Jan 8, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT
I don’t have a Hall of Fame vote, obviously, but I’ve written enough about it and criticized enough people who do have a vote that I may as well say what I’d do if I had the franchise.
Here’s my whole ballot. I include everyone on it because, unlike so many of the voters, I really don’t think this is some monumentally impossible task that requires long hours examining the dark recesses of my soul. I write about baseball, I read about baseball and I love baseball and I’ve had a pretty good handle on what has gone on with it in both my lifetime and historically. And, contrary to popular opinion, this is fun.
Here’s my take on all of these guys. Since I’m going with the ten-slot limit, I’ll tally the whole ballot at the end, as some of these guys are “if I have room” choices:
- Sandy Alomar Jr.: A tough call for the Hall of Alomars.
- Jeff Bagwell: Passes my eyeball test even if he fails others’.
- Craig Biggio: He was good at everything, great at many things and maintained his excellence for a long time. Once upon a time that was an easy Hall of Famer. I’d like to think it still is.
- Barry Bonds: Duh. Yes.
- Jeff Cirillo: Once held the record for the most regular season games played without playing in the postseason at 1,617. But, sorry, no.
- Royce Clayton: Best Royce to ever play the game. But no.
- Roger Clemens: Duh. Yes again.
- Jeff Conine: How many guys can call themselves “Mr. [team name]?” Not many. As Mr. Marlin he’s one. But no.
- Steve Finley: Was drafted by the Braves in 1986 but didn’t sign. So we were stuck with the Dion James/Albert Hall platoon. Sigh. No.
- Julio Franco: I’m sure he’s in his Lazarus Pit right now preparing for a comeback so we’ll deal with him when he’s eligible once again. But no.
- Shawn Green: Nice player. No.
- Roberto Hernandez: Thanks to Fausto Carmona’s stuff, he’s the only guy in the Hall of Fame ballot who is automatically hyperlinked as an active player by the HBT blogging platform. Pretty cool! But no.
- Ryan Klesko: If I were tipsy I’d go on about how he was better than you remember and how Bobby Cox treated him kinda poorly, but I’m not tipsy so let’s just say no.
- Kenny Lofton: He’s a popular choice among the statheads and I think he’s way better than the exceedingly low Hall of Fame vote totals he’ll get, but I’d have a hard time pulling the lever. He was always good but didn’t have the sort of peak I like to see in a Hall of Famer. I’d give a no, but it’d be one that I’d think hard about. And even if I wavered more, having so many qualified guys on the ballot would probably push him off mine.
- Edgar Martinez: Down with anti-DH prejudice! Vote for Edgar! Yes.
- Don Mattingly: Nope. People say “but for the injuries …” I say “he had a lot of injuries.” The Hall should be about the career a guy had, not the one he would have had if x, y, z didn’t happen.
- Fred McGriff: Really, really hard choice. I’ve gone back and forth over the years (if you check the archives I think I have posts supporting him and not supporting him in the past). As I sit here today I’m inclined to give him a bigger era adjustment than I used to, realizing that his pre-1993 numbers were really damn good for the time and he, unfortunately, straddled the eras in a way that made his overall stats look less impressive. If I have ten others I like better he falls off, but a provisional yes.
- Mark McGwire: I think yes. I know he was one dimensional, but it was a hell of a dimension.
- Jose Mesa: No, obviously. But when everyone goes Hall-crazy about Omar Vizquel in a few years, I may talk Mesa up just to be a contrary S.O.B.
- Jack Morris: I believe he was a very good pitcher. Call me back when they build a Hall of Very Good.
- Dale Murphy: Nice peak, but fell off a cliff. He and Don Mattingly are in the same boat for me, even if we don’t know why Murphy lost his footing.
- Rafael Palmeiro: A close call as his numbers — 500 homers and 3000 hits — look less impressive when you adjust for the parks he played in and the era in which he walked the Earth. I’d lean yes, however, if I have room.
- Mike Piazza: Best hitting catcher ever. Anyone not voting for him this year is deranged.
- Tim Raines: One of the best leadoff hitters ever and did everything well. Anyone not voting for him this year is equally deranged.
- Reggie Sanders: No, but I always liked him, even though he laid a major egg when he played for Atlanta. That above-average journeyman thing is pretty fun. Wish we’d see more of it, both for the players’ sake and the teams’.
- Curt Schilling: Close call. More deserving than Morris. I’d be inclined to say yes, pending the availability of ten slots.
- Aaron Sele: Heh, no.
- Lee Smith: Lots of people like him, but my post-La Russa Era closer standards are probably way higher than most people’s. I’m, like, Eckersley Mariano Rivera and … call me later.
- Sammy Sosa: He’s like Palmiero for me, but that peak was really something to behold. A maybe, slot-pending kind of guy.
- Mike Stanton: I loved him as a Brave and he annoyed me as a Yankee, which means he was good, because I’m only annoyed by good players who give my team a hard time. But, of course, no.
- Alan Trammell: Yes. And I would say this even if he wasn’t my favorite childhood player. See Biggio: he did it all and did it well and was arguably the best player on an always good and often excellent team for, like, a decade.
- Larry Walker: Hard choice. I lean no, just as I do on Lofton. I could be persuaded to change my mind at some point.
- Todd Walker: Man, guy will be a one-and-done and he’s not even the best Walker on the ballot. Sad.
- David Wells: Better than people give him credit for. Maybe because he didn’t hit is groove for a bit and maybe because the personality often took center stage as opposed to the pitching. I’d vote for him before I’d vote for Morris too, but ultimately I wouldn’t vote for him either.
- Rondell White: Lots of Expos on this year’s ballot, huh? No.
- Bernie Williams: No. Very good, but never had a Hall of Fame peak. His playoff numbers are nice, but he was obviously a huge beneficiary of the playoff expansion of the mid-90s and of being on the New York Yankees of that era.
- Woody Williams: Always loved his name. If you had a friend named Woody Williams, you’d know you had a reliable friend. Old Woody would never leave you stranded at the airport and would always be around to help you move a couch. But no.
So, where does that leave us? My ballot: Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Martinez, McGwire, Piazza, Raines, Trammell and … one least spot for all of my maybes. Let’s suck it up and say — Fred McGriff. There. McGriff gets the tenth slot.
Sorry to Palmeiro, Schilling, Sosa and the others. If you’re around next year I’ll consider you again. Or if they do the right thing and expand the ballot.
How hard was that?
Apr 23, 2014, 10:38 PM EDT
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was pulled at 79 pitches on Tuesday at Citi Field after taking an off step while trying to track down a high-chopper on the infield. He was then diagnosed with a hyperextended right knee, but it sounds like a rather minor injury.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
As first reported by Los Angeles Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday night with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT
Yankees starter Michael Pineda was very clearly using pine tar to get a better grip on his pitches during an April 10 start against the rival Red Sox. He tried it again in his start Wednesday night at a blistery Fenway Park and got caught red-handed.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT
On May 21, the Angels will give away a bobblehead commemorating Albert Pujols’ 500th career home run, which he hit Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
Apr 23, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
Tracy McGrady is going to try pitching in an independent baseball league after wrapping up his 15-year NBA career last August.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT
According to beat writer Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks left fielder Mark Trumbo has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Trumbo is headed back to Phoenix, Arizona to have the foot examined by a specialist so that the D’Backs can get a better idea of the injury’s severity.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:02 PM EDT
Another sad chapter in Josh Johnson’s injury wrecked career, as the right-hander will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery without ever throwing a regular season pitch for the Padres.
Apr 23, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is off the disabled list and will make his season debut tonight against the Dodgers after sitting out the first three weeks with biceps tendinitis.
Apr 23, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Albert Pujols entered baseball’s history books after belting his 500th home run, but with seven years remaining on his deal in Los Angeles, HBT’s Craig Calcaterra wonders how high of a level Pujols must continue to play at in order to call his deal a success.
Apr 23, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
Sammy Sosa hit 293 homers at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs are trying to make people forget that happened.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
Matt Harrison will come off the disabled list and start Sunday for the Rangers, seeing his first big-league game action in more than a year following multiple back surgeries and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:35 PM EDT
Daniel Nava is headed to the minors one season after hitting .303.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT
Nick Franklin is trying to find a way into the Mariners’ lineup.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Jesse Crain hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game since June 29 and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT
It’s been an awful start for the Snakes. Awful enough to get someone fired?
Apr 23, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT
Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg, who was acquired from the Angels as part of the Zack Greinke swap in July of 2012, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week as he comes back from a spring training finger injury, but instead the team had him throw a 58-pitch simulated game yesterday.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT
Fenway may be the site of more accomplishments, but it’s easier to see ourselves in Wrigley Field.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
San Diego is looking to trade one-time starting catcher Nick Hundley.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
Not the best call by instant replay officials in the system’s brief history.
- Clayton Kershaw cleared to begin rehab assignment on Friday at High-A Rancho Cucamonga 1
- Michael Pineda ejected in second inning for pine tar on neck, facing a 10-game suspension 82
- Mark Trumbo diagnosed with stress fracture in foot 7
- Josh Johnson needs a second Tommy John surgery 21
- Sammy Sosa wasn’t invited to Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday 45
- Josh Lueke is a rapist. How often does that bear repeating? (200)
- Benches clear in Pittsburgh after the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez bat flips a third-inning triple (183)
- “They Don’t Know Henry” (169)
- Michael Pineda ejected in second inning for pine tar on neck, facing a 10-game suspension (115)
- Chipper Jones chimed in on the Carlos Gomez incident (111)