This week, members of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) are reminding others of the importance of loving their bodies. Love Your Body Week was the idea of Saint Mary’s junior Laura Glaub, SGA’s student services commissioner. A communication major and women’s studies minor, Glaub noticed how often body dissatisfaction appeared in her coursework. Not long after, Glaub noticed that some of her friends were demonstrating the same body dissatisfactions, and she wanted to make a change. She decided to create Love Your Body week. “I want to empower my peers,” Glaub said, “and I want to show them that they are beautiful no matter what.” Glaub plans to empower her peers through a series of lectures, activities and student presentations. Today at noon, Dr. Susan Alexander, Saint Mary’s professor of sociology, will speak on “Disrupting Body Dysmorphia: Media Literacy as a Method of Addressing Women’s Body Image Issues” in conference room A in the Student Center. Judy Fean, the Director of Campus Ministry, and Regina Wilson, Assistant Director of Campus ministry will give a lecture entitled, “Women and the Church: Father, May I Love My Body?” at 5 p.m. in the same location. A Saint Mary’s student will discuss her own struggles with eating disorders at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. She will speak alongside of a panel on eating disorders on “Biting Back.” Glaub said the discussion would be very powerful. This student has yet to reveal her eating disorder to the general public, but she wants to share her stories with others now. The rest of the week is packed with events, including a presentation by Connie Adams of the Belles Against Violence Office at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in conference room A. Also on Tuesday, students are encouraged to relieve stress by laughing with clinical exercise psychologist, wellness coach, and certified laughter leader/laughter yoga instructor Mary Labuzienski at 6 p.m. in conference room a of the Student Center. “Mary says we all need fifteen minutes of laughter each day to remain healthy, so I wanted people to get their laugh in for the day,” Glaub said. This event is especially fun and eye opening, Glaub said, because it teaches students “you don’t need to be on a treadmill to love your body.” Later that night, Professor Bettina Spencer and Saint Mary’s student Gina Storti will give a lecture, “Love Your Body? Body Image at SMC compared to ND,” at 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet. Dr. Terri Russ, a professor of communication studies at Saint Mary’s will give two lectures on Wednesday, one at noon in conference room A in the Student Center, and the other at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. Her first lecture is entitled “Mother, May I Love My Body?” and the second is, “Beautiful Body Battles, Why Are We All Chasing Unicorns?” Students can attend a Fashion Show sponsored by Flourish at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Noble Family Dining Hall. At 8 p.m., the Student’s Activity Board will show the film “Eat Pray Love” in Vander Vennet. The week wraps up with a presentation by Saint Mary’s senior Christina Grasso. Grasso will present her senior comprehensive project entitled, “The Cult of Thinness in Fashion Industry” at noon in conference room A in the Student Center. The presentation will highlight interviews with models and fashion industry professionals Grasso has worked with in the past, and their views on the concept of thinness in the fashion world. Grasso has interned with Elite Model Management during New York Fashion Week in 2010 and 2011. She also interned with Nanette Lepore at the most recent fashion week in February. These internships have altered her perception of the fashion world and its impact on the public. “We only see the finished product — the glossy images of seemingly flawless women,” Grasso said. “What most people do not see, though, is the heavy preparation that goes into a photo or runway show — the hours of hair and makeup and photo editing. “Fashion, at its core, is a business and its purpose is to sell clothing. But somewhere along the line, it has become less about selling confectionary designs and more about selling a body-type as a utopian lifestyle. I am absolutely in love with the fashion industry, but I have to be mindful of my own innate values.” Grasso stresses the importance of Love Your Body Week on an all-women’s campus. “In today’s society as a whole there is an idea that there is only one kind of beauty, and that perfection is the vehicle to success and happiness,” Grasso said. “It is in this relentless pursuit, though, that we find anything but. Quirks and so-called imperfections are what make a person interesting, unique [and] beautiful.” Grasso also said this week is especially important because it provides an open forum for women to talk about their concerns, achievements and aspirations. SGA will also be distributing T-shirts and buttons in the Student Center today and during Grasso’s presentation at no cost to the students. “I don’t want people to have to pay to love their body,” Glaub said. All events are free and open to the public.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » It’s no good to be a dinosaur in the financial sector. Not only are dinosaurs notoriously temperamental, but they can’t type. Oh, and they’re extinct. If branches don’t want to go the way of the dinosaur, then a little credit union digital transformation is their best hope.(Hint: credit unions aren’t the only industry affected by digital transformation and the emerging primacy of data.)While digital transformation is certainly the goal, it can’t just organically happen. Credit union digital transformation is a strategic process that incorporates several approaches, from digital engagement to data integration. In this blog, we’ll talk about the challenges of credit union data integration and collaborative analytics strategies.Tying Together Data SourcesTypical credit unions have somewhere around six to eight data sources. Some have more. While having the data is certainly nice, it’s not much good to just sit on it.
Jansen’s strikeout of Hernan Perez in the 11th was his 36th of the season without having allowed a walk all year, setting a major league mark.Both teams combined for 42 strikeouts.But Bellinger had the biggest hit after lining a 1-2 fastball from Feliz (1-5) into the right-field bleachers to break the 1-1 tie. Yasmani Grandal had tied the game with one out in the ninth by lining a 3-1 fastball from closer Corey Knebel over the wall in right-center. Lost in the late-inning power surge was the duel between starting pitchers Kershaw and Jimmy Nelson. Domingo Santana had the only run off Kershaw, hitting a 1-0 fastball down the middle of the plate deep to left-center to ending a stretch of 20 in a row retired by the lefty. It was a rare mistake in a game in which Kershaw fanned a season-high 14, one off his career high. MILWAUKEE >> Cody Bellinger homered in the 12th inning off Milwaukee Brewers reliever Neftali Feliz, salvaging a 2-1 win Friday for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a night when ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw recorded his 2,000th strikeout. Kenley Jansen (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, stranding the potential tying run at third with one out in the speedy Jonathan Villar by striking out Orlando Arcia looking and getting Travis Shaw to pop out to short. The Dodgers pulled out a win and a couple impressive mound milestones, too. Their pitchers set a franchise record with 26 strikeouts, breaking the previous mark of 22 set on Aug. 8, 1972 in a 19-inning loss to Cincinnati . Nelson was just as effective for the Brewers, tying a career high with 11 strikeouts and allowing five hits over eight strong innings. Kershaw counterKershaw recorded his 2,000th strikeout in 1,837 2/3 career innings. The Dodgers said he was the third-fastest pitcher in major league history to reach the milestone. Pedro Martinez reached the plateau in 1,715 1/3 innings, and Randy Johnson was next at 1,734 innings.Trainer’s roomDodgers manager Dave Roberts said that left hander Alex Wood (shoulder) could start throwing by the end of the weekend, and that tests on Wood’s AC joint came back negative. Wood might return for the Dodgers’ series next weekend at home against the Reds, Roberts said. … Tests on left hander Adam Liberatore (forearm) revealed no nerve or ligament damage, and Roberts said the reliever would probably be sidelined a couple weeks after going on the 10-day DL on Wednesday.The Brewers Ryan Braun is running on a treadmill for the first time since going on the DL for a left calf injury, though the outfielder says there is no timetable for his return. Braun went on the 10-day DL on May 26, the second time he had been sidelined this year for the injury. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Many things in life, as you know, become easier with repetition. Filling out a Hall of Fame ballot is not one of those things, I have discovered. This is the fourth year I’ve had the honor and responsibility of voting for the Hall of Fame, and the decision-making process was as excruciating as ever. This is the first year I’ve not used all 10 votes available, and I’ve tried to use this very lengthy column to explain my reasoning, both for the players I did and did not vote for. But if the comparison here, for a spot on my ballot, is Lee vs. Santana, Lee falls a bit short. Santana bests him in bWAR (51.1 to 42.8), ERA (3.20 to 3.52) and strikeouts (1,988 to 1,824). And, if I’m being honest, this, too: I do believe that Johan Santana has a solid chance of one day being elected by a veterans-type committee, but I don’t feel the same way about Lee. Sammy SosaThoughts: There’s little doubt that Sosa took a PED-enhanced path to all those home runs. But I’ve had this one thought running through my head for a long time: If I’m going to vote for Bonds and Clemens and Ramirez (among others), how can I not vote for Sosa, a guy who finished with 609 career home runs and topped the 60-homer mark in three separate seasons? I honestly don’t have a great answer for that question. It’s easy to forget how much of a lift that Sosa’s power — and joy on the field — gave baseball during the post-strike struggles. On the other hand, even with all those home runs, Sosa’s career WAR of 58.4 falls way below the standard for average Hall of Fame right fielders (it’s 71.4). In fact, only one right fielder with a lower WAR has ever been elected to the Hall by the BBWAA, Wee Willie Keeler (54.0 WAR), back in 1939.Jeff Kent Thoughts: Kent’s power and production at second base were pretty elite, and the 2000 NL MVP doesn’t hurt his resume, either. Kent has a better resume than has been reflected by his voting totals, and it’s easy to think that the crowded ballot has hurt him — with a really good but not slam-dunk resume — as much as anyone. Quickly, here are the nine players with boxes marked on my ballot: Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Gary Sheffield.RIVERA: Five way-too-early predictions for 2020First, as always, three quick thank-you notes: First, to FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe for creating his JAWS system, which provides statistical context for this Hall of Fame discussion, and all the work he has done breaking down the candidates on the ballot. Invaluable resources. Second, to Baseball-Reference.com, which is eternally awesome and essential (subscribe to the Play Index!). And, finally, to Ryan Thibodaux and his crew for their indispensable Hall of Fame vote tracker (referenced often in this column as “The Tracker”). And now, my thoughts on this year’s ballot. If you’re curious, here are my previous ballot explanation columns: for the class of 2019, for the class of 2018 and for the class of 2017. You’ll see similar thoughts on players who are ballot hold-overs.Derek JeterThoughts: Jeter’s Cooperstown case is solid. There are 22 players enshrined in the Hall of Fame who were primarily shortstops, and their average bWAR is 67.0, with an average JAWS of 55.0. Jeter checks in at 72.0 and 57.4. He won the Rookie of the Year award, finished in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting eight times (a high of second place in 2006) and helped the Yankees to five World Series titles during his time with the franchise. He owns a career .321 average with a .384 on-base percentage in the World Series. He’s not the best shortstop in MLB history, but he’s an easy choice for the Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds and Roger ClemensThoughts: As always, I’m grouping these two together because their cases are essentially identical. On the field, they produced like few players in the history of this great sport. Bonds won the MVP award a record seven times — no other player has more than three MVP awards, which were first handed out in 1931 — and finished in the top five on five other occasions. Clemens won the Cy Young award a record seven times — no other pitcher has won more than five — and finished in the top six on five other occasions. Their counting stats are jaw-dropping and their advanced metrics are elite. They’re also forever linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Some people think that disqualifies them from the Hall of Fame and some people don’t. I see both sides of that debate, and I had long vacillated on this issue before my first ballot. But the Hall is full of two things: Players who displayed “character flaws” in all aspects of their lives, and players who used every possible advantage — legal or illegal — to achieve greatness. The only difference with Bonds and Clemens is that the advantages available to them were more impressive than the advantages that were available to the generation that popped greenies on game day, or the generations that scuffed and spit on the baseball. Is a spitball the same as using PEDs? Of course not, not as it impacts the game on the field. But the decision-making process that results in players choosing to use those advantages is essentially the same. I’ve voted for Bonds and Clemens all four years I’ve had a ballot, and I’m at ease with that decision. Larry WalkerThoughts: Fingers crossed that this is Larry Walker’s year. Finally. Deservedly. Selfishly, I really wish Walker would have stayed healthy during his career. In his 16 full seasons in the majors (not counting his 20-game late-season debut in 1989), Walker averaged just 123 games per season. He only played more than 143 games in one season. He played a total of 1,988 games; only four outfielders (Joe DiMaggio, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner and Kirby Puckett) have ever been elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA with fewer career games played. Why am I talking about games played? Because when Walker was healthy, he was one hell of a player, not to mention a blast to watch. And if he had stayed healthy, he would have been elected to the Hall years ago, even with the crowded-ballot issues of the past decade.But even with all those injury issues robbing him of games played, Walker exceeds the standards for average Hall of Fame right fielders in WAR (72.7), peak WAR (44.7) and JAWS (58.7). The averages are 71.5, 42.1 and 56.8, respectively. That’s crazy impressive. The thing is this: Walker did everything well. He was an outstanding baserunner. He was a Gold Glove right fielder (he won that award seven times). He had great discipline at the plate — he struck out 112 times as a rookie, and that number remained his career worst. He hit for power (high of 49 home runs) and he hit for average (high of .379). It’s impossible to talk about Walker without discussing Coors Field, of course, and the video-game numbers the thin air in that ballpark tended to produce. Walker’s Hall of Fame proponents will always point to his home/road splits during his MVP campaign of 1997, and it’s a great argument. That year, Walker hit more home runs on the road (29) than at home (20) despite 36 fewer plate appearances on the road. His OPS at home and on the road were nearly identical (1.169 and 1.176). Those splits helped Walker become the only Rockies player ever to win the NL MVP, and deservedly so. But that one balanced home/road season was really more of the outlier. In 1998, for example, Walker had a 1.241 OPS at home and .892 OPS on the road. In 1999, Walker had a .461 batting average at Coors Field and a .286 average on the road (though, I don’t care what the conditions are, batting .461 in 273 plate appearances against major league pitchers is insane). In 1995, he hit 24 homers at Coors and 12 on the road. You get the point. We have to look at everything. After six years in Montreal, Walker played nine full seasons with the Rockies, from 1995 to 2003, and he was traded to St. Louis after 38 games in an injury-interrupted 2004 season. Here are his home/road splits, solely from his time in a Rockies uniform:At Coors Field: 592 games, .384/.464/.715, 1.179 OPS, 154 homers, 520 RBIs, .332 ISOOn the road: 578 games, .280/.385/.514, .899 OPS, 104 homers, 328 RBIs, .233 ISOThat’s a big difference — more than 100 points in batting average and nearly 200 points in OPS. It’s at this point, though, that I’ll say any player who posts a .385 on-base percentage and .899 OPS on the road is still a great player. Tony Gwynn’s career on-base percentage — home and road — was .388. Most everyone has some type of home/road split that favors the home ballpark. Walker hit .350 on the road against the Diamondbacks, hit .329 against the Cubs at Wrigley and always crushed the Braves in Atlanta (.326 at Fulton County Stadium and .317 at Turner Field). He was far from a home-field fabrication. This is his final year on the ballot, and quite honestly it was disappointing to see how little support he received until the past couple of years, even with the crowded ballot. He finished at 15.5 percent of the vote in 2016, at 21.9 percent in 2017, at 34.1 percent in 2018 and then he jumped to 54.6 percent last year, after seven players were elected by the BBWAA in 2017-18. Four more were elected in 2019, which means that Walker’s 10th and final year on the ballot is, by far, his best shot at being elected. He’s over 85 percent on the Tracker right now, which gives real, legitimate hope that a player with a Hall of Fame resume might actually be voted into Cooperstown by the writers, instead of waiting for a committee vote (he might be unanimous in that election). Manny RamirezThoughts: When we think of Ramirez as a hitter, it’s easy to get caught up in the counting stats of home runs and RBIs. Especially the eye-popping RBIs. He had five seasons with at least 41 homers and he had 12 seasons with at least 100 RBIs; he had at least 144 RBIs three times, including a career-high 165 in 1999. His batting averages almost get lost in the mix, but he hit at least .300 in 11 seasons, including seven of at least .321. For historical context, only six hitters in MLB history played at least 2,000 games and produced a slash line of at least .310/.410/.575. Manny is one of the six, with a .312/.411/.585 slash line. The other five: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and Jimmie Foxx. Yeah. Manny is the only slugger who played after 1960 in that club. Think about that. Manny’s resume isn’t all about traditional back-of-baseball-card stats, of course. His adjusted OPS+ of 154 is tied for 25th all time, with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. His wOBA of .418 is 28th all time. His ISO of .273 is eighth all time. The list goes on. His WAR number takes a pretty significant hit because he wasn’t very good (being kind) at playing defense and running the bases. But still, his bWAR of 69.4 is higher than the average Hall of Fame left fielder (65.5), and that speaks volumes to how good he was as a hitter. The biggest thing with Ramirez, of course, is the PEDs. He wasn’t just suspected of taking PEDs, he was actually busted and suspended by MLB twice, in 2009 and 2011. For a lot of voters, that’s the separation. Anyone officially busted after testing in 2005 is off their list. I can’t argue that. It’s logical. Honestly, with the crowded ballot of recent years, sometimes it’s only natural to look for negative reasons to eliminate players from your ballot instead of solely judging the positives of a resume. If you think, for example, 14 people deserve to be elected but you can only vote for 10, reasons like PED suspensions work as well as anything to whittle down a list. To me, though, Ramirez was about a month shy of his 37th birthday when the first suspension was handed down. Heading into that 2009 season, he already had 527 home runs, a .314 average, 1.004 OPS and 66.5 WAR. How is that different from Rafael Palmeiro, you might ask? Palmeiro already had bona fide Hall credentials when he was suspended for steroid use in 2005, his Age 40 season, and that suspension crushed his Cooperstown chances. The answer is this: Maybe it’s not very different. But I didn’t have a vote when Palmeiro was on the ballot, so I didn’t have to deal with that decision. I have to deal with Ramirez now, and it’s impossible to have watched him for his entire career and come to the conclusion that he was anything but one of the best hitters in MLB history. I voted for Ramirez the first time I had a ballot (2017), but he was dropped from my ballot in 2018 because I had to find spots for Johan Santana and Scott Rolen, two players who were in danger of falling off the ballot by not reaching the necessary 5 percent of the vote (Rolen made that threshhold; Santana did not). With four players voted in from that 2018 ballot — Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman — the ballot crunch eased a bit and Ramirez was back on my 2019 ballot. He’s there again this year. Curt SchillingThoughts: By the end of his Age 28 season (1995), Schilling didn’t have anything resembling a Hall of Fame resume. He’d been traded three times already and had only one good, healthy season under his belt (his 5.9 WAR year for the Phillies in 1992, when he was 25). In his 206 career games (95 starts) through 1995, Schilling had a 3.56 ERA/3.37 FIP, struck out 6.9 per nine innings and had a 2.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Solid, but far from exceptional. He made only a total of 30 starts in 1994-95 because of injuries (and the strike, to a lesser extent), and it was fair to wonder which direction his career was headed. Not sure anyone other than Schilling saw what was coming. From his Age 29 season through the end of his career (Age 40 season), Schilling struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings and had a 5.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He had six seasons with a WAR of at least 6.0, struck out at least 293 batters four times and led his league in complete games four times. Don’t listen to anyone who says, “But he didn’t win a Cy Young award,” because that’s just silly. He finished second three times, when he had WARs of 8.8, 8.7 and 7.9. Those are amazing seasons. Problem was, Hall of Famer Randy Johnson was in his prime, too, and doing things that seemed darn near impossible. The Big Unit won the award two of those years, posting WARs of 10.0 and 10.9; Johan Santana won the award the third time, with an 8.6 WAR. You cannot hold a lack of yearly awards against Schilling for his Hall of Fame resume. And then, of course, you have Schilling’s postseason resume, which is incredible. In 19 career playoff starts, Schilling fashioned a 2.23 ERA and went at least seven full innings 13 times. In seven World Series starts, he had a 2.03 ERA, and his team won the title three times. As for Schilling’s public heel turn, let’s just say I will not listen to his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, and I kind of hate that my vote will help eventually give him that stage. But what he did on the field — with his 3,116 strikeouts and 79.9 WAR leading his resume — undeniably earned a spot in Cooperstown. As with Manny Ramirez, I voted for Schilling the first time I had a ballot, but he was intentionally left off in 2018 in favor of Santana and Rolen. Schilling and Ramirez were both in that sweet spot — zero chance of being elected and zero chance of falling off the ballot, so I felt I could manipulate my ballot with their spots. Both were back on my ballot in 2019 and again this year.Bobby AbreuThoughts: I’ll be honest. I’m torn on Abreu’s candidacy. On one hand, there are only three players in MLB history with at least 275 career home runs, 400 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .375 or better: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Bobby Abreu. That’s pretty select company. And, yeah, maybe grouping homers, steals and on-base percentage is an odd, arbitrary trio. But those are things Abreu did well, and his skill set was at least mildly unique. He had nine seasons with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases, the final one in 2010, his Age 36 season with the Angels. And he had eight seasons with an on-base percentage of .405 or better. From 1998 to 2004, Abreu produced an average slash line of .308/.416/.525, with a low bWAR of 5.2 and a high of 6.6 (average of 5.9). That’s outstanding. And he reached base via a hit or walk 3,979 times in 2,425 career games; Tony Gwynn reached base 3,955 times in 2,440 games. More good company. There was a drop-off in his 30s, though not nearly as precipitous as some of the other players on this ballot (we’ll get to them in a minute). From his Age 31 to 40 seasons, Abreu averaged .278/.379/.434, with an average bWAR of 2.0. Still a productive player, but not the All-Star he was in his 20s. Abreu falls short of the average bWAR (71.5) and JAWS (56.8) for Hall of Fame right fielders — he’s at 60.0 and 50.8 — but you also have to consider how those numbers are impacted by the totals of Babe Ruth (162.1 bWAR, 123.4 JAWS), Hank Aaron (143.0, 101.7) and Stan Musial (128.3, 96.1). Abreu is not equal to those those three players, but his numbers are very similar to BBWAA-elected right fielders Dave Winfield and Vladimir Guerrero. Look, I’m not sure Abreu belongs in the Hall of Fame. But I’m torn enough that, with Ted Simmons’ recent committee election after being 5-percented on his lone year on the BBWAA ballot, I’m voting for him this year in an effort to keep him on the ballot, and in the conversation for at least one more go-around. Scott RolenThoughts: Remember what I wrote about Larry Walker? Same thing for Scott Rolen, essentially. Rolen was unquestionably one of the greatest defensive third basemen of all time, right there in the conversation with Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt. And he was an excellent middle-of-the-lineup hitter, too, with a .903 OPS and an average of 28 homers, 102 RBIs and a 133 OPS+ from his Age 22 through 29 seasons. If he had stayed healthy, there’s zero doubt Rolen would have been a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. Instead of barely reaching 10 percent of the vote in 2017, his first on the ballot, we might have been discussing whether he was the best third baseman in MLB history. But he didn’t always stay healthy. Throwing out his rookie year — he wasn’t called up until August in 1996 — Rolen played 16 seasons in the majors. In those 16 years, he played more than 142 games just five times. He played 115 or fewer six times. Those injuries hurt his traditional counting stats (home runs, RBIs, etc.) not just because he missed actual games, but because his chronic shoulder issues often zapped his power when he was at the plate. Still, Rolen’s metrics help his Hall resume. There are 15 primary third basemen enshrined in Cooperstown, and they have an average WAR of 68.4, with an average JAWS rating of 55.7. Rolen finished at 70.2 and 56.9, so he’s above the average Hall of Fame third baseman, not just above the worst Hall of Fame third baseman. I will point out, though, that veterans committee additions such as Freddie Lindstrom (28.3, 27.3), George Kell (37.4, 36.2) and Deacon White (45.5, 35.7) do pull those averages down rather significantly from those at the top of the position list, Schmidt (106.5, 82.5), Eddie Mathews (96.4, 75.4) and recent addition Chipper Jones (85.2, 66.0).Rolen played for the Phillies, the Cardinals, the Blue Jays and the Reds; he made the NL All-Star squad with each team (seven total) and he also won at least one Gold Glove with each team (eight total). His postseason was a mixed bag. He hit .310 with three homers in the 2004 NLCS, helping the Cardinals to the World Series, but then went 0 for 15 vs. the Red Sox. But he later hit .421 in the 2006 World Series, helping St. Louis beat Detroit in five games. Overall, he hit .220 with a .678 OPS in 39 career playoff games. I feel pretty certain that he will one day wind up in Cooperstown. Rolen wasn’t in the top 10 on my list in 2018, but I voted for him anyway, in hopes that he would hit the 5 percent needed to stay on the ballot. He did, barely, at 10.2 percent. Last year, he was the 10th spot on my ballot, and he finished with 17.2 percent of the vote. With the recent flurry of elections clearing up the ballot — eight players were elected in his first two years of eligibility — Rolen’s up over 45 percent on the Tracker. It’s not that only 10 percent of the BBWAA voters thought he was Cooperstown-worthy in 2018, it’s just that the 10-player ballot meant choices had to be made, and now that the ballot isn’t as crowded with future Hall of Famers, voters can actually vote for players they think belongGary SheffieldThoughts: Sheffield was an incredible hitter, even though injuries limited him to just two seasons of more than 125 games in what should have been his first seven full seasons in the majors, through his Age 26 year. He hit better than .300 eight times and finished with 509 homers and a .907 OPS. He was a nine-time All-Star and finished in the top nine of the MVP vote six times (three times in the top three). For his first five years on the ballot, it looked like his connections to PEDs (he was named in the Mitchell Report) crushed his Hall chances. He was between 11.1 and 13.6 percent each of his first five years. But with the uncluttering of the ballot the past few years, though, Sheffield’s up near 40 percent on the tracker this year, a huge jump. His vote numbers are similar to Manny Ramirez (a player who was twice suspended for PED use), so let’s compare the two. Sheffield: 2,576 games, .292/.393/.514, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, 253 SB, 140 OPS+, 60.5 bWARRamirez: 2,302 games, 312/.411/.585, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 38 SB, 154 OPS+, 69.5 bWARRamirez has the edge in most categories, though Sheffield made teams pay attention to him on the base paths; he had 14 seasons with at least 10 stolen bases (a career high of 25). Neither were good defenders. Now, let’s compare Sheffield to Vladimir Guerrero, a recently elected Hall of Famer who also primarily played right field. Sheffield: 2,576 games, .292/.393/.514, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, 253 SB, 140 OPS+, 60.5 bWARGuerrero: 2,147 games, .318/.379/.553, 449 HR, 1,496 RBI, 181 SB, 140 OPS+, 59.4 bWARWell, that’s interesting, isn’t it? Guerrero fell just short of election in his first year on the ballot (71.9 percent) and was elected on his second try. Guerrero, of course, has no PED ties, which is the differentiator for many voters. But Sheffield gets my vote this year, for the first time. MORE: Trout, Votto, Lindor lead SN’s All-Decade team for the 2010sOther Hall of Fame considerations …Todd HeltonThoughts: There are only 11 players in MLB history with at least 2,000 games and a slash line of .310/.410/.510 or better. Nine of those players are in the Hall of Fame: Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Harry Heilmann, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx and Edgar Martinez. The other two? Manny Ramirez and, yep, Todd Helton, with a career .316/.414/.539 line. That’s crazy impressive company, no doubt. Gehrig and Foxx are the only other primary first basemen on the list; Helton’s 369 career homers fall short of Gehrig (493) and Foxx (534).Helton, of course, played his entire career with the Rockies. I want to stop for a moment and say that I kind of hate what comes next, the standard comparison/implied critique of the career home/road splits for any player wearing a Rockies uniform. The point isn’t to criticize and tear down, but to provide context in a Hall of Fame debate. Home: 1,141 games, .345/.441/.607, 1.048 OPS, 227 homers, 859 RBIs, 2,452 total basesRoad: 1,106 games, .287/.386/.469, .855 OPS, 142 homers, 547 RBIs, 1,840 total basesThat’s a pretty big gap, though as with Walker, a .386 on-base percentage on the road is still really damn impressive. During his absolute peak — 1999 through 2004 — Helton hit an incredible .383 at Coors Field and a still-very-good .303 on the road. But maybe more damaging to his Hall chances were the injuries that zapped most of his power and changed who he was as a player. Helton didn’t hit more than 20 home runs after his Age 30 season, and his overall production dropped off the table after his Age 33 season.First 10 years averages: 154 games, .332/.432/.585, 1.017 OPS, 30 homers, 108 RBIs, 144 OPS+, 5.5 bWARLast 6 years averages: 112 games, .279/.373/.430, .803 OPS, 11 homers, 53 RBIs, 104 OPS+, 1.1 bWARI think Walker’s induction — fingers crossed! — helps Helton’s chances, but I also think Walker has a much better Cooperstown resume than Helton, which is why Helton isn’t on my ballot. Andruw JonesThoughts: For some superstars with obvious Cooperstown talent, the countdown begins around Year 7 or 8. “Only two years until he’s a Hall of Fame lock, even if he immediately retires after his 10th year.” That’s the case with Albert Pujols during his St. Louis decade, and it’s the case with his current Angels teammate, Mike Trout. Want a test case on how to potentially sink a Cooperstown candidacy after the first decade? Look at Andruw Jones. After a breathtaking run with the Braves, as an otherworldly defensive center fielder and reliable bat in the middle an Atlanta lineup that regularly appeared in October, Jones played his final five seasons with the Dodgers (LA gave him a two-year, $36.2 million free-agent deal to leave Atlanta that turned into a disaster), Rangers, White Sox and Yankees. Starting with the Age 31 season, his first in Los Angeles, Jones struggled with injuries, inconsistency and strikeouts — in those 435 games, Jones hit .210 and had 104 more strikeouts than hits, and he was a shell of his former defensive self, having been forced mostly to the corner outfield spots when he wasn’t a DH. So it’s almost easy to forget Young Andruw. But, wow, Young Andruw was brilliant. Watching Braves games, you held your breath when an opposing hitter smashed a baseball toward the center field wall or the power-alley gaps. Not because you were worried he would drop the ball, but because you eagerly anticipated how he would make a seemingly impossible catch instead look impossibly easy. He was, for the first several seasons of his career, one of the best defensive center fielders anyone had ever seen play the sport. He won the Gold Glove 10 years in a row and was an All-Star regular. And because he was so good with the glove, it was easy to overlook his contributions at the plate. Young Andruw hit two home runs in his first World Series game — he was 19 at the time — and averaged 34 homers, 13 stolen bases, 102 RBIs and an .852 OPS through his Age 29 season.But looking at his complete resume, I’m just not sure the first 10 years were enough to make up for the last five. Billy WagnerThoughts: With Trevor Hoffman’s induction in 2018, Lee Smith’s election (via committee) last year and Mariano Rivera’s unanimous election by the BBWAA, Wagner’s path to Cooperstown suddenly isn’t quite so murky. I voted for Rivera (obviously), but I didn’t vote for Hoffman, and I haven’t voted for Wagner. If I had to pick Hoffman or Wagner, I’d choose Wagner. Unlike Hoffman, who struggled through a rough final season in search of his 600th save (at 42 years old, Hoffman had a 5.89 ERA in 50 games), Wagner retired when he was still one of the game’s most dominant closers. The lefty turned 38 during the 2010 season, when he had 37 saves and a minuscule 1.43 ERA for the Braves; he averaged 13.5 strikeouts per nine, against just 4.9 hits per nine. Wagner retired with 422 career saves, though he clearly could have chased, at least, the 500-save mark. Hoffman, for example, had 119 saves from Age 39-42. Wagner decided to walk away, though. He’d missed most of the 2009 season with elbow ligament replacement surgery, and the time he spent at home with his wife and kids was powerful. So he retired with 422 saves, which is currently sixth all-time. Hoffman kept pitching into his 40s and racked up a bunch more saves. And don’t take this as me dinging Hoffman for sticking around. Personally, I love the idea of athletes playing as long as their bodies will allow. One of my favorite things about Rickey Henderson is that he played independent baseball after his MLB career ended, just because he loved the game so much. But Wagner was the more dominant pitcher. Let’s look at some of his percentage/rate stats among the 37 pitchers in MLB history with at least 250 career saves.ERA: 4th (2.31)Fielding-independent pitching: 5th (2.73)Opponents OPS: 5th (.558)Opponents batting average: 4th (.187) Opponents on-base percentage: 3rd (.262)Opponents slugging: 4th (.296)Hits per 9 innings: 3rd (5.99)Strikeout percentage: 4th (33.2)Strikeout-to-walk ratio: 5th (3.99)Any way you cut it, Wagner was an elite, elite reliever when he was on the mound. But there’s this, too: No pitcher has been elected to the Hall of Fame (aside from Satchel Paige, who spent most of his glorious career pitching in the Negro Leagues) with fewer than 1,000 career innings. Bruce Sutter is low on that list, at 1,042 innings. Wagner threw just 903 innings in his career. I’m open to having my mind changed, but for now I’m passing. Omar VizquelThoughts: Vizquel was an outstanding player for a really long time, racking up lots of Gold Glove awards, stealing lots of bases with his legs (and base hits with his glove) and peppering 2,877 hits in a career that spanned 24 seasons. You’ll find lots of smart baseball people who believe fervently that the defensive marvel belongs in the Hall of Fame, and lots of smart baseball folks who are just as adamant that he falls far short of the Cooperstown standard. I sit somewhere in the middle. The average Hall of Fame shortstop finished with a 67.0 bWAR and 55.0 JAWS; Vizquel finished at 45.6 and 36.2. That’s a big gap. Remember, the other shortstop we’ve talked about on this ballot, Derek Jeter, sits at 72.0 and 57.4.And think about this: In those 24 seasons, Vizquel received exactly one MVP vote. Not one first-place vote, mind you. Just one vote, ever. In 1999, one writer gave Vizquel the eighth-place vote on his ballot. That’s it. He never appeared on any other MVP ballot. This isn’t like Mike Mussina or Schilling never winning a Cy Young award or Edgar Martinez never receiving an MVP award. In his entire 24-year career, only one voter ever thought Vizquel was even one of the top 10 players in his league. If you’re never considered one of the top 10 players in your league any given year, how are you a Hall of Famer? And it’s not about shortstops being undervalued in MVP voting. Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken Jr., Ernie Banks, Robin Yount and Lou Boudreau won MVP awards as shortstops. Ozzie Smith, Arky Vaughan and Luke Appling came oh-so-close to winning MVP awards. Vizquel, though, was rarely even a consideration.Andy PettitteThoughts: If you’re a believer in extended excellence over peak performance, you could easily be swayed by the case for Pettitte. Personally, I tend to lean peak, but I’m aware that players representing both schools of thought are in the Hall, and Pettitte has an interesting resume. I don’t care about his 256 wins over 18 years, to be honest, because it wasn’t tough collecting Ws with the lineup Pettitte often had supporting him with the Yankees. Pettitte was Mr. Reliable for the Yankees and Astros; in his 16 seasons with at least 20 starts, the lefty had a bWAR of at least 2.1 in 14 of those years. Reliability is a wonderful characteristic in a starting pitcher. On the other hand, he had a bWAR above 3.8 in just three of those 16 seasons. That isn’t great. Pettitte was the same consistent pitcher in the postseason as he was in the regular season. In the regular season, he had a 3.85 ERA, 1.351 WHIP and 2.37 K/BB ratio; in 44 playoff starts, the numbers look very similar (3.81, 1.305, 2.41). Look, Pettitte was EXACTLY what the Yankees needed for all those years, and he earned his undeniable place in franchise glory, but I just don’t think he hits the Hall standard. I do think, though, he’s the type of player who deserves a chance to stick around in the conversation. I believe there’s value in voting for players to remain on the ballot, even if I don’t think they’ll wind up in Cooperstown and I might not vote for them again in the future. I did that with Santana and Rolen, and I will do so again in the future. I almost did with Pettitte, but he was around eight percent on the Tracker when I submitted my ballot, so I figured he was safe. And thankfully, he was. Even though I’m not voting for him, I’m glad he’s still in the Cooperstown conversation. Cliff LeeThoughts: On one hand, Lee had a career full of wonderful moments and seasons, but he was hurt far too often to eventually wind up in Cooperstown. On the other hand, I voted for a first-year-on-the-ballot player with a similar situation a few years ago, Johan Santana. So I had to give serious thought to voting for Lee, too, with the thought of keeping him on the ballot one more year. Lee won the AL Cy Young award in 2008 and finished in the top seven of the voting four other years. After a tumultuous start to his career, Lee found himself starting with his Age 29 season, and he posted a 2.93 ERA/2.85 FIP from 2008 to 2014. In that stretch, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game; his 10.28 K/BB ratio in 2010 is one of only three seasons in MLB history over 10.0. In 11 playoff starts from 2009-11, for the Phillies and Rangers, Lee fashioned a 2.52 ERA.