Lots and lots of Dwight Evans vs. Jim Rice here this week. The email was probably about 70-30 pro-Dewey, which surprised me more than a little. But the Rice crowd won’t give up the ghost. They are a resilient bunch, the lovers of the 6-4-3 (is that the number the Sox will retire on July 28?) and they let me have it over my lack of respect for Jim Ed.
Plus I’ll burn a bridge with a Facebook friend (no more “What Country Should You Live In” tests to read, I guess) and tackle a “We Are the World” question. And yes, I will let you know if I tuned in and watched the most interesting work of Erin Andrews’ career.
Let the debate continue (and don't forget to keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org)...
Couldn't agree more, especially when you consider clutch hitting... Dewey seemed to always come through late in the game when the outcome was on the line, while Rice would strike out or hit into a double play. Even Butch Hobson was a better clutch hitter when the game was on the line during that era.
A: I still don't know where I stand on clutch hitting. Does it exist? And the idea of it only seems to apply to the postseason. Ted Williams hit .200 in his only World Series. So he didn't have it when it mattered most. Okay, but I'm not sure that he didn't face even more pressure on that final day in 1941. I don't know, maybe hitting .400 meant more to Ted than the World Series. Maybe it didn't, but the point is I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is that I have no idea who is clutch and who isn't. So these numbers might mean nothing, but they sure don't hurt the Evans case:
Evans -- 14 World Series Games: 3 HRs, 14 RBI, .580 slugging percentage
Rice -- Seven World Series Games: Zero homers, zero RBI, .444 slugging percentage
Dear Mr. Minihane:
You are absolutely right when you say that Dwight Evans is more deserving of the Hall of Fame than Jim Rice. I was a bit mystified that Dewey has received such little support from the writers because as I recall he was widely viewed as a 'nice guy' by the media. But, as you pointed out, Dwight was a highly underrated hitter (although he was a relatively late bloomer and spent the first half of his career seriously overshadowed by Yaz, Lynn, Rice, and later, Boggs and Clemens. I have a feeling, though, that he may eventually make it into Cooperstown through a vote by the Veterans Committee, I just hope Dwight is alive to see it happen.
A: Think you got it right, Palash. By the time the media got around to the "Wait a minute, Dwight Evans is really good" angle (happened around 1987) it was too late. His book was written. He could never make that next step in terms of media or public perception.
Two other things:
1. A lot has been made about Rice's battles with the media over his career and how it may hurt him over the years with Hall of Fame voters. I don't see it. He pretty much got unanimous support from Boston writers, and a good deal of the voters never even dealt with Rice (all the NL beat writers, plus a lot of the younger guys never covered him at all). I've always felt that was an overrated angle. Does anyone have an example of an undeserving player making a HOF because he was cozy with the media? How about the other way around?
2. Dwight Evans could live to 458 years old and he still wouldn't see himself get inducted into the Hall of Fame. There has just never been any steam to his candidacy. No push, no newsletters, no website, no 5K for the cause, nada. Jim Rice had an angle to get in. He was "the most dominant hitter from 1975-86." Didn't matter if it was true or not, there were some huge numbers to back it up. Easy for the voters. With Dwight Evans you have to do some digging before you figure it out. And the media had no interest in getting their hands dirty.
AWESOME column on Dwight Evans – clutch defensive plays and a mean bat. He was a true baseball player – he did it all!! They called Rice and Lynn the Gold Dust Twins but Evans and Lynn were more alike than Rice and Lynn.
But what an outfield in the 70s!!!
David J. Gallo
A: Ready for a little Player A/Player B?
Player A: Career 129 OPS+
Player B: Career 128 OPS+
Player A: Nine All-Star Games
Player B: Eight All-Star Games
Player A: Four Gold Gloves
Player B: Zero Gold Gloves
Player A: One MVP
Player B: One MVP
Player A is Fred Lynn. Player B is Jim Rice.
I know Rice intimidated opposing managers. I've read it enough. And he was intentionally walked 77 times in 9,058 career plate appearances, so there's the proof. Sure, Lynn was intentionally walked the same number of times in 1,135 fewer plate appearances, but Rice could BREAK A BAT DURING A CHECK SWING!!
Loved your article today. I totally agree with you, and have felt that way for a long long time. Never thought Dewey got his just accolades. There was more cheering for him when he came back onto right field as an Oriole that one season than he got in Fenway sometimes. A class act, and didn't treat the media the way Rice did. Surprising that his name hasn't been put up.
A: Again, I don't think Rice was that tough on the media. He just didn't want to deal with them. No spitting, putting a line of tape in front of his locker, no Ted Williams-style mental beatings (watch that HBO documentary on Williams, if you haven't -- fantastic), no long silent treatments. He didn't like them much, and it seems that when he was active they didn't much care for him either. But they did like Evans, and they should've. Always accessible, seemed down to earth, all that stuff. And what did that mean when it came to vote for the Hall of Fame and MVPs? Absolutely nothing, which is exactly what it should have meant. I give the media credit for ignoring personal bias, they just got it wrong.
I love Dwight Evans as much as anyone, and I honestly think a couple of injuries cost him dearly when it comes to the Hall. But honestly -- you're too damned young to write what you wrote, and it may very well be the dumbest thing I have ever read by a Boston writer whose byline didn't end in Shaugnessy.
Just please STOP the madness with the seam/stat head bulls--t when trying to quantify Jim Rice's career. Your MVP shares almost by themselves alone should be enough to have kept you from writing the rest of the nonsense you served up.
A: How else should I quantify Rice's career, Rob? Baseball Bunch appearances?
I understand, I hate it too when those tricky stats get in the way of what seems to be some hardcore hero worship. Who cares if he hit into more double plays per at-bat than any player in history? That's just a stat, doesn't mean a thing. And what does it mean, really, that his career OPS+ on the road was the same number, 85, as Julio Lugo's OPS+ this season? Please, you throw enough numbers into the mix anything can get spit out, right? I mean, Rice was the ultimate intimidator. We are talking about a .225 career playoff hitter, after all.
Dwight Evans -- last great Boston athlete to break out the pornstache?
A: As far as I know. In fairness, though, I have not seen a Boston Breakers game this season. Kidding, of course. Come on. There is no shortage of talent or beauty on our local women's pro soccer team. And that is why we'll be so sad when the league folds in 2011.
I read your column this morning and have to say I agree - Rice was a tremendous ballplayer from 1977-79, and had other excellent seasons as well ('75, '86) ... overall I would say he was a very good ballplayer and a borderline HOF candidate. Same goes for Dewey - borderline HOFamer. Better defensively, and was never a slouch with the bat. What people forget with Rice is that in the 80s he led the league hitting into many DP's and was an automatic out with the game on the line. When the Sox were up 9-3, he'd hit a three-run homer. Dewey, on the other hand, was clutch in the late innings. I don't have excessive heartburn with Rice - he was a great and feared ballplayer for a short time, and a good player the rest of his career. Is he HOF worthy? I don't know.
A: As I wrote in the column, Jim, there are players who aren't nearly the hitter Rice was who are already in the Hall of Fame. Look, Bill Mazeroski might have been the best defensive player ever at second base and maybe he hit the most famous home run in history. That is all swell but I can't get past that career .299 OBP. Rice was 50 times the hitter Mazeroski was.
Hi Kirk -
Really enjoyed the article. Still remember seeing Dewey throw a ball from deep in right field to third base on a rope. One of the great arms in baseball. Thanks for the flashback!
Absecon, New Jersey
A: Who had/has a better outfield arm? Vlad, I guess. Never saw Clemente, but he's always on the top of eveyone's list. You know who had a cannon? Jesse Barfield. Who am I missing?
Why does it have to be one or the other? Evans was a great ballplayer. Best rightfielder I've ever seen. But to insinuate he should be in the Hall instead of Rice is ridiculous. You don't look old enough to remember Boggs, never mind Rice. Rice was one of the most feared hitters in baseball for 10 years. Why do you have to knock Rice down to lift up Evans? If you love Evans that much, start a movement, but leave Rice out of it. While you're at it, why don't you leave the ops, obs, pms bull crap out of it, too. Two different hitters, Rice swung the bat, he batted 3rd most of his career, Evans moved around the order, many times hitting leadoff.
A: I'm not sure Dwight Evans is a Hall of Famer. I'm not sure Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer. What I am sure of is that there is NO WAY that Rice should have received so much more support with Hall of Fame voters. If Rice had been voted in but Evans had lasted 10, 12 years on the ballot with some 150-175 vote years I would be okay with it. And if Evans had been elected and Rice had never received more than 49 votes in a year I’d find that to be an injustice as well.
(Should a 34-year-old man care this much about Hall of Fame voting? Probably not. I might even be worse with Oscar nominations, by the way. That’s really about it. In the early 80's I was sort of into the Grammy Awards. That ended on a cruel 1985 evening when Lionel Ritchie’s “Can’t Slow Down” beat “Born in the U.S.A” AND "Purple Rain" for Album of the Year. I could never take the process seriously again.)
Thanks for the great article supporting Dewey for the HOF. I could not agree more.
I guess when teammates with Rice, Yaz, Clemons, Boggs, Fisk and other stars there are only so many cameras to go around.
I spoke to him five years ago for 15 minutes at a card show and he could not have been more cordial.
He also was puzzled by his HOF disrespect.when compared to those recent slap hitters (my term) from his ERA which have gained entrance. All players regardless of position should be compared by same offensive standards. 275 HRs (Sandberg) should not be counted more than 400 Hrs & 400 SBs (Dawson) because of position.
Too many slap hitters in the HOF (Yount, Molitor, Brett, Carew) because of career hits (3000) instead of feared run producers. George Brett only averaged 50 walks a year (topped at 83 only once) over 21 years. Had 100 runs and RBIs just 4 times each. Topped 25 HRs just once. Should Evans had played third base instead?
If Maz & Ozzie are in the HOF because of their gold gloves then the best defensive outfielders should gain access as well (Dewey & Dawson).
Thanks again for your article. Hope a few from the veterans committee remember Dewey in the future.
A: Listen, I'm all for Dwight Evans in the Hall of Fame, but let's not start knocking George Brett.
Career OPS+: Brett 135, Evans 127
Seasons with 30+ doubles: Brett 14, Evans 7
Seasons with 10+ triples: Brett four, Evans zero
Batting average, while an overrated statistic, can be telling if two players have the same OBP, which Evans and Brett nearly do (Brett .369, Evans. .370). Brett was a career .305 hitter, Evans .272. Plus Brett is one of the five best playoff hitters in history (no exaggeration -- in 43 playoff games he hit 10 homers, slugged .627 and had an OPS of 1.023).
Again, I'm not saying Dwight Evans should definitely be in the Hall of Fame, just that he deserved a better look when he was eligible. He's right on the borderline. But George Brett is one of the 30-40 best players in the history of the game.
As a 52 year old Red Sox fan who went to 30-40 games at Fenway per year from say 1973-1979 I had to grab on to my digitalis as I read your fantasy about Dewey being more deserving than Rice about being inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Nice try, but here are some numbers you left out. Jim Rice hit over 300 seven times. Dewey once. Jim Rice finished in the top ten in hitting six times, Dewey none. In fact, in 1975 Rice hit 309 and did not finish in the top ten.
Now let's compare true greatness.
Jim Rice finished in the top FIVE in Home Runs, RBI's and Batting average 15 times. Five times in each category. How is that for balance? If you want to look for guys to compare here you only need to look at Ruth, Gehrig Mays, Williams maybe one or two more. Not even Mantle applies here.Still going with Dewey? Yes, Dewey was superior in defense but by the very nature of defense, Rice makes 95% of the plays Dewey makes anyway.
You say that Rice had an unfair "advantage" over Dewey because Rice hit 3rd or 4th in the line up and Dewey hit 7th or below for many years. This is the first time I have ever hear such a ridiculous argument. Hey, perhaps the Red Sox should hit Varitek cleanup and move Youkalis to 7th otr below.
A: It all depends on what kind of hitter you prefer, Dan-O. Rice was a terrific hitter for a three-year stretch and a pretty good hitter for another seven years or so. No question. And it's true, Rice finished in the top 10 in hitting six times in his career and Evans had no top 10s in that category. But Dewey finished in the top 10 in walks and OBP a combined 13 times. Rice? Two times.
You wrote about Evans having bad luck and it's true. Imagine if he were playing today? He'd be $100 million dollar player, easy.
A: Great point. Look at it like this: If J.D. Drew could get that contract at age 30 what would Evans get? Here's what each did in their age 30 seasons.
Drew: 20 homers, 100 RBI. .393 OBP, .891 OPS
Evans: 32 homers, 98 RBI, .402 OBP (led league), and .936 OPS
Throw in the huge edge in defense (Evans won a Gold Glove that year) and no durability questions and you've got a six-year, $90-million dollar deal. He would be exactly what Theo is looking for, good power, high-OBP, zero problems in the clubhouse. In fact, I guarantee you that Theo Epstein believes that Dwight Evans was a better player than Rice. I know Bill James does.
I thought you tried a little too hard not to get rough on the Globe in last week’s answer about the four-page sports section. I don’t know, maybe you think you’ll get a job there but that sports page is terrible now and I'm pretty sure they aren't hiring.
A: I stand by what I wrote last week -- tough to blame the folks over there. Try putting a band-aid on a bullet wound every day. But I do have a slight nitpick with one of my favorites at the Globe.
On Friday, Chad Finn wrote a piece in his media column tearing WEEI a new one. Not the first time he's done that, and that's okay. Free country, of course, and sure, there are things about the station that drive me batty at times, and I have found myself nodding in agreement more than once with his stuff. But here's the problem: there is, as we all know, a new girl in school and I have the sneaking feeling that Ol' Chad is trying his best to get a date for the dance. That was not a media column last week. It was an audition. And if you hear his voice on another radio station and then read him bashing WEEI again it will have ZERO credibility. So either just blog (and he's one of the best at it) and continue to go Howard Beale on WEEI or stick with the media column and stay off the airwaves to try keep (at least the appearance) of some objectivity. And if he does just blog he should feel free to go on any radio station he wants. I have no doubt he'd be terrific.
And yes, if the Globe dropped the ban on 'EEI I believe that most of those guys (Finn included) would compete in the Andy Dufresne 500-yard Fecal Crawl just for a weekly spot on any show.
The post-mortem Michael Jackson coverage is running on fumes, but through the gauzy haze of nostalgic clips and slo-mo montages I noticed a somewhat disturbing curio: Dan Akyroyd. In the "We Are the World" video, he can clearly be seen singing along in the chorus alongside musical legends Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Steve Perry. (Yeah, I said it - Steve Perry. As a matter of fact, anybody involved in the making of "Separate Ways" is a legend in my book.) And then, in a moment of pop culture serendipity, I caught a few minutes of "Pearl Harbor" on AMC the other night and noticed Akyroyd again, essaying the role of Capt. Thurman under the precise, subtle direction of Sir Michael Bay. My question is this: considering Dan's mostly comedic resume, which appearance comes across as more bizarre?
Sherman Oaks, CA
A: Before I answer this a quick "We Are the World" question. How did Smokey Robinson not get a solo? This is a man that A. Bob Dylan once referred to as "America's Greatest Living Poet" and B. was tight with MJ, who organized the whole thing. I mean, you couldn't have benched Kim Carnes? And where was Prince?
But the answer to the Aykroyd question is an easy one. C'mon, "Pearl Harbor" was T-O-T-A-L garbage. Who was even awake when he showed up? Probably he and Bay met at some party and figured it'd be fun to work together. Bad casting, sure, but not an immense shock.
But to see him in the chorus of "We Are the World" remains of the top stunners of my lifetime. Keep in mind that I was 10 years old at the time and had never seen "The Blues Brothers." It actually made no sense to me -- I remember pausing "The Making of 'We Are the World'" VHS and running to the kitchen to ask my mom if this was the same guy from "Spies Like Us." If you watch the video now Aykroyd himself seems shocked that he's there.
(But the "Pearl Harbor" question begged another one -- what was the strangest piece of casting that almost ruined a great film? Easy one, right? Has to be Ted Danson in "Saving Private Ryan." I went to see the movie opening night and the sight of Sam Malone actually drew laughter from a crowd that was literally crying just 15 minutes before. Never seen anything like it. It would be like casting Jerry Seinfeld as one of hijackers in the United 93 movie from a few years ago.)
As a friend of yours on Facebook I'm glad you joined the "Mitt Romney in 2012" club. What an early endorsement for the Mittster. Did he call you right after you signed up? Boy, am I impressed.
A: Defriended. First time I've done that. What a rush of power.
We've all been on Facebook for a year or so, right? We have our sea legs now? Can we all agree that the worst thing on Facebook is the "Couple That Thinks They Are in a Romantic Comedy" 42 comments back and forth on what movie they might see tonight. I'm always both fascinated and repulsed by Facebook. It scares me to see what has happened to people. One of my three or four best friends in high school has opened a Facebook account for his dog. I mean, what happened? And yep, I get bored sometimes and will join a group or two (see Romney, Mitt) but I will never, ever take a quiz to see, you know, what Anne Murray song best defines me (poor example as I already know the answer -- Snowbird).
Admit it. Erin Andrews. You watched.
A: My head is ducked in shame, Todd. But to make myself feel better about the whole thing I actually put my laptop in a hotel room, downloaded the video and then went into the hallway and watched it through a peephole.
Now there are reports that it is an ESPN employee that might have taped Andrews. Is this what it would take to get rid of Chris Berman? I would have to think that nothing less would do the trick.
Again, keep the emails coming at email@example.com.