Let's Get Back to the Hall of Fame Ballot
Hall of Fame season continues! Today we’re looking at four more players on the ballot — whew, there are a LOT of players on this ballot. And we’re going to get through all of them by Jan. 24, the day that the big Hall announcement will be made on MLB Network.
I imagine a lot of you are, like me, following along with Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Tracker. Scott Rolen at the moment is still tracking as a Hall of Famer, but it’s going to be very, very close. No one else looks like they will have a chance of election this year, but there will be some very interesting developments, which we will keep up with as things unfold. Come along for the ride!
One-time All-Star, won 148 games in big league career and pitched in the 2004 World Series. Won a Gold Glove in 2010.
Buck O’Neil used to say that in his day, every ballplayer wanted to be a musician and every musician wanted to be a ballplayer. Bronson Arroyo has gotten to be both, which is pretty cool.
Arroyo was a sturdy pitcher who made 30-plus starts every year from 2005 to 2013. Some years were better than others. He got Cy Young votes in 2010 for Cincinnati when he went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA. The next year, he gave up 46 home runs, which is the second-most allowed by a pitcher this century (Jose Lima gave up 48 in 2000).
A big part of the reason that Arroyo gave up so many home runs in 2011 is that the Great American Ballpark was a bandbox. It still is a bandbox, but it was REALLY a bandbox back then. Arroyo gave up 27 of the 46 home runs in Cincinnati. The only two pitchers who ever gave up more home runs in their home ballparks were Bert Blyleven in 1986 and Jack Morris in 1987. Both of them pitched a lot more innings.
Anyway, Arroyo did give up a lot of home runs over his career; it was just part of his game. His fastball was mid-to-high 80s, and he got by hitting corners and setting up his above-average curveball. He also did any number of little things well; he fielded his position well as his Gold Glove suggests, and he was excellent at holding on runners. They rarely tried to steal on him.
Arroyo is also a guitarist and singer; my buddy Brian, who is in the music business, had some dealings with him and was very complimentary. Arroyo’s album “Covering the Bases” was a bunch of covers of songs by bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Goo Goo Dolls, Alice in Chains and Temple of the Dog. He is, as far as I know, the only musician to have a song that “featured” Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis.
A three-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop and a two-time All-Star. Hit a career-high 30 home runs for Baltimore in 2011.
Here’s one thing I absolutely love about J.J. Hardy’s career: He never played a single inning at any position except shortstop. I mean, that’s pretty cool. He never filled in at third or second, never played an inning in the outfield, the man was a shortstop, beginning to end, and he was a darned good one.
Hardy played 1,561 games, every one of them as a shortstop. By weird coincidence, that’s where Brandon Crawford currently stands; he has played 1,561 games, all at short. The only exclusive shortstops who played more games are