Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Non-Voter's Hall of Fame Vote

The closest this writer gets to having a Hall of Fame vote is to participate in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance "recommendation" vote. But, since the ballots are due to be turned in by December 31, and since this Fan has a fifty year vested interest in MLB, you get the Fan's vote anyway. In many ways, this Fan feels just as competent to make such a vote as some of the "baseball writers" that make up the privileged who get to send in their official ballot.

The easiest way to do this is to give a brief listing of each of the 33 names on the ballot to at least give each of the 33 players a day in the sun. For some, this will be as good as it gets as they will vanish from future consideration after a year. For others, this may be the year they get in. And for still others, this will be one more year or the first year of multi-year consideration that may or may not lead to a final accumulation of enough votes to get into the cherished Hall of Fame.

First, there has to be a bit of discussion on the PED issues involved with some of the players. The Fan's feeling is that there is some bump in performance for those who used. But in an era that featured such wide-spread abuse, some of these players were still among the best of their era. And since it is already impossible to compare players from differing eras, all you can do is vote for the best players of their particular time they played. Did Mark McGwire use? Well, yeah, he said he did. But did any other users hit 70 homers? Of course, this is still a lightning rod conversation that will be years in discussion. But the Fan has already made a stand here. The Fan can't use a crystal ball to know who used and who didn't. Palmeiro did. He got caught. But did Jeff Bagwell? Who knows. And how can you know? So the speculation is ignored. The vote is based on whether the players on the ballot were worthy due to performance in the day and age they played.

Whew! All that said, here is is the Fan's 2010 Hall of Fame ballot:

Roberto Alomar - Yes! Absolutely no question in this Fan's mind that Alomar was the class second baseman of his era. A career .300 hitter with a career .371 OBP, 474 stolen bases with an 81% success rate, over 1500 runs scored and over 1100 RBIs, over 2700 hits. Plus, he was the most fun second baseman to watch ever. Despite some off the field problems (to say the least) and the spitting thing, Alomar is a slam dunk. Plus, he batted over .300 in post season games with 33 RBI in just 58 post season games.

Carlos Baerga - No. Will fall off the ballot after one year. Baerga had two spectacular years early in his career with Cleveland, but thereafter, settled into a useful, if not spectacular career.

Jeff Bagwell - Yes. Though short of some famous counting stats like 3000 hits and 500 homers, Bagwell had a great career with an accumulation of 79.9 WAR. He drove in over 1500 runs and scored over 1500 runs. His career slash line: .297/.408/.540 speak of marvelous consistency despite playing several years with a bad wing. He had 969 extra base hits plus 202 stolen bases. He was a good fielding first baseman too. Bagwell deserves to be included.

Harold Baines - No. Baines is in the Hall of Very Good. Baines had 2866 hits spread out over a 22 year career, but they all added up to a total accumulation of WAR to 37. He was a very good hitter for a very long time, accumulating a 120 lifetime OPS+. He just wasn't special enough to get into the Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven - Yes! Please! The Fan has already written about this ad nauseum. 287 wins, 3.31 ERA, 3701 strikeouts. 1.198 career WHIP, 242 complete games and 60 career shutouts. His 90.1 career WAR says enough to end the conversation. Enough is enough. Get him in there!

Bret Boone - No. One magical season isn't enough to put him into consideration. Only 21.4 WAR accumulated. Just not enough to even consider. Falls off ballot after one year.

Kevin Brown - No. Brown is an interesting discussion. With 211 wins and a .594 lifetime winning percentage, Brown finished in the top ten in Cy Young Award voting six times. He led the league in WHIP twice, led the league in ERA twice and had a lifetime 2.64 K/BB ratio. He is marginal. Put him in the same category as Ron Guidry. If one gets in, the other should. Stays on the ballot a while.

John Franco - No. Franco is definitely in the Hall of Very Good. 1119 appearances, all in relief. Pitched 21 effective seasons and ended up with 424 Saves. His 2.89 career ERA is very good, but a 138 career ERA+ is just not high enough for a relief pitcher. His 25.8 career WAR is half of Mariano Rivera's for example.

Juan Gonzalez - No. Gonzales might be the only two time MVP who does not make it ot the Hall of Fame. Only posted a career WAR of 33.5 despite some monster years. Gonzalez was the king of the undependable. He would show up for some years and simply tear the cover off the ball. They he would disappear. He had the hitting talent of A-Rod, but not the discipline.

Marquis Grissom - No. Played 17 seasons and stole 429 bases with a very good success rate. But he just wasn't good enough at getting on base. His .318 career OBP is disappointing considering what he could have done with his career with a better knack for getting on base. Over 2200 hits but no, he's not getting in. Probably off the ballot after one year.

Lenny Harris - No. If you opened the dictionary to find the definition of utility player, Lenny Harris would have his picture in there. Played eight different positions and despite playing 18 seasons, only accumulated 1055 hits. His WAR for his career is a negative number. He'll have to be content with the over $11 million he made in his career because Lenny Harris is the anti-Hall of Fame player.

Bobby Higginson - No. This Detroit favorite had three very good years for the Tigers early in his brief 11 year career. But he couldn't sustain it. A good and useful player. Will fall off the ballot after one year.

Charles Johnson - No. This catcher from Fort Pierce, Florida always seemed like he would become an All Star catcher. But despite a few good years, never could put it together for any length of time. Bounced around from team to team, he didn't even accumulate 1000 hits despite playing 12 seasons. Off the ballot after one year.

Barry Larkin - Yes. Some players you have to consider the position they played. Most of Larkin's numbers fall short of most Hall of Fame players, but he was a shortstop and for his era, was one of the best. His 68.9 WAR speaks highly of his productivity both at the plate and at short. He was a 12 time All Star and won an MVP award. Lost a lot of playing time due to injury.

Al Leiter - No. Another Hall of Very Good player. Won 162 games in his 19 year career. But doesn't have the counting stats in any category to be considered at all for the Hall of Fame. The only thing he ever led the league in was walks and wild pitches. Good guy. Fun guy. No on the Hall of Fame. Did you know that his given name is Alois?

Edgar Martinez - Yes. If they name a post season award after a guy, you have to put him in the Hall of Fame, right? The Edgar Martinez Award goes to the top DH each year. Named after the best DH of all time, Edgar Martinez should be a shoo in. Played in 18 seasons but only 13 of them were full seasons. Career slash line: .312/.418/.515. Amazing. 67.6 WAR accumulated. Martinez is short in all the counting stats that everybody llikes, but he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Tino Martinez - No. Hall of Very Good, but not the HOF. Bamtino played 16 seasons and had one great one and 15 productive ones. He was a good player and a beloved teammate. But he just isn't good enough for the Hall of Fame.

Don Mattingly - No. It kills the Fan to say no on Donnie Baseball. He was fantastic for four or five years and then after back troubles, was just ordinary. He just wasn't good enough for long enough to get consideration here. Maybe he'll have a long and successful managing career and get in that way.

Fred McGriff - No. One of the worst trades ever for the Yankees as they traded this young prospect to the Blue Jays for the immortal Tom Dodd and Dale Murray. He helped the Blue Jays to two World Series titles. McGriff is just on the cusp of being good enough to get in. 493 career homers and a 134 OPS+ show that he was a very good hitter for a very long time. He drove in over 1500 runs in his career. The problem the Fan has is that his career WAR only comes to 50.5. It's right on the edge. If  McGriff did get in the HOF, the Fan wouldn't complain. But he is marginal. The "Crime Dog" though is a Hall of Fame caliber nickname.

Mark McGwire - Yes. Have gone on record a number of times on this one. 63.1 career WAR. 583 homers and despite the PED case, he was a product of his times and saved baseball after the strike years.

Raul Mondesi - No. Oh please. There is a strong temptation to grind him on moral issues, but the Fan swore off of those kinds of things. The thing that seems evident here is that he was the Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers, made the All Star game his second full year along with a Gold Glove but as soon as he started big money, his career tanked. One of the standard bearers for the Yankee years when they overpaid anyone who seemed to have a big name. Less than 25 career WAR despite such a strong start.

Jack Morris - No. Hall of Very Good. 254 career wins. A workhorse. World Series hero. No doubts there. But his 39.3 career WAR leaves this voter cold.

Dale Murphy - No. In the same category as Don Mattingly. For a while, Murphy was one of the best players in the game. But he didn't sustain it long enough and his career fell off a cliff at a young age. A real downer because he's one of the best people to ever play the game. 44.2 career WAR just isn't high enough to merit consideration. Another two time MVP who will not be in the HOF.

John Olerud - No. Olerud had two super, fantastic seasons and the rest were all productive. Great on base guy. One of the best fielding first baseman ever. But, unfortunately, he's in the Hall of Very Good and not going to be in the Hall of Fame. 56.8 career WAR though makes him a better player than McGriff. One of the Fan's all time favorite players. A real winner who helped the Blue Jays and the Mets to titles.

Rafael Palmeiro - Yes. Will not get in because he is a PED poster boy, but how can you argue with 3000 hits and 1800+ RBIs?

Dave Parker - No. The Cobra won an MVP and two batting titles, but due to injuries and other reasons, just didn't have enough productive seasons. A 37.8 career WAR just isn't good enough. A very good player for several years. It just isn't enough.

Tim Raines - Yes. Lost a couple of his best years to strikes but next to Rickey Henderson, was the best lead off batter of his time. .385 career OBP, over 800 steals with a phenomenal success rate, 64.6 career WAR all add up to give Raines the counting stats he needs to get into the Hall of Fame. Yeah, there was the cocaine thing. But Raines is a Hall of Fame player.

Kirk Rueter - No. Rueter was a useful pitcher that went 130-92 in his big league career. A contact pitcher, he just was good enough to be helpful to the Giants for many years, but not good enough to ever be considered one of the top 20 pitchers in the league. Drops off after one year.

Benito Santiago - No. Santiago caught for parts of 20 seasons and in all that time, accumulated only 23.8 WAR. Enough said.

Lee Smith - No. 478 Saves and left as the career leader when he retired. But his 132 ERA+ is not good enough, nor is is 30.3 career WAR. Hall of Very Good perhaps.

B. J. Surhoff - No. If you just thought of his as a catcher, you might consider his career numbers. But he played more games in the outfield than he did behind the plate. A good player for an awfully long time, Surhoff was just not good enough to get into the Hall of Fame.

Alan Trammell - Yes. For the same reasons that Barry Larkin deserves to go into the HOF. Trammell was a shortstop who compiled a career WAR of 66.9 despite not having the counting stats most people want for a Hall of Fame player. He was one of the best of his times and he was very good for a long, long time. 7.5 career WAR for his fielding too. Slick. Professional. HOF.

Larry Walker - No. [[sigh]] Walker won three batting titles. He finished with a career OPS+ of 140. His WAR built up to 67.3. He was a great outfielder with 48 career assists. But the Fan just can't get away from Coors Field and the career splits. He hit .340 at home but .270 on the road. His OPS was 1.068 at home versus .865 on the road. If you add this up to his somewhat short career and lack of counting stats, it just isn't enough to make a HOF case. Alas. He sure was fun to watch.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I would say yes to Alomar, Larkin, Smith, Raines, and Blyleven.