So the Baseball Hall of Fame results come down tomorrow. Nope, I don’t have a vote, but I’m going to tell you who I would vote for anyway. Like it or not.
Right off the the bat I am going to tell you that I am not going to discriminate against steroid guys…or “perceived” steroid guys. For all we know, 80% of the players were using at some point. At least that is what I believe. But who am I to decide which ones I THINK were using and possibly unfairly penalize them? I read today that one jackass writer did not vote for ANY steroid era players, because he “didn’t know who did use and who didn’t”. He only voted for Jack Morris because “he believes” that Morris’ career fell “in his opinion” before the steroid era. WHAT??! Because HE BELIEVES? Who made him the expert? Some may applaud him for making a stand, but that is totally asinine. In MY opinion, that dude should lose his vote and be fired from wherever he works. You can’t just blindly blanket the whole era. Stupid.
Anyway, some guys also were apparently on some 2003 list that was supposed to remain confidential as well. Not going to hold that against anyone either. The steroid era is what it is, we have to deal with it. There was the dead ball era. The juiced ball year. The amphetamine era. Guys are in the Hall of Fame that admittedly cheated…see Perry, Gaylord. There are drug abusers, racists and random other thugs in the Hall of Fame. For decades, baseball had a separate Negro League that undoubtedly had potential Hall of Famers that were barred from playing in the Major Leagues. Et cetera. The steroid era is just another time period in the history of the game. It is what it is…
One quick note to start. Three managers were already elected. One was Joe Torre. Of his 5 managing jobs, 4 were average at best and sometimes putrid. But he manages a bunch of Hall of Famers, borderline Hall of Famers and perennial All-Stars on the Yankees, wins regularly (yeah, 4 World Series, I know), and now he is a Hall of Fame manager? Please. Let’s just put Terry Francona in down the road if he wins 2,000 games overall. Torre’s skill was managing a clubhouse full of multi-millionaire egos, not managing baseball games. There is something to be said for that, but I am not sure it means Hall of Fame. The Yanks would have likely won about the same with the corpse of Billy Martin managing those squads.
Anyway, enough of the preamble. There are 36 names on the ballot. I added a write-in vote. Out of 37, I elected 6. I don’t like to be one of these guys who changes their mind on guys down the road (why do we need 15 years to determine whether a dude is a Hall of Famer?). But I reserve the right to change course on a guy or two with more information and thought. I’ve considered each player carefully and read many opinions of each over the years. But always am willing to hear more arguments.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens-put on the same line for obvious reasons. I personally despise both these guys. But they are no-doubt Hall of Famers, it’s as simple as that. They were on that track before everything blew up. They even were acquitted in court proceedings trying to nail them post-career. How can you keep them out?
Greg Maddux-355 wins in an era where 200 is a feat. Horse. Control. Has all the hardware. Not much explanation needed here.
Frank Thomas-tailed off a bit after age 32, but no arguing the numbers racked up in his 20’s.
Mike Piazza-being a catcher puts him over the top. Mind you, he was not a great defensive catcher by any stretch of the imagination. But to have those responsibilities and still hit like he did counts for a lot.
Pete Rose-ok, here’s the nice, controversial one. Yes, he gambled on baseball and his team. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one. Yes, he lied about it. Again, surely not the only one. Yes, he is a scumbag. But see above, no matter to me. To the best of my knowledge, the gambling thing was focused on what he did when he was a manager. I’m not voting for him as a manager. Can’t refute what he did as a player. And that’s what it comes down to for me.
Nice careers, but not Hall of Famers to me:
Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire-600 home runs is 600 home runs for Sosa. But half of the damage was done in a 5 year span. Same basically for McGwire. One third of McGwires’ hits were dingers. Averages were low. And I think back during that time, people were more focused on them “bringing the game back” from the strike days and all that. That probably made their baseball ability seem more legendary than it really was.
Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Fred McGriff-Again, 3,000 hits is 3,000 hits. And 500 homers is 500 homers (or 493 for the Crime Dog). But although these guys were excellent players for a long time, they were really never dominant. People are overrating Biggio’s positional flexibility. He only caught for essentially 3 years, so that is a non-factor for me. Palmeiro is never going to be helped by the fact that he actually did get caught and suspended for using a banned substance either.
Tom Glavine-this is a tough one. Has 300 plus wins, though we know that statistic can be overrated. Higher career ERA than you would expect, pitching exclusively in the National League. I could be talked into a change in the future. But for now, no. Bet the Billerica folks won’t be happy with me for this one.
Jeff Bagwell-I don’t understand how he is one of the few that DON’T seem get linked to steroids. Either way, don’t think he did enough, especially considering the era.
Larry Walker-played too many of his games in Colorado. ‘Nuff said.
Jack Morris, Curt Schilling-people seem to gravitate toward postseason exploits for these two. That should only be icing on the cake to me. Morris’ 3.90 career ERA is simply a deal breaker for me. There are some dominant years for Schill, but too many ups and downs over his whole career.
Tim Raines, Alan Trammell-somewhat hard to completely analyze these guys. Not only was their playing career a little bit back (their “heydays” at least). But their value isn’t really measured in strict numbers. But what I remember is that Trammell was a very good player, but it’s not like I planned my schedule to make sure I saw him play. Raines was pretty elite early in his career, but was it long enough?
Lee Smith-just because you get a lot of saves and retire as the all-time leader, doesn’t mean you were dominant and unhittable and a legend.
Edgar Martinez-Lot of support for him. Great hitter, better numbers than I remembered. I have no biases against DH’s. But I believe he falls a bit short.
Mike Mussina-AL East his whole career. Makes the higher ERA easier to take I suppose. But, think he falls a bit short as well.
Don Mattingly-Why are we still talking about him. Peak way too short. No, no, no.
Jeff Kent-position will help him. But I don’t think so.
I can tell my kids I was on an actual Hall of Fame ballot:
Kenny Rogers, Luis Gonzalez, Moises Alou, Ray Durham, Hideo Nomo, Richie Sexson, Paul LoDuca, Armando Benitez, Mike Timlin, Sean Casey, Jacque Jones, Eric Gagne, J.T. Snow, Todd Jones-LoDuca and Jacque Jones? Funny…as are most of these guys.
I could talk more about each candidate…but…that’s enough…