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Carlos Beltran Headlines Latest Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates


Carlos Beltrán could do all of it: At various points in his 20-year profession, he hit 40 homers, stole 40 bases, batted .300 and won Gold Gloves. He helped five different franchises reach the postseason, and even won the Roberto Clemente Award for community service.

In 2017, Beltrán closed his profession by winning the World Series with the Houston Astros — but he was later found to be instrumental in devising their notorious electronic sign-stealing scheme. The scandal cost Beltrán his job because the Mets’ manager before his first game of their dugout. Now, it complicates his candidacy for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Hall unveiled the 2022 writers’ ballot on Monday, with Beltrán leading an inventory of 14 newcomers who join 14 holdovers. The leading returning candidate, the previous third baseman Scott Rolen, received 63.2 percent of the vote within the last cycle, his fifth 12 months on the ballot.

There’s an honest likelihood that no person on the writers’ ballot will gain the required 75 percent; the induction class for July in Cooperstown, N.Y., would then consist only of candidates chosen by the Contemporary Baseball Era committee, which meets next month on the winter meetings in San Diego.

That group includes boldface names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, whose candidacies — for various reasons — could also be even thornier than Beltrán’s.

The oldsters below, at the very least, are easier to guage. None will garner many votes from the writers, but all made a big impression worthy of a salute:

He played for the Pirates, the Red Sox, the Reds and the Diamondbacks, but Bronson Arroyo must have played for the Rockettes. That’s how he searched for a moment in his delivery, a snapshot of balletic grace on the mound. Arroyo, a right-hander, would swing his left leg upward, without bending the knee, as if it were the minute hand on a watch pointed at 10 o’clock.

He said he learned to lift his leg high as a child in Florida by watching the Mets’ Dwight Gooden on cable Channel 9 — but Gooden bent his knee. Arroyo’s stiff-leg mechanics got here naturally, and when a coach tried to vary him within the minors, he couldn’t make the adjustment. “In my mind my foot shouldn’t be on the market,” Arroyo said. “In my mind, my leg is in the identical place everyone else’s is.” His way worked just nice for 16 stellar seasons that included an All-Star selection, a Gold Glove and a World Series title.

When Matt Cain was 5 years old, he turned three unassisted triple plays in T-ball. When he was 17, the Giants drafted him in the primary round out of a Tennessee highschool. When he was 27, he threw the one perfect game in franchise history.

That earned Cain a spot on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” reading a top 10 list of things he still wanted to attain: “No. 4,” Cain said, “Pitch an inning without my pants.” Cain never did that, so far as we all know, but his stalwart effort within the 2010 postseason (21 ⅓ innings, no earned runs) helped the Giants win their first title in San Francisco, and he never threw a pitch for an additional team.

The knuckleball is a sorcerer’s trick, a mystical misfit in an era of predictive data. No person knows where the pitch goes — though, sadly, all signs point to extinction. Last season, only position players moonlighting on the mound tried the knuckler, the pitch R.A. Dickey used to win the National League Cy Young Award for the Mets in 2012. Will the pitch ever return?

“You would like individuals who have actually seen, with their very own eyes, how invaluable it will possibly be,” Dickey, a right-hander who spent 15 years within the majors, said by phone last week. “When those people go away, or matriculate out of the sport, the pitch might be doomed, because then you definately don’t have enough individuals with enough imagination to grasp what it will possibly really turn into. But I still have hope that if enough of those persons are on the market, there can be one other guy.”

In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury earned about $21 million. Then the Yankees signed him in free agency for seven times that quantity: $153 million for seven years. The deal was a disaster, after all, with injuries holding Ellsbury to simply 4 years in pinstripes.

His profession is a reminder of how quickly change can come, each for a player’s fame and for the sport as a complete. Ellsbury had only 4 or five good seasons, but his profession stolen base total — 343 — would lead all energetic players today. Here’s hoping the brand new rules for 2023, including larger bases and limits on pickoff attempts, can restore the recognition of the steal in a risk-averse sport.

For famous groupings of school hitters, it’s hard to beat the 1987 Seton Hall Pirates of Craig Biggio, John Valentin and Mo Vaughn. But when one team could make such a claim, it is perhaps the 2002 Arizona State Sun Devils.

That team included Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier, who led A.S.U. in hitting at .369 and went on to have a 12-year profession as a dependable right fielder for the Dodgers. The Seton Hall team went 45-10 and the Arizona State team went 37-27, however the Sun Devils got the long-term edge, with 127.5 wins above alternative to the Pirates’ 125.1.

When your father is a tennis pro and your mother a golf pro, there’s a great likelihood you’ll have elite hand-eye coordination. That’s the way it turned out for J.J. Hardy, who won three Gold Gloves because the Orioles’ shortstop and was often known as the perfect table tennis player in baseball.

Hardy told Tim Kurkjian, the Hall of Fame author, that he took 89 consecutive matches from Brady Anderson, the retired longtime Baltimore outfielder he considered the second-best player across the team — but was by some means beaten one spring training in Florida by pitcher Jason Hammel. Five minutes later, Hardy got a text message from Arizona: A former teammate, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, couldn’t consider Hardy had lost. “Word travels fast once I lose in Ping-Pong,” Hardy said.

In the primary inning of his debut, in 2002, the right-hander John Lackey gave up a 433-foot home run to Alex Rodriguez in Texas. His Angels teammate Troy Glaus got here over from third base to envision in.

“I went out and talked to him, expecting to see a man whose eyes are looking like golf balls, simply to pat him on the fanny and say, ‘Let’s go,’” Glaus said, 4 months later. “He checked out me and said, ‘All right, I got it.’ That, to me, was all I needed to see.”

Glaus spoke in a news conference after that 12 months’s World Series against the Giants, when Lackey became the primary rookie to win a Game 7 because the Pirates’ Babe Adams in 1909. Lackey went on to assist the Red Sox and the Cubs reach the highest, joining Bullet Joe Bush, Jack Morris and Dave Stewart because the only pitchers on championship-winning rosters for 3 franchises.

When Mike Napoli crouched behind the plate at Busch Stadium in the underside of the ninth inning on Oct. 27, 2011, he was about to be the Most worthy player of the World Series. He had hit .333 for Texas against St. Louis, with two home runs and 10 R.B.I. But the ultimate out never got here, and the Cardinals rallied (twice) on their solution to a championship.

The Rangers have never returned to the World Series, but Napoli went twice more, winning in 2013 with Boston and losing in 2016 with Cleveland, where he became a folk hero for his “Party at Napoli’s” persona. T-shirts with the slogan raised greater than $100,000 for a children’s hospital, yet Napoli is best remembered for not wearing a shirt: After Boston’s victory parade, he went topless as he roamed from tavern to tavern, toasting the title with fans.

Before the Astros repeatedly bounced the Yankees from the playoffs, it was Jhonny Peralta’s job. He did it 3 times in a brief span, with Cleveland in 2007 and Detroit in 2011 and 2012, batting .353 with 18 hits, including the cruelest considered one of all. Within the twelfth inning of the 2012 American League Championship Series opener, Peralta grounded a single to his shortstop counterpart, Derek Jeter, who broke his ankle while diving for it. The injury cost Jeter almost all the following season, and he never played in October again.

What do you remember most about Francisco Rodriguez: the brilliance on the mound or the violence off it? He had 437 saves, including a single-season record 62 for the Angels in 2008. He was also arrested on assault charges at Citi Field in August 2010 after punching his girlfriend’s father outside the family room near the Mets’ clubhouse.

Rodriguez, who was suspended, tore a thumb ligament within the fight and was traded to Milwaukee the following summer. He toiled in relative obscurity through 2017, earning his fifth and sixth All-Star selections and compiling enough saves to rank fourth on the profession list. Those ahead of him — Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith — are Hall of Famers. Rodriguez won’t come close.

Loads of fathers and sons have starred in the identical sport. Far fewer pairs have excelled at different sports, at the very least in addition to James and Huston Street. James Street was 20-0 as quarterback for the University of Texas, culminating with a Cotton Bowl victory over Notre Dame on Jan. 1, 1970, to win the national championship. He also helped pitch the Longhorns to 3 College World Series, and while they didn’t win then, Huston Street led Texas all the way in which in 2002, earning Most Outstanding Player honors for the tournament.

He went on to earn 324 saves in Major League Baseball, all in three- or four-year stints for West Division teams: Oakland, Colorado, San Diego and the Angels. James Street died in 2013, and Huston uses a quote from him in his Twitter bio: “You’re either getting a bit of higher or a bit of worse. You don’t stay the identical.”

In Jered Weaver’s first nine seasons with the Angels, through 2014, only Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia earned more victories. Weaver was an extended, lean righty with shaggy, sandy hair, a slow, smooth delivery and a dry wit: When he joined the Padres in 2016, he selected Mike Trout’s jersey number, 27, because he said he desired to hit like Trout. Alas, Weaver went hitless (and winless) for San Diego, but he got halfway to 300 wins as an Angel — and made a touching tribute to a fallen teammate. When Weaver and his wife, Kristin, had their first child in 2013, they named him Aden in honor of Nick Adenhart, a young teammate who was killed by a drunken driver in 2009.

When Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with Washington in December 2010, it flummoxed the game: Here was a solid player for the powerhouse Phillies being paid like a star to maneuver to the struggling Nationals. To Werth, it was an ideal fit. “I used to be taking a look at being there 4, five, six years,” he said the following spring, referring to the Phillies. “Where was their team going to be toward the tip of my contract?”

Werth’s forecast was accurate; for many of his deal, the teams’ fortunes were indeed flipped. This fall, though, the Phillies were on their solution to the World Series, and cheers greeted Werth as he fired the ceremonial first pitch of the pennant-clinching game — and fired is the accurate verb — to Bryce Harper, whom he mentored in Washington. “What are you doing? I’ve got to play a game!” Harper said later, recalling what he told Werth. “Thank goodness I’m a catcher, or I was once. I desired to kill him.” Harper smiled and added: “So J-Dub.”

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