Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons elected to Hall of Fame
On Sunday’s unofficial opening of the Winter Meetings, the Modern Baseball Era Committee (former known as the Veterans Committee) convened to vote on this year’s group of ten players eligible for the Hall of Fame. Every year there are groups of ten who did not make the Hall of Fame their first time around who are given another chance in a vote from former players and executives. Among the ten this year, Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons got the call.
For Miller, it has been a long, long time coming. He is, without exaggeration, not only one of the most influential figures in baseball history but one of the most influential in American sports. Miller was the former head of the players association who brought about great change to the game, most notably getting the league to implement free agency. There is still a perception that the MLB Players Association has a tremendous amount of power, and while that’s not nearly as true as it is made out to be today that reputation exists because of the time when Miller was in charge. For someone as influential as him to take this long to get in is, frankly, embarrassing. He long said that he would not want to be inducted anyway — he passed away in 2012 — and his children have said they will not acknowledge him being inducted if it does eventually happen. This does complicate matters, and I of course support the family following through with his wishes. That said, to me Miller’s contributions to the sport are too great not to have him prominently honored in the museum dedicated to its history.
I admittedly don’t have as much to say about Simmons. He was a catcher whose career spanned 22 years into the late 80s, with most of that time spent with the Cardinals. The eight-time All-Star had a huge peak, putting up a 131 OPS+ over ten years including five straight years and six times in seven years garnering MVP votes. Simmons was one of the best all-around catchers in the history of the game, but his accomplishments have long been overshadowed due to the fact he was division rivals with Johnny Bench for most of his career.
Sox Spin: As I wrote yesterday, Dwight Evans was on the ballot as well, but he didn’t get in.
Junior Guerra signs with the Diamondbacks
As far as modern baseball goes, there wasn’t a whole lot of news on the docket Sunday, but we did get one major-league signing. After being non-tendered by the Brewers, Junior Guerra has found a new home. The righty signed a one-year deal worth $2.55 million with a team option for a second season to play with the Diamondbacks. Guerra emerged as a surprisingly solid starter in 2018 as Milwaukee rode a patchwork rotation to Game Seven of the NLCS. He came back in 2019 pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, putting up a 3.55 ERA. The peripherals didn’t match up with the results, though, and he was eventually non-tendered by the Brewers. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, don’t have a whole lot behind Archie Bradley, so there’s room for Guerra to emerge as a late-inning arm if he performs.
Sox Spin: Guerra would have been a nice fit for the Red Sox if they believed he could still start if needed. I don’t believe in him as a straight-up reliever, but if he can be something close to 2018 and serve in a Brian Johnson or Hector Velázquez-like role shifting between the rotation and bullpen, it could have been a nice fit. Of course, after a year pitching mostly short stints, it’s hard to say for sure he could have done that.