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Monday, December 01, 2008
The Hall of Fame BallotOne of the things longtime readers know about me is that I tend to tread lightly on the stories that tend to otherwise generate the most media heat. I'll write a post about the post-season awards, and I'll occasionally weigh in on whatever issue is monopolizing the headlines on a given day, but I'm just as likely to give it all a miss to talk about other stuff.
Case in point: last year's rage-fest over Jim Rice's Hall of Fame candidacy. If blogs were written on paper, we would have had no forests after everyone got done spewing both good sense and nonsense over all of that last winter. For the record, no, I don't personally consider Jim Rice a Hall of Famer. Also for the record, no, I will not lose an ounce of sleep if and when he finally makes it in. That's because even though he's not up to my standards, the Hall of Fame is filled with guys who aren't either, so there's no sense in me getting all worked up about it now. On a day to day basis my mood is simply not impacted all that much by who is or who isn't in the Hall of Fame, and even the day the vote totals are announced is just another day to me.
With that out of the way, I will offer a basic opinion about this year's ballot, and then retire to a place where no one tries to quantify how "feared" a given player was:
• Harold Baines : No
• Jay Bell: No
• Bert Blyleven: Yes, and almost as much ink has been spilled about him as Rice
• David Cone: No
• Andre Dawson: No, though I liked him a lot.
• Ron Gant: No, but Hrbek still shoved him off first base.
• Mark Grace: No
• Rickey Henderson: Yes, yes, yes
• Tommy John: No
• Don Mattingly: No
• Mark McGwire: Yes, because if you blackball him, you set the precedent for a lot of highly subjective and unseemly blackballing
• Jack Morris: No, because if you take away one World Series start, he's pretty much Dave Steib.
• Dale Murphy: No, though as a Braves fan it pains me to admit it.
• Jesse Orosco: No
• Dave Parker: No, but anyone who votes for Rice should have to explain why they wouldn't vote for Parker.
• Dan Plesac: No
• Tim Raines: Yes, but I think he's a much closer call than a lot of statheads think, and he could use a Rice-like political campaign on his side.
• Jim Rice: No
• Lee Smith: No
• Alan Trammell: Yes. It's not his fault that he was Ripken's contemporary and first came eligible when everyone was Nomar/A-Rod/Jeter crazy.
• Greg Vaughn: No
• Mo Vaughn: Not even if you combined him with Greg Vaughn
• Matt Williams: No, but he does make my Bald Guys Before 30 Hall of Fame
That's pretty much all I have to say about that. Stories like this, however, are exactly why I asked THT to give me a comments section, so by all means, fire away.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:58pm
Heck, Rick Reuschel was roughly as good as Morris (114 ERA+ to Morris’ 105), and he received a total of two votes in his one year of eligibility.
(Not that I’m promoting Big Daddy for the Hall, of course.)
Posted 12/01 at 07:13 PM
Tom Leach said...
Yes on Trammel, the VC someday needs to give serious thought to his DP partner, “Sweet” Lou. Big Mac, yes, he has simmered enough, Tim Raines yes, and i would go yes on Dick Allen and Santo if I has VC input. After that, the best player not in would be Joe Torre
Posted 12/01 at 07:20 PM
Justin Zeth said...
Ron Gant: No, but Hrbek still shoved him off first base.
Sid Bream was out.
Posted 12/01 at 07:37 PM
making players “wait” a few years is the most contrived nonsense I’ve ever heard. if a player is good enough to get in, vote yes. if not, vote no. i don’t understand how waiting until the 4th or 5th eligible year to change a vote to yes is somehow showing respect to the HOF or the voting process.
Posted 12/01 at 09:02 PM
Sean Monahan said...
I think it’s gonna take another eligible “juicer” on the ballot for McGwire to get in. Right now he monopolizes the ire of those who want him out and those on the fence but looking to ‘make a statement’ with their exclusion of him.
It gets far harder to do that when more people get on the ballot and folks realize, for example, that if they’re going to vote for Clemens, they can’t rightly exclude McGwire.
I think Palmeiro is too villified to have a substantial impact, but perhaps when Bonds, Clemens & Sosa hit the ballot in 2012?
Posted 12/01 at 09:03 PM
If you feel that Trammell belongs, how about his DP partner Whitaker? I haven’t looked in a long time, but IIRC their stat lines are eerily similar.
Posted 12/01 at 09:08 PM
Craig Calcaterra said...
I’d give Lou a hard look. He never had an MVP type season like Trammell did (shoulda won in 1987), though, and that does matter in my mind.
That said, I did join the Facebook group “Lou Whitaker was a badass” the other day, and that has to count for something.
Posted 12/01 at 09:33 PM
Agreed, but if they are statistically similar,then it would stand to reason that they should both be inducted. Not that I’m advocating either one’s enshrinement. I never really decided whether I thought either one of them were deserving.
I do know that AT was somewhat of a media darling in Detroit and elsewhere, while LW was much more reclusive, and I think that, and a few other things have a lot to do with why we hear only about Trammell and not about both of them. Personally, I thought Whitaker was the more talented one, but that’s just my opinion.
Posted 12/01 at 10:31 PM
Douglas Peterson said...
I have the same ballot as you plus Lee Smith (for what it’s worth… which is nothing). As a Cardinals fan, I can’t help but remember how awesome Lee Smith was growing up. That said, he probably only merits inclusion for being the first of his kind: a guy they threw in the 9th inning role because he had done it so many times before (see saves stat).
Posted 12/01 at 10:55 PM
I’ve been saying the same thing about Rice and Parker for the past few years. If you think Rice is a Hall of Famer, then you should also be championing the cause of Dave Parker. Furthermore, if Rice goes in, the Parker should also. During Rice’s so-called peak years of 1975-1986, the two compare very similarly offensively and on impact (MVP voting, All-Star selections, Silver Slugger awards), but Parker was also a Gold Glover with one of the more memorable throwing arms in MLB history. His throw during the 1979 All Star game to nail ironically enough Jim Rice at the plate still makes the highlight reels. Personally, I don’t think either one should be enshrined so they get no’s from me, but I wouldn’t be upset if either was honored.
As for the rest of the ballot, I differ from you on Tommy John, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell, but I don’t feel strongly about any of them except John. In John’s case, I’d like to see Jim Kaat enshrined first but I think John belongs and not just because of the ligament replacement surgery that bears his name.
The only thing I’ll say about McGwire is this… he still had to hit the ball. He gets my vote.
PS. Yes, Rickey was a blowhard, but I loved watching him play.
Posted 12/01 at 11:47 PM
Justin Zeth said...
Screw Dave Parker; I want to hear each and every one of the Jim Rice voters explain in writing why they voted for Jim Rice but are not going to vote for Juan Gonzalez.
Posted 12/02 at 12:39 AM
Justin Zeth, thanks for the Frank Tanana mention. I’m old enough to have seen him when he was nasty, and he was a bad-ass pitcher until he blew his arm out by at 24. (Correction: The Angels blew his arm out. He pitched nearly 250 innings as a 19-year-old from minors to majors, and that abuse continued for the next four seasons.) He went from throwing 98 to 88 in just about one season. It would be as if Randy Johnson transformed into Jamie Moyer when he was 25. I can’t think of any comparable pitcher to Tanana.
Posted 12/02 at 01:10 AM
Hell, Albert Belle got booted in one year, and Rice is about to make it. That still doesn’t make sense to me.
Posted 12/02 at 11:36 AM
APBA Guy said...
33 comments and counting, ya’ gotta love the move! Much greater exposure. Congrats!
Posted 12/02 at 12:15 PM
I completely agree, Michael—Belle’s counting stats are very similar to Rice’s, which is amazing when you consider that Belle played in 500 fewer games. And their peaks aren’t even close—Belle had four seasons where his OPS+ was higher than Rice’s best.
It’s really a shame that Belle’s career ended early…it looked like he was going to walk into the Hall.
Posted 12/02 at 02:16 PM