Okay, now that we’ve gotten the “one and dones” out of the way, who’s left among the thirty four players on the ballot?
We can pretty much divide the remaining twenty one into three groups:
The Hall of the Really, Really, Really Good:
Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, and Gary Sheffield are holdovers from last year. They are joined by Vladimir Guerrero and Ivan Rodriguez. There’s no one here that stands out as an obvious Hall of Famer like Ken Griffey Jr. did last year. You’ve got to dig into the numbers. They are all potentially worthy; it pretty much comes down to personal opinion. I think closers are overrated – so much for Hoffman. Mussina was never the best pitcher in his league, and really wasn’t that great – he was just very good for a long time. Sheffield never really stood out as a superstar, unlike Guerrero and Rodriguez….
The Steroid Schmucks:
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa. All have great numbers, but have either been tainted with serious PED allegations (or actual use, in the case of Ramirez), or have just been jerks during and after their careers. It’s really hard to vote for jerks.
The Rest of the Guys:
These players had stellar careers and are worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, but it doesn’t seem like they will actually make it in.
Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Billy Wagner, and Larry Walker are the holdovers. Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield are the newcomers. It’s interesting how all three newcomers major claim to fame is that they were key parts of dynasties. Their career numbers really don’t hold up, so any Hall of Fame case is based pretty much on the “fame” aspect instead of any talent.
If I were a real voter, who would I choose? Well, you get to vote for as many as ten candidates. So, let’s pick ten….
I still can’t bring myself to vote for Clemens or Bonds. Or Sosa, for that matter. I’ve been supportive of Schilling in the past; but if he could just shut up and stop being a jerk for a year. I still need time to think about Ramirez. They will all have to wait.
I have no problem with Bagwell, Raines, Guerrero, Rodriguez, and Martinez. Their numbers make them clearly worthy. I can’t even really come up with a reason to not pick them.
Lee Smith was an ace closer before there was such a thing, and if you discount the “save” stat (which really doesn’t tell you how good a pitcher is), he’s got better numbers than Hoffman. I’ll give him a vote.
Larry Walker’s career stats don’t look that different from Vladimir Guerrero’s. So if I’m voting for one, I kind of have to vote for the other.
Three to go.
Well, Jeff Kent is the only one of those remaining that I can bring myself to vote for. But what the heck, let’s toss a vote to Hoffman and Mussina, too.
There. That’s done.
To sum up, if I had a Hall of Fame vote this year, I’d vote for
I have a feeling that both Bagwell and Raines will make it in this year, with Guerrero and Rodriguez as outside shots. We’ll see…..