Tomorrow afternoon, Major League Baseball will announce who will go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Although no one entered the Hall of Fame last year, this year will surely be a different scenario since there are so many deserving names on the ballot.
To clarify, I do not have an official vote on the ballot, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share who I would have voted for. I’m going to follow the rules and procedures of the official Hall of Fame ballot and only vote for up to 10 players. If a player receives at least 75% of the vote from the BBWAA, then they would be elected into the Hall of Fame. Here is my ballot:
Greg Maddux: In his 23-year career, he won 355 games and won the Cy Young Award four times. In 1995 (the year the Atlanta Braves won the World Series), Maddux went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA as he showed dominance on the baseball diamond. I would expect Maddux to be on everyone’s Hall of Fame ballot but there has never been a unanimous vote from the BBWAA.
Tom Glavine: Well to start things off, he won over 300 games, had five 20-win seasons and won two Cy Young Awards. I’m sure he’d like to forget how his stint with the Mets ended but the first time he ended up on the disabled list was in 2008–at the age of 42! Wouldn’t the Yankees love to have someone like that on their team.
Mike Mussina: This is the first year that Mussina has been on the Hall of Fame ballot and although he has never won a World Series, he’s a player I would keep on my ballot until he ends up in Cooperstown. The only time Mussina won 20 games in a season was in the final year of his career in 2008, which could have been a sign that Mussina had more in the tank had he kept going. To add to his success, Mussina was also a five-time All-Star and a seven-time Gold Glover.
Craig Biggio: If you have over 3,000 hits in your Major League career, you should be almost a lock to enter the Hall of Fame. Last year, Biggio was 39 votes shy of entering the Hall of Fame, but this could finally be his year. He spent his entire career with the Houston Astros and absolutely shined: He was in seven All-Star games, won five Silver Slugger Awards and won four Gold Glove Awards. He also was one of the few Astros responsible for bringing the Astros back into postseason contention.
Don Mattingly: It’s unfortunate that Mattingly had never played in a World Series, but if there’s one honor Mattingly deserves, it’s a place in the Hall of Fame. Mattingly was in six All-Star games, won nine Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. Hey, if Kirby Puckett (who had similar career numbers than Mattingly) can make it into the Hall of Fame, then so can “Donnie Baseball”.
Jack Morris: Morris is on the ballot for the 15th and final time, and it’s a shame that he’s not in the Hall of Fame as of yet. Sure, he had a high ERA but he has three World Series rings and tossed 10-shutout innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series versus the Atlanta Braves. A player that should be in the Hall of Fame, but isn’t–and probably never will be due to the class he’s in this year.
Lee Smith: Although he played for eight teams in his career, when he retired in 1997, he had the record for the most saves by any closer with 478 (a record that has since been passed by Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera). He was also one of the last few multi-inning closers in the game, which would lead you to wonder how he would fair if he was pitching with all the one-inning closers in 2014. Along with having the most saves in his time, Lee also made it to seven All-Star games.
Frank Thomas: Thomas spent 16 seasons with the Chicago White Sox and was one of the most feared players in his era. He hit over 500 HR’s in his career and was able to do so cleanly in a time where cheating was the norm. To add to his success, he was in five All-Star games and won back to back MVP awards.
Tim Raines: Raines was one of the greatest lead-off men in baseball but at the time fell second to the great Ricky Henderson. However, Raines was a seven-time All-Star, helped the White Sox win a pair of divisional titles and was a member of two World Series titles with the Yankees. After 20 seasons in the big leagues, Raines retired with 808 stolen bases under his belt and a .294 average. For me, the stolen bases alone should have him considered for the Hall of Fame. There aren’t many speedy guys like that in the game anymore.
Jeff Kent: My final vote will go to Jeff Kent, who was arguably one of the best hitting second basemen of his time. Kent’s career didn’t take off until 1997 when he was with the San Francisco Giants and continued when he played for the Houston Astros. In his career, Kent went to five All Star Games, won four Silver Slugger Awards and won an MVP award. There could be a slight chance the writers don’t vote him in the Hall of Fame because he played for so many teams (like Lee Smith) but if I had a ballot, Kent would be on my ballot every year until he wasn’t on the ballot anymore.