Auditioning for Cooperstown – Who Makes The Cut?

November 14, 2012 by TheUmpire

Auditioning for Cooperstown Andre Lower over at has released his new book, “Auditioning for Cooperstown:  Rating Baseball’s Stars for the Hall of Fame,” in which all 3,000+ qualifying players are systematically evaluated as to whether they belong in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Using a formula based primarily on Win Shares, players are equally rated by their total regular season career production, their five “peak” seasons of production and their positional dominance (that is, were they the best players at their position when they played?).

This book uncovers (and corrects) the reason why 19th Century hitters, particularly those from the 1870’s and 1880’s, as well as Dead Ball Era stars are underrepresented in the Hall of Fame.  This plus adjustments to the imbalance between starting pitchers of various eras allows for a truly even-handed comparison of every player’s Hall of Fame credentials.

The raging issue today concerning players (e.g., Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens) now eligible for the Hall of Fame is steroids. That issue, as well as gambling, is discussed in the player commentaries section for the affected players. These and other observations make the 550 player commentaries memorable reading.

From Chapter Two – How the Ratings Work:

A tale of two Hall of Fame teammates (for the 1966 season, anyway) demonstrates the difference between career and peak values. Sandy Koufax was the ultimate pitcher of his generation, ranking 23rd in adjusted peak Win Shares. Since he retired after 1966 due to a debilitating elbow injury and would assuredly have achieved so much more in good health, he was rewarded with election to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

On the other hand, Don Sutton was the ultimate plodder, never dominating and winning 20 games only once. Yet, he parlayed a dozen 15 win seasons into a 324 win career. He ranks only 125th in peak value, well below Koufax. But their career values are virtually mirror opposites of the peak values, Sutton’s 19th career value ranking trumping Koufax’s 132nd ranking. Adding in the positional dominance factor to the other two factors, Koufax ranks 64th all-time among starting pitchers and Sutton 68th.

More exceprts here.  Available in paperback and for the Kindle here.

Up next:  A comparison of this year’s Pre-Integration Era ballot candidates using Baseball Ink’s avgWAR vs Lower’s rating system.


Players with 8+ seasons Career Batting Career Pitching
Rank Player avgWAR Career WAR G Seasons G GS Seasons NB HoF
132 Sandy Koufax 4.66 48.7 397 2.45 397 314 10.46 Y
533 Don Sutton 2.92 65.6 785 4.85 774 756 22.50 Y

(WAR scale:  8+ MVP, 5+ All-Star, 2+ Starter, 0-2 Substitute, < 0 Replacement)

Typically, we here at Baseball Ink consider an avgWAR value of 5 (+/- .5) as a cutoff point.  Koufax is arguably worthy; Sutton is not.  And this coming from a guy who really likes Don Sutton.

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The Million-Dollar Sock?

October 16, 2012 by TheUmpire

by Douglas J. Gladstone

Worth a bloody million?

Seven years ago, American-born Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch and his illustrator, Michael Martchenko, published a children’s book about a girl named Tina, who loves her brand-new socks so much that she doesn’t take them off. Titled, appropriately enough,”Smelly Socks,” (Scholastic Cartwheel Books, 2005), The Globe and Mail had nothing but praise for the story – in its review, the newspaper described the book as “more witty, creative and entertaining than most of what passes for adult literature.” The Toronto Star even referred to Munsch as “arguably the most successful kid-lit writer in North America.”

I know about books like this because I’m the parent of a four-year-old girl who loves when I read to her at night. She also routinely smells my feet. Maybe that’s why I haven’t purchased the book for her yet.

Of course, my four-year-old’s fascination with smelly feet and socks is to be somewhat expected. What’s not expected is when countries actually advocate using them to ward off malaria.


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Hooves on First

August 30, 2012 by TheUmpire

(from press release)

Hooves on First FLUSHING, N.Y., August 30, 2012 – The New York Mets today announced they will partner with Seraphim12 Foundation on “Hooves on First” Night Monday, September 10 at Citi Field when the Mets host the Washington Nationals at 7:10 pm.  The fundraiser will raise awareness about the treatment of horses. Tickets are available at and (718) 507-TIXX.

“Joey,” the life-size horse puppet from the Tony Award-winning play War Horse will be appearing pre-game on Mets Plaza and in-game during the seventh-inning stretch.  Seraphim12 Foundation’s horse ambassador, “Chip,” will also be greeting fans pre-game near Mets Plaza.  Chip often works with inner city and autistic children who have never seen or touched a horse before.


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What’s in a Name? Free Tickets

August 23, 2012 by SamM

From the city of double-decker busses and afternoon tea, comes a contest you can dip your crumpet in: The Name the Victoria (British Columbia) Baseball Club Contest.

With only 287 days left – as of this writing – to go until its first game in June 2013, the Victoria team is nameless, and hence is relying on fans to help them find a memorable moniker.

Can open-source minor league baseball club naming outdo the likes of the Savannah Sand Gnats, Lehigh Valley Ironpigs and the Lansing Lugnuts? We shall see.

You can enter the contest here. The first 250 valid entries will receive two tickets each to a home game.

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Trenton Thunder and Wimpy Kid Team to Attempt Largest Camping Read-Along

July 26, 2012 by TheUmpire

(from press release)

TRENTON, NEW JERSEY – (Tuesday, July 24, 2012) Two of the stars of the upcoming motion picture Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Dog Days – the “Wimpy Kid” himself, Zachary Gordon, and Robert Capron, who portrays Rowley – will join author Jeff Kinney, who penned the phenomenally successful books upon which the film is based, and the baseball team the Trenton Thunder, to set the world record for the largest Camping Read-Along.  The event will take place on July 27, 2012, at Mercer County Waterfront Park in Trenton, NJ at 10:30pm.

In addition to making camping and reading history, the Wimpy Kid team will throw out the first pitch with baseball’s only “bat dogs” – Chase and Derby .

“We are thrilled to bring Hollywood to New Jersey, with the appearance of author Jeff Kinney and Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Dog Days stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron here on July 27,” stated Eric Lipsman, Senior Vice President, Trenton Thunder.  “I’m sure our fans that have read the books and seen the first two movies will be very excited to meet them in person and participate in our post-game outfield camp-out/sleepover…as we attempt to set the record for the Largest Camping Read-Along.”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Dog Days is in theaters everywhere August 3, 2012.  In the film, set during summer vacation, “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley, the hero of the phenomenally successful book series, hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club – which fails to keep him away from the season’s dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.

The Trenton Thunder are the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate in Trenton, NJ. The team has attracted over 7 million fans to Mercer County Waterfront Park along the banks of the Delaware River over the past 18 years.  Yankees stars such as Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano, and David Robertson are a few of the hundreds of current and former Major League players who have worn the Thunder uniform.

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