My Hall Ballot

I don’t have a vote for the Hall of Fame for some reason, but if I did, here’s what it would look like (in alphabetical order):

  1. Roberto Alomar
  2. Jeff Bagwell
  3. Bert Blyleven
  4. Kevin Brown
  5. Barry Larkin
  6. Mark McGwire
  7. Dale Murphy
  8. Tim Raines
  9. Alan Trammell
  10. Larry Walker

Alomar, Bagwell, Blyleven, and Raines are all gimmes, as far as I’m concerned. Alomar and Bagwell are top-five at their positions all-time, Blyeleven has 3700 strikeouts and a long career of excellence with a few stinkers dragging down his average, and Raines is the second-best leadoff man of all time, whose star was almost completely eclipsed by Rickey Henderson, the greatest leadoff man of all time.

Larkin and Trammell aren’t elite hitters, but they’re both shortstops, and hitting standards are laxer at that position. They’re both two of the greatest shortstops to ever play the game.

McGwire would be a gimme except for the steroids thing. I’m definitely more in the “there’s no way to definitively pin down the effects of steroids, so take the numbers at face value and let history sort ’em out” camp. Brown is a similar case — I think Curt Schilling and John Smoltz should be elected someday, and Kevin Brown’s numbers are at least as impressive as theirs.

Walker played in a bandbox, but even adjusting for that he was a dominant hitter for many years.

Murphy’s kind of borderline — but I think that you could make the argument that for about five years he was far and away the best player in the game, and that’s a strong enough peak to be worthy of consideration. What really hurts him is that he fell off so quickly — if he’d been able to stick around for a few more years and accumulate hang-around value, he’d be in by now, but he went from star to done in a blink. I’m willing to concede that this may be a homer vote.

But what about…

Rafael Palmeiro? In such a strong ballot, I’m docking him for failing a steroid test and lying about it. Yes, McGwire used too… but there were no rules against steroids when he did it. Palmeiro made the choice to do it after baseball had outlawed it. Maybe on a less strong ballot I’d be willing to forgive him, but his case is not so compelling (like Bonds or Clemens) that he rises above the pack of deserving and non-liar candidates in this pass. Ask again next year.

Edgar Martinez? No defensive value. A hell of a good hitter, though. I could be persuaded to take him instead of Murphy or Walker. Again, maybe next year.

Jack Morris? Not a Hall of Fame talent. I don’t care what anyone says. He just wasn’t good enough. This “pitcher of the eighties” stuff is baloney.

Fred McGriff? The absolute borderline for me. I agree that his numbers look worse than they are because his best seasons were compiled before the offensive explosion, but he still doesn’t quite get there for me. I think he’s the best player in the Hall of Very Good, but if he made it in I wouldn’t cry any tears.

Dave Parker? Better than Jim Rice probably, but I’m not going to play the “if X then Y” game. Rice was a mistake, and there’s no need to exacerbate the effects of that mistake.

We’ll see how it goes.

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