Friday December 23rd, 2011
Rob Bland: According to Baseball-Reference, there are 27 former Major League players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. 13 of these players are new on the ballot. Every year only one or two players are inducted, but this year, there should most definitely be more, although it is doubtful that the BBWAA actually induct more than two. In order to be elected, a player must receive 75% of the total votes. If a player receives less than 5% of the vote, or if he has gone 15 years without receiving the 75%, he is then taken off the list.
Of the newcomers, there is one player who deserves any attention; however I do not believe that he should ever be elected to the Hall. After all, the Baseball Hall of Fame is supposed to be the best of the very best. Career .297/.381/.477 hitter with 4 Gold Glove Awards in a premium position? Seems like an almost lock to make it. However, Bernie Williams and his World Series rings was not GREAT. He was merely very good, on some great teams.
Of the returnees, only two players received 50% of the votes, where 75% is necessary to be enshrined.
My list of players I would vote for, as well as near-misses are as follows:
Barry Larkin received 62.1% of the votes last year, and will likely be in by 2013. Larkin played a premium position (shortstop), a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, 1995 National League MVP, all while playing parts of 19 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. Seems pretty obvious to me. YES.
Jack Morris is on the ballot for his 13th time, and I am really not sure how he was able to get 53.5% of the vote in 2011. Sure, there is something to say about a durable innings-eater with 254 career wins, but upon closer look at his stats, he does not deserve to be in the Hall. With an ERA+ of 105, a 1.296 WHIP, K/9 under 6, and K/BB of 1.78, he doesn’t scream “elite”, but good pitcher who came up huge in clutch situations. NO.
Jeff Bagwell is still shrouded in controversy as many members of the media continue to believe he took steroids. I am a guy who doesn’t believe in the asterisks or the stripping of records for those who did such things. With a career .948 OPS and 149 OPS+, to go along with 449 home runs in 15 seasons, NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, NL MVP in 1994, there is no way he should be kept out of the Hall. YES.
Edgar Martinez is a tough case because of the fact that he was predominantly a designated hitter in his career. Therefore, he added basically zero defensive value over the course of his 18 year career. However, upon looking at his stats, he more than makes up for it in offensive production. With a career slash line of .312/.418/.515/.933 and OPS+ of 147, he was one of the best pure hitters of his generation. He may not have been the most prolific home run hitter, but he mashed doubles in Seattle throughout his career at a very high rate. YES.
Tim Raines was a great lead-off hitter. Over 23 seasons, he reached base at a .385 clip, and stole 808 bases. Between 1981 and 1987, it is hard to imagine a better hitter atop the line-up. In those 7 seasons, he stole 504 bases, averaging 72 per season, including 90 in 1983. However, his production (while still good), fell off dramatically at this point of his career. Because of this, it is tough to vote him in. NO, although very close.
Larry Walker is one of the all-time greatest Canadian players, and I feel as though this could be extremely biased. Regardless of the fact that he played in Coors Field in the mid to late 90’s where balls soared out of the stadium at an alarming pace, Walker put up some incredible numbers. Walker’s OPS+ of 140 with a slash line of .313/.400/.565/.965 is pretty ridiculous. (OPS+ is adjusted to the hitter’s ballpark, so it shows just how ridiculous he actually was). The 1997 NL MVP should be the second Canadian in the Hall after Fergie Jenkins. YES.
Fred McGriff is in his 3rd year of eligibility, only received 17.9% of votes last year. The Crime Dog was never flashy, but he was a consistent performer year in and year out for his 19 seasons. Between 1988 and 1994, he never hit under 31 home runs (including 34 HR in 113 games in the strike-shortened 1994 season). He was consistently a very good player, but unfortunately for him, he was never considered to be an elite first baseman, which is what the Hall of Fame stands for. NO, but very close.
Mark McGwire. The most controversial choice on the ballot, is my last selection. Although he has admitted that he has taken steroids, and has been the hitting coach of 2011 World Series Champs St. Louis Cardinals, many believe he should not be in the Hall. However, a career .982 OPS and 162 OPS+is enough for me. The 11-time All-Star hit 583 home runs, and his career 162-game average was 50 home runs. There is no way I would keep him out of the Hall, but there are many others who will do everything to keep him out. YES.
The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be more stripped down than my version, with the potential of zero players getting in. Barry Larkin may have a better chance in 2012, due to the fact that he will not be overshadowed by Roberto Alomar, who received the third-most votes of all time to be enshrined in the Hall, with 523. Stay tuned for the results when they are released.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Blandy on Twitter***
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