Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Hall of Fame ballot

Over at Bill James Online, columnist Dave Fleming has posted his Hall of Fame ballot and asked the BJOL readers to post their own ballots. Next week, he'll tabulate all the votes and announce the BJOL Readers HOF awards. So I complied, and posted my own ballot over there at Bill James Online. But I thought it was worth posting here, comments and all. This isn't meant in any way to be a disparagement of certain candidates, so there's no Jim Rice bashing here. It's also a look at the current ballot, so there's no rooting for Fernando or anything like that. Just some comments on who I would vote for this year for the Hall of Fame, and who else I wish would be given some consideration...

Guys who I think should definitely be in the Hall:

Blyleven: I don't really remember Blyleven playing, though I do remember getting his baseball cards in the late '80s. With that said, I find it impossible to see his numbers (his wins, his strikeouts, his shutouts & complete games, etc) and not see a hall of famer. I wish someone could give me a real argument for why he doesn't belong that doesn't include "300 wins" or "no cy youngs"...

Rickey: How can you not vote for Rickey? Even forgetting the stolen bases, he scored the most runs in history and earned the most walks in history (#2 if you count the intentional walks... it's all the same). If anyone from my lifetime of watching baseball deserves to go in the Hall, it's Rickey...

Mac: I know there's the whole steroid thing, and it's significant. But, in the end, I think everyone's going to accept that it happened and looks at those numbers through that lens. Mac should be in by now.

Raines: The numbers that Raines put up during the 80s and into the 90s are pretty phenomenal, but everyone seems to forget it or just not know it, and I wonder why that is. Is it a product of the 80s, when it doesn't seem like any single person was able to break through as the "one true great player"? Is it that he played in baseball purgatory during his prime years? It's got to be something, right?

Trammell: One of the best all-around shortstops there was... I think he got penalized for playing during the Ripken-era transition to the "big shortstops" like A-Rod and Jeter and Nomar and Tejada... Trammell's numbers just don't look the same compared to those guys, and people just can't figure out how to compare them.

Guys who I think are close, or who I wish well and would like to see have a long consideration phase

Technically, a player can be either a HOFer or not, with no gray area. However, there really is a gray area there... when someone can stay on the ballot for 10 or 15 years, even if they don't get in, it says something strong about their career, but when they drop off after the 1st or 2nd year, it says something else. Which is why it's sad when some players get dropped off so quickly, like Will Clark or Lou Whitaker... and that's what I mean by "players who I wish would get a long consideration phase"

Harold Baines: I really, really liked Baines as a player, when he played for the O's and when he didn't. He was a great guy, a great teammate, and he was always a reliable player. But I don't think he ever put up the type of numbers that a "professional hitter" should to be considered for the Hall. I hope he gets some good consideration, though

Andre Dawson: There's a lot to like about Dawson's numbers, esp. considering how much of his career he gave up by playing on the terrible concrete in Montreal. But I can understand the arguments against him too... the low OBP, etc. Still, I wouldn't be upset if he was elected.

Mark Grace: Grace always seemed like a strong, consistent player. I don't think he belongs in the Hall, but it'd be nice to see him get some votes.

Don Mattingly: To me, it's pretty obvious that his career was too short to justify a Hall bid, but, for about six years, he was pretty much the best there was.

Dale Murphy: When I was growing up, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Murphy would end up in the Hall. His offense, his personality, his back-to-back MVPs... I know that he dropped off the table pretty quickly, so I can understand that his career never ended where it was expected and that he never quite reached those HOF levels. Still, Murphy's the kind of guy that you want people to keep considering, since it's really the only honor left.

Jesse Orosco: The first baseball game that I have a vivid memory of attending, from the drive down the freeway through all 9 innings, was an Indians at Angels game in August 1989 (I know I went to many other Angels and Dodgers games when I was much younger, but I can't remember any specific ones). We sat in left field, about 8 seats over from the bullpen (Lance Parrish hit a ball directly at our seats, but it curved foul at the last minute - this was a very memorable event to an 8 year old). Anyhow, I remember distinctly Jesse Orosco came in for the Indians during the seventh inning to face Wally Joyner. And then, 14 years later, I saw the Padres play the Dodgers in LA, and Jesse Orosco came in during the 8th to strike out Shawn Green and Fred McGriff. I know that's not very interesting to everybody else, but I think it's a pretty good example of the guy's career.

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