Wednesday, January 7, 2009
My Hall of Fame Ballot
The Baseball Hall of Fame will be announcing its 2009 class soon, and the net is awash in columns by Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) members explaining who they voted for and why. As I'm just little ol' me I don't have a vote, but since when did that ever stop me from offering up my opinion?
[As a prelude, let me say that if you have to classify me I'd fall under the 'small Hall' umbrella. That means I'm a little stingier on the entrance requirements than some, and I've got no problem whatsoever with seeing a year when only a single player - or even no one - makes the cut.]
If I had the only vote Rickey Henderson would go into the Hall by his lonesome. His numbers speak for themselves. He's one of those rare players whose performance was every bit as good as his reputation advertised. If he doesn't get in then the Hall should board up its doors and call it a day.
But there's no way he waltzes in solo; there's just too many other good names on the ballot. So let's see where I stand on them. A player in 'bold' doesn't mean I'd vote for them, only that I can empathize with the voters and wouldn't balk over their induction.
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Harold Baines - No. A solid, professional hitter and I respect him, but he isn't destined for Cooperstown
Jay Bell - not even if his first name was Liberty
Bert Blyleven - 287 wins and 3700 strikeouts. I say 'yes', but I can see why the 250 odd losses made voters pause.
David Cone - some great years, but he rose to greatness too late and fell down to earth too early. A heck of a pitcher and I enjoyed watching him.
Andre Dawson - it is the Hall of 'Fame', not of 'Numbers', and Hawk certainly qualifies on that point. He's one of only a handful of non-Brewers players I would have recognized before I fell in love with the sport. For some statistical reasons I would lean slightly towards 'no', but I'll probably smile if I hear he gets in.
Ron Gant - of course not. But for the record, he did finish with more than 300 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
Mark Grace - a Cub, so hell no. Seriously tho', I don't care if it sounds 'old school: a punch and judy hitting first basemen doesn't earn Hall honors for me. Plus his color commentary for the Diamondbacks is just obnoxious.
Tommy John - my most controversial pick. 288 wins against 231 losses, a 3.34 career ERA, 2200 odd strikeouts, and three twenty win seasons. Most impressively Tommy John was the 'pioneer' for the ligament surgery that now bears his name. Considered 'miraculous' at the time that he was able to pitch again at all, he went on to win 164 games post-surgery. That surgical procedure alone should get him inducted, as it has patched together countless careers over the last 30 years and will continue to do so for decades to come. Hey, if Candy Cummings can get in for 'inventing' the curveball, John can get in for going under the knife.
Don Mattingly - Donnie Baseball just didn't get it done for enough years to make the cut. Sorry Don.
Mark McGwire - I said 'yes' last year mainly because I loved the guy as a player. I say 'yes' this year for a different reason: I'm sick to death of all the lying, hypocritical reporters who say they'd never have voted for him anyway because he was 'one dimensional'. A) no, he wasn't. B) You're full of shit. You'd not only have elected him minus the steroid flap, you'd have carved the plaque yourselves.
Jack Morris - he's getting a lot of love, but I say no. I just don't see the numbers and his reputation always seemed overblown to me.
Dale Murphy - a low average but a seven time All-Star, two-time MVP, and five time Gold Glover who finished with 398 home runs. A hell of a peak, and I wouldn't cry if he was elected.
Jesse Orosco - I loved Jesse and his longevity was legendary. But no.
Dave Parker - no
Dan Plesac - a former Brewer. No.
Tim Raines - I said 'yes' last year, and so I'll renew my claim. But this is just a 'numbers' pick and so I lack any strong emotion either way.
Jim Rice - a sickening amount of love out there for Rice, but he just doesn't add up to a Hall player, not by many sabermetric standards at least. And this 'most feared hitter' crap is just that. I don't remember the name 'Jim Rice' inspiring dread when the Brewers faced him, and I think it's a post-career selling point that's gotten way too much press. NO.
Lee Smith - I read an article where Smith moaned and groaned about the lack of Hall-love he's been getting. Get used to it. Closers are an overrated commodity that will be re-evaluated and diminished in future years, and his record of all-time saves is impressive only in context.
Alan Trammell - shoulda been in already. More valuable than his weak hitting contemporary Ozzie Smith, who's already in the Hall (and keep in mind Trammell was no slouch in the field)
Greg Vaughn - my favorite Brewer for many a year. Not even close.
Mo Vaughn - closer than Greg, but still a no
Matt Williams a fine career marred by steroid allegations, but not Hall either way.
* * * *
So if I had a membership card who would be on my ballot? Henderson, John, and Blyleven. Oh, and maybe a vote for McGwire, just to keep his name in ciculation until the first year of Bonds' eligibility brings the steroid issue to a head. (On an expanded ballot, add Trammell and Raines to the mix.)
Real-world results are announced January 12th - I'll let you know if I agree with them or not :)