Tomorrow, we will find out who will complete the Hall of Fame class of 2011. Here is the complete ballot:
If I had a vote, which would be awesome, I would vote for the following (a 10-year tenured member of the Baseball Writer's Association of America receives a ballot on December 1 and must turn their ballot in on December 31. They are allowed to choose up to 10 candidates):
Roberto Alomar - Probably the best second baseman of this era. He was a member of the 1992 and 1993 World Champion Blue Jays. To me, the spitting incident with umpire John Hirshbeck is a non-issue because he apologized a long time ago, was forgiven and the two are close friends now.
Bert Blyleven - Some people close to me don't feel that Blyleven is a Hall of Famer because he doesn't compare to the likes of Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, etc... My thought is: You can't compare them because that would be like comparing apples to dinosaurs. At the time of his retirement, Blyleven was third all-time in strikeouts and ninth all-time in shutouts. Since then, he was passed by Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson. He won the World Series with the Pirates in 1979 (Pirates), and 1987 (Twins).
Rafael Palmeiro - I explored Raffy's HOF candidacy here.
Jeff Bagwell - Jeff Bagwell played in the Steroid Era. Jeff Bagwell deflated at the end of his career. Do I believe Jeff Bagwell did steroids? No, I do not. He never tested positive and has never been linked in any way that I have seen. It is completely unfair, given the evidence that we have today to label Bagwell as a 'user.' So what that he deflated at the end of his career. He had an arthritic shoulder that made it impossible for him to work out. Just because there were 'whispers' isn't enough for me to keep him out. He was one of the best first basemen out there during his career. He won the 1994 NL MVP, had 449 career home runs, 2,314 hits and hit .297 lifetime. In my opinion, he's a lock.
Jack Morris - I have a friend who is a huge Jack Morris fan and he doesn't believe that Morris should gain entry into the Hall of Fame. My argument is this: If Bert Blyleven gets into the Hall of Fame, then Jack Morris should as well. They are very similar pitchers, albeit, Blyleven pitched for more seasons. Something that I feel gets forgotten is that Morris was 'lights out' in the postseason. He led the 1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins and 1992 Blue Jays to victories in the World Series. No other pitcher had more wins in the 1980s than Morris. That has to speak for something. He never won a Cy Young award, but I'm not too worried about that. If I had to pick a starting pitcher in his prime to start a World Series game for me, I would have no problem picking Morris.
Fred McGriff - 493 home runs is hard to argue with. Like Jeff Bagwell, mentioned above, McGriff was never linked to any steroid suspicion that I am aware of. Based on that, McGriff's numbers stand out more than ever. He was a bona-fide leader on many of the Braves teams of the 1990's that perennially made the playoffs. He helped the Braves win the championship in 1995. McGriff is definitely worthy of election to the Hall and will get in sooner than later.
Dave Parker - Much like McGriff, Parker's numbers should see a boost now, since writers are re-considering past players who did not play in the Steroid Era or were not linked in any way to performance enhancing drugs. So, why, then is the 1978 NL MVP, 2-time batting champ (1977 and 1978) and 2-time World Series winner (1979 - Pirates and 1989 - A's) not enshrined? He has 2,712 career hits, 339 career home runs and .290 batting average. What's the deal? The issue? Parker's cocaine abuse. Ouch. Imagine how amazing Parker's numbers would have been if Parker was not addicted to the drug in the early 1980's. Wow. We are living in a forgiving society, and with the current success of recovering addict Josh Hamilton, I believe it is time to give Parker his due.
So, there you have it. My Choices for the 2011 Hall of Fame - Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Fred McGriff and Dave Parker. I resisted my initial urge to include Harold Baines, who was a good player who would have 3,000 hits if he had not been traded from Chicago twice. I also do not believe Barry Larkin is a Hall of Famer, even though most people do. There are a few who I believe deserve some consideration (Mattingly, Trammell), but I did not feel like they should at this time. Feel free to disagree with me, which I know many of you do, but I assure you that i took this seriously.
I also don't believe in turning in a blank ballot. That's complete horesh*t. Baseball writers, you have the privilege to vote, use it. Just because Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb didn't get in unanimously doesn't mean you should be stupid and turn in a blank ballot. Your vote should be taken away and given to someone who deserves it. Ok, I'm off of my soapbox. I hope you guys enjoyed the read.