Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tram and Lou Deserve Better

I cannot help but wonder if the reputation of Alan Trammell as player has not been hurt by what he did as a manager. Trammell was a great player. He was the World Series Most Valuable Player in 1984, and he should have been the American League MVP in 1987. He hit .300 enough times, won enough Gold Gloves and hit with enough power for his position to be in the Hall of Fame. Yet, his percentage keeps going down. It was 13 percent this year. Conversely, if Trammell had gone into broadcasting, it would have helped his Hall of Fame chances. It did wonders for George Kell, Phil Rizzuto, Pee Wee Reese and Ralph Kiner. They were all shunned by the writers, but were inducted by the veterans committee. Because Trammell and Whitaker have done so poorly in the voting by the writers, it will be difficult to justify their induction into the Hall by the veterans committee. That is a shame. Both deserve better.

Random Thoughts

- I fully expect Wilfredo Ledezma to have a breakout season. It would not surprise me if he wins 12-to-15 games and replaces Mike Maroth permanently in the Tigers starting rotation.

- Drew Brees was named by the Associated Press as the first team All-Pro quarterback. I still think, despite public outcry to have my head examined, that Brees would have meant four or five more victories this season for the Lions. And that if Jon Kitna were the Saints QB, they would not even make the playoffs. Why? Because I believe the first-team All-Pro QB makes that much difference between and losing - regardless of the offensive line.

- I am not sure if the Lions would not be better off if Mike Martz left the team. His offense was all about yards between the 20s, but not scoring when it was needed. Also, his presence seems to keep the Lions from going after a franchise QB. In that way, he is hindering the progress of the organization. The Lions will not win consistently until they have a big-time QB. It has been the one thing missing since their last title in 1957.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Nick P said...

Hey Book,
Glad to hear you talk about Lou & Tram, I wanted to ask you about something relating to this.
Personally, I couldn't be happier to see Mark McGwire not get in, and also get so low a vote count, i think it was like 24/76, or close to that. If a remember correctly Pat, you're in the Baseball Writers Association. I'm curious how you voted on McGwire and why, if you dont mind answering that.

7:48 AM 
Anonymous Chris said...

Pat,
Your comments about Trammell and Whitaker are right on. As a baseball fan, I am totally disgusted with the voting process at this point. Every year, we see the same garbage: voters putting guys on and off their ballots, judging certain players by different standards, etc. The 15 year period to be on the ballot is totally absurd. Letting guys like Goose Gossage, who miraculously piles up more votes year after year, even though he hasn't thrown a ball since 1994, twist in the wind is crazy. The whole McGwire saga is another story - what about the guys who were geared up on other illegal drugs like amphetamines, etc? Should they be shunned also? I know its a tough issue, but the self-righteousness with some writers is disturbing.

Your Thoughts?

10:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
Yes, I am in the BBWAA, have been for more than a decade and as such was one of the 545 voters. I did not put McGwire on my ballot because I do not feel he would have had Hall of Fame numbers were it not for questionable performance-enhancing subatacnes. His actions in front of Congress confirmed that, and so has his silence about it. He went from a broken down ball player to the second coming of Babe Ruth with the snap of a finger because of the stuff. He deceived the game - and is still doing so.
Caputo

10:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chris,
Jack Morris, too, which I wrote about in today's column in The Oakland Press. I understand your frustration, but I have learned not to stand in judgment of other voters because most of them take the process very seriously.
Caputo

10:41 AM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Pat,

Couldn't agree with you more about Tram. The fact that Ozzie Smith is in the HOF and Trammell is not is just plain wrong. Smith was a great defensive shortstop and certainly more flashy than Alan. But I would argue that Tram was every bit as good in the field. And there's absolutely no comparison in terms of hitting. Of shortstops from that era I would rank them this way:

1. Trammell
2. Ripken
3. Yount
4. Smith

I also caught the first part of your discussion on the HOF last night on the radio. You said you tend to favor power hitters over guys that hit for average. In general, I think guys that hit for more power are more valuable. But I think you have to look at the player as a whole before casting your HOF ballott.

I did a little stat research on a few guys that I think makes an interesting comparison. These numbers are all based on 162 game averages for each player:

- Tony Gwynn
617 AB, 92 runs, 9 HR, 76 RBI, 21 SB, .338 avg and .388 OBP.

- Cal Ripken
624 AB, 89 runs, 23 HR, 91 RBI, .276 avg and .340 OBP

- Jim Rice
638 AB, 97 runs, 30 HR, 113 RBI, .298 avg and .352 OBP

- Dave Kingman
557 AB, 75 runs, 37HR, 101 RBI, .236 avg and .302 OBP

I don't think power alone makes a great player. Kingman's power numbers are certainly better than Gwynn's, but no one would argue that Dave Kingman was HOF player.

I think it is important to look at runs and rbis... those are actual runs that player accounted for. I think OBP is also important. When you look at those three areas, I think Tony Gwynn stacks up very well against Ripken. It also points out that Jim Rice absolutely should be in the HOF.

TM

1:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinking man,
Great stuff. I put Gwynn on my ballot without any hesitation. I think he was a great player. But doesn't it seem like there is a lot more than on the 162-game averages you presented on Rice and his .298 batting average compared to Gwynn's .338? That was my point about power vs. slapping the ball around the park without much power.
Caputo

2:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,
Do you think the writers will be this hard on Bonds? He is arguably the biggest jerk in sports and the evidence against him is overwhelming, but he also is hands-down one of the elite players of all-time. What is your gut feeling?

I also want to address the other side of the McGwire argument and get your thoughts. The guy hit 49 homers in his first full season in the big leagues, and if it werent for a couple missed years due to injury, he would have had well over 600 HR's. He was a pretty prolific slugger for his whole career. There is evidence that the ball was juiced in the late 90's as well, and some will argue that steroids do not improve your hand/eye coordination or ability to hit a baseball. If anything, they keep you on the field since you heal faster from lifting, injuries, etc. Also, Its obvious McGwire put a ton of time in the weight room. Even without the drugs, that has tremendous benefits.

I am not condoning his actions, his horrific performance in front of Congress, etc....just want to see what you think about those points.

2:51 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Ok this is the time of year when there is so much to talk about. How do you fit it all in?

Lets start with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yeah I think Ripken and Gwynn are Hall of Famers. At the same time I think it is rediculously B.S. that Goose, Morris, Rice, Trammell, WHitaker, and Lolich aren't even sniffing the door steps. These are all deservable players. Next year will be a travesity if at least Goose, Morris, and Rice don't get in based upon the very weak class. Morris did it when it counted. There wasn't to many people you could rely on like Goose. WHitaker obviously has to wait for the writers. But how does Ozzie Smith get in and not Trammell. Rice put up awesome numbers legitamately. Lolich should get a senior committe or writers vote in based on his numbers. IF not the hall of fame in my mind is a joke. As for McGwire. He did this to himself in my mind. Along with Sosa and Palmerio for looking like jackasses. At the same time weather he did the roids or not. His and Sosa chase for the record really hellped baseball a lot. To me Bonds didn't need to take the roids. I feel he would have been a HofF guy anyways. But he did it to himself. So I don't feel bad for either of those guys for wrecking their own legacies.

Lets talk Lions. Good Bye Martz I really don't care.

Lets talk Pistons. They need to make a move. I wouldn't be upset if they signed weber to come off the bench. I think Peterson would serve better. I don't think the Pistons would be worse of if they didn't make a move, but if they want to compete for a championship. I think they do. I like Webber because he can still get you those inside points. WHile everyone else is standing beyond the Arch. Personally though. I think they should make a trade. I agree with some valid points made by the Inferno.

Red Wings I think this year is good for them. Though the goaltending still concerns me. I just feel Hasek is about to pull a groin some point. I don't trust Osgood. Either way I am ok with it, because I think they can really make a splash next offseason.

4:49 PM 
Anonymous sportznut said...

Hey Pat,
Good stuff. I think trying to be objective I can look at the likes of Trammell, Whitaker, and Morris and say these guys are borderline Hall of Famers.
However, if you do compare Trammell to the shortstops of his generation, only Cal Ripken Jr can really be considered better than him, other than Robin Young when he played the position. Trammell was a solid defender, and hit in the middle of the Tigers lineup when it was rare for a SS to do so.

Jack Morris was my favorite Tiger of alltime. He wasn't the next coming of Cy Young, but he was the ultimate gamer. What he did in the post season should've been enough to give him a legit shot.

I think the biggest travesty though, is for Lou Whitaker. He was as smooth as silk, and his career numbers compare favorably to one Joe Morgan. Yes, he doesn't have the two MVPs, but nonetheless, his numbers are on par.

Fact of the matter is in a bigger market, or on a more popular team and I'm willing to bet 1 or 2 of these guys are in.

I find your comments about Ledezma a little odd. Not that I don't think he has upside, but by all indications Maroth will be the 5th starter, and Ledezma will either be a long reliever or possibly take over Walker's role in the pen. Have you heard something else to come to this conclusion, or are you just counting on Maroth not making it through the season healthy? Lastly, do you think Maroth would be traded still?

I don't think it would shock anyone here if Martz is one and done. When he signed onboard with the Lions, most of us expected it to happen.

I know this team has needs all over the field, and I really would like to see them address the trenches big time in this draft. They desperately need a DE that opposing QBs fear. They need to overhaul that offensive line. If they drafted a guy like Alan Branch, with Rogers with the program, that could be a deadly combo. That, of course, would only be a consideration if Corey Redding doesn't come back. I think Redding will realize this might be his only shot at a big payday and run. I believe we just saw Redding's best year of his career.

When they get done with the DE/OL issues, the next on the list is a MLB. For those reasons, I'd rather not see a QB early in the draft this year, if at all.

I do agree Kitna isn't the answer though, and McCown along with Orlovsky probably aren't as well.

With all that said, they do need to address the QB position eventually.

If they draft a QB with that number 2 pick, it better NOT be Brady Quinn.

4:55 PM 
Anonymous poncho said...

The Book thinks Ledezma will be that good? Wow! I think he is good for about 4 innings, then he loses it. I think he is actually pretty similar to Nate Robertson was before last year. But what about Ledezma staying in the bullpen as Walker's replacement?

I also like the Books thoughts about Trammell and Rice. How much better really is Ripken than Tram? Rice is the best power hitter from just before the steroid era. He should not be punished for that. He could have held on for another year or two to get to 400 HRs... but why should he have had to do that? Also, he hit many doubles that were high off the wall in Fenway... hits that would have been HRs in other parks. His hitting style (line drives) actually hurt him in Fenway.

Bottom line... Tram and Rice belong without a doubt.

8:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trammell, Whitaker, Morris and Lolich. Wonder how many votes they would get if they played in NY? Ill have to look up scooters stats! I still see sweet Lou turning on one and put it into upper deck and then making the turn at 2nd for a tough DP and make it look easy..Vinny

9:36 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
A lot could happen between now and the time Bonds is eligible. This thing now with him taking greenies and hanging a teammate out to drive is an example. But as stands, I would put Bonds on my ballot because he was a Hall of Fame caliber player before it was obvious he was doing the stuff. I believe you can't take away what a player has accomplished legitimately. I would also vote for Pete Rose. I don't believe McGwire would have come close to a Hall of Fame career were it not for using performance-enhancing substances. Same for Palmeiro and Sosa. I don't think I will vote for them, either.
Caputo

12:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
If the Pistons have a choice, they should take Peterson. They need another scorer and Mo Pete can add something defensively. C Web is a great passer for a big man, but is limited because his legs are shot.
Caputo

12:21 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Sportznut,
The Tigers are in a great spot because they have much better starting pitching depth than other teams, but Ledezma is very talented. He throws in the low to mid 90s, has a big-time changeup and has improved his curveball. He handled the pressure well last season. Maroth has great character, so I wouldn't count him out, but in my opinion, Ledezma is better, and that will ultimately show through.
Caputo

12:25 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Poncho,
I just think Ledezma is too good to use as a situational lefty.
Caputo

12:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
There is without question a New York bias, but Rizzuto didn't get through the writers voting. He got in through the veterans committee. Ex-players who become broadcasters (Rizzuto, Kell, Kiner, Reese) got put in by the Veterans Committee. In my opinion, Trammell, Whitaker and Mickey Lolich are all more worthy than those four. But none broadcasts games.
Caputo

12:29 PM 

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