10 players whose Hall of Fame cases were hurt by events beyond their control

Elite Reggie Miller Jersey Monday would have been Johnny Pesky’s 98th birthday. The late Boston Red Sox shortstop had a famous friendship with Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio chronicled in David Halberstam’s 2003 book, The Teammates.

Pesky also ranks as one of the better players in baseball history whose Hall of Fame candidacy suffered because of an event beyond his control — in Pesky’s case, losing three prime seasons to serve in World War II.

Elite Harold Jones-Quartey Jersey There are others. Here are 10 players who might have been Hall of Famers if not for some calamity or challenge they couldn’t avoid:

If Cleveland can wait until next year (yes, we know that’s the eternal motto), then the quarterback might come and be set up for success given all the other moves Brown, DePodesta and Jackson have made. You can say Cleveland is building this thing backwards with unconventional thinking, or you could say they are fortifying the offensive and defensive fronts like a smart football team should. They have enough picks to make a deal for the right quarterback in 2018. This plan might work, and that would bring Moneyball to the NFL like never before.

We’ve seen the worst-case scenario play out almost every year since 1999. At least Brown, DePodesta and Jackson envision something else. Can Browns fans envision a scenario that includes an offensive line, Garrett, Fournette and Darnold? That would would be something, all right. That’s a hell of a plan, and that’s OK, too.

If it doesn’t work, then all those jokes won’t be hard to find.

Carlos Gomez makes MLB history while leading Rangers to victory

Limited Paul Kariya Jersey Love him or hate him, there is no denying Carlos Gomez has talent. And when he wants to get something done he normally does it.

So when he came up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Angels needing a home run for the cycle, he got it with ease. Gomez went deep over the fence in center field to finish off the third cycle of the MLB season.
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It’s the first time since 2009, and just the second time in MLB history, that three MLB players hit for the cycle in the month of April. Gomez joins San Diego’s Wil Myers and Washington’s Trea Turner to accomplish the feat this season.

It was the second cycle of Gomez’s career and the three RBIs he tallied on the night gave him 11 for the season.

Austin Gomber, 23: The left-handed Gomber reached Double-A last season, where he posted a 1.40 ERA in four starts for Springfield. He then impressed in the Arizona Fall League. The Cards’ fourth-round pick in 2014 doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster this year, but a major league call-up is not out of the question.

Obviously, there’s no guarantee all five will pitch together. The Cards do have Wainwright and Leake under control for multiple years. They could trade one or more of the kids for a veteran. The youngsters could prove not to be good enough.

Still, St. Louis is in an enviable position right now, and Martinez is the biggest reason why.

NFL Draft 2017: Browns take Caleb Brantley in sixth round, but could release him

Caleb Brantley was hoping to go in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The former Gators defensive tackle went in the sixth round instead. The Browns took a chance on Brantley with the first pick of the sixth round on Saturday. That doesn’t mean he has a guaranteed spot in training camp.

Brantley saw his stock plummet since he was charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly knocking a woman unconscious earlier this month. The incident took place on April 13 and Brantley was charged eight days later.

Browns general manager Sashi Brown said Saturday the team is still investigating Brantley’s assault charge and they could release him pending the results of that investigation.

“It may be something we can’t get comfortable with,” Brown told reporters.

The 6-3, 307-pound defender is accused of reacting to a 5-4, 110-pound woman who repeatedly hit Brantley after he allegedly made “crude comments” to the 20-year-old female. He reacted to her aggression by punching her in the face, knocking her unconscious and jarring a tooth loose, according to a Gainesville, Fla., police report.

Attorneys for Brantley and the alleged victim were working on a settlement this week.

Brantley was projected as a second-round pick after leaving Florida with a year of eligibility remaining.

He’s a powerful and stout D-lineman who has the quickness off the snap to be disruptive inside in Gregg Williams’ defensive scheme if he does indeed remain with the team.

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That took it up a notch. Things got out of hand, fast.

Game Kids Chance Warmack Jersey The next time the teams played, in Boston on Monday, Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy hit Boston’s Mookie Betts in the thigh with a fastball. So, on Tuesday new Red Sox ace Chris Sale threw a fastball behind Machado, prompting an emotional, profanity-laced tirade from Baltimore’s superstar after the game. It’s hard to blame him for being pissed.

I wrote last week how it’s way beyond time for MLB to implement much, much stronger penalties for pitchers who throw baseballs at players’ heads. With all that we know about the long-terms dangers of concussions and head injuries, it’s absolutely reckless for baseball to treat a baseball thrown at the head the same as a pitch thrown at the butt when it comes to punishments.

Barnes was suspended only four games. As a reliever — not Boston’s closer or set-up guy, by the way — that realistically keeps him out of, at most, two appearances. It’s a laughable punishment from MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred.

Benjamin Watson Womens Jersey That version of balk aside, the other seemingly mysterious and sometimes confusing balk rules about not deceiving the runner don’t add much to the game or preserve any real sense of integrity. Deception in some form has always been part of the game. So, yeah, fake pickoff throws to any base should be OK. It should also be OK to accidentally drop the ball while on the mound. Perhaps the only actions that should be considered balks are fake pitches and stopping the delivery midway through.

Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor upset at ‘No Fun League’ for proposed rule change

The NFL has leaping rules in place on field-goal attempts, but if you’re athletic enough then there’s a loophole. Well, the NFL reportedly is trying to close that loophole as officials meet with one another this offseason.

NFL competition committee is likely to propose ban on field goal and extra point ‘leaps,’ source said, as suggested by NFLPA at combine.

The loophole is being able to time the snap perfectly and jump over everyone on both lines without the assist of others. If you put your hands on a teammate to help you jump, then it’s illegal. The task is extremely difficult to do, but Kam Chancellor managed to pull it off twice in a 2015 game against the Panthers.

Limited Womens Jason Jones Jersey When he met with reporters for the first time in spring training last week, Scherzer admitted the injury, which was revealed in the offseason, is lingering.

Looking at the MRIs and everything, the fracture in my knuckle is essentially healed even though I still am experiencing some symptoms in the site, as everything finally comes up and gets healed, Scherzer said, via FederalBaseball.com. Over the course of this I’ve been able to throw tennis balls, throw lacrosse balls and at least keep my arm in some kind of functional standpoint

Gerald McCoy Elite Jersey Right now, this is the week I’ve finally been able to pick a baseball up and be able to throw for me, a modified grip, but not my true grip. And so as this fracture continues to heal, as the symptoms continue to alleviate, as we get treatment on everything, I’ll be able to work back into all my grips and obviously be able to get back on the mound.

Opening day is still more than month distant, but this is obviously a story to watch.

Braves hilariously set ‘Big Sexy’ Bartolo Colon’s photoshoot to smooth jazz

Bartolo Colon may have packed on a few pounds over his 20 years in the majors, but he’s still Big Sexy.

Womens Jamie Langenbrunner Jersey The 43-year-old, who signed a one-year deal with the Braves worth a reported $12.5 million, recently posed for player portraits during spring training.

His new team is having fun with his infamous nickname and gifted the internet with this hilarious video of his photoshoot set to some smooth jazz:

Diamond and crew followed the team to a TV room off the visitors’ clubhouse as players anxiously gathered to watch the final innings of the Dodgers and Giants at Candlestick Park.

The Braves hadn’t done things the easy way all season, so this extra obstacle seemed only fitting. After all the ups and downs the season delivered, the Braves’ immediate fate was out of their hands 鈥?and that made for spectacular drama.

It was like, You can’t write this script,’ Diamond said.
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The room was a mix of nerves, fatigue and hope, the tension rising with each out.

When the Dodgers’ Bill Russell grounded out to the Giants’ Darrell Evans at third to give the Braves the division, the emotions quickly shifted to relief, jubilation and satisfaction.

But the wild celebration that unfolded tested Diamond and his crew, who, after months of bonding with the team, struggled to remain impartial observers as the champagne flowed.

We had to be careful not to get so caught up in the euphoria that we were going to miss documenting the story, Diamond said. Part of my youth was, this was so exciting and so mesmerizing that sometimes I had to take a step back. My job is to document what’s going on not be a part of what’s going on.

The gap between Cook and top-10 picks Leonard Fournette and McCaffrey still shouldn’t be that wide.

You only get to take so many people with you to the draft so I thought it was best because I’ve had a lot of people involved in my life through the process so I wanted to share that moment with everybody, Howard told Sporting News. It was best for me to stay back and have everybody here for a party.

Comfortable might be the way to describe Howard, a 6-6, 251-pound tight end who impressed at the NFL Combine with a 4.51 in the 40-yard yard dash. Howard averaged 15.1 yards per reception over four years with Alabama. He’s most remembered for his play in the last two national championship games against Clemson.

The gap between Cook and top-10 picks Leonard Fournette and McCaffrey still shouldn’t be that wide. Cook was every bit as productive as those counterparts. Cook rushed for 3,456 yards and 38 touchdowns the last two seasons. He will show that over the next few seasons. It works out for Minnesota, which gets to replace one franchise back in Adrian Peterson with another one in Cook.

But the Cowboys 鈥?with defense as a priority as they build on a surprising 13-3 season 鈥?caught Lewis long before he dropped too far down. They took his Michigan teammate, defensive end Taco Charlton, with their first-round pick.
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Elite Mens Nevin Lawson Jersey In recent years, the Cowboys have taken Randy Gregory after a failed combine drug test sent him plunging down the draft board; traded for Rolando McClain after his drug issues had aborted his stays with two previous teams; and given Greg Hardy a one-year deal after he’d sat out nearly a full season following a domestic violence conviction that was later wiped out before a re-trial could take place.

The Cowboys took a cornerback, Chidobie Awuzie, in the second round, and reportedly are shopping incumbent Orlando Scandrick. Where Lewis fits in is hard to predict so early. He has a window to play. But he was not projected as an automatic starter, even before his legal issues. He was the 15th cornerback taken in a deep draft.

NFL free agency 2017: Where the top 100 free agents have signed

There’s no shortage of optimism for NFL fans in the spring, and nothing says hope springs eternal like a brand new free agent acquisition. The player your team just signed is totally going to be the difference this year; you just know it!

While there are a few names still on the market, most of the biggest money has already been spent in the weeks since NFL free agency began on March 9.

Grooming a young franchise quarterback is an art, not a science.

For a team to overcome high QB bust odds, it needs to know everything about itself and everything about the quarterback in question. That’s what teams like the Bears and Texans need to do in 2017.

It’s getting harder to be patient and sit a quarterback given the demands on coaches and offenses to produce quick turnarounds. In more cases, the so-called rushing quarterbacks into action is the only option.

The Texans and Bears in 2017 are faced with such conundrums with Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky, respectively. The Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) and Browns (DeShone Kizer) might even find themselves in similar situations by the time training camp arrives.

But which approach — start or sit the rookie franchise passer — has been preferred in the league’s recent passing-boom history?

SN’s Vinnie Iyer and Tadd Haislop look back at franchise-hopeful quarterbacks drafted over the last 14 seasons and determine whether one plan truly is better than the other.

Editor’s note: This list, updated from its 2016 version, includes last year’s rookie quarterbacks for additional context.nike_steelers_3004

Westbrook was the story of the season

Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now, Popovich said after San Antonio’s 103-96 Game 6 victory to eliminate Memphis on Thursday. He’s the best two-way player and does it all with such class. It’s impressive.

Leonard ran amok against the Grizzlies, averaging 31.2 points per game, including a 43-point Game 4 barrage that nearly went to double overtime. He did so shooting 54.8 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from three, and 96.7 percent from the foul line, far and away the most efficient shooting mark of any player to average at least 17 points in the first round.

Elite Womens Randy Gregory Jersey In the small-sample-size theater that is the postseason, a few major runs by a certain lineup can certainly have a huge impact. There are a few other huge plus-minus swings in the postseason: The Wizards have been outscored by 23 points in Bradley Beal’s 43 minutes off the court, and Chicago has lost by 26 in Dwyane Wade’s 69 minutes resting this series. But neither are nearly as severe as the two point guards above.

Austin Rivers Womens Jersey Westbrook was the story of the season, and the Thunder always fell apart when he sat throughout the entire year. We talked a lot about how that cost them the playoffs, and his on/off splits are admittedly even worse by a small margin. But now Westbrook is eliminated, and it’s time to do the same with Conley.

The Grizzlies are actually pretty similar to the Thunder in two respects, and it’s the same two areas that are killing them.

Memphis’ backup point guard, Andrew Harrison, is a below-average backup point guard who shot 32.5 percent in 80 games during the regular season. In Oklahoma City’s series against Houston, they tried two backup guards (Semaj Christon and Norris Cole) before giving up and putting Victor Oladipo at signal caller when Westbrook rested. None of those options worked, and the same thing is playing out in Memphis.

Even the 49ers were confused why the Bears traded up for Mitchell Trubisky

The Chicago Bears had a strange approach to the 2017 draft. Nothing was more confusing than their decision to sacrifice three picks to move up one spot, from No. 3 to No. 2, in a reach to get North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky has the tools to develop into a viable NFL starter, but the Bears are paying Mike Glennon $18.5 million dollars to start this year. It was hasty to sacrifice additional picks to move up to draft another quarterback when the Bears have glaring needs elsewhere on the roster.

Jared Crick Authentic Jersey Ross’ ACL tear was a freak accident in spring practice during his sophomore season. Somebody was in his way, and he jumped out of the way to avoid contact.

He heard the pop, but was able to get up on his own and walk without any assistance. When he went to sleep that night, he woke up with his leg stuck at a 90 degree angle, and knew something wasn’t right.

The injury was the first time he had to go a year without football, which was a tough pill for Ross to swallow. But Ross said it was the best thing to ever happen to him because he was able to grow from it.

Speed was what got Ross into playing football, which goes for a lot of people. But his speed was another beast. The 40-yard dash record was thought to be so unbreakable, that Adidas offered the player who broke it their own island.

Ross didn’t get the island, but he got the record.
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His cousin told his girlfriend as they were watching that Ross was going to break the record. The speed was so fast that his grandmother said she almost had a heart attack. She knew the record was coming, though.