I have a love hate relationship with the BBWAA. I love that they have kept low life steroid users out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, I have an issue with their behavior when it comes to certain segments of non-cheaters. You will see what I am talking about as you click through the slideshow.
The following six players are NOT a prediction of who I think will actually get elected this year. Instead they represent the six players that I would vote for if I was a member of the BBWAA from least to most deserving.
If you agree with some or all of my selections, let me know in the comments section.
If you feel I omitted someone unjustly, let me know that as well.
Please note each player will be listed with the team cap I believe he should wear if inducted.
Too many times players are evaluated on statistics based on all-time numbers and not enough weight is given to the era a player played in. I strongly believe that guys who excel as the best of their generation need to be given credit for such.
Jack Morris won more games than any of pitcher during the 1980s. He won 254 career games, started on Opening Day 14 years in a row, started in three All-Star Games (while making five All-Star teams) and he won four World Series as the ace of the staff the majority of the time.
The first World Series that my dad let me stay up late to watch with him was the 1991 World Series—or as it should be known—the best World Series ever. Game 7 was won by the Minnesota Twins after Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings. That fact is the final stamp of approval anyone should need to put Morris in.
The hard part was not deciding whether "The Crime Dog" deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. It was deciding which team's cap he should don for his plaque. Ultimately I went with the Braves because he had slightly better numbers while in Atlanta.
McGriff put up power numbers before the Steroids Era and then continued to put up similar numbers while playing throughout said tainted era. He was not a bulky monster. He was a tall and lean with a powerful swing.
McGriff hit 493 homers, had nearly 2,500 hits, over 1,300 runs scored and over 1,500 RBI. I have heard some people complain that he did not hit 500 homers. Seriously? You want to quibble over seven home runs? Not me. I am backing The Crime Dog.
This one makes me angry. The BBWA has a severe prejudice against designated hitters. The last time I checked, DHs were a position for each team in the American League. Early in his career he was a sub-par defensive 3B who could not stay healthy because of playing in the field.
The Mariners knew he could hit so they moved him to DH to preserve his legs. He went from being a good hitter to being a sick hitter.
Edgar Martinez had a .312 career batting average, .418 career OBP, hit 309 home runs, had over 1,200 runs scored and RBI plus he had 514 career doubles. He could flat out rake.
Keeping him out of the Hall of Fame because he spent the majority of his career as a DH is asinine. If the position exists and he dominated his position unlike none other—then he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Larkin is the player on my ballot most likely to actually make the Hall of Fame this year. He is on the ballot for the third time, and the fact he did not make it on the first ballot is a crying shame.
Barry Larkin made 12 All-Star teams, won nine Silver Sluggers, managed to win three Gold Gloves, even though he played while Ozzie Smith (arguably the greatest defensive SS of all time), was still active in the National League and won the 1995 MVP.
As good as Larkin was, he would have been even better if he was not constantly battling injuries. He probably spent more time on the disabled list than any other Hall of Famer that I can remember. Scary to think how much better his career achievements could have been.
Tim Raines is probably the best leadoff hitter in the history of baseball not named Rickey Henderson. Raines hit .294 for his career with a .385 OBP. That left him with over 2,600 career hits and over 1,300 career walks. What did he do once he got on base? How about 808 stolen bases—which is good for fifth all time. That led him to score almost 1,600 runs.
People will complain that he did not hit a lot of home runs or have over 1,000 RBI for his career. However, he was a leadoff hitter. He was supposed to get on base and score runs—which he did with the best of them. He spent so many years with the Expos batting after the pitcher.
Had that been in the American League, there would have been more men on base from the nine hole in the order, and he would have topped 1,000 career RBI easily. People who appreciate the little things realize just how great Raines was.
Lee Smith's omission from the Hall of Fame makes my blood boil. In addition to discriminating unfairly against DHs the BBWAA discriminates against relief pitchers as well. When Smith retired he had more saves than any pitcher in the history of baseball. What else do I even need to say to state his case?
Even though he is no longer No. 1 on the all-time saves list, he is still third all time—trailing only Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Not bad company.
What makes matters worse is that there are a handful of relievers in the Hall of Fame even though they trail Smith by leaps and bounds in save totals. The detractors will point to the number of one-inning saves that Smith racked up. Get over it. That is the way baseball has evolved over the years.
When a man leads a meaningful statistical category at the time of his retirement, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Smith's omission from the Hall of Fame is a travesty.