Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My 2011 Hall of Fame Ballot

Tomorrow, we will find out who will complete the Hall of Fame class of 2011. Here is the complete ballot:

Roberto Alomar
Jeff Bagwell
Harold Baines
Bert Blyleven
Juan Gonzalez
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Tino Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Rafael Palmeiro
Dave Parker
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker
John Olerud
Kevin Brown
B.J. Surhoff
Marquis Grissom
John Franco
Brett Boone
Al Leiter
Benito Santiago
Carlos Baerga
Raul Mondesi
Bobby Higginson
Charles Johnson
Kirk Reuter
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.


PAB said...

There is no comparison between Blyleven and other HOF pitchers because Blyleven is not a HOF pitcher. He is simply a good pitcher who became a HOF candidate because the fine folk at ESPN needed to fill the void created when Jim Rice got into the Hall. When it comes down to it Blyleven lacks the swagger to be called a HOFer.

If I had a big game to win in the 1980’s I’d take Doc Gooden, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, Brett Saberhagen, Dave Stewart, Steve Carlton, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Dave Steib, and even Jack Morris over Blyleven.

If I had a big game to win in the 1970’s I’d take: Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, J.R. Richard, Phil Niekro (pre-knuckle ball), Luis Tiant, Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Steve Carlton, and even Mike Cuellar over Blyleven.

An even bigger case against the Blyleven swagger is the Twins (the team he’s most associated with) haven’t even retired his number!

Stats and longevity alone don’t make you a HOF, it’s that swagger and sheer awesomeness that only the top 1% of all ball players have.

William Regenthal said...

Love the comment, P.A. That's why I did the post, to incite friendly debate amongst ourselves.

PAB said...

rMore importantly than the lack of swagger consider this - what fun would it be if all of the border line or controversial guys got into the HOF? There would be nothing for the fans to debate about.

Drew said...

Great stuff dude, and yeah I agree on Parker, sure he used a lot of cocaine but he was a great player. If Hamilton keeps up his career, and he gets in the Hall of Fame, then Parker definitely deserves it too. I also think had Mattingly stayed with the Yankees for a few more years without the back problems he would be considered a Hall of Famer. He was one of the most popular and better hitters of the 80's, so I think he deserves a little bit of a chance.

chris OK said...

Some more great stuff, I agree with all your picks except Palmerio and Bagwell (commented on Palmerio page). You made me a Parker and Morris advocate and feel Larkin and Trammel also deserve it. I'm still on the fence about Mattingly and Murphy but wouldn't be upset if they got in too.

William Regenthal said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Chris, however, since Bagwell was never implicated in the Mitchell report or tested positive, you can't penalize him the same way you could for Palmeiro. Sure, there are whispers, but there are whispers about any player. I could whisper about Babe Ruth, but you and I know that he didn't use steroids. Point is, Bagwell will be held back because of the era he played in and the fact that his arthritic shoulder kept him out of the gym. I've heard plenty of former Astros personnel back bagwell in that he didn't use, and given that he was never on the report or suspended, then that works for me.

chris OK said...

Hey William, great retort, but I have to disagree.

I get the no proof logic, really I do, in a court of law, but this is public opinion. And no proof is a cop out. Any one who looked like an action figure was on something. Its just that plain and simple, because its not natural to swell up or bulk out, you have to be digesting or taking something that makes the body bigger. There is over fifty years of baseball history and no other players swelled up or bulked out except the steroid guys. To think players in the sixties and seventies never lifted weights is silly.

Also saying there was no proof isn't enough, because there was no testing then. Heck the testing today is a joke, they usually let players know when it is and only collect urine. So that logic is flawed. He should prove he wasn't on anything. To many players were doing it to think anyone who could make millions of dollars and did make millions of dollars didn't do something to give them an edge. If its important to him, I know it would be to me, I would do everything I could to prove that I was clean. He should release his medical records, especially blood tests during his career and not selected ones, everything during that time. Then you have proof, proof he was clean, again this is public opinion not the court of law. I have a physical every year and could easily provide such a thing. I am sure players have at least a physical and the fact they don't release the information, shows their guilt to me.

Also steroids destroy bodies, and his body got destroyed. That's cause and effect and more than enough proof for me.

William Regenthal said...

Chris, again, nice comment, but I believe we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this because I don't believe at all that Bagwell did steroids. Yeah, I don't have proof that he didn't, but you don't have any proof that he did. Given your logic, then no one from that era gets in. Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr. None of them have made their medical records public. Maddux may not have looked like an 'action figure' but neither did Rafael Palmeiro. Former players, coaches, reporters have all gone on record saying Palmeiro looked more pudgy than bulky as most steroid users do. Bagwell was obviously tested (joke system or not) and was never reported, so given that data, we have to believe he was clean. If he was using Hgh, then shame on baseball for not rtesting for it. We, as fans, are the losers in all of this, no one can escape the cloud of suspicion, which is sad. In the end, Bagwell gets in. We all know it. Do you feel that Gaylord Perry is a hall of famer? He ha sgone on record saying that he cheated. It was a different form of cheating, but cheating nonetheless. What about players who have Tommy John surgery? It extended their careers. Lasik eye surgery? When and where does it stop?