My Hypothetical Hall of Fame Ballot
I am not a member of the BBWAA so I don’t get a vote… but if I was then here’s who I’d vote for and why or why not and if I think they have a shot for real:
1. Roberto Alomar – No brainer for me. I think he was simply the best 2B during his era and there really isn’t much of anyone close. It’d be all but certain he makes it on first ballot if he had reached 3000 hits but since he was shy I wouldn’t be surprised to see the writers punish him with a one year wait, as they really do that which is an entirely different rant. 12 straight years an all-star, 10 gold gloves, 4 silver slugger awards, and two championship rings. Yes, he never won an MVP but thankfully it’s not the Hall of MVP’s (if it were this would be a much easier voting process).
Prediction: If not this year, next I’d hope.
2. André Dawson – The Hawk was an amazing player on really bad teams and based on past trending he will probably make it in this year. With no sure-fire slam dunks in the first year eligible this year I think he has his best chance ever to gain the votes needed to make it in. He wasn’t dominant his entire career but had a fairly consistent period from about 1981 – 1987 where he would trade uber years with above average ones and win an MVP while finishing in the top 5 a few times too. I think the biggest problem we’ve seen with the stars from the 1980’s (which might as well be known as the second dead ball period) is that nobody is sure after guys like Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, and George Brett exactly what to look for. I think it is a combination of criteria…and when guys like Jim Rice are getting in I find it funny that Dawson has to wait as long as he has and Dale Murphy and Alan Trammell might not even stay on the ballot much longer.
Prediction: Now or possibly never.
3. Bert Blyleven – Not exactly a guy I remember much playing or one that comes to mind as a no-brainer member of the Hall of Fame; however after looking at the stats it’s pretty clear that he was really a workhorse and he did win 17 games or more 7 times and won two championships. He doesn’t have a lot of individual hardware but then again neither does Alomar and he’s an automatic in my book. Perhaps if I saw Blyleven pitch more or knew more about his history on bad teams, much like Dawson’s, then I’d be more inclined to vote for him…but at this point I just don’t know enough to say yes or no either way.
Prediction: Like Dawson I think he’s a shoo-in this time around and if not he might be in trouble.
4. Barry Larkin – I grew up and still live in West Virginia, and the closest team to me is either the Cincinnati Reds or Pittsburgh Pirates depending on which direction you want to travel…so I saw a lot of Reds games as a kid on Moose Lodge bus trips to Riverfront Park. Barry Larkin was a superstar in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The guy is a 12 time all-star, 1995 NL MVP, 9 time Silver Slugger, and 3 time Gold Glove winner and won a World Series with the Reds in 1990 (whom he coincidentally played his entire career with). No his career numbers aren’t as good as some in the Hall but aren’t the peripherals there to make up for that? Shouldn’t it be a balance between the various categories? Maybe Barry will reside in that void of players who are very good for a long time but not quite Hall of Fame caliber…I’m ok with that but he’d still get my vote.
Prediction: Sticks around on ballot but does not get in.
5. Mark McGwire – Here’s how I view the players of the steroid era…if they have the body of work let them in. I don’t care that he doesn’t want to talk about the past…he was simply the most feared hitter for a time until Barry Bonds took over that mantle. I don’t like the excuses writers will make to justify voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (which is something like “they’d have been a Hall of Famer before he started taking PED’s”) but wasn’t McGwire sort of on that same page? Not as complete a player as Barry Bonds was but certainly a more prolific power hitter….Barry was a scrawny 30/30 guy who was more known for a mix of speed and power. Big Mac just hit home runs. Long, towering, and probably PED-enhanced bombs that made people show up two hours early to games to watch him take batting practice. McGwire, along with Bonds and Clemens one day, would get my vote.
Prediction: No chance until he addresses the past he is trying to put behind him.
6. Tim Raines – Tough call for me and probably even tougher for voters. Rock was a great leadoff hitter and very much in that Rickey Henderson mold…but not like say Vince Coleman or other peers that were more speed than anything else…Raines had a lot of extra bases in him and not just because he was fast. He doesn’t have the hardware of Alomar or even Larkin but he did eventually get a ring with the Yankees in 1996. He is 5th all-time in stolen bases but is 400 or so hits shy of 3000. This makes it tough but I think Tim will probably fall into the range of Hall of Very Good and I would have to vote that way as well.
Prediction: Hangs around on ballot but never gets elected.
7. Edgar Martinez – Does one of the best DH’s of all-time belong? Eh. I’m not a fan of Edgar or Harold Baines for that matter…I’m not saying they weren’t great players but at the same time all the criteria considered they really only rack up batting stats over a long period of time…there’s no real era of dominance, hardware, post season heroics, etc. to go along with these guys and that’s where I have trouble giving them my vote. I just don’t buy it especially when we’re faced with holding out guys like Albert Belle who got absolutely no support and played during the same era, put up better stats, and played in the field. That’s not even bringing up guys like Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, etc. from the previous decades that were legit stars and x time all-stars who also get no love from the writers voting.
Prediction: Gets some support and hangs around but never gets close.
Others With Votes: Jack Morris, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Harold Baines, Don Mattingly
I think these guys will continue to get votes…but aside from maybe Fred McGriff I’m not sure any of them will ever have enough support to get in…although I think Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, and Alan Trammell should have.
Others (Likely) Without Votes: Kevin Appier, Harold Baines, Ellis Burkes, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Don Mattingly, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile
I don’t think any of these guys will get enough votes to stay on the ballot.
Those are my thoughts, I am sure yours are different. I’d vote for Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, McGwire, Murphy, and possibly McGriff. Out of those I think we’ll likely see Alomar, Blyleven, and Dawson in the Hall of Fame this year or next and the rest not any time soon if ever.