Here is the 2011 HOF ballot. I think voters can vote for up to ten. So we’ll limit it to that. Some are tough calls to leave out. They may be popular among their fanbases, but are they worthy of the call to the Hall? (Note, this isn’t the veteran’s ballot, which includes Billy Martin and the Boss.)
My choices are in bold.
First of all, you know that steroids will dominate the voting process. Besides McGwire, other suspects are on this ballot: Palmeiro, Brown, Gonzalez, Bagwell, Boone, Santiago. No bold there from me (and I know more are coming in future years, Pettitte, A-Rod, Bonds, Clemens, etc.) and here you have McGwire and Palmeiro each with over 500 HR, and Bagwell and Juan-Gone each with over 400. Of course, some are suspected, not caught. But I think that voters want someone who definitely, positively, is clean to vote on. So my rule of thumb for now is if suspected, no vote. We’ll see how the writers address this issue in the future, but with McGwire getting only 23.5% of the vote (or thereabouts) when 75% is required, you can see the trend. So if suspected, no vote.
The complete ballot, via the AP: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.
I love Tino and Donnie, but they fall short. I vote for McGriff because with all the steroid users on the list now or coming on in the future with more HR (McGwire, Sosa, Alex, Palmeiro, Manny…) or close to it (Bagwell, Piazza, Juan-Gone) the crime dog’s 493 HR looks better and better. .284 with a 134 OPS+. The usual HOF monitor/standards are 100/50. McGriff is at 100/48. Close.
I liked Raines from the get-go. Overshadowed by Rickey Henderson, Raines still had over 2600 hits and over 800 SB while hitting .294. Isn’t that what leadoff hitters should do? 123 OPS+. The 100/50 test? 90 and 47. Maybe, not being a power hitter, I grade Raines on a bit of a curve, but I think the Rock deserves it.
I really struggle with John Franco. Sorry Lee Smith lovers, but Franco was 90-87, 2.89 with 424 saves, ERA+ 138. Smith was 71-92, 3.03, 478 saves, ERA+ 132. I’ve never sold on Smith being HOF, and if I had to choose between him and Franco, I’d choose Franco.
I also struggled with Edgar. The DH-thing. I can change my mind in future years, but I want to see how much support/non-support he gets in his first year on the ballot. How will he influence the way DH’s are viewed? .312, 309 HR, over 2200 hits, OPS+ 147. I think he gets in eventually, but the DH-thing makes him wait. Fair? Maybe not, but that’s why guys who can gather support could be on the ballot for fifteen years (like Blyleven) … HOF monitor 132/ usual HOF around 100; HOF standards (per baseball-reference) 50, usual HOFer 50.
Trammell had over 2300 hits and hit .285. For a SS, good enough for me. You have to look at middle infielders differently than you would a DH/corner infielder/OF. Usually not matching up in power. An OPS+ of just 110 could hurt him, though as does his HOF monitor/standards. Good solid SS. I’d put him in, but I can see if he’s a “tweener”. Hard to judge. Good numbers comparable to Larkin, but he may have to wait for Larkin to get in before he can (and once Jeter comes on the ballot, Trammell may be overlooked again).
Walker is another tough case. .313 BA, 383 HR. I want to wait on him and see how much support he gets from the writers. Playing in Colorado may hurt his case. Still a 140 OPS+. He, like Edgar, may get in later on as his stats look better over time. 3 batting titles, an MVP.
So I picked how many? Six. Blyleven, Alomar, Larkin, McGriff, Raines and Trammell.
I have a couple that I don’t pick now but could change my mind on later on. First-timers in Franco, Edgar and Walker that in future years, I may be advocating.
But you know what’s really sad? The ones who should be no-doubters, who have great numbers, but who have tainted themselves. The guys who should be HOF but aren’t.
I mean, two members of the 500 HR club and two more of the 400 HR club. McGwire, Bagwell, Palmeiro and Juan-Gone. (No proof on Bagwell but heavily suspected, and the link that Bagwell is connected to above is quite damning).
That is what makes this voting process sad.
Some baseball news: Yorvit Torrealba signed with Texas.
..and if you missed it, Mariano Rivera turned 41 yesterday.