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 Lopez – Greg 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?