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Discussion: 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot
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2014 Hall of Fame Ballot
Well it’s Hall of Fame Ballot time again. As in years past I’d like to review the list of players on the ballot and the merits of each players claim, whether it makes sense or not. After the BBWAA pitched a shutout last year, this year’s ballot is absolutely stuffed with worthy players who are at least on the bubble. The BBWAA was mighty pleased with itself last year, until the backlash came. If it ever happens again, I fully expect (and hope) that the vote is taken away from these people – I’m not sure why they get to vote anyway as they are completely conflicted due to their profession. How do writers who made so much money on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 now have the opportunity to keep them out of the Hall of Fame? Seems kind of silly to me whether you believe the players are deserving or not.
Does One Go in Without the Other?
On to the Show!!
Craig Biggio: I’m not sure why he wasn’t voted in last year but 3060 hits and multiple gold gloves at multiple positions should be enough in ANY year. He’s a no-brainer and was the closest last year to gaining the 75% necessary.
Jack Morris: I admit, I’m a fan from the 80’s. How is Jack Morris not already in the Hall? This is his last year on the ballot but I can’t understand how he got here. Most wins in the 80’s, multiple Postseason highlights. The only knock is his high ERA –not a reason to keep him out during the DH-era.
Jeff Bagwell: Yeah, who was the best first baseman in the NL throughout the 90’s? This guy. Ridiculous stats: 449 Home Runs and an MVP. He should have gone in already
Mike Piazza: Best hitting catcher of all time while spending most of his career in pitchers parks (Dodgers Stadium and Shea Stadium were noted for being pitchers parks). Not nearly the defensive liability people think he was. Should have been a no-brainer last year. The only question is which hat does he wear (he spent more time with the Mets and accomplished more with them as well taking them to the World Series in 1990).
Tim Raines: Raines passed the 50% mark last year and everyone who has passed that mark has gotten in but it has taken a while to get here. You really need to look at his stats in their own context and not hold them up to his contemporary, Rickey Henderson. He isn’t Rickey Henderson. Only Rickey can be Rickey! (yeah I said it!) Raines’ numbers are really good but there are too many first timers and the hold overs who should go in first.
Lee Smith: 478 saves is a lot of saves. I think anyone with over 400 probably deserves to be in but it won’t happen this year. There are just too many guys who should already be in that are still here on the ballot.
Curt Schilling: I was surprised that Schilling got the support he did last year. I always thought of him as a good pitcher but not a great pitcher. After rechecking his stats, they measure up pretty well and he does have some postseason highlights and a bloody sock on his resume. He may one day gain entry but it won’t be this year.
Roger Clemens: If not for the PED issues, he would already be in. He’s got unreal stats. Once people realize that you still needed to perform (even on PEDs), then his candidacy will gain some momentum.
Barry Bonds: Again, the PED issues will hold Bonds back from gaining entry until people realize that you still needed to perform. People lose sight of the fact that MANY players took PEDs and only a very few actually benefitted from it.
Edgar Martinez: Best DH of all time. The award for best DH of the year is NAMED FOR HIM. His hitting stats would be good enough but the BBWAA still doesn’t know how to handle pure DHs. I’m not really sure why since they don’t reward spectacular defensive players (not named Ozzie Smith anyway).
Alan Trammell: He was certainly one of the best shortstops of the 80’s but this ballot is too stacked for Mr. Trammell to have a shot.
Larry Walker. The knock on Walker is that too much of his production comes from playing in Coors Field – at least that is the perception anyway. He had great hitting stats with the Expos too though. While he was an All-Star caliber player, I just don’t see him getting closer to the Hall with this ballot.
Fred McGriff: One of the most feared power hitters of his era with 493 home runs and over 1500 rbis. Was a positive force on every team he was part of. He deserves to get in, especially if you are going to hold the PED thing against the other power hitters. He will need to wait a few years.
Mark McGwire: Same deal with the PED issues.
Don Mattingly: While Donnie baseball has similar stats to several Hall of Famers (I usually use Kirby Puckett as the baseline for Mattingly), his numbers are very skewed due to his spectacular run at the beginning of his career and his injury riddled years at the end. His stats just fall off the cliff after he hurts his back. I think it is important to note here though. With his hitting stats and 9 Gold Gloves (despite his injuries), he would be in if his defensive dominance were considered at all.
Sammy Sosa: Same deal with the PED issues.
Rafael Palmeiro: Again, the PED issues will hold him back but 500 HRs and 3000 Hits is fairly rare. He deserves to go in but his Congressional Hearings antics will always be held against him.
Greg Maddux: This is Maddux’ first year on the ballot and he is a shoo-in for first year induction to the Hall of Fame. Insane pitching stats and multiple Gold Gloves, he’s just an overwhelming choice.
Frank Thomas: This is Thomas’ first year on the ballot and he should also gain entry pretty easily. He’s got huge numbers, 500 HRs and he was amongst the first player to speak out against PEDS.
Mike Mussina: This is a strange case because Mussina has great numbers. The feeling I get though is that people feel he was a “Compiler” – someone who stayed around long enough to compile big numbers. Absolute stupidity. Not only was Mussina not a compiler, how do you explain his last season of “compiling numbers” being a 20-win season? Yeah he was done right? He has 270 wins and could probably have finished with over 300 if he had played on better teams (he played on some seriously bad Orioles teams). He belongs in no doubt.
Tom Glavine: 300 wins usually puts you in and he deserves it. He’s one of the best pitchers of his era. He may suffer from being on the same ballot as Maddux though and there are many deserving players.
Jeff Kent: I hate to admit it but he’s got great numbers and he had to hit behind Barry Bonds for much of his career. Not an easy thing to do. He’s got the most HRs by a second baseman and was clearly the best at his position during his playing days. I don’t think he gets in this year, but he likely will eventually.
Kenny Rogers: Nice career that isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Luis Gonzalez: Nice career that isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Moises Alou: Has better numbers than you think but he isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Ray Durham: Nice career that isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Hideo Nomo: He'll gain some votes due to his circumstances and he did have a nice career but he isn’t Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Richie Sexson: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Paul Lo Duca: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Armando Benitez: Had an interesting career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Mike Timlin: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Sean Casey: Had a very good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Jacque Jones: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Eric Gagne: He has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
J.T. Snow: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Todd Jones: Had a good career but has no shot at the Hall-of Fame and will likely drop off the ballot.
Some Players Should Be In
PEDs Related Players
I've long held the opinion that while PEDs are terrible for you and that they were always illegal, they didn't have the effect the general public believes they did. If you were to gather all of the names of all of the PED-related players that we know of, and then look at their stats, you would see that PEDs really did not effect the average baseball player.
It's true. Just look at the list in the Mitchell report. There are a few names that you look at and worry about the Hall-of-Fame for. Most of the players on the list took something but didn't get any better because baseball (as is Hockey) is a skill sport, not a strength-based sport. If you couldn't recognize the spin on a curveball before, getting stronger doesn't make you any more likely to hit one. They great hitters got better, the average ones did not.
I believe the Hall-of-Fame should put aside some space explaining this era and placing those elected PED users in that space to explain the era they played in for perspective. Of course, we would need to see some of these players elected before the Hall would put aside any space for this issue. Players like Palmeiro, Bonds, and Clemens should certainly be in the Hall, somewhere.
Gold Gloves Matter, Don't They?
Defense Counts Too
There are few players in the Hall-of-Fame who are in solely on the basis of their defense. However, dominating defense wins games and players who are around long enough to gather more than 7 or 8 Gold Gloves need to be looked at differently. This would completely change how we look at Hall-of-Fame candidates but it's interesting to note that there are currently only 4 players in Baseball History with over ten Gold Gloves NOT in the Hall of Fame: Greg Maddux who should be elected this year, Ken Griffey Jr. who will be elected as soon as he's eligible, Jim Kaat and Keith Hernandez (both of whom are not on the ballot anymore but had Hall-of-Fame-like careers). It's something to think about especially when looking at players like Don Mattingly.
DH Award is Named for this Guy!
DHs are a Small Problem
DHs are generally not considered when thinking of the Hall-of Fame however, these players are top hitters. Or at least, they used to be. Many teams now use a variety of players as there DH, often giving DH at-bats to older players who need a rest. There are a few players however, that we need to look at. Paul Molitor, who spent around half of his career as a DH is already in. Harold Baines is off the ballot but has some great hitting stats. Then there is Edgar Martinez who has great hitting stats and should be in and at some point, David Ortiz will be eligible down the road. Does anyone truly believe that David Ortiz doesn't deserve to be in the Hall-of-Fame? Voters will have to realign how they think about the DH.
My Problem with These Managers
I think all three were great managers but if these guys are being elected to the Hall-of-Fame based on their records, how do we separate them from the PED-infused players that were on their teams. Tony LaRussa benefits from Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Joe Torre benefits from Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Any Pettitte and any number of other players. I'm not sure about Bobby Cox benefitting from specific players but the point is that how do they get in but the players that helped them don't. I have real issues with including the managers from the Steroid era without the players from the steroid era. They are absolutely related to each other.
My Final Vote - I'm Taking The Max 10
Each Writer gets 10 votes though they don't have to use them. I'm going to use the max ten.
Pitchers: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Jack Morris
Hitters: Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez
I've left all of the PED-related players off my ballot only because I don't want to waste my ballot space. I truly believe Clemens, Bonds and Palmeiro should be in.
Feel free to comment and discuss!!!