All hail Mad Dog … first unanimous Hall pick?

  A guy who hosts a Toronto radio show, a Blue Jays broadcaster, asked me during an interview this morning if Greg Maddux might be unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
  And before I could give my usual instinctive response, which has always been something along the lines of — No, because there will always be at least one or more misguided writers who reason that since Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron or Ted Willliams weren’t unanimous picks, then no one should or will be — I stopped to think about it. And gave a different answer.

Maddux at today's luncheon

Maddux at today's luncheon

  That’s wrong, the reasoning of those voters who said that just because some voters left off those legendary players and a few others who should obviously have been unanimous selections, doesn’t mean that every future player who warrants such consideration — and there have been and will be very, very few — should be punished for previous voting mistakes.
  But anyway, getting back to the question this morning. This time when he asked me, I had another answer. Which was, maybe Mad Dog will be. Maybe.
  Maybe in this unusual, messy time in the game’s history, when so many superstars of the past quarter-century have been stained by the cloud of steroids, including Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, arguably the best power pitcher and greatest hitter of the modern era, maybe Maddux could actually benefit from the backlash.
  Here’s what I mean: No one I’ve ever met who knows baseball would ever argue Maddux isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer and most seem to agree — at least before Clemens’ steroid allegations — Maddux and Clemens were probably the greatest pitchers of the past 25 years, although a few others might also warrant mention, including Randy Johnson.
  Anyway, so here’s what I’m thinking: A lot of Hall of Fame voters (writers with 10 or more years in the BBWAA) are as sick as a lot of fans are of steroids and and trying to decide out who benefited from what and whether he still belongs in the Hall or whether using at any point should keep a player out.
  Maddux, he’s beyond reproach in this regard. Never, ever has he been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, and anyone who’s seen him up close would laugh if someone said “Well, you never know….”
  So here we have a guy who, by all accounts, did what he did without help from banned substances. A guy who was a brilliant, a craftsman beyond compare, a pitcher who was both the best in the game for many seasons, and had the longevity go with his sheer dominance.
  In less than five years, when those Hall of Fame ballots arrive, I think there’s a chance that that one or two writers who would otherwise stubbornly hold to the “If Babe and Willie weren’t unanimous picks, no one should be” line of reasoning, might instead decide, in light of Maddux’s greatness coupled with the steroid-stained time in which he did it, that this is the guy to make the single exception for. The one guy to make a statement about, if you will.
  Because if Maddux isn’t a unanimous pick, after doing what he did in this era, putting up ERAs out of the early 1900s in the era when ballparks were shrinking and ballplayers were ballooning, when everything in the game was geared towards offense and the not-so-subtle theme of “Chicks dig the long ball,” here was an undersized guy who said, in effect, I don’t care who you are, what you’re mixing in that shake or putting in that syringe, or how close that outfield wall is, I am going to beat you. And then he did it. Again, and again, and again.
  All this was after stopping off at the fast-food window on the way to the park.
  Greg Maddux, first unanimous Hall-of-Fame selection in history? Just maybe.

 

  ♣ One more thing about Maddux: I was looking at the numbers today, which I hadn’t done since we were in Vegas in December when he made his retirement official.
  I never tire of crunching Maddux numbers, of looking at how he compared with other pitchers of his era and how ridiculously superior his ERAs and WHIPs were during his peak seasons.
  Not to mention the fact he had 17 consecutive seasons of 15 or more wins, which I dare say will never happen again in the age of five-man rotations and so many DL stints and Tommy John surgeries and rotator-cuff tears, and on and on.
  But anyway, forget the longevity for a second and just focus on his incredible four-year run from 1992 to 1995, when Maddux went 75-29 with a 1.98 ERA, 37 complete games, a .212 opponents’ average, 733 strikeouts with 176 walks in 946-2/3 innings. Oh, and four consecutive Cy Young Awards.
  And keep in mind, the 1994 and ‘95 seasons were shortened by the strike. If they had not been Maddux would have likely averaged more than 20 wins per seasons over that four-year tear.
  Look at it this way: Maddux made 33 or more starts in a remarkable 17 consecutive non-shortened seasons from 1988 through 2006. The only exceptions in that span were the strike-shortened seasons, in 1994 and 1995.
 And it’s not a stretch to say that those might have been his greatest seasons, at least if they’d been 162-game seasons. He went 16-6 with a 1.56 ERA and an 0.896 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) in 25 starts in 1994. And he still had 202 innings that season.

  He was even more dominant in 1995, when he was 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and an absurd 0.811 WHIP  in 28 starts. He had 181 strikeouts and 23 walks — 181/23! – that season, and finished third in the MVP balloting.
  Yes, you gotta think that if those had been completed seasons, Maddux would have posted four consecutive 20-win seasons.
  Another thing amazing about him was how much better he got in the second half some years (and people wonder sometimes why the Braves were such a better second-half team back then….)
Maddux in 1992 was 10-3 with a 1.93 ERA in 16 starts after the break.
  In 1993, he went 8-8 with a 2.83 ERA in 20 starts before the break, and 12-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 16 starts after it.
 In 1994, he was 11-5 with a 1.80 ERA in 19 starts before the break, then 5-1 with an 0.87 ERA in six starts after the break before the season ended abruptly. In those six second-half starts, he had a .204 opponents’ OBP and .216 slugging percentage.
 And in the late-starting 1995 season, he had an 8-1 record and 1.64 ERA in 14 first-half starts, and an 11-1 record and 1.62 ERA in 14 second-half starts. That season with runners in scoring position, opponents’ hit .157 (20-for-127) with a .206 OBP against him, with five extra-base hits and seven walks.
  Think about that.
  Greatness, thy (nick)name was Mad Dog.
 It’s gonna be a pleasure to see his number retired by the Braves tonight, and to seen inducted into the hall in five years.
 Perhaps as a unanimous selection.

 ♣ A few quick points: Gotta hurry and get to the ballpark, but wanted to give you a few notes and stats.
  Last night was the Braves’ first multi-homer game since July 2. But their recent power numbers aren’t nearly as bad as the Mets, who’ve hit just six homers in their past 15 games.
 • The Braves and Mets appear to be headed in opposite directions, with the Braves posting a 10-5 record since June 28, and the Mets going 5-10 in that same stretch.
 • The Braves have hit .286 with a 3.55 ERA in that period, while the Mets have hit .246 with a 5.26 ERA.
 • Garret Anderson has hit .306 with a .780 OPS and 30 RBI in 53 games since May 10, after hitting .163 with a .490 OPS and three RBI in his first 15 games. In his past 26 games, he’s hit .319 (30-for-94) with 10 extra-base hits (three homers), 15 RBI and a .842 OPS.
 • The Braves have to be concerned about Mike Gonzalez and his sore elbow, and now Eric O’Flaherty’s sore back (he had serious back problems last year).
 • But at least Rafael Soriano continues to shred. He’s got a 1.35 ERA, .138 opponents’ average and 10-for-10 saves converted in his past 25 apeparances, with 36 strikeouts and nine walks in 26-2/3 innings.
 • Soriano has nine strikeouts in four scoreless innings innings over his past four games, one hit and no walks allowed in that stretch.
 • For the season, Soriano is one of only three major league relievers with at least 60 strikeouts. The Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton leads with 65, and Soriano and Oakland’s Andrew Bailey have 60 apiece. Only two have averaged more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings: Broxton (14.4 per nine) and Soriano (12.4 per nine).

 ♣ Diversions: Season premiere of Entourage was excellent. But not quite as excellent as last night’s Todd Snider show at Eddie’s Attic. If you’re going to tonight’s sold-out Snider show at Eddie’s, you’re in for a treat. He played nearly two hours last night, took requests for the last 40 minutes or so. Terrific.

“PLAY A TRAIN SONG” by Todd Snider

A smoke, a long black Cadillac,
the engine’s winding down.
He’d park it up on the sidewalk
like he owned the whole damn town.
I’d hear him talkin’ to some chick
through a thick ghost of smoke,
through a thicker haze of Southern Comfort and coke,

say, Girl you’re hotter than a hinge
hangin’ off the gates of hell.
Don’t be afraid to turn to me,
babe, if he don’t treat you well,
and by he he meant me,
so I laughed and I shook his hand.
He’d laugh a little bit louder as he’d
yell up at the band:

Play a train song,
pour me one more round,
make ‘em leave my boots on when they lay me into the ground.
I am a runaway locomotive,
outta my one track mind,
and I’m lookin’ for any kinda trouble that I can find

I got this old black leather jacket
I got this pack of Marlboro Reds
I got this stash here in my pocket
I got these thoughts in my own head
the right to run until I gotta walk
or until I got to crawl
this moment that I’m in right now and nothing else at all

Play a train song,
pour me one more round,
make ‘em leave my boots on when they lay me into the ground.
I am a runaway locomotive,
outta my one track mind.

In the television blizzard lights
I looked around this place.
I found a cold beer on the sofa,
a little smile across his face,
and though I tried with all of my sadness,
somehow I could not just weep
for a man who looked to me like he died laughin’ in his sleep,
sayin’ a train song,
drinkin’ one last round.
We made ‘em leave his boots on on the day they layed him down.
He was a runaway locomotive
out of his one track mind.

Play a train song
Play a train song
Play a train song

 

1,564 comments Add your comment

Coach Anders

July 17th, 2009
3:27 pm

Roll the hole ….. that’s the play here.

chilidog75

July 17th, 2009
3:29 pm

Dave,
In those Maddux stats, I think you mean WHIP when you’re talking about his 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Good stuff though. Mad Dog was unreal. Didn’t appreciate him as much as I should have when he was in his prime.

Crotchety Out of Touch Sports Writer Needing to Retire

July 17th, 2009
3:29 pm

If Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson weren’t unanimous first ballots, no one can ever be

Teeler

July 17th, 2009
3:30 pm

Heyward ON now foxsports1670.com

Wayne in Utah

July 17th, 2009
3:33 pm

Fifth (always wanted to do that)

CB

July 17th, 2009
3:34 pm

With all the complete games Mad Dog had, why are we so hung up on pitch counts? Let the way he is throwing and his toughness determine if we remove a pitcher. This is why bullpen is wearing out and having injuries.

Travis

July 17th, 2009
3:35 pm

Those numbers are mind numbing

Wayne in Utah

July 17th, 2009
3:35 pm

Heyward batting 4th tonight, playing right field……wouldn’t that torque Francoeur’s shorts!

Travis

July 17th, 2009
3:36 pm

Used to get mad when Bobby left Glavine, Maddox and Smoltz in too long, now it’s just the opposite. Hard to find a balance.

chilidog75

July 17th, 2009
3:37 pm

And I hate, hate HATE the argument that “well, if Aaron and Mays weren’t unanimous …”

It’s absurd. Just because some idiot (or racist or mentally challenged) sportswriters 27 years ago didn’t feel Hank Aaron accomplished enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame doesn’t mean this generation’s sportswriters should continue the idiocy.

Anyone that doesn’t vote Greg Maddux into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot should have his voting privledges REVOKED. Or at least explain how they came to the conclusion he didn’t belong — I would love to hear that.

Wayne in Utah

July 17th, 2009
3:37 pm

CB

These guys have been babied throughout their entire minor league development. Can’t really blame the pitchers for not being ready to go 9 anymore. I like Nolan Ryan’s approach in Texas. Get these guys used to throwing a lot more.

On a tangent though, years ago, sometimes the pitchers didn’t really get up to the high 200’s in innings until they had been around a while.

Wayne in Utah

July 17th, 2009
3:38 pm

chilidog

You makin’ me hungry, my friend!

Paul Lentz

July 17th, 2009
3:40 pm

Maddux was a machine. Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine spoiled the Braves with their extended excellence over a number of years. Signing Maddux before the 1993 season was the best free agent pick-up that the Braves have ever had. (Just imagine if the Braves had been able to trade for Barry Bonds, which the Pirates tried to do before the 1992 season began?).

Wayne in Utah

July 17th, 2009
3:41 pm

5 years from now, who will they be comparing Heyward to?

CB

July 17th, 2009
3:41 pm

Agreed Wayne, maybe Ryan can show it can be done. Also tell us what Heyward has to say,please.

BravesFanInKy

July 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

Maddux is amazing. Can you imagine how many games he would have won if they Braves had had a consistently strong bullpen during his career? There were numerous games he lost that he was leading when he departed, and, let’s face it, with a couple of exceptions, the Braves were offensive dynamos either. The only question mark around Maddux is his postseason record, which is not nearly as good as those of Smoltz and Glavine (and others).
Those who didn’t get the unanimous hall vote were largely based on more personality than performance. Because as consistently solid as I think the writers are in voting, more than one player has benefitted — and been hurt — by how well he got along with writers.
Maddux is a great example for would-be pitchers out there — I tell my talented nephew that he’s the guy to emulate — because he did more with intangibles than with tangibles. The numbers DOB cites are incredible, approached only by Koufax and Gibson.
One more point: Greatest power pitcher of the modern era? No question, it’s Nolan Ryan. He just didn’t play on such good teams.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

Is the ceremony tonight part of Peachtree TV’s coverage? Where I’m located I only get the raw baseball feeds (no commercials during the games or any other programming) and I’m hoping it is so I can watch the ceremony too.

Hillbilly

July 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

Best Todd Snider song on the East Nashville Skyline album. I haven’t heard any of his other albums, so I can’t say if it’s his best song, period. Awesome pick, DOB.

3waytie4last

July 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

BravesFanInKy

July 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

Should be “Braves were NOT offensive dynamos…”

Willy Wally

July 17th, 2009
3:45 pm

5 years from now, who will they be comparing Heyward to? (Wayne)

Who knows? Could be Barry Bonds, could be Daryl Strawberry, could be Cliff Floyd, could be Dave Parker, could be Derek Lee, could be Jeff Francoeur, could be George Lombard, could be Ryan Klesko. Who the hell knows?

I’ve always thought Chipper Jones would’ve been a better player all these years if he wasn’t so broken hearted about his Brayan Pena BFF Tyler Houston turning out to be a bust

[...] Greg Maddux, first unanimous HOF’er?  If there hasn’t been one by 2014, someone in the BBWAA should get fired.  Because [...]

That Is Freakin' Nuts!

July 17th, 2009
3:48 pm

I saw the lead for the blog before I read DOB’s blog entry. The premise would Maddux be the first time uni inductee set me off before I read DOB’s story. Why was I going off? DOB covered it. The wacko members of the Baseball Writers who feel they need to keep a sense of order and perspective.

Hogwash!

Just because someone is a 10 yr plus member of the club, doesn’t mean they have anything less than mush between their ears! If the writers insist steroids are such an abomination on the game of baseball, then those same writers who don’t vote for Maddux and other sure fire HOF’er should be drug tested themselves! Only a crackhead would not vote for Maddux to enter the HOF!

Nova Scotia Steve

July 17th, 2009
3:48 pm

Anyone read the Ken’s article on the Braves and their starting rotation on Foxsports.com….great article ans so true…

Is the offense really that bad that we’re going to miss the play-offs???

He says we’re (Atl) getting hot and may be a bat away from a play-off spot…and interestingly enough said we could use an upgrade offensively at 1st base…

He also like the Ryan Church deal…

Anyway its a good read…

Steve from OH

July 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

5 years from now, who will they be comparing Heyward to?

A left-handed Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg?

kdbanks

July 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

DOB – Does the BBWAA release the individual ballots for voters? I’d be interested to know (if it happens) which jokers don’t vote for #31.

monty

July 17th, 2009
3:51 pm

One of the few pitchers able to pitch a complete game in under 2 hours because he had very low pitch counts. He worked inside/outside/and low and just let you hit it and see what you could do with it,and most of the time it wasn’t much. The master of the backup fastball to lefthanders.

P-Town Brave

July 17th, 2009
3:51 pm

Paul-

Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz actually made ppl believe that Bobby Cox was a good manager…

P-Town Brave

July 17th, 2009
3:53 pm

Nova Scotia Steve-

How is needing an upgrade at 1b any surprise at all? Yes Casey may be stellar defensively, but he’s killing the team in the fact that he has zero power and RBI capability in a position where power is necessary.

Bryan

July 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

i am listening to Honkey Tonk Heroes for the first time . . . got it last night. I am a huge fan of Dreaming My Dreams . . . damn Waylon . . .

John OTC

July 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

Those games he pitched went so fast too. Sometimes it only took him 2 hours to carve the othre team up. Just incredible!

Andyman

July 17th, 2009
3:56 pm

TJ – I don’t know for sure, but I would think so. Their coverage starts at 7:30 with the game starting about 7:45, if I remember correctly.

chilidog75

July 17th, 2009
3:56 pm

I don’t think Kotchman is killing the team
His defense is great and he’s the No. 8 hitter. Now that the two automatic outs are out of the lineup (thank God), I think the Braves will be scoring more runs.
If anyone is killing the team with a lack of power, you might want to look at the No. 3 hitter and the No. 4 hitter.

18 Wheels of Love

July 17th, 2009
3:58 pm

Mike Maddux for manager after Bobby retires.

Rob from SC

July 17th, 2009
3:58 pm

From the Heyward interview

He said from the day he was drafted, he set his goals on a 2009 callup

RHR

July 17th, 2009
3:59 pm

Well done, DOB and Carroll – I’m a huge Maddux fan if you didn’t get that by now. Thanks for writing about him today instead of Francoeur.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:00 pm

Thanks Andyman…I’ll be sure and have the TV on in case they do. You’d think they would be sure to have it on, but you never know. I remember hearing that the ceremony would start at 7:31 pm (in homage to MadDog’s number).

njbraves

July 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

Maddux is the best pitcher I have ever seen. I truly believe he would have won 400 games with a little more offense. He always lost games 2-1 or 3-2.

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

TJ @ 3:42 – I’m in the same boat as you, I hope the cable company shows it but I’m guessing we’ll just get highlights from Chip and Joe after the game starts. But I’ll tune in just in case. The braves.com website is supposed to have it, maybe it will be live?

CameronC

July 17th, 2009
4:04 pm

PABravesFan – He[Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg] said his wrist is hurting, said it was only a 1 or 2 day thing so he should be back in there soon.

And Slugger, yeah I met Cory, nice guy, got his autograph.

Mark Twine

July 17th, 2009
4:04 pm

DAMN, i wanted to be the 31st comment today!!!

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:08 pm

RHR- that would be nice too. Hadn’t heard that the website would have it too, so I’ll have the computer and TV on. Maybe we’ll get lucky. I really would love to see this. Maddux was always my favorite pitcher on the Braves (along with Phil Neikro). Mom liked Glavine, but I was always a MadDog fan. After they won the series in 1995, my parents bought me a Braves jersey. I didn’t want Chipper, or David Justice or anyone else, just Maddux. Got it too! and I still wear it today, although it fits a little bit tighter, for some reason….

Paul

July 17th, 2009
4:09 pm

Anyone know what time the Maddux ceremony is tonight? Just trying to figure when I need to be in my seat by..

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:09 pm

Paul, I heard the ceremony is supposed to start at 7:31 pm.

Nova Scotia Steve

July 17th, 2009
4:14 pm

P-Town Brave

I just thought it was surprising because everyone has talked about the need to upgrade in the outfield for the past two months.

But yeah Kotch has killed us as well…but showed some life over the past few weeks

LivinInAL

July 17th, 2009
4:16 pm

I enjoyed watching the Mad Dog in acton and he is a great one no doubt. One thing that I recall from his prime years, as well as Glavin, many nights the strike zone appeared to be about a foot wider when they were on the mound and then shrunk when the opposing pitcher tossed the ball.

MFin04

July 17th, 2009
4:18 pm

How do you bat .320 for 26 games and only drive in 15 runs with McLouth, Prado, Chipper and McCann in front of you, Loaf? How?

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:19 pm

It is 7:31, first pitch at 7:45, which Maddux will do the honors, naturally.

I’m jealous of all who went to the luncheon and all going tonight, best I can do is get my pic made by the new big red # 31 out front before the game tomorrow.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:21 pm

If Maddux is throwing out the first pitch, whatcha wanna bet it’s going to be a perfect strike? LOL

monty

July 17th, 2009
4:21 pm

Anyone beside me notice McCann still squinting at the pitcher through his new glasses? Is that just a habit? He had a real puzzled look on his face last night when he swung through 2 or 3 fastballs in a row, not even making contact. I question if he is starting to have vision problems (to a lessor degree) again and whether or not he still sees the ball like he should. He missed catching a fastball last Saturday I believe, just got half his glove on it. Does he appear to anyone beside me to be dipping his back shoulder very quickly maybe in an attempt to lift the ball? He hasn’t been good lately. Power is still down from 2nd half last year. He seems to me to hit best when he swings more level(not tilting) and is willing to drive the ball to left. I wonder if hitting clean-up puts more pressure on him to hit HR’s than if he was hitting 5th or 6th.

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:22 pm

Paul or anyone else going tonight…join our facebook group and put up some pics for us?

StingerSplash

July 17th, 2009
4:23 pm

A couple of things about Maddux …
A friend was the coach for an Olympic team (a foreign squad) for the 96 Olympics. He watched Maddux in a pre-game bullpen session. Watched Maddux pitch his gameplan in the bullpen and then re-create it during the game. Said you have no idea how hard that is to do.
Last game at Fulton County Stadium I saw in person, it was Maddux vs. the Astros in September. Bagwell had two bombs off Mad Dog (don’t know if Greg responded in kind with his version of bombs, the kind with the f) — the only two HRs to a right handed hitter he gave up all year.
Used to marvel at how fast a Maddux-pitched game went. It dawned on us that Maddux was making each hitter hit Maddux’s choice of a pitch, not what the hitter wanted to hit. Nothing ever left over the middle, knee-high to belt level, ever.
Dude deserves to be unanimous first-ballot pick. Period.

CB

July 17th, 2009
4:24 pm

We should be able to see ceremony on Peachtree, scheduled at 7:31 according to reports. Thanks,Rob.

StingerSplash

July 17th, 2009
4:25 pm

And for those of you who want to say, “I really do read it for the articles,” see Thomas Boswell’s piece on Maddux of about 14-15 years ago in Mr. Hefner’s monthly publication. A great piece of work (and, no, I don’t remember who the PMOM for that month was. But I’m gonna guess she was hot).

mattdrum

July 17th, 2009
4:25 pm

I never get tired of looking at Maddux’s numbers. Unbelievable! We were so spoiled for those 10 years. No question the greatest pitcher of the modern era in my opinion. If he’s not a unanimous HOF inductee, I don’t know who could be. Can’t wait to see no. 31 out there on the wall for many years to come.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:26 pm

Thanks CB. Looking forward to it.

Tami

July 17th, 2009
4:27 pm

I think you can call Maddux the likeliest choice to be a first-ballot HOF selection over any pitcher in the modern era. The next HOF-ers going in — Johnson, Glavine, Smoltz, etc. — may have some challengers. Good point, DOB, about ‘Doggie’ going toe-to-toe with those considered the best contemporary hitters (now being tainted by the steroid era) of his playing days and being successful more times than not. I’m ecstatic for Greg in having this honor bestowed upon him. It’s a big deal. Not every MLB player gets their playing number retired. Maybe this will convince Cooperstown that Doggie deserves to be inducted as a BRAVE, not as a Cub or a Padre.

TOMAHAWK MATT

July 17th, 2009
4:27 pm

I’ll always remember hearing the F-bombs when Greg didn’t get a call or missed a spot.

I love you Mad Dog!

31 FOREVER!!!!

GO BRAVES!!!
GO JAIR!!!

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:29 pm

TJ and everyone else, the ajc has a video from the luncheon up. If this link won’t work you can find it going to the ajc.com homepage.

http://www.ajc.com/video/content/video/?bcpid=1659825399&bclid=22594788001&bctid=29873102001

Really good coverage by the AJC today, Gracias to all involved.

David O'Brien

July 17th, 2009
4:29 pm

Chilidog, thanks for catching that typo in the Maddux stats — yes, those were sub-0.900 WHIPS.

LINEUP TONIGHT:
1. McLouth
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. McCann
5. Anderson
6. Escobar
7. Church
8. Kotchman
9. Jurrjens

For Mets, Francoeur hitting fifth, providing — ahem — protection for cleanup hitter Sheff.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:30 pm

TOMAHAWK MATT–that was one thing about Greg…when the pitch didn’t go where he wanted it, everybody within earshot could tell he was not pleased..LOL. Even if the pitch was a strike or an out, he still wanted every pitch just so. And got it that way most all of the time.

David O'Brien

July 17th, 2009
4:31 pm

Bryan: Honky Tonk Heroes for the first time, huh? You’re listening to one of the very best, as far as country albums go.

CB

July 17th, 2009
4:32 pm

Well,I,m sure Sheffield feels very safe. :-)

TurnThePage

July 17th, 2009
4:32 pm

A couple of observations about last night’s game. First, I was very vocal about my desire to see Brooks Conrad in the lineup. His shot down the line that went just foul had me smiling, but the fact that he worked the at bat until he got a walk and eventually scored the winning run made me smile bigger. See, these Braves don’t make a habit of taking pitching and working a pitcher. Casey Kotchman made a number of good plays at first base. Even though he is about as dangerous as Rafael Belliard was at the plate, he is solid in the field. Garret Anderson hitting the home run was a pleasant surprise. DOB’s story about his hitting since the beginning of May buoy his status in Bobby Cox’s eyes I am sure. Hey, I would love nothing better than for Anderson to continue to produce. I hope he does. One final thought, that was an ugly but effective slide by Brian McCann. Looked like a belly flop. What’s the lineup tonight? Will Bobby Cox hold tight with what he had last night? My guesstimate:

CF Nate McLouth
2B Martin Prado
3B Chipper Jones
C Brian McCann
SS Yunel Escobar
LF Garret Anderson
RF Ryan Church
1B Casey Kotchman
P Jair Jurjjens

I still would love to see Conrad in the lineup but I see what Bobby Cox is doing sticking with Kotchman’s defense. The problem is that he adds very little hitting the ball. The over under tonight is two runs since Jurjjens is pitching. What do you guys take? The over? The under?

MFin04

July 17th, 2009
4:33 pm

I really don’t know how that Met’s lineup scores any runs at all. Can’t believe Lowe gave up 3 to them last night. Hopefully Jair shuts them out or gives up 1 run.

chilidog75

July 17th, 2009
4:33 pm

Sheff is probably saying to himself, ‘Sweet. Nothing but fastballs tonight!’

Daslied

July 17th, 2009
4:34 pm

MFin04 ~ “How do you bat .320 for 26 games and only drive in 15 runs with McLouth, Prado, Chipper and McCann in front of you, Loaf? How?”

Chipper and McCann have been slumping for the last month? Seems like GA has been leading off innings a lot.

Jeff S

July 17th, 2009
4:34 pm

DOB, I once heard a writer who has a HOF vote say in an interview that there are a few voters who say they will never vote anyone in the Hall on their first ballot. Their reasoning is because if Babe Ruth didn’t get in by a unanimous vote, nobody will on their watch

TurnThePage

July 17th, 2009
4:34 pm

I was actually posting my comments BEFORE DOB posted the lineup. Sorry. Cox is at the very least predictable.

MFin04

July 17th, 2009
4:35 pm

Don’t pitch to Wright or Sheff and you should have a shutout.

Il Cattivo

July 17th, 2009
4:35 pm

A perforated c**dom is better protection than Frenchie.

Darlington

July 17th, 2009
4:36 pm

Doesnt the player have a say so as to what uniform he is inducted in?

MD

July 17th, 2009
4:36 pm

Maddux goes into HOF as a Brave not a Cub right???

StingerSplash

July 17th, 2009
4:36 pm

Saw Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks a few years ago on Austin City Limits. Damn good show.

TurnThePage

July 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

Jurjjens and Vazquez are so much alike. They have pitch well, pitch on hard luck and tend to have one inning where they self destruct from time to time. Of course, Derek Lowe did that last night.

Need to Know

July 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:22 pm
Paul or anyone else going tonight…join our facebook group and put up some pics for us?

What is the Facebook link?

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

RHR- thanks for that video link. The link worked just fine and that was a nice tribute to MadDog. I like the stories about Greg. It looked like everyone had a great time.

Vinings Jim

July 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

StingerSplash – it was Jessica Lee

jason

July 17th, 2009
4:38 pm

For Mets, Francoeur hitting fifth, providing — ahem — protection for cleanup hitter Sheff.

D.O.B. Intentional or not, That was pretty damn funny….

timthebrave

July 17th, 2009
4:38 pm

If a sportswriter refuses to vote anyone in the first time the only players that they would vote to get in the hall are marginal hall of famers and 0 people that are obvious picks. They should have their voting rights for the hall revoked for being idiots. If Hank and Mays didn’t get in unanimously than nobody should is idiotic thinking. Hank, Mays and Maddux should be unanimous picks. Thats like saying since they were idiots back, I should keep up the tradition of idiot thinking. God forbid anyone learn from their mistakes

CB

July 17th, 2009
4:39 pm

RHR,thanks for the link,really funny stuff!

MFin04

July 17th, 2009
4:41 pm

Turn The Page – Actually Jurrjens hasn’t really had any self-destructive innings this year at all. Most of the time it’s the defense letting him down. Jair really hasn’t given up any big innings and has only had 1 or 2 bad starts the whole year. The rest should realistically be wins.

TJ

July 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

LOL @ Il Cattivo (4:35)

Heath (Cleveland)

July 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

I don’t see how there is any way that Maddux goes in the HOF as anything other than in a Braves cap. The 10-yr span he had in Atlanta IS what made him a HOFer.

KC

July 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

I touched on this in the last blog. But if you’ll forgive the long post… this will be my blog entry for Bravesblast.com in a day or two:

IT WASN’T A LACK OF POWER… IT WAS THE “AXIS OF FEEBLE”

If you’re one of the many fans or national sports media types who still aren’t taking the Braves seriously, there is something you need to know… you are wrong.

You observe that the Braves have little more thunder in their lineup than they had through the first 3 months of the season, and you see no reason why they’re offense woes won’t persist. The trouble is… your premise is flawed.

You think the Braves have failed to score runs consistently because they have lacked “impact power”. But the truth is that a lack of power was not the primary source of their offensive impotency in the first half of the season. The REAL problem was having THREE near-automatic outs in the lineup.

You can score plenty of runs without a single 30-homerun hitter. Just ask the ’98 Yankees. If you don’t have 2 or 3 huge bats in the middle of the order, that’s just fine, but you need to have a well balanced lineup full of quality hitters. The problem was… the Braves didn’t have either. There were three “Shaq”-sized holes in their lineup.

For a full 1/3 of the season Jordan Schafer, Kelly Johnson, and Jeff Francoeur formed an axis-of-feeble. Like a black hole, they sucked the life out of this Atlanta offense, and managed to turn two of the most capable starters in the league (Javier Vazquez and Jair Jurrjens) into losing pitchers for a time. This underachieving trio killed rally after rally, and prevented many others from ever being sparked in the first place.

A lineup like Atlanta’s, which doesn’t have multiple mashers in the middle, has to string things together. For the most part, walks, singles, and doubles have to come together in combination in order to score runs. But when you have THREE members of your lineup who are virtually guaranteed to pull the plug on any potentially productive inning… how can you ever score runs consistently?

You can’t. And they didn’t.

But the Braves plugged one of those holes when they replaced Schafer with all-star Center Fielder, Nate McLouth, in June. And now, in July, they have plugged the other two holes as well. They gave Johnson’s starting job to Martin Prado. Actually, to be more accurate, Prado RIPPED the job out of Kelly’s hands by consistently sparking the lineup every time he was penciled into it. Then, Frank Wren and Co. replaced the floundering Francoeur with the promising Right Field platoon of Matt Diaz and Ryan Church (for whom the Braves dealt “Frenchy” to the Mets).

Atlanta’s offense isn’t likely to be among the game’s best from now until the end of the season. However, I believe this Braves lineup will surprise the naysayers in the second half. Their detractors have failed to recognize the TRUE problem. Therefore, they have yet to notice that it has been fixed.

Every single position in the Braves batting order is likely to hit for a solid average, and is capable of delivering 15 homeruns or better. Three positions can deliver 25 or more homeruns. And six of the eight positions are manned by players capable of thumping 40 doubles in a season.

Frank Wren and Bobby Cox now have the lineup they envisioned at the start of spring. There are no 30 homerun bombers… but solid hitters throughout the lineup, all the way up and down the order, 1-8. And more often than not, that will be enough to win behind this Atlanta pitching.

The axis-of-feeble is gone, and better days are ahead.

cabravesfan

July 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

VJ-

Why am I not suprised you know that?

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

Need to Know, I don’t know how to do the link but just search facebook for a group called “braves fans of DOBs blog” … i’ll log in real quick and try the link but it usually doesn’t work like that.

Chop Chop

July 17th, 2009
4:43 pm

Realistically, the Braves should never lose.

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:44 pm

TJ & CB – I cant watch the video until I get home, but I’m looking forward to it! I love Maddux stories.

Pete

July 17th, 2009
4:44 pm

Crotchety: “If Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson weren’t unanimous first ballots, no one can ever be”
Agree completely. Dont get me wrong…Maddux definitely belongs and will easily get in on the first ballot. He was possibly the smartest pitcher to ever play the game. But he and Glavine (among others) benefited greatly from a much wider strike zone back in the 90’s, as compared to the 60’s-80’s. Cant recall how many times I watched Javy Lopez set up 4-6″ outside the strike zone, and as long as Maddux hit his glove, it was a strike. If Gibson and Koufax had the same zone, they may have lost 10 games total between them.

Brightside

July 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

DOB, I would sure love to hear your ideas on monty’s 4:21 post. Especially his upper cut swings lately.

MFin04

July 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

Chop Chop – Realistically if you are talking this Braves lineup and pitching staff vs. this Mets lineup and pitching staff you would be correct.

CB

July 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

VJ-I haven’t looked at that magazine for twenty years. Let’s see- how long have I been married? :-)

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

RHR

July 17th, 2009
4:46 pm

I just read that Boston DFA’d Julio Lugo. Ouch. I bet that hurt whoevers pocket.

Original Jon

July 17th, 2009
4:47 pm

I love how Maddux said “Lets CRUSH the Mets tonight”

Leah

July 17th, 2009
4:47 pm

Pete

July 17th, 2009
4:49 pm

BravesFanInKy: “Maddux is amazing. Can you imagine how many games he would have won if they Braves had had a consistently strong bullpen during his career? There were numerous games he lost that he was leading when he departed,………..”
You certainly make a valid point, but then I would ask why did he depart with the lead? Guys like Carlton, Seaver, Marichal, Koufax, Drysdale, Bunning, et al would never depart a game with the lead, unless injured. In fact if a manager even suggested that he leave with a lead, it may be the last words that manager ever spoke. I know times have changed etc. but back in the days, those pitchers I mentioned would always finish what they started, and never looked for help in the late innings with a lead, even if only a 1 run lead.

The Bird and Indian

July 17th, 2009
4:50 pm

Heading off to the game! It should be packed.

Need to Know

July 17th, 2009
4:50 pm

That was it – thanks RHR and Leah!

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