Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Boggs, Morris, Sutter, Sandberg, Gossage, and Blyleven Should Get The Call

Now that the New Year has officially begun, (the next significant event will be disposing of the Super Bowl), it’s time to take on the first hurdle of the new season: The Hall of Fame inductees for 2005 will be announced this Tuesday.

No doubt Wade Boggs will be voted in. Was he the best at his position? Probably as close to it as possible. My recollections of Boggs center on the way he attacked 200 hits every season. Only Pete Rose or perhaps Steve Garvey and now Ichiro made their annual pursuit of 200 hits in a season their primary goal.

What a tough out Boggs was. Taking pitches close to the plate, you couldn’t strike him out. One of the toughest outs of all time.

Two hundred hits in one year is a mark that is still significant for me and it is still a thrill to see a player connect on that milestone. Boggs did it regularly plus won batting titles and I don’t think you can tell the story of baseball during his career without including his exploits.

Boggs gets my vote without a question.

Click below for the my thoughts on who should also get the call around noon on Tuesday.Dennis Eckersley was voted in too early last year. Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter were every bit as good and dominated as Eck did, but pitched in a different era. Eck pioneered the three out save, while Gossage and Sutter were asked to give the manager five to six outs regularly once they entered the game.

One of my favorite memories is watching Sutter pitch from the perspective given by the center field camera. Once the ball approached the batter, it disappeared and I would say at the time that it was the most unhittable pitch I’d ever seen from a reliever.

Elroy Face threw the forkball for the Pirates and the Tigers in the 50’s and 60’s, but his pitch had nowhere near the bite that Sutter did. Sutter perfected the fork ball and was the most dominate reliever in baseball while he played.

Gossage was pure and simple power. He had a slider, started for the White Sox when he came up, but was awesome when he became a relief pitcher.

Gossage would be brought in in the seventh inning and you didn’t worry whether or not he could make it through the ninth, you knew he would and the manager had no one behind him.

Last year the A’s almost blew out Octavio Dotel’s arm by asking him to get four or five outs down the stretch. They did wreck Keith Foulke’s back and his season in 2003 by overusing him in September.

Mariano Rivera comes as close to Sutter and Gossage as anyone in the game. If Joe Torre needs him in the eighth, he’s in until the finish.

I’d vote for Dan Quisenberry, Kent Tekulve, and Sparky Lyle, relivers like Gossage and Sutter, before voting for Jeff Reardon, John Franco, or Lee Smith.

I’m not that moved by the three out save when the pitcher comes in with no runners on base. It’s too easy and the save numbers are blurred.

Ryne Sandberg is quiet, hasn’t campaigned for himself, but is one of the top five to seven secondbaseman who ever played the game. I’ll still take Rogers Hornsby as the best ever. Eddie Collins, Joe Gordon, Nap Lajoie, and Joe Morgan are right there. Jackie Robinson too.

Robbie Alomar can hit and field with the greatest too, he’ll go in. Jeff Kent? Two more solid years puts him in in my book.

Sandberg goes in, not a no brainer, but the fact that he could hit anywhere in the first five spots in the order, was an awesome fielder, hit with power and for average, was a real player, plus he did all this at second base, a notorious weak hitting position through the history of baseabll, I think puts him in this year (Chicago and other mid west writers are campaigning hard for Sandberg this time).

Blyleven needs to get some love to get in. His numbers are what separates him from the others who are similarly situated. If you were asked to list the best pitchers every year Blyleven played I’m not sure his name would pop up that easily. The wins, shut outs, strike outs and the curveball (one of the most dominating ever thrown, although Camilo Pascaul had a comparable curve for the Senators and Twins in the 50’s and 60’s) make Blyleven a thinking man’s choice.

Blyleven campaigns hard for himself which has turned many writers off. 60 shut outs, 3500 plus strike outs, and 287 wins should assuage anyone’s hurt feelings.

I don’t need numbers to make the argument for Jack Morris. An incomprable big game post season pitcher, led three staffs to world series titles, great fork ball, tough no nonsense pitcher and a leader on the staff no matter where he pitched puts him in for me. Reminds me of John Smoltz who in my opinion is a lock to go in too as a starter and a reliever.

Steve Garvey played a position where many border line candidates reside. Gil Hodges, Ted Kluszewski come to mind. Frank Thomas may be in that class too in a few years.

Garvey holds the NL consecutive games played streak, has those 200 hit seasons I love, and was a big time post season player. If he goes in I won’t complain, I’m just not ready yet to annoit him. Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, they were all excellent players at the same time for the Dodgers and by having so many on one team it has taken away the spotlight from Garvey who may be the best of all.

Jim Rice a DH in a big market with loads of publicity, not on my list.

Jim Kaat and Tommy John, hung around too long. If Kaat was a closer he’d be in. A great fielder he had a wonderful career as a starter for the Senators and Twins, he should get more consideration from the existing HOF’s once he is on their ballot. Tommy John, no way.

So that’s it. Hall of Famers are the most dominating players at their position or have to be included in the story of baseball when they played.

To me that puts Maury Wills in one day (like Sutter he changed the game).

So the phone should ring Tuesday for Sandberg, Blyleven, Morris, Gossage, Sutter, and the unique Wade Boggs.


1 Anonymous { 01.03.05 at 10:38 am }

you make a strong case for all these stellar players.
Boggs will make it but ,sadly. Blyeleven,Sutter,Morris and Gossage will be left off.
The only way these guys will make it will be election
by the old-timers commitee.For pure sentiment,on my part, it’s Goose Gossage. Terrific guy who was
the total opposite off the field. A tiger on the field with the ferocious look but a warm and friendly and
funny man in the clubhouse. Rich Gossage you deserve to be there in my book.

Jerry F

2 dazizmor18 { 01.04.05 at 2:30 am }

Marty, you didn’t mention a player who has a shot at the Hall – Andre Dawson. The Hawk was the ’77 Rookie of the Year, won the MVP in ’87, was one of the best power-speed combos of the 80’s (438 HR, 314 SB), and was an outstanding fielder (8 gold gloves). Had he not toiled in Montreal for the first 11 years of his career, his candidacy might be getting a stronger push. Unfortunately most only got to see him in his later days with Cubs when his knees were shot. Even so, he still managed to hit at least 20 a year in Chicago and was a huge part of their ’87 division title. What are your thoughts on Dawson’s chances?

3 marty { 01.04.05 at 3:19 pm }

Dave, Good question. Dawson is in that group which includes Jim Rice, Orel Hershiser, Tommy John, and probably Bert Blyleven. Without the magic numbers of 500 homers and/or 3000 hits, I think the Hawk is a longshot, No doubt his MVP season for the Cubs was one of the best in Chicago history, the overall package isn’t gripping enough for the national media. In a perfect world, he’s a true candidate, in this world I don’t see it anytime soon,

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