I don’t have a ballot. I do have opinions and this blog that needs regular content.
This is also going to be another attempt at being crisp and concise with my words. Nor do I intend to bombard you with stats, advanced or basic.
One more note before we begin, I’m a SMALL HALL person, meaning I’m VERY discerning about who gets in, but it appears we are skewing toward BIG HALL times. For instance, Biggio!? Smoltz!? Larkin!? Griff…kidding. Yeah, the first three.
Chipper Jones – Didn’t get 500 homers, didn’t get 3000 hits – MLB’s two biggest lifetime offensive hallmarks. Jones was close enough AND he did it as a switch hitter.
Vladimir Guerrero – Didn’t get to 500 or 3000 either. He was close too. I assure you though, every ball he hit or threw had a sad emoji face with tears on it, because its life was over. Lifetime .318 hitter. Should’ve been in last year.
Mike Mussina – I have one number for you. He had a 3.68 career ERA in the PED era. If not for pitching predominantly in the AL East, that ERA is probably 3.10ish, even less in the NL. IN. Should’ve been in.
Jim Thome – Everyone except Griffey Jr. + Pujols who hit this many home runs is connected to PEDs. Thome is not. No one APPEARS cleaner than him.
Barry Bonds – I know he cheated. He was about as dirty as anyone. But I’ve always been a Bonds apologist. I won’t even bother with he would’ve been in WITHOUT steroids. I don’t know that he would have. But he was the BEST of the cheaters. If he hit a hundred less homers, I’d be a NO. But 762 and 73, and seventy-million walks. He has almost four hundred more walks than Rickey Henderson, who is second.
Scott Rolen – Maybe I’m trying to be too cool to vote for him in Year 1. However. Overlooked and underrated offensive player – yep, in a very offensive era – but also no worse than the third greatest fielding third baseman ever, behind Schmidt and Robinson. He may have been better than them both.
Yep, only 7. Not the 10 I’m allowed.
So explanations for some others:
Trevor Hoffman + Billy Wagner – I used to be VERY pro-closers. But no more. They’re punters to me. Except Mariano. Hoffman’s likely getting in, but to me, Wagner is more Hall of Fame. He was a scary dude on the mound.
Roger Clemens – Same as Bonds right? Bonds was always like, catch me, and they really couldn’t. Clemens got caught from all over, blamed his wife, trainer, everyone and was still indignant. Bonds was 39 when the bottom fell out. Clemens was 42 with a 1.87 ERA. GTFO.
ERIC YOU’RE A HYPOCRITE. I am. This is not black and white to me though. If I have to Clemens in to have Bonds in, I’ll do that Faustian deal.
Fred McGriff – Crimedog! Why couldn’t you have hit 7 more homeruns (he has 493) and made voters lives easier. Personal bias, it feels like he hit .865 against the Phillies. Hit, not OPS’d or SLG’d.
Manny Ramirez – He just kept cheating. Based on how I feel about Bonds, you’d think I’d admire Manny’s audacity. Nope. Comical fielder.
Jeff Kent – Best hitting second baseman, ever? In the PED era, so NOPE.
Sammy Sosa – In 1993 he either figured out how to hit homers or steroids. Or both. He deserves deeper statistical and moral analysis from me. Sosa probably falls off the ballot this year.
Edgar Martinez – I can’t do it. A career average in Vlad’s neighborhood (.312) but no other notable numbers I can point to. Best DH until David Ortiz? Sure. But he only played what amounts to 4 seasons at first and third, and wasn’t too good when he was there. I wish he’d had another hundred homers and seven hundred more hits.
Larry Walker – Incredible player. He’s guilty of my SMALL HALL mindset. It’s me Larry, not you! If he’d played more than 140 games more than the four times he did, Walker would probably have the illustrious counting numbers for him to have my vote. Fantastic fielder too!
Gary Sheffield – Probably, definitely cheated. And if that’s the case, you need more than 509 homers.
Andruw Jones – He made Griffey Jr. looking like a cross-eyed, bumbling clown show in centerfield. A surprising 434 homers, but, that darn era again. And a lamentable .254 career average. If it’s any consolation I’ll never NOT be able to visualize him playing center.
Omar Vizquel – I can’t believe this is a discussion. A wondrous fielder, who played with grace and excellence into his 80s. Which also happens to (roughly) be his career OPS+. For OPS+ luddites, it means in just TWO of his TWENTY FOUR season he was an above average offensive player. If this was the Hall Of Defensive Fame, yes. For that matter, Jones too. But fuck no.
Jamie Moyer – Someone voted for him. I hope we find out who and why.
Johan Santana – Terry Collins finished him off. For me, my favorite and the greatest pitcher I ever watched was Greg Maddux. Then Santana. But he didn’t last long enough. I hope he remains on the ballot for a few years. His greatness, dominance and changeup needs to be discussed for posterity
Carlos Zambrano – Best hitting pitcher I ever saw. Until MadBum came along. 24 career homers (17 for Bumgarner) and that should be remembered.