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Yo Joe! Unanimity, Stadium Names, Field Goals

From Brilliant Reader William:

Yo Joe! You have written a lot in the past about the Hall of Fame voting process, and I’ve been wondering: Is there any chance Jeter or Mariano get 100% of the Hall of Vote? Was wondering if you think these guys, or any other players playing today, have a shot.

I say this with the caveat that I think it’s ludicrous that players like Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Greg Maddux, George Brett and others DID NOT get into the Hall unanimously …


To me Maddux had the best shot at unanimity we will likely see. For one thing: Great pitchers seem to get higher vote totals than hitters. The top two vote-getters ever are Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan. For another, Maddux was the antidote to the negative feelings many still carry about the steroid era. I could not come up with a single legitimate reason why anyone would not vote for Maddux (other than, perhaps, because they had 10 others they wanted to to vote for and left Maddux off knowing he was a lock for election). Still, he fell 16 short of 100%.

It is insulting to Mariano or Jeter to explain WHY they won’t get 100% because there’s no viable reason. They are both dead-lock Hall of Famers. But people can always find reasons. People can say that Rivera pitched only 1,115 regular season innings and no closer should be the first unanimous choice. People can say that Jeter was overrated in many ways and Ripken, who had every bit as good a case and perhaps a better one, was not a unanimous choice. But these are excuses. Somewhere along the way the whole “nobody has ever been voted in unanimously” became a THING, and now I can’t see anyone breaking that cycle, stupid as it may be.

From Brilliant Reader Brian:

Yo Joe!
How do you think closers would be used if the save stat was for 2 or less run situations as opposed to 3?  In theory that’s 1/3 of closer use now removed so do you think closers would be used more or less in non-save situations such as tie games on the road or before the 9th inning.  Do you think that this would make the save a more valuable stat since it only would include much closer games?  


I don’t know if it would make the save that much more valuable or viable as a statistic but I do feel strongly that if the line was two runs instead of three that closers would be used differently. I have written several times that the fascinating thing about the save statistic is not how it has measured baseball performance (it does this pretty poorly) but how it has CHANGED it. To me an even more interesting question is: What if a pitcher needed to pitch TWO innings to get a save? Would closers be used for two innings now? I say yes. And it would be a different game.

From Brilliant Reader Tracy:

When the Bills-Bears game went into overtime last Sunday, I had a brilliant idea.  If the NFL wants to get creative, they should borrow an idea from soccer and go to 25-yard field goals in the event of a tie.

 The kicker (!) would be that, like soccer, a player can’t repeat. I think this would add a certain entertainment value, seeing a nose tackle or blocking back have to kick from 25 yards.


I’m for anything that could lead to us seeing offensive linemen kick field goals.

I have thought about this one: What if the league cut roster size or changed the basic rules enough that teams were NOT ALLOWED to have specialist kickers? Say, the only person who could kick a field goal or extra point was someone already on the field for the play before. That would definitely make the extra point and field goals more exciting again — kickers are so automatic these days that the extra point now feels pointless, and any field goal inside 40 yards is boring.

From Brilliant Reader Mark:

Yo Joe! A friend of mine and I used to have this argument all the time…Ruth’s 1920 and ’21 seasons were incredible as you well know. He shattered the .350-50-150 barrier, and in fact would do it a couple of more times in his career.  So this was a long time ago, when baseball was of course all white.  I know it is hard to compare players, but is it even possible for a batter to do this in todays game with all the specialty pitching?  if so who is your best pick to pull it off?


Let’s quickly break it down. The 50 homer part is easy — that happens  fairly often.

The .350 batting average is hard. Very hard. I’ve been thinking a lot about the decline in batting averages — not only league-wide but also for the top players. The last 10 years, only five players have hit .350 while getting 600 plate appearances in a season (you would need AT LEAST that many to get 150 RBIs). They are:

Joe Mauer, 2009: .365
Ichiro, 2009: .352
Albert Pujols, 2008, .357
Magglio Ordonez, 2007: .363
Ichiro, .2007: .363.

Obviously Mauer and Ichiro don’t have nearly the power to hit 50 homer runs. Ordonez hit 28 homers and 54 doubles. Pujols hit 37 homers and 44 doubles. It’s POSSIBLE I suppose for a player to combine the average and homers but it hasn’t happened since Mantle in 1956 — even Bonds didn’t do it, and Larry Walker fell just short in 1997 when Coors Field was kind of a joke.

Then, there are the RBIs. Only three players since 2000 — A-Rod in 2007, Miguel Tejada in 2004, Sammy Sosa in 2001 — have had 150 RBIs in a season.

Could it be done? Yes, I think so, in a magical season. Miggy Cabrera, assuming he gets healthy and regains his home run stroke, could do it. Mike Trout, I suppose, could do it in the right conditions. And, hey, I’m dying to see what Kris Bryant can do. But as strikeouts continue to go up, I just don’t see a .350, 50, 150 season anytime soon.

From Brilliant Reader J Alex:

1: I hate the Royals, and I mean, really, really, really, hate the Royals, which is hard for me to admit because (as a Cleveland fan) I want to support any and all small market teams; in short I can feel Kansas City’s pain.  However, their rise drives me nuts.  I don’t think they’re well run, they have a terrible manager, and I get the infuriating feeling that they stole all the hype from the Tribe after we came back in 2013, and 2014.  I have to say, the only team I hate more than the Royals is the Tigers.
2: That being said, I think it’s a good story.  However, I don’t think the Royals are built to last beyond 2014.  So my question is: which AL Central team is best poised to compete in 2015?  The Indians have this weird young core which seems to underperform every year, the Tigers have all the money, and Kansas City has some great young talent.  


How could anyone hate the Royals? It’s like hating Charlie Brown.

I do think Cleveland — with those four really good starters — is the team in the division with the best chance of compete with Detroit in 2015. I will say, though, I’m kind of interested in that White Sox team.

From Brilliant Reader Melody:

Yo Joe! I’m assuming you’re not a fan of teams selling their stadium names to large corporations. It’s sad for many reasons, including a disconnect between the stadium name and the local area, as stadiums were often named for physical features of the area or important local individuals.
I know you’ve been to far more ballparks than I have– if you could re-name each one that’s sold its name, what would you choose?


All right, Melody, I’ll bite. Here’s what I’d call each stadium — mostly I would go old school:

Baltimore: Camden Yards.
Toronto: Skydome.
New York: Yankee Stadium 2.0 (or 3.0, really)
Tampa Bay: Demolished.
Boston: Fenway Park.

Kansas City: Royals Stadium (It’s what Ewing Kauffman wanted — though Kauffman Stadium is fine).
Detroit: Tiger Stadium.
Cleveland: The Jake.
Chicago: Comiskey Park.
Minnesota: Mauer Metropolitan.

Los Angeles Angels: Anaheim Stadium.
Oakland: Demolished.
Seattle: Nirvana Park.
Houston: The AstroPark.
Texas: Ballpark at Arlington.

Washington: Big Train Memorial.
Atlanta: Aaron Park (In Suburbia).
Miami: Cirque Du Double Play.
New York Mets: Shea Stadium.
Philadelphia: Veteran’s Stadium.

St. Louis: Busch Stadium.
Pittsburgh: Three Rivers Stadium.
Milwaukee: Aaron Park (Not in Suburbia)
Cincinnati: The Great American Ballpark. I like this name because it is SO ironic — it is so NOT the great American ballpark.
Chicago: Wrigley Field.

Los Angeles: Dodger Stadium.
San Francisco: Candlestick Park. Great name.
San Diego: Jack Murphy Stadium.
Arizona: It should change names every year.
Colorado: Mile High. I think everything in Denver should be called Mile High.

You can email me with comments, questions, or whatever.

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56 Responses to Yo Joe! Unanimity, Stadium Names, Field Goals

  1. Dark Side says:

    I used to hate the Royals. Now I have spent so many years pitying them that I just can’t get that worked up about them anymore. I do have a dinner bet riding on whether or not they will make the playoffs, so I am anxiously awaiting their next 10 game losing streak. I can’t think of a franchise in professional sports were capable of pulling off something like this.

  2. albanate says:

    I also hate the Royals. They’ve just been so badly run, it’s infuriating. They’re OK now, but it feels like it happened accidentally more than anything else.

    • Andy Kansas City says:

      The fact that fans of other teams are writing in to blogs about their hatred towards my beloved Royals pleases me greatly. Relevancy. The thought of David Glass (owner of the Royals, WalMart made billionaire) holding a World Series trophy over his head brings me such EXTREME MIXED EMOTIONS I cannot coherently put these emotions into words.

  3. Chad says:

    Cleveland underperforms? I feel like Francona has been a miracle worker the last 2 years.

  4. pdefor says:

    Any stadium named ‘Mauer Metropolitan’ would be prone to strange mishaps and increasingly prohibitive maintenance.

  5. Chris H says:

    Citi Field is a lousy corporate name, but the old Shea Stadium was so bad that it would tarnish the new park to reuse that name. Jackie Robinson Field would be better, even if he did play in Brooklyn and not Queens.

    • Merle says:

      No, no, a thousand times no. I love Jackie Robinson, but the ongoing veneration of him by the Wilpons makes no sense. He was a great man, but Robinson had no connection whatsoever to the team, he is not a part of their history and in fact played for a team that still exists. The Dodgers can name their stadium after him.

      Bill Shea on the other hand was a critical part of the team’s history and however crappy the old stadium may have been, it was home to all of the team’s success and its colorful, checkered history. Even their ineptitude in the old days had character, unlike the current soulless corporate suckitude that is the team and stadium.

      • Carl says:

        Your right about Jackie Robinson, but why go back to Shea. The fact that the organization named it after their lawyer was pathetic enough for 45 years.

      • vp19 says:

        The problem with the Wilpons isn’t their veneration of Jackie Robinson, but their obsession with Brooklyn. Lest we forget, the Mets have the heritage of two former National League franchises, one largely eclipsed by the Dodgers in their final two decades in town (save for 1951 and ’54). If they love Brooklyn so much, they should have built their new ballpark near the Coney Island rail terminus.

        • nightfly says:

          Or, if they wanted to honor Dodgers they could have named the stadium (or a section of it) after Gil Hodges, who actually, you know, managed the team to their first World Series title, and whose number they have retired.

    • owenpoin says:

      I’m ready to move on from Shea. Here are a few suggestions:
      The HoJo Dojo
      Doc ’85
      Believe in Seaver (how is that a name for a stadium? Shut up)
      The Seaver
      Strawberry Field

  6. Jake Bucsko says:

    I dig the name Three Rivers Stadium, but PNC Park is good, too. There’s something about the word “park” that feels more “baseball” than “stadium” (sorry for all the inverted commas).

    As for hating the Royals, I agree that I can’t understand why someone would hate them. As a Steelers fan, my dad raised me to hate the Browns because the Ravens didn’t exist yet. And I did…but I’m 30 years old. Over the last 20 years, our record against the Brownies is a staggering 33-5. As far as I can remember, they’re a doormat. All they are to me is 2 free wins a year, and all my hate is reserved for Baltimore.

  7. Go Royals! says:

    Having never been there, Out of curiosity and that I think it would make a humorous read, I’d like to hear your points on why Cincinnati’s park name is so poorly chosen.

  8. Edwin says:

    Any chance Ralph Lauren buys the rights of the Giants stadium and rename it the Polo Grounds?

  9. Anon21 says:

    I agree that Candlestick Park is a great name, but I’m not sure it works for the new park, which isn’t very close to the Candlestick Point recreation area from which old Candlestick Park took its name.

    Mays Field would work. Bonds Field, if you want some old sportswriters to have an aneurysm and hasten the Hall of Fame electorate turnover.

    • Dave says:

      Seals Park.

      Pay homage to the old PCL.

      And the Angels should play in Wrigley Field causing much consternation in Chicago.

      Philadelphia? Shibe Park or Connie Mack Park (yes, for me too “park” is better than “stadium,” although either could be reserved for a new A’s park when it’s built next century.

      And lastly, I’d love for either the White Sox or Cleveland to have the “Veeck Wreck” probably Cleveland in that Comiskey does deserve a name.

      • Bucky says:

        I have to disagree. Comiskey was one of the biggest pieces of crapola to ever own a a team in MLB, and that takes some doing.

    • You beat me to it, that Candlestick was named after the location. But, I think the name is soiled for anyone that visited that hell hole. Worst park in the US. Gray, dark, dreary, uninteresting, generic and the weather!!! And the, only one way in and one way out, traffic!!I also found park employees to be the slowest moving people I’ve ever seen. An inning and a half to get tickets in a not close to sellout day. A full inning to get a hot dog and beer, with really only 4-5 people in line. Worst day at the ballpark ever. And yes, it was damp and cold, even though it was a day game.

  10. nobody78 says:

    Someone should call their stadium Chan Ho Park.

  11. Jesse Palek-Zahn says:

    Pittsburgh’s stadium should definitely be Roberto Clemente Memorial Stadium (Park, Field, whatever).

  12. I’m pretty sure that Mariano Rivera will get a higher percentage of votes than Derek Jeter. I’ve never come across anyone who has ever said a negative word about Mariano Rivera. The closest thing might be some people saying that “he wasn’t that much better than Trevor Hoffman”. I don’t think there are many baseball writers out there who thinks that no closer belongs in the HoF and I certainly don’t think there are many writers who’d argue that Mariano Rivera is not the greatest closer ever.

    The people who will not vote for him are either people who will never vote for someone on the first ballot “If Joe DiMaggio didn’t get in the first time no one should”, or people who vote tactically to get other people in assuming that Mariano Rivera will get in anyway, or people who will not vote for anyone from the steroid era period.

    I think there will be idiots who will convince themselves that Derek Jeter doesn’t belong in the HoF.

    • Combine the logjam on the ballot, which will cause some to presume Jeter and Rivera don’t need their votes, and the general idea that nobody deserves to be unanimous (and certainly not these two) and bias against closers in general, and I think you’ll be surprised how many don’t vote for either one of them.

    • schlom says:

      I think there’s a perfectly acceptable reason not to vote for Rivera simply because he’s a reliever.

  13. Mike says:

    I’m a Royal hater, too, for a personal grudge reason. I went to a game in KC back in the ’90s when I was passing through the area. When I got back to the parking lot my motorcycle had been knocked over, presumably because my license plate frame IDed me as a fan of the visiting team.

  14. Yuni B. says:

    I can’t understand the stated Royals hate by the readers. I can fully understand “hating” sports teams, as it is endemic to competition. However, the stated reasons in the original email and in the second of the comments are that the Royals are a poorly-run organization. That is a reason for Royals FANS to hate ownership/management (and trust me, many of us do). It is a reason for other fans to laugh at the Royals. I can fully understand hating opponents management because they make decisions that we find offensive (Washington football team name, Cleveland logo, or the like), but how could signing Yunieski Betancourt (twice) make other teams’ fans hate the Royals?

  15. Patrick Bohn says:

    The whole 100% thing is tiring. What exactly does it mean? If you asked any of the voters who didn’t vote for Maddux, or Gwynn, or Ripken, or whoever, if they thought those players deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, they would undoubtedly say yes. The 100% debate, is a meaningless distinctions that is forgotten about almost immediately.

    Other than Tom Seaver, whose number is tossed around a lot, how many people recall the percentage of votes received by anyone?

  16. Carl says:

    Until the “I wont vote for anyone until Pete Rose is on the ballot” lunatics and the few “I wont vote for anyone who played during the steroid era” are satisfied that PEDs no longer exist in the sport, no one is getting 100%. As the Rose supports die off, and we get further from PEDs, the odds of the next face of baseball, ie perhaps Trout in about 25 years, we may get there.

    Until then, not a chance.

    • PEDs have nothing to do with it. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron weren’t unanimous. Why? If you gather more than 10 people in a room, it’s a guarantee that they won’t agree. It took the Charles Manson jury 9 days to render a guilty verdict.

  17. Carl says:

    Rather than renaming it every year, perhaps the Diamondbacks can play at “Grit Field”.

  18. MikeN says:

    I can see Schmidt, Mays, Aaron. But George Brett comes in behind Schmidt and doesn’t strike me as a pantheon guy.

    Rivera, no chance. Even Jeter’s not close, maybe if he had moved over to third. Maddux makes sense. As do ARod and Griffey and Bonds and Henderson and Clemens. Perhaps Pujols in another 20 years.

  19. thoughtsandsox says:

    Seattle’s Stadium should be something more coffee shop. Something like The Cafe Baseball.

    • invitro says:

      Something hipster might be even better. There’s no sport more hipster than soccer. So what about Seattle FC Pitch.

      And the Mariners get corporate logos all over their home uniform, because hipster soccer fans love those. I mean really, uniforms without ad patches, what is this, the 20th century?

  20. Ian says:

    Mauer Metropolitan? C’mon, Joe, that’s just lazy. Is Mauer really what you think about with the Twins? Cripes, Land o’ Lakes Stadium was much better and that almost happened.

  21. Rando says:

    Discussing the 100% question is a waste of time. After Joe finishes the top 100 ball players we can debate that with gusto.

  22. Matt says:

    Seattle’s stadium could be called the shipyard. It is right next to the port of Seattle and the team name fits. Make it so.

  23. Daniel Louden says:

    Nerds On The Internet are quick to point out that hating Charlie Brown is a tradition that goes back to the very first Peanuts comic strip:

  24. DJ MC says:

    The Houston park should definitely be called RetractAstroDome.

  25. Damian says:

    Extrapolating Frank Thomas’s strike -shortened 1994 season from 113 to 162 games gets you .353/54/144. darn close. In a then-cavernous ‘new comiskey.’

  26. Jaack says:

    On the Babe Ruth question, 2002 Barry Bonds hit .370 / 46 / 110. That season he had 612 PAs in 143 games, but since he also had 68 IBBs. Had he played a few more games / been walked less, he could have easily gotten the HRs and the BA. The RBIs would be the hold up though.

  27. Brent says:

    So, I guess the consensus is that corporate names are OK (Busch, Wrigley) as long as the team isn’t making any money from the name.

    I am not sure that makes any sense, but OK (but for me, Sportsman’s Park is a much better name for the stadium in St. Louis than Busch)

    • :-) says:

      I agree. I have always thought about both of those fields when people act like naming fields for corporations is a new phonomenon

    • I L says:

      From what I understand, the name for the current incarnation of Busch Stadium is a result of a naming deal with Anheuser-Busch.

      • AaronB4Mizzou says:

        Most probably know, but when Gussie Busch & the brewery bought the Cards in ’53, they wanted to rename Sportsman Park, which they bought from the Browns, “Budweiser Stadium”. MLB shot that down, so Gussy Busch said fine, I’ll name it after our family and call it “Busch”.

        Soon thereafter, a new beer came on the market, “Busch Beer”. So yes, you’re 60+ years in for the stadium in St. Louis to be a corporate name.

        Weird thing is, I’m ok with that because that’s all I’ve ever known it to be. When Busch III was built, I actually hoped they’d call it Busch. I was glad when AB decided to sponsor the name for it because I saw the stability in it. The hockey rink is 20 years old & has already had at least 3 name changes, all corporate. That drives me up the wall.

        As for the Royal’s, they’re my #2 team & my American League team. That said, I realized about a month ago that the Cards & Royals could actually meet in the WS again. That would actually be a bit bittersweet for me as I’d be glad the Royals made it that far, but I’d sure hope the Cards would pound them. My wife, who grew up about 10 miles from Royal’s Stadium, yes, I do prefer that name for it, wouldn’t talk to me for a month if that happened.

  28. geoknows says:

    Brillian Reader J Alex is misunderstanding hate. What he’s really feeling is jealousy, and he makes that clear when he admits he feels “they stole all the hype from the Tribe.”

    There’s a fine line between jealousy and hate and people often mistake one for the other.

  29. Gesge says:

    I have thought for a while that football would be better off if it got rid of placekickers entirely. Joe’s idea is brilliant. Pass a rule saying that only people who were on the field for the previous play are eligible to make placekicks. Problem solved.

  30. thoughtsandsox says:

    Actually for a field goal make everyone go back to the drop punt. The biggest plus is they could have Jim McMahon come out of retirement to show everyone how to do it.

  31. Fuzzball the Magnificent says:

    On the field goal question: I guess Joe is too young to remember an all-time great Brown: Lou (The Toe) Groza, an offensive tackle who revolutionized place kicking and held the NFL record for most points scored when he retired.

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