Home > Sports > Ridley’s 2013 (Hypothetical) Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Ridley’s 2013 (Hypothetical) Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

325px-National_Baseball_Hall_of_Fame_and_MuseumLet’s start with me stating that I do not have an official Hall of Fame ballot issued by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and have as much chance of getting one as Jeff Cirillo has of making the Hall of Fame this year (or ever, for that fact). Nonetheless, in typical, arrogant, thinks-I-know-more-than-I-do blogger fashion, I, like the rest of cyber space, am disclosing who I would vote for in this year’s Hall of Fame election. Think of it as this week’s Top Ten. As always, feel free to ream me in the comments.

(In no particular order)

10. Dale Murphy – Feel free to label this as my “Braves’ fan homer” pick. Yes, Dale Murphy did play for my beloved Bravos, but never while I was watching them. Everybody talks about his short (8 year) peak and his low WAR total (42.6). But during his 8-year peak, he was in the top 3 of the league for home runs, runs, total bases, extra base hits and intentional walks. He was a two-time MVP and a five-time Gold Glove winner. People seemed to ignore Sandy Koufax’s short peak, as brilliant as it was. They should do the same for Murphy. (Add in the fact that he was arguably one of the greatest PEOPLE to ever play the game and he aces the last two requirements of the Hall of Fame, character and integrity).

9. Barry Bonds – Let’s get the controversy out of the way early, shall we? Was Bonds an undeniable d*ck who alienated his own clubhouse, organization and sport so much that he was forced into retirement despite still be fairly productive? Yes. Over the course of his career, did his head grow like a melon during the spring time? Yes. But was he a Hall of Famer before his body ever started to change? You bet.

Prior to 1996 (the year he allegedly starting “using”), Bonds had already accumulated a massive 71.6 WAR over 10 years. To put that in perspective, that’s higher than everybody else on this year’s ballot besides Clemens, Bagwell and Schilling. He had 259 homeruns already to go with three MVPs (along with a second place finish), five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers and five All-Star elections. And this was with 12 more years of playing to go. Despite what may or may not have happened during the second-half of his career, Bonds first, CLEAN half is worthy of inclusion in and of itself.

8. Roger Clemens – Arguably in a tie with Bonds for the biggest D-bag on the ballot, if not the biggest, the same arguments used for Bonds can be used for Clemens as well.

Before Clemens ever made his way into pinstripes (and the life of Brian McNamee), Clemens was already one of the best pitchers in the history of the game. Through 1998, Clemens had already won five Cy Youngs, six ERA titles, 233 wins and 3,153 strikeouts plus a WAR of 97.1. The Rocket was a Hall of Famer before he ever went to the Yankees or the Astros or back to the Yankees. To omit him from this is to mar baseball’s history. And if you think I like writing that sentence, please see the opening sentence about him.

7. Jeff Bagwell – If Jeff Bagwell had created the same career he had in the 80’s and early 90’s, he would’ve been a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, because he played in the Steroid Era and looked “steroid-y,” he has a black cloud constantly hanging over his head. Although his name has never popped up in any reports about steroid use, Bagwell constantly finds himself guilty until proven innocent.

As far as the numbers that back up his case, his 76.7 WAR is the 3rd highest of this year’s nominees (which also makes Clemens and Bonds even more impressive), he’s the only first basemen who’s a member of the 400-HR, 200-stolen base club (courtesy of Jayson Stark), won the Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove, an MVP and multiple Silver Sluggers. And he also has the most runs scored in a season for any year beyond 1930 (pretty impressive for a first basemen). In the 90’s, when talking about the game’s best first basemen, you couldn’t have a conversation without him. That’s all you need to know.

6. Craig Biggio – How amazing would it be for Biggio and Bagwell to be elected into the Hall of Fame the same day? Well, I’m not going to answer that, because pompous voters are going to make sure Bagwell doesn’t make it in, at least not this year. Biggio, on the other hand, is likely this year’s best candidate to make it in.

A first timer on the ballot, Biggio has all the numbers the traditionalists look for without the taint of steroids hovering over him. Biggio has 3,060 hits, 1,844 runs, 291 homeruns, 1,175 RBIs and 414 stolen bases. He finished just 9 homers shy of becoming the 3rd member the 300-HR, 400-SB club (Bobby and Barry Bonds are the only two members; Rickey Henderson finished 3 HRs shy). Oh, and he did this all while playing quality (but not great) defense at three premium positions up the middle. If this doesn’t say “Hall of Fame,” I quit baseball.

5. Curt Schilling – Schilling may be a modern-day version of Jack Morris. Both have winning percentages hovering around 60% (59.7% to 57.7%), both failed to reach the “automatic” 300 wins, aren’t exactly loved by sabermetrics, but both carried the aura of “ace” around wherever they went. Name another person that would’ve started 3 games in a 7 game series in the World Series when Randy Johnson is also part of your staff (in which he allowed 4 total earned runs)? When healthy, Schilling was one of the most dominant and reliable starters during his time. And with credit to Jayson Stark again, he holds the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of any pitcher since 1900 (4.38 to 1). For those How I Met Your Mother fans out there: Lawyered!

4. Edgar Martinez – Before anybody starts pissing and moaning about how he was only a DH, just stop. You may not agree with the premise of the DH, but that’s not the issue here. What is the issue is that Edgar Martinez had one of the best sticks of his time, who has a higher career than Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa without the addition of any defense (insert joke about other three’s defense here).

Edgar has an on-base percentage of .418, which currently ranks him 21st on the all-time list. The man was on base so much that he had more walks than he did strikeouts AND RBIs, which is pretty impressive for a guy with over 1,200 “ribbies.” He was a 7-time All-Star, won multiple Silver Sluggers and even finished third in the MVP, and anybody that follows MVP balloting knows how impressive that is.  He may have not contributed anything defensively, but offensively, the man was a machine that powered a Mariners team to a record 116 victories without Alex Rodriguez or Ken Griffey Jr.

3. Mike Piazza – As a Braves fan, I loved to hate Piazza. My cousins and I would always rag on him for his limp-noodle…arm, his boy-band hair highlights and the fact that David Wells could probably steal a base on him. With that said, however, he also terrified us any time he came to bat.

Piazza, like Martinez, didn’t provide a lick of defensive value, even though they constantly put him in the field. But the fact he was always in the lineup despite his defensive ineptitude is a testament to the offensive wallop he packed. He was the best offensive catcher in the history of the game, finishing his career with an amazing 427 homers, 1,335 RBIs and a career batting average of .308. These would be great career numbers for a first basemen, but for a catcher, they’re almost unfathomable. Despite that, Piazza will be on the outside looking in when the results are released, due to allegations of back acne, a common side effect of steroid use. I think it could just be all that grease in his hair sweating down his back, but that’s just this blogger’s opinion.

2. Tim Raines – Raines is another player that was either past their prime or retired by the time I started to understand baseball. Sure, he flubbed around from 1995-2002, but that player was just a shell of the guy who people want in the Hall, when he was barely above replacement level.

His career WAR of 66.2 places him seventh on the list of this year’s candidates. The majority of that number was accumulated from 1983 and 1993, when he averaged nearly 5 “Wins” a year. He never eclipsed 2.0 WAR after 1993. However, during that eleven year peak, Raines was among the best players in baseball.

In those years, Raines averaged 142 games played, 96 runs, 161 hits, nearly 8 triples, 54 stolen bases, 80 walks and a .300 batting average. For a guy who averaged less than 10 homers per year, he still has an OPS of .828 during that span with an OPS+ of 130. He also made the All-Star team seven consecutive times, no small feat for somebody playing in Montreal.

Raines likely stayed way past his time, but during his time during a remarkable 11 years, he was one of the very best baseball had to offer.

1. Larry Walker – Walker was another guy who, when healthy, was not only one of the most feared hitters in the league but also one of the games best all-around players. That’s the biggest knock on Walker, though, was his health. He averaged only 123 games a season over his 17-year career, not including his rookie season. This likely cut down his cumulative numbers, such as hits and homeruns, which fall short of most Hall marks (2,160 and 383, respectively). It’s not out of line to think that had Walker averaged another 20 games over those last 16 years, he would’ve ended up with 2,500 hits and 440 homers. But to counter, if a bullfrog has wings, he wouldn’t hit his butt on the pavement when he jumped.

Even with the lost production to injury over those years, Walker still excelled as one of the games best. Three times he lead his league in hitting, all three times eclipsing the .350 mark (he also hit .366 in 1997, finishing second to Tony Gwynn’s .372). He also was a 7-time Gold Glove winner, a 5-time All-Star and the 1997 MVP. He, like Raines, didn’t put up the cumulative numbers that most Hall of Famers do, but his 13 year peak was simply awesome.

Those Who Didn’t Make the Cut:

I couldn’t allow myself to vote for Jack Morris. Maybe it’s because I never watched him play and never got to experience his “aura” and his bulldog attitude that made him great. To me, Curt Schilling is the superior of the two and I don’t think Morris, as a player, quite makes the cut (although his legend has a puncher’s chance).

Mark McGuire to me was a rich man’s Dave Kingman. For a man that had 583 home runes, he only had 1,043 hits that stayed in the park, giving him a rate of 65 a year. He also only had 30 more hits than strikeouts.

Rafael Palmeiro’s numbers obviously put him in the discussion of the Hall of Fame as one of the few members of the 500-HR, 3000-hit club, but with a late career surge (whose numbers are tainted to some effect) and occasional All-Star type numbers in the early part of his career, Palmeiro isn’t able to make the case of being a Hall member before juicing like Clemens and Bonds (allegedly) have to make.

Alan Trammell has a strong argument as one of the games best shortstops for a long time, but I couldn’t nudge him ahead of any of the ten who did make it.

Fred McGriff was a favorite of mine back during the Braves heyday. But alas, he may fall into the Hall of the Very Good. Although his career numbers are there, you never felt he was among the games best players when he played.

Again, feel free to whine about this in the comments.

  1. January 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    It’s going to be very interesting and possibly frustrating over the years I think to see other guys get voted in. This debate is going to be never ending for as long as baseball is around whether they get in or not. There is a right answer in my opinion and I think they shouldn’t get in. I don’t see why they should and I know they were such a big part of baseball history but it doesn’t seem fair to let them in. Really intrigued to see what happens over the next 5 to 10 years surrounding this. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/hall-of-infamous/

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