Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Russell's Hall of Fame Nominations

I guess it's time since I have computer access to put my nominations for the 110 Percent Hall of Fame. Since PJ did all hockey, I feel honor bound to do all baseball. The funny thing about a personal hall of fame is that everyone pretty much has to be a personal favorite. A historical baseball hall of fame that brought no notion of personal bias would have to be Babe Ruth or Ted Williams or someone like that. But because it's my hall of fame, these are all guys who I love to follow.

1. Historical- Nolan Ryan- Pitcher, 1966-1993 New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers. Important Stats: 7 no hitters, 12 1 hitters, 5714 Strikeouts, 324 wins.

He played for the Astros and Rangers in my formative years. I remember listening to no hitter #7 on radio. I also listened to him beat up Robin Ventura as well. Above all those things, he gave legitimacy to a Ranger franchise that had struggled for years and was the first to go into the Hall of Fame with a Ranger hat on. A true Texas legend.

2. Current- Craig Biggio- Catcher, 2nd Base, Center field, 1988-present Houston Astros. Along with Jeff Bagwell proved to be the heart and soul of a highly successful franchise in the late 90 and the aughts, finally winning the first play off series in Astros history and then the first World Series games in the state of Texas in 2005. But he was more than just a cog in the machine, he was the best 2nd baseman in the game for a number of years, capturing 4 Gold Gloves. He'll get to 3000 hits in the next week or so, he is 6th all time in doubles, 1st active in hits, 2nd active in runs scores, and he's a likely Hall of Famer according to baseball-reference.

3. Personal Favorite- Rick Helling- Pitcher, 1994-2006- Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers. In an never ending search for pitching, the Rangers drafted Helling with the 22nd pick in the first round of the 1992 draft. In an ok trade, they traded him to Florida with Ryan Dempster for John Burkett, who helped them win the West in 1996 and has the only Rangers playoff win in franchise history). In a tremendous trade, the Rangers got him back for reliever Ed Vosberg, best known for scalping World Series tickets a few years later. Rick became the back bone of a rotation of a team that won back to back AL West titles in 1998 and 1999. He won 20 games in 1998 and on Sept 22 beat the Angels giving up 1 run in 8 innings to put the Rangers up 2 games with 5 to go. Ahh, the glory days of winning the AL West and getting swept by the Yankees. I always liked Rick and I followed him in the minors and when he came up and got his brain beat in at first. Then he came back and was the guy we were hoping for. He understood how to pitch in the Ballpark and hung in there to lead the team to the highest it's ever been (such that it is). Also, a Kazakh guy saw a picture of him in a baseball preview magazine I had when I lived in Kazakhstan and asked if he and I were brothers. Crazy Kazakhs.

2 comments:

Kevin Hayward said...

When I saw the Helling picture, I briefly thought it was Jon Wetteland. Helling was good, but Wetteland... that guy was a gamer!

rus said...

I didn't even think about John Wetteland. That would have been a good call. Though he did play for the Yankees. I had a hard time with this. I actually thought about the Ranger great of old, Dave Hostetler. I remember in 1982 Hos had a tremendous start to the season and it seemed like he hit a thousand homeruns. I went to two or three games that year, sat in the outfield and screamed "Hit it here!!!" Unfortunately, though he hit 22 homeruns that year, he also struck out 113 time. But those were good days.