2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: 10 Worst Players on the Ballot

Ben Shapiro@benshapironyc1 Analyst IIIJanuary 6, 2012

2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: 10 Worst Players on the Ballot

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    Every year there's a new Hall of Fame Ballot for the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to choose players from to induct into the hall. 

    The ballot is generally made up of some pretty good former major league players. Then again there are always some odd names on it ballot as well. 

    This year is no different. 

    Sure, you've got guys like Lee Smith, Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Alan Trammel, Jeff Bagwell and Bernie Williams. All of them were very good players who are deserving of being in the discussion for induction into the Hall. 

    There are also some puzzling names as well. Any player with more than 10 years of experience in Major League Baseball has the opportunity to pass through a screening committee and end up on the ballot. That's fine, those are the rules. In general, the Hall of Fame gets it right more often than they get it wrong. 

    People will always obsess over the one or two inductees or snubs they most vehemently disagree with, but the hall is well-stocked with plenty of worthy members. 

    That doesn't mean there aren't some amusing names on the ballot.

    Don't believe me? 

Tony Womack

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    Tony Womack was by no means a bad baseball player. 

    In fact, from 1997 to 2000, he was the dominant base stealer in the National League. He stole 60, 58, 72 and 45 bases. The first three totals led the league. That's good. 

    The problem is that there's not much else. He was an All-Star in 1997 and he finished ninth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, but the bulk of his career was spent as a respectable shortstop or second baseman. 

    He hit for almost no power, was never really an on-base percentage guy with a career on-base percentage of .317. 

    He had no Gold Gloves, and was a career .273 hitter as well. 

    There's nothing wrong with any of that. It's not a Hall of Fame career, though. 

Terry Mulholland

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    Terry Mulholland spent 20 years pitching as a Major League Baseball player. For that, he deserves plenty of credit. 

    He won 16 games in 1991, which was his career high, and he had a career-low earned run average of 3.25 in 1993. Both those numbers are solid. Had he made a habit of matching or even coming close to matching those numbers over the course of his lengthy career, this discussion might be different. 

    He didn't, though. In fact, in his 20-year career Mulholland had 10 or more wins only five times. He also had a number of postseason appearances, but a 6.61 earned run average in 31.1 innings pitched certainly won't be convincing anyone to admit him to Cooperstown, either.  

Eric Young

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    Let's be clear here. The stolen bases are impressive. 

    Eric Young stole 465 bases in a 15-year major league career. That's good for 45th all time. It's also his most impressive accomplishment, and it's still not nearly enough to gain him entry to the Hall of Fame. 

    A .283 career average is nice, but that's not a Hall of Fame career average without other numbers to go with it. Young finished his career with 1,731 hits, which over 15 seasons, is not too amazing. 

    Young had a nice career and was a decent analyst on Baseball Tonight for a while. Now, he's the first base coach on the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played in two postseasons while he was a player, but got back to the playoffs in his very first as a coach. 

    Who knows? Maybe Young could be a great manager. He's on the right path. 

Bill Mueller

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    Sorry, Boston Red Sox fans. Bill Mueller will always occupy a special place in my own baseball memories, and I'm quite sure that he's in very good standing with most other Red Sox fans as well. 

    The Baseball Hall of Fame, though? Not going to happen. 

    He only played 12 years, which is not a lengthy span of time in baseball. The minimum for Hall of Fame consideration is 10 years. 

    It just so happens that Red Sox fans got to see Mueller at his best. In 2003, he had what was without question his career season. He led the league in batting at .326 and had career highs of 19 home runs, 85 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .938. 

    His 2004 season wasn't nearly as good statistically speaking, but it just so happens that two of the most critical hits of that season came off Mueller's bat. 

    On July 24, the Red Sox were playing the New York Yankees and the game became etched in the minds of all baseball fans when Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek got into a brawl. Players on both teams were ejected and the Yankees entered the bottom of the ninth leading 10-8. New York brought in future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.

    Rivera gave up one run on a Kevin Milar run-scoring single and then Mueller hit a two run walk-off home run to win the game 11-10.

    His most famous hit was the two-out run-scoring single off Rivera in Game 4 of the ALCS that season that scored pinch runner Dave Roberts and tied the game, which was eventually won in the 12th inning on walk off home run by David Ortiz.

    Those amazing moments won't be enough to get Mueller into the hall, but he'll always be a legend in Boston.  

Brad Radke

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    "Dependable" and "consistent" could both be aptly used to describe the 12-year career of Brad Radke. 

    "Hall of Fame worthy" would not be used, though. 

    If Radke was in his prime and a free agent this offseason, there would be teams lining up for his services. After all, teams like guys that go out give you 34 starts a year with an earned run average of 4.22 and a walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched ratio of 1.260. 

    On the Red Sox or Yankees of 2012, those numbers would probably result in 15-20 wins. Even on the Twins from 1995-2006, he averaged 13 wins, peaking with 20 in 1997. The problem is that this type of production, while unquestionably valuable and appreciated, only makes someone into a Hall of Fame-type pitcher if it can be done for around or over 20 years. 

    Had Radke produced those numbers over 20 and not 12 years, then his career wins would be much closer to 300 as opposed to his more pedestrian 148. He didn't do that, though. 

    Radke was a nice pitcher who possessed valuable qualities but wasn't able to maintain those for long enough to come and closer than the bottom of the Hall of Fame Ballot. 

Brian Jordan

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    We'll never really know if Brian Jordan would have had a great career as opposed to just a nice career had he given up football a little earlier in life. 

    By the time he made the majors, he played only baseball, but while he was in the minor leagues from 1989 to 1991, he played defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons. 

    Did the punishment he absorbed while playing in the NFL end up shortening his baseball career? We really don't know, but Jordan was an exceptional athlete who for a few seasons in the mid and late 1990s was on the cusp of real stardom. 

    He never achieved it, though. He was 25 when he finally became an everyday major league player with the St. Louis Cardinals. By the time he was 36, he was no longer a reliable starter. 

    Jordan had some great seasons, and it earned him a four-year $21.3 million contract to play in Atlanta following his very successful 1998 season.

    He was an All-Star once, hit as many as 25 home runs in a single season and surpassed the 100 runs batted in mark twice. In 1995, he had over 20 home runs and over 20 stolen bases.

    Jordan's name probably won't last too long on the Hall of Fame Ballot.  

Phil Nevin

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    Maybe if Phil Nevin hadn't had his best seasons while men like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds were eclipsing Roger Maris' single season home run record of 61, then he'd at least be remembered a little better. 

    That still wouldn't put him in the running for anything more than a ballot appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, but at least his 2001 season when he hit .306 with 41 home runs and 126 runs batted in would be remembered by more than just Padres fans. 

    Nevin was a solid player who in his prime could hit for power and drive in runs. His "prime" years were far too short to merit anything more than a brief stay on the Hall of Fame ballot. It's unlikely he''ll be on the ballot for too many seasons, even though it only takes a player's name appearing on a minimum of five percent of the ballots cast to get placement the next year. 

    Nevin, like many of the players in the slideshow, might not get to that five percent threshold, though. There are a lot of Phil Nevin-type players in major league history, and that's not exactly a Hall of Fame-worthy designation. 

Vinny Castilla

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    Vinny Castilla will probably get a few votes. His career was actually pretty good. In fact, he might be among the better of the bottom rung also-rans. 

    From 1995 through 1999 Castilla had four-100 runs batted in seasons, hit over 30 home runs every year and hit over .300 four times peaking at .319 in 1998. 

    That's four fantastic seasons at third base. He was an All-Star twice as well. 

    If Castilla had been able to maintain that type of production for another four or five seasons then he wouldn't be in this slideshow at all. 

    Unfortunately for him, he couldn't play at that level for anything more than a brief period. He also played a position where a premium is placed on defense, and he wasn't great defensively. 

    For his career, Castilla hit 320 home runs with a .276 average. Even if you're of the opinion that a lot of players from his era won't gain entry to the Hall of Fame due to the performance enhancing drug issue, those numbers at third base would still make Castilla a fringe guy at best. 

Jeromy Burnitz

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    Milwaukee Brewers fans might not like this slide, but it won't keep any New York Mets fans up at night. 

    That sort of sums up the reason that Jeremy Burnitz won't be giving a Hall of Fame acceptance speech in Cooperstown anytime soon. 

    When he left Milwaukee via free agency following the 2001 season, Burnitz was in the midst of a fairly impressive streak of offensive seasons.  

    Had he produced numbers for the Mets in the same manner in which he did in Milwaukee from 1997 to 2001, the combination of the raw stats and the visibility of playing in the nation's largest media market could have made for a more compelling Hall of Fame case. 

    That's not what happened, though. 

    Burnitz, who arrived in New York having hit 30 or more home runs for four consecutive seasons, hit a measly 19 in 2002. His runs batted in dropped from 100 to 54 and his batting average, which was never a strong suit, went from a tolerable .251 to an abysmal .215.

    Chicago White Sox fans reading this can sleep well knowing they're not the first team to fall prey to this Adam Dunn-like drop-off in production. 

    Burntiz played 14 years and hit 315 home runs with a career batting average of only .253. He was an All-Star just once, and he won't be on the Hall of Fame ballot too many more times than that, either. 

Tim Salmon

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    If the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had their own formal Hall of Fame, then Tim Salmon wouldn't just gain entry. He'd probably be a first ballot Angels Hall of Famer. 

    That's because Salmon had a very nice 14-year career, and every one of those was played in an Angels uniform. He was American League Rookie of the Year in 1993 and the American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2002. 

    That season was magical not just for Salmon, but for the Angels in general as they won the 2002 World Series. Salmon played a key role in the postseason, hitting .288 with four home runs and 12 runs batted in. The highlight was his two home run explosion in game three of the World Series. 

    Salmon ended his career as the Angels' all-time leader in home runs with 299. He also leads the franchise in runs scored with 983 and is second in runs batted in with 1,016. Those are all great totals for the Angels franchise, but none of them are Hall of Fame caliber. Salmon is one of the all-time great Angels, but he's not one of the all-time great Major League Baseball players—not even close.