Yes, the Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl, but they are making us wait two weeks for the big game. For what, the Pro Bowl?
Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on February 14, only ten days after the Big Game. The Flyers are flying high and the Sixers, despite leading the NBA in turnovers, are in a playoff spot.
Did I just get optimistic there?
To make some baseball news out of what has been a very quiet offseason for the Phillies and the rest of MLB, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is expected to announce their HOF class of ’18. More than half of eligible voters have already released their ballots, making this year’s class less of a surprise than in the past.
It’s expected that it will be announced that Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, and Jim Thome have been elected to the Hall of Fame this afternoon.
Jim Thome played all or parts of four season with the Phillies, smashing 101 of his 612 career homers with the team, including an NL-leading 47 homers in 2003, the only time he ever led his league in home runs.
Vlad Guerrero hit 449 HR in 16 seasons with Montreal (yes, they used to have a team), Anaheim, Texas, and Baltimore. He had a .318 lifetime batting average. I mostly remember him for his cannon throwing arm.
Chipper Jones was an NL East nemesis of the Phillies for 19 years, all with Atlanta. He amassed 2,726 hits, with 468 HR and a .303 career batting average. He led the NL in batting in 2008 with a .364 average.
What I expect will be newsworthy today is the progress that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are making in their HOF candidacy. 75% of voters must have named someone on a ballot for election, and both Bonds and Clemens are expected to cross the 50% threshold today.
Personally, I will be looking at how former Phillie Curt Schilling will fare today. Schilling and Clemens are the only two pitchers in MLB history with 3,000 or more strikeouts (3,116 for Schilling and an incredible 4,185 for Clemens) that are NOT in the HOF. Clemens is famously connected to PED’s (not proven, just connected) while Schilling is not. Some describe Schilling as a “borderline” candidate with only 216 career wins in 21 MLB seasons, but this doesn’t hold water, especially when you look at his postseason career with the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox.
And Edgar Martinez needs to be enshrined before David Ortiz (both are deserving), finally ending this anti-DH bias among HOF voters.
From the Useless Knowledge Department: Thirteen players have hit two grand slams in one game. Fernando Tatis of the Cardinals is the only player in history to have hit two grand slams in one inning, and did it off of the same pitcher. Pitcher Tony Cloninger hit 11 HR in his career, and hit two grand slams in a game on July 3, 1966.
Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal / Associated Press
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Baseball writer for SportsArePhilly.com. You can follow me on Twitter @jasphil