If you haven’t been following social media (and traditional media for that matter) of late, the votes for the Hall of Fame are starting to roll in and people have very strong opinions about them. There are some very interesting (if not slam dunk) first time candidates on the ballot including Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Vlad Guerrero. That plus polarizing and fascinating holdovers including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and Lee Smith (in his last year on the ballot along with Raines).
First and foremost, if you are not following Ryan Thibodaux on Twitter and all of his updates to the balloting, you are doing it wrong. I will wait while you go do that...
Rather than dissect the votes of others (for no other reason than each voters preferences are, for the most part, very personal and seriously considered and I am fine with that. For those who don’t....shame on you), I thought I would share who I would vote for if, you know, I had a vote and anyone cared what I thought.
My Unofficial and Completely Irrelevant Hall of Fame Ballot
- Roger Clemens - numbers are clearly HoF worthy, questions about his steroid use are legitimate but he was never caught or suspended. I understood keeping him out more before Selig’s induction, but now I just want the best players in and let the chips fall where they may.
- Barry Bonds - see my Clemens answer. It hasn’t helped that neither of these guys were particularly pleasant humans at times, in particular with the media. However, he was the best player I have ever seen play.
- Tim Raines - I fundamentally do not understand how it has taken this long to get Rock in the Hall, but he is definitely trending up this year. He had an all-around game that is easy to appreciate these days and was one of the most feared hitters and base runners of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I remain hopeful he gets in
- Edgar Martinez - There are people who want to named the Edgar Martinez Award (best DH) after David Ortiz. I undertand the Big Papi love, but Edgar was the better DH over his career and he deserves to get in. All the guy did was hit and his numbers and metrics are still better than a lot of guys who have gotten in without a second glance.
- Mike Mussina - He has had a tough run of ballots to try to get in on the last few years, but Moose was among the great pitchers during his time. He has the numbers, the advanced metrics, and the random counting stats to get in. Pretty sure he will eventually get in.
- Larry Walker - Don’t @ me with the talk about his numbers being inflated during his time as a Rockie. Many of the metrics he has excelled in account for ballpark factors and he was one of the better hitters in the league for nearly every team he played for.
- Jeff Bagwell - Wait....how is Bags not in? Has the awards, the numbers, and has never appeared in a report or in front of Congress. Playing in Houston likely didn’t help, but he was among the absolute best.
- Ivan Rodriguez - Best defensive catcher I have seen when he was in his prime. Has the offensive numbers to back his candidacy as well, although getting named in Jose Canseco’s book and the era he played in will likely scare off some voters. He will get eventually even if he falls just short this year.
- Vlad Guerrero - His numbers are somewhat borderline, but I will say that despite playing for Montreal that he was well-known and beloved by a lot of baseball fans. I would never coach a kid to play like Vlad, but his arm and his free swinging ways cannot be replicated. Tough call but I gave him the nod.
- Billy Wagner - Counting stats and career WAR are nearly identical to Hoffman despite playing significantly less innings. I am fine with both getting in, but the “save” stat is garbage and give the edge to Wagner.
Guys who didn’t make the cut
Curt Schilling - his case is borderline and I would prefer any of the pitchers above to him in a vacuum. I cannot justify voting for a guy who has openly promoted (or even joked about despite the fact that he wasn’t) lynching journalists. I won’t be protesting anyone voting for him or if he gets in, but I couldn’t do it.
Jeff Kent - here is another guy whose surly demeanor and politics have been cited as a reason for his low level of support. I would have no problems voting for him if he could play defense or if his numbers were better.
Lee Smith - the save stat is garbage, but I worry a lot that Smith was a victim of the time he played and, if he had been used differently, his numbers and advanced metrics would have been a clearer Hall of Fame cases. He was #11 for me but I don’t see him getting in which is a shame.
Sammy Sosa - this isn’t a judgment on him or his era. I just don’t think his numbers outside of dingers warrant inclusion. A quick glance at his career WAR confirmed my leanings.
Manny Ramirez - unlike others on the ballot, Ramirez has been caught and suspended multiple times for steroid use. I have no interest in voting for him given that despite the fact that I enjoyed watching him when he played quite a bit.
Fred McGriff - if Lee was #11, then McGriff was #12. That he struggles to even stay on the ballot each year is mind-boggling to me. Good numbers, lengthy career, no hint of impropriety. Not playing a premium defensive position and a quiet demeanor has hurt his chance which is just not right.