MLB Hall of Fame 2012: Breaking Down This Year's Most Deserving Nominees

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 4:  Shortstop Barry Larkin #11 of the Cincinnati Reds fields his position during the MLB game against the San Diego Padres on August 4, 2002 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Reds won 15-10.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame announcement should be a time to celebrate the career of the player(s) who will join the greatest collection of baseball talent ever assembled, but because the voters are the most ignorant and elitist group of people ever assembled, all we end up talking about his who didn't make it in. 

This year's class will be announced on Monday at 3 p.m. ET, and there are a number of deserving candidates on the ballot. 

So who are the best of the best that deserve to get the call to Hall?


Barry Larkin, SS

Key Stats: .295/.371/.444 in 19 seasons

4 Oct 1999:  Barry Larkin #11 of the Cincinnati Reds throws the ball during a game against the New York Mets  at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Mets defeated the Reds 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Larkin helped to revolutionize the shortstop position in the early 1990s. He was always an underrated defensive player, mainly because he played during the Ozzie Smith era, and he could also hit for average, power and get on base. 

We have gotten so used to seeing everyone be able to post good offensive numbers regardless of position that Larkin often gets lost in the shuffle when talking about shortstops from the '90s. 

He seems like a lock to go in this year after receiving 62.1 percent of the vote in 2011. The fact that he didn't get in last year was a joke, and one that should be remedied on Monday afternoon. 


Jeff Bagwell, 1B

Slash Stats: .297/.408/.540 in 15 seasons

CINCINNATI - MAY 21:  Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros eyes his batted ball as Jason LaRue of the Cincinnati Reds watches during the game on May 21, 2004 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Reds defeated the Astros 7-4.  (Photo by Andy
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I wrote about what the voters are doing to Bagwell on Sunday, so I won't dive into that whole argument again. 

Instead, I will just present the merits of his Hall of Fame candidacy. Like Larkin, there really is no reason for him not to be in already. He was a great offensive player who also took pride in his defense, which is not something you always see in first basemen. 

He finished in the top 10 of National League WAR six times from 1994-1999, his .408 on-base percentage ranks 39th all-time, drew more than 100 walks seven times, had nine seasons of at least 30 home runs. 

There really is no good argument to keep him out of the Hall of Fame, so let's hope that the writers do their job to put him in there. 


Tim Raines, LF

Slash Stats: .294/.385/.425 in 23 seasons

Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos drops his bat and prepares to run.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The only argument that people have used against Raines getting into the Hall of Fame is that he isn't Rickey Henderson.

The voters have to punish Raines because he had the nerve to be one of the greatest leadoff hitters in the history of Major League Baseball and not THE greatest. 

Raines was basically Rickey Henderson-lite. He stole bases, had some power, a great eye at the plate with the ability to work a count and played good defense in left field. 

Another thing that likely holds him back to the voters is he played a corner outfield position, which is traditionally a spot for big power hitters. But that is still no excuse to keep him off the ballot. 


Mark McGwire, 1B

Slash Stats: .263/.394/.588

I imagine this will be the most controversial choice because fans and voters have gotten so self-righteous that the very idea of someone who admitted to using steroids getting in to the Hall of Fame makes them cringe. 

But there has never been any definitive proof that using anything helps make you a better baseball player. 

McGwire was a dominant power hitter throughout his career. He led the league in home runs three times, walks and on-base percentage twice, slugging percentage four times and OPS+ four times. 

Like it or not, McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame, just like Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez when their time comes. 


Apologies to: Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez and Bernie Williams