Thursday, January 4, 2018

If I Had A Hall Of Fame Ballot...

I do one of these posts every year, so let's look at this year's Hall of Fame ballot.  There are 33 former Major League players on this year's edition of the ballot.  Every voter can put a maximum of 10 on their ballot.  If I had an actual ballot, not just a blogger site, I would work backwards from 33, eliminate 23 players, and have 10 Hall worthy players at the end.

So, let's start getting rid of those 23.  

1.  Brad Lidge 
2.  Isringhausen 
3.  Aubrey Huff
4.  Hideki Matsui
5.  Kerry Wood 
6.  Billy Wagner  

Let's pause at Billy Wagner for a second.  He was a great relief pitcher for the Astros, Phillies, and Mets.  Threw really hard, struck a ton of people out, was everything that you'd want out of a closer.  He never really gets any love for the Hall of Fame like Trevor Hoffman does even though their WAR, WAR7, and JAWS are basically identical.  Between the two, Wagner actually has a better ERA+, more strikeouts, and a better K/9 ratio.  Hoffman has saves.  That's it.  One stat.  

7.  Trevor Hoffman  

Since it will probably cause a stir, here is a Trevor Hoffman baseball card.  Not sorry.  

8. Carlos Lee
9. Kevin Millwood 
10. Orlando Hudson 
11. Livan Hernandez 
12. Chris Carpenter 

Which gets me a little more than half way to 23.  I will take a pause here at Chris Carpenter to say I wish he had stayed healthier during his career.  Carp had Hall of Fame type seasons, but just not enough of them to get my vote.  

13.  Zambrano 
14. Omar Vizquel  

I could probably list a dozen shortstops, whose careers intersected with Vizquel's career, who are better than Vizquel.  Let's try.

Vizquel played from 1989 through 2012.

Ozzie Smith, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell, Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken, ARod, Jeter, Nomar, Jimmy Rollins, Tulo, Miguel Tejada, and Andrelton Simmons.

I know that there are people who always talk about Vizquel as being a Hall of Famer, but I simply do not see it.  Not to say that Vizquel was not an excellent fielder during the prime of his career.

15. Jamie Moyer 
16. Johan Santana 
17. Fred McGriff 
18. Jeff Kent 
19. Johnny Damon 

Which brings us to the point where I actually have to start making some hard decisions.  

20.  Andruw Jones 

Jones had a great career and was a very good player on one of his generations best teams.   He has more than 400 home runs, almost 400 doubles, more than 150 steals, and 10 Gold Gloves.  I liked Andruw Jones a lot.  He was a fun player to watch, but I have always thought he was in the second tier of center fielders from the 1990s and early 2000s behind players like Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Edmonds, and Kenny Lofton.  Andruw gets a baseball card in the post.  Also a former Durham Bulls player, but not a Hall of Famer.  

21.  Gary Sheffield 

I could possibly support Sheffield being in the Hall of Fame, but there are 10 players on the ballot this year who are better than him.  500 home runs, 250 steals, and almost 3,000 hits are all nice numbers.  So many good right fielders from the 1990s/early 2000s on this year's ballot (Sosa, Guerrero, Sheffield, and Walker).  

Sheff gets a baseball card.   

22.   Sammy Sosa 

There might be a point at which I might put Sosa in my Top 10.  I am not against him being in the Hall of Fame, but he's not one of the ten best players on the ballot.  In fact, it always surprises me when I go and look at his numbers how he is not actually a complete slam dunk.   As a Cardinals fan, I remember Sammy well and have a great appreciation for his good years.  My biggest problems with Sosa are the fact that he wasn't as good as people think he was before he started hitting all of the home runs and once he started hitting home runs he lost a lot of his other positive attributes.  He walked less and less, ran the bases less and less, and did not field as well.  

Sammy can have a baseball card and I will bunny hop during a kickball game at work between now and the end of the school year.  

Sammy's autograph should be in the Hall of Fame.

23. Mike Mussina

I like Mussina and I would like to vote for Mussina.  However, there are more than 10 players on the ballot who belong in Cooperstown.  It makes it really hard to figure out who should get votes and who should be skipped over for another year.  In a perfect world, there would be 10, or fewer, deserving Hall of Famers on the ballot and I could give players like Mussina, Sheffield, and Sosa a little more love.  As for Mussina, he pitched his entire career in the tough N.L. East, in offensive ballparks, and all he did was win.  He ended his career at 270 wins and was at 2,800 Ks.  I know those are both short of the slam dunk 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts, but he's really close. I hate arbitrary numbers too.  His metrics are in line with Tom Glavine and Nolan Ryan, so I say put him in.  Well, if I had more than 10 votes.

Moose gets a baseball card.

Which brings us to the Hall of Famers, or at least in my opinion.  I am going to go the opposite direction on the 10 players I would vote for, assuming that I had a ballot, from most deserving to least deserving.  Some of my slam dunks don't have a lot of explanation, my later choices have a bit of salesmanship.  My Hall of Famers are......

1.  Barry Bonds 

The Hall of Fame is not a Hall of Morals.  There are plenty of players in Cooperstown with all sorts of flaws.  I do not care about steroids, perjury, or anything else that you think Barry Bonds did wrong over the years.  He's supposedly not the friendliest person and I could care less.  Here is what I do know about Barry Bonds..... He's the best player that I ever watched in person.  700 home runs, 500 steals, the single season home run record, and a career slugging percentage north of .600.  I would vote for Barry Bonds any year that he's on the ballot.  End of story.

2.  Roger Clemens 

350 wins, 4,500 strikeouts, and two World Series rings makes Roger Clemens another shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.  Why is he not in yet?  Not sure he's the best pitcher I ever saw in person, but I am not sure that the old guy who pitched for the Astros was the best version of Roger Clemens.  Still a very very good player.

3.  Chipper Jones 

Should easily be the second Durham Bulls player to get into the Hall of Fame behind Astros/Reds/Phillies/A's second baseman Joe Morgan.  Chipper had more than 450 career home runs, 500 doubles, and 2,700 career hits.  One of the beset third baseman I have ever seen in person.  I know the Braves went to the playoffs every year for the first decade of his career, winning only 1 World Series in 1995, but he did a lot of damage in the Postseason too.  In roughly 300 career postseason at bats Jones hit 13 home runs, 18 doubles, drove in 47 runs, and had a .287/.409/.456 slash line.  Put him in. 

4.  Curt Schilling 

3000 strikeouts and a great Postseason resume.  I know the 216 wins bother a lot of people, but lets not forget that he spent a long time playing for some pretty bad teams.  He won more games in the 8 years he pitched for the Diamondbacks and Red Sox, good teams, than the 12 years he pitched for the Phillies, Orioles, and Astros.  Schilling has got an 11-2 Postseason record with a World Series Co-MVP in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.   Again, I am not voting on morals.

5.  Jim Thome 

600 home runs with a .276/.402/.554 slash line.  Pretty hard to argue against 600 home runs, does not matter whether he hit them as a first baseman or a DH.  Thome is a pretty one dimensional player, which I have no problem voting for if they are really good at what they do.  Thome had 9 seasons with more than 35 home runs with a high of 52 in 2002 with the Indians.  That's a lot of dingers.  I know he's second all-time in strikeouts just under Reggie Jackson for the all-time mark, but that list is littered with modern players.  Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Jose Canseco, etc.  Put him in.

6.  Larry Walker 

Larry Walker was one of the best all-around players of the 1990s.  I know the phrase "5-Tool Player" gets tossed around fairly often, but Walker was an actual good example.  He won three batting titles in a four year stretch starting in 1998, led the National League in home runs in 1997 with 49, had several seasons with more than 20 steals, and frequently registered double digit assist totals as a right fielder for the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals.  The biggest problem with Walker's Hall of Fame resume is counting numbers.  He's barely above 2,000 hits, even though he's got almost at 1,000 walks, only got 383 home runs, and 471 doubles.  A lot of his metric numbers are actually really close to Reggie Jackson's totals, Walker has 72.6 career WAR versus 73.8 for Jackson.  Walker has a career OPS+ of 141.  Jackson finished his career at 139.  The biggest difference between the two players is that Jackson played 2,820 games and Walker player 1,989 games.  Almost 1,000 games difference there.  If you compare Walker and Jackson's slash line, Walker has an advantage in every category.  Walker has .313/.400/.565 and Jackson has .262/.356/.490.  You don't like Coors?  Great.  Larry Walker, on the Expos, hit .281/.357/.483, or right in line with Reggie Jackson.

7.  Scott Rolen 

Rolen has some of the same problems as Larry Walker with longevity.  Plus, there were two halves of his career:  There was the player who played for the Phillies and a three and half years for the Cardinals before he messed up his shoulder and there was the Scott Rolen who played two seasons with the Cardinals after messing up his shoulder, had a brief stop over with the Blue Jays, and finished his career with the Reds.  If you just look at the end of his Cardinals career, the year and a half with the Blue Jays, and the final four years with the Reds you would have a hard time putting him into the Hall of Fame.  However, his 1996 season through the middle of 2005 were worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.  He won the Rookie of the Year in 1997 with the Phillies and posted a .282/.373/.504 mark with the team in five full season with 150 home runs, 200 plus doubles, and 500 RBIs.  That's about 30 home runs a season, 40 doubles, and 100 RBIs.  His first few seasons on the Cardinals were also Hall worthy with his best season coming in 2004.  He was probably the third best Cardinals player on the team that year with 34 home runs, 32 doubles, 124 RBIs, and a slash line of .314/.409/.598.  Again, his counting numbers do not match up to players like George Brett, Adrian Beltre, Mike Schmidt, and Chipper Jones, but everything else is right there.  I know there is a good chance he's going to be done after one year on the ballot and that stinks.

8.  Manny Ramirez 

I know there were steroid issues with Manny, he failed drug tests, and a lot of people think he's a really weird guy.  I can go with weird, but he could hit the baseball.  I know there are a lot of baseball fans who credit Thome and Roberto Alomar with being the players who really made the 1990s Indians teams good, but Manny was the best player on those teams and it's not even close.  So, here is what Manny has going for him: He hit more than 500 home runs, had more than 500 doubles, 2,500 hits with 1,300 walks, and a .312/.411/.585 slash line.  There are not a lot of modern left fielders in the Hall of Fame, and the ones who are there are very good (Rickey Henderson, Bonds should be), so it's somewhat hard to look at Manny in that same class.  He's not that good, but still a Hall of Famer.  He fits in well with Willie Stargell with slightly better counting numbers and a high batting average.

Plus rookie cards photos were taken on Duke's campus.

9. Edgar Martinez 

How did Frank Thomas get in the Hall of Fame so fast, but Edgar Martinez is still hanging out on the ballot?  500 doubles, 300 home runs, and a .312/.418/.515 slash line.  He walked more than he struck out over an 18 year career.  He won two American League batting titles.  Yes, he spent most of his career as a designated hitter on the Mariners.  Yes, he spent the prime of his career playing in the shadows of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson.  Being the fourth best player on your team still sometimes means that you are a Hall of Famer.  I've seen several comparisons of Edgar and Harold Baines, not a Hall of Famer, but very good.  Edgar is a lot better than Baines.  I go back to Frank Thomas from the top of the blurb.   He's actually a little different player than the aforementioned Frank Thomas, less power, but great ability to get on-base, hit for average, and drive the ball.  Edgar's were doubles, Frank's were home runs.  Edgar is a Hall of Famer.

10.  Vladimir Guerrero 

Last one is a little tougher sell than some of the other players on my list whom I put in, and those I would like to put in.  It actually looks like Vlad has a really good chance of making it sooner than later, which also makes some of the doubt with Larry Walker and Scott Rolen a bit of a head scratcher.  So, here goes.  Guerrero spent most of his career playing for the Expos and Angels.  He ended his career with almost 450 home runs, almost 500 doubles, and a .318/.379/.553 slash line.  Vlad did win an MVP with the Angels in 2004, but didn't win a batting title, career high was .337 with four seasons above .330, or significant statistical category at any point during his career.  His  numbers though were always very good.  His OPS+ has him as an above average player every single season he played full-time in the Majors save for his final year with the Orioles.  I like WAR, which doesn't make Vald seem like a slam dunk, but his OPS+ does measure up well with Hall of Famers, or players who belong in the Hall.  With an OPS+ of 140 he's in line with Reggie Jackson, Larry Walker, and Gary Sheffield and slightly ahead of Tony Gwynn, Roberto Clemente, Dave Winfield and Al Kaline.


  1. Love your ballot. It is a shame that the log jam is so bad now that you had to leave Mussina off. I would probably choose him over Schilling ever though they both deserve it.

    1. I would be fine with Mussina being in the Hall. I actually think he's closer based on public ballots at this point. There is a writer on Twitter who has a running total. Last I saw Mussina is just below the 75% mark, Schilling is somewhere in the 50-60% range.

  2. This is a good ballot. It would be nice if voters were allowed a couple of extra votes for the next few years so that the this constipated ballot can be cleared out a little bit? Maybe 12 instead of 10? There are easily 15 players worthy of serious consideration and the steroid/bad guy clog is only going to make things worse in the coming years.

    1. The limit is a bit ridiculous. There have been some good players, better than some of the ballots that remain on the ballot, who do not get the minimum to stay on past their first year. It would be nice if they just had to where you could vote for the player if they are a Hall of Famer, no limit.

  3. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Chipper Jones, and Vladimir Guerrero are no brainers. Put them in now.

    As for Hoffman... I feel like he's gonna eventually get in because he was the all-time saves leader at one time and he played on some pretty bad Padres teams. With that being said... I'm a Padres fan and even I'm not completely sold on putting him into Cooperstown. However putting Jamie Moyer, Livan Hernandez, and Kevin Millwood above him is super duper harsh.

    1. I just put the relief pitchers in that one grouping of players: Wood, Lidge, Izzy, Wagner, and Hoffman. Huff and Matsui got stuck in there because ???. I feel like I am probably really hard on relief pitchers though. I know that it's important to have a dominant guy who can come in and shut the door at the end of the game, just not sure how to quantify those players. I know that part of it probably comes from Lee Smith, who has been a person of debate for the last few years. I saw him with the Cubs and he was a shutdown, door is getting slammed relief pitcher. However, he was horrible as a Cardinal, and the second half of his career was just a matter of compiling saves. I wouldn't put Hoffman in, but I will also acknowledge the fact that I did not see the Padres that often.

  4. I like it, mine would be slightly different, but I plan on posting mine in a week or two. I will say that I never really put much thought into Vizquel as a HOF, but your list of ones who were better makes a good argument why I likely won't consider him more.

    1. I will have to check it out when you post it.

  5. Not my exact ballot, but I'd have no issue with any of your ten guys being elected. I'm really hoping 'Gar makes it this year.

    1. I would love to see him in too, more than deserving, and long overdue.