The Wisdom of You: Henry Blanco

The group-prediction project is going great! So far I have 45 entries for Barrett and 29 for Dempster. You can still get predictions in for those two, as well as today's candidate, Henry Blanco:
5'11", 220 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 34 (DOB 8/29/71)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
54 G, 161 AB, 39 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 16 R, 11 BB, 24 K, 0 SB, 242/287/391
Look at that photo! His "action shot" on is one of him running the bases. Pretty funny. Please send your predicted stats for Blanco to cubreporter @ The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. One other thing -- you'll notice that I'm not asking for predictions on any sort of average (batting, slugging, OBP, ERA). I'm figuring all of those automatically from the counting stats that you're sending in.


.242 was his career high BA? LOL. How do we let a season like that go to waste? Hopefully New-Number Hank shows up for all of 2006.

Whenever I see Blanco I think about Blanka, the orange haired hulk from the Street Fighter video games. I wish Blanco could hit like Blanka. Anyway, off subject, I just found out a friend is taking me to my first Cubs Convention this Saturday. I'm excited, but since I've never been there, I was wondering what are some good things to check out? What should I be looking for (besides a quality middle infielder)?

If you are an autograph seeker, be prepared to spend most of the convention in line. The top couple of players are available only by lottery, but all other have designated time slots. I personally enjoy the forums, where you can see players, executives, manager and coaches, and former Cubs address issues, tell stories and most importantly, take questions from the fans. I have a friend at work that is going to demand resignations. Hopefully he can get to the microphone. The opening ceremonies on Friday are good. It's a lot of pump you up, but it was this event last year that hastened the Sammy exit. Last year being at the Sandberg forum just a week or so after he was elected and hearing him speak and being part of the enthusiastic audience was a trill I'll never forget. Also, they sell game worn jerseys and bats, but you have to get their early to get the good ones. I bought my son a Candy Maldonato craked bat a few years back. Obviously we were there very late.

St. Louis papers are reporting that Sutter will wear a Cardinals hat into the Hall. While I'd like to see another Cubs hat in the Hall, I can't really argue with the decision.

I can argue with that. He won his Cy Young with the Cubs. And pitched 5 MLB years with the Cubs nevermind his minor league seasons.

But, Chad, he won a WS in St. Louis. I understand that after 87 years the value of one of those might seem askew to some of us in relation to a Cy Young, but believe me, they're a little more important. Plus, he's said he wants to go in as a Cardinal.

Sutter wouldn't have had a career if it hadn't been for the Cubs. Undrafted. One pitch until a Cub coach took him under his wing. Sutter owes everything to the Cubs. What a revoltin' development.

I agree with Andrew. I think I quit caring about individual awards back when Bill Madlock won the batting title the last day of the season. As we talked about it on the way home we agreed that it was sort of a pathetic comment on our fandom that that's all we had to cheer for. I know people got bent out of shape when Lee wasn't named MVP. I just didn't care anymore. How many Cub hats are in the Hall of Fame? Sadly, a surprising number given the team's dismal performance over the past 98 years.

Andrew, the last time I checked, winning a World Series was a team accomplishment. The Hall of Fame is the single most individual thing in all of sports. Should Grace go in as Diamondback. Maybe he's not good enough. How about Boggs?

Sutter appeared in about 300 games for the Cubs. He appeared in about 250 games for the Cards. Not a big difference. That difference is more than overcome by the fact that Sutter played in the World Series with them and did not even make the playoffs with us. I would not say that this was a no-brainer but it was pretty close to being a no-brainer. It would be different if, say, Sutter had played for us for 10 years and then only four with the Cards. But a split of 5 years against 4 is not enough given the World Series.

I'm disappointed to hear that he wanted to go in as a Cardinal. I agree with Chad that he should go in as a Cub. He mastered the splitter here, had more wins, All-star appearances, saves and lower ERA -- all with the Cubs. Makes no sense to me.

I should say you could argue about it, but you can make a good case for either side. As a Cub fan, I'd like to go in wearing a Cubs hat, but I think most people probably remember him as a Cardinal, in large part because of his performance in the World Series - not just because he won a ring with St. Louis. That's most likely the reason the Hall decided he should go in wearing a Cardinal hat. "Chicago N.L." will still be the first thing you see below his name.

Chad, Who cares if Sutter goes in with a beenie and propeller on his head? Does that make having been a Cub fan more worth it? Would that make the memory of the rotten teams with Steve Ontiveros, Greg Gross, Steve Swisher, Dave Rosello and Larry Biittner he played on sweeter to you? It was fun to watch Sutter pitch. Too bad he did it for the horrid Cubs of the mid to late 70s. If I was him I'd want to forget the futility of trying to keep that incompetent band of bums in the race too.

Not surprisingly, the local paper's sports section had an article about Sutter with the headline "Local Player Elected Into Hall" and led, "Mt. Joy native Bruce Sutter was elected to the baseball hall of fame yesterday." Maybe he should wear a Donegal Indians cap.

anyone else hearing a lot of heat on phillies/bos manny/abreu?

btw...yeah i know what has to say about it heeh

Bowden the idiot strikes again:

If Sosa's only goal at this point is to reach 660 HRs, going to the Nats would be retarded. must be desparate.

so is Bowden expecting Sammy to play 2B?

Gossage rips sportswriters This is worth a read... I agree with most of Goose's venom against the fringe writers who do a poor job of candidate selection to the HOF.

Some of Gossage's points are good but he should have waited to cool off a few days before talking to the press. You don't bring up the unfairness of some getting in to make the case that you should be in. Sounds whiny and bitter. And while I agree that Puckett is no first ballot Hall of Famer, Jim Rice wasn't exactly hurt playing at Fenway Park. You think if Gossage gets in he'll wear a Cub hat? Gee whiz, I sure hope so. Damn fine performance here.

well as compensation for Sutter wearing a redbird hat, Ken Reitz has announced that if he is elected into the HOF, he will wear a Cub hat.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the Sutter trade, which was on 12-9-80, was purely because of money. I believe he was asking for a raise to $750K and Wrigley refused (as that would have been a huge contract back in 1980-1) forcing then GM Bob Kennedy to make the trade to StL. The irony of the trading of unique player and now a HOF player is that it was a salary dump 6 months before Wm Wrigley officially sold the Cubs to the Tribune for $20.5M on 6-16-81. Can't blame the Trib for this faux pax but it is about as black a mark in Cub history as not signing Maddux. Fortunately (or not) it was the last shoe to fall in the Wrigley family management of the Cubs. They got what they paid for...but the fans get screwed once again...a screw job that keeps paying and paying now that Sutter will wear a StL cap on his HOF plaque. This trade did bring in Leon Durham (not to mention Ken Reitz and Ty Waller) so in that regard it wasn't incredibly bad (just not fair value)...but my point is that it wasn't because they were trading Sutter for the right reasons (as in buy low, sell high). It was because the Cub ownership at the highest level didn't know what it was doing regarding baseball talent. My how some things don't change.

Don't worry about Grace's hat, he will not get into HOF. Sammy will be able to walk to future Senate hearings with his new team. VIVA DESPORTES!!!

Sammy might not even get to 600 next year hitting in RFK...

Cubster, Which is it? The Cubs didn't know what they were doing when it came to talent or they were dumping what they knew was a talented guy because of salary? Getting rid of Sutter was not nearly as bad as the Maddux debacle. They got a valuable player (Leon Durham) for him and by the time it mattered in 1984 Lee Smith was one of the top closers in the game. Had they not traded in 1983 the man who would be the AL MVP and Cy Young winner in 1984, Willie Hernandez, there's a very good chance they would have gone to the World Series in '84. That's what I care about, going to a World Series. All this crap concerning which hats guys wear in the Hall of Fame are crumbs left for baseball's losers to fight over.

Which is it? The Cubs didn't know what they were doing when it came to talent or they were dumping what they knew was a talented guy because of salary? -- In 1980 it was both, but I was mostly raggin' on the fact taht it was a salary dump which wasn't necessary since there would be an ownership change by June.

what used to happen back in the days before free agency? lets say a guy wanted 100,000 a year and the team said no? He had to sit out? Until when? At what point was he no longer under contract with a team?

Agreed, sending away Sutter was typical crass, cheap-ass Wrigley ownership of the Cubs, but it was nowhere near Maddux level. Durham was a quality acquisition and a big part of our 84 run. And we weren't without a good closer for long. Speaking of which, how about Big Lee? He's just as deserving as Gossage. And unlike Sutter, Smith would definitely go in as a Cub. Finally, someone asked to guess which is the next CUB to get in the HOF? Tough call, but I go with Dawson, and I'll call 2008 as the year. Santo or Smith could beat him to the punch, but I'll put my money on Hawk.

"Some of Gossage's points are good but he should have waited to cool off a few days before talking to the press. You don't bring up the unfairness of some getting in to make the case that you should be in. Sounds whiny and bitter." Exactly. I heard Gossage on the Dan Patrick show Weds arguing with a writer that didn't vote for him. After making comments like "I was a dominant pitcher for 10 years" and "I don't have to take a back seat to anyone" he then claimed "I'm not trying to blow my on horn here." Whiny and bitter is exactly what he sounded like. It seems to me that he would be better served to let someone who did vote for him make the argument for him in these public forums. I'm guessing he's not winning any more votes for himself this way.

"what used to happen back in the days before free agency? lets say a guy wanted 100,000 a year and the team said no? He had to sit out? Until when? At what point was he no longer under contract with a team?" He was never no longer under contract. The standard MLB contract contained something called the reserve clause, which states that, once the contract ends, the team can automatically renew it for one season. For most of baseball's history, everyone assumed that meant that the contract could be renewed in perpetutity, a year at a time. As a result, players were the complete property of the owners. If they wanted more money, and the team didn't want to give it to them, they could sit out (though this happened very rarely), but they basically had two options: play for the amount of money the team offered, or don't play. Andy Messersmith challenged this -- he played out his contract, played one more year, and then claimed that the contract was no longer in force and he should be free to sign with any team. An arbitrator ruled in his favor, thus starting the free agency era.

Feeling they would havemore leverage, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax combined forces for a joint holdout prior to the 1966 season. Each asked for a salary of $175,000. This was at a time when only Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays earned more than $100,000. I think Drysdale finally signed for $110,000, and Koufax got $130,000.

Next Cub in HOF? Sammy.

The entire HOF voting process is a joke. Why wasn't Ryno a first ballot HOF? His numbers were more than good enough, but he was too quiet while he played. Santo?? Dawson? Lee Smith? Just to name a couple. These arguments have been made before, so I wont repeat them. I don't blame Goosage for complaining. Someone needs too. It is just a shame that the writers who didn't vote for him will go out of there way to make him seem like a whiner. Why not let the fans vote for HOF? I think we know more than many writers do about the game and the way it should be played. There is a certain writer for the Trib who proves that every time he publishes a article.

But Sammy will go in wearing a White Sox cap.

Borderline people should not be in the Hall. They really need to do away with this silly one-team cap-wearing business. It doesn't make sense in today's game.

The solution to the cap thing is to put one of those hologram-like things above the players' heads that, depending where you stand, could show many different hats. And they could mark on the floor where you should stand if you want to see the guy in your team's hat. They could also show the players wink, smile and even spit tobacco. 3-D glasses could make the spitting even more thrilling.

TBone- Gaylord Perry would have to have his own wall.

The intangibles: character or lack thereof Remember when Michael Barrett said that he and Corey Patterson and Richard Lewis were all going to work out together at Barrett's facility this winter in Atlanta? They were going to train every day and Barrett joked that he would come get Korey if he was sleeping in, as usual. Well, neither Patterson nor Lewis showed up at all. Barrett trained without them.

okay so the Sun Times Cub's beat reporter is saying today that McPhail has made it clear that Hendry and Baker are getting extensions at the earliest and most conventient time where the PR can ride a positive wave. The article was very pro Baker/Hendry/McPahil. So is the writer nuts or are the Cubs nuts or both? What the hell is going on . . . this organization is F%CKED UP!

A friend said Dusty was on WGN this morning and said Walker is his second baseman. I this posturing for a trade?

Given Dusty's comments (if true), is it possible that Hendry has been misquoted or had quotes taken out of context? After all, it was Hendry who signed Walker and picked up the club option.

Every media source in Chicago has Walker as the odd man out since November. Even when his option was picked up, the media speculated that the Cubs did this because Walker would be a good and cheap bargaining chip for trades. Dusty might be trying to throw his detractors off, because he would get skewered if he said "neifie was his second baseman."

"A friend said Dusty was on WGN this morning and said Walker is his second baseman." I believe that Walker is Dusty's choice at 2B, because (1)Neifi Perez is his choice at SS...not Cedeno and (2)he doesn't like Hairston at 2B... Sees him more as a 4th or 5th OF and (3) sees Cedeno as the backup at 2B and SS rather than a starter at SS. So I think Baker was being honest if that's what he said. He feels that Walker's hitting ability batting second gives him the edge over the other players he has available. Hendry, on the other hand, is committed to the overall strategy of getting stronger personnel up the middle defensively ...a Walker weakness. So he's got Walker on the trading block. If Walker is traded, Baker obviously won't be able to play him and the defense should be better. But like you implied, Walker's trade value is higher if he's the Cub starting 2B rather than a role player. Baker's statement doesn't really undermine Hendry at all.

If Neifi is stating he is the #2 hitter. Why? Because Dusty did this last season. Walker would hit 5th or 6th. Any scenerio involving Neifi starting is pretty much a given he will hit #2. Dusty has done it with every mediocre hack that has come through this organization since he was hired. Hell he even made Rey Ordonez our #2 hitter for awhile when we picked him straight off his living room couch.

TBone, i literally LOL-ed when I read your post. Do watch/have you ever watched "Futurama"? Then had hall of peoples acutal live heads. How about that?

Unfortunately, the dilema is would I rather have Walker/Perez or Cedeno/Perez. Perez will start no matter what happens with Walker. The only chance Cedeno has to start is if Walker is traded. Even then, Hairston may edge out Cedeno. Remember last year when Dusty said there was no way Hairston would play LF because it was the most difficult position to play. However, when the choice became Hairston or Murton, Hairston found his way to LF. If it was me, the starting SS/2B would be Walker and Cedeno. Sadly, there is no way that will happen on a Dusty team. Also, if Walker is still on the team on opening day, Neifi will bad second, not Walker. People can argue all they want that Perez will be a utility player, but time will show that is wrong. The extension talk sickens me. I can live with extensions if Dusty gets them to the playoffs this year, although I won't be happy about it. However, to extend prior to the end of the season is just plain stupid.

I heard the WGN interview on the way to work. Kind of interesting. Dusty was asked about Walker and replied something to the effect of "Todd Walker is one of the Cubs. We have three middle infielders: young Ronny Cedeno, Neifi Perez who did a great job for us last year, and we have Todd Walker. Todd is our second baseman." And that was that. Notably, he 1- didn't mention Hairston and 2- didn't say "starting". Of course the softballing host didn't ask a follow up question. Generally, I got the impression that he's still thinking more about fishing than about baseball. Asked about Wood's status, he said he 'thinks Woody is on track but hasn't heard a report lately'. Am I the only one here who cares more about Wood's status than Dusty seems to?

BTW Futurama is coming back. I am so happy, I need my Bender fix.

The "Neifi did a great job for us last year" comment is all we need to know about who will start and where they will bat.

I have a question for the TCR community: Has Bruce Sutter ever taken part in a Cubs' Caravan or appeared at the Cubs' Convention?

"#49 of 51: By MikeC (January 12, 2006 03:06 PM) BTW Futurama is coming back. I am so happy, I need my Bender fix." WHAT!!!!!!!!!! I heard this from my wife yesterday who had heard it at work. Where did you here this!?!?!!? If true, HELLS YEAH!

the starting SS/2B would be Walker and Cedeno.- Could not agree more TJ. But Dusty wouldn't want to clog up the bases though, would he? "Guys leading off and jumping around is distracting to the batter, dude."

I even saw that a fan emailed Carrie Muskat and said "Neifi did such a great job for us last year..." and I was like...what the hell? I swear it was really Dusty bc that's all he's been saying about Neifi for the past eighteen months. Sadly, TC is right. Neifi will find his way into the line up and we have to choose between Todd (who hit on my wife at Spring Training in 2004) or Cedeno. Why we can't have... Pierre Walker Lee Ramirez Jones Murton Barrett Cedeno is beyond me. I don't know what the Cubs have against Walker bc he's not THAT bad defensively and is a good bat, period.

Twincitycubfan, Given what we have and accepting reality on trades, that's an extremely logical lineup. I could get myself excited about a team with that lineup with a bench of Neifi, Hairston, Grissom, Mabry and Blanco. Not spring of 2004 Cubs on the cover of SI excited, but still fairly optimistic. But just because that's the logical lineup......

All the happy news on Futurama....

Chad, The few times I have watched Futurama I've liked it. But I actively try not to get hooked on TV shows. I already waste far too much time watching sports and have turned my poor daughters into Cub fans. I'm surprised a social worker hasn't shown up to ask me what the hell I was thinking. Thanks for the kind words.

"Any scenerio involving Neifi starting is pretty much a given he will hit #2." that's not very dusty-like, though. your #2 hitter on a dusty team will have above average speed as a #1 being a #2. ability to move 1st/3rd-2nd/home is an iron-clad dusty trait out of the 1/2 slot. walker hit in a deep slot cuz of this importance of speed over contact numerous times. walker also thrived there, but he's gonna thrive most anywhere with the bat...on base is a different story, especially with his on/off knees. maybe vs. lefties neifi will see time in the #2 slot, but all dusty indicators point to mr. jones in that slot unless dusty goes through some offseason philosophy change.

"I don't know what the Cubs have against Walker bc he's not THAT bad defensively and is a good bat, period." the cubs dont want other team seems to want him. seems a little weird to me. if the cubs convention passes without someone grilling the cubs management about wtf exactly is walker's problem i'll be disappointed. whether he stays or not i'd like to know why the cubs dont want him and why a guy like him who hits like he does and plays 2nd/1st isnt showing up in 20 team's local sports coverage as a possible trade target. with all the noise about a dozen teams wanting no-fielding julio lugo, why arent we hearing at least somewhere near that about t.walker? hell, you're hard pressed to find a single news outlet that's all about t.walker as much as we cubs fans are. if you're a fan of almost any team out there, a t.walker pickup would be terrific just looking at the issue solely on paper.

The lineup is a pretty solid team with pretty solid pitching. Sure, I'd love to see us run Miggy out there at SS with Zito on the hill but while we're at it, why dont' we get Clemens and God to pitch for us. The point is...every team is going to have a few holes and if you look at out division, EVERYBODY got worse while the cubs may have slightly improved. I'm guardedly optimistic about 2006.