Thanks to the good people over at Deadspin.com, we may have shed some light on the unsavory tactics of one of baseball’s greatest heroes. X-Rays from the same expert who found cork in a game-used Pete Rose bat a few years ago confirmed that there was cork in a Mantle bat that was going up for auction.
With all the PED allegations swirling around modern superstars like Ryan Braun and Robinson Cano, spitball accusations flung at the AL’s best pitcher, and the general degradation of the sport’s reputation over the last 15 years of steroid use, this is a frustrating, hard-to-ignore development.
We may brush this aside because it’s from half a century ago, and we couldn’t possibly tarnish the great Yankee’s legacy, but it really shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Rose is banned from baseball forever for betting on the game, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and more are pseudo-banned from Cooperstown for their involvement (allegedly, in many cases…but let’s be real) with PED’s in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and multiple other players have been blacklisted by MLB for other significant scandals.
I’m not calling for action against the deceased Mantle or any alteration to his Hall of Fame plaque, but we must wonder at what point we accept all forms of cheating as part of the sport, and at which point we go 100 percent intolerant of it.
However, according to a Redditor who commented on this post on r/baseball and quoted an episode of Mythbusters, corking a bat may not actually benefit a hitter in any way. In fact, it might do just the opposite:
According to the MythBusters August 8, 2007 baseball special, the ball hit by a corked bat travels at only half the speed of a ball hit by an unmodified bat, causing it to go a shorter distance. The cork inside the bat actually absorbs the kinetic energy like a sponge, hindering the batter’s performance. In addition, because corked bats are lighter, they have less momentum to transfer to the ball, bringing them to the conclusion that the use of a corked bat had fewer benefits over a regular bat. The show also notes that while filling a bat with cork makes it lighter, there is nothing in the rule book that prevents a player from simply using a lighter, uncorked bat. However, contrary to the last note in the episode, the reason players “cork” a bat is to keep it as long as a heavier bat, but make it lighter; which cannot be done without some kind of non-wood filler in the sweet spot of the bat.
Does that mean it’s forgivable? Not necessarily. But it certainly seems to be one of the most tame forms of cheating.
Share your thoughts below by voting in the poll or posting a comment.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
You could go to his Twitter page and find all the answers easily, but then the “quiz” aspect of this blog is completely ruined. So don’t do that. Don’t be that guy. Let’s do this without cheating, huh?
Let’s just break it down one photo at a time to test your baseball knowledge. I’ll put the three scouting reports below (with names deleted), and give three hints about each.
If you guess the correct player without hints, give yourself 4 points. For each hint you need to use thereafter, take off one point and only reward yourself with points if you guess the player correctly before the end. (Example: If I guess the first player after reading two of the hints, I’m down to two points total for that photo.)
At the bottom, you can see answers to all three and add up your total to determine what level of baseball awesome you really are. If those instructions are too unclear still, there’s nothing I can do to help you. And sorry, no prizes. We don’t make money. So you just get the honor of knowing you are a brilliant human being and baseball fan.
Let’s get this thing started. First, Idelson tweeted this ancient report on a young shortstop who ended up in the Hall of Fame after a long, successful career (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): This player was his team’s first black player and formed the first-ever black double play combination in MLB history.
Hint #2 (2 points): He won the NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 and retired with 512 home runs, yet never won a World Series ring.
Hint #3 (1 point): The mystery player above was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1977 and is one of only six players in franchise history to have his number retired (#14).
Did you figure that one out? Let’s skip ahead a few decades to the only current player on this quiz. Like our first player, this guy has played his entire career with the same team and will likely end up in Cooperstown as well. Remember, the team listed on each report isn’t necessarily the team they were drafted to (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): The Houston Astros’ failure to draft him first overall in the 1992 draft (Phil Nevin was their eventual choice) caused one of their best talent evaluators and scouts, Hal Newhouser, to quit his job in protest. This player went later in the first round to the team he still plays for today.
Hint #2 (2 points): Despite numerous top-ten finishes in the MVP voting, this player has never won the hardware. He has, however, won a Rookie of the Year award, All-Star Game MVP, World Series MVP, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and the Hank Aaron Award so far over his career.
Hint #3 (1 point): This player has been his team’s captain since 2003, and holds the franchise record for hits and stolen bases. The five-time World Series winner registered his 3,000th career hit off David Price in 2011 and is commonly known as “Mr. November.”
That one was a bit easier, huh? If you didn’t get the answer right, chances are you’re either a toddler or very, very lost in the blogosphere right now. The last entrant is our only pitcher, who also entered the Hall of Fame after an illustrious career with three teams (4 points):
Hint #1 (3 points): This 1983 Hall of Fame inductee won more games than any other pitcher in the 1960’s, but was often overshadowed by Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson during that time frame. Though the report lists him as “Cuban or Puerto Rican,” he is actually Dominican.
Hint #2 (2 points): Well known for intimidation techniques involving throwing at batters’ heads, this backfired on the pitcher in a 1965 game against a rival club. After he threw at a player early in the game, tensions rose and a brawl ensued, in which this pitcher used a bat to hit the un-helmeted head of the opposing team’s catcher.
Hint #3 (1 point): The ten-time All-Star threw a no-hitter in 1963 and had his number (#27) retired by the team he spent all but two of his professional seasons with. That same team now honors this pitcher with a statue outside its ballpark on the West Coast, depicting his iconic leg kick.
There you have it! Add up your points from the three reports and follow this graph below to determine how baseball savvy you really are:
11-12 points: You ARE a demi-god. Like Yoenis Cespedes, but with baseball trivia instead of a bat.
9-10 points: You are Mr. Consistency. Pretty much Todd Helton, minus the DUI (we assume).
7-8 points: You are a scrapper, much like Bryce Harper. Very impressive, but still room to improve.
4-6 points: You really let us down. We might as well call you Matt Bush, Jr.
1-3 points: You can’t be serious. You strike out more often than Mark Reynolds blindfolded.
0 points: You need to leave. Exit our blog, right now.
Thanks for taking our scouting report pop quiz! We appreciate all feedback, positive or negative, in the comments section below!
1. Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs)
2. Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
3. Juan Marichal (San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers)
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
After the Houston Astros dis–hey…stop laughing…it really happened–dismantled the Texas Rangers last night at Minute Maid Park, we had our first full day of baseball today.
Naturally, ESPN kicked it off with proof that they are extremely stubborn as a network, pitting C.C. Sabathia and the hobbled Yankees versus Jon Lester and the completely average Red Sox.
There were so many amazing moments in a long day of ball that it was hard to narrow down to just five. But here is our best shot at it. This is what we do at Three Up, Three Down. We write stuff on baseball-related activities for your enjoyment. So, enjoy!
5. Justin Jacks One
Welcome to Atlanta, where the playa’s play and Upton hits bombs like every day. No disrespect to Freddie Freeman, who also went mammo today, but this Justin Upton blast was put in orbit. And it’s not just a top moment because of the distance–the Braves outfield is the most freakish in baseball, and this is just the first sampling. The Braves faithful have been waiting for this moment since the original trade was made, and the little bro definitely didn’t disappoint.
4. Brewers Bailed Out
One of KP’s least favorite memories of the 2012 season was any blown save by John Axford and Co. If you see our tallest group member, give him a hug. Because Axford was at it again on Opening Day, giving up a no-doubter with two outs in the ninth to the Rockies’ Dexter Fowler, which tied the game. Fortunately for Milwaukee and the home fans, the Rockies pitching staff is deplorable and Jonathan Lucroy was able to score a walk-off sac fly and bail the bullpen out.
3. Bryce Decides Twice is Nice
If there was any debate that last year’s NL Rookie of the Year would suffer from a sophomore slump, he killed it quick. In his first two at-bats of the 2013 season, Bryce Harper absolutely crushed two Ricky Nolasco pitches and put them in the right field bleachers. I’m not buying that his second one has landed yet. In fact, it might currently be traveling over the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for it. The 20-year-old phenom is on pace for 324 jacks this year.
The late Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial is being honored by the team with a cool, classy patch (pictured to the right) on their left sleeves in 2013. But the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hosted the Cards on Opening Day, pulled off a fantastic move by paying homage with a video tribute to Musial between innings. Unfortunately, I don’t have video for you, but the gesture itself was a true act of sportsmanship and remembrance of one of the greatest hitters and humans the world has ever seen.
1. Kershaw Goes Krazy
Let me set the stage: The defending champions travel to their heated rival’s new stadium and face their fancy new team in a battle between two of the best pitchers in the league. A pitcher’s duel turns into a one-man show as Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw not only throws a complete game, four-hit shutout, but hits a go-ahead home run that breaks a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Unbelievable. And in a game that began with a well-choreographed first pitch skit from Dodgers heroes Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser. I have to take a second to brag, as humbly as possible. I tweeted THIS about five minutes before magic occurred. Of course it was a coincidence but it makes me believe in fairy tale endings, and reinforces our love of this magical sport.
Buckle up, baseball fans. This was just day one. Only 161 more regular season games to go! Vote below on which one of these moments should have been in the top five, or comment about any moments we missed!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Every baseball fan knows that Alex Rodirguez admitted to using PED’s from 2001-2003, but of any player that had a chance for redemption it was A-Rod. He was the MVP. He was the youngest player to reach 500 home runs. He was the player who many would define as the “perfect” player. Rodriguez was going to be the one that would make a run at 700 home runs and even go for the all-time home run record. Would breaking that record be enough for him to un-tarnish his name? That’s what the fans wondered. They will wonder no more.
Rodriguez among with many other big name players, including Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, and Gio Gonzalez, were all linked to Miami doctor Anthony Bosch. Bosch’s records were released by the Miami New Times on Tuesday showing that Bosch had provided players with PED’s including HGH. With this news, it’s hard to believe in the adage of “innocent until proven guilty”, not in the age of Lance Armstrong denying use for years and finally coming clean. It’s especially damning to Rodriguez who may have continued using or at least bought PED’s since his admission in 2009.
With this news, it’s clear to me that Alex Rodriguez will never be a Hall of Famer. He can finish his career with 700+ home runs, win two more World Series rings, even take home another MVP, but he won’t be enshrined in Cooperstown. We have a Hall of Fame player that was busted for PED’s in his career in Rafael Palmeiro that is barely hanging on to the ballot. Sluggers like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa with A-Rodesque power numbers that can’t even sniff the 75% needed to get enshrinement. Even if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens break down the suspected steroid user wall and get plaques in Cooperstown, it’s not going to be enough for Rodriguez.
When it comes to PED’s and Cooperstown it’s not three strikes and you’re out. For Alex Rodriguez, two strikes is more than enough. The real problem lies in the $325 million that A-Rod has already made in career, with another $104 million on the way.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Our off-season podcast series continues with the Hall Of Fame recap where we break down our 1st Annual 3U3D Hall of Fame Ballots and discuss why some of the other players didn’t get in. We also hit on the tough subject of what to do with the PED players. Should they get in? Will they get in? Take a listen and find out!
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The 2013 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced this week (Wednesday, 2 p.m. EST, MLB Network), and it’s one of the most star-studded, controversial groups the sport has ever seen. Members of the 3,000 hit club (Craig Biggio, for example), fan favorites (Kenny Lofton comes to mind), and admitted PED users (a large portion, but namely Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire) grace the list.
There are a million different ways to go with this class, and a lot of it hinges on one’s personal belief about steroid users and whether or not they are deserving of baseball’s highest honor.
Some believe that nobody will be elected this year. Others believe it will be one of the biggest classes of all-time. Here at Three Up, Three Down, we don’t get a real vote. So instead, we polled ourselves to see who we would elect if we had the chance. Per BBWAA rules, a player must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be enshrined, and each voter can turn in a ballot with anywhere from 0-10 players listed.
We’ve enlisted the help of three friends of the podcast, including two members of the 2012 MLB Fan Cave top 30: Kelsey Shea, Megan Washington, and Matt Mapes to get us to eight votes, meaning six are needed to get into 3U3D Cooperstown.
Will Dale Murphy get elected on his 15th and final time as a candidate? Will Barry Bonds bypass the issues surrounding his career and score a spot? Is Curt Schilling worthy at all? Read on to find out!
Without further adieu, here is the official 3U3D Hall of Fame class of 2013:
IN (75% or more of votes):
1. Jeff Bagwell (87.5%) – KP: Even today when you mention the Houston Astros, the first two guys that pop into mind are Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. They shaped that franchise during their time there and have been role models for the hard nosed, tough, and gritty player. All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned their stats that include a 3,000 hit club member and a Rookie of the Year/MVP combo.
2. Craig Biggio (87.5%) – Megan: Craig Biggio is one of only 28 men who have reached 3,000 hits. Biggio’s bat also placed him fifth all-time in doubles; the only player in the top four not already in the Hall of Fame from that list is Pete Rose. The crazy thing about Biggio is that some players don’t get recognized as an All-Star at one position, let alone as a catcher AND second baseman.
3. Dale Murphy (87.5%) – Mapes: Dale Murphy, or “Murph,” is the most interesting, non-steroid case on the ballot. His numbers stack up as one of, if not the best player of the 1980’s. He won back-to-back MVP’s. He had a 30-30 season when they were rarer. He won five straight Gold Gloves. He once played in 740 straight games. Unfortunately, the prime of his career was so short and his counting statistics don’t add up. However, where Murphy made his mark in baseball history is off-the-field. He was the only player in the 1980’s to win both the Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente Award’s for his charity work. In a baseball era now where we are keeping great players OUT of Cooperstown for doing the wrong things, shouldn’t we reward a great player who did all the right things and more?
4. Mike Piazza (75.0%) – Jeremy: As a lifelong Dodgers fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for Mike Piazza, even if he did say he would go into the Hall with a Mets hat on. Piazza couldn’t actually catch worth a damn, but the 1993 Rookie of the Year and 12-time All-Star is still headed for Cooperstown. His .308 average, 427 homers, 1,335 RBI and .922 OPS in 16 seasons doesn’t make Piazza “arguably” the greatest offensive catcher of all time; it cements it.
JUST MISSED (50-75% of votes):
1. Don Mattingly (50.0%) – Kelsey: This isn’t a ploy to make Jeremy like me – I really believe Don Mattingly has been unfairly ignored as a Hall of Fame candidate. He only averaged about 20 home runs per season, but in his 1985 MVP season, he hit .324 with 35 homers and a ridiculous 145 RBI, and Mattingly held a .307 career average. And as usual, his nine Gold Gloves are overlooked, despite the massive importance defense SHOULD play in a Hall of Fame vote. And really, if your number is retired by the Yankees of all teams, you should earn an automatic pass to the Hall!
2. Fred McGriff (50.0%) – KP: “The Crime Dog” never really got much publicity, but was so consistent over his career. I don’t think that finishing at 493 home runs, instead of 500 should stop Fred McGriff from getting votes. That’s like saying Al Simmons and his 2,927 hits shouldn’t be considered because he didn’t crack 3,000. C’mon man! How can you hate on a guy who still has TV cameos with the Tom Emanski commercial running for baseball skills? All I’m saying is I hope he doesn’t have to wait for more “Back-to-Back-to-Back AAU National Championships” to get into the Hall of Fame (+1 for all those who get the reference).
MAYBE NEXT YEAR (25-37.5% of votes):
1. Barry Bonds (37.5%) – Brian: What else can I say? The man hit the most home runs in Major League history, and is the only member of the 400/400 AND 500/500 clubs. Even before he likely started using PED’s, Barry Bonds was the best player in baseball for nearly a decade. He and his seven MVP’s deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame.
2. Roger Clemens (37.5%) – Angelo: Brian’s case for Bonds is very similar to my case for Roger Clemens. Despite the controversy surrounding him, “The Rocket” was one of the best pitchers of all time. Seven Cy Youngs, 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and an MVP award blow your argument out of the water, just like Clemens blew away hitters over 24 unbelievable seasons.
3. Edgar Martinez (37.5%) – Matt: Let me start by saying the DH jibber-jabber is a bunch of malarkey. If players like Don Mattingly are going to be held out of the Hall despite terrific defense, then you better stick to your guns and welcome the best offensive players, even if they have defensive deficiencies. Edgar Martinez, a fan favorite (and not just in Seattle), MADE the DH position. He is the best who ever lived to play DH, and has a career .312 average. Put the man in Cooperstown!
4. Larry Walker (37.5%) – Matt: Very simply, I loved Larry Walker. He was one of the most consistent players of the 90’s and early 2000’s, and never got the respect he deserved (sort of like current Rockie Todd Helton). Walker hit .363 and .379 in 1998 and 1999, respectively, wining two of his three career N.L. batting titles. Explain to me how all the voters have missed the 1997 MVP’s .313 career average, nearly 400 homers and nearly 230 stolen bases, in his first two years of eligibility? His .400 career on-base percentage was 37 points higher than Biggio’s even! Did I mention the seven Gold Gloves?
5. Lee Smith (25%) – Jeremy: What else does Lee Smith have to do? A career 3.03 ERA, 478 saves (most all-time until Trevor Hoffman came along), and 8.7 K/9 for his career. I know closers aren’t held as highly in the voter’s eye, but Smith not being in the Hall yet is a travesty.
6. Curt Schilling (25%) – Megan: Curt Schilling was a tough call for me because I feel like I’m still on the fence and not just because he was a former Red Sox player, but because his career wasn’t a picture of consistency. You can’t base a vote on postseason work alone–though his postseason stats are crazy. He’s a six time All-Star, led his league two different years in wins, strikeouts and WHIP… and he has a few special rings.
AT LEAST YOU GET 15 TRIES (12.5% of votes):
1. Mark McGwire (12.5%) – Brian: Similar to Bonds, “Big Mac,” is a legend for a lot of good reasons and a lot of bad reasons. Mark McGwire took steroids and helped propel a then-single-season record of 70 homers out of the park in 1998. In the process, he helped save a sport that seemed to be dying at the time. His contribution to the game and his raw talent (583 career homers) gets my vote – remember, steroids don’t make a swing good, they just make the ball go farther.
2. Jack Morris (12.5%) – Kelsey: I didn’t vote for Jack Morris, but it was tough to leave him off. If this year’s class wasn’t so loaded, he would probably be on my ballot. With “only” 254 career wins and a decent 3.90 career ERA, voters might be scared off. Sure, Morris never won a Cy Young, but he was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 80’s, racking up at least 14 wins in nine separate seasons that decade, 13 times in his career overall.
3. Tim Raines (12.5%) – Mapes: This site can better explain Tim Raines candidacy than I ever could. Raines was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson, but is a Hall of Famer in his own right. When you steal 808 bases in a career, you deserve serious consideration.
4. Alan Trammell (12.5%) – Angelo: A Detroit Tiger for life, Alan Trammell is someone I will strongly back for the Hall of Fame as long as humanly possible. His career stats (.285, 185 homers, 1,003 RBI, 236 steals) aren’t overwhelming, but he had nearly 2,400 career hits and four Gold Glove awards. Baseball-Reference.com’s player-rater (determined by fans) has him ranked the 53rd best hitter of all time. That’s plenty of evidence for me.
5. David Wells (12.5%) – Brian: Why does a guy like David Wells, who has 239 career wins, decent ERA and WHIP, nowhere near 3,000 strikeouts, off-the-field issues, and only two All-Star appearances crack my ballot? Well, he threw a perfect game, has two rings, and, well…is an awesome dude. Wells never finished above third in the Cy Young vote, but his consistent success with nine teams over 21 years gives me reason to vote in his favor.
NOT EVEN CLOSE (0% of votes – wouldn’t be on the 2014 ballot):
1. Julio Franco
2. Kenny Lofton
3. Bernie Williams
4. Rafael Palmeiro
5. Sammy Sosa
Here are the full ballots of each person, for your viewing pleasure (click to enlarge):
Tweet us about our picks! We are more than happy to discuss, debate, and analyze with you. If you like what you see, you can also follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook at Three Up, Three Down!
The inevitable question arose as soon as the San Francisco Giants stormed Sergio Romo on the mound in Detroit after clinching their second World Series title in three years: Is Giants manager Bruce Bochy a Hall of Fame manager?
It’s a damn good question. Bochy is one of the quietest, most respected baseball men in the game right now and has proven himself over and over again to be a brilliant tactician from the dugout. He has an uncanny way of getting the most out of any roster and any player.
Take the Giants for example. In 2010, that might have been the weakest team (as far as star power goes) that has won the World Series in a very long time. But Bochy managed to squeeze every last ounce of talent out of guys like Pat Burrell, Andres Torres, and Jonathan Sanchez.
And in 2012, he moved two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum to the bullpen, started Barry Zito in Game 1, stuck with Hunter Pence amid postseason struggles, and gave a vote of confidence to struggling lefty Madison Bumgarner in an essential Game 2.
Every single move Bochy made in both World Series runs paid off in huge dividends – and after a while, you can’t truly believe they are all coincidences. Take it from a diehard Dodgers fan; Bruce Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager.
Let’s examine the case for Bochy based on comparison:
Manager A – .502 career win percentage in 18 years, 3 league pennants, 2 World Series titles
Manager B – .583 career win percentage in 17 years, 4 league pennants, 1 World Series title
Manager C – .526 career win percentage in 21 years, 4 league pennants, 2 World Series titles
As you can see, all three of the managers were at the job for about the same amount of time, and were within one of each other in pennants and World Series titles.
The difference is, Manager B and C are both retired and in the Hall of Fame. Manager A is Bochy, who has as many years as he wants left in San Francisco as a Major League Baseball manager. At age 57, it’s not out of the question to think Bochy will manage for at least another decade.
And the Giants are built to win – with that pitching staff, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval anchoring the lineup, and a very good scouting department, you’d have to think it’ll be a little while before the Giants go back into re-building mode.
With that being said, Bochy’s record also has to take into account a couple of things. First, despite having the lowest winning percentage of the three managers above, he spent most of his career with a San Diego Padres team that was good for a few seasons late in the 1990’s and…no, seriously. That’s it.
Manager B, Earl Weaver, was in charge of a loaded Baltimore Orioles team for 17 years, and had the benefit of a very talented roster. Manager C, Tommy Lasorda, also had a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers team during his career. Arguably, Lasorda’s worst playoff team was the 1988 title-winning club, but still very good overall.
I’m not trying to take anything away from Weaver or Lasorda, but the fact that Bochy has matched or exceeded them in number of pennants and World Series titles already is exceptionally impressive.
These days in Major League Baseball, fans are often too quick to jump onto the Hall of Fame bandwagon for players and coaches who were good for a number of years, great for a few years or just simply a fan favorite. I don’t think that is the case with Bochy though.
When all is said and done, I think Bruce Bochy will be enshrined as a Hall of Fame manager. Do you agree? Vote below!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)