2016 Hall Of Fame Ballot

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It’s likely nothing will ever compete with the HOF classes of the 1930’s, and that first class of Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Johnson, and Mathewson is pretty much untouchable.

But the 2015 HOF class was among the strongest in terms of WAR in recent years, and this class could potentially be a strong one as well.

Here’s a handy Baseball Reference page with all the players on this year’s ballot.  Plenty of stats, both old and new, for you to look at and sort through.

This could be a good year for clearing out some of the “backlog”, since the newcomers list isn’t particularly super strong.  On the other hand, electing four guys at once is very much an outlier, so it’s probably not reasonable to expect a big class like that again.

And this will be the first year in which former writers, who haven’t written about baseball in over a decade, will no longer have a vote.  This change should remove some of the stodgy and stuffy old gasbags from the process, though there’s still the problem of only being able to vote for 10 players.  As far as I’m concerned, with the quality of names on this ballot, anyone who doesn’t submit a full 10-player ballot should be removed from the voter pool for next year.

I’ve got a pretty good idea of who my hypothetical votes would go to.  I definitely want to find room to vote for Trammel in his last year.  And while I very much try to separate the player on the field from the person off the field, in a ballot this crowded, I’d have no problem telling Schilling to fuck off and leave him off the ballot.

56 thoughts on “2016 Hall Of Fame Ballot

  1. To expand on my contents earlier, while lamenting that the Little Gritmeister won’t get 5 percent of the vote …

    First-year players
    1. Griffey is a slam dunk, of course.
    2. Per what Lefty notes about HOF voting changes, Hoffman will be a good test of what younger writers think about closers. Wagner will be a lesser test.

    3. Per my earlier comments about Edmonds and Larry Walker, Walker is a dozen WAR points ahead of Edmonds, and 13 WAA points. I expect Edmonds not to draw more than 30 percent. True that he was flashier with the glove than Walker, and played center, not right. Walker has a lot of “black ink” that Edmonds didn’t, and Edmonds didn’t crack either 2,000 hits or 400 HRs.

    Returning players
    1. Pizza Man gets in.
    2. Baggs stays about where he is. That said, HE will be a good test himself, of what younger, more involved writers believe, or do not believe, about roids-related innuendo.
    3. Raines has a slight uptick, but still below 60 percent.
    4. Mussina breaks 35 percent, and this will be the start of a generally upward trajectory that gets him in the HOF.
    5. Bonds and Clemens move to 40 percent, but not more. They will be good tests of what younger, more involved writers believe about roids-related actuality.

    And, I’m off to blog myself, to expand on these thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know a lot of people have issues with it, but given that the instructions ask you to vote for worthy players, not the most worthy players, I’d have to engage in some tactical voting. Sorry, Junior (and Trammell – he ain’t jumping 50% in his final season).

    Bonds
    Clemens
    Schilling
    Bags
    Moose
    Walker
    Edgar
    Rock
    Edmonds
    Piazza

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    • I’ve got no issue with tactical voting. It’s pretty much required with the 10-vote-max rule in place.

      If that rule is ever thrown in the dumpster where it belongs, then the need for that kind of voting would no longer be necessary.

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      • You’re a fan of arbitrary limits? It’s not supposed to be “the best ten.” It’s supposed to be players who are worthy of induction. Some years that will be two, but some years that will be fifteen. I’m not a big Hall or a small Hall guy – I’m a “get the right guys in” guy. And right now, with the crush of worthy talent on the ballot, the max is preventing worthy guys from getting in.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Gadfly, your “small hall” already doesn’t exist.

        The argument of keeping out players that are better than 1/2 the players already in doesn’t maintain a small hall…in maintains a stupid hall that does not, in any way, recognize the best players during the history of baseball.

        …and “small hall” proponents invariably skew to one type of player, a player that was elite in one skill (usually power)….the most valuable players are typically guys that provide value all over the field, most of which have historically been vastly under appreciated by HOF voters.

        Even the argument of “I don’t think Edmonds should get in because he wasn’t better than Walker” is misguided…because Larry Fuckin’ Walker was a HOF caliber player and should already be in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin, any limit is arbitrary, whether imposed outside by rules for a voting group, or internally by one’s own self. Rules in general are arbitrary.

        Lions, I’ve said before that I think Walker should be in. But, since all rules are arbitrary, per my note to Kevin, I’m just detailing my version of arbitrary.

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      • You’re so full of shit it isn’t funny. Good rules move a process towards a desired goal. Bad rules are arbitrary. Given that the players being voted on are being compared to the historical standards and not to their fellow ballot brethren, any limit is indeed arbitrary. But a faux-intellectual who pretends to know everything would try to conflate rules that serve a purpose with rules that don’t. Take your pedantic shit elsewhere. Other than Gator and a couple others you’ve successfully brown-nosed, nobody here actually likes your crap.

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      • Kevin, I won’t even bother to dignify your comment with anything more than:

        Whether a rule is imposed from outside, or internally developed, unless you believe in divine command theories of ethics, and your “ethics” extends to rules in general, rules of this nature are arbitrary. That includes yours, because you have an arbitrary cutoff rule for your “big Hall,” too.

        If you claim you don’t, I’ll ask you why Eckstein isn’t a HOFer. You have arbitrary rules, too.

        Deal with it.

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      • You won’t dignify it because you’re a fucking idiot who isn’t capable of thinking of a logical reason or even talking about the same thing. David Eckstein isn’t a HOFer because, even though they didn’t realize they were doing it, the BBWAA electorate has set a rough threshold that we can quantify through reasonably-objective standards (i.e. the various flavors of WAR). But the reason the ten-vote maximum is arbitrary is because it has nothing to do with HOF standards. The reason David Eckstein is not a HOFer has everything to do with the players already elected, not the presence of ten-plus superior players on the ballot. In an alternate world where the BBWAA cleared the worthy players into the Hall in previous years and Eckstein was only up against the new players to the ballot and the riff-raff left over, he still wouldn’t be worthy of the HOF, even as one of the best ten players on the current ballot. That you’re clearly incapable of understanding the difference is pretty embarrassing for somebody who acts like he knows pretty much everything.

        Go back to HBT, the new commentariat is more your speed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, I warned you earlier today that my HoF write up was going to be long. Think I’ll break it up into chunks so you all can sling stones and hurl insults at me piecemeal.

    First, thank you longfootlefty for starting this and linking BBR so that I won’t have to.

    Second, let’s remember the key rule for eligibility is spending 10 years in the bigs. All the rules can be found at http://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/bbwaa-rules-for-election.

    The last two years has seen two big changes to the voting. Culling the voting pool of those tenured BBWAA members who have not covered baseball in years, sometimes decades, has resulted in 125 fewer voters this year, all of whom were dead wood–so good riddance. The other took effect last year–shortening the period of eligibility from 15 years to 10 in what I think was really a thinly veiled effort to get certain undesirables (i.e. PED suspects) off the ballot quicker. A more generous take would be to call it backlog control by forced quicker attrition. Regardless, it means this is Mark McGwire’s last time on the ballot.

    Last thing for this first installment is to mention that being eligible for HoF consideration does not mean you make the ballot. My next installment will cover the newly eligible players on the ballot. Here I’d like to give a quick shout out to those who are now eligible but did not make the ballot, after all–being good enough to play MLB for 10 or more years is pretty darn good:
    Chan Ho Park–played for 7 teams over 17 years, 1715 Ks, all star once–no chance at all of being elected, but kind of a snub to not be on the ballot
    Jeff Weaver
    Russ Ortiz
    Gary Matthews
    Christian Guzman
    Jose Guillen*
    Bob Howry*
    Bengie Molina of The Catchin’ Molinas*
    Fernando Tatis*
    Russ Springer*

    (Other than Park, no argument from me about who was left off the ballot.)

    *: Fun fact, these players with over 50 combined years of MLB experience have a cumulative WAR less than what Mike Trout has accumulated at age 24.

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  4. My take for what it’s worth. This is not a prediction of who gets in, this is just my hypothetical vote if I had one. I know there are 11 yeses on there, if I were actually voting I’d go strategic and leave Griffey off for the same reason some others are.

    Barry Bonds – Worthy? Yes. Would I vote for him? No. Sorry, I know he’ll get in eventually but I wouldn’t be the one putting him there.
    Roger Clemens – See Bonds
    Ken Griffey – Yes, easily
    Curt Schilling – Yes, great career and awesome post season.
    Jeff Bagwell – Yes, easily. Great injustice that its gone this far.
    Larry Walker – Yes, also easily. He has suffered far more than he should for playing in Colorado.
    Alan Trammell – YES! Geez this guy was the best SS in the game in his time not named Ripken.
    Mike Mussina – Yes, not his fault his teams never measured up to their usual ace.
    Sammy Sosa – No. Great excitement, but much like Bonds I won’t be the one doing it.
    Edgar Martinez – Yes. Either DH’s are worthy or they are not. Edgar was the best DH to ever play the game.
    Mike Piazza – Yes. This guy has less WAR than I usually would go for, however not many catchers survive long enough to do better, and he was probably the greatest offensive catcher of all time with defense that would have benefitted from a more modern approach.
    Nomar Garciaparra – No. Great few years, but not enough seasons at the top.
    Jim Edmonds – No. Hall of very, very good, but not enough. Only 10 all-star level seasons, he’s a weaker Larry Walker.
    Tim Raines – Yes, best leadoff guy not named Rickey from his era.
    Mark McGwire – No. Great show, but very one dimensional player and that’s before you get to the PED use.
    Gary Sheffield – No, Hall of Very Good however.
    Fred McGriff – No. Love him but he does not make the bar.
    Jeff Kent – I am torn on Kent. I lean towards no, his overall career wasn’t quite across the bar, but I could be convinced otherwise.
    Troy Glaus – No, but thanks for the memories.
    Jason Kendall – Yadier Molina before Yadi. Good career, but no.
    Mike Hampton – No
    Randy Winn – More valuable career than I remembered, but no.
    Luis Castillo – No
    Mike Lowell – Big moment, but no.
    Garret Anderson – No, but I loved him on my fantasy team.
    Mike Sweeney – Same for Sweeney, plus I never heard a negative thing about him.
    Lee Smith – No
    Mark Grudzielanek – No
    Billy Wagner – This one is tough for me. I really am not certain how to value relievers. Wagner and Hoffman are two of the best. I will say yes, but I could be swayed.
    Trevor Hoffman – Same as Wagner, yes but I could be swayed.
    David Eckstein – No, but Hall of Very Gritty for certain
    Brad Ausmus – Good looks aren’t enough.

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    • The two most important things a hitter can do:

      1) not make outs

      2) hit for power

      So a guy with career OBP of .394, a career SLG of .588, and a career wRC+ of 157 was “one dimensional”? That is stupid.

      That guy accumulated value faster than Frank Thomas did, and if not for injuries would have easily had a better career.

      Also, refusing to vote for power hitters that were outed for their steroid use while voting for guys lucky enough not to have been identified publicly is kinda silly. There is essentially a 0% chance that Bagwell or Biggio or Thomas didn’t use steroids during their careers (they sure as hell used amphetamines, andro, and creatine…everyone did). If that is the stance, then no one from the 1950s through today should be elected because you can’t be sure they didn’t use steroids and steroid use has been common since that time.

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      • I’ll take solace in that your objections are with my omissions, not my votes. Given that I had 11 on this ballot, my omissions aren’t a big deal. And I suppose I could say McGwire was two dimensional if you care that much. He got on base and had power. Still not HoF to me.

        I am with you 90% of the time on PED users. You know from my statements before that I don’t think they were the horrifying corruption that they are marketed as. I still don’t feel any sympathy for the users, although I have tremendous sympathy for the ones who had it implied with no evidence, such as Bagwell. I am just being honest when I say I couldn’t vote for them. To me, attempting to cheat, even if the cheat is ineffective, is wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, sure….but if no one thought it was cheating until years later (and decades into the development of PED culture in the league)…was it really cheating?

          Otherwise, everyone that used amphetamines after it was classified in 1971 was cheating…because it was technically against MLBs rules the moment it because a scheduled drug.

          But this IS the HOF….so, mostly, I don’t care who is elected.

          Though it is amazing to me that McGwire is often considered not a HOFer if you ignore PEDs when he was a better player than Frank Thomas…better hitter and MUCH better defender (not saying much, but still true).

          Liked by 1 person

      • Both were incredibly bad defenders. Frank had a better bat. Compare oWAR on BBRef. Total career value for Thomas is considerably higher too, the equivilent of two All-Star level seasons where you get some MVP votes. They are in completely different classes, IMO.

        As for PEDs, after they were made illegal at the federal level I do not believe that anyone using them did not realize they were cheating. When they had to go to shady gyms to get their drugs, rather than a doctor or over the counter, I am certain they knew they should not be doing it.

        The difference between you and me is that I’m also willing to say that yes, amphetamine use was also cheating. I don’t differentiate. Once it was illegal, if players used it they were intentionally cheating. I do not, however, pretend that it had a huge impact on performance, home runs, etc (amphetamines, on the other hand, did impact performance). We have had this discussion before, but changes in the strike zone, training and most importantly ballpark construction far outweighed any hypothetical gains that steroids might have granted.

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        • Frank had a longer career, but he wasn’t a better hitter.

          wRC+ of 157 for McGwire and 154 for Thomas

          On defense, Thomas was “good” for -267 runs over his career, where as McGwire was only at -139…though I’m sure if he played more time, he could have got closer to -200.

          Consider that McGwire put up 92% of the fWAR of Thomas in only 76% of the playing time…that is a huge difference in the rate of value.

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      • Longevity has value. Per 650PA’s, both averaged 3.9 bWAR. Given that, and given that Thomas averaged both more games per season and had more seasons, he was the more valuable player. Over time that added up.

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      • One note: the 92% in 76% number is misleading. Of course he did, they both put up the vast majority of value during their prime. Few players add a lot at the beginning or end of their careers, and in McGwire’s case he was done early. Comparing any two star players with reasonably long careers is going to show a distortion like that.

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        • Agreed. If McGwire had a longer decline phase, the numbers would be closer…but there isn’t an objective way to say that Thomas was better. He was much worse in the field, much worse on the bases, and likely would have had essentially the same offensive production rate if he had retired a year or two earlier.

          I don’t see any argument at all that they were significantly different players. That is 100% perception.

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      • The difference is that the HoF is about a career, not any given season. Sure you can make the case that McGwire was better per at bat, or better in any given season, but you can’t make the case that he had the better career as he did not. Since the HoF is about a player’s career, it makes sense to make a line between two players who had similar peaks where one was a productive above average major leaguer for longer than the other.

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        • WAR is calibrated so that 2.0 is exactly league average.

          Number of solidly above average seasons (3+ fWAR)

          Thomas 10
          McGwire 11

          Your argument is that tacking on a couple of more average seasons puts him in a different class of career, which is kinda silly.

          I guess that means Rafael Palmiero was a better player than Tony Gwynn.

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      • Thomas played for three additional seasons. In his career he accumulated 11 additional points of bWAR. That is substantial. I am not giving McGwire credit for his injuries and making assumptions about his hypothetical performance if he stayed healthy. Being durable IS a quality that matters. Your line of 3 is also arbitrary. 2.5 is also solidly above average (25% more value than the average starter!). Technically speaking, 2.2 would be significant as well, if a team had 2.2 at all starting positions and played exactly as their stats implied they would have a .550 winning percentage and likely make at least a wild card. You chose 3 because it specifically excludes several quality seasons out of Thomas (5) while only excluding one quality season from McGwire. Putting the line at, say, 2.2, changes it to 15 solidly above average seasons for Thomas compared to 11 for McGwire.

        I could invert your tactic and simply say “Frank Thomas had 8 seasons of All-Star level bWAR (5+) compared to only 7 for McGwire. That’s how arbitrary lines work.

        You are cherry picking. McGwire was good. I see him as an on the cusp guy. I won’t cry if he ever makes it in. But for me and many others he falls below the line, even if we ignore the PED situation (and I discount for it). Thomas is very solidly in, and among the better recent selections.

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  5. Okay, this second installment will cover the new names on the ballot. I will accompany each name with a thought or two and whether I personally think the player should be elected. I will do this in the next installment for the holdover candidates as well. You will note between the two that I vote “yes” to more than 10 players. That is because I’m not yet saying who would be on my hypothetical ballot–that comes in installment 4 (again, anyone actually reasoning all this has already been warned about length).

    Ken Griffey, Jr. 83.6 rWAR, 630 homers, 524 doubles, 136 career OPS+, 13 times an All Star, superb defense, etc, etc. His qualifications are a slam dunk, no brainer…and everyone knows it. He won’t get 100% of the vote although he should because (1) nobody ever has and (2) with such a crowded ballot, a few voters are likely to leave his name off in favor of voting for another worthy candidate if for no other reason than to make sure that player stays on the ballot (see Kevin S example above on his hypothetical ballot). Still, he’s in easily with over 95% of the vote.

    Jim Edmonds. Defense, defense, spectacular defense. Oh, and 60.3 rWAR, 132 career OPS+. You like triple slashes? His was .284/.376/.527. Some guy named Griffey had .284/.370/.538. Am I saying Edmonds was as good as Griffey? Of course not. However, this guy absolutely is a no-doubt Hall of Famer…and will not only not get in this year but have to do the slow climb over a several year wait.

    (I readily admit being an Edmonds and Griffey fan boy.)

    Jason Kendall. There is always one player on the ballot that makes me say “he’s been out of baseball that long?” Kendall is that guy for me this year. A very good defensive catcher, I bet I’ll see at least one writer fan-boy give an impassioned argument for him, mentioning 2195 hits and a .288 batting average while ignoring the 95 career OPS+. He will get enough votes to be on next year’s ballot. A “no” from me though.

    Troy Glaus. 320 homers, 119 OPS+, 4 all star teams. The quintessential “Hall of Very Good” candidate. No, but likely gets enough votes to be on the ballot still next year.

    Mike Hampton. Once thought to be destined to become “the fourth ace” of the Braves. Of course, folks once said that about Steve Avery too, and that didn’t work out either. Fun fact (for me): he went to the same high school I did. Still, no.

    Luis Castillo. 3 all star teams. Excellent defense. Led the league in stolen bases twice. No.

    Randy Winn. One of the original Devil Rays. Love the guy, really really want to say “yes.” No.

    Garret Anderson. Also a Hall of Very Good player, 2529 hits, .293/.324/.461, 3 all star teams. No, but survives to be on the ballot next year.

    Mike Lowell. Somebody out there is going to vote for him because he earned a WS ring with the Marlins in 2003 and another as the WS MVP in 2007 with the Red Sox. He might even eke out 5% of the vote to make next year’s ballot. No.

    Billy Wagner. 2.31 career ERA, 0.998 WHIP (you read that right, a career WHIP <1), 422 saves, 11.9 K/9 innings, 3.99 K/BB, 187 ERA+. To me, yes. However, no chance he gets in this year, bet he gets treated like Lee Smith even though he was better than Smith in my opinion.

    Trevor Hoffman. Hell’s Bells! Okay, really cool intro music isn’t enough so: 2.87 career ERA, 141 ERA+, 601 saves–second only to Mariano the Great of course, and a 1.058 WHIP. Yes, absolutely. He may not get in this year, but will without a real long wait if not.

    Mark Grudzielanek. All star once. Gold glove award once. Led the league in doubles once. He played for 6 teams, one was the Royals. Good thing the HoF selection isn’t a fan vote, or he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer this year. No.

    Mike Sweeney. 118 OPS+, made 5 all star teams. He could get the necessary 5 percent to stay on the ballot for next year; however, the Royals fan joke I used on Grudzielanek applies here too. No from me though.

    David Eckstein. Somebody called him first ballot Hall of Grity today, and sadly it wasn’t me; I’m very jealous of that quip. The big thing here though, is Eckstein was 4th in Rookie of the Year voting in, ahem, 2001. He’s the first player on a HoF ballot to play his whole MLB career in the 21st century. Yikes. Everyone reading this except Ren and Archaela now feels old. No.

    Brad Ausmus. I’m told he’s kind of good looking. He might someday be Hall worthy depending on how the rest of his managerial career goes, but as a player, no.

    So there you have it, 15 new names on the ballot, 4 of which I think should be enshrined. Next comes the returning candidates.

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    • I am with you on everyone except Edmonds. I loved him too. But there are a LOT of better outfielders who aren’t in, including several on this ballot. He had ten above average seasons, lots of injuries and only a couple seasons that were truly stand out. The numbers don’t support his reputation for defense either.

      Call me back after Larry Walker and Tim Raines are inducted. I don’t see it happening even then, however. Hall of Very Good, but he misses the cut. And I don’t see it as all that close either.

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      • You’ll note, if you read the next one, I’m pro Raines and Walker too. I suspect the only real difference in our views is the threshold for entry.

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      • Yeah, I get that you are, but those two are well beyond Edmonds. Your threshold is lower than mine, but you must acknowledge that you would have to put more than a dozen players in before you bridge the tap between, say, Raines and Edmonds. Its fair enough if you are a ‘big hall’ kinda guy though. I’m bigger than the current writers, but I’m not of the mind that every player with more than 60 bWAR should be in.

        Note: I just counted. There are 23 non-HOFer’s between Raines and Edmonds by career bWAR (only including those who have been on the ballot, so no Scott Rolen yet). Some of them are obvious should be in’s due to factors like positional scarcity or being amazing over a 10+ year span. But the vast majority I wouldn’t consider to be HoF level.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_career.shtml

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      • So, a counter, and I’m somewhat ambivalent as to whether position breakdowns are necessary with WAR, but take a look at CF JAWS: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_CF.shtml

        He’s right on the back end of the CF HOF pack. There are three guys ahead of him that aren’t in yet. I think Beltran will get in. He’ll get to the ballot in seven years or so, and he’ll have ten years for voters to get their heads out of their asses. Lofton had a criminally underrated career, I think because people tend to bias against journeymen and guys who string their value out over a long time, as Kenny did by having a run of average-ish years after he was done as an elite player. Andruw Jones has the opposite issue – he was on a clear HOF track and then fell off the face of the earth. I’d put those three in, yes, and I’d put Edmonds in, too.

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      • I don’t break it down by position and WAR is a guide not an absolute. For instance I think Piazza is an absolute HoFer without a doubt despite having less WAR than Edmonds. Why? Because few catchers play long enough to accumulate ~70 bWAR, its a tough position and five or six years of prime play as a catcher can mean as much as 10 great years for an outfielder or first baseman.

        That said, I don’t look at it in terms of there not being enough of any given position represented, or where a player ranks in that pack. Third base is underrepresented, but how much of that is due to lack of support for worthy candidates, and how much of it is the fact that truly great third basemen are rare? I am fine with the idea that some positions are tough to play and as a result few who can pull it off will also have a HoF career.

        To me, Edmonds is just over the line. Much of what people remember about him was exaggerated (his defense), he was frequently injured, and his best ten seasons only had a few truly standout years in there. Most of those years he was All-Star quality, but he rarely was a serious candidate for MVP.

        I won’t be upset if he makes it in somehow, I don’t feel he pushes the standard down like Jim Rice did. But I don’t have any desire to push his candidacy. He should go into the Angels HoF however.

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    • Your perception of Edmonds as a “spectacular” defender is, as with many perceptions, wrong. He was a pretty good defensive CF who made difficult plays look spectacular. He was much flashier than he needed to be. So when they create a Hall of Pretty Damned Good, he will be in it.

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      • I was referring to the flashiness with “spectacular.” I think that sticks in the mind of many, and I include myself due to fan boy bias. None of these exercises are completely objective. If they were, there would be no debates. I think that flashiness will get him some extra votes. I’m okay with that because I feel he belongs in the HoF anyway.

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      • I can see your side of the argument. I don’t agree, but that’s why we can discuss it. I tend to “vote” for the players who were among the best at their position when they played. I don’t think Jim was, so we’ll have to respectfully disagree on this one.

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  6. Installment #3 is my take on the players who are on the ballot still after not getting elected last year. Again, I’ll give a thought or two and my opinion of whether they should get in or not. I’ll also include their vote percentage from last year.

    Mike Piazza. 69.9%. .308/.377/.545, 142 OPS+, 427 homers, 1993 rookie of the year, 12 all star teams, 10 silver sluggers. If not the best hitting catcher ever, close to it. Actually a good defensive catcher too, except for being poor at throwing out runners. An obvious yes to me, though, and pretty sure he gets in this year, regardless of Murray Chass’ ignorant assertions based on back acne.

    Jeff Bagwell. 55.7%. .297/.408/.540, 149 OPS+, 449 HR, 149 OPS+, rookie of the year 1991, MVP 1994. Really should be a no brainer, obvious yes for the HoF. He isn’t in already because he lifted weights and was on the same team as Ken Caminiti. Some voters seriously think that’s enough evidence to condemn someone as a PED user. Thankfully, a lot of them are now gone due to not actually, you know, covering baseball anymore. I’m thinking his vote total takes a nice step up, and he now gets in in the next 2-3 years.

    Tim Raines. 55%. For the love of Pete, can we please get this guy a plaque?! 808 stolen bases, and among the most successful ever when attempting to steal–bottom line, better than anybody not named Rickey Henderson. .295/.385/.425, compare the on base percentage to Tony Gwynn. 123 OPS+, 7 all star teams. If he makes a good move up this year, he might make it next year on his last chance.

    Curt Schilling. 39.2%. 216-146, ERA 3.46, ERA+ 127, 8.6 K/9, 4.38 K/BB, 3116 K’s (#15 all time). He really shines in the post season with a11-2 record, 2.23 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 4.8 K/BB. He was a thoroughly outstanding pitcher; I really think the only thing holding him back is that he is so Curt Schilling. Yes from me, but bet he stays right around the same level of support as last year.

    Roger Clemens. 37.5%. Oh my. 140.3 rWAR–#3 all time among pitchers. 354-184, ERA 3.12, ERA+ 143, 4672 K’s (also #3 all time), 7 Cy Youngs, and an MVP. This is an inner circle Hall of Famer…except he’s also the poster boy for the fact that pitchers used PEDs too. Yes for me anyway, but he will stay stuck in the 35-40% range as I don’t think the voting population change will help him…or the next guy on the list.

    Barry Bonds. 36.8%. 162.4 rWAR (#4 all time), 182 OPS+ (#3 all time), 2558 walks (#1 all time), 688 intentional walks (#1 also), 7 MVP awards, and hit a few homers too. He would have amassed 3000 hits if he hadn’t gotten black balled. Frankly, I think he’d probably still be a good DH for a number of teams. He was also a very good defensive player in his day. Three words to remind us of why he’s not in the Hall of Fame already: “Game of Shadows.” After years of applauding ridiculous offensive numbers, folks started pulling out the tar, feathers, torches and pitchforks when a player most folks outside of San Francisco didn’t like broke some famous records. Yes from me, but no chance he gets elected and will be surprised if he gets more than about 40% of the vote.

    Lee Smith. 30.2%. 478 saves, ERA 3.03, ERA+ 132, 8.7 K/9, 2.57 K/BB. That’s all really very good, but no. A line has to be drawn somewhere, and for me he’s just short. This is is 14th year on the ballot, one of the players grandfathered after the eligibility term got shortened to 10, he will be on the ballot one more time next year. There will be impassioned pleas for him, but he won’t get in. Betcha a future veterans committee does put him in though.

    Edgar Martinez. 27.0%. He’s the DH version of Rodney Dangerfield with the voters. He’s clearly one of the 3 best DH’s ever no matter how you argue the point. Since the DH has been around for over 40 years now, that’s saying something. If you need numbers: 68.3 rWAR, .312/.418/.515, OPS+ 147 really ought to do the trick. Yes from me.

    Alan Trammell. 25.1%. This is his last year on the ballot, then he goes the way of Lou Whitaker. For his career he amassed 70.4 rWAR and hit .288/.352/.415. In the post season he went .333/.404/.588 and earned the 1984 WS MVP. Combined with his superb defensive play, he should have been in long ago. Let’s hope the modern era veterans committee does the right thing and puts both him and Whitaker in when their names come up before it in the future. It will be a travesty of the highest order if they fail to do so while enshrining the unworthy Jack Morris instead.

    Mike Mussina. 24.6%. It’s year 3 for him on the ballot. His numbers are plenty good enough…83.0 rWAR, 270-153, 3.68 ERA, 123 ERA+, 2813K, was an excellent fielder. I think his percentage will climb this year, but he’s got a long way to go though. Yes from me.

    Jeff Kent. 14.0%. .290/.356/.500, OPS+ 123, an MVP. He didn’t reach the magic plateaus a lot of voters look for though. A close no from me, and I don’t think he gains much traction with the voters either, but will have his name on the ballot for the 4th time next year.

    Fred McGriff. 12.9%. .284/.377/.509, OPS+ 134, 493 homers. A close yes from me, but in his 7th year on the ballot, he’s got no shot at election by the BBWAA. I expect he will remain on the ballot, but that’s it. His best chance will be with the veterans committee in a few years. (No, I didn’t say yes to him because he was a Devil Ray. That didn’t hurt though.)

    Larry Walker. 11.8%. The curse of Coors Field–voters decide you’re just a product of your park and don’t vote for you if that was ever your home field even though they should. 72.6 rWAR, .313/.400/.565, OPS+ 141 (he wasn’t just a good hitter at Coors, voters). Yes, but he ain’t moving much with the vote. It’s year 6 for him, so he’s basically in the same boat as the Crime Dog.

    Gary Sheffield. 11.7%. 509 homers, .292/.393/.514, OPS+ 140, 60.3 rWAR. He played with 8 teams, and a lot of folks don’t really identify him with any one of them. A lot of people seemed to not like him personally when he was playing too. It’s only his second year on the ballot. It will be interesting to see if he moves up, especially if he passes the a-little-bit-better Larry Walker in the process. A close no for me, but I sometimes waffle on him.

    Mark McGwire. 10.0%. This is his 10th and final year on the ballot. I honestly think the HoF board had him in mind when they changed the length of eligibility for BBWAA election last year. However, his vote has been dropping each year, and I don’t think this year will be an exception. In fact it would be unsurprising if he dipped below 5% and was thus doubly ineligible next year. His numbers are of course quite good, 583 homers (10th all time), .588 slugging, .394 OBP, .962 OPS (9th all time), 163 OPS+, 10.6 at bats per home run–the all time leader in that category. We all know why he isn’t getting elected, so I won’t belabor it. A yes from me though.

    Sammy Sosa. 6.6%. This is his 4th year on the ballot. I think it will be his last, and he will be joining McGwire in hoping for mercy from a future veterans committee. Besides the PED taint, he also is remembered for the corked bat and ridiculously gets dinged for having an interpreter help him in his testimony before Congress even though he speaks English. Some have used 60 WAR as a sort of threshold for the Hall. If it is, then Slammin’ Sammy falls just short at 58.4 rWAR (McGwire had 62, BTW). However, he did slug 609 homers, had a 128 OPS+, and took home the 1998 NL MVP. He’s close yes from me, but I have waffled on him before too.

    Nomar Garciaparra. 5.5%. It’s his second and, I think, last year on the ballot. The 1997 rookie of the year for the AL had a very good career .313/.361/.521. He was also a good shortstop. Injuries derailed him unfortunately. He’s in the Glove Fidgeters Hall of Fame, though. No from me.

    So there you have it. 17 carry over candidates, and to me 13 belong in the Hall with 3 others not being an outrage if they eventually get in. That’s a really loaded ballot.

    In my final installment, and if you’re still reading I owe you a cookie if we ever meet IRL, I decide what my ballot would look like if I, you know, had one. I’ll also predict the actual HoF class of 2016 for your mocking pleasure.

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  7. Okay, here’s my final installment. Hold the applause, I know you’re happy I’m almost done.

    Here are the players I decided were Hall-worthy:
    Ken Griffey, Jr
    Jim Edmonds
    Trevor Hoffman
    Billy Wagner
    Mike Piazza
    Jeff Bagwell
    Tim Raines
    Curt Schilling
    Roger Clemmens
    Barry Bonds
    Edgar Martinez
    Alan Trammell
    Mike Mussina
    Fred McGriff
    Larry Walker
    Mark McGwire
    Sammy Sosa

    That’s 17 names, and rule is only 10 names per voter. There is simply no excuse for any voter not to turn in a ballot with 10 names on it. The backlog is just too great. Even if you hate all PED users, you should be able to submit a good ballot with 10 worthy names on it.

    So, here’s my hypothetical ballot:
    Griffey
    Edmonds
    Hoffman
    Piazza
    Bagwell
    Raines
    Schilling
    Mussina
    Martinez
    Walker

    I am not anti-PED. I don’t like that they were/are used, but before 2004 there really was no rule, so I don’t hold it against anyone. Besides, I’ve no idea who used and who didn’t outside the few who got outed. I suspect Ken Caminiti’s 80% estimate is likely pretty close. However, I’m also a realist. Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa have no shot (no pun intended). Thus I would use those spaces either to hopefully give others an actual boost or at least keep the others in the ballot in hopes of convincing others I’m right about their candidacy (the bottom 4 names on my ballot).

    Okay, so then here’s my prediction of who really does get in for 2016:
    Griffey
    Hoffman
    Piazza

    Some writers will hail it as clearing some backlog. However, it means that the 2017 ballot will still have12 players I felt worthy of the Hall carrying over. Next year’s class is headed by Pudge Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Vlad Guerrero. For me, I think that’s when some backlog trimming might actually occur…I hope.

    This is the first ballot when we start to see attrition of PED suspects too. It will be interesting to learn what kind of support McGwire and Sosa get when their names come up before the modern era veterans committee. The late 1980s and 1990s seem certain to continue to be underrepresented in the Hall via BBWAA voting, so the veterans committee seems likely to get to sift through a number of truly worthy players in the future. I can only hope they prove themselves useful and elect guys like Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, and others that the BBWAA fails to recognize.

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  8. A few random additions from me:

    It is crazy to me that Biggio got in from the Astros before Bagwell. Hopefully the writers correct that oversight. Per Paper’s comment above, Bagwell admitted to using the legal stuff. Everyone did. The witch hunt has gone way overboard.
    After hard consideration, I cannot leave Bonds or Clemens off of the ballot. At least part of what both are suffering from is that they are both assholes. That should not be an issue. And to suggest either one was not a historic talent in baseball is misguided at best.
    Piazza, yes. I love to watch a great catcher play. And Pudge gets my vote when he hits eligibility. BTW, in his time Ausmus was a superior defender and a real pitcher’s catcher. He just never could hit much. But it’s not a total joke to consider him.
    Griffey, of course. Larry Walker is pretty compelling. Jim Edmonds passed the old eyeball test with me. Loved to watch him play. But the defensive stats don’t love him as much as I did. My heart says “yes” but I can understand going either way.
    Kent and Schilling – there’s the old asshole factor again. I can make a division here. Schilling has a good case. Kent, less so. And having watched Kent in Houston, I am happy with that.
    Mussina was better than I remembered. He should get in.
    Raines and Trammel suffer from our undervaluing of speed and defense. We should figure out a way to fix that.
    McGwire is what Lance Berkman might have been if he hadn’t wrecked his knees. And The case for Berkman was always that he needed two or three more good years. McGwire got those years. So I vote “yes.”
    DH’s and relief pitchers? That is my version of the PED argument. I don’t know what to do with those guys. I will see how the BBWAA sorts it out.

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