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Do we really need special tools for evaulating career leadoff hitters? In one sense, we do not. Leadoff hitters do the same things that other batters do. They get on base or not. They steal bases or not. They advance from first to third on a single or not. They drive in runners on base or not. The difference is that they have a significantly different ratio of opportunites to do each of these things than hitters in other places in the batting order. That may justify the use of different tools to evaluate them. I will let the reader be the judge of that.
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Another underrated Evans gets the Hall Watch treatment. Darrell Evans was the 2nd best third baseman in the National League of the 1970s, behind the great Mike Schmidt. That in itself would not normally qualify him for the Hall of Fame. Let's take a closer look.
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Dwight Evans had a long and productive career, but his moment came in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. We'll let Retrosheet take the call:
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I was visiting Montreal sometime in 1995. It was clear that an exodus was underway but my relative Peter was not worried. "We have Guerrero", he told me. I knew about Guerrero then, ran well, a cannon for an arm, good range in right, burgeoning power, and a superior ability to make contact. And 20 years old. Probably as good a prospect overall as Manny Ramirez and Frank Thomas were about 5 years earlier. It turned out that Guerrero was not enough to save the 'Spos, but he has been a joy to watch. With luck, he'll be on the playing field for another decade.
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Ace? Check. Winner? Check. Dominating? Not exactly, but two out of three aint bad. After a solid year in 2005 with the Braves, Tim Hudson is probably the best current starter in mid-career if we count Pettitte and Pedro Martinez as being in late career. Does he have a chance at the Hall?
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As we have watched Andy Pettitte’s career unfold, few of us have thought, “there’s a Hall of Famer”. But, after a great year at age 33 (17 wins, 2.39 ERA with ratios to match in 222 innings) with Houston, Pettitte deserves a second look.
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John Smoltz had the most interesting year of all of the Hall pitching wannabes in 2005. Moved back to the rotation by the Braves after 3 and 1/2 years as a closer, he responded with an excellent age 38 season. There is every indication that he might have two or three more good ones left.
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After 2004's epic performance, 2005 was an unhappy epilogue for Curt Schilling. The heroism of the triumph over ankle injury of the 2004 playoffs had as its necessary consequence an injury-riddled struggle in 2005, and a somewhat humiliating trip to the bullpen.
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Mike Mussina again battled injury in 2005. For the second straight year, he was an average pitcher who threw under 180 innings. He turned 37 in December. Is the end of his career near, or do his 47 walks and 142 strikeouts in 179 innings portend glorious sunset years?
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Superficially, Tom Glavine seemed to have a ho-hum age 39 season in 2005, 13-13 with a 3.53 ERA in Shea, but 12 homers, 61 walks and 105 strikeouts in 211 innings for a crafty lefty suggests that he might have a surprise season or two left for his forties, as Warren Spahn and Tommy John did.
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He’s faster than a speeding rocket, more powerful than a big train, able to leap flying bats with a single bound…it’s Superpitcher.

Roger Clemens is obviously a Hall of Famer. The great starters of our time, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Clemens, are among the best ever. If the 1980s boasted the best leadoff hitters in Henderson and Raines and the 1930s had first basemen Gehrig, Foxx and Greenberg, the 90s will hopefully be remembered 50 years from now not for its muscle-bound sluggers, but for its fine starting pitchers. This time, our measuring stick for Clemens will not be the Hall of Fame, but Walter Johnson, the other reasonable contender for the crown as the best right-handed pitcher ever. As is our wont, we will briefly review Clemens’ illustrious career.

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During his career, there were questions whether Jack Morris might be a Hall of Famer. He seemed to find his way to winning teams, and to pitch deep into games and win more than his share. His 10 inning shutout of the Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was thought to be the crowning jewel on his career. Let's take a second look.
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The story of Bert Blyleven's career has been told many times in the last few years. So, we will give it a brief re-telling. With his greater than 50% share in this year, there is still the possibility that the writers will eventually choose him.
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The 2006 Hall of Fame ballot has been announced. We will take a look at three of the starting pitching candidates- Tommy John, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris.

If you ask a casual baseball fan under the age of 25 about Tommy John, you're likely to get a 2 word answer: "elbow surgery". If you ask someone over the age of 25 about him, you will probably hear about his eminently hittable stuff and his unimposing stature. How many will say "always good and sometimes great"?
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There are so many little things that pitchers do: fielding the position, holding on runners, throwing the ball where the catcher can catch it with runners on, getting the ground ball with a runner on first. How many runs can these things add up to in a career?
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