Modern Era HOF Ballot: Surgery, guile not enough for Tommy John

Tommy John, en route a longer pitching life after the surgery that bears his name than he had before it . . .

Tommy John, en route a slightly longer pitching life after the surgery that bears his name than he had before it . . .

There’s a new line of underwear out there called Tommy John. Unfortunately for baseball fans, it isn’t the creation of the former pitcher, which is kind of a shame. There go your opportunities for beefing up John’s Hall of Fame case by observing, “Jim Palmer only posed in his underwear; Tommy John up and created his.”

Once traded to the Angels, DeCinces falls over another kind of trade

DeCinces, while leading the Angels in home runs in 1986.

DeCinces, while leading the Angels in home runs in 1986.

Once upon a time, Doug DeCinces was known as the third baseman who bridged the gap (the words of the Society for American Baseball Research) between Orioles franchise icons. He succeeded Brooks Robinson until he was dealt to the Angels when the Orioles needed to make room for a franchise icon-in-waiting, Cal Ripken, Jr.

Alex Johnson, RIP: The fires within

When Whitey Herzog wrote his memoir You’re Missin’ a Great Game, he included remarks about Alex Johnson that must have dropped every jaw in southern California who remembered Johnson’s tempestuous tenure (to put it politely)┬áin an Angel uniform. To hear the White Rat say it, Johnson—who died 28 February at 72, after a battle with cancer—was anything but a handful, once you played things straight with him.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.