As one of the new members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I don’t want to get off to a bad start by missing out on one of the group projects. The first of these is the 2011 Hall of Fame balloting, and here’s my vote. In a couple of cases, the choices are making me scratch my head, and I’ve noted a few of these.
If you have a strong opinion and think I’m totally missing something, please let me know in the comments.
Roberto Alomar – Last year, I would have been a no, but after reading a number of articles about Alomar in the last year, I’ve come around to being in the “yes” camp. 2,724 hits, 474 stolen bases and all of those gold gloves from a typically defensive only position makes me a believer.
Don Mattingly – 9 Gold Gloves, a career .307 batting average, and offensive numbers in 1984 and 1986 that were even better than the year he won the AL MVP award. Yeah, I think I can live with that.
Lee Smith – 478 career saves ! Yeah, I’m a sucker for closers and Lee Smith was one of the best. And for an amazingly long time. Before there was Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera, there was Big Lee and his agonizingly slow walk in from the bullpen. We hated it when he was in Chicago but loved every minute of his time in St. Louis.
Larry Walker – one of the greatest hitter’s I’ve ever seen play the game. Yes, his numbers may have been inflated a bit by the thin air in Denver, but that doesn’t explain his production in Montreal. 7 gold gloves and 4 times hitting .350 or better. Can’t argue with that .313 career batting average.
Barry Larkin – the only problem in Barry Larkin’s resume is that he played the bulk of his career in the shadow of Ozzie Smith (hey, can we say Vada Pinson – isn’t it time that we took another look at his career??????). Let’s fix that by putting him in the Hall.
Mark McGwire – yes, I forgive Big Mac. Yes, he cheated although I don’t think as much as some (oh, Barry – gonna got a big ol’ no when you’re eligible). He, along with Cal Ripkin and Sammy Sosa, also saved baseball after the players and owners gave the fans the finger in 1994. I am not going to apologize for my vote on this one.
Here are three players who clearly are first ballot inductees into the Hall of Very Good. At this point, I’m struggling with all three for being worthy of Hall of Fame.
Of the three, John Franco’s save totals are impressive enough, and I am a fan of the closer. Depending on the class of ’12, I might change my mind.
The tough calls, but no
Bert Blyleven – OK, I get it. Over 3,700 strikeouts, 278 wins and the huge long career (22 years). As much as it’s going to upset his fans, I think of Blyleven as just kind of good, never dominating. He had a couple of good years, to be sure. Now, he did give up over 400 home runs, so maybe that’s a back door we can use. Ummm, no. I’m also still fumed over his pitching in the 1987 World Series when he was getting away with quick pitching that teammate Les Straker did not.
Edgar Martinez – I have a big problem with the DH, which I suppose is a bit inconsistent with my fascination with closers, but the position simply should not exist and I cannot in good conscience vote for a player who played the bulk of their career as a designated hitter.
Rafeal Palmeiro – While I forgive McGwire, I’m not so ready to do so with Palmeiro. He had an amazing career, but it’s hard to know what of that was Palmeiro and what were performance enhancing substances.
And the “Nay’s”
Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Jack Morris make a good litmus test. All three get my “Hall of Very Good” vote, but still come up short for Hall of Fame.
And finally, the “are you flippin’ kidding me????”
Bobby Higginson – really ???? Really ???? REALLY ?????
Charles Johnson – somebody please tell me what am I missing here ?
Tino Martinez – the stinkin’ egg he laid in St. Louis should be enough to remove him from future ballots.
Raul Mondesi – about half again Candy Maldonado, but still half a career short.
John Olerud – a long career, one super monster year does not a HOF make. To be fair, he did have a second good year, but that’s not the point.
And two pitchers that give Kyle Lohse a bit of optimism about his possible consideration when he’s done with his career:
I’ve come clean with my votes, so let me know what I’ve missed (except for slagging on Mark McGwire – I get that some people really dislike him). Any Keith Law moments in my ballot ?