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This week, the Baseball Writers Association of America will inform us of which players, if any, will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer. Everyone has an opinion about the Hall of Fame, the voting process and players who either should, or shouldn’t, be included. That’s no different with this vote. I used to dive into this pretty strongly, but for today, I’ll mainly just tell you my vote, if I had one, and then let you weigh in. I encourage you to post your ‘vote’ in the Comments section, and at the end of the day, we can see how we voted.
Players on the ballot must receive 75% of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They must receive 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot. Of course, they can only be on the ballot for 15 years before coming off of it as well. At that point, after a five year waiting period, the Veteran’s Committee can vote them in. Here are the players remaining from last year’s ballot:
Andre Dawson – 67.0% (Andre Dawson was a very good player, almost 440 home runs and 320 stolen bases. I guess if Jim Rice made it, Dawson can make it. But maybe Tony Oliva should make it too!)
Bert Blyleven – 62.7% (Well, I try not to be biased, but I have absolutely no clue why he hasn’t been in the Hall of Fame for five to eight years already. I am yet to hear a good argument against his induction.)
Lee Smith – 44.5% (‘All-Time Saves Leader’ should mean something, but what? He is in the middle. He came later than the Sutter, Fingers era, and in the early portion of the Eckersley, Rivera era.)
Jack Morris – 44.0% (254 wins is noteworthy, but so is the 3.90 ERA. In the last seven years of his career, he had just one season with an ERA below that number. Fortunately for Twins fans, that came in 1991 when he also pitched Game 7 of the World Series.)
Tim Raines – 22.6% (no, he wasn’t Rickey Henderson, but 2600 hits, 1570 Runs Scored, 980 RBI, 808 stolen bases, .385 OBP. Only problem was that his best years came in Canada, with the Expos.)
Mark McGwire – 21.9% (hit just .263, but he did hit 583 home runs and got one base nearly 40% of the time. Along with Sammy Sosa, he saved baseball. 135 home runs in two years! Of course, there is a little controversy around him. However, do we know that he was playing on an uneven playing field? I don’t.)
Alan Trammell – 17.4% (solid shortstop, good glove, 15-18 homer power for a decade, 20-25 stolen base. He was a good ball player for a decade. I think that Lou Whitaker should get more votes than Trammell though, and he didn’t even get to a second ballot.)
Dave Parker – 15.0% (Another example of a solid player. 2700 hits, 339 homers, an MVP. Three really good seasons in the late ‘70s. Played on some winning teams. But Hall of Fame?)
Don Mattingly – 11.9% (back injuries kept him out. Career numbers look a lot like Kirby Puckett’s, but Puckett didn’t have the opportunity for his career to drop as precipitously as Mattingly’s.)
Dale Murphy – 11.5% (And Mattlingly’s didn’t drop nearly as fast as Murphy’s. Those two early MVP awards and nearly 400 homers keep him on the ballot though.)
Harold Baines – 5.9% (Vastly underrated career. Lots of hits, lots of power. Primarily a DH most of his career, but he could certainly hit)
To be on the ballot, a player must have spent at least ten years in the major leagues. And even then, not all players are included. For instance, players such as Greg Colbrunn, Mike Fetters, Curtis Leskanic, Fernando Vina and Turk Wendell were not on the ballot. These guys were:
Roberto Alomar – From about 1990 through about 2001, Alomar was the best 2B in baseball. Then he went to the Mets and that was about it. He hit for average, good middle-infield power, on base skills, incredible defense, playoff moments. Sure, there was some controversy along the way.
Kevin Appier – His career ERA is lower than Morris’s! But he wasn’t good for as long, or on winning teams. I mean, he was with the Royals.
Ellis Burks – Burks was a major prospect with the Red Sox. Never quite made it there. Had very good career numbers, but they were greatly enhanced by four really strong years in Colorado in the mid-90s.
Andres Galarraga – 2333 hits. 399 homers. 1425 RBI. And only five of his seasons were in Colorado. Had two great years in Atlanta with a missed season recovering from cancer in between. He was just a very good 1B for a long time with some monster seasons in between.
Pat Hentgen – 131-112. 200+ innings four of five years between 1993 and 1997. Never again. Won 1996 Cy Young with only 20 win season. 4.32 ERA for career.
Mike Jackson – Eight teams in 17 big league seasons. Very good middle reliever who was closer in Cleveland for 2+ seasons. 50 or more games pitched in 13 out of 15 seasons at one point. Pitched for Twins in 2002.
Eric Karros – 1992 Rookie of the Year with Dodgers. 1700 hits, 284 of which are home runs. From 1995-2000, had 30+ HR in 5 of 6 seasons.
Ray Lankford – 1560 hits, 238 HR. Came up as speed guy (258 steals), and added power in the middle of career.
Barry Larkin – 2340 hits, 198 HR, 1329 Runs, 960 RBI, 379 SB. 12 All-Star games, 8 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves and an MVP.
Edgar Martinez – From 1990-2001, hit over. 300 ten times. 2247 hits, 309 HR, 1261 RBI. Wasn’t a full-time player until he was 27. Really only a DH. Very dangerous hitter. Career .933 OPS.
Fred McGriff – Ten 30 home run seasons, 493 career home runs. Almost 2500 hits. He stuck around in attempt for 500 home runs. Played in three World Series.
Shane Reynolds – 13 seasons… would you have guessed he had 114 Wins and ‘just’ a 4.09 career ERA?
David Segui – 1400 hits, 139 HR… Struggled to stay healthy.
Robin Ventura – 1885 hits, 294 HR. Six Gold Gloves. Very good career, but after numbers at Oklahoma State, many expected more.
Todd Zeile – Played for 11 teams in 16 year career. 2000 hits, 250 home runs.
So, who would I vote for (in order of certainty):
1.) Bert Blyleven – yes, it is that easy.
2.) Roberto Alomar – again, a no-brainer for me.
3.) Tim Raines – incredible all-around leadoff hitter.
4.) Barry Larkin – best shortstop in the league for a dozen years.
5.) Mark McGwire – again, show that he wasn’t playing on an even playing field. Like Harmon Killebrew, McGwire was very one-dimensional, so this isn’t a slam dunk choice, even without the controversy.
There are a few that I would have no problem with them making it, I just wouldn’t vote for them:
6.) Fred McGriff – I could be convinced, maybe.
7.) Andre Dawson – very solid player for quite a long time.
That’s it for me. Now be sure to go to the Comments and enter your ballotAt the end of the day, we’ll take a look and see who people voted for and if anyone would make it according to the readers of this site.