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2015 Hall of Fame Candidates - Let's Review
The Only Sure thing
So the Hall of Fame ballot was released and there are a lot of really good players on it. Many new players deserve a look and many holdovers should get looked at again. In the end, writers can choose up to 10 players but I think this year we may be looking at a large class, though not ten. There are, I believe 5 players that have a great chance to go in and two or three Golden Era players as well. Let’s take a look.
Pedro Probably Gets In
Randy Johnson – Yes, the Big Unit goes in. His numbers are overwhelming. He hits all of the pitching milestones so he really is the only sure thing on this list.
Pedro Martinez – I think Pedro has a good shot to go in but I think he’s on the same fence as Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina. All three probably deserve to get in as they were all brilliant for long stretches of their careers and not getting to 300 wins shouldn’t be held against them. Pedro has several Cy Young awards and was a fantastic pitcher.
I Say Yes
John Smoltz Should Get In Too... Maybe
John Smoltz – I’ve read that some people feel he will have trouble getting in. I don’t really see why. With 200+ wins AND 150+ saves I think he should go in like Eckersley.
I'd Like to Say Yes, But....
Delgado and The Rest of the First Timers
Carlos Delgado – As a Mets fan I really enjoyed Carlos Delgado but I think he falls shy of the Hall of Fame. At the same time he does have 476 Home runs and over 1500 rbis. That said, there are other people with higher RBI totals who aren’t in the Hall-of-Fame (who should be reconsidered) like Harold Baines.
Gary Sheffield – 500 Home runs? Check. 1600+ RBIs? Check. Hall of Fame, probably not. His volatile nature, and PED ties probably keep him out.
Nomar Garciaparra – Great player who didn’t really last long enough.
Troy Percival – Great reliever but he didn’t crack 400 saves and several others who aren’t in the Hall of Fame did. I can’t see him gaining enough votes if Lee Smith, John Franco, Billy Wagner and Jeff Reardon can’t get in.
Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Tony Clark, Jermaine Dye, Darin Erstad, Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Jason Schmidt are all good players who simply didn’t have Hall-of-Fame careers.
These Two Should go In - Killer B's
PREVIOUSLY ON THE BALLOT (with 2014 results)
Craig Biggio (74.8%) – Hopefully he gets the 2 votes he needs to get over the hump. He should go in this year. 3,000 Hits used to be a milestone for the Hall-of-Fame, when did that change?
Mike Piazza (62.2%) – No good reason to keep him out. The PED-suspicions are just not a good enough excuse for keeping the best hitting catcher of all time out of the Hall. We need proof or the Writers Association should simply go with the players accomplishments, like they do for all the other-non-PED related players.
Jeff Bagwell (54.3%) – He should have walked in a few years ago. I would have thought the voters would put Bagwell and Biggio in together, it would make sense. However, there are PED suspicions that I think are being held against him. I still say he should be in.
Tim Raines (46.1%) – I have to say that Raines, I believe, deserves enshrinement as well. He won’t be, at least, not this year, but he’s one of the best players of his era and constantly being compared to Rickey Henderson hurts his chances. Nobody should be compared to Rickey Henderson who was on another level for most of his career.
Roger Clemens (35.4%) – Without the PED implications he would already be in.
Barry Bonds (34.7%) – Without the PED implications he would already be in.
Lee Smith (29.9%) – He’s been on the ballot a long time. I don’t see it happening ever. That isn't to say that he won't get consideration at some point, when more closers hit the ballot in a few years. I think the inclusion of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman may gain all closers a greater look in the future.
Curt Schilling (29.2%) – Has great numbers and highlights but there are too many other really good choices this year. He should eventually get in, likely in a year light on sure-fire choices.
Edgar Martinez (25.2%) – I’ve made his argument before, he deserves it but as a DH, the stigma is not going away anytime soon. He does have an award named after him so he couldn't have been that bad right?
Alan Trammell (20.8%) – Has Derek Jeter-like numbers without his rings and popularity. Deserved to go in years ago but has no shot now.
Mike Mussina (20.3%) – You would think 270 Wins and a .638 winning percentage would have gotten somebody better than 20%.
Jeff Kent (15.2%) – Has better numbers than anyone gives him credit for but he won’t get in anytime soon. He compares very favorably to Ryne Sandberg, but nobody knows it.
Fred McGriff (11.7%) – Maybe he’s not a Hall-of-Famer but he deserves better than 11%. 493 Home Runs and 1550 RBIs while hitting 284 for his career and no steroid implications. Why isn’t he considered a much stronger candidate?
Mark McGwire (11.0%) – Without the PED implications he would already be in.
Larry Walker (10.2%) – Some great numbers but the Rockies-stigma remains
Don Mattingly (8.2%) – He’s got similar numbers to several hall-of-famers (Kirby Puckett) but he’s been dropping down the list for some time. His career trajectory fell off a cliff when he hurt his back and his numbers never recovered. His window of greatness is small but he was so great, the numbers for his career look good. It’s his last year on the ballot so he may get a few more votes, but that’s it.
Sammy Sosa (7.2%) – Without the PED implications he would already be in.
Golden Era Ballot
There are 10 candidates on this year's Golden Era ballot. They are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills. Hodges might be the biggest name on this list and it has been argued for years that he should be in the Hall. My choice would include Jim Kaat as well. His numbers are ridiculous.
Hmmm? That's a lot of Wins over a lot of innings. What hits me in the face every time I see it is 180 Complete Games. It's not the most by any means. There are 100 pitchers (90 of them from the turn-of-the-century) that have more, but his contemporaries who have that many are all in. He pitched for 25 Years, won 16 Gold Glove awards, has a lifetime era of 3.45. I'm sorry but this guy could pitch. How about this? If Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling or Mike Mussina, all listed above, had 287 wins, wouldn't they be locks for the Hall? Mike is close at 270 but tack on another year and 17 wins, does he become a first-ballot HoFer? I'm not sure, but I think so.
Well Randy Johnson goes in. I believe Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will also go in. I hope that Craig Biggio goes in and I certainly believe Piazza should go in too. There are others I believe deserve enshrinement like Bagwell, McGriff and Mussina but I just don't think there is enough support.
On the Golden Era Ballot, I hope to see Hodges, Kaat and maybe Dick Allen who had a great career as well.
Thanks to Baseball Reference.com for the Jim Kaat statistics