Papi Trails

Where tradition might suggest one announce one’s retirement close upon the moment of retiring, of late a few figures of the sporting world have let such be known at the outset of their respective ultimate seasons, introducing a sort of lame duck year in which the man can do no wrong.

This most recent season of NBA basketball, now in its playoff portion, saw the Los Angeles Lakers openly punt on a whole year so as to give glowing sendoff to Kobe Bryant, who dutifully turned in the dreadful performance one could expect of one so past due, and who, even pushing issues of legality and morality aside (if you can do that), was still broadly recognize as a teammate of such a stripe as, in baseball terms, to make Jeff Kent look like Stan Musial.  And here were grown men turning misty-eyed recalling nights when Bryant’s Stalinesque mistrust brought his ball-hogging to previously unreached heights, such that his legacy will bring comparison to that of Jordan, who may have been an asshole, but at least he knew when to turn it off.

In baseball — in case you missed it — Derek Jeter retired, producing in his worst full season what was at least not the worst final season on record, and on every step being feted with obsequious ceremony of a style just slightly beyond what one would reserve for the messiah.  Such is the power of marketability.

Not every star receives the same treatment, and one wonders what the measure must be.  Will A-Rod look to the sunset soon?  How might a character of his coloration be garlanded or tomato-pelted by the public, and would he notice?  Doth Chiron himself lead the parade down the avenues of that realm of madness? Continue reading

How Donald Trump’s Proposed Wall Will Impact International Free Agent Signings

dtPresidential hopeful Donald Trump’s plan to build an immense wall along America’s southern border has created substantial controversy over the last few months. Trump vehemently defended his plan and embraced it as a vehicle to garner additional campaign support.

Baseball is a soothing escape from real world issues, and we at Banknotes Industries pride ourselves on our ability to present unbiased and well-researched baseball news without a political agenda.

However, Donald Trump’s proposal will create overwhelming under-the-radar complications for international free agent signings. Continue reading

Ooh! Hey! Look! I Have a Hall Ballot, Too!

First, forgive my absence from these the hallowed halls – in few moments, you’ll see what a fabulously fabulous pun that is – of Banknotes Industries. The reason? My mom came for a visit. You really should meet her. She’s a lot like me, only more female, more old and more mom-like. Also, she is more funny, more smart and a more better writer.

I mean it. Her emails absolutely rock. Granted, like other people of a certain age, she has trouble with the basics of modern technology – ON buttons, OFF buttons, ON/OFF buttons – but yeah, she can write an email like nobody’s business. I’ll forward one to you momentarily. (Just leave your email address in the space provided and I’ll get it to you right away, followed by a series of legitimate proposals regarding some money transfers.)

Anyhoo, now that I’m back in front of a computer and slowly destroying my eyesight, I notice that everybody and his mother – see what I did there? – has cast a Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, whether official or unofficial, informed or ill-informed, paper or plastic.

It’s like, “Ooh! Hey! Look! I have a belly button, too!” Blah blah blah.

So in efforts to flip the script, and to further separate myself from the herd of quote-unquote “baseball writers,” I hereby submit my ballot for the Baseball Fame of Hall.

You heard me: the Baseball Fame of Hall.

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Bill Hall: Remember this guy? I do. And that – whether a guy is actually remembered – is requirement No. 1 for fame, and thus for inclusion in the inaugural class of Baseball Fame of Hall inductees. The reason I remember Bill Hall is very simple. I remember Bill Hall because I always wondered, “How does a guy named Bill Hall make it to the bigs?”

Seriously.

Sounds like an insurance guy with 2.8 kids and 2.1 Ford Tauruses, or vice versa.

Actual made-up quote: “Hi, I’m Bill Hall, and I’m in insurance!”

Another actual made-up quote: “How do my khakis look?”

And one more: “Want to go to Applebee’s?”

But sure enough, dude played in the bigs for 11 years.

Eleven! (That’s the same number of years that actual Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn played!) And if you played in the big leagues for more than a decade, and your name is Bill Hall … well, mister, you’re gonna find yourself in the Baseball Fame of Hall.

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Dick Hall: OK, I ain’t old enough to remember this guy, but Baseball-Reference sure is! But yeah, Dick Hall played in the big leagues for 16 years – from 1955 through 1971 – so it’s safe to assume that he was pretty famous, at least in the halls of the Dick Hall house.

Dude won 10 games in a season twice, 11 games once and retired with a lifetime win-loss percentage of .554 and an ERA of 3.32. You ain’t gonna get your own postage stamp with those numbers, but still … pretty good! Plus, he pitched at age freakin’ 40. Forty!

That’s not quite Moyeresque, but it’s old enough for someone somewhere to have said, “Wow, age 40, eh? That’s pretty old!” Fame-wise, that has got to count for something.

And that something is inclusion in the Baseball Fame of Hall.

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Jimmie Hall: Yeah, OK, I admit it. I have never heard of this guy. Correction: Now that I’ve done the requisite Baseball-Reference research, I sure have heard of him! But prior to approximately two minutes ago? No, I had never heard of Jimmie Hall (born Jimmie Randolph Hall on March 7, 1938, in Mount Holly, N.C., prior to attending Belmont High School in Belmont, N.C., and signing with the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent in 1956.) Because who do you think I am … Ken Burns? I am not Ken Burns.

The thing with Jimmie Hall is this: He’s the only dude named Hall to have made an MLB All-Star team! I kid you negative. He did so twice: in 1964, in his age-26 season, and in 1965, when he hit .285 and racked up an .810 OPS as a Minnesota Twins center fielder.

Thing of it is, he’s a classic case of “Whoa, whatever happened to that guy?”

Seriously. Dude hit 114 dingers in his first five seasons, seven in his last three.

That sad plummet’s got to account for a little notoriety, right?

And a little notoriety gets you into the Fame of Hall, at least when your last name is Hall.
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