Monday, January 9, 2012

My 2012 Hall of Fame ballot

US Presswire file photo
Barry Larkin was elected to the Hall of Fame in his second year on the ballot.
There's no such thing as an "easy" Hall of Fame ballot, not for anyone who respects the significance of this task and gives it the attention and scrutiny it deserves. But for someone who agonized over his first ballot one year ago and already is agonizing over the 2013 ballot that will include for the first time Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Craig Biggio, this year's evaluation felt much less daunting in comparison.

Truth be told, there were only a handful of difficult choices this time around: A few first-timers who were borderline candidates and a couple of near-misses from last year who deserved a second look.

In the end, I drew the same conclusions from a year ago. The guys I voted for in 2011 who remained on the ballot got my vote again. The guys who came up short last time came up short again. And none of the new guys under consideration reached the high standard of excellence it takes to merit a check mark next to his name.

Simple? No, it's never simple to hold an official ballot in your hand and make your selections. But it certainly was easier the second time around, though I suspect much of that had to do with the lack of controversial candidates on the 2012 ballot (as opposed to that once-in-a-generation group that will join the conversation in 2013).

Before I run through my ballot, a quick refresher course on how this process works...

-- There were 27 players on this year's ballot: 14 holdovers who received at least 5 percent of the vote in 2011 and have been eligible less than 15 years, and 13 first-time nominees who played at least 10 seasons in the majors and have been retired for five years.

-- You may vote for as many as 10 players per year, but you don't have to vote for any.

-- Voters, as always, are instructed to make their decisions on six criteria, and I quote directly from the official ballot's instructions: "the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

-- Any player who receives at least 75 percent of the vote is enshrined in Cooperstown.

OK, here we go...

I didn't hesitate to vote for him last year, and I didn't hesitate to vote for him again this year. Bagwell, without question, was one of the very best players during his era and ranks right there among the greatest first basemen of all-time: 449 homers, 1,529 RBI, a .297 career average, a .408 career on-base percentage and a stellar .948 career OPS that ranks 21st in the history of baseball (and third among all first basemen who played during his time, behind only Todd Helton and Mark McGwire). He won the 1994 NL MVP and finished in the top three on two other occasions. He stole more bases (202) than any regular first baseman who has played since the 1930s. He ranks second all-time in assists by a first baseman. So how come "Bag Pipes" received less than 42 percent of the vote last year? I suppose it's because there are plenty who suspect he used performance enhancing drugs. Problem is, there has never been a shred of any evidence against Bagwell, nor has there even been a single formal accusation levied against him. He's simply a player who looks like he might have taken steroids and became a great power hitter after slugging only six total home runs in his minor-league career. Now, I won't vote for guys who either admitted taking PEDs or have been proven to have done it (more on that in a bit). But, sorry, I can't keep an otherwise slam-dunk candidate out based solely on suspicion. (Perhaps others are beginning to feel the same way, because Bagwell's vote went up to 56 percent this year.)

To his credit, Burnitz did have four really good seasons with the Brewers and one more with the Rockies. But come on, he hit .253 in his career, and his .826 OPS was matched by Dmitri Young. That's not exactly Cooperstown material.

The man who launched the first home run at RFK Stadium upon baseball's return in 2005 and nearly hit for the cycle that night was a two-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and had perhaps the greatest laugh in the history of the sport. He also owned a .797 OPS that made Burnitz look like an all-time great.

On the surface, "Juan Gone" appears to have Cooperstown-worthy credentials: two MVP awards, two home run titles, a .295 career average and a .904 OPS. But when you start comparing him to his contemporaries, those numbers look far less impressive. During his peak from 1991-2001, Gonzalez ranked 35th among all qualifying players in batting average and 21st in OPS. Had he put up his numbers in another era, he might well have been a Hall of Famer. But in his era, Gonzalez was merely another very good (but not great) hitter, which is why he will no longer be on the ballot after receiving only 4 percent of the vote this year.

He would make the two-sport Hall of Fame, along with Deion Sanders. But Jordan never really took off as a baseball player and his career didn't last very long; he managed to play 100 or more games only seven times.

He deserved to go in when he first cracked the ballot two years, but he was named on only 51.6 percent of ballots. That number jumped up to 62.1 percent last year, putting him on the doorstep. And now this year, my colleagues got it right and recognized Larkin for what he was: truly one of the best all-around shortstops in baseball history (he easily earned election with 86.4 percent of the vote). Over a stellar career, he earned 11 All-Star berths (impressive considering he was up against Ozzie Smith for much of that time), won three Gold Gloves and nine Silver Sluggers. Among all qualifying shortstops who have ever played the game, Larkin ranked ninth in homers, 12th in RBI, 12th in batting average, ninth in OPS and ninth in stolen bases. And here's one for you: Among all qualifying shortstops who played during his peak (1987-2000), only Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter posted a higher OPS. Congratulations to one of the nicest and down-to-earth star players I've ever encountered on his well-deserved enshrinement in Cooperstown.

He was one of the better offensive catchers in the game during the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the numbers (aside from his 43-homer campaign in 2003) weren't out-of-this world. Plus, he contributed very little behind the plate. When Greg Maddux insists on pitching to his own personal catcher instead of you ... well, that pretty much says it all.

This was the one I agonized over the most this year. I was close to voting for Martinez last time, and I vowed to give him another thorough examination this time. And the conclusion I drew was this: Edgar was a fantastic offensive player ... for eight seasons, not quite enough to get him over the hump. He didn't enjoy his first truly great season until he was 29 (when he won the first of his AL two batting titles) and there just weren't enough prime years left for him to amass the career stats you'd like to see out of a Hall of Famer. And then there was the DH factor. I'm not opposed to putting a DH in Cooperstown, but the guy I vote for is going to have to own overwhelming offensive numbers to offset the fact he never played in the field. Martinez falls just short in my mind, but I certainly intend to give him another close look next year.

For a stretch of six years in the late 1980s, there was no better all-around player in baseball. From 1984-89, he posted a .910 OPS (second in the majors only to Wade Boggs). And then, it all fell apart. From 1990-95, Mattingly's OPS plummeted to .750 (45th among all qualifying batters, behind Jay Bell).

Had he played in a previous era, McGriff's numbers (493 homers, 1,550 RBI, .509 slugging percentage) surely would have put him through the door in Cooperstown. But when you compare to his contemporaries, those numbers don't stand out at all. Among all players with at least 3,000 plate appearances during his career, McGriff ranked 31st in slugging (behind Ryan Klesko and Shawn Green) and 29th in OPS.

Let's start with what should be an obvious point: Based purely on his playing performance, McGwire is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. His credentials are impeccable, and his impact on the game was second-to-none. But the Hall and the BBWAA make it quite clear in their instructions that we aren't selecting players strictly on the merits of their on-field performance. Three of those six criteria are "integrity, sportsmanship and character." I'm sorry, but I just don't see how anyone who took performance enhancing drugs can claim to have played the game with integrity, sportsmanship and character. And McGwire has publicly admitted he took PEDs. After much soul-searching and after seeking the opinions of dozens of other voters, plus current and former players and managers, I decided I won't vote for anyone who has either acknowledged taking PEDs during their career or has otherwise been proven to have taken them. I'll reconsider that position every year moving forward, and I may ultimately change my mind once we learn more about who took what and what effect it truly had on their performances. But for now, this is the best solution I've come up with for a dilemma that has no correct answer.

The argument for Morris is strong. He won more games than any other pitcher in the 1980s. He was the ace of three different World Series champions. He pitched perhaps the greatest game in World Series history. But the argument against Morris is even stronger. Yes, he had the most wins in baseball in the '80s. But he also had the third-most losses. And then there's that career 3.90 ERA, which would be the highest mark among any pitcher in the Hall of Fame (not to mention was worse than the MLB average during nine of his 17 full seasons). There were 49 major-league starters who amassed more than 2,000 innings between 1977-94. Morris' 3.90 ERA ranked 41st out of those 49 starters (worse than Rick Reuschel and Charlie Hough). Sorry, Jack. That's just not going to cut it, though more voters are beginning to jump on his bandwagon, bringing his total up to 66.7 percent this year. He's got two more years of eligibility.

Well, he did win the 2003 AL batting title with the Red Sox. And accomplished very little else of consequence during his 11 big-league seasons.

No matter how ludicrous some of these candidates' chances are, I always try to find one morsel of evidence that at least justifies every player's existence on the ballot. But it's tough to find one for Mulholland, whose career numbers included a 124-142 record, a 4.41 ERA and one full season with a sub-3.00 ERA (1998, when he was a middle reliever for the Cubs).

Yes, Murphy was one of the best players of the 1980s, winning two NL MVP awards, five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. But his career essentially ended at age 32, after which he never again hit better than .252 or slugged more than 24 homers. And when stacked up against the other players of his era, his stats don't even look that great. Among all qualifying batters who played from 1978-91, Murphy ranked 26th in slugging percentage (behind Mike Greenwell and Leon Durham) and ranked 28th in OPS (behind Alvin Davis).

What's the first thing you think of when someone mentions Nevin? That he was the No. 1 pick in the country in the 1992 draft (five spots ahead of Derek Jeter) and never came close to reaching his potential. When that's the first thing you're remembered for, you're not Hall of Fame material.

Like McGwire, Palmeiro absolutely has the baseball resume -- 3,000 hits, 500 homers -- to warrant a plaque in Cooperstown. But he famously blew his shot at induction when he wagged his index finger at Congress and swore he had never taken steroids ... then tested positive a few months later. Raffy has always maintained his innocence, but he's yet to publicly offer a compelling explanation for the failed drug test. And unless he ever does -- or unless I change my mind about confirmed PED users -- he won't be getting my vote.

Radke was a solid pitcher for several years who helped lead the Twins to the postseason ... while owning a career 4.22 ERA.

Is there a more under-appreciated player in baseball history? Perhaps not. In his first five years on the ballot, Raines never received more than 37.5 percent of the vote. I can't think of one legitimate reason to keep the guy out. He was, quite simply, the second-best leadoff hitter of all-time behind Rickey Henderson. Raines was a seven-time All-Star who won a batting title, an OBP title, a doubles title, a runs scored title and four stolen base titles. About those stolen bases ... he ranks fifth all-time with 808 swipes, but most impressively he was successful on a whopping 85 percent of his attempts. Do you know how good that is? It's four points better than the 81 percent career rates posted by Henderson, Ty Cobb and Vince Coleman, and it's 10 whole points better than Lou Brock's 75 percent career rate. But wait, there's more! Raines reached base 3,977 times, 38th-most in baseball history and more times than Tony Gwynn reached base. Yes, Tim Raines reached base more times than Tony Gwynn. It's high time for this guy to get serious consideration for enshrinement, and perhaps the momentum is swinging in Raines' direction. His vote total went up to 48.7 percent this year.

A very nice, consistent slugger who anchored a good Angels lineup for many years. No shame in that.

As much as you think of Sierra as a feared hitter for a lot of years, the numbers don't entirely support it. His best years came from 1987-94 with the Rangers and A's, during which time he posted a .779 OPS. That's worse than Darren Daulton over the same span.

Smith is the last remaining closer of the 1980s who has kept himself on the ballot but has yet to reach the 75 percent threshold. There's a reason for that. Though he once held the all-time saves record with 478 and now ranks third behind only Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, Smith wasn't nearly as effective closing out games as those other guys were. Rivera and Hoffman each successfully converted 89 percent of their save opportunities. Smith converted only 82 percent of his save opportunities, 15th among the top 25 save leaders in history, behind Jose Mesa and Armando Benitez. Rivera and Hoffman, by the way, each had 89 percent save percentages, tops among those 25 great closers. Which is why I won't hesitate to vote for both guys when they debut on the ballot in future years.

There are a lot of passionate Trammell supporters out there, so I vowed to give the old Tigers shortstop another close look this year. In the end, I came to the same conclusion: He falls just short of the Hall of Fame in my mind. From 1978-91, Trammell ranked 47th in the majors in batting average (behind Johnny Ray and Steve Sax), 58th in OBP (behind Bill Doran and Rance Mulliniks) and 98th in slugging (behind Von Hayes and Roy Smalley). Among all shortstops in big-league history, he ranks a solid 12th in homers and 11th in RBI but only 26th in batting average and 31st in slugging percentage. Trammell backers say he stacks up favorably to Larkin. I say he falls one notch below Larkin, and that's the notch between a Hall of Famer and just a really good ballplayer.

Along with Raines, I have a feeling Walker is going to become my pet project over the years. He received a disappointing 20.3 percent of the vote last year (his first on the ballot) and he went up only to 22.9 percent this year. I just don't understand why that number wasn't higher. Actually, I do: Because the vast majority of voters believe his numbers were inflated by the thin air at Coors Field. And indeed, Walker's career stats at Coors were outrageous: a .381 average, .462 OBP and .710 slugging percentage. But I've got multiple compelling arguments against that. First, why is it OK to penalize a guy who played a lot of games at Coors Field but not those who benefited from Fenway Park's cozy dimensions or Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field? Or even better, how come no one ever penalizes pitchers who had the good fortune to spend much of their careers in baseball's most cavernous ballparks? Do you know what Sandy Koufax's career ERA was at Dodger Stadium? 1.37. Do you know what Koufax's career ERA was away from Dodger Stadium? 3.38. Has anyone ever tried to argue his numbers were inflated from spending all those years at the best pitchers' park in baseball? No. More compelling evidence in support of Walker: He was a great player well before he ever set foot in Denver. His slugging percentage over his final four seasons in Montreal (not exactly known as a great hitter's park) was .501. That's higher than the career slugging percentages of Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Ernie Banks and Al Kaline. Think about that for a moment. More evidence: During his career from 1989-2005, Walker posted the majors' ninth-best batting average (better than Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett and Alex Rodriguez), the 14th-best on-base percentage (better than Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs and Chipper Jones) and the ninth-best OPS (better than Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza and Chipper Jones). More evidence: Walker was one of the most-complete players in the game, winning seven Gold Gloves and stealing 230 bases. Have I convinced you yet?

Williams was the best of the 13 players who made their Hall of Fame ballot debuts this year. Admittedly, this was a weak class. Bernie was a great player for a Yankees franchise that won four World Series titles in a five-year span from 1996-2000. But he simply didn't stack up to the absolute best players of his generation. Among all qualifying batters from 1991-2006, Williams ranked 47th in batting average (behind Jeff Cirillo and Frank Catalanotto), 35th in OBP (behind Chili Davis and Jason Kendall) and 71st in slugging (behind Rusty Greer and Trot Nixon).

Won three stolen base titles and came up huge for the Diamondbacks during the 2001 postseason (producing the game-winning hit in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals and the game-tying hit off Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series). That's a pretty good legacy right there, even if his career stats don't come anywhere close to Hall of Fame standards.

A .359 on-base percentage and 465 stolen bases made for a nice career. But nothing more than that.

So there you have it, my 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. I wouldn't expect anyone out there to agree 100 percent with my selections. But I hope everyone would respect the time and effort I put into making these selections and know I gave every single player on the ballot due consideration.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work. Less than 365 days to decide what in the world I'm going to do with all those newcomers on next year's ballot...


The Dash said...

Thanks again for posting your ballot and justifications - what great insight.

As much as the PED players deserve to get docked for missing the "integrity, sportsmanship and character" requirement, I think players like Dale Murphy should be rewarded for exceeding in that category. It's too bad there isn't a stat to measure this impact, but I bet if you asked any kid who grew up playing little league in the 80's who he wanted to be, Dale is a top 5 guy and is one parents (and the league) would have been proud to see.

Bill Stoneman said...

Agree totally on Walker and Raines, two of the most exciting ball players I've had the pleasure to watch.
As an Expo's fan (now Nats) I'd love to see them there.

she said said...

Edgar deserves to be in the Hall, simply because he was the best basically full time DH. He was also an incredibly hard worker—his eye focusing problems have been well documented—which made his batting average even more impressive. Consider that he had to do eye exercises to be able to see the ball, and he still hit over .300. Also, the DH position has been around since the 1970s, which means it makes sense that someone who played the majority of their games at that position should be included.

Scott Z said...

Yes! You know, when I saw that the ballots were coming out soon, i thought to myself - "I hope Zuckerman publishes a synopsis of his picks again". Love it!

Anonymous said...

How Raines is not in the Hall of Fame is beyond me.

natsfan1a said...

Agreed, Scott Z. It's lways interesting to read Mark's picks as well as the reasoning behind them.

natsfan1a said...

*always*...stupid flu

natsfan1a said...

Also kinda cool to have a "new Nats" connection in the HOF, in Barry Larkin.

Jim Kurtzke said...

Mark, how do you square votes against PED users but for Tim Raines, a cocaine abuser? Don't they both have character flaws?

Exposremains said...

If Raines would have played most of its career outside of Montreal, he would be a Hall of Famer already. There is just too many voters that don't know much about him and won't do the required research.

NatStat said...

Mark, thanks for your recognition of Raines.

As for the other writers/voters---go kick #@***** rocks (but not the real Rock)!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Exposremains Keith Law thinks Raines will get in. And as time goes by there will be more like him and fewer numbskulls.

Anonymous said...

keithlaw I think so now. RT @laurely515: @keithlaw Raines up to almost 50%. He's got to get in eventually, right?

JaneB said...

I love that you share these insights, Mark. Thank you!

natsfan1a said...

Or rather, a "new Nats" employee who went into the HOF after working with this team.

natsfan1a said...

Also kinda cool to have a "new Nats" connection in the HOF, in Barry Larkin.
January 9, 2012 4:02 PM

hallwagner said...

i know bagwell has a long time left to be on future ballots, but if he doesn't get in at some point then i've lost all respect for the hall of fame and the bbwaa. unless of course they find evidence of him using steroids, which hasnt happened yet. just because he played with a few dopers and was a home run hitter doesn't mean he used. i mean cal ripken played with a dozen or so dopers and hit about as many home runs as bagwell did. if bagwell doesn't get in cal shouldn't. for reference i am one of the biggest cal ripken jr fans out there, just trying to prove a point

Anonymous said...

This was a great post last year and another great one this year. I may not agree with the vote, I may not agree with the reasoning. But I whole-heartedly endorse the transparency to let the fans know who, want and why.

But I'd vote for all M's: Murphy, Mattingly, Morris, Martinez and McGwire. C'mon! (maybe McGriff for a clean M sweep.) What would baseball have been like without them?

Eugene in Oregon said...

A well-thought-out, well-cast ballot. Thanks for sharing. My only quibble might be Dale Murphy, but that may be just a reflection of my watching a fair number of Braves' games during his best years. I don't envy any of you HOF voters having to complete next year's ballot, but I certainly hope all of you apply the same sorts of standards that you yourself have applied to this one.

SpingfieldNatsFan1 said...

As I posted earlier, I can't believe how little love Rock Raines gets from HOF voters and current day MLB followers. He was money in the 1980s...beating you with his legs and his bat. Always seemed to be on the All-Star and always was competing for the yearly hitting and stolen base titles. I think what continues to kill him is that he spent the prime of his career playing for the Expos and generally ignored/disrespected by the US public and media.

sjm308 said...


thanks for taking the time during your vacation to spell things out for us. Very insightful and I appreciate your thoughts. I still think McGwire should be in and now I also agree with you on Raines. Still not convinced on Walker but in my visits to Montreal & Toronto they are crazy about the guy (even though he never played for the Jays, I think its the Canadian aspect). Are there any Canandians in the Hall of Fame?

JeanneB said...

I join the throng in thanking you for doing this.
One question - do you only use 'integrity, sportsmanship and charactert' to rule players out rather than in? I can't imagine a more important player with those as pluses than Don Mattingly.

Constant Reader said...

I doubt I will make much of an impact with my plea, but here goes anyway. Mark, I don't see how you can draw such a hard line on Fred McGriff. Compare him to Willie McCovey and Willie Stargell (both HoFers). Look at his numbers next to Bagwell. If you really believe McGriff was a clean guy playing in a dirty era, he shouldn't pay the price because his numbers are compared to other in that era many of whom were dirty. He also should pay the price for the strike in '94 which cost him the immortal (or formerly immortal number) of 500 homers.

I don't envy you having to sort out the steroid era and how that impacts your vote. I'll argue McGriff deserves to go before any of those guys.

Just sayin' said...


At a minimum, Ferguson Jenkins.

The Fox said...


Great write-up and I agree with you on Larkin, Bagwell and Raines.

Raines had such a meteoric start to his career that by the time he left Montreal and the NL he never met the expectations of AL fans, really bright star that could not burn that bright forever. Raines was 27 the last year he was an AS and Gwynn's career was more consistent and was still an AS when he was 39. Raines deserves to be in the HOF someday and I think he will make it.

Larry Walker is a tough nut to crack. You hit it on the head with the curse of Coor's field. Who bats .366 and hits 49 HRs or .379 and 37 HRs? Those look like play station numbers or someone on steroids. I don't think Larry took steroids and having seen games at Coor's field you realize that the outfield is huge. Still he played most of his games before the humidor was put in which also gives the impression that his numbers were artificially inflated. Not sure if I would vote for him yet but it would not be a crime if he were voted in.

I would like to hear your thoughts sometime on what might happen in the not to distant future when it might be possible that 30 HOF candidates are on the ballot and you only get to vote for 10. To me it looks like its going to be very hard to get to the 75% mark for most players. Check out the eligible players in 2015 on Baseball-reference.

The Fox said...

JeanneB said... do you only use 'integrity, sportsmanship and character' to rule players out rather than in?

I don't think Mark has to justify his vote in any way. That said rule 5 from the BBWAA states:

Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Off hand I can not think of a truly deserving player who has been kept out of the HOF because of integrity, sportsmanship or character.

Pete Rose is not in the HOF because he broke a rule that made him ineligible to be voted on not because he was a bad guy.

So if you want to vote for Donnie Baseball because he was a great guy you are allowed to.

I think Curt Flood should be in the HOF because he challenged the reserve clause at great risk to himself both physically and financially. If he had played longer he might have even made it on merit. Most people would probably disagree with me that is why discussions on who should be in the HOF are the ultimate bar argument.

Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

(Actual question, not a rhetorical one) -- is there anything to demonstrate that the PED users knew it was wrong, immoral, or cheating? I mean, it'd been outlawed in other sports, but I really don't even recall the topic coming up in baseball until much later. In fact, it was long assumed that having more muscles was a detriment in baseball.

Meanwhile, we don't know anything about the effect of greenies or other performance-enhancing drugs used in older periods, and let's not forget the well-documented cocaine vials in Tim Raines' pockets.

And finally, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Bonds all put up numbers that were dominant for their generation, a time in which they were competing against many, many other players (and pitchers) who were also juiced.

I'm sure these arguments aren't new, but they're why I'm just not comfortable categorically ruling out a player because of steroids.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

As a former Reds fans 1972-2004 I am very happy to see a Reds player make the HOF. Very deserving. Go Barry Lark!

SonnyG10 said...

Thanks for posting your picks Mark. Interesting reading.

Section 222 said...

Great post Mark. Your analysis is convincing and consistent. I hope you're right ultimately about Raines and Walker.

Mitch Williams in his usual bullheaded way seemed to take your side on the steroids debate -- he said anyone who admitted to or was proven to take steroids shouldn't be in the Hall. And then, later in the program, he said "there's a presumption of innocence in this country" so until someone shows him proof that Clemens took PEDs "I'm not buying it."

Ok, so Mitch Williams is an idiot, but I'd be interested in hearing more from you on what is an adequate level of proof. Does Bonds not get in because he was convicted of obstruction of justice but Clemens does because there was a mistrial in his perjury trial. Bonds still hasn't admitted he took steroids, right? Nor has Clemens. Is the Mitchell report on its own sufficient?

Anonymous said...

One thing overlooked on Mattingly. He was, for much of his career, the best fielding first baseman of all time (statistically speaking). I don't know if he retained that statistical lead at the end of his career but there is something to say for being one of the best ever at something.

Anonymous said...

Mattingly was such a good fielder that the Yankees tried him at thirdbase in 1986 for 3 games. Yes, a left-handed third baseman.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Pete Orr a third baseman when needed? And didn't Willie Harris play there for Riggleman? Albeit Harris was terrible ... probably why they went for Hairston.

Ray said...

Sorry Mark, there is no way Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer. To say he was the second greatest leadoff hitter of all times is to never have seen the games of his era (or the previous era either). Stats are stats. Raines was not an impact player and after his first few seasons was mediocre, and bounced around from team to team. You're telling me that Raines was a better leadoff hitter than Pete Rose? Really? How many championships did Tim Raines win again? Bounce around your "adjusted stats" all you want to sabrmetrics folks, if you were there during the era, you think of Raines as slightly above ordinary -- much like Bernie Williams. Its not the Hall of OK.

Donald said...

I don't think you are being fair to Juan Gonzalez and Dale Murphy, based on your rationale. You say if they played in a different era, they'd be in. So you're keeping them out because they don't compare favorably to known PED users that you are also disqualifying? I think if you want to disqualify the PED users, which I agree with, then you should remove them completely and compare the other players only against the ones left.

Wild Card said...


thanks for sharing your insight, it is great to see how an actual voter deliberates. I put Raines in the same catagory as Mattingly, as being a great player but never made the difference (see Kirby Puckett).
I only disagree with Jack Morris, to have the most wins in a decade and the ace not only on 3 WS winners, but with 3 diff franchises (tigers, twins, jays), personifies dominance.

markfd said...

Agree with all of your choices, I am hoping fellow Connecticutian Bagwell will get to go in next year with another "Killer B" Craig Biggio (who in my mind is undoubtedly a 1st ballot guy).

Manassas Fan said...

One I would love the veteran's committee place in the Hall is Tommy John. The man has over 280 wins, and his experimental surgery, that bears his name, is so common now in the majors, where before him it was never done.

As for Curt Flood, I agree that his stance on Free agency (though it was the Senators who were getting little production from him), and the fact we was a solid player. And changed the game.

Marvin Miller is another one I would like to see.

As for Mark's votes. Understanding his PED stance, I would say I would voted as he did, except I might have voted for Jack Morris and Fred McGriff.

Anonymous said...

Judging from Mark's comments and reasoning, he probably would not be voting for Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, nor Sammy Sosa. Nor would I. Although they look like steroids users, Puckett and Bagwell remain clean and deserve induction.

What a mess steroids has created!

Dawn said...

Happy New Years! Better late then never.

One man's character flaw is another man's eccentricity. If it (HOF selection) was based on character Ty Cobb among others wouldn't be in. That being said Jack Morris detractors often mention his surly attitude towards media members as a reason he hasn't been voted in. Writers are human and allowed their human bias when making their selections. Having to make these choices (while an honor) would give me a headache rather quickly.

As a Tiger fan I have an affection for Morris (he never refused to take the ball) and for Trammell (a terrific player, horrible manager) a great person. I also disagree with Tram being less talented than Larkin, some of his stats are even better then Barry's.

JMB said...

Im curious about the impact of your PED anlysis on other players you consider -- like McGriff. Hwne you are comparing players from the "steroid era" against their peers are you excluding from the "peer group" players with PED issues? That would only seem fair.

Anonymous said...

On the PED users -- It's a tough subject as there are likely many guys are in the HOF who used (look at tghe changes to body type for guys already in their 20's, adding 30 pounds of muscle, and look at all of the guys who played in the early 90's or later era and performed well into their 40's with no real drop off, and in some cases up-ticks) -- Nolan Ryan, Ricky Henderson, Dennis Eckersly, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken Jr. (tell me that almost every other Oriole, including utility infielder Manny Alexander, was using, but that the trainers did not let Cal and his 240 lb frame at age 33, but 185 lb frame at age 31 frame, have some of that magic stuff that half the game was using without a care in the world for being caught, and without any stigma that it was wrong in any way? Cal likely used and he's in.)

Canada's #1 Nats Fan said...

Definitely agree that Raines and Walker should be Hall of Famers. I think the one key point not mentioned by Mark in his assessment of Jack Morris are the number of complete games he pitched in his career. I believe it is 150+. As pitchers pitch later into games they are more likely to give up runs as they tire, but Morris was always there, willing to go deep into games which no doubt inflated his career ERA.

Anonymous said...

There is a fairly easy way to deal with the PED stuff. I think that anyone who's in the Hall of Fame since say Eddie Murray and anyone afterwards, inlduing anyone who wants to be o nthe ballot, should take a series of lie detector tests and show their medical records to some HOF committee. If they come through clean great, they can be in. If a player wants in, he should submit to the hassle, if it's too much to bear, they can stay away from Cooperstown for the rest of their days. Easy enough.

Anonymous said...

Wow, tough to compare Trammel to the league generally and not SS's. In those days, SS's actullay had to catch and throw, not like today's game where a guy can slog around out there so long as he's hitting some HR's.

Look at Bagwell's body changes, the guy adds 40 pounds -- suspicion is not enough to keep a guy out, even when it's pretty likely?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight, Mark, and thanks for taking the task so seriously. I visited the HOF last year, taking my dad for his 85th birthday. It was an incredible two days. True baseball fans can't help but leave Cooperstown believing that the bar should be very high indeed. Hope I live long enough to see the first Nats inductee -- provided he's worthy!

JeanneB said...

@The Fox
I was not asking Mark to justify his votes; he did that with his entire post. He specifically mentioned "integrity, sportsmanship and character" in countering the statstical argument for his vote against McGuire. I do wonder if that rule and those specifics are ever a plus that will add to a player's votes.

I recognize that the back injury is actually the factor most keeping Mattingly out- not enough stats for a long enough time for majority of voters.

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