If I had a Hall of Fame ballot…2012 edition

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, along with 320 other bloggers I cast my ballot for the Hall of Fame each year. No, it unfortunately doesn’t count, but it is a cool way to participate and see what the blogosphere thinks about whom should be elected.

So here is my ballot and below I listed all of the players and gave my explanation for why I did or didn’t vote for each particular player: Bagwell, Larkin, Martinez, McGriff, McGwire, Raines, Trammell, and Williams.

It’s more than most, but I visit the Hall every year and it’s just fun to players on the walls. Too many may water it down a bit, but in reality I’ve never really thought that certain players should be removed from the Hall, but there are a few players whom I think should be in. A few are on this list. Some players, like Bernie, are easier to vote for just because I know they won’t get in, but I like to keep them in the debate anyway.

Without further adieu, let’s take a look at what I think and afterward I’d love to hear your opinion.

Jeff Bagwell – 15 seasons, 449 home runs, .408 lifetime OBP, 948 lifetime OPS, OPS+ of 149. He also swiped 202 bases and scored 1517 runs. He won the Rookie of the Year, an MVP award, and finished in the top 10 for MVP voting six times. He was absolutely snubbed last season because of unfounded steroid accusations. A travesty. Yes.

Jeromy Burnitz – Solid player. He finished with 315 homers and a .826 OPS. Not a Hall of Famer. He just fell off too quickly at the age of 33. No.

Vinny Castilla – Another solid player who definitely benefitted from playing in Colorado. Finished with 320 homers and a .797 OPS in 16 seasons, nine of them in Coors. No.

Juan Gonzalez – Gonzalez is interesting. On one hand he won two MVP’s (although A-Rod deserved one of those) and finished in the top 10 in voting in 5 years. However, he was out of the game by 34 and wasn’t really healthy throughout his career averaging just 106 games played per year and only six times did he ever play in 140 games or more. I’m not a big fan of his .343 OBP either, although his .904 OPS is impressive thanks to his big power. No.

Brian Jordan – Good player, not a great one. Had some solid years, but overall falls well short. He had just a .333 career OBP and a .788 OPS. No.

Barry Larkin – Back when I was young I used to hope the Yankees got Larkin, but something better eventually came along. Still a great player. Fantastic defense, outstanding .371 OBP. He won an MVP award, nine Silver Sluggers, and went to 12 All-Star games. With a 68.9 bWAR, he should have gone into the Hall last year. Yes.

Javy LopezGreg Maddux never trusted him as his catcher and that made me never like him. Had some decent years, but was poor defensively and only won one Silver Slugger. Not Hall of Fame caliber. No.

Edgar Martinez – I hated Edgar Martinez when he played. Hated him. The guy was just a damn dangerous hitter. I don’t care that he was a DH, he was such a great hitter racking up a 67.2 bWAR in 18 seasons. No MVP’s, but he finished with a .418 OBP and a .933 OPS. His numbers would have been better if pitchers weren’t so afraid to pitch to him, he was intentionally walked 113 times. Yes.

Don Mattingly – His .358 OBP and .830 OPS were good, but it could have been much better had his prime lasted longer. He’s so close and in past years I’ve argued until I was blue in the face that he should be a Hall of Famer, but he just falls short. If even he had one or two more good seasons it could be difference. It pains me to say this, but No.

Fred McGriff – I’m a Crime Dog fan. He was strong defensively, and was reliable for a .380 OBP and a .900 OPS just about every year for a long time. I think more people would be behind him if he finished with 500 homers, he finished with 493. That tiny difference shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Yes.

Mark McGwire – Here is the thing with steroids. It wasn’t just the players caught on the Mitchell Report who were doing steroids. At the same time clean players, coaches, and owners all had a good idea of what was going on and almost nobody at all ever raised a single concern. I can’t justify punishing a few players for something many did. Unless they failed a drug test, I will vote for that player based on his accomplishments. Mark McGwire probably wouldn’t even be the first steroid user in the Hall. Yes.

Jack Morris – He’s a guy people want to see in the Hall. He has a decent resume, seven top 10 finished in the Cy Young, and he was a huge part of the 1991 World Series winning Twins. However it is also easy to see why some people don’t want to see him included. His career 3.90 ERA, and 5.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 rates are just not overly impressive. His ERA+ of 105 shows that while he had the longevity, he was never truly a dominant pitcher like others in the Hall of Fame. No.

Bill Mueller – A great player for the 2003 and 2004 Red Sox, but he just was not a Hall of Famer. He only played in 11 seasons and wasn’t even a starter during all of those years. No.

 Terry Mulholland – He played for 11 teams (one of them was the Yankees) in 20 seasons, only made one All-Star team and never received a single MVP or Cy Young vote in his career. No.

Dale Murphy – He’s like the Braves’ Don Mattingly. Great in his prime, but it just didn’t last long enough. No.

Phil Nevin – He had some good seasons, but thanks to many injuries he was not good enough for long enough. No.

Rafael Palmeiro – Unlike McGwire, Palmeiro has a failed drug test. It’s a shame because he had one heck of a career. Should have quit when he was ahead because he would have made it in after 2003. He got greedy though and went for 3,000 hits and for some reason felt like he couldn’t do it without steroids. No.

Brad Radke – A good, solid pitcher. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer though. His numbers were never great and his career ended early due to injuries. No.

Tim Raines – A perennial MVP candidate throughout the 80’s. Was still very good in the early 90’s and was an important bench piece for two Yankees World Series teams late in his career. He stole 808 bases and was only caught 146 times, a better percentage than Rickey. Yes.

Tim Salmon – Easy player to like, until he helped to knock the Yankees out of the 2002 playoffs, but he wasn’t elite enough to reach the Hall. His OBP was .361 and OPS .811. Nothing off the charts. No.

Ruben Sierra – Had a great start to his career, but he flamed out toward the end. An attitude adjustment late in his career made him a solid bench player, but he never played up to his potential. No.

Lee Smith – A very good reliever who did a good job compiling stats. Saves are overrated though. No.

Alan Trammell – He was an everyday player in 1978 and was an amazing shortstop though the 1990 season. After that he still played decent defender, a leader in the clubhouse, and still had some defense offensive seasons. He should have been in the Hall a while ago. Yes.

Larry Walker – A very good player who put up some impressive numbers including a .400 OBP and a .965 slugging percentage. He put up some huge numbers in Coors Field though and was never really as good on the road. Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future, but for now he doesn’t get in because of Coors. No.

Bernie Williams – He had a nine-year run where he was one of the best players in baseball. He played great defense at a premium position. He also had a .371 OBP and a .850 OPS in 121 playoff games. I’m saying yes, if only to keep the debate going on Bernie. If he ultimately never gets in, I might be alright with that, but he’s good enough to keep on the ballot for a while. Yes.

Tony Womack – I still can’t figure out what was worse, watching him with the Yankees in 2005 or remembering him beating them in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. No.

Eric Young – One of the easiest to choose on this list. Still, he was a fun player to watch. A good singles hitter who could swipe a bag and drive pitchers nuts. He had nearly half the stolen bases Tim Raines had with more times caught stealing. A reminder of how good Raines was. No.

Which players would be on your ballot? Why are my choices the right or wrong ones?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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14 Responses to If I had a Hall of Fame ballot…2012 edition

  1. John says:

    Unfounded? Just look at Bagwell. He got huge then shrunk like a deflated baloon. Best friend was ken caminiti. This isnt a court of law he gets no presimption of inocence.
    I like that you vote Yes on Trammel. people forget how good he was.
    My ballot would have him,Larkin, Mcgriff,Edgar, bernie and Morris. Have to disagree he was tge dominant pitcher of the 80s
    As for Bernie, I thonk he will get in one day. Ron,Santo got in and a bum minnie minoso got a vet comitte push. Bernie gets his day someday

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Minnie Minoso was no bum. He finished 4th in MVP balloting in 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1960, and 8th in 1957. He didn't become a full-time player until 1951, when he was 25. If not for the color barrier, he might have made the majors earlier. He hit .298 (hurt by his 1 for 10 at the ages of 50 and 54) but had 186 HR and 205 SB (in an era where SB… outside of Aparicio weren't high). His OPS+ was 130. From 1951-1961 he averaged .305-16-89, 18 SB, OPS+ 134. Comiskey, where he played most often in that time, was NEVER known as a hitter's park. Minoso could be a borderline HOF, but he certainly was no bum.

  2. David K. says:

    Edgar Martinez and Bernie Williams should both get in. Edgar was one of the best hitters in baseball for a long time. Bernie was one of the best clutch players in baseball ever. His detracters will jump on his career stats and argue that he did not have great baseball instincts, but I say Bernie was by far the best non-instinctive player I ever saw. He was the ultimate thinking man's player and a testament to how far brains, hard work and unselfish team play can take you.

  3. John says:

    Before the 96series Bobby Cox said he wasnt going to let Bernie beat them. Every great team has that guy and he felt Bernie was it. I say he will get it one day even if its a vet commitee.
    By the way I give a rats what anyone else tells me its a Crime that Thurman Munson isnt in. maybe he needs a vet committee of friends and teamates like Santo had.

  4. Mike Sommer says:

    Been a Raines and Trammell supporter for a long time. Also Larkin, McGriff. I'm on the fence with Edgar. The DH makes it tough. One day a DH may make it, and maybe he deserves to be the first, but as of now, I'm not committed to putting a full-time DH in. That may change. Would love Donny, but not enough good years. His 1984-1989 and 1990-1995 read like two different books. Things REALLY get interesting next year. Bernie is such a tough call. His last really great year came in 2002 at the age of 33. (.333-19-102, OPS+ 141, 10th MVP). If he could have held this production for two more years, I say yes. Definitely. He wound up with 2336 hits, 287 HR. .297. OPS+ 125. Damn. If he finished at, say, 2500 hits, 300 HR and the .300 average… and he is SO CLOSE. Let me compare Bernie to someone else. Al Oliver. Oliver had a .303 lifetime BA. OPS+ 121. Higher BA than Bernie, but 219 HR. but 2743 hits. Bernie 1257 RBI, Oliver 1326. Bernie will get more HOF support than Oliver, but Oliver only got 4.3% in 1991 and was immediately dropped. A shame. Oliver (.303 BA, over 2700 hits, 3x top 10 MVP voting) deserved far better.

  5. John says:

    Minnie minoso led the league on caught stealing more than anything else. The color barrier was broken in 47. he showed ip in 51. Thsts 4 years. minnie minoso sucked. I live In chicago and most sox fans dont think he belongs in.
    By your reasoning foesnt El Duque belong in? He was barred from joining MLB by Castro.

    • For the record, not all black players were allowed in after 1947, it was just Jackie and Larry Doby at first. After that most teams had a limit on black players, keeping it to just one or two players. Most American League teams did get any for a while. The Yankees didn't get their first black player until Elston Howard in 1955.

      So yeah, if not for the color barrier, Minoso might have been in the majors sooner. It didn't take Howard until he was 26 to reach the majors. The Yankees wouldn't call him up until they were basically forced to.

  6. John says:

    By the way the 1-10 didnt drop minoso thatmuch. And whose stupid idea was it to play those games?

  7. John says:

    True thanks but screw minoso. Overloved. Overrated. A hall of very above average maybe. I stand by my words. Bum. Happy new year everyone

  8. John says:

    FYI Minoso debuted In 49. 205sb 130cs. 61%. Dont tell me he was a base stealer. My sabermetric friends would say he ran into outs.
    Enough about that bum.
    Mcgwire did one thing well and cheated to do it. That would be like if Ozzie Smith somehow cheated at Defense. He never gets in.
    There are surely juicers already in. Im sure we have our own suspects we think of. Happy new year hope for#28

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Yeah, the color barrier was broken in 1947. Yet, Elston Howard was the first black player on the Yanks in 1955, and the Red Sox were the last to integrate in 1959. Check out David Halberstam's book "October 1964". The front and back have the team photos of the Yankees and Cardinals. Do you know how many colored players the Yanks have in that photo? Three. Howard. Hector Lopez. Al Downing. That's it, and that's 1964.

      Obviously the 1 for 10 didn't drop Minoso that much, but it didn't help. Whose idea? Try Bill Veeck.

  9. John says:

    Minoso couldve said no. and he begged them to let him come back in 1990 so he could play in another decade. He actually did appear in minor league games. My point in bring him up is of he got close 9 votes on the vet comittee, then Bernie will one day get his due.
    He was 10 times better than minoso. Who sucked

  10. gino says:

    The HoF will never be complete until Jackson (Joe) and Pete Rose are in….. unti then, it's a Hall of Mediocrity……

  11. Matt says:

    Agree with all your choices, except I'm not all in on McGriff and Williams; but they are worth a look.

    I'm not all that annoyed with the love for Mattingly, but I am with Morris' support. No Game 7 and his support goes down – a lot. You step back and look at his body of work, and it's just not that impressive. Among starters in the Hall, he'd have the 8th lowest WAR. Low K rate, low K/BB ratio, high number of WP…

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