Tag Archives: Curt Schilling

2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot includes six former Phillies

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Who will be the next former Phillies player to receive a plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame?

 

35 formers players are enshrined with plaques. Two managers and a pair of executives as well. Even five broadcasters and 10 writers whose work was featured in Philadelphia have found a place at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That makes a grand total of 52 individuals with ties to the Phillies organization now honored with a place in Cooperstown. Who will be next?

The official nominees for 2020 enshrinement as a player were announced earlier this week. The ballot submitted by the Hall for voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) includes six players who pulled on a Phillies jersey at some point in their career.

All six of these players left an indelible impression on Phillies fans during their stay with the ball club. Three of them even performed during Veteran’s Stadium days. The six players are pitchers Curt Schilling, Cliff Lee, and Billy Wagner, outfielders Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibañez, and third baseman Scott Rolen.

Let’s take a look back at a snapshot of each player’s overall career and their time in Philadelphia. I’ll also give you my opinion as to their chances of actually gaining enshrinement with their own plaque at the Hall of Fame. The players are presented in alphabetical order.

BOBBY ABREU

MLB: 18 seasons (1996-2012, 2014)

Phillies: Nine seasons (1998-2006)

Stats: WAR – 60, Slash – .291/.395/.475, 2,470 hits, 288 home runs, 1,363 RBIs, 1,453 runs, 400 stolen bases, 574 doubles, 59 triples

Career highlights and awards: 1996 Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Year. 1999 Venezuelan Winter League Player of the Year. 1999-2001 Phillies Player of the Year. 2004-05 All-Star, 2004 Silver Slugger Award, 2005 Gold Glove Award, 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame, Led MLB in triples 1998, Led NL in doubles, received MVP votes in six seasons.

Abreu hit the first official home run in Citizens Bank Park history in 2004 and had the last stolen base at the original Yankee Stadium in 2008. 2005 NL Player of the Month in April and 2009 AL Player of the Month in July. Won 2005 Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in which he was a starter at the game in Detroit.

Abreu produced two 30/30 (HR/SB) seasons and nine 20/20 seasons. He is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 250 home runs, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 runs batted in, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases. Hit .284 with a .392 OBP over 79 career postseason plate appearances.

HOF chances: Borderline, but not likely during time on writer’s ballot, though he will justifiably receive votes and support. Abreu is 20th all-time in the right field JAWS ranking, which falls just shy of the Hall of Fame as it trails such players as Larry Walker, Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, and Sammy Sosa, who have not been able to get in to this point.

RAUL IBAÑEZ

MLB: 19 seasons (1996-2014)

Phillies: Three seasons (2009-11)

Stats: WAR – 20.4, Slash – .272/.335/.465, 2,034 hits, 305 home runs, 1,207 RBIs, 1,055 runs, 50 stolen bases, 424 doubles, 51 triples

Career highlights and awards: 2009 National League All-Star while with Phillies. Received MVP votes in three seasons. 5x Player of the Week. 2002 Kansas City Royals Player of the Year. In 2004 with Seattle Mariners he  tied the AL record with six hits in one game.

Ibanez became a beloved Yankees player on his heroic late-game performance which led to a victory in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS vs the Orioles. In that game he pinch-hit for a slumping Alex Rodriguez and ultimately became the first player in major league history to hit two home runs in a postseason game he did not start; the first to hit two home runs in the 9th inning or later of a postseason game; the oldest player to hit a postseason walk-off home run; and the oldest player to hit two home runs in a postseason game.

In a second stint with Mariners in 2013, Ibanez became the oldest player in MLB history to blast 20 home runs prior to the All-Star break. His 29 home runs that season at age 41 tied Ted Williams for the most homers in a season by anyone aged 40 and over.

Ibanez hit .245 with six home runs and 22 RBIs over 151 career postseason plate appearances. With the Phillies he hit .240 with three homers and 17 RBIs over 108 plate appearances.

HOF chances: Zero as a player. His career 20.2 JAWS mark is 119th all-time among left fielders. Players ahead of him not enshrined include a trio of Phillies Wall of Famers in Greg Luzinski, Sherry Magee, and Del Ennis, former Phillies Lonnie Smith and Gary Matthews, as well as players such as Lance Berkman and George Foster.

CLIFF LEE

MLB: 13 seasons (2002-13)

Phillies: Five seasons (2009, 2011-14)

Stats: WAR – 42.8, 143-91 record. Innings – 2,156.2; Strikeouts – 1,824; K/BB – 3.93; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 3.52/1.196/3.45; 328 games, 324 starts, 29 complete games, 12 shutouts.

Career highlights and awards: 2008 AL Cy Young Award and Comeback Player of the Year. 2008 Warren Spahn Award as baseball’s best lefty pitcher. 4x All-Star. Received Cy Young Award votes in five seasons, MVP votes in two seasons. Led MLB in Wins and Win Pctg in 2008, WHIP in 2010. Led AL in Win Pctg 2x. Led MLB 4x in fewest BB/9. Won his first seven postseason decisions, including Phillies only two wins in the 2009 World Series vs Yankees. Lost two games with Texas in 2010 World Series.

HOF chances: Zero. His 41.6 career JAWS mark is 132nd among starting pitchers in this history of the game. That is excellent, but is well behind the 79.5 mark of Schilling and trails others such as Rick Reuschel, Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, Bret Saberhagen, Dave Stieb, Tommy John, and David Cone among many others who are not enshrined as yet.

SCOTT ROLEN

MLB: 17 seasons (1996-2012)

Phillies: Seven seasons (1996-2002)

Stats: WAR – 70.2, Slash – .281/.364/490, 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, 1,287 RBIs, 1,211 runs, 118 stolen bases, 517 doubles, 43 triples

Career highlights and awards: 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. 8x National League Gold Glove Award at third base, trailing only Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10) at the position in MLB history. 2002 NL Silver Slugger Award. 7x All-Star. Received MVP votes in four seasons, including finishing fourth in 2004. Had seven RBIs in one game in 2006.

Rolen had five homers in 159 career postseason plate appearances. His two-run home run in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS won the National League pennant for the Cardinals over the Houston Astros. His second inning homer in Game 1 of the 2006 Fall Classic vs Detroit tied the game and helped the Cardinals to victory. Saint Louis would go on to win the World Series in five games.

In June 2010, Rolen slammed his 300th career home run off Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies.

HOF chances: Solid – eventually. Rolen is in his third year of consideration by the BBWAA voters. He barely stayed alive his first year on the ballot, finishing with just 10.2% of the voters support in 2018. But that support rose to 17.2% last year and should continue to rise steadily during the 2020’s. His career JAWS is 10th among all third basemen to ever play the game, and all eight eligible ahead of him are already enshrined. It is possible that it might take a future Veteran’s Committee to get him in, similar to Ron Santo. But modern BBWAA voters are more likely to eventually come to fully appreciate his all-around game.

CURT SCHILLING

MLB: 20 seasons (1988-2007)

Phillies: Nine seasons (1992-2000)

Stats: WAR – 80.5, 216-146 record. Innings – 3,261; Strikeouts – 3,116; K/BB – 4.38; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 3.46/1.137/3.23; 569 games, 436 starts, 83 complete games, 20 shutouts.

Career highlights and awards: 3x World Series champion. World Series and NLCS Most Valuable Player. 6x All-Star who started the 1999 All-Star Game. Received Cy Young Award votes in four seasons, finishing as runner-up 3x. Received MVP votes in four seasons. Twice led MLB in wins and innings pitched. Back-to-back seasons with 300+ strikeouts with Phillies in 1998-99, also reached in 2002 with Arizona. His 319 strikeouts in 1997 passed Steve Carlton to set a new Phillies single-season record.

One of the greatest postseason pitchers of all-time, Schilling’s .846 career winning percentage is highest of any pitcher with at least 10 postseason decisions. He has an all-time record of 11-2 with 120 strikeouts over 133.1 innings across 19 postseason starts, including two shutouts and six complete games.

One of his shutouts came in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series with the Phillies, keeping the team alive against Toronto. He pitched into the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series vs the Yankees for Arizona, a game the Dbacks would eventually win in walkoff fashion. His most memorable postseason performances are likely the “bloody sock” games in which he shut down the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS and the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series.

Schilling has the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio of any of the 18 pitchers in baseball’s career 3,000 strikeout club. In 2013, he was enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame.

HOF chances: Excellent. Schilling is in his eighth of 10 seasons in which the BBWAA voters will consider his worthiness. Over the last three years his percentage of support has risen from 45% to 51.2% to 60.9% a year ago. Other than the fact that some voters do not appreciate his outspoken conservative political and social speech since retiring, it is hard to understand how anyone could leave him off their ballot. Schilling ranks 27th among all starting pitchers in all-time JAWS, and the only one ahead of him not already enshrined is 19th century hurler Jim McCormick.

BILLY WAGNER

MLB: 16 seasons (1995-2010)

Phillies: Two seasons (2004-05)

Stats: WAR – 27.8, 47-40 record with 422 career saves. Innings – 903; Strikeouts – 1,196; K/BB – 3.99; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 2.31/0.998/2.73; 853 games, 703 finished.

Career highlights and awards: 1999 NL Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year. 7x All-Star. Received Cy Young Award votes twice, finishing fourth in 1999 and sixth in 2006. Received MVP votes twice. Led MLB in games finished in 2003 with Houston and again while with the Phillies in the 2005 season.

Wagner is sixth on the all-time MLB saves leader board. The top three on the list, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Lee Smith, all went into the Hall of Fame in recent years as the closer and relief pitcher position has been given more respect from voters. Only two ahead of him not enshrined are Francisco Rodriguez and John Franco.

HOF chances: Not likely. This is his fifth of 10 years on the BBWAA ballot. He has received minimal support, with the 16.7% a year ago as his strongest finish. Wagner is just 19th on the JAWS career ranking of relievers. Only a half-dozen ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame. His total number of saves and strikeout dominance help elevate his case over many of the other 13 ahead of him on that list, but I just don’t see him making it on the writer’s ballots. Maybe a Veteran’s Committee will see it differently down the line.

 

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Phillies honor Bobby Abreu with place on the Wall of Fame

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Bobby Abreu joins the immortals on the Phillies Wall of Fame

The Phillies are honoring 1998-2006 outfielder Bobby Abreu prior to the game on Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox by enshrining him on the franchise Wall of Fame.

In a special pre-game ceremony, numerous past Wall of Fame honorees are expected to be on hand, including the franchise’ all-time greatest player, Mike Schmidt.
Abreu played in parts of nine seasons with the Phillies from 1998-2006. He is currently 2nd in walks, 4th in doubles, 7th in extra-base hits and stolen bases, 10th in runs scored, 11th in home runs and RBIs, and 14th in hits on the Phillies all-time leader boards.
His .303 career batting average across 1,353 games with the Phillies is the second-highest of any player who has performed with the team over more than half a century, trailing only the .309 mark produced by fellow Wall of Famer John Kruk. His .416 on-base percentage is the fourth-best of any player during their Phillies career, and Abreu’s .928 career OPS with the Phillies is second in franchise history only to the great Hall of Famer and Wall of Famer, Chuck Klein.
Abreu is a native of Venezuela who was signed by the Houston Astros as a 16-year-old amateur free agent in August 1990. He received his first big-league promotion for a 15-game cup of coffee in September 1996.
He appeared twice against the Phillies that month, lining out to center fielder Ricky Otero as a pinch-hitter for Billy Wagner in a 10-8 Phillies victory at the Astrodome on September 11 in his first game against them.
In 1997, Abreu made the team out of spring training, and stayed with Houston through May. He returned for five games in July, and then was called up again in September, appearing in another 14 games. Against the Phillies he went 4-17 with two runs and two RBIs over five games. He would also pinch-hit, going 1-3, in all three games of the Astros sweept at the hands of the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Abreu as a 24-year-old in his first season with the Phillies in 1998.(Roger H. Rangel)
That fall, Major League Baseball expanded to include a pair of new teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now just “Rays”) and an Expansion Draft was held. Abreu, left unprotected by the Astros, became the sixth player chosen overall, the third by Tampa Bay.
Abreu would never play a single game with those original Devil Rays. In fact, he would never get to the Sunshine State at all. On the same day that he was selected in that draft process, the Phillies traded away shortstop Kevin Stocker to acquire Abreu from Tampa.
Stepping into what was a rebuilding Phillies lineup in the 1998 season, the 24-year-old Abreu made an immediate impact by slashing .312/.409/.497 with 17 home runs, 52 extra-base hits, 74 RBIs, 68 runs scored, and 19 steals.
The following year he received NL MVP votes after leading all of baseball with 11 triples. Abreu slashed .335/.446/.549 with 66 extra-base hits, 118 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases in that 1999 campaign, finishing third in the National League batting race. In 2000, Abreu became the first Phillies outfielder since Greg Luzinski in 1979-80 to produce back-to-back 20-homer seasons.
Abreu remained an impact player over the next few years as the Phillies slowly began to build a contending roster around him. He produced a 30-30 season in 2001 (31 HR/36 SB), led the National League in doubles in 2002, and would drive in over 100 runs in four of five seasons between 2001-05. He would also score 100 or more runs in all but one year between 1999-2005, crossing the plate “only” 99 times in the 2003 season.
In both 2004 and 2005, Abreu was recognized as a National League All-Star. He was awarded the NL Silver Slugger for right fielders following the 2004 season when he banged 30 home runs and 78 extra-base hits, drove in 105 runs, scored 118, and stole 40 bases. On April 12, 2004, Abreu left his mark on Phillies history when he clubbed the first-ever home run at brand new Citizens Bank Park.
At the National League All-Star Game held at Comerica Park in Detroit, Abreu was entered in the Home Run Derby, becoming just the second Phillies player ever selected to participate, following teammate Jim Thome the previous year.
Not only did Abreu participate in that 2005 Home Run Derby, he put on a legendary show, setting what were then records of 24 homers in a single round and 41 overall. Following that 2005 season, Abreu was awarded the National League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence in right field.
Turning age 32 and with the Phillies looking to get more playing time for emerging 25-year-old outfielder Shane Victorino, Abreu was sent along with pitcher Cory Lidle to the New York Yankees for a package of four prospects at the 2006 MLB trade deadline.
Abreu get to play with the five straight National League East Division champions. And, of course, he wouldn’t be a part of the 2008 Phillies team that won the World Series. But still living in the area in Marlton, New Jersey when Brad Lidge sank to his knees and was piled upon by a number of Abreu’s former teammates on that glorious October night, he and his wife popped a bottle of champagne in celebration all the same.
I know how hard they worked,” Abreu said per Michael McGarry of the Press of Atlanta City. “I was a part of it. I have Phillies in my heart. I wasn’t there at that moment. But I was at my house celebrating.
None of the prospects received by the Phillies in that deal ever amounted to anything. Lidle would tragically die in a private plane crash just months later. But Abreu kept on hitting, driving in over 100 runs in that 2006 season, and then again for the Yankees in 2007 and 2008, receiving AL MVP votes in each of those last two seasons.
Just as he wasn’t with the ’08 Phillies champs, Abreu would not be part of the Yankees team that downed the Phillies in the 2009 World Series either. He became a free agent following the 2008 season and signed with the Los Angeles Angels. There, Abreu enjoyed one final 100 RBI season in 2009, and a final 20 homer season in 2010.
While with the Yankees and Angels, Abreu did finally got a lengthy taste of postseason play. He appeared in all eight Yankees ALDS games in both 2007-08, blasting his only-ever playoff home run against Cleveland on October 8. 2007.

Abreu enjoyed his final productive big-league seasons with the Angels from 2009-12. (Keith Allison)
With the Angels he appeared in all three of their 2009 ALDS sweep of the Boston Red Sox, rapping out three hits in the clincher. He then faced his former Yankees team in the ALCS, going just 4-25 with two RBI and falling two wins shy of meeting the Phillies in that 2009 Fall Classic. It would be Abreu’s last appearance in the postseason.
The Angels released him at age 38 in April of 2012. A week later he caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was a teammate of Victorino’s on a team that finished in second place in the NL West, two games shy of an NL Wildcard berth.
Abreu sat out the entire 2013 season as he contemplated retirement. But back home he participated in the Venezuelan Winter League and enjoyed success, hitting .322 with Caracas. In January 2014, Abreu signed with the Phillies and went to spring training in Clearwater with his old organization.
The Phillies reunion wouldn’t last. Abreu was released at the end of Grapefruit League play. However, just days later he caught on with the New York Mets. He would appear in just 78 games with the Mets in a final big-league season at age 40, after which Abreu finally hung up the spikes.
In a last hurrah, it would all come full circle for Abreu. His final career at-bat would come against the team that had signed him more than two decades earlier, the Houston Astros. With two outs in the bottom of the 5th inning on Sunday September 28 at Citi Field, Abreu lined a base hit to left off Nick Tropeano. He was pinch-run for by Eric Young, and road off into the baseball sunset.
Abreu becomes the 41st individual enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame. He joins former teammates already enshrined on the Wall in Mike Lieberthal (1998-2006), Pat Burrell (2000-06), Curt Schilling (1998-2000) and Thome (2003-05), as well as Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel, who were two of Abreu’s managers in Philadelphia.
Abreu’s career in a Phillies uniform also overlapped with a number of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies, including Jimmy Rollins (2000-06), Chase Utley (2003-06), Ryan Howard(2004-06) and Cole Hamels (2006), all of whom will one day find themselves enshrined.
There is a chance that Victorino (2005-06), Carlos Ruiz (2006), Ryan Madson (2003-06), Brett Myers (2002-06) or Randy Wolf (1999-2006), all of whom played with Abreu in Philadelphia, could also one day wind up honored on the Wall of Fame.
Bobby Abreu was a key offensive performer during the late-1990’s when the Phillies were a rebuilding National League doormat. He became an All-Star player as the club built a winning roster through the early-mid 2000’s, but was dealt away just as the club was prepared for a long run of division titles.
Abreu should be remembered as the dynamic power-speed combo player that he was in those early years with the Phillies, and for his performance during those tremendous years he is a worthy Wall of Fame enshrinee.

Former Phillies Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling deserve Hall of Fame enshrinement

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Rolen was the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year with the Phillies

Just a little more than three weeks from now, on January 22, 2019, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the names of those voted in to the Class of 2019.

Based on publicly revealed ballots making up 1/3 of the total eligible voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, it appears certain that Mariano RiveraEdgar Martinez, and former Blue Jays and Phillies ace Roy Halladay will certainly make the cut.
It will be a close call for former Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees stud pitcher Mike Mussina. And a pair of players still be punished for their involvement with PEDs, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, are also receiving strong support but are likely to fall just short this time around.
Two players who will not get in this year, but who each deserve to be enshrined, are former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling and third baseman Scott Rolen.
Schilling was running at around 72.9% of the votes received and made publicly available by early on Saturday afternoon, January 29, 2018 as tabulated by Ryan Thibodaux. Rolen was at just 19.4% of those publicly announced votes. It takes a minimum of 75% support for a player to be elected for enshrinement.
Under the current voting rules, players must have completed participation in ten seasons in order to become eligible for consideration. The player must then have been formally retired from Major League Baseball for five full seasons. Players who pass away within that five-year period are eligible six months after their death.
If a player does not receive the 75% of the votes needed in order for election, they can remain on the Hall of Fame ballot for nine more years. However, if a player received less than 5% support in any voting year they are dropped from the ballot and will received no further consideration until a special committee process can evaluate them.
For Schilling, this marks his seventh year on the ballot. A year ago, he finished with 51.2% of the vote. That was up from 45% in 2017, and just 39.2% in 2015. This is just Rolen’s second year on the ballot after receiving 10.2% of the vote a year ago.

THE CASE FOR CURT

Schilling enjoyed a storied 20-year career in Major League Baseball. He began as a reliever with the Baltimore Orioles (1988-90) and Houston Astros (1991) before receiving his big break.
Just as the 1992 season was set to open, the Philadelphia Phillies obtained Schilling in trade from Houston in a straight-up deal for Jason Grimsley. Phillies skipper Jim Fregosi would insert him into the starting rotation in mid-May, and there he would stay.
Over nine seasons with the Phillies from 1992-2000, Schilling would go 101-78 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.120 WHIP. He allowed just 1,444 hits over 1,659.1 innings with 1,554 strikeouts across 242 appearances, 226 of those as a starter.
Schilling was an NL All-Star for three consecutive seasons from 1997-99 while with the Phillies. The big right-hander also finished fourth in the 1997 NL Cy Young Award voting after a season in which he won 17 games and led baseball with 319 strikeouts for a team that won just 68 games.
It was with the 1993 Phillies magical NL pennant-winning team that Schilling took the first steps in what became one of baseball’s all-time greatest careers as a postseason performer.
He was stellar in starting Games 1 and 5 of the Phillies upset of the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. He surrendered just three earned runs and 11 hits over 16 innings as the Phillies won both games. For those performances, Schilling was named the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS.
Then after a lackluster outing in Game 1 of the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Schilling kept the Phillies alive with a sparkling five-hit, complete game shutout in Game 5 of that Fall Classic.
Schilling would be dealt to Arizona at the 2000 non-waiver trade deadline. There he would be named the Most Valuable Player of the 2001 World Series in helping to lead the Diamondbacks to their lone world championship. He would also add two more NL All-Star teams and a pair of Cy Young runner-up finishes to his resumé while pitching in the desert.
Just prior to the Winter Meetings in November 2003, Schilling was traded again, this time to the Boston Red Sox. There he would finish as runner-up for the Cy Young Award for a third time.
He would help end the 86-year ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ as the Bosox won the 2004 World Series. Included in that run was the legendary ‘Bloody Sock’ performance in Game 6 of the ALCS comeback victory over the arch-rival New York Yankees. Then in his career finale, Schilling would again help Boston to another world championship in 2007.
Over his full career, Schilling put together a 216-146 record with a 3.46 ERA and 1.137 WHIP. He allowed 2,998 hits over 3,261 innings while striking out 3,116 batters across 569 appearances.
Schilling was a three-time World Series champion, six-time All-Star, three-time runner-up for the Cy Young Award, and received MVP votes in four seasons. He also won the 1995 Lou Gehrig Award.
For his fabulous 2001 performance he won not only that World Series MVP Award, but also was honored with the NL Babe Ruth Award, the Branch Rickey Award, and the Roberto Clemente Award. In both 2001 and 2002 he was named as The Sporting News NL Pitcher of the Year.
He led all of baseball in Innings Pitched on two occasions and won 20+ games three times. In 19197-98 with the Phillies he registered back-to-back seasons of 300+ strikeouts.
Take a look at those qualifications again. This is a no-doubt Hall of Famer who should be enshrined by now. Schilling, a political and social conservative, is likely being held back by controversial political and social commentary made public over the last handful of year.

SCOTT’S SHOT AT THE HALL

Rolen was the Phillies second round choice in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft and made his big-league debut with the team in a 1996 season that was cut short by injury. On his full-season return in 1997, Rolen was named as the National League Rookie of the Year.
The following season, Rolen received National League Most Valuable Player votes for the first of what would be four times in his career. He also was honored with his first of eight career NL Gold Glove Awards at third base. For me, Rolen is third behind only Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt as a defender at the hot corner.
Over parts of seven seasons with the Phillies, Rolen slashed .282/.373/.504, slamming 150 homers and 207 doubles. He was traded away at the 2002 MLB non-waiver trade deadline to the Saint Louis Cardinals as part of a five-player deal in which the Phillies received Placido Polanco in return. Rolen won a 2002 NL Silver Slugger following that season.
With the Cardinals, Rolen made four consecutive NL All-Star appearances from 2003-06, won Gold Gloves in three of those four seasons, and helped lead Saint Louis to the World Series championship in 2006. He finished fourth in the 2004 NL MVP voting after a season in which he slammed 34 home runs and produced 124 RBI while hitting .314 with a .409 on-base percentage.
After a season-and-a-half with the Toronto Blue Jays, Rolen wrapped his career by playing four seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. He added on two more NL All-Star appearances and a final Gold Glove with the Reds, though most of those final four years were marred by injuries that robbed him of much of his power.
Over 17 seasons, Rolen finished with 2,077 hits and 316 home runs. He drove in 1,287 runs and scored 1,211 times. His career 70.2 WAR places him 67th all-time in Major League Baseball among position players. While WAR is not the be-all and end-all of baseball statistics, it has become accepted as an extremely reliable barometer of a player’s performance and value when compared to others.
That 70.2 mark puts him ahead of many Hall of Famers, including the likes of Gary CarterTim RainesTony GwynnEddie MurrayIvan RodriguezCarlton FiskRyne SandbergErnie BanksRoberto AlomarWillie McCoveyDave WinfieldAndre DawsonWillie StargellVladimir GuerreroJim RiceLou Brock, and many more.

WHEN MIGHT WE SEE THEM MAKE IT

The voting at this time a year from now should be extremely interesting. The only newcomer to the ballot for the Class of 2020 who is going to be elected is Derek Jeter. That’s a slam dunk.
Schilling will join Bonds and Clemens, possibly Mussina if he falls short again this time, and Larry Walker in his final year on the ballot as the other favorites for election. The following year, for the Class of 2021, all but Walker will again be under consideration with no newcomers to the ballot likely to make the cut.
Rolen is likely to take some time. He is the type of player whose career is going to come more into focus and be appreciated as each year of consideration rolls on. An extremely hopeful sign that the BBWAA will get it right eventually? Today’s public results show that 42.9% of first-time voters cast a ballot for him.
Schilling and Rolen were teammates for parts of five seasons from 1996-2000 with the Phillies. Those were losing seasons for the team, during which ownership was unwilling to lay out money to improve the product on the field as they lobbied for new ballpark to replace Veteran’s Stadium.
Both Schilling and Rolen were legitimate stars who went public with their dissatisfaction in playing for a team that was going nowhere. Those public proclamations didn’t always go over well with the Phillies fan base and were the primary reasons behind each of their departures.
Fact is, the two players were right. Phillies ownership was refusing to put money into the team. This doomed the two stars to years of losing baseball with little support. The Phillies went just 352-458 during those 1996-2000 seasons. It would all turn begin to turn around for the franchise over the next couple of years, but by then the two were gone.
Schilling was eventually honored with a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame. He was given that ultimate franchise honor during the summer of 2013. Rolen will hopefully join him on that wall during some future summer.
This year, I voted for both Schilling and Rolen in my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. I will certainly continue to vote for both players any year that they appear on that ballot.
I  firmly believe that sometime in the coming years both of these former Phillies and overall baseball greats will receive their day in the summer sun with a Baseball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony at Cooperstown, New York.

My 2019 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

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Former Phillies star Jim Thome was among those voted into the HOF last year

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This is my fifth year with a ballot, and my selections were turned in about two weeks ago.

The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow a group of well-informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of the ultimate honor for their baseball career. You can consider it a formal endorsement from baseball writers and bloggers who represent dozens of internet sites.
I had decided over the last couple of years to break my ballot down into three segments. “Hall of Fame” players are those who, for me, are obvious, or whom I evaluated from previous years and decided were worthy.

“Future Consideration” names are not so obvious to me, but are strong enough candidates that I will continue to evaluate them moving forward. Finally, “Not Hall of Famer” guys are those who just don’t make the cut for me and will not in the future.

In 2017, eight players received my IBWAA vote: Barry BondsRoger ClemensTrevor HoffmanMike MussinaManny RamirezIvan RodriguezCurt Schilling, and Larry Walker. Both Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who I had on my “Future Consideration” list that year, were voted in by the full IBWAA membership.
Last year just five returning players received my vote as a “Hall of Fame” player: Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling once again, as well as two newcomers to the ballot: Jim Thome and Chipper Jones.
On my “Future Consideration” list from the 2018 ballot were Hoffman, Mussina, Walker, Ramirez, Scott RolenGary SheffieldBilly WagnerLee SmithJohnny DamonSammy SosaJeff KentFred McGriffOmar VizquelJamie MoyerAndruw Jones, and Johan Santana.
The IBWAA membership honored six players in the final vote a year ago. Bonds and Clemens each finally got in, joined by Thome, CJones, Mussina, and Hoffman.
While the BBWAA only allow their eligible Hall of Fame voters to cast ballots for up to 10 players, the IBWAA has a 15-player limit. I decided after looking over the names to cast a wide ballot this year. Bottom line, I simply felt generous.

MY 2019 IBWAA BALLOT

My list for the 2019 IBWAA ballot was led by Schilling, the only player who has been a definite, no-doubt “Hall of Fame” player for me in both of the last two years but hasn’t made it as yet.
Two newcomers on this year’s ballot were considered by me to be no-doubt “Hall of Fame” players. Both Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay thus received my vote as well.
I had decided early-on to bump up two players from last year’s “Future Consideration” list who were back on the 2019 IBWAA ballot, Walker and Rolen, to receive my vote.
That was originally going to be all for me. And then I got soft. I read a couple of pieces written by respected sources advocating for more players to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and was influenced to send in a full 15-player ballot.
For that reason alone, 10 additional players received my vote this year. These players would have usually found themselves in my “Future Consideration” list: Ramirez, Sheffield, Wagner, Kent, McGriff, and AJones from last year’s ballot. And then newcomers Todd HeltonLance BerkmanRoy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte.
Over the last few days, I have come to regret that expansion of my ballot. If I had it to do over again, just Schilling, Rivera, Halladay, Walker, and Rolen would have received my vote. The rest would have been in the “Future Consideration” category, along with holdovers Sosa and Vizquel and newcomer Miguel Tejada.
A year from now you can expect me to return to my three-tiered system of breaking down the nominees. You can expect that any of my five 2019 no-doubt players doesn’t make it this time around, they will get a vote from me again next year.

Originally published at Phillies Nation asMatt Veasey’s 2019 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

11 with connections to the Phillies have a 2019 shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Schilling (R) has already joined Schmidt (L) and Carlton (C) in the Phillies Wall of Fame

Ballots for nominees to the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class were received this past week by eligible voters with the Baseball Writers Association of America.

There are 35 players on the ballot this year. That total includes 15 holdovers from last year’s ballot and 20 newcomers. Among those nominees there are nine who played with the Phillies at one time or another.
Three returning Phillies players on the BBWAA ballot this year are Curt SchillingBilly Wagner and Scott Rolen.
Schilling spent most of his Phillies career from 1992-2000 as a starter, including as the ace of the 1993 NL pennant-winning squad. Wagner was a lights-out closer for the Phillies during the 2004-05 campaigns. Rolen was the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and four-time Gold Glove third baseman during his 1996-2002 Phillies years.
The half-dozen newcomers to the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for 2019 are pitchers Roy HalladayRoy Oswalt, and Freddy Garcia. Infielders Placido Polanco and Michael Young and outfielder Juan Pierre also spent time with the Phillies and are on the ballot this year as position players.

PHILLIES NEWCOMERS TO THE BALLOT

Garcia (34.4 WAR), Young (21.4) and Pierre (17.1) are very likely to fall off the ballot after this round of voting. Any player who does not receive support from at least 5% of the voters is removed from the ballot, and it is hard to imagine either player reaching that mark. Oswalt and Polanco each have a chance to receive at least enough support to remain on the ballot for a second year.
Oswalt was part of the 2011 ‘Four Aces’ starting pitching rotation that led those Phillies to a franchise-record 102 regular season victories. The righty had come over from Houston at the 2010 non-waiver trade deadline following a strong decade with the Astros during which he was a three-time NL All-Star and finished among the top five in NL Cy Young Award five times.
Over a 13-year career in Major League Baseball with three organizations, Oswalt went 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.211 WHIP. He registered an excellent 3.56 K:BB and accumulated a 50 career WAR mark.
Polanco was obtained in a 2002 trade with the Saint Louis Cardinals for Rolen. He would start at second base for the Phillies from 2002 until being traded to the Detroit Tigers during the 2005 season, making way for Chase Utley to take over the position.
With the Tigers, Polanco became an AL All-Star and won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 ALCS and received AL MVP votes in both 2007 and 2009.
Polanco returned to the Phillies after the 2009 season as a free agent, playing third base from 2010-12. He was a 2011 NL All-Star and captured this third career Gold Glove Award at a second position. Polanco finished with 2,142 hits over 16 big-league seasons with a 41.5 WAR mark.
Halladay has an excellent shot at enshrinement in his first year on the ballot. He accumulated a 64.3 career WAR mark to go along with a 203-105 record, 3.38 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 3.58 K:BB and a host of signature accomplishments and awards.
The big right-hander was the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays and the NL Cy Young Award winner in 2010 with the Phillies. He finished as runner-up for the award with both teams as well.
Halladay was an eight-time All-Star and three-time 20-game winner (won 19 twice) who led his league in innings pitched four times, shutouts four times, and in complete games on seven occasions.
In that 2010 season with the Phillies, Halladay tossed the 21st Perfect Game in MLB history and one of just two postseason no-hitters.

TODAY’S ERA BALLOT INCLUDES TWO MORE FORMER PHILLIES

In addition, 10 individuals are being considered for enshrinement by the Today’s Era committee. One of those individuals is Charlie Manuel, manager of the Phillies 2008 World Series championship team.
Manuel skippered the club from 2005-13, compiling an overall 780-636 mark. His Phillies teams won five consecutive NL East crowns from 2007-11, and back-to-back National League pennants in 2008-09.
In addition, Manuel managed the Cleveland Indians from 2000-02, compiling a 220-190 record with a 2001 AL Central crown. Prior to that he was the hitting coach in Cleveland during the Tribe’s 1990’s heyday as a consistent title contender.
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Charlie Manuel is among 10 nominees to the Hall of Fame through the Today’s Era committee. (Photo: (Chris O’Meara/AP)
The other with Phillies ties on that Today’s Era ballot is Davey Johnson, who is being considered due to his work as a manager as well. He managed the 1986 New York Mets to a World Series championship, and his teams finished in first place during six of his 17 seasons.
Johnson won 1,372 games while skipper of five clubs, which puts him 31st on the all-time career list for managerial victories. Only three men ahead of him on that list are deceased. Seven are either still active or are alive and still could be hired to add to their totals. Just one of those deceased and ahead of him, Ralph Houk, had a winning career record.
Johnson’s ties to the Phillies came as a player during the 1977 and 1978 seasons. The Phillies won the second and third of three straight NL East crowns in those years.
Johnson was mostly a late career bench player at that point, but he did receive a number of starts at first base in September of 1977, and also started Game 1 of the 1977 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He got a number of starts at third base during August of the 1978 season when future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt was battling injury.
Johnson had been a three-time American League All-Star and three-time Gold Glover at second base during the early years of his career with the Baltimore Orioles. He slugged 43 home runs during an NL All-Star campaign with the Atlanta Braves in 1973.
Based on his career managerial wins total and his overall career back to his playing days, Johnson certainly has a better chance at enshrinement than Manuel. That despite the latter’s expected far greater popularity in Philadelphia. Still, I don’t see either man making it, at least not this year.

WHICH FORMER PHILLIES MAKE THE HALL OF FAME?

So, who makes it? Which of the 11 individuals with connections to the Philadelphia Phillies franchise is going to gain entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame? My prediction is that three of them will get in – eventually. But I think that each will gain enshrinement at radically different paces.
As I stated earlier, there is a great chance that ‘Doc’ Halladay makes it right away in this, his first year on the ballot. If I were a betting man, I would say that he gets in now. If he doesn’t it will be very close, and he makes it by 2020 at the latest.
Schilling clearly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. His 79.6 career WAR is fourth among all players on the ballot, trailing just Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who are being held up for now only because of suspected PED usage.
He also trails Mike Mussina, the former Orioles and Yankees ace who was named on 63.5% of ballots in his fifth year last time around. That was second only to Edgar Martinez, who should reach enshrinement this time out in his own final year on the ballot.
I believe that Mussina inches closer this year, finishing in the upper-60’s, and then gains entry in either 2020 or 2021. Schilling, who received 51.2% of the vote a year ago, will make it as well, but only after Mussina. He could make it in 2021 or 2022, but may ultimately end up like Martinez, held off by the voters until a final push in his last year on the ballot in 2023.

Scott Rolen will eventually be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it may take awhile.
Rolen is a more difficult proposition. He only received support from 10.2% of the voters last year, which was just his second time on the ballot. If he finishes that low again or even, gasp, drops off the ballot entirely it will be an absolute crime.
Rolen is sixth among all players on this ballot in career WAR. His 70.2 mark sandwiches between the Coors Field-spiked numbers of Larry Walker (72.7) and the PED-infused 69.4 mark of Manny Ramirez. He is ahead of Martinez, Halladay, and Mariano Rivera, all of whom are likely to make up the 2019 Hall of Fame class.
Among his 17 seasons in Major League Baseball were four shortened by injury. Three of those came during his prime while with the Saint Louis Cardinals, with whom he was the starting third baseman on their World Series championship squad.
Rolen hit .281 over his career and produced 2,077 hits including 316 home runs. He drove in 1,287 and scored 1,211 runs. His 517 doubles are 52nd among all players in MLB history. Rolen was the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, a seven-time NL All-Star, and a Silver Slugger Award winner.
In addition to being a consistent middle-of-the order presence in the batting orders of four teams, Rolen was one of the greatest defensive third basemen in baseball history. An eight-time third base Gold Glove Award winner, he trails only Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10) at the hot corner.
Assuming he can stay on the ballot, I see Rolen’s support slowly and steadily rising. He is eligible to remain on the ballot through much of the next decade, until voting for the 2027 class. Hopefully he eventually reaches 75% of the voters. If not, I believe he still makes it one day through the Veteran’s Committee process.
So there you have it. 11 former Phillies being considered this year. Three of them will ultimately be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but only Halladay gets in this year or next. Two more, Schilling and Rolen, will have to wait their turn until sometime in the 2020’s.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Which nominated Phillies will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame?