Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Congratulations to Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr.

The news just came in today that Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. are the latest additions to the Hall of Fame. I have fond memories of these guys' heyday, back when I was a kid in the '90s. Congratulations go out to both of them. It's well-deserved.

As far as this blog is concerned, it's time for an update. Check out this classic Baseball Junk Drawer list:

Hall of Famers' First Major League Home Runs

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Rangers Franchise Deep Four

Hey, another of these! Yeah, I decided to finish this one, which I'd started on a while ago. The Washington Senators/Texas Rangers franchise isn't one that gets a lot of historical examination, but let it not be said that Baseball Junk Drawer ignores it!

1stKenny RogersIvan RodriguezRafael PalmeiroIan KinslerBuddy BellAlex RodriguezFrank HowardOddibe McDowellJuan Gonzalez
2ndCharlie HoughJim SundbergMark TeixeiraJulio FrancoAdrian BeltreElvis AndrusRusty GreerDon LockRuben Sierra
3rdFergie JenkinsPaul CasanovaWill ClarkBump WillsKen McMullenToby HarrahJosh HamiltonLeonys MartinNelson Cruz
4thNolan RyanGerald LairdPete O'BrienMark McLemoreHank BlalockScott FletcherBilly SampleMickey RiversJeff Burroughs

I hated to put Josh Hamilton on the 3rd Team, but I didn't feel right about putting him in center field, and he only had that one big MVP season while playing primarily left. The truth is though, Hamilton probably isn't (or wasn't) as great as that season, all things considered, so maybe it's perfectly fitting not to rank him very high.

Michael Young played too many positions to put him at any one, and since the Rangers are pretty strong at shortstop, Young's most logical position, he was off the board completely. Ed Brinkman was another fine player at that position who didn't make the cut. It's a shame there wasn't a place for Mr. Ranger somewhere.

I was surprised at how strong third base, pitcher, and right field were. Center field was weak, and catcher was extremely top-heavy. Jim Sundberg was probably good enough to be some teams' #1, but here he's stuck behind Pudge. After those two, the cupboard is pretty bare.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

List Updates 2015

Now that the season is over, some of my lists needed to be updated, so here they are for your viewing pleasure:

Rookie of the Year Facts
The Second Place Award Winners
The Run That Clinched It

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Angels Franchise Deep Four

I'm back with the first expansion franchise in this series, the multi-locale-named Angels. Due to a history half a century shorter than the classic American League franchises, I decided to limit this to a Deep Four, rather than the traditional six. And funny enough, even then it felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel with a few of these guys. Let's take a look:

1stChuck FinleyBob BooneWally JoynerBobby GrichTroy GlausJim FregosiGarret AndersonMike TroutTim Salmon
2ndFrank TananaMike NapoliRod CarewHowie KendrickChone FigginsErick AybarBrian DowningJim EdmondsVladimir Guerrero
3rdNolan RyanLance ParrishAlbert PujolsAdam KennedyDoug DeCincesDavid EcksteinRick ReichardtGary PettisKole Calhoun
4thJered WeaverBengie MolinaDarin ErstadBobby KnoopKen McMullenDick SchofieldLeon WagnerTorii HunterLeroy Stanton

I'm surprised that Frank Tanana ended up ahead of the great Nolan Ryan, but it seemed that he had the slight edge. Chuck Finley was underrated, but he's the ultimate Angels pitcher.

Right field was interesting for two reasons: One, that Tim Salmon ended up ahead of possible Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero, and two, the large dropoff after the 2nd Team. Kole Calhoun hasn't even been around that long and he's already on the 3rd Team.

Catcher was surprisingly tough. Bob Boone ended up on the 1st Team, but he's not overly impressive a choice. Mike Napoli was tough to put on the 2nd Team only because he was never more than a part-time player, but his numbers spoke loudly. When will the Angels ever have a truly awesome catcher?

Who'd have thought that Wally Joyner would end up ahead of two Hall of Famers at first base? While Pujols and Carew had greater careers, when only their work with the Angels is considered, Wally World edges them out, at least for now. Pujols still has a long contract ahead of him to perhaps take the lead, but he is in the decline phase of his career, so...yeah.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Oligopoly is Dead

After ten years, the Kansas City Royals have finally vanquished the Oligopoly. May it never show its ugly face again. Yes, we'll hear another year of Met fans whining about how much they've had to suffer without a World Series title (30 whole years! Boo-freaking-hoo!), but it's a small price to pay.

The Royals were a joke for most of my baseball fandom. The winning season they had in 2003 was the first I ever saw from them, and at that point, it was a novel occurrence. They immediately followed it with another string of losing seasons, most of which only caught the attention of baseball fans due to Joe Posnanski's blog. They had become emblematic of the small-market franchise struggling to compete with the big dogs.

In the early 2010's, their minor league system was the talk of baseball, and things seemed to be looking up at last. But there was still the question of how or when these guys would mature. And of course, the postseason being as fluky as it is, could they defy the odds and win the World Series?

It looks like the script couldn't have played out any better: K.C. did it with their homegrown guys, overcame deficit after deficit, and made it to the top of the hill. It was the culmination of a long process, and a dream ending for every small-market club that needs to invest heavily in scouting and player development just to contend at all. They've given a glimmer of hope to a lot of fans who've had to watch the big-ticket squads take the trophy in recent years.

Now that the Oligopoly has been squashed, 2016 might be worth looking forward to. Let's hope next year's World Series champion will be another group as likable and interesting as this one.

Congratulations, Royals!