Peter Gammons, longtime baseball writer for the Boston Globe and baseball analyst for ESPN, wrapped up the Hall of Fame chat series by answering questions from fans online. Gammons is the 2004 recipient of the Hall of Fame's J.G. Taylor Spink award, which is presented annually to a sportswriter "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing."
VIP2_MLB999990298: Peter, what is your favorite Cooperstown memory?
Peter Gammons: In 1999, when George Brett, Robin Yount, Nolan Ryan, and Orlando Cepeda went in. I covered Brett and Yount a lot and I got to know Ryan very well. And Cepeda was one of my favorite players to cover. And the first year of the DH he was the best in the league, even though he had bad legs.
21rush12: How can Major League Baseball stop the bleeding that all of the steroid talk has created?
Gammons: They have to let the bleeding drain until the Jose Canseco book becomes history. Because he's not exactly a credible source, it will be hard to corroborate his claims. We know he has a vendetta. Steroids will clearly be a part of this era's history of baseball. We won't know how steroids have affected home run hitting. We seem to forget that Mark McGwire hit more home runs in his rookie year than Hank Aaron ever hit in any year in his career.
Base_Ball_3: Who do you think is the best executive in baseball that isn't a general manager? Meaning scouting director, assistant GM, special assistant, etc.
Gammons: That's a great question. The number of very bright young executives is greater than any time I've been in the game. There are dozens of future general managers out there. Like Josh Burns of the Red Sox, Chris Antonetti of the Indians, John Farrell of the Indians, are three who will probably get opportunities very soon.
Base_Ball_3: Are the Mets going to get anyone else before the season starts?
Gammons: Not before Spring Training. I would not be surprised if they make a deal for a corner outfielder late in Spring Training.
bigjim1993: How do you think Derek Lowe will fare in Dodgertown?
Gammons: I think Lowe will be somewhere between the great pitcher he was in 2002, and the not-so-great pitcher he was last year. The problem he faces is that the Dodgers have gone from the best defensive infield in the NL to a below-average one.
jorgedlt: What is one of your favorite moments that you witnessed live?
Gammons: As a New Englander, I'd be lying if I didn't say Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, or David Ortiz's home run to win Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. But for sheer drama, the greatest game I saw was Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, when Jack Morris beat John Smoltz, 1-0 in 10 innings.
hillstorm: Where do you think the White Sox will finish in the AL Central? I know that the Twins are the team to beat, but it seems as though the White Sox are underrated going into this season.
Gammons: I think the White Sox could finish anywhere from first to fourth, because the division is so much stronger. If Freddy Garcia, Mark Buehrle and Orlando Hernandez pitch to their capabilities, they could win 90 games and win it.
ironwill25: Mr. Gammons, what are the chances of the Braves signing Tim Hudson to a long-term deal?
Gammons: Very good. Hudson lives in Alabama, and this is the perfect place for him to go. I realize the Braves have to start paying Mike Hampton's contract next year, but they'll find a way to sign Hudson.
gunderk: With the recent additions the Red Sox have made to their starting rotation, who do you see emerging as the No. 2 man behind Curt Schilling? David Wells is a proven veteran. Wade Miller was the ace in pre-Roger Clemens Astros days, and Matt Clement has the stuff to develop into one.
Gammons: I think Clement will end up winning 16-18 games. But I think early on, David Wells will have the mantle of being the No. 2 guy. Fenway should help him because he pitches away and he's a fly ball pitcher. Fenway is not a great home run park, and he'll be throwing his curveball out of the white shirts in the center field bleachers.
andy2dandy: What's your take was on the increasingly popular baseball bloggers? Do you think this may eventually change sports writing?
Gammons: I think the Internet and blogging has already dramatically changed journalism. It's not bad, it's actually quite democratic. I find myself going to the Boston DirtDogs site every morning to see what's going on.
crowes1: Peter, congratulations are in order. What kind of year can Tigers fans expect from Jeremy Bonderman? Will the hopefully improved offense contribute to a breakout year for him?
Gammons: He is one of my picks for a major breakout season. He has the stuff and the maturity to be a future 20-game winner. If you take the stats that normally apply to W/L percentage, the Tigers should have won 80 games last year, not 72. With a better bullpen, defense, and slightly better offense, I think Bonderman can win 16 games. He's special.
tigerpac: What are your favorite Spring Training venues and why?
Gammons: I will always love Dodgertown, because it is nothing but baseball. I love the Giants' park in Scottsdale because of its intimacy. My other one would be, I have to admit, I love Legends Field in Tampa.
vladisbad: Peter, how important has ESPN -- with "Baseball Tonight," especially -- been to the growth of baseball over the past 10 years? I know that professionally and personally, it's done many things for you.
Gammons: It certainly has helped me. It puts highlights and pictures in front of the audience daily, which is very important. Twenty-five years ago, we could never have imagined being able to see the five or 10 best defensive plays each day. Now the faces of baseball players are a major part of the culture.
chitown103428: Do you give the Cubs a shot to win the Central this year? What are their weaknesses?
Gammons: I still believe the Cubs are the favorites for two reasons. First, they could get anywhere from 120-140 home runs out of their infield, and their starting pitching can still be the most dominant in baseball. The questions are the corner outfield and closer spots. Although with his slider and makeup, I would not be surprised to see Ryan Dempster have a 40-save season.
Gammons: A few people have asked me if I'll be working on July 31 on the trade deadline at the same time as I'm on the stage for the ceremony. I've actually joked about that, for about a month. Considering the importance of the moment, Barry Bonds can be traded for A-Rod and I'm not going to care. Thanks for joining me today, I enjoyed taking your questions. Sorry we had a few technical difficulties, but hey, we got through it. I look forward to seeing you all in Cooperstown on July 31, for the induction ceremony. I hope you join me and Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs in Cooperstown!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.