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Looking ahead to next year’s Hall of Fame ballot

Jan 9, 2014, 12:28 AM EDT

Pedro Martinez AP

Because one can never get too much of a head start.

As Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas exit the ballot as Hall of Fame inductees, a new and nearly as intriguing class of first timers will arrive in 11 months:

Randy Johnson: 5 Cy Youngs, 2nd all-time in strikeouts, 303 wins
Pedro Martinez: 3 Cy Youngs, 5-time ERA champ, 13th all-time in strikeouts
John Smoltz: 1 Cy Young, 213 wins, 154 saves, 16th all-time in strikeouts
Gary Sheffield: 509 HR, career .292/.393/.514 line, 26th all-time in RBI, 38th in runs
Carlos Delgado: 473 HR, career .280/.383/.546 line, led AL in OPS in 2003, was 2nd in 2000
Brian Giles: 287 HR, 1 of 30 players in MLB history with .400 OBP and 7,500 plate appearances
Nomar Garciaparra: .313/.361/.521 career line, 2 batting titles, 6 times in Top 10 in AL in WAR

They and a handful of lesser talents will join the following holdovers:

Craig Biggio – 74.8% in 2013
Mike Piazza – 62.5%
Jeff Bagwell – 54.3%
Tim Raines – 46.1%
Roger Clemens – 35.4%
Barry Bonds – 34.7%
Lee Smith – 29.9%
Curt Schilling – 29.2%
Edgar Martinez – 25.2%
Alan Trammell – 20.8%
Mike Mussina – 20.3%
Jeff Kent – 15.2%
Fred McGriff – 11.7%
Mark McGwire – 11.0%
Larry Walker – 10.2%
Don Mattingly – 8.2%
Sammy Sosa – 7.2%

Gone along with the inductees are Jack Morris, whose eligibility expired with his 15th time on the ballot, and Rafael Palmeiro, who failed to receive the necessary 5% this year. Mattingly will be in his final year of eligibility next year.

With the BBWAA voters putting more players on their ballots than ever before — and perhaps lifting the 10-man limit per ballot next year — I think it’s safe to say we’ll have three Hall of Famers again next year: Johnson, Pedro and Biggio. Certainly the fact that Biggio was so close this year, falling just two votes shy, will get him sympathy points next time around from anyone looking at him as a borderline candidate. Johnson is nearly as much of a no-brainer as Maddux was, and while some will punish Martinez for his shortish career, the dominance will likely outweigh that and get him 85-90 percent of the vote anyway.

The newcomer I’m most curious about is Smoltz. Baseball-reference has his most similar player as Schilling, who was stuck at 29 percent this year on his second ballot.

Smoltz: 213-155, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 Ks in 3,473 IP – 125 ERA+
Schilling: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 Ks in 3,261 IP – 127 ERA+

Both add to their cases with exceptional postseason performances:

Smoltz: 15-4, 2.67 ERA, 199 K in 209 IP (1 ring)
Schilling: 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 120 K in 133 1/3 IP (3 rings)

I expect that we’ll see voters elevate Smoltz because of the 3 1/2 years he spent as a closer (and a very good one). I don’t buy it. Take those years out of Smoltz’s career line, leaving him with a bit higher of an ERA and a bit lower of an ERA+, and it just illustrates how Schilling was the clearly superior pitcher as a starter.

I do think both belong in the Hall of Fame, but I’d say Schilling belongs there first. However, I have the feeling that Smoltz will debut over 50% and get there before Schilling. Though, actually, that will help Schilling in the long run, since so many will argue that there’s no good reason to vote for Smoltz and not Schilling.

None of the other newcomers have any chance of being elected by the BBWAA. Sheffield certainly has better numbers than some Hall of Famers, but he also has some steroid taint. Plus, there’s no defensive value there, and it’s not as if anyone who had to cover him his whole career is going to go digging for reasons to vote for him. He’ll be lucky to get 10 percent of the vote.

Delgado’s hip problems robbed him of at least two or three years at the end, not to mention a spot in the 500-homer club. He went from finishing ninth in the NL MVP balloting at age 36 in 2008 to getting 112 more at-bats as a major leaguer. I’m guessing he’ll fall a bit short of the five percent necessary to stick around on the ballot.

Giles was certainly an outstanding player for a few years, but not for long enough to hit any milestones. Plus, I think many look at him and younger brother Marcus as likely steroid users. He’ll be a one-and-done.

Garciaparra is the player the Mattingly holdouts like to think Mattingly was. Both had six excellent years and nothing else to really add to their cases, but while Mattingly came in at 32.9 bWAR in his six seasons, Garciaparra was at 40.6, clearing 6.0 and finishing in the top 10 in the AL each of those years. That said, if you’re only going to be good for six years, I think you have to be the best player in the league during that span to be HOF worthy. Garciaparra wasn’t quite that. He’ll fall off the ballot in the first year as well.

So, really, there’s only one borderline player joining the ballot next year in Smoltz. And he’s essentially taking Morris’s spot. That’d seem to be good news for the holdovers, most of whom slipped on this year’s crowded ballot. Piazza won’t get in next year, but he could hit 70 percent, with Bagwell and Raines making similar percentage jumps.

Here’s my guess at how it will all go down:

Randy Johnson – 96%
Pedro Martinez – 88%
Craig Biggio – 80%
Mike Piazza – 69%
Jeff Bagwell – 64%
Tim Raines – 55%
John Smoltz – 52%
Curt Schilling – 39%
Roger Clemens – 38%
Barry Bonds – 37%
Mike Mussina – 31%
Lee Smith – 28%
Edgar Martinez – 28%
Alan Trammell – 27%
Jeff Kent – 16%
Fred McGriff – 13%
Don Mattingly – 11%
Larry Walker – 11%
Mark McGwire – 10%
Gary Sheffield – 8%
Sammy Sosa – 6%
Carlos Delgado – 4%
Nomar Garciaparra – 3%
Brian Giles – 1%

140 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cur68 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    Man. STILL no Piazza in the HoF? backne sucks

    • NYTolstoy - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:07 AM

      Though Mike Piazza didn’t make it in atleast he got more votes. He jumped up about 5%, which is a pretty big thing considering everyone else. Bagwell lost over 4% Raines lost a good chunk. Lee Smith dropped almost 20%. Curt shillings, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Edgar Martinez (who lost alot of ground) all received fewer votes this time around. I saw that alot of sports writers didn’t even have 10 spaces filled up which blew me away and with another stacked group next year I don’t see alot of these guys getting much more votes. Bagwell will most likely get to year 10 before he gets In which is a damn shame.

  2. coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    your 2015 hall of fame inductees should be:

    Clemens, Bonds, Piazza, Pedro, Randy Johnson,

    I could see an argument for Smoltz, Schilling and Mussina

  3. somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Big Unit, Pedro, and Biggio, maybe Piazza

    There won’t be a bigger class than that (Clemens and Bonds aren’t going up 40% in a year)

    • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      May I ask, why exactly are you putting Biggio in? What makes him Hall of Fame worthy?

      • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:17 AM

        Outside of PED suspicion, his offensive number put him in, no question. As far as 2nd basemen go, his number are as good, or better than anyone’s.

        Also, as was mentioned above, he’ll get sympathy votes for just missing it this year (and you’d have to think anyone who voted for him this year will again next year)

      • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:27 AM

        What numbers of his exactly put him in? Look up his stats compared to Tim Raines, Chuck Knoblauch, Dwight Evans, Scott Rolen, all very similar. So should players get in for average numbers? Should they get in for sympathy?

      • crackersnap - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:31 AM

        To somekat:

        Why are Biggio’s numbers so superior to those of Kent? Biggio is, in your words, “no question”. And he almost got voted in. Meanwhile, Kent’s candidacy is on life support? How can this be so?

        Kent’s had better defense, massively more power, and averaged the same number of hits per season. Biggio had three more seasons. Erp.

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:22 AM

        @crackersnap, playing 550 extra games is a big deal. Biggio’s exceptionally long career is a significant part of his case, and it should be. That said, I do think Kent deserves a bit more support than he is getting.

        @coach, Tim Raines should be in the hall, and I would argue Rolen is a Hall of Famer, too. Koblauch is an absurd comparison, as he was significantly worse over a far shorter career. Evans was an outfielder, so not comparable–but some people think he should be in, too.

      • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:28 AM

        compare knoblauchs averages to biggio’s they are similar..Rolen is no way a hall of famer, nor is raines or evans. The longevity of Biggio’s career is admirable, but that doesnt’ mean he’s a hall of famer. Break his numbers down to the averages and you will realize he was just a good player. Is Chase Utley a future Hall of Famer, hes on the same path as Biggio. What about Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker or Ray Durham, all similar numbers. When we watched Biggio play nobody, and I mean NOBODY, said “that guy right there is a future Hall of Famer”.

        Just because at the end of the day he got 3060 hits, over 23 years, doesn’t make him one of the greatest.

      • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:51 AM

        The only decent comparison is Kent (who should get more attention than he has). I specifically said “as far as 2nd basemen go”, if you look at other OF, (Knoblauch only played a portion of his career at 2nd, more in the OF), or 3B, Rains, Rolen, Evans and Knoblauch aren’t as impressive. (not saying they aren’t impressive at all, just not as much as when you compare Biggio to other guys that played his position)

        2nd base is a notoriously light hitting position, Biggio is the exception (for that same reason, Utley may have chance if he can stick around another 3-4 years relatively healthy), not the rule. Even guys like Roberto Alomar, who was a nice offensive 2B in his own right, can’t match his number with Biggio

      • cohnjusack - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:20 AM

        1. compare knoblauchs averages to biggio’s they are similar.
        –Really? Knoblauck’s played a whopping 1200 fewer games. Not to mention that Knoblauch was one of the games top 2nd basemen at his (very short) peak. And, over the course of Knoblauch’s career, Biggio’s “average” was an OPS 47 points higher.

        2. Rolen is no way a hall of famer
        – Umm…Ranks 10th in WAR for 3rd basemen. He was a good hitting, elite fielding 3rd basemen. I can accept arguments again, but “no way” is a huge understatement.

        3. nor is raines or evans.
        –True…if you are unable to look beyond home runs. Things like defense, baserunning, getting on base have value too. Tons of it when your Raines and steal 800 bases rarely getting caught. Fun fact about Raines: He got on base at almost the exact same rate as Tony Gwynn about the same number of PAs.

        4. Break his numbers down to the averages and you will realize he was just a good player.
        –Any player that plays for a significant peroid of time has what is called a “decline phase”. WHen they still have value, but not nearly the same as they did in their peak. This tends to drag down “averages”. Look at his peak years, and tell me how many second basemen you can think that routinley posted OPS+ of over 130…with steals

        5. Is Chase Utley a future Hall of Famer, hes on the same path as Biggio.
        –Probably. Do you understand positional differences in hitting ability in baseball? Think for a second…why do so few 2nd basemen lead the league in home runs….because they all just don’t know how to hit?

        6. What about Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker or Ray Durham, all similar numbers.
        –SIgh. Grich and Whitaker probably do deserve to go. Ray Durham has vaguely similar numbers to those two, but without the defense and playing one of the greatest era’s for offense in baseball history. I can’t see how his numbers are similar to Biggio, who had 4,000 more plate appearances. Retire Biggio at Durham’s career PA total. In his first 8600 career PAs, Biggio hit had a 121 OPS+, compared to Durham’s 104. Then Biggio came up 4000 more times and Durham was out of baseball.

        7. When we watched Biggio play nobody, and I mean NOBODY, said “that guy right there is a future Hall of Famer”.
        –This was said countless times. By many people. You just didn’t notice.

        8. Just because at the end of the day he got 3060 hits, over 23 years, doesn’t make him one of the greatest.
        –I don’t give a damn about milestones. Sure, he’s not Willie Mays, then again, 99.9% of HOFers aren’t. He would fit in in the top half of Hall of Fame 2nd baseman. He was equal to or better than Ryne Sandberg and Roberto Alomar (they all basically had identical WARs until Biggio fell below with his abysmal final season. )

      • cohnjusack - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:42 AM

        @coach

        Here’s two players “averages” per 162 game season

        Player A: 22 HR, 90 RBI, .285/.379/.462
        Player B: 25 HR, 95 RBI, .291/.400/.502

        Yeah, Brian Giles is player B. Player A? Triple crown winning, 4 time OPS leading Carl Yastrzemski

        Hey, let’s do another

        Player A: 23 HR, 91 RBI, .276/.340/.447
        Player B: 16 HR, 72 RBI, .277/.352/.436

        Man, player A had a bit more pop but player B got on base more and actually had a higher OPS
        I guess that means Ray Durham is pretty comparable to Cal Ripken.

        Do we now understand the importance of career longevity, the result on averages? (And a bonus lesson in comparing across eras?)

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:20 AM

        @coach, what is your argument that Rolen is not a Hall of Famer? The numbers suggest he is one of the ten best third baseman of all time. If you disagree, then why?

        As for Utley: Biggio played more than twice as many games!!! Biggio basically had Utley’s career, then another 1500 games of solid production for a 2B.

        Most of the other comparisons are garbage. Yes, if you completely ignore length of career and position played, Biggio is superficially similar to some pedestrian players.

      • stex52 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        How about Ryne Sandberg? Why don’t you compare him to a HOF 2nd baseman? That is not even counting his years as a catcher. If you don’t normalize for position you are setting up a bit of a straw man.

        And if the averages bother you so much, lop off his age 40 and 41 years. And if you don’t like the power output, normalize in the Astrodome and look at his doubles totals. He was not an HOF-worthy corner outfielder or third baseman. He was an HOF-worthy 2nd baseman-catcher. Not the same animal.

      • cur68 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        People still use averages over a career to make an argument? Hmpf. Ok. Absolutely fails to weight the stats to years played, but if intellectual laziness is your thing, mmmkay.

      • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Cohn do yourself a favor and look back at the stats for all 2nd basemen during biggio’s playing days and you will see he was good, but not great. Compare him annually to Boone, Alomar, Sandberg (during overlapping years), Knoblauch, and others.

        As far as Yaz goes, does biggio have an MVP? A triple Crown? As many All-Star Games? While they play different positions it isn’t apples to apples but Yaz played long, but great.

        What is yours, and anyone else’s, reasons for putting Biggio in the Hall? Lots of people are giving me thumbs down but none are coming to the table with figures to support arguing against me.

        Whats your stat of choice to put him in?

        I’m not saying he was a bum, quite the contrary. I just don’t think he is an ALL TIME GREAT which is what the HOF is.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        Compare him annually to Boone, Alomar, Sandberg (during overlapping years), Knoblauch, and others.

        Not doing annual comparisons, because that docs people who declined and didn’t just retire. However, here’s look at 4 year peaks for those players (with a giant caveat that Boone was rumored to be using PEDs, and Knoblauch admitted doing such)

        Biggio (’95-’98): 27.6 rWAR; .306/.403/.476, 136 OPS+; 742 H, 142 2b, 79 HR, 321 RBI, 505 R, 1153 TB (628 G)
        Alomar (’98-’01): 24.0 rWAR; .313/.391/.491, 126 OPS+; 730 H, 150 2b, 77 HR, 365 RBI, 448 R, 1147 TB (618 G)
        Sandberg (’89-’92): 28.0 rWAR; .298/.365/.513, 140 OPS+; 720 H, 119 2b, 122 HR, 363 RBI, 424 R, 1241 TB (628 G)
        Boone (’01-’04): 19.4 rWAR: .289/.349/.501, 125 OPS+; 707 H, 136 2b, 120 HR, 448 RBI, 391 R, 1225 TB (620 G)
        Knoblauch (’94 to ’97): 26.0 rWAR; .319/.413/.468, 127 OPS+; 693 H, 140 2b, 38 HR, 244 RBI, 449 R, 1017 TB (554 G)

        All looks similar to me. His counting stats and rWAR is better than Alomar who flew in on his second ballot, and slightly behind Sandberg who was also elected. Boone has a 3 year peak and literally < 1 rWAR combined in the year before and after ’01 to ’03 so he doesn’t belong in this class. Knoblauch might have been on the HoF track if he didn’t get the yips and completely break down as a player since he had the peak that the other players had.

  4. chinahand11 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Randy, Pedro, Biggio, Bags, Smoltzie, Raines and Piazza.

    • chinahand11 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      coachjac30 is correct. I withdraw my Biggio vote.

      • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:55 AM

        Alright now your talking!! Listen, I fully understand people wanting to leave Bonds and Clemens off, I don’t agree, but I understand. But all this love for Craig Biggio to me is just ridiculous. Good player, but is that what the Hall is, good?

      • stex52 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        Just to re-emphasize my point. Ryne Sandberg.

  5. jea1978 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    88% for Pedro? Only 88%???? That better not be real. He better be in the high 90′s.

    • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:24 AM

      Agreed. He had the most dominant peak of any pitcher, ever.

      • cohnjusack - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:24 AM

        Only 2 twenty win seasons? Dave Stewart had twice that many and got less than 10% of the vote.

        …I’m joking, but judging by some of the comments I’ve seen on her in regards to Craig Biggio, expect this argument to made.

      • spursareold - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:20 AM

        Sandy Koufax says hi…

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        @spursareold, actually it’s not particularly close:

        Koufax 1962-1966:
        111-34, 1.95 ERA, 1377 IP, 9.4 K/9, 4.57 K/BB, 167 ERA+

        Martinez 1997-2003:
        118-36, 2.20 ERA, 1408 IP, 11.3 K/9, 5.59 K/BB, 213 ERA+

        Even Martinez’s raw numbers look great compared to Koufax, but that’s before you adjust for the far higher run scoring environment he pitched in: by ERA+, Martinez had a seven year stretch that was better than Koufax’s best season.

    • jacflash - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:03 AM

      Very few people — including many of the guys already in the Hall — will ever do any single thing as well as Pedro pitched at his peak.

  6. weaselpuppy - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Point of contention Matthew. if you take away Smolt’z’s 3.5 years as a closer, they don’t just disappear. he’d have continued to start, and added net numbers to his totals in wins, K’s innings etc. His ERA in 2.5 of those 3.5 years wasn’t too dissimilar to his career averages or what he put immediately preceding and after his closer stint, so his ERA changes a little, but not terribly significantly…a couple few points, careerwise. He adds 300ish Ks and 40ish wins…which separates him by a decent margin from Schilling, that not counting potential postseason additions in which while Schilling was great, Smoltz was better…

    Watching both from start to finish, I’d rather face neither, but if given a choice, as a hitter I’d take my chances with Schilling.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:10 AM

      Fair point of contention for sure.

      I have the feeling that if Smoltz had been starting those 3 1/2 years, he wouldn’t have held up physically and racked up 650 innings from age 38-40. But that’s another big what if.

      Interesting to see now: Smoltz didn’t win any games in his last two years as a closer. Most closers win 3-4 games a year anyway (which isn’t necessarily a good thing, they sometimes come after blown saves). If Smoltz had won games at the rate of most closers, he’d have more wins than Schilling.

      • weaselpuppy - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        fair point on the back end of the career. Though getting 3.5 years in your late peak back is better than 38-40.

    • paperlions - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      Who knows how voters will respond or what in the world they look at. Yes, Smoltz and Schilling had similar career numbers and Schilling isn’t getting much support right now, but BOTH of them were superior pitchers to Glavine, who breezed into the HOF. Mussina was at least as good a pitcher as Glavine and he’s getting little support as well.

      The voters, as a group, really have no idea what they are doing or how good the players they are voting on were with respect to each other (as if we need more evidence of that).

      The sad thing is that this doesn’t make recent history any different than historical HOF voting by the BBWAA. Every time there is an article about historical voting, it is clear that the BBWAA have never been very good at understanding how good the players they are voting on were….it has always been more about narrative than actual production.

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        Glavine didn’t put up the kind of strikeout numbers that Schilling and Smoltz did, but he had a 123 ERA+ in 3300 innings through age 36, which is pretty close to both of them and Mussina. He also had a good peak with some very strong seasons within that period.

        And then he went on to be an above-average pitcher for over 1000 more innings.

        Granted, hitting the magic number of 300 wins is what really gave him the votes, but Glavine was a very good pitcher with remarkable longevity. I think the length of his career easily makes him the best of the four.

      • paperlions - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        Oh yeah, he was a very good pitcher, but there isn’t really any difference between his career and those of the other guys besides the wins. I guess the “extra longevity” is nice (as the other guys didn’t have short careers), but how does that not make him a “compiler” (which I think is a stupid term, but I would bet many of the same voters that think Glavine was better than Smoltz/Schilling/Mussina use the compiler tag when talking about Biggio). The point is that Glavine wasn’t a better pitcher, he just pitched longer. All I am saying is that if you are using the data to vote, there is no justification for voting for Glavine but not the other guys.

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:28 AM

        @paperlions, well, certainly many of the voters aren’t consistent. No argument here.

        However, Glavine was not merely a “compiler” but had a strong peak as well (two Cy Youngs, top 5 in pitcher WAR 5 times, top 10 in ERA+ 10 times). I think this plus the length of his career are a legitimate reason to vote for him over the others you mention.

      • paperlions - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        To be clear, I think the term compiler is stupid. The only way to “compile” is to be good….I was just trying to imagine what voters have to be thinking and how inconsistent their narratives are.

        Smoltz, Schilling, and Mussina all put up significantly more WAR than Glavine while pitching 900-1400 fewer innings. WAR probably undersells Glavine because he consistently beat his peripherals, if you use RA9-WAR Glavine’s career looks better, but on a inning by inning basis, they were ALL better pitchers than Glavine (all have better ERA- than Glavine)….and none had a short career. There is really no information-based argument for voting for Glavine and not the other 3.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        WAR probably undersells Glavine because he consistently beat his peripherals

        fWAR yes since it’s based on FIP, but rWAR uses RA/9. Glavine had a career .280 BABIP over 4400 IP so I wouldn’t use a normalizing BABIP stat like FIP for him.

  7. aphillieated - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:11 AM

    • cur68 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Best thing? I saw that fight called in french and they laughed when they saw that Schilling got busted in the face by someone.

      Pedro and the Expos vs The Phillies: better than a hockey fight, eh?

      Damn, I miss the Expos…

    • RoyHobbs39 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Yikes. That is some very green concrete they are playing on.

  8. doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    Vote for Pedro

    • sdelmonte - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:44 AM

      Took me a year till I learned what that phrase was talking about, and I kept wondering why other Mets fans wanted us to vote for him.

  9. oldschoolnflman - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    I can’t wait for the ballot of 2025. The way you bums support Craig Biggio, Neil Walker is a shoe in!

    • cohnjusack - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:27 AM

      Just so long as Neil Walker sticks around 15 more years and ends up having a peak far better than he currently is. Also, he has to stop hitting into double plays and start stealing 30 bases a year.

      Other than everything, a pretty apt comparison.

  10. raysfan1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    My only dispute is a minor one–I think Garciaparra will come in at 5-10% and thus not be a one and done candidate.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:15 AM

      I appreciated Matthew recognizing Nomar’s original greatness. Man, he was so great. (Not looking at the numbers right now.) I think he only hit line drives for his first four seasons. The 1999 Red Sox consisted of Pedro, Nomar, and very little else — and they still went to the playoffs. It’s sad how he flamed out, but he looked like a sure Hall of Famer when his career got underway.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        Yeah, too bad injuries derailed him.

  11. kappy32 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:43 AM

    There is no question that Pedro & Randy deserve first ballot induction. First ballot induction is supposed to be an honor bestowed on the best of the best & there is no question that Pedro & Randy were the best of the best. Not only are they two of the best pitchers of all-time, but Johnson is arguably the best LHP of the past 50 years & Pedro the best RHP in the past 50. As great as Maddox was, when Pedro was in his prime he was untouchable and, in my opinion, better than Maddox. When Pedro was in his prime, with the Red Sox, he was facing AL East competition which was probably the toughest division for a pitcher to pitch in. He went up against the Yankees 4-5 times each year at a time when the Yankees were considered Murderers’ Row II. Despite that, he maintained an ERA around 2.00 & struck out more than a batter per inning. He was also a key part of the Red Sox ending their World Series drought. I never witnessed a better pitcher than when Pedro was at the top of his game.

    With that being said, The Big Unit put up better statistics than Pedro. The number of Cy Youngs, the 300-plus wins, ghetto super-human strikeout numbers, and the fact that he was a lefty are all things that voters love. However, I wonder if the writers will place him second behind Pedro not for baseball reasons, but for his treatment of reporters. If you remember, Randy was especially nasty to the reporters in NY. There was the instance where he shoved the cameraman down to the ground outside Penn Station when he “got too close.” There were also numerous times where he was short & degrading to reporters when asked simple questions. I seriously wonder, and would not be surprised, if these sanctimonious, jerk BBWAA voters leave him off quite a few ballots because of his treatment of their brethren. They have kept players off recent ballots for far less. There was a report in The National Enquirer that a transgendered prostitute admitted to injecting steroids into Mike Piazza’s butt at the JFK Airport Inn back in 2000. That was enough evidence for Murray Chass to leave Piazza off his ballot, especially after Chass “vetted” the source himself. Even if that were true, it would be more evidence than what they have thus far. The way I see it, next January will see Pedro, Randy, and Biggio getting in with Piazza pulling about 70% of the vote. Piazza should finally get the honor he deserves in Jan. 2016 so long as TMZ or The National Enquirer don’t break any stories involving Piazza, Sam Champion, midtown Manhattan swinger parties, and rubbing external steroid creams in NSFW areas. Someone should ask Chass if he believes in UFO’s and aliens the next time they have his ear.

  12. andreweac - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    I demand a write campaign for Jack Morris. He, like Tim Tebow, knew how to winner. He was a winner. That’s what winner’s do. They win. Why wouldn’t the HOF want to recognize winners? /sarcasm

  13. jwag777 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:33 AM

    Finally someone who questions Smoltz’s HOF credentials. One of baseball’s all-time nice guys, but I just don’t see it.

    • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:55 AM

      Personally, I always thought of Smoltz as the 3rd of the big 3, and don’t think he should get in.

      That being said, he is generally looked at as someone who was “clean” during the steroid era. With the numbers he put up, and the assumption he is not involved in PED’s, he could get more love than he deserves

      • paperlions - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        Feel free to look at their career numbers and see if those feelings persist, because Smoltz was a better pitcher than Glavine.

  14. wjarvis - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Smoltz: 213-155, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 Ks in 3,473 IP – 125 ERA+, 1 ring
    Career WAR 66.5, seasons with WAR >6: 1, seasons with WAR >4: 8

    Schilling: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 Ks in 3,261 IP – 127 ERA+, 3 rings
    Career WAR 80.7, seasons with WAR >6: 6, seasons with WAR >4: 11

    Mussina: 270 – 153, 3.68 ERA, 2813 Ks in 3,563 IP – 123 ERA+, 0 rings
    Career WAR 82.7, seasons with WAR >6: 4, seasons with WAR >4: 12

    Brown : 211 – 144, 3.28 ERA, 2397 Ks in 3,256 IP – 127 ERA+, 1 ring
    Career WAR 68.5, seasons with WAR >6: 5, seasons with WAR>4: 9

    Just a reminder Kevin Brown got 12 votes for 2.1% in his first year. I’m not saying he definitely should be a HOFer, but he was borderline probably should still be on the ballot (certainly he should have gotten more then the 27 votes John Franco got the same year). In my opinion, if any of the non-lock pitchers make it, Schilling and Mussina should get in before Smoltz, but I really doubt that will happen.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:18 AM

      It really reflects how overlooked Kevin Brown is. I wonder how much his performance with the 2004 Yankees has hurt him. Without looking it up, he was terrible in those playoffs, and it’s the lasting impression.

      The other three are no brainers to me, though it took some work to get me there on Mussina.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        I also wonder how much not winning two CYs that he could have won hurt him.

        ’98:
        Brown – 8.6 rWAR; 2.38 ERA, 164 ERA+; 35 GS, 257.0 IP, 257 K, 49 BB
        Glavine – 6.1 rWAR; 2.47 ERA, 168 ERA+; 33 GS, 229.1 IP, 157 K, 74 BB

        ’96:
        Brown – 8.0 rWAR; 1.89 ERA, 215 ERA+; 32 GS, 233.0 IP, 159 K, 33 BB
        Smoltz – 7.3 rWAR; 2.94 ERA, 149 ERA+; 35 GS, 253.2 IP, 276 K, 55 BB

    • paperlions - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      You should add in Glavine’s line for comparison….just to demonstrate how much the electorate still loves wins.

  15. vipod4ever - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    Definitely the last two former Montreal Expos entering the HOF…still very sad to think about it.

    • cshearing - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      I agree, but I think it is criminal that Raines does not get more support. He is a no-brainer in my eyes.

  16. unclemosesgreen - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Everybody hates Schilling, everybody likes Smoltz as much as they hate Schilling. I’m saying they’re both worth about 50% first ballot votes. Only due to writerly love, only a pitching traffic jam will hold Smoltz back for one or two voting cycles. I’m projecting Smoltz to go 55% / 80% — HOF year two.

    Also projecting more hilarious 3-way Maddux – Glavine – Smoltz interview shenanigans.

  17. mottershead1972 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    I love when the author posts what he thinks the vote will look like (not what he thinks it should be) … Idiots come out of the woodwork to slam him. It’s speculation on the vote, not the players

    • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Is anyone slamming Pouliot on here? It’s just a spirited argument about who belongs in the Hall.

  18. Paul Zummo - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    The ten-player limit has got to be done away with. With two no-doubters and a strong third candidate replacing the guys who got in, and then Sheffield playing the part of Jack Morris (though with less support), we’re going to be back to where we were this year. On top of that, here are the guys other than those mentioned above who will be on the ballot over the next five years who will get substantial support (NOTE: I’m not saying all of these are Hall-of-Famers, but they will get at least 20% of the vote, and most will get well over 50%:)

    Andy Pettite
    Manny Ramirez
    Roy Halladay
    Roy Oswalt
    Jim Thome
    Mariano Rivera
    Todd Helton
    Ken Griffey
    Chipper Jones
    Vladimir Guerrero
    Trevor Hoffman
    Omar Vizquel
    Pudge Rodriguez

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some people, but already that’s a lot of guys who will be drawing a lot of votes away from others if the cap remains, especially if it takes several years for Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell and others to get voted in and be moved off the ballot. And it’s not like with an unlimited number we’d get 10 people inducted every year. Even without a limit I think only Biggio would have gotten in this year among those who fell short. But even if it helps get one extra guy elected a year, we can make room for others.

    • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 2:52 AM

      Your list of players is very scattered, from the ‘not even retired yet’, to retired last year, to several years retired, but …
      You make a great point, this process (thanks to the BBWAA bunglers) is going to get WORSE, not better.

  19. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Johnson and Sheff are the only deserving 1st ballot HOF’ers for next year but im sure the writers will screw that up like they screwed it up the last two years. Bluejays suck!!!

    • americarunsondunkin - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      @vipod4ever

      Raines may have a shot, he’d be an Expo.

      What about Vladimir Guerero? Without looking to the numbers I’d say no doubt.

      Reading the debate on Biggio, it’s interesting that many of you give support based on the longevity of his career. I’d prefer the dominant player, ala Pedro. There have been many good players who played a long time, Jim Kaat, heck even bill buckner had 2700 hits. Had he played 2 more seasons and eclipsed 300 hits would you biggio supporters put him in the hall?

      Kaat had 283 wins, pitched for 25 years, and won 15 gold gloves. I’m 26, never saw him pitch, just using him as an example of a guy who i’m sure was very good, and played for a very long time. Is that what we want the hall of fame about, or for the truly dominant player.

      Statitstical analysis is great, but for real hall of famers you don’t need to look at the numbers.

      • dan1111 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        It’s not just longevity that makes Biggio’s case; it’s longevity plus being a very, very good player. Which Kaat and Buckner were not.

        The right balance between dominance and longevity is hard to find. It’s easy to point to someone like Pedro and say “this is what a Hall of Famer looks like”–because he was the most dominant pitcher ever. It’s not hard to figure out that Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, etc. should be in the Hall. It’s who else you should include once you get past the blindingly obvious guys.

      • nbjays - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        “Statitstical analysis is great, but for real hall of famers you don’t need to look at the numbers.”

        Probably the most stupid comment I have seen so far. SMH

      • jarathen - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Vlad’s inability to walk and his dropoff in speed hurt him. He had a very good career, but the question of his all-around game after the first few sensational years will make him less a slam dunk than one would have thought during his playing days.

      • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 2:59 AM

        @americanrun, You think Bill Buckner wasn’t trying to get to 3,000 Hits? LoL, that’s hilarious.
        Buckner was a great hitter, period, and he still couldn’t get there.
        I don’t think you understand nor appreciate how difficult it is to get to 3,000.
        It’s not my only criteria, but it’s a helluva good start.

        I respect the ‘small Hall’ supporters, but for me, I’d like to be able to actually field a (hypothetical) team from any particular decade. (So, I guess I’m a ‘big Hall’ guy, but I’m not alone, by a long shot.)

      • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:10 AM

        @jarathen, “Vlad’s … less a slam dunk … ”

        Are you crazy! (<- no question mark because that was rhetorical)

        .318 Career AVG
        .379 OBP
        .553 SLG

        He was, hands-down, the greatest (and there have been many) bad-ball hitter in the history of the game.
        I think some of you have no concept of just how very difficult it is to hit over .300, much more, .3EIGHTEEN! This is the kind of thinking (or lack thereof) as to why the greatest right-handed hitter I (personally) ever saw can't even garner 40% of the vote, i.e. Edgar Martinez.

    • nbjays - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Sheffield over Pedro? Harry, not only are you an annoying little troll, but you are an annoying little troll on crack.

  20. coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Everyone that thinks Biggio is a HOF player go back and look at every year during his playing time, how many of those years, when looking at ALL the stats, can you say he was the best 2nd baseman?

    Then compare his stats to the guys you mentioned, specifically Sandberg and Alomar
    Then compare Gold Gloves, All Star Games, ROY, Silver Slugger, MYP Voting (keep in mind he has some of those awards as a catcher)
    Even go deeper, look at postseason averages between those players, however big/small for some players they are still averages

    For the Yaz longevity argument to help Biggio, it actually hurts it. Does Biggio have a year like Yaz did in 1967? Did Biggio win an MVP? Yaz’s numbers are far superior.

    The biggest thing to look at is the years Biggio played, was he really that good? Comparing him to other era’s isn’t going to work. Remember back to his playing days, look at those stats. Was he better than Sandberg (in their overlapping years), Alomar, Bret Boone? Hell even Steve Sax, Jeff Kent, Chuck Knoblauch had better years.

    The only reason anyone is considering Biggio (even if you won’t admit it) is because he has 3060 hits. Good accomplishment but again its the Hall of Fame, and he just isn’t worthy. If you put Biggio in then you will have to someday put in Pedroia, Utley and any other career 280 hitter with a sub 65 WAR

    • nbjays - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Bret Boone? Steve Sax? Really?

      Now you are just getting irrational in your Biggio-hate.

      • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        I’m not saying either are better players but if you look at stats for individual years during their overlapping playing years Boone and Sax have a few seasons with better numbers. My point being that in each individual season during Biggio’s career he was hardly ever THE best 2nd baseman, if at all for a season. Does that scream Hall of Famer? “Hey this guy was the 4th best 2nd baseman this year, the 9th last year, the 3rd the year before that” Does that mean Hall of Fame.

        You need to not only have stats, you need to be the top 2 of your era, and he wasn’t. If he plays 3 less seasons is he a hall of famer? Do those 3 extra seasons, really put him over the top?

    • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:17 AM

      @coach, Has it occured to you that maybe Kent AND Biggio are Hall-worthy.

      It happens sometimes, that there are not just 2 worthy players (I’m counting Alomar here), but sometimes a 3rd worthy player (from a position, for one decade).

    • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      @coach, I LIKE Pedroia!

      Are you mad (crazy)!
      Pedroia is DEFINITELY Hall bound (so far).

    • braxtonrob - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:22 AM

      I just now realized what the problem is –

      You hate little guys.

  21. americarunsondunkin - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    One 200 hit season and a .363 OBP for a 2nd baseman/leadoff hitter is good, not HOF worthy. MVP votes in only five seasons. He played in great hitters parks, in a great offensive era. He scored a lot of runs, was a great team guy, good defender at multiple positions, I never watched him and thought HOF.

    • nbjays - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Since when is the Astrodome a “great hitter’s park”? It was always known as a pitcher’s park.

  22. americarunsondunkin - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    @dan1111

    Jim Kaat got the ball in a game 7 of the world series against Bob Gibson after defeating earlier in the series. I’d say he had some ability.

    3 20 win seasons, 8 seasons with at least 15 wins, 3.45 career ERA, MVP votes in 3 years, 3 time all star, the gold gloves

  23. americarunsondunkin - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Lastly, Bill Buckner, world series goat and all, received MVP votes in 5 years (same as Biggio), had 1 200 hit season (same as Biggio), a .289 career hitter (higher than Biggio), won a batting title.

    Biggio was obviously the better player, played a more offensively challenged position, but how again, we’re talking about HOF.

  24. jgreiner9 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    @coachjax30

    Biggio is one of four players to finish his career with at least 2,500 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. The others are Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Joe Morgan. Two out of those four are already in the Hall of Fame, and we all know Bonds should be in as well.

    • coachjac30 - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      True so you are putting him solely in based on those stats? What about the people that want to argue him versus just other 2nd baseman? What about the longevity of his career? What about the era he played in? I’m not knocking his numbers, very good, but when he played he wasn’t even the top 2 or 3 second basemen. Is he better than Sandberg, Alomar, Kent? If knoblauch didn’t fade into obscurity was he better than him? Was he that much better than Brett Boone during individual seasons? I’m being told to compare him only to 2nd basemen, so I am..

      What about other categories, whats the value range per category?

      How many MVP’s did he win? What were his total ALLSTAR games, silver slugger awards, gold gloves compared to the others of his era?

      Are we putting all very good players in the Hall or are we putting the best players of their era?

    • coachjac30 - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      Johnny Damon thinking of making a comeback, if he gets 15 home runs, he’s in that category, if he plays 2 years and averages 116 hits he’ll have 3000…Keep opening those doors everyone. Before you know it Mark Lemke will belong

  25. jgreiner9 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    @nbjays

    Exactly what I was thinking. By no means was that place a hitters park.

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