April 05, 2003

Sosa hits 500th homerun: Since no one else posted it, I may as well. How... anticlimactic. You barely hear anyone mentioning it. Has the homerun being thoroughly devalued- is 500 what 400 once was, a great feat, but not quite historic? Personally, I don't think so, but maybe I'm in the minority- Ralph Wiley of ESPN's Page 2 weighs in on how the great fortune of fans to live in a new golden age of baseball has made us numb to the greatness of some of these players.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 08:16 PM - 5 comments

Doesn't seem like such a big deal since Barry hit #615 on the same day. Plus Sosa has been exposed as the arrogant poser he truly is since his epic battles with McGuire.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:39 PM on April 05, 2003

arrogant poser Huh? Did I miss something about him? Are you talking about that cheap shot that the S.I. writer did about taking a steroid test voluntarily? That's probably the only thing he's done wrong in the past 5 years (and I supported his duty to tell the writer to go fuck himself) and it was really minor. And it's "McGwire". How come everyone seems to spell his name wrong? It's not like it's Mientkiewicz.

posted by grum@work at 09:06 PM on April 05, 2003

Yeah, honestly I think Sosa is the most manipulative of the stars in terms of putting up a fake "Smilin' Sammy" persona; it's another reason I respect Bonds. He doesn't play that game, and why should he- just so ass-face pseudo-journalists like Rick Reilly can feel good about themselves? That said, the point should be that even if Sosa is an arrogant poser, as Wiley notes in the linked column, basically anyone good enough to hit 500 isn't in the game because of their sparkling personality, nor can any sniping about their character diminish the feat. Sosa may be in Bonds' shadow, but we don't detract from Gehrig just because he played alongside Ruth. Not to mention- it's currently April 5th, and he's at 500 HR. Last year was the first year since 1997 that he didn't hit 50 HR (he had a mere 49). It's entirely possible, unless he gets injured, he could be hitting 615 sometime around June or July of 2005. The guy's a gamer, doesn't have a history of injury, and is 34 this year (although as Griffey shows us, and in fact as Jimmy Foxx, who reached the 500 mark at age 32 but would finish with only 534 total, his career could end in a flash of pain). What it all means is, Bonds (38 1/2 years old) might have to stick around for a while now to ensure he doesn't get surpassed by Sosa or A-Rod a few years after his retirement. Holy crap, Bonds is at 615. It kind of just sunk in. Six hundred fifteen homeruns. He's basically 3 40-HR seasons away from being right. on. the. cusp. He's still only 38, which with the way he's been hitting, and his recent swing improvement thanks to David Eckstein that had him mash 10 taters in spring training, he could get more than a 1/3 of the way there by this October. He'll almost certainly pass Mays before the year is out, leaving only Ruth and Aaron ahead of him. Who knows if he'll push on to that hallowed ground, but there's no reason not to- he's getting better and better, gaining the guile of the veteran superstars without the loss in physical ability. That 73 stands out like a sore thumb right now, but even if we pencil him in for 40 & 40, he'd be entering 2005 with ~700 total. My god, I could see a man hit his 700th career homerun in my lifetime!

posted by hincandenza at 09:15 PM on April 05, 2003

Sammy = fun Barry = mean Sammy = good Barry = greatest I can live with that media interpretation. But I have a feeling that (when the time comes) the media will pump up Sammy's HOF nomination a lot more than they will Barry's. Not that either should have any problems getting into the HOF. As for the acitve 500HR club members and potential members this year or in the next 5: (number of HR at start of 2003)

  • Barry Bonds (613) - 1st ballot, inner circle (Ruth, Williams, Mays, etc), legendary HOF'er.
  • Sammy Sosa (499) - 1st ballot, middle circle (Brett, Banks, Robinson), nice guy HOF'er.
  • Rafael Palmeiro (490) - nice player, but I don't think I've ever considered him a HOF-esque player. I think he might end up sitting on the outside of the HOF for a couple years until there is a lull in the voting and he might squeak in.
  • Fred McGriff (478) - nice player, but I don't blahblahblah...see above.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. (468) - 1st ballot, outer circle (Jackson, Yount, Fisk), woulda-coulda-shoulda
  • Juan Gonzalez (405) - 3rd ballot, outer circle, MVP award definitely helped
  • Jeff Bagwell (380) - 2nd ballot, outer circle, gets in earlier than JuanGon because he doesn't play DH
  • Frank Thomas (376) - 2nd ballot, outer circle, another member of the woulda-coulda-shoulda group
  • Mike Piazza (347) - 1st ballot, inner circle, best hitting catcher in history
  • Gary Sheffield (340) - not a nice player, but a pretty good one who had some good years. Might not make the HOF with 500 because he's never been a top 3 OF in any season.
  • Jim Thome (334) - if he can consistantly hit the home runs like he has the past two years, he'll be a nice 2nd ballot, outer circle guy. But leading Philadelphia to a World Series would definitely help his chances.
  • Manny Ramirez (310) - if he can stay healthy, he'll be a 2nd ballot, outer circle guy. He's only 30, so the opportunity is there.
  • Alex Rodriguez (298) - 1st ballot, inner circle, legendary HOF'er...IF he doesn't go the path of Murphy, Thomas and Griffey.
I've left out a bunch of active HR hitters (Williams, Vaughn, Burks, Walker, Vaughn, Gant) because they are either too old, too injury prone or just plain suck at this point in their careers. And if someone wants to complain about too many players getting into the HOF, then maybe they should think about dropping some old players out of the hall. Otherwise, what did they expect? Great players wouldn't be playing past 1978?

posted by grum@work at 10:21 PM on April 05, 2003

In an article in this morning's paper that was ostensibly about Bonds congratulating Sosa on the discussed event, Bonds also made sure to state that he expects ARod, whose gone long 300 times at such a young age, to end up owning all the big offensive records.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:00 PM on April 06, 2003

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.