Monday, November 9, 2015

2016 HOF Ballot

Photo: Ken Griffey, Jr. from his Wikipedia page

I know I promised a lot of blogs about last year's HOF ballot and winners & losers, and I really dropped the ball on that (pun intended).  I'll follow through this time.  I think.

The ballot: Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Luis Castillo, Roger Clemens, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Jeff Kent, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Mike Sweeney, Alan Trammell, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Randy Winn.

My 10 picks, and the order of my vehemence (c'mon, that's a nice phrase):

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. (of course)

2. Alan Trammell (yes; see recent blog entry)
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Mike Piazza
6. Jeff Bagwell (I know the sniff of steroid scandal surrounds these last four, but none of them ever failed an MLB drug test, or got suspended for PED use. And it's time the writers got off their high-horse.)

These first six are no-brainers, in my opinion.  And repeat after me: Baseball writers are not judges or pariahs.  Baseball writers are not judges or pariahs.  Baseball writers are not...

The next four should go in, but I'm ambivalent about them, in almost equal vehemence. I'd be okay with none of the four getting in, but the stats show that they should:

7. Mark McGwire OR Sammy Sosa (Repeat after me again: Baseball writers are not...McGwire gets the nod from me because of his Gold-Glove caliber defense at first.)

8. Curt Schilling (May place ahead of McGwire and Sosa, whose stats are better and who made bigger overall impacts during the regular season.  Schilling's numbers are better than Mussina's overall, but not by as much as you would think.  Voters aren't supposed to consider the post-season while voting, but...How could you not with Schilling?)
9. Mike Mussina (I see him as a Veterans Committee pick many years from now.)
10. Edgar Martinez OR Trevor Hoffman (The writers see these guys as part-time players, almost.  In truth, Hoffman might have a better shot than Edgar.  But the closer role and the DH are positions, nonetheless, even if a typical closer pitches just 75 innings a year and the DH essentially pinch-hits 5 times a game.)

I still can't justify Tim Raines getting in, though I mentioned last year that if he hadn't played at the same time as Rickey Henderson (and if that vial of coke hadn't shattered in his uniform pocket when he slid into home that day), then he'd be in the Hall.  I still believe that.

Lee Smith, as I said last year, was simply not a dominant closer.  Period.  Eckersley and Rivera were, and they're in the Hall.  Hoffman was not dominant like those two were, ever, but he was more than Smith was, every year.  I'm not sure he was dominant enough to make my Hall.  Probably at some point.  Not this time.  The writers will vote him in, anyway, because they won't vote in the steroids-stained, despite their innocence in MLB's court of law. But he should get in before Billy Wagner does.  Wagner probably doesn't belong at all. Same goes from McGriff and Sheffield, though Sheffield was probably more of an overall force than McGriff.  Had either played for the dominant teams of their time, however, each would be a lock for the Hall.  But whispers surround them as well, especially Sheffield.

I'll have to research Jeff Kent's numbers, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't among the top-10 best-hitting second basemen of all-time.  I hear that when Kent played with Bonds on the Giants, a reporter asked everyone else on the team not named Kent or Bonds to vote for the most-hated man on the team.  Every player said it was Kent, and it wasn't close.

Had Nomar never been drilled in the wrist that day, he would've been better than Jeter, especially in peak value.  But baseball is full of what-ifs.  He broke his wrist and he faltered.

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