Home > Uncategorized > Some Hall of Fame Thoughts

Some Hall of Fame Thoughts

The big news of the baseball world today is that the 2011 Hall of Fame induction class is being announced today in a live show on MLB Network. Though most of you assuredly know how this works, I’ll explain it to make sure everyone is on the same place. Living Hall of Famers and members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) with more than ten years in the association are given ballots that include all eligible players. Eligibility means the player played ten years in the Majors and have been retired for five or more years. Voters can select up to ten of these players. Those with 75 percent of the vote or more are enshrined in Cooperstown and those who receive fewer than five percent of the vote are dropped off the ballot. Players who receive between five and 75 percent can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years. Nobody is ever completely off the table for the Hall of Fame as a veteran’s committee meets to determine people who should be in the Hall, but were slighted by the voting committee. Typically, though, getting less than five percent of the vote is the end of the line.

Voters are encouraged to look at all aspects of a player that includes their character. That is something that bothers me a little bit as I think voters take it upon themselves to police people who may have wronged them at some point or in the case of some of the already enshrined players, they are hard on players who didn’t play the game they felt was the “right way.” I understand not allowing a guy like Pete Rose in the Hall, though I actually disagree with that. A topic for another day right there. The other thing that drive me nuts are the fact that somebody can make the argument that George Brett wasn’t a Hall of Famer or Mickey Mantle or any of the game’s great players. No player has ever received a unanimous selection to the Hall. Some voters simply don’t believe that a player should be able to get in on their first ballot while others are of the belief that some players aren’t worthy of going in with others. The notion that not a single player has ever been elected unanimously is one that troubles me.

Anyway, because you’re waiting on the edge of your seats, here’s who I would vote for if I had a Hall of Fame ballot:

Roberto Alomar
Jeff Bagwell
Bert Blyleven
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Mark McGwire
Rafael Palmeiro
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell

I know there are people on that list who aren’t exactly clean when it comes to steroids. One guy has admitted to using steroids during his career while another tested positive for them after wagging his finger at people for accusing him of it. To me, though, steroids are a product of the era. I’m not happy they were around. I’m not pleased that they helped players put up video game numbers, but they were there and to say that the hitters were the only players on steroids is absolutely naive. I guarantee you that Mark McGwire hit at least one home run off a pitcher using the same substances he was. Note that I’m not saying it’s right, but I’m of the belief that I am not the person to be judge and jury in this case. All I can do is look at the numbers and the above players are Hall of Famers in my mind. I respect the decision of others to not vote for anybody from the era, though I disagree.

What I really don’t like is the people who will vote for some and not others. This is really a rallying cry for Jeff Bagwell who has been suspected of steroid use for years simply because of his body and his progression as a hitter. Bagwell may very well have used steroids. I have no way of knowing if he did or didn’t, but I do know that he wasn’t named on any of the many publications that named steroid users. I also know that to not vote for him while voting for any of Bagwell’s peers is incredibly irresponsible. I was reading an article (I can’t for the life of me remember where), but a comment was made how a writer this past season made a comment to the effect that Jose Bautista must be on steroids to have had this huge turnaround and hit 50+ homers. That writer was lambasted by his peers for reckless speculation, but people do it to Bagwell and nobody says a word. For all I know, Bagwell took a needle to his backside every day of his career, but there’s not an ounce of proof. It’s pretty upsetting that he’s been put in this position because his numbers are amazing and worthy of first ballot induction.

The other two controversial names on my list in the non-steroid division are probably Alan Trammel and Edgar Martinez. Trammel falls a little short of the offensive numbers that you’d expect in the Hall of Fame, but only because he’s a result of his era. If he had played 15 years earlier, people would look at his numbers as a shortstop and they would be eye-popping. Trammel’s struggles in Hall of Fame voting come because he’s eligible in the era that we’ve seen guys like Rodriguez, Jeter, Tejada and Garciaparra (and way more than that) and I believe that’s really hurt him in the voting. I think he has to be judged based on his peers, not as how the game has developed, which is why I think he’s a Hall of Famer.

Edgar Martinez is a different argument. Nobody argues with his numbers. Well, some do, but they’re few and far between. He had a nine season stretch from 1995-2003 where he hit .321/.438/.558 with an OPS+ of 159. The argument against Martinez is that he did his work primarily as a designated hitter, though many are surprised to find out that he played 564 games at third base in his career and before his injury troubles was actually slightly above average there. I do agree with those who believe a DH has to be spectacular offensively to gain entrance into the Hall. I just happen to believe that Edgar Martinez was spectacular offensively. You can read Jayson Stark’s column to see just how amazing he was, but the numbers tell the whole story and that’s why I think he’s in. He won’t make it this year, but maybe in the near future.

So we’ll find out this afternoon who got in, who got snubbed and who was so close that people are sure 2012 will be their year. If I had to guess, just Alomar and Blyleven would make it this year. Both missed by less than ten votes last year. Alomar was punished for his spitting incident and presumably some of his off-field post-career actions while Blyleven’s campaign has been gaining steam for the past 13 seasons. It’s always a fun debate. I’m looking forward to finding out who gets in.

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  1. wizscape
    January 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Since you had one more vote, I probably would have added Larry Walker. Say what you want about Coors, but his ballpark independent stats are pretty impressive.

    • January 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

      If you ask me tomorrow, I might put Walker on the list. I am so on the fence about him that just a cool breeze of convincing could push me either way. Today I’m on the “no” side, but tomorrow I could be on the “yes” side. If I really had a vote, I’d err on the side of voting in anybody who I wasn’t sure about as long as I wasn’t keeping someone deserving out because of it.

      • Patrick
        January 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

        His montreal numbers were pretty darned good. I would probably have voted for him (if I had a vote) because he was one of my favorites as a kid.

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