When Tim Raines, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell are inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame today, it will mark the start of a new era of voting by writers that could signal some profound, if gradual, changes to the process.
The infusion of advanced statistics has created many new conversations about who’s worthy of inclusion, and who’s not. The issue of performance-enhancing drugs has ratcheted up emotions enormously, especially among an aging group of baby-boom voters not always enamored with sabermetrics.
Jay Jaffe, author of the newly released “The Cooperstown Casebook,” has made an innovative case for a numbers-based selection criteria and also welcomes the steroids-tainted likes of Bobby Bonds and Roger Clemens.
It didn’t take long for my bullishness about the future of media and online sports journalism, even during the truly dark days of the recession a few years ago, to get roundly skewered on a sportswriters’ message board.
I had left the newspaper world in late 2008, after several years as an online editor. I knew it was going to be lean for me and for many others for a while, if not life-altering, and this has certainly come to be the case.
Stringing along as a freelancer and contractor, in between a few brief full-time jobs, has become the norm for too many of us of a certain age (hint: not young) who still cannot imagine doing anything but the news.
In my corner of North America, the wilting heat of the summer (compounded by a broken home air conditioner) had me reaching for some weather-related things to read, and ironically enough, actually cooled me off a little. So has a deep immersion in Roger Angell’s wondrous “The Summer Game.”
July is actually my favorite month of the baseball season, aside from October. I enjoy the historical backdrops of the All-Star Game and Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and it’s also when I dig into some substantial baseball reading outside the winter.
I’m including in this week’s abbreviated newsletter a few stories (and a couple of fine podcasts) that I hope you’ll find worth your time, and I’ll return next week with a more robust Digest.
The day after the Society for American Baseball Research wrapped up its annual conference in New York, one of the organization’s most beloved members passed away.
David Vincent, 67, was dubbed “The Sultan of Swat Stats” by former ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark for his prodigious research into the game’s most prodigious statistical category—that of the home run.
In the many tributes that followed Vincent’s July 3 death due to stomach cancer, his impact on baseball numbers and history beyond that one category is immeasurable.