Tom Seaver

Derek Jeter Not Being Unanimous Is Meaningless

If you’ve been to Cooperstown, you’ve assuredly seen the plaques of the players inducted into the Hall of Fame. When you look at them, you’ll see how they’re arranged – chronologically.

Tom Seaver isn’t next to other pitching greats like Walter Johnson or Greg Maddux.

The Hall of Fame also didn’t create a special wing for Seaver, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mariano Rivera for the players inducted with the highest percent of the vote.

Seaver isn’t also kept in a different area than Mike Piazza, Joe DiMaggio, or any other player who was not a first ballot Hall of Famer. No, Hall of Famers are all the same spot, and as noted above, their plaques are only sorted chronologically.

In the end, that’s why it doesn’t matter that one voter withheld a vote from Derek Jeter.

Jeter being unanimous would have been an interesting footnote albeit one which is not mentioned on a Hall of Fame plaque. You could also be a positive step towards stepping away from this first ballot Hall of Famer nonsense.

To that point, it’s quite fitting Jeter’s plaque will be next to Larry Walker‘s. For his part, Walker was elected on his final year on the ballot, and he cleared the 75% hurdle by just six votes.

As an aside, Jeter falling one vote shy could be reason for a renewed call for public voting. After all, if you feel that strong about bucking the general consensus, you should state your case. No, not explain yourself, but let us know what we’re all missing.

More to that point, writers demand accountability from players, and when a player ducks the press, we hear about it, and that player is chastised. The same people who do that should be accountable when it is their turn.

However, that’s besides the point. Whether Jeter was one vote short of being unanimous or his having 90 fewer votes, the end result is the same.

Jeter is a Hall of Famer just like Walker, and when all is said and done, that’s all that matters.

Mets Need A Mike Piazza Statue

Later today, the New York Mets are going to have a press conference with the City of St. Lucie to announce the street address of Clover Park, the Mets Spring Training facility and home of the High-A St. Lucie Mets, in honor of Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. This is similar to how the Mets worked with the City of New York to change the address of Citi Field to 41 Seaver Way to honor Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

With respect to Seaver, the Mets old standard for retiring player numbers was induction into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. That is why up until later this year Seaver and Piazza were the only Mets players who had their numbers retired by the team.

On that point, the Mets have changed their long held standard. At sometime during 2020, the New York Mets are going to retire Jerry Koosman‘s 36. This means an honor which belonged solely to Hall of Famers is now going to be applied to Koosman as well as other Mets whose numbers should be retired in the ensuing years like Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and David Wright.

While it seems like the Mets pivot on the singular honor given to Hall of Famers is a street address, it does seem like there should be more. After all, aside from Spring Training and the occasional rehab stint, St. Lucie is the domain of minor leaguers only. More to the point, driving down 31 Piazza Way is not going to be a part of attending a New York Mets game.

There’s also the matter of what happens after that. Will there be a 48 deGrom Way in Syracuse or Brooklyn one day? Really at some point, there is going to be diminishing returns on this plan. When you break it down, the only real way to honor the Hall of Famers is to build a statue in their honor.

Currently, the Mets are in the process of building one for Seaver, and there will be date when it will be installed and unveiled. While the Mets are involved in this process, they should also be making plans to build and install a Piazza statue.

It some ways it is fitting given how Seaver and Piazza combined for the last pitch in Shea Stadium, and the two of them walked out together. They also came together for the first pitch at Citi Field. Overall, these are the two giants in Mets history, and having statues for both of them make sense.

In the end, Seaver getting his statue is long overdue, and the Mets finally came to their senses and built one. With the Mets retiring numbers for other players in their history, they should now go forward and build statues for Hall of Fame players so to make them really stand out as the giants in team history. That means after Seaver’s statue is built, Piazza’s should be next.

SNY Should Bring Back The Odd Couple

Back in the days before SNY, way back to the WWOR days, rain delays and rain outs didn’t mean Mets Yearbooks or Rain Delay Theatres. No, it meant Oscar Madison and Felix Unger:

Growing up, there was always a sense of disappointment when you turned on the TV to see The Odd Couple because it meant no Mets baseball. And yet, you got over it because The Odd Couple was a good show.

No, as I get older, I do yearn for the days of The Odd Couple. That goes double when you consider the Mets made shows completely tone deaf shows like Amazin’ Finishes highlighting, amongst others, the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

There was something so uniquely Mets about The Odd Couple, and it stretched farther than Oscar Madison’s Mets cap.

In some ways, Oscar was the old Brooklyn Dodgers and Felix was the New York Giants. They were sent away from their homes, and somehow they came together and somehow had to find a way to co-exist and attract a new wife (new fans) in New York.

It wasn’t always easy, but underneath there was hope. Mostly, there was a life after well worth living. That’s the New York Mets.

They didn’t have Willie, Mickey, or The Duke. Well, at least they wouldn’t have Willie or The Duke from their hey day. However, the Mets did have Tom Seaver.

In many ways, The Odd Couple was the perfect show to air during Mets delays, and now, according to the TV Guide, it’s gone from the airways.

On a day where we see marathons for classic shows like The Honeymooners and The Twilight Zone, there could be room for SNY to have a marathon for The Odd Couple. More than that, they should have room to bring the show back and once again make it part of the quintessential Mets experience.

Eddie Murphy On Saturday Night Live Proves He Is A Legend

When you reach a certain age, you see things once great cease to be so. With sports, it happens all of the time.

Tom Seaver, arguably the best right-handed pitcher of all-time, was a back end starting pitcher at the end of his career.

This is what age and time does. You can lose that proverbial fastball, or in Seaver’s case, his actual fastball. Still, the greats are forever the greats, and sometimes in Hollywood fashion, we see a Billy Chapel moment.

That was last night with Eddie Murphy.

To say he is a comedy legend is a complete and utter understatement. This is the man who is probably the greatest SNL cast member of all-time (more on this in a moment).

He’s the genius who made movies like Coming to America and Trading Places all-time great comedies. In some ways, Beverly Hills Cop may not have created a certain genre, but it certainly defines it.

His stand-up special, Raw, could be the greatest stand-up special of all-time. If nothing else, the concert is the best selling.

All told, Eddie Murphy could very well be the funniest person who ever lived. Even though he had become a bit of a punchline when he slogged through movies like Norbit, he’s still hilarious, and we were reminded of that last night.

In his return to Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years (with the exception of an awkward appearance at the 40th Anniversary special), Murphy showed himself to be the unparalleled comedy genius he is.

Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood. Buckwheat. Velvet Jones.

He brought all of the characters back in what is easily the greatest SNL episode this century, perhaps ever.

Eddie Murphy is an absolute legend and seeing him reach back for that fastball to help him once again be the funniest man alive was one of the greatest Christmas gifts we all could have received.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while picketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while picketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while pocketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Zack Wheeler Leaving Is A Great Day Because The Wilpons Sold The Mets

Today should have been a terrible day in Mets history. Despite his desperately wanting to stay with the Mets, the team made no offer to Zack Wheeler. That was even the case with him accepting a discounted deal he gave the Mets to match or beat.

Still, even with Wheeler leaving, today was one of the greatest days in New York Mets history. In fact, it may be better than the day Tom Seaver fell into the Mets laps, Cleon Jones caught Davey Johnson‘s fly ball, Mookie Wilson hit a little dribbler up the first base line, Jesse Orosco threw his glove in the air, or the day the Mets obtained Mike Piazza.

If this seems like hyperbole, it isn’t, at least not too much of it. As we saw in 1980 when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets, ownership means everything in pro sports. One day, you’re completely irrelevant playing in Grant’s Tomb, and the next, you’re in the greatest stretch in franchise history obtaining Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter to help the team win the second World Series in franchise history.

These types of things were no longer possible. Not really. Between Jeff Wilpon’s mismanagement and the extremely restricted finances in the wake of the Madoff scandal, the Mets couldn’t continue a prolonged run.

After that shocking 2015 pennant, the Mets lost the Wild Card Game the following year and were under .500 in each of the successive two years. Much of the reason why was a series of penny wise pound foolish decisions.

That can now change with Steve Cohen increasing his ownership share in the Mets from 4% to 80%. With that the Mets went from the Wilpons who are not billionaires to someone who is the richest owner in baseball.

This means it’s no longer a fait accompli Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto are as good as gone when they hit free agency. It means there’s a good chance Jacob deGrom gets the chance David Wright never did – to be the face of a Mets team truly dedicated to winning.

The Wilpons are gone or soon will be. With them leaving and being replaced by a man with deep pockets and an ability to properly run an organization, anything is possible.

For his part, it’s sad Wheeler won’t get to experience it. For Mets fans, we can’t wait to see what happens next. That’s not a position we’ve really ever been in since the team moved to Citi Field.

Mets Proposed 2020 Uniform Plan

Since the black jerseys were first introduced in 1998, they have garnered much debate amongst fans. For some, they are like the racing stripe jerseys. It is the jersey they associate the Mets wearing when they were on top of the world. Think back to it. The Mets wore the black jerseys for some really monumental occasions:

Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single
Bobby Jones‘ one hitter
Mike Hampton clinching the 2000 pennant
David Wright celebrating the 2006 NL East clincher

There were many more moments as well. With the Mets soon to embark on the 20th anniversary of that 2000 pennant, there seems to be a recent push to bring back those jerseys. Certainly, it is something we saw Pete Alonso, Marcus Stroman, and some other brilliant writer bring up over the last few months.

Now there, were a few problems with the black jerseys. To a certain portion of the fanbase, it was an abandonment of the Mets true glory years. These were not the jerseys of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. It looked nothing like the jerseys of Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry. Really, it was a complete abandonment of the Mets roots which was supposed to be a partial homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

On more than one occasion, we heard Howie Rose lament about the infrequency in which we all saw the pinstripes. That was truly bizarre as they remained the designated home jersey. The black jerseys were only supposed to be an alternate, but they were treated as anything but that. Throw in the awful cap, and you see things did need to be eventually changed.

Since 2011, the black jerseys have been retired. In that time, the Mets have had a welcome return of the pinstripes, and they finally added the blue alternates fans had wanted to see for years. Still, with the anniversary, it being the jersey many grew up seeing, and people liking the look of it, people also want to see the black jerseys. With Carlos Beltran‘s return, it does seem like the right time to do it.

What many don’t want to see is the black jerseys overdone. They also want to see the pinstripes and the blue alternates. To that end, as previously proposed, the black jerseys should become the Friday night jerseys. If nothing else, it would be a call back to this epic Mike Piazza homer, which not so coincidentally, was on a Friday night:

As for the blue alternates, the Mets should put Mr. Met back as a sleeve patch, and the team should wear them as part of the Family Sundays.That ensures the blue alternates don’t get lost in the shuffle, and as noted, the Mr. Met patch is a nice touch for the days when the team has the Mr. Met dash.

For the weekday games, the Mets should wear the pinstripes.

Aside from Friday and Sunday, this need not be a hard and fast rule. The team could catch fire in one jersey leading to the team wearing them more as a good luck charm. The team could opt to feature one as part of a national showcase game for Fox or ESPN. The one caveat being it makes little to no sense to wear the black jerseys during hot summer days. But overall, this is the framework which really works well for the team.

Planning it all out this way, allows the Mets to do some advertising around it, and it seems to satisfy all fans. More than that, it gives the team an opportunity to really boost jersey sales. Overall, when this keeps everyone happy, and it leads to more money for the team, it is difficult to imagine why the team would not proceed with this plan.

Baseball Hall of Fame Needs To Change The Five Percent Rule

Over the past few years, we have seen some players who deserved longer looks and deeper analysis fall off the Hall of Fame ballot for their failure to receive five percent of the vote. This puts sometimes deserving and borderline players in a limbo hoping and waiting they receive eventual consideration from the Veteran’s Committee.

Carlos Delgado fell off the ballot after receiving just 3.8% of the vote. That happened despite his having more homers than Jeff Bagwell and Tony Perez. He had a better OBP than Harmon Killebrew and Willie McCovey. He also had a higher slugging than Eddie Murray. Overall, his 138 OPS+ was higher than Bill Terry and Frank Chance.

Now, you could also argue he wasn’t up to Hall of Fame standards, but that debate never really could develop as he fell off the ballot.

We saw similar problems in center field with Kenny Lofton receiving 3.2% of the vote in 2013 and Jim Edmonds receiving 2.5% of the vote in 2016.

Lofton had a higher WAR than Andre Dawson, who was inducted in 2010. He also has a higher WAR than Andruw Jones, who is appearing on the ballot for a third time this year. On that point, he is teetering himself with his just receiving 7.5% last year.

Edmonds is just a hair behind Dawson in career WAR, but he is also well ahead of Kirby Puckett. Notably, Edmonds trails just Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Torii Hunter in Gold Gloves won by a center fielder. Notably, his eight are the same amount as Dawson. Given how comparable he is to Dawson, you’d think he would get a longer look. He didn’t.

The same could be made about any number of candidates. Hideki Matsui had over 500 professional homers. Johan Santana had a higher WAR and ERA+ than Sandy Koufax. John Franco has more saves than any left-handed closer, and he has a higher ERA+ than Hall of Fame closers Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, and Dennis Eckersley. Finally, David Cone presents his own interesting case. All of these players were one and one on the ballot.

We will likely see the same happen to Bobby Abreu this year despite his having a better WAR, WAR7, and JAWS than recently inducted Vladimir Guerrero. He also has more doubles, triples, stolen bases, walks, and a higher OBP. Keep in mind, Guerrero was inducted just last year making the votes on the two players quite disparate despite having the same electorate.

All of these players hope to one day have the same chance Lou Whitaker now has.

Back in 2001, Whitaker only received 2.1% of the vote, which to this day, is plain wrong. Looking at WAR, Whitaker is the seventh best second baseman of all-time, and the third best at the position to debut after World War II.

He accumulated more hits than Tony Lazzeri and Johnny Evers. He scored more runs than Red Schoendienst and Jackie Robinson. He has more doubles than Ryne Sandberg and Nellie Fox. He has more triples than Craig Biggio and Bill Mazeroski. He has more stolen bases than Rogers Hornsby and Billy Herman. Overall, his OPS+ is higher than Roberto Alomar‘s and Bobby Doerr‘s

By any measure, Whitaker should be in the Hall of Fame, and yet because of the five percent rule, he has not yet been inducted. Looking at Whitaker and other cases, it is probably time the rule gets changed.

Conceptually, the five percent rule makes sense. A player does not come to vote until five years after his career is over. Ideally, this means voters have had an opportunity to assess a career in full and make a determination. However, in practice, it does not quite turn out that way.

Really, when there are fringe and overlooked candidates, there is usually someone championing them leading to them getting more attention, and eventually, induction. Bert Blyleven received 17.6% of the vote in his first year of eligibility, and he was inducted on his final year on the ballot. Tim Raines received 24.3% in his first year and was inducted on his last year. Hopefully, we will see something similar happen with Larry Walker.

The point is for every Mariano Rivera and Tom Seaver there are a number of Hall of Famers who have needed years of analysis and debate. By taking players off the ballot after one year, we are all losing the opportunity to have deeper analysis and debate about players who may well belong in the Hall of Fame.

There has to be a better way especially when we see a top 10 second baseman like Whitaker fall off the ballot. Perhaps, that rule could be relaxed for a year and moved to a player’s second year of eligibility. Perhaps, the Hall of Fame could tier the percent of the vote needed to keep a player on the ballot.

For example, to stay on the ballot after one year you only need just one vote. After the first year, you need five percent of the vote with the threshold rising roughly two percent each year so you need 18% of the vote to make it onto the final year on the ballot.

Structuring the vote this way allows for more debate about players while also presenting an opportunity to remove players who have not swayed the vote in a particular direction. Certainly, this type of system would be better than just disregarding players after one year, lamenting it, and then hoping someone corrects the error a decade or so later.