2016 NFL Hall of Fame nominee and pro football legend Terrell Owens has teamed up with Butterfinger to make the Super Bowl bolder than ever before with the Bolder Than Bold campaign by asking players to bring back the boldest moves on the field – the touchdown dances. Butterfinger has offered to cover up to $50,000 for fines that may be incurred by any player boldly celebrating in the endzone.
In the video above, we asked T.O. about his potential Hall of Fame induction, if he ever used HGH or PEDs, and his favorite endzone celebration.
When you think about the baseball Hall of Fame, you think about the incredibly high threshold that’s set for an inductee. You don’t just have to be great, you have to keep it up for a long time.
Usually, any discussion of Hall of Fame credentials starts in earnest after a player is well into his career. But it’s always fun to consider the Hall of Fame potential of young superstars, particularly when they set the league on fire right off the bat.
Craig Kimbrel definitely fits the profile of a young superstar who at the very least can be in the conversation this early in their career. This National League Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star has been consistently dominant right from the start. As we said, Hall of Fame discussions start with numbers, and the numbers are there for Kimbrel. He’s posted 46 and then 42 saves in his first two seasons with the Atlanta Braves. His ERA numbers were an impressive 2.10 and then a dominant 1.01. His WHIP is even more impressive, starting with 1.04 and then going to an eye-popping 0.65. He’s also a strikeout machine with 127 and then 116. In 2013 he’s continued with the impressive stats.
Kimbrel comes across as even keeled and soft spoken in his interview above, but he also has the “wow” factor given how hard he throws. He’s consistently in the high 90s with his brutal fastball and sometimes tops out over 100 MPH. Flamethrowers always grab the attention so that’s another factor in his favor.
Of course all of this is only a start. Longevity is critical for Hall of Fame candidates, and the bar is very high for closers when it comes to the Hall. With Mariano Rivera finishing up his spectacular career, the bar may be raised even higher. So Kimbrel of course has a long way to go. Also, as a power pitcher, keeping it up over a long period of time can be even more difficult. Not everyone has an indestructible arm like Nolan Ryan. But the dominating performances are starting to become routine for this guy, so he’s definitely a youngster to keep an eye on.
Today we got more proof of the beauty behind an athlete’s battle against time. Last week, I wrote about Tom Glavine and a shoulder injury which may end his 22 year career. On the other side of the coin, there’s news today about an even older pitcher still getting the job done. As reported on Yahoo! Sports:
Johnson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against his former team, and the San Francisco Giants held on to beat the Diamondbacks 2-0 on Sunday.
“Sometimes you have to put blinders on when it comes to certain teams,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to pitch well. It’s nice to go out there and feel like I’m contributing after the last two starts.”
Johnson, who allowed one hit in seven innings, was perfect through four. He faced the minimum through six and stranded Augie Ojeda at third base after the shortstop doubled to open the seventh.
A no-hitter through seven is nothing to scoff at, even if it did happen against a team not especially known for their hitting. It’ll be interesting to see how the now 1-2 record of Johnson grows, and how soon it’ll be before he reaches his 300th win (his win today puts him at 296). Again, from Yahoo! Sports and Brian Wilson, one of Johnson’s Giants teammates:
“It was beautiful,” Wilson said. “It was a nice day and Randy was out there dominating. He proved he can still do it.
“You watch him working the hitters, working the count and you realize not all of us can go out there and do that.”
I’ve never been much of a Randy Johnson fan, but regardless of what team he’s on now I think it’s worth our while to keep an eye on a future hall-of-famer before he’s finished actively playing ball.
Through his blog (38pitches.com) last week, Curt Schilling ended months of speculation on whether or not he would pitch this season by announcing his retirement from baseball. And the moment he hit the send button on his computer screen, the debate began if he is a worthy Hall of Fame candidate.
If you consider him a lock for enshrinement to Cooperstown than you must re-evaluate Jack Morris’ career because they’re one in the same. Neither guy was a marquee name. For Schilling, he had to contend with Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, while Morris competed with Doc Gooden and Roger Clemens for the title of baseball’s best pitcher. They had similar starts to their careers as long men in the bullpen, but once they established themselves in the starting rotation, Schilling and Morris became big game pitchers at the most important time of the year…October.
Their regular season numbers don’t overwhelm you, as Schilling had only 216 career wins and Morris recorded 254 wins in his 17-year career, with both eluding the coveted 300 wins mark for automatic entrance into the Hall. And neither one won a Cy Young Award in their career. But, what really puts them into the conversation is their memorable playoff performances.
Two words come to mind when you say Schilling and postseason…bloody sock. He stapled his ankle tendon to the bone and led the Boston Red Sox to their first championship in 86 years. He was the ace or co-ace on four World Series teams (the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies, the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, and the 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox), and was named the 2001 co-MVP in one of the best seven-game World Series ever played. In 19 postseason appearances, Schilling had an 11-2 record with a 2.33 ERA. His detractors will tell you that Schilling never met a microphone that he didn’t like, and who could forget him playing for the camera by covering his head with a towel instead of watching Phillies closer Mitch Williams save game five in the 1993 World Series?
Morris was a true throwback, a pitcher that finished what he started. He had 175 career complete games in an era that was transitioning from dominant starting pitching to a bullpen–based staff. And just like Schilling, he is remembered for one amazing postseason outing. Morris recorded a 10-inning complete Game 7 shutout victory over the Atlanta Braves to capture the 1991 World Series for the Minnesota Twins. His World Series record was 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA, as he led four teams (the 1984 Detroit Tigers, the 1991 Minnesota Twins, and the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays) to World Series titles, including three in a row from 1991-1993.
Schilling and Morris raised their level of play when their teams’ back was against the wall. They pitched to the moment and came up big time after time. Other pitchers (Mike Mussina or Bert Blyleven) might have better career numbers, but they will have to pay admission to get into Cooperstown. The debate about whether or not Schilling and Morris are Hall of Famers has begun…let’s discuss.
You know it’s a slow week in MLB again when the big news is that Jeff Kent has announced his retirement. And just like Kent does with ease himself, the news stirred up controversy. This volatile player has never quite been a media darling, and has often gotten into it with teammates. But there is now debate about the guy’s Hall of Fame credentials. Okay, he may have the most homers for a second baseman in history, but you can’t tell me this guy is in the same class as a guy like Joe Morgan. He’s just not. And while a .290 career batting average is nothing to sneeze at, 377 homers over 20 years is not exactly Babe Ruth-esque.
Anyway, as Manny Ramirez remains unemployed, there were a few other smaller signings and moves this past week….
Okay, this isn’t small but just announced on Friday, Prince Fielder has agreed to a 2-year, $18 million deal with the Brewers that will keep him firmly entrenched (and who could move the guy?) on first base in Milwaukee through 2010. I’m glad for the Brew Crew since they lost out to the mighty Yankees in the CC sweepstakes.
Catcher Gregg Zaun re-signed with the Orioles, the team that drafted him back in 1989. The journeyman player signed a deal worth $1.5 million with a $2 million option for 2010.
The Phillies signed outfielder Jayson Werth to a two-year, $10 million contract and also inked reliever Chad Durbin to a one-year deal worth $1.635 million.
Young right fielder Nick Markakis of the Orioles came to terms on a six-year, $66.1 million deal, covering his first three arbitration-eligible years as well as his first three free agency eligible seasons. Clearly the O’s believe in this kid and want to keep him away from the Yankees and Red Sox.
Two other catchers signed this week—Brad Ausmus reached agreement with the Dodgers on a 1-year, $1 million deal; and Henry Blanco signed a $750,000 deal for one year to back up Padres’ catcher Nick Hundley.
Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who at 41 still looks like he’s 25, has been invited to spring training by the Texas Rangers. Vizquel signed a minor league deal that will allow him to mentor 20-year old Elvis Andrus, and to possibly become the team’s utility infielder. In order to make room for Andrus on the field, the Rangers are planning to move all-star shortstop Michael Young to third base. In addition, the Rangers are said to be casually wooing free agent pitcher Ben Sheets, who lives in Dallas.