Of all 27 players and pitchers on the 2012 ballot for the Hall of Fame, only six are suitable to be placed in that institution.
The list is as watered down as it has ever been, especially since the ones who have the best credentials are linked in some fashion to the steroids disgrace.
Should someone be "eligible" for the Hall of Fame simply because they have been retired for five years? What kind of vetting system is that?
Not one pitcher of the four who appear on the ballot pass my smell test for the Hall of Fame. And face it folks, if you don't get past the smell test, you are not going to make it on my ballot.
I have included the six who I believe should be enshrined. There are several more who should be, but for whatever reasons were passed over and sent to the veterans committee where dreams go to die. I will reveal them in reverse order saving the best one for last.
Buckle up and let's get this buggy started.
It is high time, after being snubbed 10 times already, that Detroit Tiger shortstop Trammell receive his just due. Unless there is an over-abundance of shortstops in that hallowed place that I am unaware of, it is time.
Look at some who are already there. Luis Aparicio, if stolen bases had not been invented poor Aparicio would be a footnote somewhere.
Ozzie Smith with his defensive prowess and, let us face it, his batting anorexia.
Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and I could continue on and on, but I shall digress.
Although a marginal Hall of Fame prospect, some people don't think the "Crime Dog" should make it, but I do. He had a very good career, hit nearly 500 home runs, drove in 1,550 runs and batted a decent .284.
He is also one of the few men who have won a HR title in both leagues.
Raines should follow his teammate, Andre Dawson, and become a belated member to the shrine. He was one of the best base thieves in the history of the game, being fifth on the career leaderboard in stolen bases, and his .294 average and .385 OBP make him an attractive candidate.
His 2,605 hits and 1,570 runs are second only to steroids on this ballot (Palmeiro).
A man should not be punished by the cards he is dealt. Martinez did not invent the position of designated hitter. He was a third baseman and a good one.
His .312 average is second on the roster and his OBP of .418 leads them all. He chipped in with over 300 HRs. He also has two batting titles, one RBI crown and led the league in OBP three times.
Larkin is projected by many to be the lone entrant into the Hall of Fame in this class. He should make it, but he should not go alone.
Larkin was the class of the middle infield during his time in the game. He won an MVP trophy and batted .294 for his career. I have already told you how watered down the middle infield of the Hall of Fame is offensively.
Larkin was on 13 All-Star teams, won three Gold Gloves and eight Silver Sluggers.
Will he still be looking after the vote on Monday?
Bags was a Rookie of the Year and an MVP. His 449 HRs, 1,529 RBI and OBP of .408 should put him over the top.
In his MVP year of 1994 (110 games), he batted .368, hit 39 HRs and drove in a league-leading 116 runs.
He hit 40-plus HRs three times, over 30 six more and drove in 100-plus runs eight times.
Some like him and some do not. That does not bode well when you consider the fickle nature of the writers who elect these players.
My prediction for the election on Monday? Larkin and Bagwell together.
The Rest of Them
Of the remaining 21 players men, 13 are on the ballot for the first time. Of those 13, probably at least six will not only be their first but also their final ballot. Each player must garner at least five percent (5%) of the vote to continue to be placed on the ballot.
Jack Morris is making his 13th appearance and with only 53.5 percent of the votes his chances are slim to none.
Dale Murphy is making his 14th, next-to-last attempt at the Hall of Fame. A very good player, but will be a trivia footnote along with Roger Maris and Juan Gonzalez as players with two MVP awards and not in the Hall of Fame.
Don Mattingly will show up for the 12th time and with less than 13 percent of the votes will be overlooked again. Face it, if he would get in, why wouldn't Will Clark be there?
Lee Smith is on his 10th ballot and like Morris, with less than 50 percent of the votes needed, should realize his best chance will lie with the veterans committee.
Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro are poster boys for what not to take in order to be a good baseball player. Both, especially Rafy would have the statistics to make it into Cooperstown. Sadly, both probably never will.
Larry Walker and Bernie Williams are my picks to hang on for several years before fading off into Hall of Fame obscurity.
Here are side-by-side statistics of the entire 2012 ballot.