While We’re Waiting… The Lofton HOF case

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While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

“I don’t think Lofton is a slam dunk Hall of Famer (though he would have my vote), but he had a career bWAR of 64.9, 7th highest ever, among center fielders, so even if you aren’t certain he deserves enshrinement, he certainly merits more consideration that he’s getting this year. There is speculation that the Hall will have to change its ten-player limit, because if the ballot wasn’t already crowded enough, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent will be joining it next time around. It’s possible that if the Hall makes such a switch, they’ll also reinstate a few candidates, but it’s also possible that it’s another twenty years before there’s another serious discussion about Lofton’s Hall of Fame case, which would be a great shame.” [Lukehart/Let’s Go Tribe]

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“Lofton is considered one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation, but his career almost didn’t happen—he became a puzzle piece by accident. If you had asked a young Kenny Lofton what he wanted to be when he grew up, it’s likely he would have said a basketball player. He might also have said firefighter, astronaut, or doctor, but the point is he wouldn’t have said baseball player—until his junior year in college, he’d never played the game. Lofton spent his childhood hours listening to his sneakers squeak on the hardwood floors of East Chicago, Indiana, while he practiced fast breaks and three-pointers. His greatest assets were speed and the ability to anticipate the moves of his opponent. On any given night, Lofton could be seen swiping the ball from his opponent and rushing down the court for an easy layup.” [Angi/The Classical]

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“After some research done this morning over coffee — Santa brought me a Keurig machine for Christmas! — I’ve decided that, sure, Lofton indeed has a case for the Hall. Do I think he will get in? Well, if I had a vote (which I don’t), he wouldn’t crack my list of 10 possible votes on the 2013 ballot. So, no, I don’t think Lofton will get in this year.

The more appropriate question is, “Should Lofton get in?” Eventually, yes, I think so. First, though, I personally think the BBWAA needs to put Tim Raines in the Hall to further cement Lofton’s case. On this year’s ballot, I believe Raines is deserving of a vote, and I’d have him clearly ranked above Lofton for enshrinement.” [Bastian/MLB.com]

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Pro Football Focus’ All-NFC North team. Some nice surprises from the Browns- “Tackles: Joe Thomas (CLE) and Andre Smith (CIN). It sucks a bit for Andrew Whitworth. I mean, here’s a guy who is one of the best pass blocking tackles in the league, yet playing in the North he’s in the shadow of the premier guy in football in that regard, Joe Thomas. Still, there is one Bengals tackle who makes it and it’s a guy who earned All-Pro honors. No doubt Smith took his time, but this was the year where he became the player he was drafted to be to hold off a stiff challenge from excellent rookie Mitchell Schwartz.” [Pro Football Focus]

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“One question you may ask is if the Cavaliers’ offense itself, which is heavily reliant on offensive rebounding, has anything to do with this. My answer to that would be no. The only two guys on the court with offensive rebounding responsibilities on the Cavs are the power forward and the center (statistically, this is evidenced by Irving, Miles, Waiters, Daniel Gibson and Gee averaging 2.9 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes combined). The three perimeter players should be communicating with each other to make sure that there is always a second man above the free throw line in order to prevent fast break opportunities. This leads directly into the second problem the Cavs have had.” [Vecenie/Fear the Sword]

  • eldaveablo

    That All AFC North team is really encouraging to me – especially since this isn’t from a home town publication. We just need to acquire/develop some stars at the skill positions. Say what you want about the Browns’ talent, but I think it’s easy to say that our lines on both sides of the ball are really strong/deep, and that’s where it all starts. Factor in the development of Little & Gordon (WRs regularly come into their own in their 3rd year), the talent of Richardson, and the arm talent of Weeden (head is still a ?) and I think things are looking up. Get a real coach in here that can adapt to the talent instead of forcing square pegs through round holes, and I think we are on the cusp of respectability.

    Then again, I find a way to talk myself into relevancy every year.

  • Natedawg86

    Joe Thomas is so good that they voted him all All-NFC North team even though he is in the AFC North.

  • Harv 21

    Fantastic breakdown of Cavs’ defensive breakdowns by Vecenie. Confirms three things I think I’ve been seeing in parts of games this season:

    – This team relies way too much on Varajao’s defensive impact, much the way the Cavs used to rely too heavily on LeBron’s offense. When Andy’s out there busting it he covers a lot of teammate omissions, and maybe they’re also shamed into expending more effort.

    – Gee is having a classic NBA finally-got-my-first-decent-guaranteed-money year. Maybe he’ll get it back, but he has lost his hunger/fear. His effort and demeanor fairly shout “whatever coach … wanna see a pic of my beautiful new house?”

    – Head coaches all give lip service to defense. But if a coach doesn’t hammer them with it the young players don’t play it. (Since Byron was a more offensive-oriented player I have my doubts about his ability to teach D to less than willing students, but who knows). Kyrie has to decide that defense is worth his effort because it will translate to wins. He’s clearly not understanding that or into that right now. Opponents this year have his man attack at games’ end to nullify his end-game offensive effort, and it works.

  • mgbode

    if Jeff Kent makes the HOF and Kenny Lofton does not, then I’m never going to visit Cooperstown

  • mgbode

    Counts per team:

    Cleveland 7
    Pitt 5
    Baltimore 8
    Cinci 6

  • mgbode

    ” Kyrie has to decide that defense is worth his effort because it will translate to wins.”

    I was hoping a summer around CP3 and Kobe would hammer that home for him. This understanding is one of the biggest keys to our turnaround hopes. If Kyrie becomes a plus defender (I know, seems ludicrous, but he has the skillset), then our team could improve by leaps and bounds from this year to next. But, he has to put in an offseason dedicated to being better on that end IMO.

  • Harv 21

    not sure guys get much better defensively in the off-season, without technique drills and coached practices. I think Kyrie has to decide, and then come into training camp dedicated and open to learn. Agree that he has the tools to excel: lightning quick feet, understanding of the game, adequate height and stronger than he looks.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    LeBron had to buy in as well. Took him a few years of Mike Brown shoving it down his throat. That gives me some hope for Kyrie.

  • mgbode

    PGs usually have a pretty simple (but difficult) responsibility on defense. Stay in front of your man and either work over or under screens (depending on the read).

    These things can be drilled mercilessly in the offseason. The issue is that many players believe that because they are quick, these drills do not matter as much. However, the movements and reactions need to be drilled to the point of instinct rather than understanding.

    I have seen perimeter defenders come into a season and “be” better defenders (when they were putrid before). Gibson is our example. Tony Allen is probably the best one (though he went from an okay defender to one of the best).

  • boomhauertjs

    Says a lot about the offensive lines in the AFC North when the Browns get 3 on the all division team.

  • mgbode

    almost 4. it could also say something about our OL, no?

  • humboldt

    Certainly about our center and tackles, but not sure about the line as a whole. Still need to upgrade the guards

  • humboldt

    Mostly agreed. Although there are currently no real “star” players on the D-line, which is potentially problematic.

  • eldaveablo

    Not yet, but I have high hopes for Phil Taylor, and Kiper is really high on Hughes going forward. Other than a couple exceptions, D-Line guys need time to grow (often, literally). The depth will really be helpful too.