Another week, another interview: Steve Garvey

My latest is out for Sporting News. At this point, I feel comfortable saying here that I’ve set a goal to interview one iconic non-Hall of Famer a week for the foreseeable future.

If you’ve been reading along, in recent weeks I’ve interviewed Dale Murphy, Jim Kaat, and Billy Wagner. This week’s interview is Steve Garvey, who was a pleasure to talk to and was thought of as a Hall of Famer near the end of his career.

Old players aren’t too difficult to get a hold of and generally love to talk about their careers. Want me to interview someone? I can probably do it (within reason, of course– I don’t know if I can get Barry Bonds on the phone.)

Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or email me at thewomack@gmail.com.

Talking to Dale Murphy about Hall of Fame exclusivity

My latest is out for Sporting News. Continuing my recent interview kick, I talked to two-time MVP and Atlanta Braves great Dale Murphy.

It was pretty cool to talk to Murphy, who was one of my dad’s favorite players when I was a kid. For someone who I think has a fair shot of eventually going in Cooperstown through the Expansion Era Committee or some other iteration of the Veterans Committee, Murphy’s very accessible. He also ranks as one of the nicest sports figures I’ve interviewed along with Ozzie Smith and Dick Vermeil.

Expect more interviews. I spent 40 minutes on the phone this morning with another well-known player. I’ll share that one next Tuesday.

An interview with Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson

My latest just dropped for Sporting News. I’ve been on an interview kick lately and have another big one out today. I interviewed Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson.

If you’re into the Hall of Fame or care about what goes on there, be sure to read this one.

Talking to Jim Kaat about his Hall of Fame case

My latest Sporting News article just went live. I’ve been on an interview kick as of late, so I talked to Jim Kaat, winningest pitcher of the 1960s who isn’t in.

A link to my piece is here. As always, feedback is welcome.

I have more big interviews on the horizon. Feel free to suggest someone if you’re interested. It’s not too hard to find numbers for players like Kaat, and I’m fairly resourceful about getting people on the phone.

I went on AM 1570 in Baltimore

Writing for Sporting News has a few perks. One perk is that it dramatically increases my chances of appearing on the radio. Something about the Sporting News name lends instant credibility that I could never dream of in my years simply blogging at this website.

Anyhow, I have an almost 20-minute clip to share from WNST AM 1570 in Baltimore yesterday morning. I talk a lot in the clip about my love for Candlestick Park, the Hall of Fame, and more. Let me know what you think if you listen.

If you’re reading this and you have a radio show, podcast, or television show, I’d be happy to appear on it free of charge. Feel free to email me at thewomack@gmail.com if you’re interested.

The baseball book that changed my life

I have another freelance baseball article out today. Work has been brisk lately, as I want it. I struck out one on my own as a full-time writer and editor about three months ago, and I need all the work I can get.

Anyhow, one of the websites that I write for, The National Pastime Museum has a cool series called, “The Baseball Book That Changed My Life.” My contribution to it just came out a little while ago this morning. I wrote about The 20th Century Baseball Chronicle, a massive book of baseball trivia that my grandfather gave me when I was eight. To read why it changed my life, be sure to check out the essay.

Feedback as always is welcome. Thanks for reading.

An interview with Fay Vincent

My latest just dropped for Sporting News, and it’s another doozy.

I wanted a big follow-up to my project on the 25 best players not in the Hall of Fame, so I cold-called former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent, a fellow member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Vincent and I talked for nearly a half hour about his thoughts on the Steroid Era, Pete Rose, Buck O’Neil, and more. Vincent’s remarkably candid.

Anyhow, a link to my interview is here. As always, feedback is welcome.

Lou Gehrig's unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America  will announce the results of its annual Hall of Fame vote today, and there’s a chance Ken Griffey Jr. could be the first unanimous selection for the writers ever. So far, with nearly half the ballots known publicly, Griffey has been named on every one.

Many people have speculated that Griffey will lose at least a few votes from wonkish writers who never vote for anyone first ballot, though he’s got a reasonable chance to break Tom Seaver’s record 98.83 percent from 1992. Personally, I still think Griffey has a shot to make it unanimously, though I’ll stop short of predicting it.

Thing is, the BBWAA has had a unanimous selection for more than 75 years. I don’t hear too many people talk about it publicly, but it’s happened.

After Lou Gehrig took ill and immediately retired in 1939, the BBWAA voted unanimously to suspend its usual process and present Gehrig as the sole Hall of Fame candidate that year without a vote. His induction was announced December 8, 1939, less than six months after Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium.

So technically, Gehrig never received 100 percent of the vote in a general election. He was on the ballot before 1939 and didn’t come anywhere close to the necessary 75 percent of the vote for induction from the writers. But post-illness, no writer dared oppose putting him in.

Interestingly, this sentiment hasn’t held since. Roberto Clemente got 92.7 percent of the vote– 393 yes, 29 no, and two abstentions– in a special Hall of Fame election held by the BBWAA in the early months of 1973 after his death on New Years Eve ’72. An AP story I came across this morning noted, “The negative votes largely were a protest against the system and not the man.”

The writers have only been less sentimental since, albeit with weaker candidates. Thurman Munson, Darryl Kile, and Rod Beck have all appeared on the ballot sooner than five years after retirement because of their deaths, and none have come anywhere close to making Cooperstown.

The 25 best players not in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Proud to say the results are out for my Sporting News project on the 25 best players not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

To read the project, go hereBe sure to check through to the end for a list of full voting results and a list of voters. (If you ask me how a player did in voting, I’m not replying.)

Thanks to all 467 people who voted. Voters this year included Larry Dierker, Pete Palmer, and a range of other notable baseball figures.

That said, I’d like to give a special shout out to the eight people who’ve voted all five years I’ve had people voted on the best players not in the Hall of Fame. These voters are: Brendan Bingham, Craig Cornell, Victor Dadras, Wayne Horiuchi, Jason Hunt, Dan McCloskey, Joe Williams, and Vinnie, super reader whose last name I still don’t know and might never know.

As always, feedback and other comments are welcome. I’m already looking forward to next year. At some point, we need to do this as a book.

Ken Griffey Jr. and unanimity

My latest piece for Sporting News went live a little while ago. I wrote about Ken Griffey Jr.’s chances of becoming the first unanimous selection in Hall of Fame history. My friend Ryan Thibodaux keeps track of BBWAA ballots made public. So far, with about 1/4 of ballots known, Griffey’s been named on every one.

Anyhow, feedback and suggestions are as always welcome.

In other news, voting on my project on the 25 best players not in the Hall of Fame officially wrapped yesterday afternoon. Thanks to the 468 people who voted, which is close to the number of voters we had combined the previous four years this project has run. Results will be out January 4 at Sporting News, though I’ll definitely note it here and elsewhere.