With the 2015 Hall of Fame announcements due on January 6 at 2 p.m. ET, I decided to sit down and write a mock MLB Hall of Fame ballot. There are many deserving players on the ballot and it was hard to choose just 10, but after much pondering, I made my decision. Before we begin the mock ballot, let’s review what voting should be based upon when deciding whether to put a player into the Hall of Fame:
Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are the 10 players (in no particular order) that would get my vote on a Hall of Fame ballot:
1. Mike Mussina
Of course, I had to start off with Mike Mussina since he was personally one of my favorite pitchers to watch growing up. It doesn’t hurt his case that he’s a seven-time Gold Glove winner and a 20-game winner in the final season of his career. In 18 seasons, Mussina was 270-153, 3.68 ERA, 3562.2 IP, 2813 K’s and a 1.192 WHIP, so it was pretty shocking Mussina only received 20.3% of the vote his first year on the ballot. I don’t think Mussina is going to get into the Hall of Fame this year, but he eventually should get in.
Randy Johnson pitched during the steroid era, and his success in that era is what should make him a first-time ballot Hall of Famer. Johnson was the last pitcher to record 300 career wins and won 5 Cy Young awards (four straight from 1999-2002). Johnson ranks second in career strikeouts with 4,875 and was Co-MVP of the 2001 World Series where he won three games, two as a starter and one as a reliever in Game 7.
3. Craig Biggio
Craig Biggio was extremely close to making the Hall of Fame last year, but fell short when he only received 74.8% of the vote (he needed 75% to qualify). The argument for Biggio making the Hall of Fame is quite simple: he had 3,060 hits in his career and for the most part stayed on the field during his 20-year-career. With Biggio almost making the Hall of Fame last year by a few votes, it seems a surefire thing he enters the Hall of Fame this year.
4. John Smoltz
John Smoltz most likely won’t get into the Hall of Fame on his first try, but it would make sense for him to get in eventually: he was the third part of “the big three” in Atlanta along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and he has success as a stater and a reliever. 213 wins, 154 saves, 1 Cy Young and striking out 276 batters in 253 innings pretty much cements the idea Smoltz should be in the Hall of Fame. It’s just a matter of time when.
5. Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Bagwell also fell short for his bid in the Hall of Fame last year, but it wasn’t as drastic as Biggio. In his career, Bagwell hit .297 with 449 home runs and 1529 RBI’s during his 15 year career in the Majors, but the number that is the most impressive is his career OBP, which was .408. Many owners in the past would rely strictly on power, but if you’re Billy Beane, you just want you players to *snaps and points* get on base.
6. Mike Piazza
Yes, Mike Piazza happened to play in the middle of Baseball’s steroid era and there was major speculation, but his name never appeared on the Mitchell Report. Piazza hit the most home runs as a catcher with 429, he was a 12-time All-Star, was the 1993 Rookie of the Year and finished in the top five of the MVP voting four times. Piazza’s only Achilles heel is his postseason numbers–he hit .242 in five postseason appearances–but other than that there’s no reason he shouldn’t make it to the Hall of Fame.
Yankees fans know Pedro Martinez better for his off the field antics, but on the field Pedro was absolutely unstoppable. Pedro won 3 Cy Young Awards from 1997 through 2004 and struck out 313 batters during the 1999 season. His career didn’t end the way he wanted it to–he lost to the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series–but overall he is Hall of Fame worthy.
Curt Schilling wasn’t extremely dominant as a regular season pitcher but once you put Schilling in the postseason, he was almost unbeatable. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 133.1 innings in the postseason during his 15 year career and even led the Boston Red Sox to a 2004 World Series Championship. His final appearance was during the 2007 World Series where he closed out his career with one last postseason win.
9. Tim Raines
Tim Raines spent 23 seasons in the Major Leagues, and while he was a decent hitter for majority of his career (.294/.385/.425), he truly shined on the basepaths. From 1981-1986, Raines stole 70 bags in six straight seasons and ended his career with 808 stolen bases which is good for 5th on the MLB all-time stolen bases list.
10. Lee Smith
Before there was Trevor Hoffman, before there was Mariano Rivera…there was Lee Smith. Smith was the all-times saves leader with 478 before Hoffman and Rivera surpassed him but he had a career 3.03 ERA and struck out 1251 batters in 1289.1 innings during his 18 season career. Smith bounced from team to team throughout his career, but on the plus side he did spend eight seasons with the Chicago Cubs.