2012 Hall of Fame Ballot: This Class Could be Huge
Casting My 10 Votes
Every year I blog about the Hall of Fame ballot, and later on the results. Usually, the Hall of Fame debate is difficult at best but this year we have several new wrinkles. They are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa. I’ve termed them as wrinkles if only to take the player’s name and persona off of the accomplishments attached to them.
We’ve seen steroid-era players on the ballot the last few years and none of them have come close to induction. I don’t agree with that line of thinking however, in Bonds and Clemens, you are talking a whole different level of achievement than McGwire, Sosa and even Palmeiro. Up until now, Palmeiro has been the most accomplished steroid-connected player on the ballot. Having hit 500 Home Runs and gathering 3000 hits should have made him an automatic choice but again, the voters hold the steroids against him. While McGwire and Sosa have huge home run totals, you could argue that they were very one-dimensional players that didn’t really deserve enshrinement. You could build a rational case for just about any argument here. Remember that long before the steroid era, the 400 Home Run hitters were considered elite but then you had a player like Dave Kingman who was as one-dimensional as it gets and he never came close to enshrinement either.
However, Bonds is the HR King and Clemens achievements (7 Cy Young awards) transcend these other players. How will the voting go? I’ve said this before, the only Steroid-connected players we even think about are the ones who were stars to begin with. There isn’t ANYONE in the steroid era that was a mediocre player and became a star for a long length of time. Not one. Do a search for all “outed” players and go through the list. You will find an incredible season here or there but not a career for anyone who wasn’t already a star. That tells me that steroids didn’t have quite the effect that most people want to attribute to them and honestly, that makes sense. If you couldn’t hit before steroids, getting bigger and stronger really isn’t going to help. If you couldn’t throw 95mph before steroids, getting bigger and stronger means nothing without the proper mechanics to throw 95mph.
Since the voters are only allowed to vote for 10 players I’ll put in my choices from this very long list:
Julio Franco – NO -Love him but no. At times he was a star, but not a Hall-of-Famer
Roger Clemens – YES - Love him or hate him, he belongs in. Remember that he did have 3 Cy Young Awards before the alleged steroids
Barry Bonds –YES – He was a jerk before steroids but he was also the best player in baseball besides Ken Griffey Jr.
David Wells - NO
Jose Mesa - NO
Sammy Sosa - NO
Sandy Alomar Jr. - NO
Curt Schilling – NO – But may get better consideration in a different year. He does have very good numbers and 3 World Series Rings.
Steve Finley - NO
Mike Stanton - NO
Roberto Hernandez - NO
Kenny Lofton - NO
Reggie Sanders - NO
Ryan Klesko - NO
Mike Piazza – YES – Despite being a Mets fan, I’m not much of a Piazza fan. That being said, he was an unbelievable offensive force from a very demanding position.
Shawn Green- NO
Aaron Sele- NO
Woody Williams- NO
Jeff Cirillo- NO
Todd Walker- NO
Rondell White- NO
Craig Biggio – YES – 3000 Hits is a huge milestone and he is deserving.
Jeff Conine- NO
Royce Clayton- NO
Bernie Williams – NO - His numbers are All-Star level, but not Hall worthy.
Jeff Bagwell – YES – Best First Baseman of his era with great numbers, I can’t believe he didn’t go in on the first ballot
Rafael Palmeiro – YES – There is no doubt Palmeiro could always hit. He should already be in.
Larry Walker - NO – His numbers are All-Star level, but I don’t think they are Hall worthy
Fred McGriff – YES – His numbers get overshadowed and he fell just short of 500 Home Runs but he was “the guy” for many teams he was on.
Edgar Martinez - YES – Yes the DH makes him one-dimensional but his numbers don’t lie and he even has an award named after him.
Tim Raines – YES – Rickey Henderson “lite” has awesome numbers and should likely be in already. This is a tough year to get in though.
Mark McGwire- NO
Lee Smith- NO
Alan Trammell - NO
Don Mattingly- NO
Jack Morris – YES – The winningest pitcher of the 80’s with 2 World Series rings isn’t in already? Amazing
Dale Murphy- NO
Since I had 10 “Votes” I used them all. I’ve argued with people over Raines and Martinez before and I have been converted to their cause. Morris, Bagwell, Palmeiro and McGriff should already have been inducted. Biggio’s 3,000 hits is a significant milestone. Piazza is the best hitting catcher in baseball history and Bonds and Clemens deserve enshrinement.
Could I see others going in eventually? Yes. Schilling is an interesting case. Larry Walker and Bernie Williams are on the bubble with Alan Trammell, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly and Lee Smith. But time has run out for Dale Murphy and soon will for Trammel, Mattingly and Smith.