Friday, January 12, 2018

My MLB Hall of Fame Ballot Choices!

College football is over and baseball has been decidedly quiet thus far this off-season, but there is still some sport intrigue out there:  the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.  This year's ballot looks like this (with the number on the right indicating how many times the person has been on the ballot).

  • 1 Edgar Martinez 9th
  • 2 Fred McGriff 9th
  • 3 Larry Walker 8th
  • 4 Roger Clemens 6th
  • 5 Barry Bonds 6th
  • 6 Curt Schilling 6th
  • 7 Sammy Sosa 6th
  • 8 Mike Mussina 5th
  • 9 Jeff Kent 5th
  • 10 Gary Sheffield 4th
  • 11 Trevor Hoffman 3rd
  • 12 Billy Wagner 3rd
  • 13 Vladimir Guerrero 2nd
  • 14 Manny Ramirez 2nd
  • 15 Chipper Jones 1st
  • 16 Jim Thome 1st
  • 17 Scott Rolen 1st
  • 18 Andruw Jones 1st
  • 19 Johan Santana 1st
  • 20 Johnny Damon 1st
  • 21 Carlos Zambrano 1st
  • 22 Jamie Moyer 1st
  • 23 Omar Vizquel 1st
  • 24 Chris Carpenter 1st
  • 25 Livan Hernandez 1st
  • 26 Orlando Hudson 1st
  • 27 Kevin Millwood 1st
  • 28 Kerry Wood 1st
  • 29 Carlos Lee 1st
  • 30 Aubrey Huff 1st
  • 31 Hideki Matsui 1st
  • 32 Jason Isringhausen 1st
  • 33 Brad Lidge 1st
As you can see, there are 33 potential people to choose from - but in my mind at least, the real number of players to pick from is substantially smaller.  Here's who I think is even deserving of consideration to join the likes of Mantle, Ruth, and Aaron in the Hall.
  1. Edgar Martinez 9th
  2. Larry Walker 8th
  3. Roger Clemens 6th
  4. Barry Bonds 6th
  5. Curt Schilling 6th
  6. Sammy Sosa 6th
  7. Mike Mussina 5th
  8. Jeff Kent 5th
  9. Gary Sheffield 4th
  10. Trevor Hoffman 3rd
  11. Billy Wagner 3rd
  12. Vladimir Guerrero 2nd
  13. Manny Ramirez 2nd
  14. Chipper Jones 1st
  15. Jim Thome 1st
  16. Scott Rolen 1st
  17. Jamie Moyer 1st
  18. Omar Vizquel 1st
Now, with 18 people "worthy" in my eyes I have a problem since the ballot only allows us to select up to ten people - so there are some hard decisions to be made on my ballot.  Here are my picks for the Hall of Fame this year...

1.  Edgar Martinez
It's not Edgar's fault that he excelled at the DH and that basically no one currently in the Hall of Fame was primarily a DH.  Since the DH exists as an official position (whether or not I agree with the concept of the DH is a different story entirely), I don't think that the person generally regarded as the best ever at the position should be denied entry in the Hall of Fame. 

2.  Roger Clemens
Whether you like the guy or not, Clemens was an absolute force for most of his playing career.  He had a brash attitude, but he backed up his bravado by his actions on the field.  For reasons that I don't quite get, Clemens only appeared on 54.1% of ballots last year.  This is his sixth year on the ballot and I believe he's waited long enough to pay for his general surliness.  

3.  Barry Bonds
Yes, yes.  I know.  Many people won't like this selection - but for all of Bonds' many transgressions, at least they were all in an attempt to better himself on the baseball field.  For what I know, Bonds was plenty salty to media and the like, but his only true "crimes" were the alleged (proven?) use of steroids and similar substances.  That said, pre-super jacked up Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer in my eyes and while I don't like that he cheated for so long, the cheater was clear (pun intended) to everyone watching the game but no one cared until years later.  Bonds helped bring baseball back after a dreadful couple of years in early-to-mid-90s and he deserves to be enshrined.

4.  Curt Schilling
Another baseball character who rubs people the wrong way, I actually get the feeling that Schilling has created more enemies since leaving baseball than when he was active in the sport (which is some sort of accomplishment in itself since he didn't appear to be all that well-liked during his playing days).  All that said, Schilling was a ferocious competitor, and for a few years, a true beast on the pitching mound.  I doubt Schilling gets in this year, but he does get my (meaningless) vote.

5.  Mike Mussina
Every person that casts a ballot probably has at least one guy on the ballot to which they have some sort of personal connection that goes beyond the statistics.  Mussina is that guy for me.  He grew up in a nearby town and part of me would love to see a local product make the Hall of Fame.  That said, even though I do have some bias here, Mussina's numbers are definitely Hall of Fame worthy.  I know that I didn't realize just how good his numbers were over the years until I looked them up...if more ballot casters take the time to do their research, I think the Moose has a good chance of being enshrined (maybe not this year, but soon).

6.  Trevor Hoffman
Hoffman basically gets the same argument for enshrinement as did Edgar Martinez (but swap DH for closer).  Hoffman notched 601 career saves which is pretty awesome...and it should be Hoffman who paves the way for Mariano Rivera to be enshrined when he is Hall eligible.

7.  Manny Ramirez
If the real selection goes like my ballot, the Red Sox are going to love this year's Hall of Fame class!  Manny is deserving of election to the Hall despite his crazy shenanigans on the field.  Like most Hall of Famers, Manny was a player that you had to play around when facing him in the lineup.  He could change the game with a single swing and with over 2500 hits, he had a long enough career to warrant election.  

And....  That's it for me.

That means from my original list of 18 people who passed my "eye test" for at least being considered, I can't cast a ballot for the following: 
Larry Walker

Sammy Sosa
Jeff Kent
Gary Sheffield
Billy Wagner
Vladimir Guerrero
Chipper Jones
Jim Thome
Scott Rolen
Jamie Moyer
Omar Vizquel

Of those, I expect that Vizquel will be the one who gets the most votes from the real voters...but his lack of offensive value hurts him in my eyes (only a .272 career hitter with no real power to speak of).  I like Larry Walker, but he suffers from Coors inflation - I think he's very good but not great.  Sosa helped to bring baseball back (like Bonds) but outside of his cheating years I don't think he was really all that good (unlike Bonds).  I'd like to see Vlad get in as well, but I couldn't find enough of a compelling reason to cast a fake ballot for him (that said, he had almost enough votes to get in last year so there's a good chance he makes it even without my *fake* ballot help).  On a personal level, I'd love to see Scott Rolen get in - he was a really solid player for a number of years (and I liked him) but objectively speaking his numbers don't add up for me.  Chipper is another guy who I could understand people voting for, but again, his numbers aren't quite there for me (and he is also another guy who seems to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way since his retirement).  

All things considered, that was a fun little exercise.  I'm sure that my ballot would cause just as much consternation and complaining as any of the "real" ballots cast by the writers...but I guess that's the fun of it on a cold, windy, dreary winter's day!


Laurens said...

It's all fun and games, but you couldn't choose 10 out of the remaining 18 and then left out three guys in Chipper Jones, Guerrero and Thome, who will probably get in either this year or the next - that seems really peculiar.

John Sharp said...

Although they may eventually get in, I don't believe any player who used steroids belongs anywhere near the Baseball Hall of Fame,especially Bonds.

Fuji said...

I think every time I leave a comment on the HOF ballot posts, I change my vote. Here's who gets my vote today: Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Vlad, Manny, and Sosa.

I believe Thome definitely belongs in, but I don't consider him a 1st ballot guy.

I'm still teetering on Schilling, Mussina, Sheffield, Edgar, Walker, and Vizquel.

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