BaseballGuru.com's Braintrust Newsletter, August 2002
Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,
Due to Ted Williams recent passing, John Holway (who wrote The Last .400 Hitter), wrote an appreciation for him, "There'll Never be Another." John knew Ted well and provided a glimpse into his personality and talked about the .400 season. Here's the link: http://baseballguru.com/jholway/analysisjholway29.html
Last month we asked where you were when you heard about Darryl Kile's passing. Michael Lundy chimed in to tell us he was getting ready to watch the Cubs play the Cards from the comfort of his couch and couldn't believe the news either. It was a shock to all of us since he had just pitched five days before and he was not sick. Who can figure it?
Mike McCann continues his quest to visit every major and minor league baseball stadium. This months trip was to New York. Here's the link to the article: http://baseballguru.com/bunko/analysisbunko08.html
The Nama-Go-Roku Matsuri (756 Festival) in honor of Sadaharu Oh is September 3rd. It marks the 25th anniversary of the date that the now legendary, Sadaharu Oh, hit his 756th home run and indelibly stamped his name into the historical book of world records.
Since the day is not well known in America, please help us spread the word about the celebration. Tell your local newspapers to print a mention of it, as common courtesy to the Japanese.
Jim Albright was busy this month preparing a case to elect Sadaharu Oh (the world's all time home run king with 868 in Japan) to the Hall of Fame. The massive amount of evidence he complied was presented in three parts: 1) the actual Japanese record, 2) the subjective record, and 3) projections from the statistical record. Here's the link: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright12.html
Then he made some MLB projections based on Oh's Japanese stats and then factored down to reflect the smaller ballparks and differences in talent between the MLB and NPB. It's really interesting stuff. Here's the link: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright14.html
He also wrote an article called, "Why Haven't We Had More Japanese Players in the Majors?" Here's the link: http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/analysisjalbright15.html
Gary Garland wrote an article to explain that despite the recent migration of Japan's best player to the MLB, "The Death of Japanese Baseball Has Been Greatly Exaggerated."
Here's the link: http://baseballguru.com/ggarland/analysisggarland17.html
Congratulations to Ozzie "The Wizard of Oz" Smith for being the sole inductee in 2002.
The HOF web site has tremendous coverage of the day. Among other things, you can read Ozzie's speech and listen to the induction ceremony. Here's the link: http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hof_weekend/2002/index.htm
Who will be elected next year? The push for Sadaharu Oh continues with vigor. Find out once and for all why he will get in! Here's the link to the compete article: http://baseballguru.com/ctomarkin/analysisctomarkin07.html
Here's an overview of the case for Oh...
The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was originally established to honor white Americans who played Major League Baseball. It has chosen to change it rules to include the world's best players, rather than keep them ineligible due to race, birth country and MLB experience. Inevitably, it will continue to do so, as it must to fulfill its mission.
They will elect Sadaharu Oh for the following three primary reasons:
1) The Hall of Fame would not need to change its mission from National to International to elect him. We must acknowledge that in addition to Oh's great achievements on the field, he impacted our culture and made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime. He achieved international fame by breaking the world home run record, thus capturing the imagination of players, adult fans and aspiring boys in America. He inspired a generation of Japanese youth, resulting in players like Nomo and Ichiro, who impact the MLB and our culture. And, he directly impacted MLB. Players, such as Steve Garvey, who said he learned a lot from Oh.
2) Oh was banned from MLB just as the Negro League players were and he deserves the same exceptions they were granted. Now that it is long after Oh retired, Japanese players are still partially banned from MLB, because they are required to wait nine years and in many cases ten years before they can leave Japan. Remember that the MLB ban on blacks was not formal. It ended when the L.A. Dodgers' Branch Rickey bravely defied the will of the other fifteen owners and objections from white players.
3) It's inevitable. Major League Baseball now has international reach, no longer just for white Americans (roughly 25% of all MLB players are born outside of the 50 U.S. states). And, due to Ichiro's MLB success (for the sake of argument, let's assume he continues to bat .320+ for 7 more years in the MLB and retires after a lengthy 17 year professional career, including his 9 years in Japan), it has become apparent that eligibility rules must be revised, to include performances by foreign players in foreign leagues, regardless of any opinions about Sadaharu Oh. Those rules state that candidates need to play in the MLB for at least 10 years to get elected under the current rules. Since Japanese players must remain in Japan for at least 9 or 10 years before they can play in the MLB, it is not reasonable to assume that such a player will last long enough to qualify for the HOF. Must we make Oh wait until this inevitable rule change is in place for him to qualify for consideration?
Let's make the rule change now:
1) The recent Japanese migration reduces the quality of the Japanese leagues and hastens the need for the MLB to return some good will.
2) Electing foreign players to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown will boost international interest in American baseball. Sadaharu Oh is a safe first choice. The beneficial side-effect is that it leads to more new players in the future (fans often play the games they enjoy).
3) Politically, electing players from foreign countries to the HOF in Cooperstown demonstrates respect to players from leagues long disrespected in America.
4) Opportunity to enhance the prestige for current Hall of Famers by labeling them the "World's Greatest" rather than "America's Greatest."
See the slide show: http://baseballguru.com/ctomarkin/Oh.pps - It has stats, photos and interesting sidebar info too!
Baseball Analysis - Some Highlights
This month, with the strike pooling and talk of contraction, some alternatives were proposed. How about moving the Twins to another city or even foreign city? Rather than contract let's just find better homes for the weaker teams. Several SABR members gave their opinions and the results were interesting.
Among U.S. cities, it was generally agreed that Washington D.C. was the most likely. No other American city was named as a likely choice. This leaves us to consider some foreign cities.
Look for an article discussing MLB foreign expansion during August. Please email me with any suggestions for locations and info that would be useful in ranking the possibilities.
If you've sent in stuff that has not been posted yet PLEASE remind me what it was. I get lots of emails and don't always post everything in a timely manner. Thanks for your patients and understanding J.
Anyone who would like to contribute commentary, photos, articles, experiences or whatever may to submit them for online publication by emailing me. You don't have to be a Guru to make a valuable and interesting contribution.
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