My 2020 Hall of Fame Ballot

Not that I have one, of course, but as a baseball fan (you can tell from how many posts I have here on the sport), I’m not going to let the chance go by to pretend I had a say in the matter.

Derek Jeter is obvious. Even if you believe he is overrated, you cannot deny that he belongs in the Hall. The only question here is if he’ll be a unanimous selection. He probably will be, but if a voter or three has someone else on the ballot that they’d prefer to give a vote to, that’s fine. Nowhere in the Hall (the gallery with the plaques) does it actually mention how the voting went for the honorees. It. Doesn’t. Matter. Jeter gets a vote from me.

This year is Larry Walker’s last time on the regular ballot. I do not believe that any supposed advantage he may have gotten from playing his home games in Denver should affect how we treat him. Before we even knew how to quantify “park effects”, did we penalize players for playing in quirky stadiums? No, of course not. So Walker gets a vote from me.

I think we’ve all gotten over the whole steroids / PEDs matter. If they weren’t prohibited when you played, it should not matter. Two votes for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Curt Schilling is a jerk. But we didn’t know about it (or it never mattered) during his playing days. For him, it’s not a big enough deal to me to keep him out of the Hall – I’ll vote for him.

Those are the five easiest to vote for. Before I have to get into “thinking about it” territory, here are the clear “No” votes:

Bobby Abreu. Eric Chavez. Rafael Furcal. Jason Giambi. Paul Konerko. Cliff Lee. Alfonso Soriano. Josh Beckett. Heath Bell. Adam Dunn. Chone Figgins. Raul Ibanez. Carlos Pena. Brad Penny. JJ Putz. Brian Roberts. Jose Valverde.

I wish I had the time and energy to write a little something about all of them. To actually get on the HoF ballot, you need to have played at least ten full seasons. Over that long a career, you’re going to have a good season or three – and have at least one moment of glory. Josh Beckett was the World Series MVP for the Marlins in 2003. Jose Valverde was a perfect 49 for 49 in save opportunities for the Tigers in 2011. Chone Figgins led the majors in stolen bases in 2005….

OK, where were we?

As I said, Schilling’s jerkness wasn’t known or a problem in his playing days. With Manny Ramirez, it most certainly was. And he did fail a couple of drug tests. So he’s out. Sammy Sosa has similar issues – and he was very little more than a home run hitter. I can’t really see voting for him, either.

When you go “Who?” when hearing a player’s name, and still go “Who??” when they explain who he was, that’s not a good sign. There should be at least some Fame to being in the Hall of Fame. Maybe next year, Omar Vizquel.

Billy Wagner, Jeff Kent, and Andy Pettite were all very, very, good players. But they just miss the cut for me. And for some reason, Gary Sheffield just doesn’t strike me as a Hall of Famer. He’s got very good numbers on offense, but that’s it. He’s missing that certain je ne sais quoi that qualifies a person for the Hall. I won’t complain if they do eventually get in, though. Andruw Jones was very, very good for a while. If he had just one more good season, he’d have a stronger case. Alas, I cannot vote for him.

So, who’s left?

Scott Rolen and Todd Helton. They were actually pretty great players. If they are underrated, it’s because they played in the shadow of greats like Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. Any other era, and there’d be no question. I can see voting for them.

The results will be announced on January 21. A player needs to get 75% of the votes to “enter” the Hall. I wonder who in addition to Derek Jeter will make it in.

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