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January 31, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Four stars tapped for Hall of Fame

Last week the Baseball Writers Association of America announced that four former MLB players had received the necessary 75% of votes cast to qualify for induction into Cooperstown. One of them, Yankee closing pitcher Mariano Rivera, became the very first such player in history to receive unanimous approval! The other new Hall of Famers are Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina. In addition, Harold Baines was selected by the Veterans Committee.

Mariano Rivera, nicknamed "The Sandman," was born in Panama, came up with the New York Yankees in 1995 (along with famed team mates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte), pitched spectacularly for 19 years, during which the Yankees won five World Series championship trophies. In September 2013 he retired in a special ceremony, complete with rocking chair. Over the course of his career, he saved 652 games, surpassing Trevor Hoffman for the all-time MLB record. He threw a total of 1,173 strikeouts (8.2 per nine innings) and finished with an ERA of just 2.21. (See

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera, coming in to close the game at Kauffman Stadium on August 16 2011. The Yankees won that game, 9-7.

Edgar Martinez played for the Seattle Mariners from 1987 to 2004, his entire career. For the first six years, he was a third baseman, but from 1995 on he was the team's designated hitter. That probably delayed his Hall of Fame selection, as some traditionalists believe that only all-around players should qualify. He had a lifetime batting average of .312, with 309 home runs and 1,261 RBIs.

Roy Halladay began his career as a pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998, but late in 2009, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, breaking hearts north of the border. In May 2010, he threw a perfect game against the Florida Marlins. For four straight years, he had an ERA under 3, but then in 2012 he started going downhill, and he retired after the 2013 season. In November 2017, he died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida. He was the first player to be chosen for the Hall of Fame posthumously since Roberto Clemente in 1973.

Mike Mussina pitched for nearly one decade each with the Baltimore Orioles (1991-1999) and with the New York Yankees (2000-2008). In his first full season with the O's (1992, when Camden Yards opened) he achieved an amazing 18-5 win-loss record with a 2.54 ERA. He remained steady and very reliable throughout his career, finishing with a 3.68 cumulative ERA, with 270 wins and 153 losses.

Finally, Harold Baines spent the 1980s with the Chicago White Sox, and then bounced around several teams from 1990 until 2001. He amassed 384 home runs and had a career .389 batting average.

New Hall of Famers, 2005 to date

I went back to my blog posts from the past 15 years to come up with an annual listing of new Hall of Fame inductees. Note that this list includes only the players selected by the BBWAA, and not the various special honorees such as the 17 Negro League players who were inducted in 2006. Managers, umpires, and executives are also chosen by special committees from time to time, but they are not included here.

2005Wade BoggsRyne Sandberg
2006Bruce Sutter
2007Cal Ripken Tony Gwynn
2008Rick "Goose" Gossage
2009Rickey HendersonJim Rice
2010Andre Dawson
2011Roberto Alomar Bert Blyleven
2012 Barry LarkinRon Santo
2013 NONE
2014Greg Maddux Tom Glavine Frank Thomas
2015Randy Johnson Pedro Martinez John Smoltz Craig Biggio
2016Ken Griffey, Jr. Mike Piazza
2017Jeff Bagwell Tim Raines Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
2018Larry "Chipper" JonesJim ThomeVladimir GuerreroTrevor Hoffman
2019 Mariano Rivera Edgar Martinez Roy HalladayMike Mussina

NOTE: Bold face indicates players I have seen in person.
SOURCES: My blog posts each January or July;

Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday

It was one hundred years ago today, on January 31, 1919, that Jackie Robinson was born. Major League Baseball will be honoring him throughout this season, and as our nation goes through some tough times in terms of race relations, it's good to remember what a wonderful effect he had on healing this nation's racial wounds. In December a Jackie Robinson Museum with open in Manhattan. I saw an interview with his daughter Sharon on TV today.

Ebbets Field correction

In the "Stadium upgrades: 1920s-1940s" section of my January 20 blog post, I indicated (erroneously) that the grandstand at Ebbets Field was expanded in 1932. That was based mainly on the stadium capacity data provided in the 2006 edition of Green Cathedrals. The outfield dimensions indicate that the big change took place in 1931, however, and I recently discovered a news article from April 1931 about the construction project that was nearly completed. So, I made a quick change on the Ebbets Field page, relabelling what had been the 1932 diagram "1931," and correcting the text likewise.

Stadium location "maps"

Finally, I've been making additional pseudo-map thumbnail diagrams to show the approximate relative location of different MLB stadiums in certain cities, such as Washington, D.C. Those diagrams show (in very crude form) rivers or other major bodies of water, other stadiums and arenas, as well as downtown or other significant reference points. I did that for Cincinnati (see below) when I updated the Crosley Field diagrams on January 20, and eventually I'll do likewise for all other MLB cities. The scale varies, depending on how far apart the stadiums were. They will be displayed on the respective stadium pages as well as the Stadium proximity page.

Cincinnati stadiums map

Micah Bowie is ailing

On Monday the Washington Post had a lengthy article about the tragic fate of Micah Bowie, who was a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals in 2006 and 2007. On December 22, he suffered a ruptured thoracic diaphragm, which makes breathing extremely difficult. It was just the latest episode in a series of misfortunes. The doctors in Texas told him there is nothing more they can do for him, so he and his family packed up a bunch of oxygen tanks and headed to the Rocky Mountains to enjoy his final weeks or months of life. To make matters even worse, he fell just short of the number of innings needed to qualify for an MLB pension with health care, putting his family in desperate financial condition. According to my Nationals media guide, Bowie pitched 19 2/3 inings in 2006 and 57 1/3 innings in 2007, with a combined win-loss record of 4-4 and a 3.74 ERA. May his final days be spent in peace and comfort.

Frank Robinson is ailing

In addition, Hall of Famer (and former Nats manager) Frank Robinson is also said to be in grave condition, health-wise. This coming August 31 will be his 84th birthday...

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 01 Feb 2019, 1: 10 AM

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