Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot

Baseball Hall of Fame voting is this week. If I had a ballot, I'd probably vote for the maximum 10 in order to make up for those who only vote for 1. Here's how I'd vote:

1. Bert Blyleven--this has been so obvious for so long, it's a shame that he isn't in the HOF as it is. He probably will make it this year, his final year of eligibility. The only reason Blyleven isn't in already is that he pitched for terrible teams throughout his career, meaning that he doesn't have 300 wins.

2. Roberto Alomar--one of the best 2B ever, I was really surprised he didn't make it last year, which was his first year of eligibility. Would be surprised if he was denied again. I know he was a jerk, but who cares. It isn't the Hall of Nice Guys.

3. Tim Raines--one of the greatest leadoff hitters ever. Once Blyleven gets in, Raines probably becomes the cause d'celebre for baseball geeks. As well he should.

4. Alan Trammell--a fantastic shortstop for a series of excellent teams. It's a travesty that his double play partner Lou Whitaker isn't even on the ballot, for he didn't get the requisite votes to stay on after his 1st year of eligibility. That's a joke and probably has more to do with Whitaker showing up for the negotiations in the 1994 strike in white limo than his play. Meanwhile, Trammell was only awesome for more than a decade.

5. Jeff Bagwell--I know there are steroid rumors about Bagwell. But there is no actual evidence of this. Bagwell is one of the 2 greatest players in Astros history. He deserves to be in.

6. Edgar Martinez--he should be the Mariners' first inductee. Hurt because his final numbers aren't up to the norm, but that's much more because the Mariners kept him in Edmonton for years because they were sure Jim Presley was their 3B of the future. In a related issue, many go against Martinez because he was a DH for most of his career. OK, although I don't think this should necessarily matter. But again, he would have had at least 1000 more ABs in the field if the Mariners call him up at a decent age.

7. Barry Larkin--one of the great shortstops of my era. One of the great Reds of all time. A clear choice.

At this point, things start getting a touch more sketchy for me. More borderline cases here.

8. Dave Parker--really a dominant OF for a long time

9. Fred McGriff--a classic borderline candidate, I suspect he will slowly gain support over the years, especially considering that there are zero steroid allegations against him, at least that I know of.

10. Dale Murphy--I'm not really sold here but he was the best player in the league for several years in the 80s.

As for the steroid candidates, my rule of thumb is to think about whether I'd vote them in without the steroids. Did their pre-steroid use days suggest they were probably HOF players? Bonds obviously yes. Clemens, probably. McGwire and Palmeiro, both eligible this year, no. McGwire was almost out of the league when he started in. Palmeiro was a solid 1B but clearly no better than that. I have no problem saying no to both.

Also, in an ideal world with more flexibility as to who can be on of off the ballot, I'd add Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich in place of McGriff and Murphy.

Finally, I just can't go along with the idea that Jack Morris is a HOF pitcher. He's the choice of the uniformed voter who strictly looks at win totals and remembers single-game heroics. He was a very good but not great pitcher but benefited from playing on excellent teams throughout his career. How many 9-5 games did he win with Toronto? I remember an awful lot.