Who would I vote for this year if I had a ballot? Let's take a look.
I have said this time after time that this whole steroid discussion has made the Hall of Fame voting process into such a pain in the arse because what has happened is that deserving guys like Bagwell are still not in because of some suspicions. What a joke. Bagwell's case for Cooperstown is pretty clear-cut and while we should celebrate that he should be getting in this time, that doesn't make this any better.
From last year:
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
From last year:
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.Edgar Martinez
From last year:
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
From last year:
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.Tim Raines
This will be Raines' last year on the ballot and considering that he came up just shy a year ago, one would hope and presume that he would get in this time. One just has to look at his numbers and especially his numbers compared to his contemporaries and said person would see that that candidate certainly belongs to have his plaque in Cooperstown.
Ramirez was the last guy in on my ballot and he is a tough call because unlike Bonds and Clemens, we have actual failed drug tests and actual suspensions as a result of those tests so if you are somebody who follows the "character clause," you could make a strong case to not vote for him, and I would accept it. But even factoring all of that in, nobody would deny that Ramirez was one of the finest offensive threats during his prime, allowing him to clear the JAWS Hall of Fame standard even with his poor defense. As a big Hall guy, I can make some room for him.
Rodriguez, on paper, has the easiest case of any newcomer to get into the Hall in my opinion. After all, thanks to his famously terrific defense and a strong bat, he is one of the finest catches ever. However, there are some PED allegations with him as a result of Jose Canseco's book even as he never failed any test nor was he named in the Mitchell Report. I still fully expect him to get into the Hall this year but given how some of these voters think, you never know.
Schilling has showcased some truly dreadful opinions on politics and other matters, helping to lead to his dismissal from ESPN, and there appears to be some evidence that it could be having a drag on his support for the Hall. Even as I disagree with many of his opinions, some of which I disagree vehemently, I don't believe that it matter when it comes to his Hall of Fame candidacy. Schilling is, in my opinion, a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher and that is what should matter here.
As I will get to, I believe that Vladimir Guerrero should get into Cooperstown and is somebody I would vote for if we didn't have to deal with this ballot limit. But you cannot vote for Guerrero and not vote for Walker when Walker has the superior resume. In my opinion, Walker's struggles staying healthy is more of a strike against his candidacy than the fact that he played a good chunk of his career at Coors Field considering he was just as good on the road.
So there you have it, my hypothetical Cooperstown ballot. As I just alluded to there are more players that I would vote for than are available spots on a ballot and thus, here is who I would vote for in a logical world with no ballot maximum.
One of the most fun players of my youth, I am still not certain if there are pitches that the Expo and Angel great cannot hit. And while I do consider myself somebody that largely subscribes to the advanced numbers, Guerrero's traditional stats are Hall-worthy. You can't make a case for Guerrero over Walker, however, but even then, it is looking like Guerrero will either get in this year or get in next year.
And that's about it. Although he is probably going to get in this year, I am a no with Trevor Hoffman because unless a closer is otherwordly dominant, I'm not going to put him in a Hall considering they have such a small sample size and frankly, I think Billy Wagner was a better pitcher. But if you want him in the Hall, totally fine by me.
Jorge Posada was one of my favorite Yankees ever and was a tremendous hitter for a catcher but I don't think that he's going to have a particularly long stay on the ballot as his injury-prone late years and his poor defense hurt his cause.