They announce the Hall of Fame winners today so I thought I would share my thoughts on the ballot and tell you whom I thought should be elected in.
I did this last season and I thought eight players were worthy: Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, and Bernie Williams.
Of that group only Larkin was elected which is a shame. It seems that it has gotten to the point where it’s next to impossible to get in these days (after all it seems like every player from the 1920′s, 30′s, and 40′s is in already). Combine that with the fact that anybody who’s even remotely suspected of using steroids is treated like a leper. It’s really sad especially considering steroids have been in baseball since at least 1973 and there is already at least one confirmed user already in the Hall.
On to my ballot: Here are the players on the ballot and my thoughts as to whether they deserve to be in or not. I actually ended up having a hard time picking only 10.
Sandy Alomar Jr. – A good player, but even with his defensive skills and leadership qualities it’s hard to justify a player with an 86 OPS+ getting into the Hall. NO.
Jeff Bagwell – Wanted him in last year and the year before. His credentials are too good to ignore. 449 homers, a .408 lifetime OBP, 149 OPS+, 202 stolen bases, Rookie of the Year, MVP, six top 10 MVP finishes. YES.
Craig Biggio – A seven time All-Star, a five time Silver Slugger, finished top 10 in the MVP voting three times, 3,060 hits, 414 stolen bases, 291 homers. Seems like a no brainer. YES.
Barry Bonds – I’ve gone back and forth on the steroid thing. I may even change my mind in the future, but I feel like if they didn’t fail a test (a public one not that 2003 BS) and their numbers stack up then they should be in. Bonds’ numbers stack up without even listing them and he never failed a drug test. YES.
Jeff Cirillo – A good player, a solid third baseman, but his peak was just too short. NO.
Royce Clayton – Never even once had a OPS+ as high as 100. Seems hard to believe considering he played for 17 seasons. Extra points for being in Moneyball and The Rookie, but he still falls short. NO.
Roger Clemens – See Barry Bonds. YES.
Jeff Conine – Conine was a solid player who finished with a 107 OPS+, but he doesn’t have a strong case as he only had a three year stretch that was truly impressive. NO.
Steve Finley – A good fielder, a good hitter, but doesn’t quite make it to the elite level. Plus I still hate him for his involvement in the 2001 World Series. NO.
Julio Franco – What a career this guy had. He played for 23 seasons up until he was 48-years-old. However, his time as a star in the league was short as he was more of a role player for the entire second half of it. NO.
Shawn Green – I actually forgot how good his peak was and it’s a much tougher decision than I had initially thought it would be. Still, he only made two All-Star teams and top 10 MVP votes three times. He’s borderline, but his peak was too short. NO.
Roberto Hernandez – A good pitcher, but I feel like a reliever has to by truly elite to get Hall consideration. NO.
Ryan Klesko – A good player, but only made one All-Star team and never received any MVP votes in his entire career. He was also easily shut down by lefties. NO.
Kenny Lofton – Played for 17 years, made six All-Star teams, finished in the top 10 for MVP voting once, 2,428 hits, 622 stolen bases, tremendous defense, and a 107 OPS+. He’s a poor man’s Tim Raines, who was a poor man’s Ricky Henderson. Not a bad couple of guys to be compared to even if he’s not quite as good. Deserving, but there are at least 10 better players on this list. NO.
Edgar Martinez – Maybe he was a DH, but all he did was hit. Seven All-Star game appearances, he only finished in the top 10 for MVP voting twice, but no doubt had the DH thing held against him. Sorry, but 18 years of .312/.418/.515 is a Hall of Famer to me even if he didn’t play in the field. YES.
Don Mattingly – We all know Mattingly’s story. A great player, but a back injury cost him some good years. He’s close, but ultimately falls short. My hope is that one day his managerial career puts him over the top. NO.
Fred McGriff – A .377 OBP and a .886 OPS are close. I was on the fence last year, but ultimately said yes. Six top 10 MVP finishes. I think he deserves to be in, but to limit myself to just 10 players this year I have to say…NO.
Mark McGwire – Some years I was against him, but ultimately he never failed a test and finished with a .394 OPS, a .588 slugging. Bottled or not, MLB practically encouraged steroid use. YES.
Jack Morris - I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to Morris. Seven top 10 Cy Young finishes and five All-Star game appearances are impressive, but a 3.90 ERA and a 5.8 K/9 show he was more of a compiler than truly elite. If he gets into the Hall it would certainly help Andy Pettitte‘s chances since they seem like very similar pitchers. Still, I limited myself to just 10 so…NO.
Dale Murphy – A very good player, 398 homers and 2,111 hits are impressive. He also had two MVP’s and four top 10 finishes. His numbers, .265/.346/.469 seem slightly too low for my tastes though. NO.
Rafael Palmeiro – A great player, but not only did he fail a drug test, but he did it in humiliating fashion. He also has the destinction of winning a Gold Glove despite only playing 28 games in the field. Too bad he didn’t walk away sooner. A great career, but…NO.
Mike Piazza – Hopefully he doesn’t turn into the next Bagwell where people keep him out for no reason. One of the greatest hitting catchers of all time even if he maybe shouldn’t have been a catcher. YES.
Tim Raines - Rock Raines had an amazing career, seven All-Star appearances and three top 10 MVP finishes. He had 808 stolen bases and 2,605 hits too. If there was no Ricky Henderson I don’t even think there is a chance he wouldn’t be in already. YES.
Reggie Sanders – A good, but certainly not elite player. NO.
Curt Schilling – He’s legendary in Boston, finished with a 127 ERA+, never won a Cy but finished top 10 four times and top 10 for MVP twice. I hate him, but cannot deny him. YES.
Aaron Sele – A very average pitcher. Finished with a 100 ERA+ exactly. NO.
Lee Smith – A very good reliever, but he’s still a reliever and I don’t considering him in the elite level plus it’s hard enough narrowing this down to 10. NO.
Sammy Sosa – Slammin Sammy never failed a test and broke Roger Maris‘ record three different times. It’s hard to justify voting for him though when he was a one dimensional, selfish player and there are plenty of other qualified candidates. NO.
Mike Stanton – Won three World Series with the Yankees. I just wanted to mention that. He has no chance though. NO.
Alan Trammell – He deserves to be in the Hall as he was a solid hitter and a great shortstop for a long time. Six All-Star games, three MVP top 10 finishes, and three Silver Sluggers. Still with a 10 player limit I had to leave him off my ballot this year. NO.
Larry Walker – I held Coors Field against him last year and just assumed that I would again this year with so many qualified players eligible. However, I just cannot ignore a .313/.400/.565 line anymore. YES.
Todd Walker – Finished with a 98 OPS+ and was never considered a truly elite defender. NO.
David Wells – I’m a huge Boomer fan, but he’s borderline at best. NO.
Rondell White – Could anybody really vote for a guy that only played 140 games in a season once? NO.
Bernie Williams – One of the best players in baseball for almost 10 years and an amazing defensive player at an elite position. I voted for him last year, but that was mostly to keep him on the ballot. This year he kind of got overshadowed. NO.
Woody Williams – A solid pitcher, but certainly not elite. Only tossed 200 innings four times with an ERA+ of 103. An easy…NO.
SUMMARY: I had a tough time even narrowing it down to 10 players and there are assclowns out there handing in blank ballots. That’s pathetic. Even if you don’t want to vote for Bonds, Clemens, and McGwire it still shouldn’t be hard finding at least six guys to vote for. My final ballot was: Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Martinez, McGwire, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, and Walker. Now let’s watch only one player actually get elected today.