Friday, January 21, 2022

If I Had A Ballot.....

It's everyone's favorite time of year, Hall of Fame voting. In my consistently inconsistent writing for this blog, the one consistent thing I have done almost every year is write a post about the players that I would like to see in the Hall of Fame. I also like to throw in some baseball cards to make things interesting. In the past, I gave some of the players baseball cards. This year, I will give all of them a baseball card, minus one player. There are 30 players on the ballot this year and voters are allowed to select a maximum of 10 players.  There are more than 10 players on the list who I would support, or wouldn't mind being in the Hall. In keeping with the format of previous "If I Had A Ballot..." posts, I will count down the 30 players, eliminating the 20 I would not vote into the Hall. Again, if they are in my group of 20, it does not mean that I do not support them.  

30. A.J. Pierzynski 

A.J. was on the Cardinals briefly, so I want to make this kind and friendly. Especially considering he had to put up with Mike Matheny as a manager while he was in St. Louis. A.J. Pierzynski was a decent catcher and a very unique personality. I best remember him for the dropped strike play in the ALDS in 2005. Controversial play, but I am not posting videos.

 I also know he was thrown out of a ton of games during his career and there are stories about umpires questioning is ability to play in day games, because he was perspiring alcohol from the previous night. Let's also not forget the time he campaigned for the All-Star Game using the slogan "Punch AJ" after Cubs catcher Michael Barrett punched him in the face.  

29. Jonathan Papelbon 

Solid no.  

28. Omar Vizquel 

The Hall of Fame is not the Hall of Morals. There are plenty of great baseball players who are not great people. However, I do have my boundaries. I would not vote for Omar Vizquel as a player regardless because of his off-the-field problems. I cannot support someone who has a long and troubling history of spousal abuse. No baseball card either. A young Bryce Harper will help me out.....

27. Curt Schilling 

While I am playing the role of moral police, I am also not able to vote for Curt Schilling. I try not to foist my political opinions on people, but I simply cannot support him for things he has said and done off the field. Wearing a shirt that says, "Rope, Tree, Journalist. Some Assembly Required" is not cool, especially when they are people who are working hard to cover your playing career. Journalists are also protected by the Constitution, whether you like them or not. Further, as a person who teaches science and government, there are far too many people at the moment who have their own set of facts. Schilling is one of those people. It makes my job harder and I do not appreciate it.  

End of rant. I will still post a baseball card.  


















 26. Jake Peavy 

Very good pitcher with the Padres at the beginning of his career and solid at the end when he played for the White Sox, Red Sox, and Giants. Won a Cy Young in 2007 and two World Series, one with the Red Sox in 2013 and another with the Giants in 2014. Do the Padres have a team Hall of Fame? He definitely should be in, if one exists. 

25. Joe Nathan - P 

Great reliever with the Twins, but I am not a huge fan of modern relief pitchers and the Hall of Fame. Just my opinion. I think they are generally overvalued. It is not that I am against them being in the Hall, but there has to be something overly exceptional about their career. Similar to Peavy, if the Twins have a team Hall of Fame, they should induct Joe Nathan. 

24. Tim Lincecum 

Tim Lincecum had four or five Hall of Fame worthy seasons, but ended up having a down second half of his career. He had some great starts in both the 2010 and 2012 playoffs to help the Giants win the World Series both of those seasons. I know Lincecum was on the 2014 Giants too, so he has three World Series rings in all, but I don't think he pitched much in the playoffs that year. Not even sure he was on the Postseason roster. Still, Lincecum was a great player for the Giants, just not long enough to get into the Hall.

23. Ryan Howard 

Ryan Howard is another player on this list who had Hall of Fame seasons, but not a long enough career to get into the Hall of Fame. I have felt empathetic towards Ryan Howard for a long time. I am not going to screen shot any tweets or Facebook posts, but Phillies fans were often brutal towards him during the second half of his career. That was after he tore his Achilles tendon on the final play of the epic Chris Carpenter vs Roy Halladay Game 5 in the 2011 National League Division Series. That's one of those injuries that end careers. It says a lot that he came back and played another five years after that injury. No Cooperstown for Ryan Howard, but I leave you with my favorite card of the St. Louis native. This is from a set that Topps produced and gave away at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis. There were only three cards in the set, but well done by Topps to include a local player. 


22. Justin Morneau 

Solid player. Morneau's best season was in 2006 when he won the American League MVP.  First, he was not even the best player on the Twins that year. Needless to say, he also was not really the best player in the American League that season. Goes to show how far being a really good player on a really good team will get you with end-of-season awards. Really though, Morneau was a good player.  


21. Carl Crawford

Let me start out by saying that Carl Crawford was awesome while he was on the Durham Bulls. He helped the team win the 2002 International League Title. Crawford was also a very exciting player for the Devil Rays/Rays. He had four seasons with more than 50 steals and led the American League in that category in each of those years. Crawford also led the American League in triples four different times. For his career, he has almost 500 stolen bases, almost 2,000 hits, and is one of the few modern players to cross 100 career triples. That being said, as a player who thrived off of his speed, his later years with the Red Sox and Dodgers were rough. He would probably be remembered in a more positive light if the Red Sox hadn't decided that paying an aging speedster $142 million dollars over 7 years was a great idea. Good for Carl. I hope he is enjoying retirement. Carl is not a Hall of Famer.  

20. Prince Fielder 

Prince Fielder is another player who is not a serious Hall of Fame candidate due to injuries. He is only 37 years old and he has been retired for 6 years due to a neck injury. Prince had more than 300 home runs when he retired in his early 30s. No neck injury and I could see him pushing 500 home runs. I was not a huge fan of Prince while he was on the Brewers, but appreciated him a little more once he was not in the same division as the Cardinals. Hall of Fame seasons, just not a long enough career to be a serious Hall of Fame candidate. My answer is no.  

19. Mark Teixeira 

Teixeira was a good player. He hit 30 plus home runs every year and drove in 100 runs. I have seen some people try to make the argument that is similar to Fred McGriff and that he belongs in the Hall, or at least has a better argument than most people think. I could see that, but I still think McGriff is better and my answer is no.


18. Torii Hunter 

I am a solid no on Torii Hunter. However, as a Cardinals fan who watched Ozzie get into the Hall of Fame, hopefully Yadi too, I completely understand some of his Hall of Fame supports make about his credentials. Torii hit 350 home runs, almost 500 doubles, and he won 9 Gold Gloves. Excellent defensive player who had some good year with the bat. In the end, some of his counting numbers are nice. I am tempted to post a highlight video of him taking away a home run from Barry Bonds in the 2002 All-Star Game, but I will stick with baseball cards for this post. 

17. Jimmy Rollins 

I really enjoyed watching Jimmy Rollins play. He was a really good player on the 2007-2011 Phillies team that won a World Series and came close a few other times. Jimmy was the 2007 National League MVP and also won a few Gold Gloves. For me, he is a step below being a Hall of Famer, but definitely one of the more memorable shortstops of his generation. At some point, I would not surprise me that a Veterans Committee of some sort puts Rollins into the Hall. 

16. Billy Wagner 

Again, not a fan of modern relief pitchers, but I would not complain too much if Billy Wagner ended up in the Hall. He never led the league in saves and only has 422 saves, but I would argue that he was a lot better player than Trevor Hoffman. Wagner pitched in almost 200 games less than Hoffman and still has more strikeouts. As a Cardinals fan who got to watch him pitch numerous years for the Astros, the game felt over when he came in to pitch. Wagner had a 100 mph fastball and some wicked off-speed pitches. I am a no on Billy Wagner, but I think he will actually get into the Hall at some point.  


15. Tim Hudson 

I am a no on Tim Hudson, but I would like to point out that he has better sabermetric numbers than Jack Morris. Tim Hudson also never sexually harassed a college intern working at the Detroit Free Press. I would also implore people who think that Hudson should be in the Hall of Fame to support Adam Wainwright in a few years. I think Wainwright is a Hall of Very Good Player, but if Hudson gets in, Wainwright better be in too. I am counting on your support.  


14. Jeff Kent 

I am a no on Jeff Kent, but I am not going to be surprised if he ends up in the Hall at some. I won't complain too much. I understand the comparisons to Ryne Sandberg. Kent's power numbers are better. However, Sandberg did not play during the steroid era and did a lot of other things that Kent did not. Sandberg has over 300 stolen bases and won 9 Gold Gloves. Most importantly, Sandberg's best years are still better than Ken't best years. I am not voting for Jeff Kent, but I know plenty of other people who think he belongs in the Hall. 


13. Andy Pettitte 

I am going to dig myself a hole on this one. If you're a Yankees fan, skip down to the next player. You're not going to like what I have to say. I am trashing Pettitte and Whitey Ford. I apologize for nothing.  

Pettitte has 5 World Series rings, more than 250 wins, and he played for the Yankees. His connection to steroids is likely all that has kept him out so far. Let's compare Pettitte to Whitey Ford. 

Both were highly successful, left-handed pitchers for great New York Yankees teams. That makes Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer? Neither was ever the best player on their team, at times not even the top 3 or 4 players. Both excelled at accumulating wins, but their other numbers are blah. Pettitte has an ERA of almost 4, Tim Hudson's is half a run lower. Pettitte never won the Cy Young and led the league in wins once. That was the only time he led the league in a major statistical category. If you are into sabermetric numbers, feel free to look up Whitey Ford. It's not very impressive. All the other pitchers from 1950s and 60s who are now in the Hall were better than him. They just didn't play on the Yankees. Same with Pettitte's modern peers. 

Do you know how many games Robin Roberts, Gibson, or Koufax would have won if they had been on the Yankees

Pettitte is still getting into the Hall at some point. I am not a fan.  

12. Mark Buehrle 

I really like Mark Buehrle. He was a fun player to watch and pitched some great games. There was a no-hitter, a perfect game, and he helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series. Buehrle has more than 200 career wins and almost 2,000 strikeouts. He has almost the same career ERA as Andy Pettitte and a lot of their sabermetric numbers (WAR, JAWS, etc) are basically the same. If Pettitte gets into the Hall of Fame at some point, I think it's only fair that Buehrle gets in too. However, as a player who played the majority of his career with the White Sox, I do not think he will get in. The bar for modern pitchers is pretty low at this point given Jack Morris being voted in, I would be fine with Buehrle being there too. 

I am not going to leave Jack Morris alone.  

11. David Ortiz 

If Hall of Fame voters could pick more than 10 players, I would give David Ortiz a vote. I would also leave him on the outside for this year, mainly because there are players on their last year who would be a bigger priority for me. I am actually hoping that Ortiz gets into the Hall at some point. He has more than 500 home runs, almost 2,500 career hits, and helped the Red Sox win the World Series three times. More importantly, he is linked to steroids. I also believe Ortiz may be popular enough to maybe break through the glass ceiling for many players from the 1990s and early 2000s. If Big Papi gets into the Hall, is there any reason to hold out Mark McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa? Roger Clemens?  No. I would vote for him and I sincerely hope he is the player who turns the tide on the steroid era. 


From this point forward in the post, these are player I would support putting into the Hall of Fame. If I had a ballot, these are the player I would vote to put in.  

10. Gary Sheffield 

Sheff has more than 500 home runs, almost 500 doubles, 2,700 hits, he won a batting title, and also a World Series with the 1997 Florida Marlins. That being said, he is in the group of players who have been linked to steroids and there are some holes in his career. His best years were excellent, but when you start putting them together, he is someone who could be considered a compiler. A good player who ended up with great numbers because he played forever, 22 years in all. Sheffield was also a horrible defender.  Bad to the point that he is the opposite of players like Ozzie Smith who are in the Hall because of defense.  Sheffield is getting in because he can hit. He also put on a fielding glove and stood somewhere on the field. Would you hold a player out because of defense? I have heard people make that argument. Again, I would put him in.  


9. Bobby Abreu 

This is my most controversial take on this post. I have seen some huge arguments break out online over whether or not Bobby Abreu should be in the Hall of Fame. First, one of the biggest arguments against Abreu is that he never won anything. That is very true. He played the majority of his career for the Phillies. They were a terrible team during that decade and Abreu never made the playoffs. He also was only selected for the All-Star Game twice and rarely received MVP votes. Second, he only has 288 home runs, which is really low for a modern player.  

Here is my argument for Abreu getting into the Hall. Abreu has almost 600 doubles. That's fourth all-time amongst right-fielders behind only Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, and Paul Waner. Abreu walked at a prolific rate. He also ranks fourth all-time in that category amongst right-fielders behind Musial, Ott, and Aaron. Abreu also has 400 career stolen bases, which is 7th all-time amongst right-fielders. If you cut out the deadball era players, he is third behind Bobby Bonds and Ichiro. You can also add in that Abreu's sabermetric numbers (WAR, WAR7, and JAWS) are similar to Vladimir Guerrero and Dave Winfield, both Hall of Famers. In short, Abreu played on bad teams, was a doubles machine who got on-base frequently, and could make teams pay with his speed. Doubles are not home runs, but they are still useful. I suspect if he had played at a different time, like the 1950s, this would not be all that controversial. I would vote for him.

8. Manny Ramirez 

I don't care about steroids and I do not care about colorful. I do care about 500 home runs, 500 doubles, more than 2,500 hits, and two World Series titles. Add in 12 All-Star Games, 9 Silver Sluggers, a batting title, and a World Series MVP Award, and this is an easy decision. Yes, Manny should be in the Hall. 

7. Sammy Sosa 

Sosa hit 600 home runs and is the only player to more than 60 home runs three times in his career. Sammy and personality and was not only a good player during the 1990s, but also one of the big personalities of the game. I am not anti-steroids, so I would vote to put him in. 















6. Andruw Jones 

Andruw is another player who creates some huge arguments. As a Cardinals fan, this is somewhere in the neighborhood of Ozzie Smith, but with the opposite timeline. Ozzie was an elite defender his whole career, but also a subpar hitter at the beginning of his career. Ozzie eventually became a productive offensive player for the Cardinals and achieved some decent counting numbers by the time he retired. Andruw Jones was an elite defender the majority of his career. For roughly the first decade he played, Andruw was an above-average offensive player. The last five years of his career, Jones hit .214, bounced around the league, and was primarily a bench player. Just for comparison, during the first five years of his career, Ozzie Smith hit .234. Both of them won double digit Gold Gloves. Ozzie Smith is a Hall of Famer, so is Andruw Jones. 




















 5. Todd Helton 

The good Rockies players are treated a lot like steroid users when people start talking about their chances of being in the Hall of Fame. Helton hit 369 home runs, 592 doubles, and had a career .316 batting average. Yes, he played in Coors Field, which made those numbers better. However, Helton also hit outside of Coors. This is the second-coming of Larry Walker's time on the Hall of Fame ballot. When I see a Rockies player having a good year, I look at their road stats to help with perspective. In 2000, Helton won the National League batting title. His road batting average was .351. In 2001, Helton hit his career high of 49 home runs, 22 of them were on the road. Helton had 59 doubles in 2000, with 31 coming on the road.  Those are all really good numbers without think air. When you look at his career road numbers, Helton hit .287, with a .386 on-base percentage, and a .469 slugging percentage. That road slugging percentage is higher than Tony Perez and only a few points off of Eddie Murray. His career road on-base percentage is higher than George Sisler, Harmon Killebrew, and Willie McCovey. Put him in.  


4. Scott Rolen 

Why are we still talking about Scott Rolen? He's a great player who was good at talking his way out off of teams. I don't care if he was a jerk to Tony LaRussa or whoever in Philadelphia. Vote him in.  














 3. 3. Alex Rodriguez 

I don't care about steroids, 600 home runs, and 3,000 hits. Yes, he is annoying, but also a great player.  




















2. Roger Clemens 

I don't know what else to say. He belongs in the Hall.  



















1. Barry Bonds 




  1. Didn't even have Abreu on my radar, but after looking at his Baseball Reference page... he had a really good career.

    1. He was a really good player. I hope that more people take notice and he can get into the Hall at some point.

  2. I was curious looking at the public votes already why Abreau had as many votes as he does, but you explained it very well. I don't know if I would put him on my ballot, but you make good arguments. For the most part our votes would be almost the same. I would probably switch Sosa and Abreau out and put in Ortiz and Howard. I think Howard and Fielder should at least get the 5% to get another year and more consideration, and at this point it doesn't look like they will even get that. I think next year could be interesting with so many names falling off the list.

    1. I like the idea of Howard and Fielder getting more than 5%. I have seen some good arguments for both players. They lost a lot of playing time during their prime years due to injuries. Both still have some solid career counting numbers.

  3. I liked Jeff Kent and Bobby Abreau quite a bit, but don't think that either should make it in. It would probably be a butt move, but I wouldn't vote for anybody here. It seems like the only options this year are the steroid users and the guys that just didn't do enough, none of which are great choices in my opinion.

    1. I can definitely see where it would be hard to pick someone if you were not going to vote for steroid users. A lot of the players in that group have some solid arguments against going into the Hall.