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Today's future HoFers "Legends?"


With Manny Ramirez hitting his 500th career homer basically stamping his admission into the Hall of Fame, I just can't see him in the same class as Legendary outfielders Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.

In my opinion, what Aaron, Mays and Clemente did for the game will always be much bigger than what today's stars have done. In an era where there was no question these players did it naturally and also in an era of racial disharmony, it seems to me that today's stars will never be as legendary as Mays, Aaron and Clemente. Clemente risked and lost his life for the good of the people of Nicaragua in the aftermath of the Hurricane down there while the stars today just don't seem to be as "humanitarian-like."

Aaron endured death threats during his run against Babe Ruth's Home Run record in a divisive southern city of Atlanta during the aftermath of the Civil Rights era while Bonds endured the "steroids questions." It just seems like there is no match for today's future Hall of Famers against their counterparts of yesteryear.

Even Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio are in classes by themselves, Mantle managed to pound out a productive Hall of Fame career despite a magnitude of injuries and battles with alcoholism and DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak hasn't been touched. Of the prominent hitting records still standing, DiMaggio's hit streak and Ted Williams .400 season still stands in the books.

I just can't envision people 40 years from now ranting and raving and telling stories of how great Manny Ramirez was or how great some of the newer members of the 500 home run club where.

Aside from that, here is what I believe about the hitting "benchmarks" players of today have in getting inducted:

 

500 home runs:

Barry Bonds - Much to debated about his record-breaking career. Prior to his 73-home run season in 2001, he had 494 home runs. If there wasn't a question of whether he took steroids to boost his statistics after 2000 and had more human-like stats after that season, he would have been a sure-fire Hall of Fame without any question. Not to mention, he once was a base stealer which could have swayed voters to voting him in had he not approached 700 career homers.

Sammy Sosa - Another player filed under "steroids skepticism." He should be more scrutinized than Bonds when his name appears on the ballot because prior to his 66-home run season, he had a mere 211 career home runs. If you averaged out his Home Runs per season prior to the 1998 season, he amassed 19.18 home runs per season. After his home run tear, he averaged 42 home runs. There just seems to be more question in my opinion about whether he was artificially enhanced after that season. The difference between Bonds and Sosa is, Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer anyway had he continued his "baseline-type" seasons prior to his 73-homer season in 2001. But writers may discount Bonds anyway, because he broke a sacred record while allegedly on steroids.

Ken Griffey Jr. - Had he not been injured so much after being traded to Cincinnati, he may have been in the 700-home run club by now. He amassed 398 career homers with Seattle before being traded to Cincy. In 11 years with the Mariners, he averaged just a shade over 36 home runs a season. Had he continued that average with the Reds and not gotten injured, he would have accumulated 723.63 home runs by now. Keep in mind that many sports writers and analysts across the nation believe he is the most natural (non-PED) hitter among the active hitters in the 600-home run club. He will definitely be more approved by the BBWAA come the time his name appears on the ballot than Bonds or Sosa.

Alex Rodriquez - There really isn't as much accusation of A-Rod using PEDs than any other active player on this list. But there have been a couple if not fewer whispers he may have used PEDs (namely Canseco). But he does seem to be a more respectable member of the 500-club than Bonds or Sosa. But he does play a more demanding position at third base than any of the outfielders on this list, so he will likely be looked at in higher regard than any of the other members of the active 500 homer club.

Frank Thomas and Jim Thome - Due to this era's over-inflated power-stats, could Thomas and Thome be discounted from the Hall of Fame or passed over on their first ballot?

Manny Ramirez - Ramirez should be the anti-Roberto Clemente due to his flamboyant personality on the field. The way he views his home runs and trots out hits shows he may not respect the game as much as the legends of yesteryear. In my opinion, "Manny being Manny" could lose votes among the current Hall of Famers for lack of respect for the game. I could be wrong.

 

Most overlooked player:

Chipper Jones - Given the fact that he has played a demanding position like A-Rod and also that he is a switch-hitter, he should be considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer NOW. On top of that, Jones reflects a rarity among stars, the ability to say he played his ENTIRE career with one team. He is the last link among Braves position players to Atlanta's 1995 World Series champion team and passed 400 career home runs. He is 36-year-olds right now and seems to have time to approach and pass 500 career home runs. Could he be the all-time leader in Home Runs by a switch-hitter by the time his career ends? Quite possibly, he needs 135 more to tie Mickey Mantle.

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It just seems like there is no match for today's future Hall of Famers against their counterparts of yesteryear.

 

This is always the case, I think. It's easy to take guys for granted while they are still playing. Once they retire, the necessary perspective on their impact tends to be easier to see. Besides, the coverage we now have of ballplayers is really unprecedented. The warts of players used to be hidden, only serving to glorify their 'idol' status even further.

 

I think one just has to accept that PEDs were the level playing field in the 80's, 90's, & even today. What a guy did relative to his era will always be how I try to measure players, and I just don't feel PEDs changed it all that much (since I think nearly everyone was using them).

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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Aaron endured death threats during his run against Babe Ruth's Home Run record in a divisive southern city of Atlanta during the aftermath of the Civil Rights era while Bonds endured the "steroids questions."

 

I'd be almost positive Bonds has received a few death threats in his day, just because it's not the south during the Civil Rights movement doesn't mean there aren't any sick people left.

 

I personally think you're underrating Manny a bit. He's already at 505 HR and is on pace for about 25 more this season. Even if he only plays another two years after this, he'd probably get at least 40 more total barring any big injuries, which puts him at 570. His career OPS+ is 154, where Willie Mays's was 156. Ramirez is also already 24th all time in RBI's. While a lot of people realize it's team-oriented, I'm sure people who vote for HOFers will look at that in high regard.

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I don't think there's any doubt KGJ would be the home run leader had he been able to stay healthy. There are seven years where he missed at least 40 games and in most of them it was way more than that. He'd have 800 home runs by now, but we all know how that goes.

 

The one record that I think will never be broken is DiMaggio's hit streak. One because it's just a ridiculous number, and two because it's not a legitimate record in the first place.

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Besides, the coverage we now have of ballplayers is really unprecedented. The warts of players used to be hidden, only serving to glorify their 'idol' status even further.

 

That statement is very true. A lot of people perceived Willie Mays as a "good guy" but according to some insider reports from his playing days, he may have been considered a vile-type of player. But now that we have a 24-hour sports network and endless National TV games, there really is obviously a lot more coverage of said players today. Prior to the ESPN days, we would be lucky to catch one National game a week and the All-Star game was the "one chance" we got to see the games best in one arena and nowadays, the All-Star game is now more of a spectacle than anything else.

But even the 70's had PEDs, Speed and other amphetamines, but now it is about strength, not energy. The book Ball Four is the perfect depiction of "greenies" in the 70's and prior. But the 80's may have been the beginning of the steroid era, but also the end of the alleged "global" use of greenies and cocaine in MLB. I seem to remember cocaine being an issue in the mid 80's with probation being handed down to a handful of players including Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez.

But in perspective to eras, you may be right when it comes to looking into the future. We may actually talk about the playing abilities of A-Rod and Manny. But in my perspective, the two position players that stand out to me right now as being future "legends" are Griffey and Chipper Jones.

As I stated before, Jones is the most overlooked player. He played third base, switch-hitter, played his entire career with one-team (pending any future developments and this is a rarity in today's era of free agency and trades) and was a solid defender and has 400 homers as a switch-hitter.

 

Today's future Hall of Fame pitchers are the players I can place in "legendary" status much easier than position players due to the hitting era.

 

Greg Maddux (active leader in wins with 350, four behind Clemens for eighth all-time): Had a tough rookie year with the Cubs and was almost shown the door after his rookie campaign and was able to step it up. Four consecutive Cy Young Awards and is probably the best fielding pitcher in ML history. Due to his "finesse" pitching style, there is probably minimal talk about PED use.

Tom Glavine: Location, location, location. That is what his game was all about. He almost always delivered the ball right into where the catcher spotted his pitches. Earned two Cy Youngs and the 1995 World Series MVP. Like Maddux, is also a member of the 300-win club.

Randy Johnson: Had he not been a power and strikeout pitcher, he may have amassed more wins. Strikeout pitchers equals more pitches and more wear and tear on the body. He really didn't "catch fire" in his career until he passed his 30th birthday Had he been more productive prior to his 30th birthday, he would have gotten to his 300th career win by now. But he has been one of the more durable pitchers after his 30th birthday.

Trevor Hoffman: The new career saves leader with 538. Due to the formation of the "closer role" in his playing era, could this discount his accomplishment more than say, a Dennis Eckersley or Lee Smith? Both pitchers played in an era where the closer role was just being developed. Of the top 20 saves leaders of All-Time, more than half played in the late 80's until present with seven currently being active (Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, Billy Wagner, Troy Percival, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa and Todd Jones.)

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Frank Thomas and Jim Thome - Due to this era's over-inflated power-stats, could Thomas and Thome be discounted from the Hall of Fame or passed over on their first ballot?

Frank Thomas is not only a slugger but he was also able to hit for average. In Frank Thomas's prime he only had one year where he struck out more than 100 times. You have to consider Frank Thomas as one of the legends in the 90's along with McGwire, Henderson, Yount, Molitor, Brett, and Griffey along the lines for hitting. Thomas was one of the best hitters in the 90's giving you 30+ HR's a year 100 RBI's and a .340 average. Thomas was not just another power hitter he was at about the same level as Molitor, Yount, and Gwynn were for hitting.

 

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I think this issue is really about how times have changed. It's a different world. There will never be another Beatles or Elvis either, because as a society we are much more diverse nowadays in our opinions, passions, taste, ethics, morals, etc. Baseball has a huge audience today, but it's not the dominant professional sport anymore. Those of us who are fans are oversaturated with the game. No matter where you live you have access to watch almost every game every night (except of course for your home town team--they'll be blacked out. Thanks MLB!@). I think this has an effect of dulling the star power of any individual player.
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Thomas was a sick beast in the 1990's. I think a lot of people forget just how unbelievable he was, since he had a pretty sudden decline after an injury forced him to miss most of the 2001 season.

 

Then again, he still went 42/105/.267 in 2003 and 39/114/.270 in 2006.

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Frank Thomas is not only a slugger but he was also able to hit for average. In Frank Thomas's prime he only had one year where he struck out more than 100 times. You have to consider Frank Thomas as one of the legends in the 90's along with McGwire, Henderson, Yount, Molitor, Brett, and Griffey along the lines for hitting. Thomas was one of the best hitters in the 90's giving you 30+ HR's a year 100 RBI's and a .340 average. Thomas was not just another power hitter he was at about the same level as Molitor, Yount, and Gwynn were for hitting.

 

I know this is a Brewers board and all, but do you really consider Yount to be on the level with those other names? I don't, at least not as a hitter. As an all around player the case can be made, but I find each of those guys to be a much better hitter Yount.

 

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I know this is a Brewers board and all, but do you really consider Yount to be on the level with those other names? I don't, at least not as a hitter. As an all around player the case can be made, but I find each of those guys to be a much better hitter Yount.

 

He is just one of the greats I wouldn't put him up there with Molitor or Gwynn but he was a good to great hitter. He did get 3,000 hits which isn't an easy task to do. The 90's were definitely probably one of the best era's for hitters in a long time. I'm not talking about the quality of the hitters but the quantity of how many good to great hitters there were in the 90's there were so many in the 90's it is hard to pick out who exactly was the best hitter in the 90's.

 

You have Puckett, Yount, Molitor, Gwynn, Thomas, Griffey, Bonds, Brett, and the list goes on and on and on in the 90's. That decade will have a lot of players who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame but won't get there because of the steroid era allegations. Players like Griffey and Thomas though shouldn't even be a second thought if they should or shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. There is only one answer and it is they should be in it.
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i also think that with time one starts to forget the negatives about a person and player and selectively remembers the good. so it is that Mays and Mantle and the like are heroes while current guys aren't on par. DiMaggio had quite a few mob connections, for example.

 

i do wonder if media plays a part in it. you're not going to get many articles of "Jeter visits hospital," but if he even missed a wastebasket and didn't pick it up, everyone would find out (Gary, the no-trash Cougar).

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Manny Ramirez - Ramirez should be the anti-Roberto Clemente due to his flamboyant personality on the field. The way he views his home runs and trots out hits shows he may not respect the game as much as the legends of yesteryear. In my opinion, "Manny being Manny" could lose votes among the current Hall of Famers for lack of respect for the game. I could be wrong.

Manny is kind of a low-level flake, though. He pretty consistently does basically harmless oddball stuff, without, say, trying to run over trick-or-treaters, or having affairs with 15-year old would-be country singers, or whatever.

He's a no-brainer for the HOF, really.

(No pun intended.)

 

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but if he even missed a wastebasket and didn't pick it up, everyone would find out (Gary, the no-trash Cougar).

 

Awesome reference http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif Just thinking about that scene is making me laugh right now.

 

I think most of you guys hit it on the head. It's a combination of the extended media coverage players have today and the fact that we're watching them play. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are baseball gods, but they would be considered horrible role-models and "trouble" players if they played today.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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Manny is 10th all time in OPS - higher than Frank Thomas and A-Rod, and he averages 130 RBI per season (for comparison, "Mr. RBI", Tony Perez, averaged less than 100 RBI per season).

 

Manny also gets in on the Kirby Puckett clause, leading his team to 2 world championships - not to mention that he just massacres the Yankees.

 

I actually will tell my kids about Manny - he's the best right-handed hitter I've seen from the 1978-2008 timespan.

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After 100 years or so of Mark Belanger type of SSs that couldnt hit their way out of a wet sack, Yount was one of the first in a line of consistently good hitting SSs.

 

If you compare Yount to Jim Rice or other corner OFs he probably doesnt stack up well, but compared to other SSs Yount is a HOFer, as a hitter.

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If you're suggesting that Manny Ramirez isn't comparable to Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente--I'd say you're right.

But you're setting the bar extremely high, and he's still plenty good to be in the Hall of Fame.

 

A couple of guys who should fare well in their comparison to the legends are Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez. You'll also get good consideration for Mariano Rivera as being an all time legend.

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