Spare Parts: Mark Buehrle surviving on Hall of Fame ballot in last week before results

Hall of Fame

With one week until the remainder of Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2022 class is announced, Mark Buehrle is back in the black, both metaphorically and on Ryan Thibodaux’s official tracker.

Buehrle gained his first vote of the entire cycle via former Chicago sports editor Dan McGrath, which puts him at nine votes out of 160 made public. That means he can go another 20 public ballots without a vote while floating at or above the threshold to remain on the ballot for another year, and he’s endured those kinds of stretches this winter.

Buehrle voter Jon Morosi made a particularly emphatic case for Buehrle’s election, even though he’s grossly outnumbered.

At the other end of the results, it appears that David Ortiz is the only one who has a chance to join Minnie Miñoso, Buck O’Neil, Bud Fowler, Jim Kaat, Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown sometime this summer.

PERTINENT: Minnie Miñoso’s Hall of Fame election took forever, but it will last forever

Ortiz is running at 83.5 percent, although I’d anticipate him losing some points when the entire results are revealed, whether it’s due to DHing, the alleged failed steroid test, first-ballot weirdness, or else. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are just above 75 percent themselves publicly, but their support has dropped by double digits each year when all is said and done.

SPARE PARTS

James Fegan caught up with Yasmani Grandal, who is coming off two surgically repaired knees, and a performance that suggested they were only minor hindrances. He hasn’t caught his usual workload during his White Sox career due to circumstances local and global, and it could bode well over the second half of his contract.

A.J. Pierzynski’s statistical profile and reputation suggest he’ll be a one-and-done candidate, but Pierzynski cut a profile that should endure without Cooperstown. The numbers say he’s one of nine catchers to rack up 2,000 hits, but more than that, most baseball fans have an immediate reaction to hearing his name, and he’ll probably be a fixture on national broadcasts as long as he wants to be. That’s a pretty good run.

Pierzynski’s ability to stay behind the plate shouldn’t be underestimated, because Melky Cabrera shows what his offensive profile would’ve looked like at any other position. Their slash lines are surprisingly close — .280/.319/.420 for Pierzynski, .285/.334/.417 for Cabrera — but Melky couldn’t find a steady job after age 32 due to his plummeting athleticism. Pierzynski’s ability to crouch got him through age 39, rather than age 34.

Camden Yards yielded the most home runs in baseball during the 2021 season with 277. The Bill James Handbook says it had the highest home run index of any American League ballpark for both last year and the last three years. Guaranteed Rate Field is runner-up in both categories, so we’ll check in next year to see what kind of impact dimensions made.

Les Grobstein died unexpectedly at age 69 — unexpectedly in part because there wasn’t a known cause, but more because he’d been a Chicago radio institution for 50 years, with no signs of relinquishing his duties as overnight host at 670 The Score. Jon Greenberg’s obituary for the Grobber is worth reading, as is his article from 2018 covering one of his shifts, not to mention this Ben Joravsky profile from the Chicago Reader in 1997.

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BuehrleMan

Ah, the Grobber news hit me harder than I would have expected. I never listened to his overnight shows but of course would hear the highlights of stuff from the show that the Score would play later. He was always around for as long as I can remember. I scored a copy of a cassette tape of the Lee Elia tirade in the fall of 1986 and have celebrated “Lee Elia Day” ever since. (Also on that tape was an outtake of Jack Brickhouse swearing like a sailor.)

And unsurprisingly Mark Buehrle is in my hall of fame. One of my favorite facts is that he is the only pitcher in baseball history to have faced the minimum number of batters three times. Insane. He also held the record for consecutive outs recorded for a while. I think Jenks might have broken that record. If not, he held it at some point. Some dude from San Fran I think eventually bypassed them.

David Ortiz? Not for me.

Last edited 2 years ago by BuehrleMan
joewho112

Francisco Liriano has also called it a career.

knoxfire30

Something to keep an eye on, Dylan Cease just switched agents to Boras

asinwreck

As someone with a fair amount of sports minutiae lodged in my brain cells, I appreciate the career that Les Grobstein was able to carve out for himself. It’s hard to describe to younger people the weird interplay between him and the WLS hosts, but Steve and Garry sure were thrilled when he brought them the Lee Elia rant.

It made sense that he’d eventually do overnights as his temperament was a little like Eddie Schwartz’s. Nice to see that his producers remember him fondly.

asinwreck

Same kind of excitable chatterbox who could get riled up at the weirdest stuff. Perfect for overnight radio.

My memory is a little foggy on the chronology, but I think Schwartz was replaced as WLUP AM 1000 overnight host by Danny Bonaduce of the Partridge Family.

BuehrleMan

That “weird interplay” I would describe as just humiliation and old fashioned bullying. Nothing different than what would go on in elementary school or junior high.

Of course it was a long time ago and I don’t remember specifics. Looking back from this vantage point I can’t remember exactly how I felt about it at the time but even as a pretty young kid I do remember some feeling that Grobstein was the butt of their jokes. And like with children it also seemed that he sort of accepted being bullied as at least it is some form of attention.

It’s possible that it wasn’t as mean spirited as I now have the feeling it was, but then again it might have been.

Joliet Orange Sox

I remember in the mid-1980’s when Lujack stormed into Steve and Garry’s show while Les was doing a sports segment to threaten Steve and Garry and Steve and Garry left. Lujack said something to Les right after they left like “Ok Les, how about talking some football” and Les responded with something like”This isn’t too weird.” and then after pausing added something like “Couldn’t you do this when [other wls sports guy] was here?”. I was in college/grad school when it happened and I remember being stunned how upset Les sounded when he asked that question. I think Les was ok with most the razzing he took from Lujack and from Steve and Garry and considered it to be radio bits but he thought that was too real (because I think Lujack and Dahl really did hate each other and he was in the middle).

On another note, I remember Eddie Schwartz being on my mom’s radio in her room (my dad was at work overnights) all night long for decades. He was a weird guy who sometimes was really interesting and sometimes not.

Last edited 2 years ago by Joliet Orange Sox
ParisSox

Not to mention 4 time gold glove and 5 time all star. But yeah – 14 years , a few outs shy of 15. Don’t know that we’ll see that type of longevity ever again.

ParisSox

The Grobstein thing is hitting me harder than I thought it would. He was such a presence on the Chicago sports scene. Reading the Reader profile brings back tons of memories of how important sports was to me as a kid.

itaita

I figured Camden’s HR numbers were from the staff playing there every game being awful.

jorgefabregas

Oriole pitchers gave up ~50% more homeruns at home than on the road. Oriole batters hit ~67% more homeruns at home than on the road.

Last edited 2 years ago by jorgefabregas
jorgefabregas

In case anyone was wondering: White Sox pitchers ~39% more homeruns at home. White Sox batters ~38% more homeruns at home. All numbers 2021 season only.