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The time for knee-jerk reactions to the Mitchell report has passed. Now it’s time to commence with the backbiting and fingerpointing.  In this post, I think I want to bite a back. And it’s a pretty big back.

My personal approach to the announcement of Mitchell’s findings went something like this: I’ll probably find it entertaining, but at this point, the appearance of anyone’s name in the report shouldn’t surprise me.

I was right on both accounts. I was highly amused, seeing names of former players I hadn’t thought about in years as well as those of some guys whose personalities kind of rubbed me the wrong way (I’m not proud of this, but at least I’m being honest). And none of the names I saw surprised me in any way – until yesterday, when both the affidavits of Jason Grimsley and Kirk Radomski were unsealed.

Grimsley didn’t really reveal anything scandalous unless you used to think of Glenallen Hill as your personal savior. But there was a name in the Radomski affidavit that didn’t make it onto the Mitchell report.

It was El Sid.

The affidavit revealed that former Met Sid Fernandez had written Radomski a $3500 check in February of 2005. Problem is,El Sid last pitched in MLB in 1997, eight years previously.

sid-fernandez.jpgSid Fernandez was one of my favorite players growing up. When I was a wee lad, he looked like a mountain to me even on the television screen. He was listed as 6’1 and 230lbs (there’s no way that’s accurate; the guy was at least 250) and was always the kind of guy who was overshadowed, either by Doc Gooden’s arsenal of mid-90s heat and Sir Charles curveball, or by the ladies screaming for Ron Darling to give them a smile. He struck me as an everyman, and I always liked that about him.

He had a very solid career that lasted parts of 15 seasons. He never won more than 16 games and his girth made it difficult for him to stay healthy.  But when he was good to go, he was a very dependable strikeout pitcher. During his peak years that lasted from 1985-1993, El Sid had a great 3.12 ERA to go along with a very good 8.4K/9IP and 2.47K/BB ratio (As a comparison, over the same period, Roger Clemens had a 2.85 ERA with 8.21K/9 and 2.54 K/BB).

But perhaps his greatest statistical accomplishment is the fact that over his entire career, the behemoth of a man only allowed 6.85 hits per nine innings pitched, which ranks fourth best in MLB history behind only Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, and Pedro Martinez. All in all, not a bad career by any stretch of the imagination. Despite this, in a move that served as a microcosm for how under-appreciated he was, he received a total of two votes in his only appearance on the Hall-of-Fame ballot back in 2003.

But what the hell made Fernandez seek out help from Radomski in 2005? This was 8 years after he last took the big league mound (He tried to make a comeback with the Yankees in 2001 but made one start in Columbus before retiring once more). I don’t have the answer to that one, I’m afraid. We don’t even know what that $3500 check paid for. Was El Sid trying to make another comeback at the age of 42? If not, was there something wrong with him physically that he sought Radomski’s help because his own personal doctor wouldn’t prescribe him with something that Radomski was offering? Did Kirk Radomski also sell Stacker 2, the world’s STRONGEST fat burner? Come on, Sid. You gotta tell us.

86-champagne.jpg

11 Responses to “Wait, WHO was on Radomski’s Client List?”

  1. I used to love Jim Rice. I think I was one of only three kids in my inner-city Atlanta middle school to know who he was. If you put him in the Hall, there’s a whole lot of other folks that should probably go as well. Not saying he doesn’t deserve it, but just as there is a group of guys that were the last to get in, there has to be a group of guys who were the last ones left out. Dale Murphy doesn’t get mad (he’s too nice), but he would probably wonder why Rice made it and not him.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Danny O, The Murph was good and of course you’re right that he’s very similar to Rice: both were power-hitting outfielders. But Murphy didn’t hit for average like Rice could.

  3. I think of Rice as one of the, if not the best, hitters of his era to not make the Hall. But I also think that his detractors (not quite convinced that I should consider myself one) have a good point when they state how much better Rice was at Fenway than when playing away. Here’s the split for his career:

    HOME: .320AVG/.374OBP/.546SLG/.920OPS
    AWAY: .277AVG/.330OBP/.459SLG/.789OPS

    What do you think?

  4. Sarah Green says:

    I think you can’t fault a man for the park he plays in, especially one with such quirky dimensions. Who’s to say the Red Sox didn’t sign him because they knew what he could be playing half his games in that ballpark? Who’s to say Rice didn’t adapt his swing to Fenway? For what it’s worth, Paul White’s 2002 article (link above) makes this argument pretty convincingly:

    “If we need further evidence that Rice knew how to take advantage of Fenway’s dimensions, consider the 12 years since Rice retired. In those seasons the Red Sox have ranked poorly in runs per game, finishing 7th three times, 9th once, 12th three times, and 13th once. Still, they posted one four-year stretch during this span in which they finished in the top-5 each year. And who was their hitting coach for each of those seasons? Jim Rice. Sorry, but I don’t believe in coincidences.”

  5. Coley Ward says:

    What frustrates me about Hall of Fame debates is that we tend to slip back into old, outdated measurements when evaluating players.

    When we talk about the MVP, we talk about OBP and OPS, and we tell ourselves batting average shouldn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter how a player reaches base, just as long as he gets on.

    But when we talk about HOF worthiness, we slip back into the trap of outdated statistics. We say things like “Murphy didn’t hit for average like Rice could.” And it’s easy to see why. We’re used to thinking about players like Ted Williams in terms of batting average. And players like Ozzie Smith in terms of Gold Gloves won. And when we compare Tim Raines and Tony Gwynn to those players, we sometimes forget that we’ve since found better ways to evaluate player performance.

    I think there’s a case to be made for Jim Rice. But I don’t think his batting average should have anything to do with it. His lifetime OBP is .352. We should judge him more based on that.

    Dale Murphy’s OBP, FYI, is .346.

    B

  6. Paul Moro says:

    I know what you’re saying, Coley. But when it comes to HOF-voting, I don’t think we should entirely ignore more “traditional” stats either. You know about as well as anyone that I prefer percentages to counting stats. But these two really should be used side-by-side and not against each other. What percentages can’t do very well is express sustained excellence. What counting stats can’t do is accurately express how well someone performed with the opportunities were given to them. It’s only with all of this stuff that an accurate judgment can be made.

    Besides, while here in the blogosphere we collectively may tend to place a higher emphasis on sabermetrics, it’s still not a method that’s employed by the voters. And I don’t expect them to, really. They’ve accumulated years and years of knowledge that they were taught to be true. It’s not really fair to try and convince them that they’ve been doing it “wrong” for all those years. Who knows? In a few years, something else could come along that completely undermines sabermetrics. And I won’t be ready for it.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    It’s a good point, Coley, but I think you also have to take into account that Rice and Murphy did not benefit from having sabermetrics at hand, either. Those were not the days of coaches saying “a walk is as good as a single.” I like how new stats can help us take a second look at guys who were overlooked before, or help us reevaluate guys who’ve been unfairly maligned (thus my use of range factor, above), but I think you also have to strike a balance and evaluate players in the context of their era. Murphy’s not a bad candidate. I just think Rice has a slight edge over him, based in part on having a higher batting average. Rice also gets additional points for finishing higher in the MVP voting than Murphy in more years (six top-five finishes, compared with two for Murphy). Rice has a higher career SLG (.502 to Murphy’s .469) and a higher average of total bases per 162 games (320 to 277). Murphy had one season of 180 hits or more. Rice had six such seasons, including those three seasons in which he topped 200 hits. Yes, Murphy may have had more walks, but he also had more strikeouts. To me, when you look at their numbers, Jim Rice is just a more complete, more dominating, more dangerous hitter. That puts him over the hump, in my opinion. Dale Murphy doesn’t quite have enough to make it.

  8. True, Rice was a better all around hitter, but Murph was the MVP twice, and had a handful of Gold Glove years in centerfield. He would have ranked higher on some MVP votes had he not played for a perennial cellar-dweller. (Look at 87. Dawson deserved it, but no way Murph is behind all nine of the other guys on that list.) I think Murph deserves a Hall nod because of his dominance during the 80′s.

  9. Coley Ward says:

    For what it’s worth, here’s the list of batters that Baseball Reference says are similar to Jim Rice:

    # Orlando Cepeda (911) *
    # Andres Galarraga (893)
    # Ellis Burks (882)
    # Duke Snider (882) *
    # Joe Carter (866)
    # Dave Parker (856)
    # Billy Williams (854) *
    # Moises Alou (850)
    # Willie Stargell (842) *
    # Luis Gonzalez (841)

    Four hall of famers in the bunch. Six that don’t quite cut it. So, that settles nothing.

  10. Hush money?

  11. Hush money on a hand written check to preserved for everyone to see later? Could be – it doesn\’t take brains to make it to the majors. He was probably getting a stash of 40 year-olds favorite performance enhancer – viagra!

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