31 December 2015

My 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

(US Presswire)
The 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced this upcoming Wednesday, January 6th. As a consistent reader of this space (I hope), you know that this is a passionate subject of mine, one of which I dumped a decent amount of computer ink on. Who do I think should be inducted into Cooperstown this summer? Here is my hypothetical ballot.

The Ballot
Jeff Bagwell
Regardless of whether Bagwell gets in this year or he gets in next year, it has been far too long. Just like we have seen with Mike Piazza, a whisper campaign not based in fact has helped to taint Bagwell's campaign. Unfortunately, the voters can get away with crap like this and cover it in a cloak of a player like Bagwell starring in the steroid era. He will ultimately get in but it's just annoying to keep a guy like this out.

Barry Bonds
Bonds is one of the greatest hitters of all time. Nobody can really deny that. Steroids alone did not make Bonds one of the finest hitters ever to play the game and he was already on the path to Cooperstown before the reported window of him using began. Bonds used steroids at a time when the entire baseball establishment didn't care and attempted to sweep it under the rug. And he wouldn't be the first cheater ever elected to Hall, not by a long shot. I don't care if you plaster all over Cooperstown that he used steroids, to keep him out is ridiculous.

Roger Clemens
The story with Clemens is virtually the same story as that of Bonds, an all-time great who will likely be kept out of the Hall because of his steroid connections. The rationale behind keeping Bonds and Clemens out is pretty flawed and is helping to keep one of the game's greatest pitchers out of his deserved spot in baseball's shrine. This holier-than-thou BS of baseball's writers who helped to keep the steroid issue on the down-low is disgusting, quite frankly.

Ken Griffey Jr.
We all know that Griffey is going to sail into the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. Even considering the back-half of his career (namely his time in Cincinnati) was hindered by injuries, leaving one to wonder what could have been had he had better luck with health, he still was a special player and more than deserving of enshrinement. The better question will be how close he can get to 100% of the vote.

Edgar Martinez
It is not Martinez's fault that the American League has had a designated hitter for over 40 years and that he spent his whole career playing for an AL team that chose to utilize him as their DH for most of his career. There are countless hitters in the Hall that were terrible fielders and so I don't why he should be penalized because he was a DH. Martinez has the hitting resume that warrants induction and that should be that.

Mike Mussina
It goes to show with cases like Mussina how goofy the voters can be sometimes. Here's a guy that seemed to fly under-the-radar somewhat as a player even as he was a superb pitcher despite spending his entire career in the offense-heavy AL East. Break down both his strikeout and his run prevention numbers, stack them up historically and then try to tell me he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.

Mike Piazza
This should be the year that Piazza gets in but it truly is ridiculous that it has taken him so long when he should have gone in on the first ballot. He only is the best-hitting catcher of all time. It just goes to show how absurd the steroid taint can be even regarding players that have yet to have any substantial evidence that he was using PEDs.

Tim Raines
Raines is starting to run out of time to get inducted which truly is a shame because his resume is one that should be rewarded with a plaque in Cooperstown. As we all know, Raines has long been underrated because he played in Montreal and because he played at the same time of a similar yet higher-profile player in Rickey Henderson. Compare his numbers to Tony Gwynn's, somebody who sailed into the Hall.

Curt Schilling
Schilling has had more luck with the voters than Mussina thus far but both have been pretty undervalued by the voters. Again, how John Smoltz was able to get in on the first ballot and these guy have such a ways to go is beyond me. Schilling has a terrific strikeout-walk ratio, truly is one of the best strikeout pitchers ever and, for those who value postseason performance, is one of the greatest postseason pitchers ever.

Alan Trammell
This is Trammell's last year on the ballot and sadly, he is going to have to rely on the veterans' committee down the line because he won't be getting in this time. Trammell had his time before the shortstop position truly blossomed in the 1990's and yet being an excellent all-around player has done nothing for him with the voters. Compare him with current Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and soon-to-be elected Derek Jeter.

There you have it, my hypothetical Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. As we all know, the BBWAA still has this limit of ten candidates on one ballot. Unfortunately, I would ideally have eleven guys on my ballot so below is the one guy I'd have on the outside looking in.

Larry Walker
It remains such a crowded ballot so there has to be somebody I leave off and unfortunately, it's Walker. I understand that playing so many games of his career at Coors Field helped him out with his statistics but so what if he is guilty from playing his home games in a very favorable hitter's park, he isn't alone in that regard. If only he had better health during his career.

You can go back to last year's ballot post to see my take on some notable omissions (including guys like Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa) but here I'll post my insights on the notable omissions among those new to the ballot.

I find the closer position to be one that is consistently overvalued these days considering how little they pitch in this age where it is hard to stand out unless you are such a dominant force like Mariano Rivera. That said, I really don't have any issues with a guy like Trevor Hoffman getting elected, as he likely will this year, but what really sets him apart from Lee Smith? Not to mention that Billy Wagner arguably has just as impressive as a resume without having the longevity because he was more dominant of a pitcher.

And in conclusion, Jim Edmonds is not a Hall of Famer but he has a better case than you think. Center fielders have not gotten a good shake over the years from the voters, resulting in guys like Kenny Lofton and Bernie Sanders being one-and-done guys with resumes that warranted more than that, if not outright induction.

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