The calm before the Hall of Fame storm

I hope you enjoyed the Hall of Fame ceremony yesterday. Pat Gillick, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven all deserved to be voted in. I have supported Tim Raines, Jack Morris, Barry Larkin and Dave Parker in the past.

With the Cobra off of the ballot, there is good news for Raines, Morris and Larkin:
Next year’s first time Hall of Fame ballot stinks.

I’m not kidding.
My dad and I went down the list of all the players who will be on the ballot for the very first time.

Heads and shoulders above all the other first time candidates is Bernie Williams.

Look, Bernie was a terrific player and a Red Sox killer. He was a champion who wore the pinstripes with honor and had clutch post season moments in the 1990s and the 2000s.

Nobody is denying that his #51 deserves to be retired at Yankee Stadium and he should get standing ovations in the Bronx for the rest of his life.

The only reason he should be at the Hall of Fame induction is if he is hired to be the musical act.

And he’s BY FAR the best new candidate.

The other new candidates?
Vinny Castilla
Javy Lopez
Ruben Sierra
Jeff Nelson
Jeromy Burnitz
Tim Salmon
Mike Matheny
Edgardo Alfonzo
Danny Graves
Scott Erickson
Tony Womack
Jeff Fassero
Phil Nevin
Carl Everett
Brian Jordan
Eric Young
Tim Worrell
Bill Mueller
Joe Randa
Jose Lima
Matt Lawton
Terry Mulholland
Brad Radke
Rick Helling
Mike Remlinger
Felix Rodriguez

Wow.
Not a valid argument for one of them. Other than Bernie Williams, what player deserves 5% of the vote to keep them on the ballot a second year?

Williams is the only person on that list that I think has a prayer of being on the ballot in 2013, and that will probably be because a lot of sports writers think he is a nice guy.

So with writers feeling like they should put SOMEONE on their ballots, Larkin, Morris, Raines and maybe even Lee Smith will get some more love than usual. Maybe 1 or 2 of them will be pushed over the top.

And I hope they do because next year will be the last normal voting year before the dreaded 2013 ballot.

Sure there were juicers on last year’s ballot and Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro will return for more (or less) votes next January. (So will Jeff Bagwell, a slender hitter with limited power who packed on muscle fast, hung out with Ken Caminiti and became a Hall of Famer. Not saying anything except facts.)

But the two big fish are eligible in 2013.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

(Throw in Sammy Sosa too for good measure.)

2013 will be the LEAST FUN Hall of Fame vote in history. The feats of Bonds and Clemens will be staring at us all in the face… and nobody will know what to do.


It’s great news for Craig Biggio, whose 3,000 hits will get him in automatically (just ask Rafael Palmeiro and Pete Rose.)

And it will probably be great news for Mike Piazza (although there have been louder whispers about Piazza’s physique than for Bagwell.)

Voters won’t know what the hell to do. So the borderline cases might ALL get in as a way to procrastinate or put off the inevitable.

All I know is this:

The next few years of Hall of Fame voting will be so NOT fun that you will become nostalgic for debating over Robbie Alomar spitting in an umpire’s face.
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10 thoughts about the 2011 Hall of Fame vote

Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are Hall of Famers. The election results are in and this wonderful day on the baseball calendar will no doubt have the columnists and bloggers typing all night long.

So why not chime in my own self?

I predicted than only Blyleven and Alomar would get in despite many other worthy candidates. But I have some other thoughts on these matters.

1. ALOMAR SHOULD BECOME THE FIRST HALL OF FAMER WITH A BLUE JAYS HAT ON THE PLAQUE

Only Rickey Henderson, Phil Niekro, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield even played in Toronto and got elected to Cooperstown. (And Molitor was the only one to stay for more than a year.)

Alomar was a Blue Jay for five seasons. Not exactly a lifer with any one team, he should have the sideways bird engraved for all time. (The Blue Jay… NOT the Oriole).

2. BLYLEVEN SCORES ONE FOR “THE FAM-A-LEE”

An interesting thing happens when a player plays as long as Bert Blyleven did and has to wait almost as long to get elected. You find yourself celebrating teams that played generations ago.

Bert Blyleven wasn’t the biggest star on the 1979 Pirates (the late Willie Stargell was) but he now joins Pops in the Hall of Fame. And while Bert will probably go in as a Minnesota Twin, his time in Pittsburgh (where he threw the complete game win to clinch the NLCS and came out of the bullpen to win Game 5 of the World Series) should be saluted.

I have a mild obsession with the 1979 Pirates and hope that SOMEONE will cue up the Sister Sledge this summer in Cooperstown.

3. ALAS FELLOW “FAM-A-LEE” MEMBER DAVE PARKER WON’T BE JOINING HIM

On the 1979 Pirates, Dave Parker was a much more imposing figure than Blyleven. And I supported the Cobra’s Hall of Fame candidacy. But after 15 attempts it didn’t happen.

Maybe the Veterans Committee will take another look at him. Short of that, being the bad ass 1978 National League MVP and having two World Series rings might have to suffice.

4. HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO LEFT THEIR BALLOTS BLANK LAST YEAR VOTED FOR ALOMAR AND BLYLEVEN THIS YEAR?

Last year five writers left their ballots blank. And last year Blyleven and Alomar missed being elected by just a few votes. Those blank ballots could have been the difference.

If you left them blank last year and voted for Robbie and Bert this year, you should have your voting rights taken away.

Also if there were no Alomar nor Blyleven on the ballot, would there have been more support for Barry Larkin or other returning players? We’ll never know.

5. GET TO WORK ON YOUR SPEECH, BARRY LARKIN

It is going to happen. People like Barry Larkin. There is no cloud of doubt hanging over Barry Larkin. AND he got 62.1% of the vote this year.

Next year the player with the best Hall of Fame resume being put on the ballot if Bernie Williams. Terrific player. Not a Hall of Famer. He’ll get the votes next year to get in.

6. IT LOOKS LIKE THE 1984 TIGERS WON’T HAVE A HALL OF FAMER ON THEIR ROSTER

Sparky Anderson‘s passing recently shone attention back onto his wonderful 1984 World Champion Tiger team. It certainly FELT like a star studded super star team back then. But Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish never got the Hall of Fame support and now it looks more and more like Jack Morris and Alan Trammell‘s vote tallies are not going to cut it.

Therefore the only Hall of Famer from the 1984 Tigers would be Sparky.


7. IT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD FOR MANY STARS OF THE 1980s

Don Mattingly‘s support is stagnant. Dale Murphy‘s isn’t getting better. Lee Smith can’t get over the hump after nine attempts. And poor Harold Baines is off the ballot after 5 tries. If Baines ONLY got those extra seven hits a year.

The 80s, the decade I grew up on, is struggling to put its superstars in the Hall!

8. WHY NO LOVE FOR TIM RAINES?

Staying with 1980s stars not getting love from the voters, the most perplexing is the lack of support for Tim Raines. In his fourth attempt he got less than 40% of the vote. It can’t be just because he played in Montreal.

It can’t be because of his drug problems.

I think people haven’t looked at his stats. Well here they are. Read them and vote! (Jim Rice had less than 40% of the vote too at one point and he got in, so there is hope.)

9. UM… MARQUIS GRISSOM GOT 4 VOTES?

As I wrote in my Jay Bell – Hall of Famer post a few years ago, I get it when a guy gets a stray vote. A sports writer may want to throw a bone to a player they liked and make sure they didn’t come and go without a single vote. It’s when a player gets more than one sympathy vote that I start to wonder “Did I see the wrong player?”

I’ve got nothing against Marquis Grissom… a good solid baseball lifer. But FOUR voters used their ballot to say “He should be immortalized!” Imagine if 460 did. They’d be carving a plaque for him. As for B.J. Surhoffthis article kind of says it all.

10. THE NEXT 15 SOME ODD YEARS ARE NOT GOING TO FUN IN TERMS OF HALL OF FAME VOTING

Kevin Brown is mercifully off the ballot… but Juan Gonzalez somehow will stick around for next year. And Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro can’t bust 20% of the vote but will be debated next winter as well.

The ‘roids talk influenced the Jeff Bagwell vote and it isn’t going to get prettier as the dreaded 2013 election looms… and Bonds and Clemens are eligible.

Be prepared for years and years of the tainted names on the ballot and lots of debate. Which is GREAT news for candidates like Barry Larkin and Rock Raines who will get more support from writers who don’t want to send in blank ballots.

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Hall of Fame – Would I vote for them or not… 2011 edition

So while I was lying on my yoga mat yesterday, eyes closed, I envisioned the Hall of Fame ballot in my head and what I think was going to happen this morning.

I began asking myself “Which players would I vote for and which players would I leave off?”

So OF COURSE I am going to share that with you dear readers.

Bert Blyleven

I couldn’t make his case any clearer than I did a few years ago. I think Felix Hernandez‘s Cy Young victory showed the using of wins as a be all and end all barometer for a pitcher’s worth might be ending.

And maybe I’ll stop using this picture of Blyleven.

PREDICTION: He gets elected.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: You bet.

Roberto Alomar

OK, a few idiots left him off their ballot because of the spitting incident. Now there is no excuse. One of the greatest second baseman of all time and best all around players of the 1990 (and a 2 time World Champion to boot) deserves to be in.

PREDICTION: He gets in

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Duh

Tim Raines

I am puzzled to why Rock Raines would not be getting more support. One of the great basestealers and most exciting players of the 1980s put up terrific numbers throughout his career.

And yeah he had drug problems, but they weren’t performance enhancing drugs. (A remember the innocent days of cocaine?)

PREDICTION: Not this year.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: No question.

Jack Morris

Look, I get the arguments against Jack Morris. I understand the high ERA and the tendency to look past his win total. I get it.

That being said, I’m a big fan. And I watched enough games that his teams desperately needed to win and he won. Yeah yeah yeah, big deal.

PREDICTION: It’s not happening.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Sure, but I know it likely won’t happen.

Dave Parker

Maybe this is even more of an emotional pick than even Jack Morris, but man the Cobra was great. His first peak, in the late 1970s, he was arguably THE best hitter in the National League. And he had a cannon for an arm to boot. Then after his drug problems nearly won the MVP again. When you have two stretches about a decade apart of being among the elite, that should count for something.

PREDICTION: Sorry Cobra. Your support isn’t strong enough.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: I’d have to say yes.

Barry Larkin

I think he was oddly underrated during his career even though he was an MVP and a Gold Glove winner. And he will be strung along a la Andre Dawson and Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven in his Hall of Fame candidacy no doubt. Why do that to the classy Larkin? Vote him in!

PREDICTION: He gains votes but not enough.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Yes. He deserves it.

Alan Trammell

A tough one for me. He was terrific, had dominating years, won a World Series MVP and along with Cal Ripken turned short stop into a power position.

He didn’t have many elite seasons and he had a hard time shining in Ripken’s shadow. I can see people voting yes and I can understand voting no.

PREDICTION: Once again doesn’t come close.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: I am feeling at peace today. Sure.

Jeff Bagwell

A complicated candidacy. An MVP and frequent MVP contender and someone who put up big eye popping numbers. But he also did it in an era when he wasn’t alone in eye popping numbers. It isn’t fair, but he is a victim of “suspicion by his era.” And he did get really really big and then got really really hurt.

PREDICTION: He falls short.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Not sure. I can be convinced either way.

Fred McGriff

At one point he sure looked like a lock for the Hall. But he seemed to be a classic compiler instead of a superstar. Now it will help his candidacy that his home run totals didn’t balloon up and nor did he.

He was a steady producer, but was he an MVP? Or even in the conversation as one of the elites? It seems harsh, but this is the Hall of Fame we’re talking about here.

PREDICTION: He comes up short but his defenders become more vocal.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Right now no. But I will listen, defenders. I changed my tune on Blyleven.

Lee Smith

This is brutal for me because I was a big Lee Smith fan. I loved him on the Red Sox and elsewhere and thought he was a terrific pitcher.

But I am harsh on relievers. They are specialists and their job is to lock down big wins. He had two post season opportunities and came up short both times, losing critical games for the 1984 Cubs and the 1988 Red Sox.

Yeah, I am being mean. But what exactly is his great Hall of Fame moment?

PREDICTION: Doesn’t come close to being elected.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: I wish I could, but I can’t.

Harold Baines

I wrote about Harold Baines and his Hall of Fame credentials last year. If he just got 7 more hits each year he played, he’d have 3,000 hits and his supporters would be out in force.

Instead he has 2,866 hits and will never get serious consideration.

PREDICTION: Not a chance.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Sorry Harold. Can’t do it.

Dale Murphy

One of the all time good guys in baseball history, his peak was absolutely Hall of Fame worthy. Power, speed, Gold Gloves and MVPs are all on his resume.

But does a 6 year stretch, no matter how brilliant, equal a Hall of Fame career?

Sadly I don’t think so.

PREDICTION: No election for Murph.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: No. He didn’t do it for long enough.

Don Mattingly

He had the worst luck of any Yankee legend ever. Read it and weep. For people my age, Mattingly WAS the Yankees. He was arguably the most loved Yankee to never win a World Series ring as a player. (Bobby Murcer would be up there too.)

He had a 5 year peak where he was THE best player in the American League.

Is 5 years enough for Cooperstown?

PREDICTION: His support is fading.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: No, but not because I am a Red Sox fan.

Edgar Martinez

I was a big Edgar Martinez fan and felt he was as fearsome a hitter as you can expect in the clutch. But as a hitter specialist in a hitter crazed era, he needed to have awesome career numbers to justify the Hall of Fame. And sadly, he didn’t reach any of them.

PREDICTION: No election for Edgar.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM:
I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Juan Gonzalez

A two time MVP who once homered 5 times in a 4 game series? An imposing figure and terrifying home run hitter.

And one of the faces of the ‘roid era.

He will get a startlingly small amount of the vote.

PREDICTION: This might be his only ballot.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: No way.

Rafael Palmeiro

He could have been a batting champion.
He could have been a great line drive hitter.

But the back of his baseball card doesn’t lie. When he became teammates with Jose Canseco he magically became an elite home run hitter.

And oh yeah, he tested positive.

PREDICTION: Don’t hold your breath.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: No. Period.

Mark McGwire

I covered this already in my Ron Kittle entry. He was destined to be a Kittle/Steve Balboni type with a better eye. Then suddenly he became the biggest home run hitter in history.

It was fun.
It was cool.
It was fake.

PREDICTION: Hall of Fame voters talk about the past. His chances are toast.

WOULD I VOTE FOR HIM: Nope, but thanks for the memories.

Forgive me if I don’t break down Kevin Brown, Benito Santiago, Larry Walker, Bret Boone, Tino Martinez, Al Leiter and John Franco.

All had nice careers… but who would put them in Cooperstown?

As for Bobby Higginson, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Kirk Reuter, Raul Mondesi, Carlos Baerga and Charles Johnson… I am just eager to see which one gets the sympathy single vote.

Let’s wait and see!

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