t add up for him. However, should players be compared to other Hall of Fame players who played in a different era? The game is constantly evolving; nowadays, more rapidly than ever before. Not only that, but how many of the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame and are doing these type of comparisons, but have never seen Jim Rice play. You figure, if I am 37, that means I wasn’t even 3 years old when Rice made his major league debut and I was enjoying my last summer of freedom after graduating high school and getting ready to head off to Nichols College when he played his final game on August 3, 1989. What were some of these other sportswriters doing back then? Now, all they have to go by to determine if he is worthy is by comparing numbers.
Lastly, and this is a weak reason, but there has always been some chatter that Rice was not friendly to the media during his career. Was this truly the case? Who knows? If it was the case, would voting writers hold a grudge and not vote for somebody because of this? I highly doubt it. Maybe 1 or 2 writers, but that would make a minimal difference, since Rice has always been short of reaching 75% by way more than 1 or 2 votes.
Why should Jim Rice be a Hall of Famer?
First of all, like I wrote above, he was one of the most feared hitters of his era. Ask Jim Palmer (actually, don’t ask him as he held Rice to a .219 average but he did give up the most HRs to Rice of any pitcher who faced him. So, ask him anyway! Haha), ask Ron Guidry, ask Dennis Martinez, ask Jack Morris, ask Steve Stone, ask Storm Davis, ask Rick Stutcliffe, ask Scott McGregor, ask Sparky Lyle, ask Jim Beattie, ask Doyle Alexander, ask Rollie Fingers, well, ask any pitcher from that time. I’m sure as a BBWAA member you’d be able to ask any of these pitchers, guys who actually faced Jim Rice.
Second, if Gary Carter is a Hall of Famer, than Jim Rice is a no-brainer. Carter is a career .262 hitter, 2,092 career hits, 324 HRs, 1225 RBIs in 19 seasons. His Mets defeated Rice’s Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. That is the only thing Carter has over Rice. Why is Carter in the hall? Now, let me be clear hear. I am not say Carter does not belong in the Hall of Fame. I am only saying that if you compare Jim Rice to Gary Carter, aside from position, Rice trumps Carter in most, if not all, offensive stats and is just as deserving to be in the Hall of Fame as Carter is.
Next, let us compare Jim Rice to other players of his ERA. Jim Rice played from August 19, 1974 through August 3, 1989. In those 15 seasons, 13 full seasons, his contemporaries were players such as Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Gary Carter, Fred Lynn, Andre Dawson, George Foster, Carlton Fisk, Don Baylor, Eddie Murray, Greg Luzinski, Robin Yount, Dale Murphy. All of these players were active for AT LEAST 12 seasons during Jim Rice’s career or the Rice era.
Only 2 players hit more career HRs during the Rice era than Jim’s 382. Mike Schmidt hit 529 in that span while Dave Kingman hit 383 HRs. Only Robin Yount and George Brett accumulated more than Rice’s 2,452 hits with 2,602 and 2,523, respectively. Only Mike Schmidt had more RBIs, 1,540 to 1,451 during the Rice era. Jim Rice led all players in the Rice ERA in RBI’s per game, as he average .69 RBIs which is slightly better than Mike Schmidt’s .68 RBIs per game. His Batting Average of .298 ranked 8th in the Rice era behind Rod Carew, George Brett, Al Oliver, Bill Madlock, Paul Molitor, and Cecil Cooper. His Slugging Percentage of .502 was 3rd in the era behind only Mike Schmidt and George Brett.
For this comparison, you could conclude that Rice was the 2nd or 3rd best hitter during this era. I think, undoubtedly, Mike Schmidt is the dominate hitter of this era. You could rank Rice ahead of or behind George Brett. Aside from that, there is nobody else who compares. However, you have to take into consideration that Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and Eddie Murray played 14, 13, and 12 of the seasons of the Rice ERA. I will concede that Reggie Jackson more than surpasses Jim Rice (although Rice did have a better career average and slugging percentage and ALMOST more career hits even though Jackson played 6 more seasons), but you CANNOT say that Dave Winfield or Eddie Murray surpass Jim Rice. The only reason they are in the Hall of Fame, is because they hit the one or both of the MAGIC NUMBERS.
Dave Winfield is a Hall of Famer. He played 22 seasons to Rice’s 15. Winfield finished with a .283 batting average, 3,110 hits, 465 HRs, and 1,833 RBIs. Rice retired at age 36. Winfield’s numbers at age 36 (he retired at 43) were: .287 batting average, 2,421 hits, 357 HRs, and 1,438 RBIs. Looks pretty similar, eh? Winfield never accumulated 200 hits in a season, while Rice did that 4 times. In his remaining 6 seasons, Winfield batted over .271 once (at .290) and averaged 18 HRs and 66 RBIs during that time. Not really HoF type numbers, but lasting those last 6 seasons, got him to the magic numbers. Winfield never won an MVP and placed in the Top 5 of MVP voting 3 times, but was a 12 time All-Star game selection. Jim Rice won 1 MVP and placed in the Top 5 6 times, but was only selected to 8 All-Star games.
Eddie Murray is a Hall of Famer. He played 21 seasons to Rice’s 15. Murray finished with a .287 batting average, 3,255 hits, 504 HRs, and 1,917 RBIs. Murray played his first full season of 160 games at the age of 21 while Rice only got 24 games at age 21 with his first full season at 22. Rice retired at age 36. Here are Murray’s numbers at 36 (he retired at 41): .290 batting average, 2,646 hits, 414 HRs, and 1,562 RBIs. Almost similar, but slightly better since that covers 16 full seasons while Rice only had 13 full seasons. In his remaining 5 seasons, Murray batted over .260 twice (.323 and .285) and averaged 18 HRs and 71 RBIs. Not really HoF type number again. However, like Winfield, Murray played long enough to reach the magice numbers of 500 HRs and 3,000 hits. Again, like Winfield, Murray never had a 200 hit season nor won an MVP. However, like Rice he finished in Top 5 MVP voting 6 times, and was selected to 8 All-Star games.
So why are Winfield and Murray Hall of Famers? You could argue that Rice was more of a feared hitter and a better hitter than both Winfield and Murray, but does that mean Winfield and Murray are only get rewarded for lasting 22 and 21 seasons? Is having a long career more important than how you performed over that career? It does seem that the combination of having a LONG career so that you can reach the MAGIC NUMBERS is the best way to guarantee yourself a plaque in Cooperstown. While injuries took their toll on Rice, forcing him to retire at 36, Winfield and Murray were able to continue playing the game at less than there full selves, but still good enough to remain useful to a team to get themselves the career numbers needed.
Personally, I think Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. I think he isn’t because of what I wrote above, and also the fact that offensive numbers EXPLODED during the Steroid Era (maybe Rice should have taken some roids to hang on and over come his injury issues, like Mark McGwire) dwarfing a lot of the solid numbers of the players who dominated and were feared in the late 70s and early 80s. I think it is a joke is Rice does not end up in the Hall of Fame, yet Gary Carter is in there, especially since Jim Rice was just as great a player as Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray.
I rest my case.
PS. Sorry if this blog entry is too long. I try to keep them somewhat short, as I am sure folks don’t really want to read some War and Peace novel, but some something interesting, quick, and intersting.
In other Red Sox news, the Sox offered arbitration to Jason Varitek and Paul Byrd. You can read here why offering arbitration to Varitek is a no-lose situation for the Red Sox. Varitek and Byrd will have until Sunday, December 7th to accept or reject arbitration. If they accept, they are guaranteed to be Red Sox again in 2009.
ESPN is reporting that the Sox have signed Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa to a “term sheet” which means only passing a physical is impeding the official announcement of a deal.
HoF Ballot – Mark Newman/MLBlogs
Jim Rice – Photographed by: John Iacono (SI Vaults)
Gary Carter – http://www.garycarter.org
Dave Winfield – Unknown (off some random website I can’t remember)
Eddie Murray – Baltimore Sun (photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / July 27, 2003)
Special Thanks: Baseball Reference (I love that website) / Play Index (used to research all of the stats listed above)
Wow! A month since my last post. Work and vacation can do that to you. To all my loyal readers (all zero of you, I guess), I apologize for that.
However, the Sox were busy in August. Aside from playing .667 (18-9) ball, they acquired Paul Byrd and Mark Kotsay in trades, while signing David Ross and Jason Lane to minor league deals to bolster their depth.
Despite their great August, they went from 3 games behind the Rays to 5 1/2 games behind as Tampa played an amazing .750 ball in August, winning 21 out of 28 games.
With one month left to play, the Sox will definately have their work cut out for them, to catch the Rays. A lot of “experts”, are expecting the Rays to fold under the pennant race limelight. However, I do not think that will happen. The Rays have solid pitching (in both their starters and bullpen) along with a solid defense. Even if their offense does cool down, their all-round ability should be able to carry them through to the end.
The Sox and Rays are pretty much a lock for the playoffs, as I don’t think the Twins or the White Sox will overtake Boston in the wildcard. That leaves just the Twins and White Sox to battle it out for the Central Division and last AL Playoff Berth.
How about Dustin Pedroia. What a month!!! .374 average, 1.060 OPS, 43 hits, 10 2Bs, 6 HRs, 20 RBIs, 5 SBs without being caught. AL Player of the Week, and likely Player of the Month. Clean up Hitter?? Who would of thunk it.
Pedroia on fire. David Ortiz is heating up. Coco Crisp is almost as hot as Pedroia. Beckett and Lowell back soon from the DL. Youkillis, Bay, Kotsay, Varitek all playing well. Going to be a wild September and October.