Every year for the last few years I have posted my thoughts (in the past on my own blog) on who the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) should enshrine into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown (as if they would ever listen to just a fan.) Anyway, here goes my fourth Annual HOF Ballot.
This year, 23 former players are on the ballot (down from 25 last year). Several newcomers this year, but really only one that stands out as a first ballot HOFer:
I don’t think anyone could legitimately argue that Ricky was not a Hall of Famer. Was he abrasive? Almost constantly. Did he have a big ego? He made Reggie look humble. But the man could play the game.
One of the greatest leadoff men in history (I think Ty Cobb would debate that point), he had that deadly combination of power and speed, and he’d be the first to tell you that too. I would love to see him go in with a San Diego Sea Dawgs cap.
And returning from last year:
This is Rice’s last year on the ballot, but the good news is he came very close last year with 72.2 percent. I was divided on Rice during his first few years of eligibility, but when I look back, he was one of the most feared hitters during his playing days. Had he not pissed off the media so much he probably would have gotten in well before now.
This is now his eighth year on the ballot. I still don't get how you can ignore 438 HRs and 314 SBs and an MVP. He did get 66 percent last year, so the future looks decent for his eventual selection.
Raines was a seven-time All-Star who played 23 seasons and batted .294 with 2,605 hits and 808 steals, fifth on the career list.
He was the 1986 NL batting champion. More than that, he was feared both at the plate and on the basepaths. The Rock deserves a plaque.
This is now his 12th year on the ballot. He has 287 victories (24th all-time), 3,701 strikeouts (fifth all-time), plus he ranks eighth in starts and ninth in shutouts. He had his best vote total last year (62 percent) but time is running out and a lot of new first ballot players are coming in the next few years.
This is his eighth year on the ballot, and after several very low vote totals (he’s never cracked the 20 percent mark) I don't think he will ever make it.
Tram pales in comparison to the new breed of shortstops, which is an unfair comparison and one I hope that the Veteran's Committee will eventually rectify.
Yes his numbers were enhanced by chemicals - but he didn't do anything outside the rules of baseball. I would even argue that MLB knew he was on roids and still promoted him. Should we punish him for acting within the rules?
Best money pitcher ever. Opponents to his selection will cite his high ERA. That’s not all that makes a pitcher great. You knew when Morris was on the mound that you were seeing something special.
Then there are the almost but not quite players:
David Cone - Nice career but not a HOFer
Mark Grace - Lumped in with Mattingly and Hernandez
Tommy John - I vote no. Yeah he had almost the same number of wins as Blyleven, but he wasn't as good a pitcher
Don Mattingly - outside New York, his star is not as big - a no
Dale Murphy - I go back and forth on him. Ultimately, I end up a no, but woudln’t be upset if he made it
The rest, in my opinion, are just taking up room on the ballot:
Harold Baines - Not even close
Jay Bell - Please
Ron Gant - Who was he again?
Jesse Orosco - I thought he was still pitching somewhere
Dave Parker – Hell of a player, but no
Dan Plesac - Can anyone get on the ballot?
Lee Smith - No, but fun guy to have a beer with
Greg Vaughn - No
Mo Vaughn – As mentioned previously, the Mets are actually highlighting him on the website
Matt Williams - No