Hall of Fame Vote

The 2016 MLB Hall of Fame class is another group that could lead to an overflowing crowd of supporters in Cooperstown, New York next summer. After watching Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio give lengthy speeches last summer, it could (and should) be a much larger group of inductees, as the museum and its voting privileged try to come to grips with the reality in the backlog, logjam, and cluster&%$# of names, due to their own stupidity, has led to.

Luckily, many of the writers are becoming more credible by making their ballots public, which leads to the early favorite for the worst ballot: Earl Bloom, who is the only person to have publicly voted for Garret Anderson.

Of course, I was ridiculed publicly, and privately, for my own vote last season, after having said that David Ortiz is the greatest DH of all-time, and I will be redeeming myself with my vote this season and detailing why Edgar Martinez is that man. I have this wonderful opportunity due to the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). Here is some free advertising:

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) was created July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

The IBWAA seeks neither to replace nor disparage the BBWAA, but does offer distinctions. While the BBWAA requires ten years and hundreds of dollars of paid membership for writers to earn a Hall of Fame vote, the IBWAA has no waiting period, with a $20 annual membership fee ($35 lifetime).

In the vast majority of cases, the BBWAA requires the tying of a writer’s online work to a print publication for admission; the IBWAA does not. The IBWAA believes that the hoops an applying writer has to jump through to join the older organization are too many and too narrow, and welcomes all Internet baseball writers. Those with his or her own baseball website of any kind or scope are invited to join, as are those who contribute the written word anywhere within the baseball blogosphere.

Enough of that. Below, you’ll see my 15 votes for the 2016 MLB Hall of Fame.

NOTE: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Mike Piazza were elected by the IBWAA and do not appear on the list for that reason.

Barry Bonds:

The all-time home run king (asterisk if you’d like) was the most feared hitter of his era, and possibly of all-time when you consider his career intentional walks, also a MLB record. He juiced…so did most of the top players. Say what you want about integrity of the game, but Bonds still had to hit the ball, and he did it better than anyone else.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB IBB
22 Yrs 2986 12606 9847 2227 2935 601 77 762 1996 514 2558 1539 .298 .444 .607 1.051 5976 688
162 Game Avg. 162 684 534 121 159 33 4 41 108 28 139 83 .298 .444 .607 1.051 324 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Roger Clemens:

Another “juicer” who prolonged his career with the help of medicine, Clemens was a workaholic well before the steroids became his enhancer. The career that Clemens had is Hall worthy, and he was a master of his craft and dominant during an era that was dominated by the juicing hitters.

Year W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
24 Yrs 354 184 3.12 709 118 46 4916.2 4185 1885 1707 363 1580 4672 143 3.09 1.173 7.7 2.9 8.6 2.96
162 Game Avg. 17 9 3.12 34 6 2 236 201 91 82 17 76 224 143 3.09 1.173 7.7 2.9 8.6 2.96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Ken Griffey, Jr.:

The smile, the swing, the glove…”The Kid”. Griffey has a clean image in a tarnished era. No one truly knows who was using and who wasn’t, but the assumption is that Griffey was the one who was doing it the right way. Injuries derailed his chance of holding Hank Aaron’s record that Bonds now has, but Junior certainly has a long-lasting legacy of greatness that will, quite possibly, earn him the highest Hall vote in history.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
22 Yrs 2671 11304 9801 1662 2781 524 38 630 1836 184 1312 1779 .284 .370 .538 .907 136 5271 246
162 Game Avg. 162 686 594 101 169 32 2 38 111 11 80 108 .284 .370 .538 .907 136 320 15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Trevor Hoffman:

Hoffman and his changeup held the record for all-time saves until Mariano Rivera and his cutter took it away shortly after his retirement. His long-term success and dominance help his case, even if he closed out his career in less-than-Rivera-fashion.

Year W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
18 Yrs 61 75 2.87 1035 856 601 1089.1 846 378 347 100 307 1133 141 3.08 1.058 7.0 2.5 9.4 3.69
162 Game Avg. 4 5 2.87 68 56 39 72 56 25 23 7 20 74 141 3.08 1.058 7.0 2.5 9.4 3.69
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Jeff Kent:

Kent was similar in his success at the keystone position as Cubs’ great Ryne Sandberg. He may have been helped by having Bond hit in front of him for several seasons, but he still had to complete his job, and he did so tremendously. He was a force, a five-time All-Star, and an MVP. He didn’t have the defensive chops of Ryno, but the bat was much more impressive for a longer period of time.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
17 Yrs 2298 9537 8498 1320 2461 560 47 377 1518 94 801 1522 .290 .356 .500 .855 123 4246 61
162 Game Avg. 162 672 599 93 173 39 3 27 107 7 56 107 .290 .356 .500 .855 123 299 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Edgar Martinez:

The greatest DH of all-time. Edgar at his peak was a monster, earning a 39.8 WAR from 1995-2001 while playing all of 33.1 innings over seven games in the field. Add in his impressive WAR from 1990-1992 (17.2) while manning third base, and you can see that he was a pretty special player before moving to DH. Sure, he may not have the home run totals of David Ortiz, but he was a far superior player, especially his peak seasons.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
18 Yrs 2055 8674 7213 1219 2247 514 15 309 1261 49 1283 1202 .312 .418 .515 .933 147 3718 113
162 Game Avg. 162 684 569 96 177 41 1 24 99 4 101 95 .312 .418 .515 .933 147 293 9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Fred McGriff:

“The Crime Dog” was a monster for several clubs, and his constant changing of teams makes him an intriguing case for the Hall, as he didn’t spend more than five years with any team over his 19 seasons. Additionally, he fell just short of the once-impressive 500 home run club. When you consider his career stats are most similar to Hall of Famers like Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, and Frank Thomas, you can see why McGriff belongs alongside his peers in Cooperstown, especially since he hasn’t been connected to any steroid stories.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
19 Yrs 2460 10174 8757 1349 2490 441 24 493 1550 72 1305 1882 .284 .377 .509 .886 134 4458 171
162 Game Avg. 162 670 577 89 164 29 2 32 102 5 86 124 .284 .377 .509 .886 134 294 11
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Mark McGwire:

McGwire helped save the game after the 1994 strike with his incredible home runs. He couldn’t stay healthy, and it could be due to all of the steroids in his system, but his numbers and production are just as valuable as the PED-based shoulders that carried the game back into some semblance of respectability – until the league decided to frown on the same things that lifted it up.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
16 Yrs 1874 7660 6187 1167 1626 252 6 583 1414 12 1317 1596 .263 .394 .588 .982 163 3639 150
162 Game Avg. 162 662 535 101 141 22 1 50 122 1 114 138 .263 .394 .588 .982 163 315 13
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Mike Mussina:

“Moose” was a workhorse and a winner for a team that never won in Baltimore. While he only won 20 games once (his final season), he was a model of consistency and won 117 more games than he lost due to his efforts.

Year W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
18 Yrs 270 153 3.68 537 536 57 23 3562.2 3460 1559 1458 376 785 2813 123 3.57 1.192 8.7 2.0 7.1 3.58
162 Game Avg. 17 10 3.68 34 34 4 1 226 219 99 92 24 50 178 123 3.57 1.192 8.7 2.0 7.1 3.58
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Gary Sheffield:

The bat speed, the production, the attitude…Sheffield had it all. He, like McGriff, never found a long-term home. It doesn’t change the fact that his prime and peak seasons were seasons for the ages. He dominated the opposition and was feared for a long period of time. Who knows if he was a juicer – even if he was, he was one of the best players of the era.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
22 Yrs 2576 10947 9217 1636 2689 467 27 509 1676 253 1475 1171 .292 .393 .514 .907 140 4737 130
162 Game Avg. 162 688 580 103 169 29 2 32 105 16 93 74 .292 .393 .514 .907 140 298 8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Lee Smith:

Smith redefined the closer role and if the Hall has room for Bruce Sutter, it certainly has room for Smith for the same reason. It’s actually baffling that Smith, who has 178 more saves and a much longer, successful career, isn’t in and Sutter is…but that’s just my opinion.

Year W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
18 Yrs 71 92 3.03 1022 802 478 1289.1 1133 475 434 89 486 1251 132 2.93 1.256 7.9 3.4 8.7 2.57
162 Game Avg. 5 6 3.03 68 53 32 85 75 31 29 6 32 83 132 2.93 1.256 7.9 3.4 8.7 2.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Sammy Sosa:

As mentioned above with McGwire, Sosa was loved by all during the home run barrage of the late 90s and early 2000s, but baseball turned their back on him and the other juicers once the Mitchell Report was released. Sure, he’s tainted, but he was an incredible talent whose love of the game and long tenure with the lovable losers in Chicago made him an easy person to root for. He has blemishes but so did MLB during his time. He deserves to be in Cooperstown.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
18 Yrs 2354 9896 8813 1475 2408 379 45 609 1667 234 929 2306 .273 .344 .534 .878 128 4704 154
162 Game Avg. 162 681 607 102 166 26 3 42 115 16 64 159 .273 .344 .534 .878 128 324 11
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Alan Trammell:

Trammell was ARod, Ripken, Larkin, Garciaparra, and Tejada before those guys happened. His ability to hit and field at shortstop helped lay the path for talented sluggers like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Correa today. Although Lou Whitaker will not ever get in the Hall, Trammell can still afford the dynamic duo from Detroit one seat in Cooperstown.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
20 Yrs 2293 9376 8288 1231 2365 412 55 185 1003 236 850 874 .285 .352 .415 .767 110 3442 48
162 Game Avg. 162 662 586 87 167 29 4 13 71 17 60 62 .285 .352 .415 .767 110 243 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Billy Wagner:

Wagner was one of the most dominant relievers in MLB history. He never posted a full season with an ERA higher than 2.85 and a K:9 less than 10.1 (that injury-shortened 2000 season can be scrapped). He doesn’t have Hoffman or Rivera’s save totals, but everything else lines up similar or better to the two greatest relievers in history – which begs the question…is Wagner better than Rivera or Hoffman?

Year W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
16 Yrs 47 40 2.31 853 703 422 903.0 601 262 232 82 300 1196 187 2.73 0.998 6.0 3.0 11.9 3.99
162 Game Avg. 4 3 2.31 68 56 34 72 48 21 18 7 24 95 187 2.73 0.998 6.0 3.0 11.9 3.99
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

Larry Walker:

The power, the speed, the arm…Walker had it all. The only thing he didn’t have was pain tolerance or health. If he had stayed on the field, this would be a no brainer. As is, he’s a borderline candidate who did more than enough to warrant consideration.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB IBB
17 Yrs 1988 8030 6907 1355 2160 471 62 383 1311 230 913 1231 .313 .400 .565 .965 141 3904 117
162 Game Avg. 162 654 563 110 176 38 5 31 107 19 74 100 .313 .400 .565 .965 141 318 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2015.

 

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Just Shut Up: Another Reaction to Alex Rodriguez

Whether it’s the handwritten apology that is being broken apart by forensic units and handwriting specialists, or the lengthy feature released by ESPN: The Magazine, the reintroduction of Alex Rodriguez to the world hasn’t changed the world’s perspective on the aging slugger. After spending the 2014 season suspended from the only job that he had had since the age of 18, the year that he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners and had 59 over-matched plate appearances, we have come to find out that Rodriguez spent the year toiling in the various activities that someone with $500 million from playing a game can afford to do to “find oneself”.

Courtesy: New York Daily News
Courtesy: New York Daily News

Are we expected to hate Alex Rodriguez due to his lies and cheating? Are we expected to feel sorry for him because his father ran out on him and he never went to college? Are we expected to forgive his indiscretions and transgressions due to his willingness to come back to a game that is trying to push him as far away from it as possible? Are we expected to think that he is coming back for the “love of the game” or for the $61 million that he is guaranteed over the next three seasons?

It would be an understatement to say that Alex Rodriguez is a polarizing figure. Despite that fact that Barry Bonds utilized the same methods in the use of illegal materials and the same willingness to dodge the truth, it is Alex Rodriguez who has become the most hated man in baseball. Despite the fact that Bonds is the one who holds the record for career home runs, it is Rodriguez who isn’t supposed to break the record going forward. As the ESPN: The Magazine article discussed, it is Rodriguez who is the villain, despite Ryan Braun‘s presence in Major League Baseball, even with Braun’s willingness to drag everyone and their brother under the bus after being outed as a cheater, twice. The Hall of Fame cases for Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Mike Piazza are tainted, whether wrongfully or not, by the cloud of steroids that has followed them and an entire era of players; however, it is Jason Giambi, an admitted user, who gets to retire with honor this week and slide right into an organizational position with the Cleveland Indians, who is praised for his career, which he has admitted to altering.

Does Rodriguez deserve better?
Does Rodriguez deserve better?

So, what is it that causes this polarization on these players? If being super-competitive led declining players to seek elongation of a career, yet we mock Willie Mays for his time as a New York Met, what is it that our society really wants out of our professional sports icons?

Our culture has changed significantly during my 34 years as a member of this planet, but one thing that has been going on for quite some time is the fact that people are willing to take some wild steps to get to where they want to be in life. Today, we like to think that baseball is in need of a change due to the length of the games and the “entertain me now” philosophy that goes along with the Social Media age. Why not add a clock to ensure that a pitcher throws the ball while two-thirds of the stadium is busy tagging their friend in a picture and posting #nofilter on the beautiful sunset peeking through the right field corner of the stadium? It seems ridiculous to change the ideas of what is acceptable and appropriate in our lives and our entertainment, demanding more right now than we ever did in the past. More news, more excitement, more reasons why you should enjoy what you have in front of you than actually taking the time to enjoy it. The sensationalism of “things” and “experiences” has led to something as minute as an individual’s actions being more important than the game.

That ideology is why Alex Rodriguez and others have become the poster children for the fall of the game. Rodriguez wasn’t alone, but we always want to blame someone. Before ARod it was Bonds, before Bonds it was Canseco, and before Canseco it was Pete Rose. We don’t need to change baseball and we don’t need to change Alex Rodriguez. We need to remember that he was playing a game, that he made a mistake (albeit for several years) to try to maintain his lifestyle. In the same way that others make mistakes and create debt by using credit cards for things that they can’t afford, they are forced to dig themselves out.

In the same way, Alex Rodriguez needs to dig himself out. He doesn’t need to accept blame, he didn’t need to apologize, he just needed to change and be happy while playing the game cleanly. No one needs answers in this catastrophe of a public relations nightmare. There are far worse things going on behind the scenes of athletes’ lives than a man using his body as a pin cushion for steroids – just look at the NFL arrests since the Super Bowl. For all of the ridiculous spins that stories featuring Alex Rodriguez have taken over the last several days, here is one that you won’t see all over the internet: Alex Rodriguez was great, he was troubled, and he will overcome those troubles to be respected by the end of his career.

People have been cheating in all aspects of business. Sure, kids look up to him, but, as Charles Barkley once said:

Alex Rodriguez doesn’t need to answer questions for anyone except his two daughters, his family, and his closest friends. He isn’t threatening to end the world, attacking innocent lives, or testing ballistic missiles. He’s just a baseball player who screwed up. He deserves another chance to come out and do it right, and until he does it wrong again, we should all just sit back and watch, keeping our mouths shut the way that Alex Rodriguez should have the whole time.

Hall of Fame Vote

Bonds1I don’t have a Hall of Fame vote with the BBWAA, but I DO have one with the IBWAA. The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America gives a voice to the common writer, who tends to be the common fan – one who doesn’t utilize a national platform to showcase their personal agenda, while using a large publication to demonstrate their lack of knowledge. For those who are willing to be open-minded regarding their education of the greatest game ever played, the ever-changing numbers-crunching and constant flow of information has changed how many around the game think; however, there are still a few, like the link above, which detail how wrong so many actually voting for the Hall of Fame actually are.

Beyond the credentialed irrationality of many within the BBWAA, we are left with the limitations, which are being challenged now that a dramatic number of worthy candidates are on a ballot that can only allow up to 10 players into Cooperstown each year.  To overcome the shortcomings, we have the IBWAA, which is filled with bloggers, and national writers who don’t yet qualify for the BBWAA vote, and perhaps never will. Within the IBWAA, we can vote for up to 15 players each year, and I used each vote on a loaded ballot, while leaving off some very good players, as well. Below, you’ll find my ballot, but some valuable information from the IBWAA:

The IBWAA ballot compares identically to the BBWAA ballot, with the following exceptions:

1. Craig Biggio’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2014.

2. Mike Piazza’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2013.

3. Barry Larkin’s name does appear on the ballot because he has not reached the 75% threshold in an IBWAA election.

Per a group decision in 2013, the IBWAA allows members to vote for 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with this election.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
15 Yrs 2150 9431 7797 1517 2314 488 32 449 1529 202 1401 1558 .297 .408 .540 .948 149 4213
162 Game Avg. 162 711 587 114 174 37 2 34 115 15 106 117 .297 .408 .540 .948 149 317
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.

Bagwell was a monster, who had one of the greatest seasons in the history of baseball in 1994 before the strike ended it. His career was shortened by shoulder woes, but he was one of the most feared athletes in the game, a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, and a four-time All-Star, who had 2.89 career MVP shares.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
22 Yrs 2986 12606 9847 2227 2935 601 77 762 1996 514 2558 1539 .298 .444 .607 1.051 182 5976
162 Game Avg. 162 684 534 121 159 33 4 41 108 28 139 83 .298 .444 .607 1.051 182 324
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Say what you want to about his character flaws – the Hall of Fame honors greatness, and Bonds was nothing short of great. An asterisk and labels can’t change the fact that he had to hit the ball, and he certainly did that – while stealing bases and being an incredible athlete in his earlier, slimmer seasons.
Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 SO/W
24 Yrs 354 184 3.12 709 707 118 46 4916.2 4185 1885 1707 363 1580 4672 143 3.09 1.173 7.7 2.96
162 Game Avg. 17 9 3.12 34 34 6 2 236 201 91 82 17 76 224 143 3.09 1.173 7.7 2.96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Clemens was a competitor, a hard-working workhorse, whose offseason workouts led to his long-term success, just as much as some of the “products” that he put into his body. Despite his stupidity off-the-field, he was an amazing pitcher on it – one of the greatest.
Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 SO/W
22 Yrs 303 166 3.29 618 603 100 37 4135.1 3346 1703 1513 411 1497 4875 135 3.19 1.171 7.3 3.26
162 Game Avg. 17 9 3.29 34 34 6 2 230 186 95 84 23 83 271 135 3.19 1.171 7.3 3.26
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
“The Big Unit” holds the MLB record for career K:9 and his size and stuff were equally intimidating – ask John Kruk. The longevity of his stuff was equally impressive as his results.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
17 Yrs 2298 9537 8498 1320 2461 560 47 377 1518 94 801 1522 .290 .356 .500 .855 123 4246
162 Game Avg. 162 672 599 93 173 39 3 27 107 7 56 107 .290 .356 .500 .855 123 299
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Kent’s numbers may be inflated from batting behind Bonds for so many years, but his overall numbers at second base make Ryne Sandberg’s look pedestrian. Different era, certainly, but Kent’s production is absolutely Hall-worthy.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
19 Yrs 2180 9057 7937 1329 2340 441 76 198 960 379 939 817 .295 .371 .444 .815 116 3527
162 Game Avg. 162 673 590 99 174 33 6 15 71 28 70 61 .295 .371 .444 .815 116 262
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
He’s already in Cooperstown, but he still gets my vote here. Call me a homer, but Larkin helped to redefine the position when he became the very first shortstop in baseball history to post a 30 home run/30 stolen base season in 1996, the season AFTER his MVP award.
Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 SO/W
18 Yrs 219 100 2.93 476 409 46 17 2827.1 2221 1006 919 239 760 3154 154 2.91 1.054 7.1 4.15
162 Game Avg. 17 8 2.93 37 31 4 1 217 171 77 71 18 58 242 154 2.91 1.054 7.1 4.15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Pedro was as dominant as any pitcher ever during his prime. He won three Cy Young Awards (two were unanimous) over a four year period, while having a 4.26 career Cy Young shares. From 1997 through 2003, he averaged 17 wins per season, with a 2.20 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and had a 5.59 K:BB. Perhaps it wasn’t long enough for some, but Martinez was as good as any right-handed pitcher ever when he was in his prime.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
19 Yrs 2460 10174 8757 1349 2490 441 24 493 1550 72 1305 1882 .284 .377 .509 .886 134 4458
162 Game Avg. 162 670 577 89 164 29 2 32 102 5 86 124 .284 .377 .509 .886 134 294
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
“The Crime Dog” hasn’t had nearly enough love from BBWAA voters since he became eligible in 2010, falling to 11.7 percent of the vote last season. He didn’t reach the 500 home run plateau, but he also wasn’t one of “those guys” when it comes to the PED police. Sure, he never won an MVP, but he did earn five All-Star appearances and was the epitome of consistency by averaging a .289/.382/.515 line with 31 home runs and 97 RBI per season from 1988 through 2001 – 14 seasons!
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
16 Yrs 1874 7660 6187 1167 1626 252 6 583 1414 12 1317 1596 .263 .394 .588 .982 163 3639
162 Game Avg. 162 662 535 101 141 22 1 50 122 1 114 138 .263 .394 .588 .982 163 315
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
McGwire sort of ruined things for everyone when he was bashing with Jose Canseco in Oakland and blowing up quicker than a marshmallow in a microwave in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The “Andro” in the locker started the media’s movement to ridicule cheaters in baseball, but it wasn’t until after Bud Selig and the owners were loving the revenue and the return of baseball’s popularity. Not only did McGwire put up incredible numbers, he and Sosa’s rush towards Maris’s record helped save the game. Numbers alone (which is what players are measured on)…McGwire is in.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
23 Yrs 2502 10359 8872 1571 2605 430 113 170 980 808 1330 966 .294 .385 .425 .810 123 3771
162 Game Avg. 162 671 574 102 169 28 7 11 63 52 86 63 .294 .385 .425 .810 123 244
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Rickey Henderson was flashy and outrageous, but Raines was just as special and dynamic. Raines may be remembered for slight production for a number of years. He was at his best from 1981 through 1987, earning All-Star nods each of those seasons; however, Raines would hang around for an additional 14 seasons, producing above replacement level numbers through 1993 before his career was mostly him just lingering. Despite the shortcomings, he should be measured for his extended greatness in the 1980’s, and his ranking 5th all-time in stolen bases also helps.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
22 Yrs 2576 10947 9217 1636 2689 467 27 509 1676 253 1475 1171 .292 .393 .514 .907 140 4737
162 Game Avg. 162 688 580 103 169 29 2 32 105 16 93 74 .292 .393 .514 .907 140 298
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Another man with character flaws, Sheffield’s personality rubbed a lo t of people the wrong way; however, his production on-the-field was elite. He remains one of the top right-handed power hitters in the history of the game, and the bat-speed has made him legendary, leading to many comparisons to upcoming prospects, like the Cubs’ Javier Baez. Sheffield’s arrogance can only be matched by the impressive numbers that should lead to his admittance to Cooperstown.
Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 SO/W
21 Yrs 213 155 3.33 723 481 53 16 154 3473.0 3074 1391 1284 288 1010 3084 125 3.24 1.176 8.0 3.05
162 Game Avg. 12 9 3.33 41 27 3 1 9 196 174 79 73 16 57 174 125 3.24 1.176 8.0 3.05
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Smoltz had an interesting career – one that will lead many wondering if he did enough to get into the Hall of Fame. Sure, he didn’t win 300 games, but he spent four seasons in the bullpen and one season out of baseball due to Tommy John surgery. His dominance as a starter AND a reliever is what makes his case so special.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
18 Yrs 2354 9896 8813 1475 2408 379 45 609 1667 234 929 2306 .273 .344 .534 .878 128 4704
162 Game Avg. 162 681 607 102 166 26 3 42 115 16 64 159 .273 .344 .534 .878 128 324
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
A freak, whether natural or enhanced, Sosa was a monster. Like McGwire, his lore is disturbed by question marks and labels; however, for me, the numbers tell the story. He was one of the best players in baseball for an extended period of time, which allows him to rank among the game’s greatests.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
20 Yrs 2293 9376 8288 1231 2365 412 55 185 1003 236 850 874 .285 .352 .415 .767 110 3442
162 Game Avg. 162 662 586 87 167 29 4 13 71 17 60 62 .285 .352 .415 .767 110 243
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
I wrote an entire article on this several years ago and I feel that it is still relevant. Find it HERE.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
17 Yrs 1988 8030 6907 1355 2160 471 62 383 1311 230 913 1231 .313 .400 .565 .965 141 3904
162 Game Avg. 162 654 563 110 176 38 5 31 107 19 74 100 .313 .400 .565 .965 141 318
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2014.
Walker’s overall number look very similar to Jeff Bagwell, and he is just as worthy of enshrinement. Injuries quickly halted Walker’s production, but his ability to produce across the board, while featuring an incredible arm in right field, made him one of the best all-around players of his era.

Is 755 Still Meaningful?

On Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves celebrated the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron‘s 715th home run, which catapulted him past Babe Ruth for Major League Baseball’s all-time record for career home runs. Aaron’s career was finished following the 1976 season, and, while Barry Bonds and his asterisk-filled resume was able to pass him on the home run list, Aaron still holds the major league record for RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856).

There are many numbers that people remember about baseball:
4,256. Pete Rose – career hits.
714. Babe Ruth – career home runs.
2,632. Cal Ripken, Jr. – consecutive games played.
511. Cy Young – career pitching wins.
61. Roger Maris – home runs in 1961.

756755 is also one of those numbers that is burned into the minds of baseball fans; however, it was replaced by a new record for career home runs, established on August 7, 2007, when Bonds’ 756th bomb left AT&T Park in San Francisco. Bonds would be blackballed from baseball after the 2007 season, leaving the game with 762 career home runs and a legacy tarnished by perjury charges and his link to performance-enhancing drug use.

This morning in my drive home from dropping off my daughter at school, Mike and Mike, the morning ESPN Radio show, were discussing the importance of Aaron’s numbers and what they mean to baseball today. Mike Golic made an excellent point – why can’t baseball throw away the performance-enhancing drug numbers the way that track and field does? When an athlete sets a record, wins a medal, or any other significant merits that are later tarnished by allegations and proof of cheating, those awards and records are stripped, as if they never happened. If baseball wants to keep their records clean, they, led by commissioner Bud Selig, had and have the opportunities to do such a thing. Considering the MLB Player’s Association’s unwillingness to support Barry Bonds when he was unable to find a job after the 2007 season, it would appear that the removal of records would be something that could be easily accomplished by MLB leadership.

SosaMcGwireThe integrity of the game and its records have been tarnished by the use of performance-enhancing drugs. I have long felt that Major League Baseball has had plenty of celebrated miscreants within the game, including racists, womanizers, and cheaters (Ty Cobb, Ruth, and Gaylord Perry fit those descriptions perfectly), while drugs, including “greenies” and cocaine, ran rampant throughout the game for many years undetected and overlooked. After the 1994 player’s strike, the league seemed to be perfectly happy with the home run numbers increasing and the turnstiles producing record numbers, huge revenue, and new stadiums for the good ol’ boy network of owners. Suddenly, those same home runs weren’t as attractive, and the league went after Sammy Sosa, Bonds, and Mark McGwire, instead of acknowledging that they helped to save the game. So, now that the league has moved on from the men who helped to bring it back from the dead and they’re bringing in billions of dollars in revenue through Major League Baseball Advanced Media and lucrative television contracts, they can continue to turn their back on their one-time heroes like Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire, while allowing the Hall of Fame to become a mockery of a museum thanks in large part to the attention-starved writers who now make up the voting oligarchy of Cooperstown.

So, while Hank Aaron was and continues to be a living legend and icon in the sport, is it really fair for his number, 755, to continue to be the measuring stick of power in baseball when that number has been surpassed? No…but it doesn’t mean that it has to go away and that 762 is the only number that needs to be remembered. The 714 home runs that Babe Ruth hit are still an important number in baseball, as are the 660 that Willie Mays hit.

There isn’t an asterisk needed for Barry Bonds because there wasn’t one needed for Ruth’s number to be important. Regardless of the drugs that helped Bonds produce into his 40’s, baseball remains a numbers game. We don’t put asterisks on the numbers that players put up prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Wouldn’t baseball have been more competitive, as it is today, with the world’s best players on one stage, and not just the top white players?

AaronHank Aaron’s 755 will live on and his legacy of powerful longevity within Major League Baseball will last well beyond his lifetime. His number will remain meaningful as long as his story does, just as others have heard about and learned to love players from well before their lifetimes. There aren’t many who look back at the production that Ruth put up in his career without being awestruck, and the same will remain true for future baseball fans who won’t even see a game until the year 2214. Why? Because baseball remains meaningful, the players remain meaningful, and the numbers remain meaningful to those who love and are passionate about the game.

 

Alex Rodriguez: Proving Steroids Don’t Work

ARod1By now you’re aware of the suspension, the 60 Minutes interviews, and the appeals and cries that Alex Rodriguez has developed to help protect an image that seems as lost and desperate as a shepherd-less sheep. The one-time superstar and three-time MVP appears to have sunken to a new low in suing Major League Baseball and the Player’s Union for their attacks on his character and their lack of guidance in the processes, and while Rodriguez continues to blame everyone but himself, he likely feels betrayed by the drugs that were supposed to help him maintain his Hall of Fame career, but, instead, crippled his abilities and his legacy.

For all of the growing skulls, biceps, and home run numbers, there hasn’t been a true study to show how steroids impact player performance. It is quite unlikely that Major League Baseball will allow players to openly cheat, just to gain a better understanding of how a player could or does perform while doping, and while there are the typical expectations of energy and recovery time, steroids don’t provide the skills necessary to swing a bat and slug a 95 mile per hour fastball into oblivion.

Alex Rodriguez is the perfect example of the failures of baseball’s menace.

Certainly, there were times that steroids may have helped Alex Rodriguez. After being outed by Sports Illustrated in February of 2009, Rodriguez admitted to using in 2001, 2002, and 2003 while with the Texas Rangers, a trifecta of seasons that brought Rodriguez a .305/.395/.615 triple-slash, 156 home runs, 395 RBI, and his first MVP (2003). If Rodriguez wasn’t using outside of those seasons, he would go on to win MVPs in 2005 and 2007, well before his time with Biogenesis and Tony Bosch began; although, Rodriguez was linked to Anthony Galea, a Canadian who was busted for shuttling PED goodies to the United States, in 2010.

But if Alex Rodriguez was indeed using throughout his career, then what would cause his numbers to decline?

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB Awards
1994 18 SEA 17 59 54 4 11 0 0 0 2 3 3 20 .204 .241 .204 .445 11
1995 19 SEA 48 149 142 15 33 6 2 5 19 4 6 42 .232 .264 .408 .672 58
1996 20 SEA 146 677 601 141 215 54 1 36 123 15 59 104 .358 .414 .631 1.045 379 AS,MVP-2,SS
1997 21 SEA 141 638 587 100 176 40 3 23 84 29 41 99 .300 .350 .496 .846 291 AS
1998 22 SEA 161 748 686 123 213 35 5 42 124 46 45 121 .310 .360 .560 .919 384 AS,MVP-9,SS
1999 23 SEA 129 572 502 110 143 25 0 42 111 21 56 109 .285 .357 .586 .943 294 MVP-15,SS
2000 24 SEA 148 672 554 134 175 34 2 41 132 15 100 121 .316 .420 .606 1.026 336 AS,MVP-3,SS
2001 25 TEX 162 732 632 133 201 34 1 52 135 18 75 131 .318 .399 .622 1.021 393 AS,MVP-6,SS
2002 26 TEX 162 725 624 125 187 27 2 57 142 9 87 122 .300 .392 .623 1.015 389 AS,MVP-2,GG,SS
2003 27 TEX 161 715 607 124 181 30 6 47 118 17 87 126 .298 .396 .600 .995 364 AS,MVP-1,GG,SS
2004 28 NYY 155 698 601 112 172 24 2 36 106 28 80 131 .286 .375 .512 .888 308 AS,MVP-14
2005 29 NYY 162 715 605 124 194 29 1 48 130 21 91 139 .321 .421 .610 1.031 369 AS,MVP-1,SS
2006 30 NYY 154 674 572 113 166 26 1 35 121 15 90 139 .290 .392 .523 .914 299 AS,MVP-13
2007 31 NYY 158 708 583 143 183 31 0 54 156 24 95 120 .314 .422 .645 1.067 376 AS,MVP-1,SS
2008 32 NYY 138 594 510 104 154 33 0 35 103 18 65 117 .302 .392 .573 .965 292 AS,MVP-8,SS
2009 33 NYY 124 535 444 78 127 17 1 30 100 14 80 97 .286 .402 .532 .933 236 MVP-10
2010 34 NYY 137 595 522 74 141 29 2 30 125 4 59 98 .270 .341 .506 .847 264 AS,MVP-15
2011 35 NYY 99 428 373 67 103 21 0 16 62 4 47 80 .276 .362 .461 .823 172 AS
2012 36 NYY 122 529 463 74 126 17 1 18 57 13 51 116 .272 .353 .430 .783 199
2013 37 NYY 44 181 156 21 38 7 0 7 19 4 23 43 .244 .348 .423 .771 66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2014.

ARod4The decline may not have always been drastic, and there were still successful seasons into his early 30’s, but the sharp decline up to last season is quite significant, as Rodriguez has seen his OPS go from 1.067 in 2007 (his final MVP season) to .771 in his 44 games in 2013. Additionally, since the end of the 2007 season, Rodriguez has missed 308 games, an average of 51 per season. The hip issues could certainly be attributed to excessive steroid use, as joints can be unable to handle the additional muscle mass or strength, but if the purpose of using steroids is increase stamina and recovery time, Rodriguez hasn’t been gaining an advantage sitting at home injured, nor has he proven to be all that effective when healthy, as his skills continue to diminish, along with his numbers.

As Barry Bonds aged and maintained production, specifically walking and hitting for power (although not at the levels that he was from 2000 through 2004), Rodriguez has done the exact opposite. For all of the glory that Rodriguez was hoping for by reaching 3,000 hits and, potentially, the 800 home run plateau, the storybook ending didn’t have the flow necessary to reach the climax, and the heart of the story has died with the needles to the veins of Rodriguez, whose selfishness and stupidity far outweighed the gifts that foreign substances were supposed to bring his way.

ARod2While so many focus on the ways that steroids have impacted the game of baseball, they certainly haven’t helped Alex Rodriguez, at least not in the last five seasons, and that is a large enough sample size for me to wonder if steroids can even alter performance, especially in those who are aging and need the stamina, energy, and strength that they are supposed to bring to users.

Jack Morris: Why He Isn’t a Hall of Famer

Morris1Entering his final year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, Jack Morris appears to be gaining more support for an induction into Cooperstown. Since he first became eligible, these are his ballot percentages:

2000: BBWAA (22.2%)
2001: BBWAA (19.6%)
2002: BBWAA (20.6%)
2003: BBWAA (22.8%)
2004: BBWAA (26.3%)
2005: BBWAA (33.3%)
2006: BBWAA (41.2%)
2007: BBWAA (37.1%)
2008: BBWAA (42.9%)
2009: BBWAA (44.0%)
2010: BBWAA (52.3%)
2011: BBWAA (53.5%)
2012: BBWAA (66.7%)
2013: BBWAA (67.7%)

Morris2It is quite interesting to see how a specific player can be considered a non-Hall of Famer for 14 years and then earn the vote due to their time of eligibility running out. When you consider that in his worst season for earning votes, two players were elected (2001, Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield), it is hard to understand why he isn’t in yet, as there hasn’t always been a backlog of talent waiting to get in. What makes him a Hall of Famer in 2014? Nothing, just like his previous seasons, and it seems even more asinine to give him a vote with the talent existing on the ballot, new and old, who are more worthy of consideration.

Jack Morris ranks 50th in innings pitched (3,824), 32nd in strikeouts (2,478), 19th in walks allowed (1,390), and 43rd in wins (254) in the history of baseball, but does ranking within the top 50 in a single statistic make someone worthy of legitimate Hall of Fame consideration? Adam Dunn currently ranks 39th in career home runs (440) and 51st in career walks (1,246), and he will likely continue to climb the ranks due to being just 34 years old in 2014. Longevity creates numbers, so how do can you separate longevity from greatness?

When comparing Jack Morris to other pitchers from his generation, it is fairly evident that he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame:

Jack Morris

W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
254 186 .577 3.90 549 527 175 28 3824.0 3567 1815 1657 389 1390 2478 105 1.296 8.4 3.3 5.8 1.78
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Bert Blyleven (Hall of Fame 2011)

W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
287 250 .534 3.31 692 685 242 60 4970.0 4632 2029 1830 430 1322 3701 118 1.198 8.4 2.4 6.7 2.80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Dennis Martinez (lasted one year on the ballot)

W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
245 193 .559 3.70 692 562 122 30 3999.2 3897 1835 1643 372 1165 2149 106 1.266 8.8 2.6 4.8 1.84
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Dave Stieb (Lasted one season on the ballot, production and longevity is questionable)

W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
176 137 .562 3.44 443 412 103 30 2895.1 2572 1225 1106 225 1034 1669 122 1.245 8.0 3.2 5.2 1.61
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Tommy John (Lasted 15 years on the ballot earning a high of 31.7 percent in his final year of eligibility)

W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
288 231 .555 3.34 760 700 162 46 4710.1 4783 2017 1749 302 1259 2245 111 1.283 9.1 2.4 4.3 1.78
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

So what is it that separates Jack Morris from other pitchers from his era?
He certainly doesn’t have the resume that Bert Blyleven brings to a Hall of Fame argument, and if anyone argues the 300-win plateau…the win is dead and the teams that Blyleven pitched for were atrocious (his teams made the postseason in just three of his 22 seasons, and he was 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 47.1 postseason innings). Speaking of postseason success…

Isn’t that one of the primary arguments in favor of Jack Morris?

Morris: 7-4, 3.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 92.1 innings (13 games), 64:32 K:BB

Blyleven: 5-1, 2.47 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 47.1 innings (8 games), 36:8 K:BB

Martinez: 2-2, 3.32 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 43.1 innings (12 games), 18:12 K:BB

Stieb: 1-3, 4.26 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 31.2 innings (5 games), 28:16 K:BB

John: 6-3, 2.65 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 88.1 innings (14 games), 48:24 K:BB

Considering how closely related Morris’ overall numbers are to Dennis Martinez, what separates him from being a non-Hall of Fame talent is the seven postseason wins, but why wasn’t Tommy John’s postseason success enough to warrant his Hall of Fame worthiness when his overall numbers trump Morris?

MadduxGlavineAdd in the fact that Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, and Curt Schilling are on the current ballot, and it doesn’t seem reasonable for anyone with a right mind to consider using one of their ten votes for Jack Morris, and that’s before you count Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, and so many other strong offensive performers who have a Hall of Fame argument.

Jack Morris was a very good pitcher, but pitching to the score, winning a lot of games, and winning seven postseason games doesn’t warrant Hall of Fame consideration. Dave Stewart won 10 postseason games and had a four year stretch of dominance that could rival that of any Hall of Fame pitcher (84-45, 3.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), and he was on the Hall of Fame ballot for all of two seasons. Being very good isn’t good enough for the Hall of Fame, and with greatness all around him on the current ballot, Morris doesn’t deserve the vote.

With so much subjectivity within the vote, the voting system for the Hall of Fame is broken. Personal vendettas have taken the place of valid arguments, and as players continue to gain votes from year to year without playing and improving their resumes, the voting process becomes more and more laughable. Jack Morris wasn’t a Hall of Famer 15 years ago and he isn’t today. Better players have been overlooked over the same time periods that Morris has been considered for enshrinement, and better players deserve the vote this year.

My 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot & A Fan Ballot

HOFAs a baseball fan at Christmas time, a perfect gift would be for players who created dynamic statistics in their era, cheating or not, being rewarded and honored for their achievements in a baseball museum, not critiqued for their personal shortcomings or judged for their character – baseball, after all, is a game of numbers. Players have cheated, been racists, drunks, and womanizers for nearly 140 years of the game’s professional existence, so why should character clauses and the personal vendettas of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America be the end-all-be-all vote in a museum created for baseball fans.

For these reasons, I felt that it was time to look at the 2014 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class and make my votes public. Statistics speak for themselves and this is who is eligible this season:

Batting Stats Pitching Stats
YoB %vote HOFm WAR WAR7 G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ W L ERA ERA+ WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
Craig Biggio 2nd 68.2% 169 64.9 41.6 2850 10876 1844 3060 291 1175 414 1160 .281 .363 .433 .796 112
Jack Morris 15th 67.7% 122 44.1 32.8 568 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 254 186 3.90 105 1.296 549 527 0 3824.0 3567 389 1390 2478
Jeff Bagwell 4th 59.6% 150 79.5 48.2 2150 7797 1517 2314 449 1529 202 1401 .297 .408 .540 .948 149
Mike Piazza 2nd 57.8% 207 59.2 43.1 1912 6911 1048 2127 427 1335 17 759 .308 .377 .545 .922 143
Tim Raines 7th 52.2% 90 69.1 42.2 2502 8872 1571 2605 170 980 808 1330 .294 .385 .425 .810 123
Lee Smith 12th 47.8% 135 29.6 21.1 1023 64 2 3 1 2 0 3 .047 .090 .094 .183 -50 71 92 3.03 132 1.256 1022 6 478 1289.1 1133 89 486 1251
Curt Schilling 2nd 38.8% 171 79.9 49.0 571 773 39 117 0 29 1 25 .151 .178 .171 .348 -9 216 146 3.46 127 1.137 569 436 22 3261.0 2998 347 711 3116
Roger Clemens 2nd 37.6% 332 140.3 66.3 709 179 5 31 0 12 0 13 .173 .236 .207 .443 17 354 184 3.12 143 1.173 709 707 0 4916.2 4185 363 1580 4672
Barry Bonds 2nd 36.2% 340 162.5 72.8 2986 9847 2227 2935 762 1996 514 2558 .298 .444 .607 1.051 182
Edgar Martinez 5th 35.9% 132 68.3 43.5 2055 7213 1219 2247 309 1261 49 1283 .312 .418 .515 .933 147
Alan Trammell 13th 33.6% 118 70.3 44.6 2293 8288 1231 2365 185 1003 236 850 .285 .352 .415 .767 110
Larry Walker 4th 21.6% 148 72.6 44.6 1988 6907 1355 2160 383 1311 230 913 .313 .400 .565 .965 141
Fred McGriff 5th 20.7% 100 52.6 36.0 2460 8757 1349 2490 493 1550 72 1305 .284 .377 .509 .886 134
Mark McGwire 8th 16.9% 170 62.0 41.9 1874 6187 1167 1626 583 1414 12 1317 .263 .394 .588 .982 163
Don Mattingly 14th 13.2% 134 42.2 35.7 1785 7003 1007 2153 222 1099 14 588 .307 .358 .471 .830 127
Sammy Sosa 2nd 12.5% 202 58.4 43.7 2354 8813 1475 2408 609 1667 234 929 .273 .344 .534 .878 128
Rafael Palmeiro 4th 8.8% 178 71.8 38.8 2831 10472 1663 3020 569 1835 97 1353 .288 .371 .515 .885 132
Greg Maddux 1st 254 106.8 56.3 759 1591 103 272 5 84 11 34 .171 .191 .205 .395 5 355 227 3.16 132 1.143 744 740 0 5008.1 4726 353 999 3371
Frank Thomas 1st 194 73.6 45.3 2322 8199 1494 2468 521 1704 32 1667 .301 .419 .555 .974 156
Mike Mussina 1st 121 83.0 44.5 537 52 3 9 0 5 0 1 .173 .189 .192 .381 1 270 153 3.68 123 1.192 537 536 0 3562.2 3460 376 785 2813
Tom Glavine 1st 176 81.4 44.3 709 1323 93 246 1 90 1 101 .186 .244 .210 .454 22 305 203 3.54 118 1.314 682 682 0 4413.1 4298 356 1500 2607
Jeff Kent 1st 122 55.2 35.6 2298 8498 1320 2461 377 1518 94 801 .290 .356 .500 .855 123
Kenny Rogers 1st 66 51.4 35.6 763 66 5 9 0 4 1 4 .136 .186 .182 .368 -4 219 156 4.27 107 1.403 762 474 28 3302.2 3457 339 1175 1968
Luis Gonzalez 1st 103 51.5 33.8 2591 9157 1412 2591 354 1439 128 1155 .283 .367 .479 .845 119
Moises Alou 1st 80 39.7 27.5 1942 7037 1109 2134 332 1287 106 737 .303 .369 .516 .885 128
Ray Durham 1st 64 33.7 25.7 1975 7408 1249 2054 192 875 273 820 .277 .352 .436 .788 104
Hideo Nomo 1st 24 21.1 22.8 324 485 22 65 4 26 0 13 .134 .156 .192 .348 -7 123 109 4.24 97 1.354 323 318 0 1976.1 1768 251 908 1918
Richie Sexson 1st 46 17.9 18.8 1367 4928 748 1286 306 943 14 588 .261 .344 .507 .851 120
Paul Lo Duca 1st 21 17.9 18.7 1082 3892 483 1112 80 481 20 266 .286 .337 .409 .746 97
Armando Benitez 1st 73 17.7 16.6 762 8 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 40 47 3.13 140 1.217 762 0 289 779.0 545 95 403 946
Mike Timlin 1st 49 19.6 14.0 1059 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 75 73 3.63 125 1.283 1058 4 141 1204.1 1168 118 377 872
Sean Casey 1st 38 16.3 16.3 1405 5066 690 1531 130 735 18 477 .302 .367 .447 .814 109
Jacque Jones 1st 8 11.5 13.2 1302 4594 632 1272 165 630 82 314 .277 .326 .448 .775 98
Eric Gagne 1st 46 11.9 12.0 402 86 5 12 1 3 0 1 .140 .149 .221 .370 -4 33 26 3.47 119 1.156 402 48 187 643.2 518 76 226 718
J.T. Snow 1st 16 11.0 12.8 1716 5641 798 1509 189 877 20 760 .268 .357 .427 .784 105
Todd Jones 1st 78 10.9 11.3 982 19 1 4 0 0 0 1 .211 .250 .263 .513 36 58 63 3.97 111 1.413 982 1 319 1072.0 1072 93 443 868
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/24/2013.

You can click on the links above for more specific statistics, but I’m a big fan of WAR7, which measures how dominant a player was in their seven most valuable seasons, which isn’t an entire career, but it is a great measuring tool when comparing players of the same era, that is, if you prefer to use statistics over your eyes and your own ideas of what makes a player great. Jack Morris, for example, is in his final season of Hall of Fame eligibility and I don’t view him as a Hall of Famer, postseason success and grit be damned, but despite a 32.8 WAR7, he earned 67.7 percent of the BBWAA vote in 2013. With legitimate Hall of Fame pitchers on the ballot this season, you would assume that vote percentage would drop significantly, right?

You can’t really assume anything when it comes to the BBWAA, but with all of the numbers provided above, these are the ten players who earned my vote (and, yes, I would fill the ballot and then some this season):

Maddux1. Greg Maddux: The best pitcher that I have seen in my 33 years on earth, Maddux could do whatever he wanted with the ball, using pressure points and amazing break to paint the corners and dominate opposing hitters. He didn’t overpower many, he was just smarter, which earned him the nickname “The Professor”, four straight Cy Young awards, and my vote.

2. Barry Bonds: Use the cream and clear to paint him as a monster who ruined the game all you want – I know what I saw out of Bonds and he was the best player of his generation, which included several other players who used steroids and even prior to his bulking up. Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer had he continued his production from his skinnier days in Pittsburgh for five more seasons in San Francisco, and the fact that he changed the game with his on-base skills and power mean more to me than how he treated reporters and how he manipulated his body when the collective bargaining agreement, at that time, didn’t call for the correct form of testing. Players sought advantages in every era and Bonds wouldn’t be the first cheater in Cooperstown.

3. Roger Clemens: Speaking of cheaters, Clemens was absolutely one of those and he was also one of the greatest pitchers of all time, using a dynamic fastball to overpower the opposition on his way to seven Cy Young awards and 354 wins.

4. Tom Glavine: Just like Maddux, Glavine used the corners to dominate over his career, winning 305 games and two Cy Young awards in his 22 year career. At just 6′ tall, he gives all of those “too short to start” labeled prospects a legitimate counter-argument, as the crafty left-hander creatively defeated so many in his strong career.

biggio5. Craig Biggio: After earning 68.2 percent of the vote in his first season of eligibility in 2013, Biggio would appear to be a lock to earn enshrinement this season; however, with so many solid first-timers, that number could fall. It shouldn’t. Biggio still has the same accolades in his 3,000-plus hits, 400-plus stolen bases, all of those runs scored, and seven All-Star games. He was an All-Star catcher and second baseman before moving to center late in his career. And he was a nightmare for opposing pitchers, along with…

6. Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell hasn’t been linked to any reports to the public’s knowledge, but for whatever reason, he enters his fourth year of Hall of Fame eligibility and has received a maximum 59.6 percent vote, which happened last year. His 1994 MVP season is one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, as he posted a 1.201 OPS and 213 OPS+ while hitting 39 home runs and driving in 116 runs in just 110 games. Shoulder woes cost him a chance to extend his career to reach 500 home runs, but Bagwell’s 11 year run from 1993 to 2003 was eye-popping.

7. Frank Thomas: “The Big Hurt” deserves the label of “best DH in MLB history”, which will and should cost Edgar Martinez a lot of votes. While Thomas did start 971 games (out of 2,322) at first base, he did most of his damage as the bat, posting a career .974 OPS to go along with 521 home runs. Thomas could have probably hit 400 home runs batting left-handed due to his strong 6’5″, 240 pound football-esque frame, and his upright stance and power formed a different breed of a power hitter, as evidenced by his low strikeout totals and high walk totals throughout his career.

8. Mike Piazza: Piazza may have been a horrendous defensive catcher, but the man could hit, and he changed the position with his power and many games with his incredible production. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star and he holds many offensive records for catchers. His offensive longevity at such a challenging defensive position is Hall worthy, and he, like Bagwell, appears to be lumped in with the steroid era, but is worthy of the vote in his second year of eligibility.

9. Tim Raines: Raines appears to be overlooked for what he accomplished due to being similar in abilities and skill-set to Rickey Henderson without actually being Henderson. This is Raines’ seventh season of eligibility and last season was his most vote-heavy, as he earned 52.2 percent of the vote. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth all-time and he made seven consecutive All-Star appearances from 1981 through 1987. He may get overlooked once again due to the powerful bats and magnificent pitchers, but Raines was a dynamic player who, clearly, did enough for enshrinement.

Trammell310. Alan Trammell: I wrote a whole article last winter about why Trammell deserves enshrinement (read here), but the fact that there are so many less worthy shortstops already in the Hall of Fame is a good enough reason for Trammell to earn his Cooperstown plaque in his 13th year of eligibility. It’s a shame that he has been overlooked for this long, and an even bigger shame that his voting trended in the wrong direction last season, falling from a high of 36.8 percent in 2012 to 33.6 percent in 2013. He didn’t win an MVP like Barry Larkin, but he and Cal Ripken, Jr. were the reasons why offensive-minded shortstops like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra were able to stay at short for so long…and now that the position is heading back to defensive skills as the focal point, it just goes to show the value of Trammell at his peak.

If I could vote for more: Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro would all earn a vote, as well, while I’d, of course, write in Pete Rose.

I’d love to see who you think is worthy for the vote. I created a survey for fans to cast their Hall of Fame ballot and after the BBWAA messes everything up again, I will post the fan results here.

Click here to take survey