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December 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm ET
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Expansion Era Hall of Famers: B&C Bite-Sized Reactions

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox will share a stage in Cooperstown next summer, thanks to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 16-member “Expansion Era” committee. Some of your pals at Bugs&Cranks have opinions.

Here they are.

Landon Evanson – Where the hell is Billy Martin?

Scott Fendley – No Marvin Miller. No Ted Simmons. No justice.

Patrick Smith – When it’s time for the baseball writers to vote, we can expect more tsk-tsking about steroids. But do you think Torre, La Russa and Cox didn’t benefit from PEDs? You think La Russa didn’t know Canseco and McGwire were artificially enhanced? How many juicers did those guys manage?

Brad Bortone – If you have a career managing record 100 games under .500, aim to inherit a group of hand-picked All-Stars, and plan on taking credit for their inevitable success, your HOF dreams are alive and well. Frank Torre, Guy Torry and Tori Spelling would all have had equal success leading those well-oiled, insanely funded Yankees teams to championships…

…and Buck Showalter would have done it better.

Elisabeth Galina – This is what happens when you let Buzz Bissinger vote 768 times.

Keith Good  – True success must be repeatable. This isn’t the case for Cox or Torre. Cox’s early runs in Atlanta and Toronto certainly don’t scream hall of fame. Nor does Torre’s managing of the Mets, Braves or Dodgers.

LaRussa is the only in this class who was able to repeat his success; in Oakland and then again in Saint Louis. It should also be noted LaRussa took Joe Torre’s last-place Cardinals and won the division the next year.

They’ll make for great exhibits, but, to me, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox are good managers given great teams.

Scott Kelly – Accomplishments and accolades aside, I’d like to throat punch Tony La Russa. If I ever see him walking the streets of Cincinnati’s west side it’s going down.

Andy Smith – I just hope they can somehow manage to put transition lenses on Tony La Russa’s plaque.

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One Response to “Expansion Era Hall of Famers: B&C Bite-Sized Reactions”
  1. Duke Jackson says:

    For some reason, I don’t get Facebook notifications over email anymore, so I apologize for not adding to this earlier, but the arguments against Joe Torre are just faulty.

    The ’96 WS team had only 2 players hit more than 20 home runs and zero full-time starters with an ERA under 3.50. The ’98 team was a juggernaut, led by homegrown stars Derek Jeter (draft) and Bernie Williams (amateur free agent). Paul O’Neill (trade for Roberto Kelly) and Scott Brosius (’98 salary: $2.7M) combined for a WAR over 10 that year, but neither of them were major money acquisitions — the Yankees didn’t even have the league’s highest payroll until 1999. And despite having a MLB-high payroll, the 2000 team only won 87 games and cruised to the WS. The payroll-heavy All-Star teams didn’t start until 2002 after the debacle in AZ.

    Long story short: you don’t win 4 WS, 2 pennants, and average 98 wins over 12 seasons with just “players.” Particularly in the playoffs, coming back from multiple 2-0 deficits on the road (’96 WS against the Braves and ’01 LDS against the A’s, to name two of the more memorable ones). Many teams have tried that money model and it never works (e.g., 2012 Marlins, 2013 Blue Jays). Torre had his faults as a manager (bad bullpen manager and not great with young players), but to write-off the 12 year run he had as luck or inheriting a well-funded team is just wrong.

    Also, Marvin Miller’s exclusion is the greatest HoF crime of all. What a joke.

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