Hall of Fame

The Silver Screen Baseball Hall of Fiction Fame

The last weekend in July is always a fun, exciting, and maybe even a nail-biting time for Major League Baseball fans. For one, the last weekend in July usually means trades; and lots of them. It also means Cooperstown. The sanctimonious mecca for honoring the greatest players to ever set foot on a diamond. This year, in 2018, Larry Wayne Jones, Jr., was formally inducted in baseball’s hallowed halls. His plaque will reside in the same hall as Babe Ruth, Tony Gwynn, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle and many, many more. It wasn’t too long ago that former teammates John Smoltz (2015), Tom Glavine (2014), and Greg Maddux (2014) were being enshrined. And to top it off, the man who drafted, and then managed Chipper, Bobby Cox (2014). I was there in 2014 to witness first hand the magical and awe-inspiring scene. It’s a memory I will never soon forget.

But all this Hall of Fame excitement had me a little curious. What if there were a Hall of Fame for the best fictitious players in baseball movies? It’s an idea I had a few months back, but never acted on it. However, now seems like a perfect time to explore and delve into the Hollywood scene and pick the inaugural class of Hollywood Baseball’s greatest. I suppose, though, there should be some basic and simple ground rules.

First, the player must be fictitious, which means Dennis Quaid’s portrayal of Jim Morris is disqualified; that was a true story, about a real player. Also, another example would be Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson or Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. Obviously, those were real people.  Second, while the team depicted in the film is more times than not, an actual team, if the players are not, they are eligible. Third, broadcasters, executives, and managers are eligible. Also, to clarify, the movie A League of Their Own was based on the actual AAGPBL, but the characters were loosely based on real people, so they ARE eligible. For instance, Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, was based on a combination of Hack Wilson and Jimmie Foxx. Both were real players, but Dugan was not.  Fourth, teams are eligible if they were an ensemble cast. This probably only really applies to The Sandlot crew or The Bad News Bears, but for all intents and purposes, they are eligible as one player, not nine individuals.

So, now that some basic ground rules have been laid out, I need to make one more tough decision – How many get in to the Hall in this first vote? I guess we’ll just have to see. I’ll list my top 25 players, teams, executives, managers, etc. and I will attempt to whittle those down to no more than 6 or 7 worthy members. So, let’s get this started. This list will be in no particular order.

The Eligibles:

  • Billy Chapel (For Love of the Game)
  • Jack Elliot (Mr. Baseball)
  • Lou Brown (Major League)
  • Harry Doyle (Major League)
  • Roy Hobbs (The Natural)
  • Joe Hardy (Damn Yankees)
  • Dottie Hinson (A League of Their Own)
  • Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own)
  • Gus (The Benchwarmers)
  • Henry Rowengartner (Rookie of the Year)
  • Chet Stedman (Rookie of the Year)
  • Phil Brickma (Rookie of the Year)
  • Mel Clark (Angels in the Outfield)
  • Crash Davis (Bull Durham)
  • Kelly Leak (Bad News Bears, 1976)
  • Bobby Rayburn (The Fan)
  • Billy Haywood (Little Big League)
  • Lou Collins (Little Big League)
  • Jim Bowers (little Big League)
  • Steve Nebraska (The Scout)
  • Archie “Moonlight” Graham (Field of Dreams)
  • Benny, Smalls, Porter, Yeah-Yeah, and the entire crew (The Sandlot)
  • Bruce Pearson (Bang the Drum Slowly)
  • Stan Ross (Mr. 3000)
  • Ricky Vaughn (Major League)

Now that that’s over, let’s see if I can get these names down to maybe 10.

Top 10:

  • Billy Chapel

  • Jack Elliot

  • Billy Haywood

  • Ricky Vaughn

  • Crash Davis

  • The Sandlot gang

  • Roy Hobbs

  • Dottie Hinson

  • Henry Rowengartner

  • Mel Clark

And for a surprise, Knockahoma Nation spin on the Ford C. Frick award, I present to you the first recipient of the Josh Brown Lifetime Achievement Award in Podcasting (if it were a thing back then) – Harry Doyle.

I think 10 is a good inaugural class to open with. Of course, my list is merely a matter of opinion, but I would be interested and excited to hear who you would put in the Silver Screen Baseball Hall of Fame. Let us know by commenting your all-time movie greats of the game.

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It’s Time for the Big Reveal; Dan’s 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

With the BBWAA and Hall of Fame announcement coming Wednesday, as well as the IBWAA’s, I thought it a good time to share my Hall of Fame ballot.

When I started writing my opinions and publishing them for the world to see, I never thought it would take me to where I am today. After about a year, though, I discovered the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). It didn’t take long for me to become a lifetime member. We aren’t affiliated with the BBWAA, the guys and gals who actually have a counting vote for the Hall of Fame itself, but we still cast votes for it and end-of-the-year individual awards. This will be my third time voting with the IBWAA, and I’m sharing my ballot here, with you 80-Grade Knuckleheads.

First, I need to give a little background. You won’t see Vlad Guerrero or Edgar Martinez on my list. These gentlemen were voted in on last year’s ballot for the IBWAA. Because we aren’t associated with the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame, our ballots differ. However, our votes and selections are very similar.

The IBWAA isn’t some second rate organization either. Many of the industry’s top writers are members of the IBWAA. Writers like Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Jerry Crasnick, Jon Heyman, Brian Kenny, Grant McAuley, Ken Rosenthal, and many others. So, even though the Hall of Fame doesn’t acknowledge the IBWAA, we still have some big names on the roster.

Oh, I almost forgot, last year, the IBWAA voted to expand selections from 10 to 15.

Now, on with the selections.

This year was pretty easy for the first 9 or 10 choices. The last 4 or 5, however, were a little bit more difficult for me, personally. Of course, with the option of voting for 15 players, I displayed a little bias. The first three names checked on my list were Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and Fred McGriff. As Braves fans, we all know the reasons why these three should be allowed admission in the Hall.

The next four off the list were Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, and Larry Walker. Thome and Walker don’t really need a disclaimer either. Vizquel was one of the most dominate defenders in his time, and for a middle infielder, he could hit a little bit. Vizquel’s overall WAR for his career is 45.3 in 24 seasons. His dWAR (28.4) nearly matches his oWAR (32.2). Vizquel also had (still has) probably the fastest hands I’ve ever seen.

Next, I have Mike Mussina, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield and Rolen are probably the stretches in this group of four. Sheffield’s offensive output is not the problem, though. His 79.9 oWAR is proof of that; what is an issue, is his defense. A dWAR of a -28.6 kind of hurts him. But, if the writers can elect guys like Ozzie Smith, who’s defense practically got him in, then why not the heavy hitters who’s claim to stardom was their offense?

Now, for the final four names. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, and Jeff Kent. Again, I shouldn’t have to really go into the first three names. However, Kent probably warrants some explanation.

Kent, aside from having an MVP, 4 Silver Sluggers, and 5 All-Star appearances, was a pretty good second basemen. He falls at number 20 on the JAWS scale. In overall WAR, Kent has a 55.2 and good for 19th among second basemen. Above him, in the HOF, are Joe Gordon (18), Jackie Robinson (17), and Craig Biggio (16). Robinson Cano and Chase Utley are still active, but rank 13 and 15, respectively. Above those guys, are Roberto Alomar and Ryne Sandberg, both Hall of Famers.

Kent is in the top 20 best second basemen ever, and even guy big time players below like Bobby Doerr, Nellie Fox, and Bill Mazeroski fall well below that magical JAWS line.

So, his WAR is pretty good, at least good enough to be the 20th best in baseball history for second basemen. Lets look at some other numbers though that might help Kent’s case.

Kent is 13th among ALL second basemen in runs scored, 12th in hits, 4th in doubles, 3rd in RBI, 5th in OPS, and 1st – among any second basemen to play the game, including Rogers Hornsby – in home runs; he had 377. Hornsby had 301. Kent also sustained a .290 career batting average. His biggest knock offensively, second (only to Biggio) in career strikeouts with 1522.

So, there you have it. My 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot.

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If you haven’t voted yet, consider keeping Andruw Jones on the ballot

At the time of writing this, Andruw Jones has 7.1% of the vote with 416 ballots cast. He must receive at least 5% to stay on the Hall of Fame ballot for next year. Therefore, he needs to appear on only 13 of the remaining ballots to maintain 5%.

Here’s the thing, writers who haven’t cast your ballots yet: It’s obviously impossible for Andruw to get in this year, but it’s not impossible for him to stay on the ballot next year. The power is in your hands.

First of all, while many of my favorite players throughout the years have been given the Cooperstown shaft, I actually enjoy the voting process. Baseball is a slow methodical game that leaves room for debate, conversation, and heated arguments. The voting process should mirror that, and I think it does. I enjoy watching a guy take a while to get inducted, like Jack Morris. To me, it’s fun and it’s part of baseball, no matter how painful it sometimes is.

So, I had no crazy ideas of Andruw Jones being a first ballot Hall of Famer, but I do believe he is a Hall of Famer.

First of all – Defensive metrics matter. How good was Andruw Jones defensively? Willie Mays has the second-best DEF grade by a center fielder with 170.1. Andruw Jones has the best with a 281.3. You didn’t read that wrong, Andruw grades 111.2 points higher than Willie Mays. Defensively, its safe to say, that Andruw Jones was the best defensive center fielder of all time. Not only does the good ole fashioned “eye test” back this up – the stats back it up, too.

Allow me to quote my friend Tommy Poe from Walk-off Walk: “Consider this: Willie MaysTy CobbTris SpeakerMickey MantleJoe DiMaggioKen Griffey Jr., Billy HamiltonAl SimmonsCarlos Beltran, and Andruw Jones. That’s the Top 10 in fWAR by a CF. Eight are in the Hall of Fame.” Of the other two, Beltran just retired (and therefore isn’t yet eligibile), and Andruw you can put there.

But here’s the crazy thing. Andruw Jones had a bat, too. We all know how great Andruw Jones was defensively. And we’ve all heard analysts wax philosophic about his glove and his epic 10 straight Gold Gloves. Hell, just last week I was on the radio saying, “If Andruw Jones doesn’t have a Hall of Fame glove, there never was a Hall of Fame glove.”

But Andruw Jones was even more than just the best defensive glove. Andruw Jones was one of the best power hitters of his era. And when you really look at those who cheated around him, you could argue that Andruw Jones really had the fourth-most home runs from 1997-2007. I’m just sayin’.

Andruw Jones has more career home runs (434) than the best power-hitting catcher of all time Mike Piazza. So, not only was Andruw Jones the best defensive center fielder of all time, he was an elite power hitter.

Listen, I know Andruw Jones had a weird ending to his career, which is a damn shame. But just imagine if he started out slow and his best 10 years were on the tail-end of his career. The perception of Andruw Jones and his career would be drastically different.

We tend to only remember the end of a player’s career. Look at Sandy Koufax. Most writers don’t realize that Sandy Koufax was not very good during his first 5 seasons. We only remember his final 5 dominate seasons, because that’s what we do – we remember how a guy went out.

I understand being limited to voting for 10 players on a ballot that is already packed full of greatness (many of which have the subsequent stain of steroids) is difficult.  While I’m a strong anti-steroids advocate, I can actually understand someone who wants to wrestle with those guys going into the Hall.  But at this point, I think you have to consider making your vote count the most. Even if you’re not sure you want him enshrined, voting for Andruw Jones to stay on the ballot is without a doubt the most meaningful way you can cast your vote.

BTW – Here’s a recording of me on Iowa’s KMA 99.1 last week giving my HOF cases for Andruw and Fred McGriff.

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 37 – CLEVELAND SUCKS!

On episode 37 of Knockahoma Nation Atlanta Braves Podcast Josh and Ken talk about JAWS, Jeter, Stanton, Shilling, FREDDIE McGriff, and Jim THO-MAYYYY  and pretend to know a little something about music. You’re going to want an extra beer for this show. Oh yeah and why fans should want the Braves to sign Bryce Harper…

Our new Swag Store is OPEN! https://shop.spreadshirt.com/KnockahomaNation/

We’re live on iTunes, GooglePlay, TuneIn and stitcher!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knockahoma-nation/id1227301408?mt=2

https://play.google.com/music/m/Isxrrg2r4qonvnzn3se5aycdczy?t=Knockahoma_Nation

https://tunein.com/embed/player/p1000445

http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=137499&refid=stpr

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Is Andruw Jones a Hall of Famer? The answer MATTERS.

Andruw Jones might not get in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, but I believe he’ll get in eventually. The Andruw Jones naysayers hone in on his career .254 batting average, but as we all know by now (hopefully) – baseball, and offense in particular, is a little more than batting average (batting average doesn’t matter).

My Hall of Fame case for Andruw Jones is quite simple. Andruw Jones has more career home runs than the greatest power-hitting catcher of all time (Mike Piazza) (Homeruns don’t matter) and is the best defensive center fielder of all time. Ozzie Smith had a career wRC+ of 92, but his elite glove got him into the Hall of Fame in no time. Andruw threw up a career 111 wRC+ and did just as much or more defensively for his respective position. (wRC+ doesn’t matter)

Andruw Jones threw up a career WAR of 62.8. Here’s the list of players who are already enshrined in Cooperstown with a lower WAR than Andruw JonesHarmon KillebrewYogi BerraMike PiazzaHank GreenbergWillie StargellBill DickeyLuis AparicioJoe GordonGeorge SislerWillie KeelerTony PerezMickey CochraneKirby PuckettOrlando CepedaRalph KinerJim RiceErnie LombardiNellie Fox, and Lou Brock. (WAR doesn’t matter)

What hurts Andruw Jones, among the uneducated writers, is three things:

  1. Andruw Jones had an awkward ending to his career. In 2007 it was like Andruw Jones hit a wall. And please don’t come at me with the whole PED speculation. MLB began testing for PEDs in 2003 and in 2005 Andruw Jones hit 51 homers. Besides, what roided up steroid using ballplayer was slightly chubby like Andruw Jones? (Jason Giambi doesn’t matter)
  2. Andruw Jones played for the Atlanta Braves during his 10 consecutive Gold Glove winning years. If you watched the Braves back then, and then tuned in nightly to ESPN, you might remember something. On any given night, Andruw Jones would make insane Spider Man-like catches but would very seldom be featured on SportsCenter’s “Web Gems.” So if you’re a national writer, or a guy covering the Royals locally, Andruw Jones wasn’t really on your radar. Why? Because ESPN is a terrible company and hates Atlanta. (ESPN doesn’t matter)
  3. Andruw Jones wasn’t flashy. Much of the Hall of Fame voting (unfortunately) is all about perception and not numbers. Case and point – Mike Mussina. When you watched Andruw Jones play, at times he almost looked lazy. Baseball came easy to him. Andruw Jones taught us that being the greatest center fielder of all time wasn’t really about speed, it was about quickness and the ability to read the ball off the bat. No one did this better than Andruw Jones, and unless you had the privilege of watching this occur in person, it’s hard to understand. (Side note – Andruw Jones’ arm doesn’t get written about enough. In fact, I might be the first person to ever write about how amazing Andruw Jones’ arm was. And that’s sad.) (Center Fielders’ arms don’t matter)

If Andruw Jones isn’t a Hall of Famer, NOTHING MATTERS.

Here’s a video:

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Knockahoma Nation Episode 36 – Manny PEDie

On episode 36 of Knockahoma Nation Atlanta Braves Podcast Cynthia Hendrix stops by with her Pharmacists Knowledge to fill us in on PEDs, Greenies, and cheating. Josh and Ken talk about their HOF ballots, and Doc Herbert Sees a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel.

Our new Swag Store is OPEN! https://shop.spreadshirt.com/KnockahomaNation/

We’re live on iTunes, GooglePlay, TuneIn and stitcher!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knockahoma-nation/id1227301408?mt=2

https://play.google.com/music/m/Isxrrg2r4qonvnzn3se5aycdczy?t=Knockahoma_Nation

https://tunein.com/embed/player/p1000445

http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=137499&refid=stpr

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