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The Twins opened a series in Boston on Monday night and the affiliates played eight games, six of which will be profiled here. (The two D...
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Running Down The Hall (Of Fame Ballot)

The winds of change are blowing through the hallowed grounds of Cooperstown. Debate has swirled over which players, if any, from the steroids era should be elected. Mike Piazza was elected as part of the class of 2016 and there were steroid rumors surrounding him. Other top players from the steroid era, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, have been forced to wait their turn.

Within the last few months, it was announced that former MLB commissioner Bud Selig will be enshrined in Cooperstown. This is the man who oversaw the growth of baseball to the level that it is today. He also allowed the steroid era to continue longer than it should have gone on. If the architect of the steroid era is being let into the Hall, players of that culture will soon follow suit.
Image courtesy of Eric Bolte, USA Today Sports
There needs to be a fine line drawn and each person is going to put that line in different spots. When baseball started testing/suspensions for steroids in 2005, players continued to break the rules. Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez broke the rules and won't be on this ballot or any future ballot.

Here are the ten names I would pencil in if I had a ballot:

Class of 2017
Jeff Bagwell: It was close last year but Bagwell's 71.6% of the vote fell just short of the 75% needed for induction. There are some who have questioned his candidacy because he was a power hitter in the midst of the steroids era. Bagwell is tied with Ty Cobb for the third most seasons with a .420+OBP, .540+SLG, and 15+ stolen bases. Only Ed Delahanty and Barry Bonds are higher on the list.

Tim Raines: Raines enters his tenth and final year on the ballot with a full head of steam. He finished last year with almost 70% of the vote and the ballots released so far this year show he should easily make it. He is one of the best lead-off hitters of all time. He's fifth in stolen bases, 13th in stolen base percentage and 46th in win probability added.

Ivan Rodriguez: It took Mike Piazza, the best offensive catcher of all time, four tries to be elected to the Hall. With Piazza breaking down the door, it looks like Ivan Rodriguez will get to follow on his coat-tails. The 14-time All-Star won the AL MVP in 1999 and was NLCS MVP in 2003. He played more games at catcher than anyone in history and he has 13 Gold Gloves to show for all this time behind the plate.

Future Inductions
Vladimir Guerrero: Guerrero is an interesting case and I think voters will be more open to his election in the years to come. He was a career .318/.379/.553 hitter while ranking in the top five in the MVP voting four times including winning the 2004 AL MVP. His .318 average and 449 home runs have only been matched by Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, and Jimmie Foxx. That's some rare company.

Trevor Hoffman: For a few seasons, he held the all-time record for career saves before being passed by Mariano Rivera. Even as a relief pitcher, he finished second in the Cy Young voting twice and had two other top six finishes. He was the first pitcher to reach 500 saves and one of two players to have reached the 600 save mark. Relief pitchers have a tough time getting in but he was a trailblazer at the position.

May Never Get In (But Still On My Ballot)
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling
Bonds and Clemens are two of the greatest players of all-time but the steroid cloud continues to haunt them. They are each making big jumps on the 2017 ballot so it will be interesting to see what will happen in the years to come. Martinez is one of the best designated hitters in history but the voters also seems to be holding his lack of defense against him.

Mussina has been one of the last names on my ballot in each of the last two seasons. He was a good pitcher for a very long time but it might not be enough to find a place in Cooperstown. Schilling is losing votes very quickly. His outspoken nature since he has retired have hurt his chances. He is still one of the best post-season pitchers in history so I would put him on my ballot strictly for his play on the field.

So who do you think gets in? Who else should have been on my ballot? Who should have been left off? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

Here is the official list of players available to be voted for by the BBWAA . Who makes your list?

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114 Comments

I have a hard time cutting my list down to 10.

 

I have a current stance on the PED guys. If they played before there was formal testing and penalties for usage, they're in if they qualify. Guys like Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmiero, who failed tests and were suspended would not make the list. That, of course, is subject to change, but that's where I'm at for now.

 

My 10:

 

1.) Bonds - Best hitter of the last 50 years if not ever

2.) Clemens - One of the best pitchers of the last 30 years

3.) Ivan Rodriguez - arguably one of the best catchers ever

4.) Tim Raines - final time on the ballot, and if not for Rickey, he's one of the top leadoff men in history.

5.) Mike Mussina - weird, but it's amazing how quietly he had a tremendous career. 

6.) Curt Schilling - definitely a Hall of Famer, silly that people are using his political comments/thoughts to not vote for him 

7.) Gary Sheffield - nearly 2700 hits and 509 homers. Intimidating hitter.

 

After that, it becomes more difficult for me as there are 6 guys I would most consider for the remaining three spots. 

 

(numbers rounded)

Jeff Bagwell - OPS+ 149, 2300 hits, 450 HR (1B)

Vlad Guerrero - OPS+ 140, 2600 hits, 450 HR (Corner OF)

Fred McGriff - 134 OPS+, 2500 hits, 493 HR (1B)

Jeff Kent - 123 OPS+, 2500 hits, 377 HR (as a 2B)

 

Trevor Hoffman - 61-75, 601 Saves, ERA+ 141, 9.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9

Billy Wagner - 47-40, 422 Saves, ERA+ 187, 11.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9

 

For Comparison, I'm going to put Mariano Rivera (clear HOFer) and Joe Nathan (2nd best closer over that same era in the AL)

 

Rivera - 82-60, 652 Saves, ERA+ 205, 8.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9

Nathan - 64-34, 377 Saves, ERA+ 151, 9.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9

 

With that...

8.) Trevor Hoffman

9.) Jeff Bagwell

10.) Fred McGriff 

 

And I will apologize to Guerrero, Wagner and Kent. I strongly considered going with Kent ahead of Bagwell because Bagwell will probably get in and Kent may struggle to stay on the ballot, and he's one of the better second baseman (offensively, at least) in MLB history. 

 

Not easy to keep it to 10!

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The Wise One
Jan 04 2017 03:40 AM

Mussina and Shilling belong in the hall of the very good with Jack Morris.. I do not know where that is located. Shilling had but six good years out of 20. You remember the good but forget the bad/  If someone doesn't vote for him there are plenty of arguments that can be made why he should not be in. His political rants will not be the root cause of him not getting into the hall of fame

    • mikelink45 likes this
Seems there is a legit shot 5 guys make it this year.

Bagwell and Raines are definites, Rodriguez is very likely, Hoffman and Vlad as well.

Should clear some of the back log and let other people in the next couple of years. Edgar Martinez is the likely biggest beneficiary along with Bonds/Clemens. And I imagine Mussina makes it soon and Schilling too, if he would shut up for a little bit.

It bothers me that a guy like Larry Walker can't get it but they'll let in Vlad (likely), Rice and other players who are clearly inferior.  

 

And the fact that Schilling and Mussina are still waiting while lesser pitchers like Glavine get in first ballot (due to a narrative created by the media) is pretty disgusting too.

It bothers me that a guy like Larry Walker can't get it but they'll let in Vlad (likely), Rice and other players who are clearly inferior.

And the fact that Schilling and Mussina are still waiting while lesser pitchers like Glavine get in first ballot (due to a narrative created by the media) is pretty disgusting too.


Dismissing a different conclusion as merely narrative seems a little unfair.
    • Seth Stohs likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 04 2017 07:18 AM
Bonds was just an obvious cheat and disgrace to the integrity of the game that he should never be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
    • bluechipper and wsnydes like this

I cannot see Mussina or Schilling in the HOF.

 

It took Blyleven, who had the 3rd highest strikeout total in the history of baseball upon his retirement, until the last year of eligibility to get in. His career FIP was 3.19. Mussina's was 3.57. Shilling's was 3.23. 

They both had fewer wins than Blyleven. I know that in these Sabermetric times we should look past wins, but it has always come into play. And if we are doing that, then we should realize that if Mike Mussina had played for the Kansas City Royals his name would not even be in this conversation.

 

Tim Raines will finally get in, and I am happy for him.

    • bluechipper likes this
Mussina has 82 WAR (that is a ton. That should get you in no matter what team you play on). Schilling 80 WAR. Glavine only 67 WAR (even though he played quite a bit longer than the other two)

Mussina 3.57 FIP, Schilling 3.23 FIP, Glavine 3.95 FIP.

Mussina ERA+ of 123, Schilling ERA+ of 127, Glavine ERA+ of 118.

Mussina 7.11K, 1.98BB, Schilling 8.60K, 1.96BB, Glavine 5.32K, 3.06BB.

For those who care about wins and losses, Mussina had a .638 winning %. Glavine was at .600 and Schilling at .597.

But Glavine gets in first ballot. A win accumulator who stuck around a long time to get to 300 wins. Fortunate to be on great teams with great teamates in the rotation, 'Big Three'
    • snepp, Pius Jefferson, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

My 10 votes

 

The easy ones:

 

Bonds

Clements

Mussina

Schilling

Rodriguez

 

Then a ranking of the DH/1B/OF types:

 

Career:

Bagwell 149 OPS+, 79.6 bWAR
Walker 141 OPS+, 72.6 bWAR
Ramirez 154 OPS+, 69.2 bWAR
Raines 123 OPS+, 69.1 bWAR
E. Martinez 147 OPS+, 68.3 bWAR
Sheffield 140 OPS+, 60.3 bWAR
Guerrero 140 OPS+, 59.3 bWAR
Sosa 128 OPS+, 58.4 bWAR
Kent 123 OPS+, 55.2 bWAR
McGriff 134 OPS+, 52.4 bWAR

 

I think that Raines belongs, so by default do Bagwell, Walker and Ramirez who had better careers (PED or not PED, I don't care, and Raines was involved with Cocaine that is a PED, in addition to a street drug, plus greenies were legal most of his career)

 

This makes it 9.  

 

Final between Edgar Martinez and Trevor Hoffman.  DH and Closer.  Apples with pineapples.  So go to perceived dominance:  Both 7 times All Stars.  Martinez one 3rd place MVP vote, Hoffman 2 2nd place Cy Young vote. Advantage Hoffman.

 

That's my 10.

 

Got to be objective as far as hitters go, and Raines is the tie-breaker for me that pushes Walker and Ramirez (better players than him in the same position, using subjective metrics) with him.

 

Guerrero might do the same for Sheffield at some point as well, since they played the same position (other that the years Sheffield was at 3B) and accumulated practically the same numbers.

 

Mussina has 82 WAR (that is a ton. That should get you in no matter what team you play on). Schilling 80 WAR. Glavine only 67 WAR (even though he played quite a bit longer than the other two)

Mussina 3.57 FIP, Schilling 3.23 FIP, Glavine 3.95 FIP.

Mussina ERA+ of 123, Schilling ERA+ of 127, Glavine ERA+ of 118.

Mussina 7.11K, 1.98BB, Schilling 8.60K, 1.96BB, Glavine 5.32K, 3.06BB.

For those who care about wins and losses, Mussina had a .638 winning %. Glavine was at .600 and Schilling at .597.

But Glavine gets in first ballot. A win accumulator who stuck around a long time to get to 300 wins. Fortunate to be on great teams with great teamates in the rotation, 'Big Three'

Some of these are good arguments. The winning %, however, does not. Mussina had superior run support. I also don't think 'stuck around a long time' MLB is a very strong argument against, as players are not paid if they are not delivering MLB talent (present Twins team excepted).

 

My point is not who is in that shouldn't be, but trying to figure how Blyleven could be on the ballot 14 years and someone like Mussina should get in on the first ballot (other than Blyleven is kind of a jerk to people). I cannot see how this occurs as a slam dunk other than him having played for the Yankees.

 

BTW: Blyleven had career WAR of 96.5.

I love that next year we will be able to see who voted (or didn't vote) for who.

Some of these are good arguments. The winning %, however, does not. Mussina had superior run support. I also don't think 'stuck around a long time' MLB is a very strong argument against, as players are not paid if they are not delivering MLB talent (present Twins team excepted).

My point is not who is in that shouldn't be, but trying to figure how Blyleven could be on the ballot 14 years and someone like Mussina should get in on the first ballot (other than Blyleven is kind of a jerk to people). I cannot see how this occurs as a slam dunk other than him having played for the Yankees.

BTW: Blyleven had career WAR of 96.5.

you remember Mussina spent his prime years in Baltimore, right? And it is not like his winning% was higher in NY than it was in Baltimore, cause it wasn't. Personally,I couldnt care at all about wins and losses. I am not the one that argued Glavines win totals should matter (or that anybodys win totals should matter,period), but if it does, then winning% should matter too when comparing pitchers. Certainly if total wins matter, total losses should also be looked at. Only 13 HOF starting pitchers have a better winning % than Mussina.

And I am not sure anyone argued Mussina deserved to be a first ballot HOFer, just that Glavine didnt deserve to be and that Mussina was better.

While Mussina MAY have gotten more run support in his career (and I am not sure that is true) he also pitched in the harder league (where DHs bat instead of pitchers), in the toughest division against superior lineups, and still had a better FIP, better ERA+, better WHIP, better K% and better BB%.

And yeah, Blyleven should have been a slam dunk HOFer. Then again, I have always said that.
    • Oldgoat_MN and wsnydes like this
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TheLeviathan
Jan 04 2017 09:09 AM

I was always a fan of Larry Walker, but his home road splits are stark - more than double that of Bagwell or Guerrero.

 

I think that does (and probably should) factor against him.

    • nicksaviking likes this
Walker's road OPS is better than Rice's lifetime overall OPS.

And OPS+ factors in ballpark and take into account where a player ranked during his playing time. Walker sits at 141 OPS+ (15th overall for RFs), Rice OPS+ was 128.

And Walker was a great defender and very good on the bases too.
    • Thrylos, snepp, mikelink45 and 1 other like this
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Pardon My Dinger
Jan 04 2017 09:19 AM

Ugh...that title. It burns.

I'm happy they got rid of some of the old, curmudgeon HOF voters and are reconsidering players from the late 90's/early 00's.  

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TheLeviathan
Jan 04 2017 10:51 AM

 

Walker's road OPS is better than Rice's lifetime overall OPS.

And OPS+ factors in ballpark and take into account where a player ranked during his playing time. Walker sits at 141 OPS+ (15th overall for RFs), Rice OPS+ was 128.

And Walker was a great defender and very good on the bases too.

 

I won't make an argument for Rice, I don't feel he should be in.  Just that no other player on that list has a split that dramatic.  

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biggentleben
Jan 04 2017 10:59 AM

I have 15 with IBWAA, and I have used every single one of those spots ever since visiting the actual museum. I'm all about a big hall at this point. The plaques are such an aside at the actual Hall that I have to wonder how much importance is really even put on them by anyone but the writers.

 

Here's the article I wrote about why I prefer a big Hall.

 

Mussina and Shilling belong in the hall of the very good with Jack Morris.. I do not know where that is located. Shilling had but six good years out of 20. You remember the good but forget the bad/  If someone doesn't vote for him there are plenty of arguments that can be made why he should not be in. His political rants will not be the root cause of him not getting into the hall of fame

So glad you posted this.  It is very accurate.  A bloody sock does not get you in to the hall - Jack Morris had a world series game that needed no gimmick and won more games (yes I still like victories - it might not be the same now, but when pitchers went more than 5 innings it was their game).  He is a blow hard, but so were many athletes - but when Jack cannot make it Curt should definitely be on the outside looking in.

 

I cannot see Mussina or Schilling in the HOF.

 

It took Blyleven, who had the 3rd highest strikeout total in the history of baseball upon his retirement, until the last year of eligibility to get in. His career FIP was 3.19. Mussina's was 3.57. Shilling's was 3.23. 

They both had fewer wins than Blyleven. I know that in these Sabermetric times we should look past wins, but it has always come into play. And if we are doing that, then we should realize that if Mike Mussina had played for the Kansas City Royals his name would not even be in this conversation.

 

Tim Raines will finally get in, and I am happy for him.

Good posting.  I think that your points are very good.  Mussina was always good, just not great, not the ace, not the pitcher you had to have for a big game.  He played on good teams and he filled his role, but I do not think he made the teams better.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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nicksaviking
Jan 04 2017 11:22 AM

 

I cannot see Mussina or Schilling in the HOF.

 

It took Blyleven, who had the 3rd highest strikeout total in the history of baseball upon his retirement, until the last year of eligibility to get in. His career FIP was 3.19. Mussina's was 3.57. Shilling's was 3.23. 

They both had fewer wins than Blyleven. I know that in these Sabermetric times we should look past wins, but it has always come into play. And if we are doing that, then we should realize that if Mike Mussina had played for the Kansas City Royals his name would not even be in this conversation.

 

Tim Raines will finally get in, and I am happy for him.

 

Had Mussina wanted the 300 wins he would have gotten it. He was only 30 shy and only 39-years-old.

 

I think the baseball community pretty rightfully recognized that Blyleven had been an overlooked pitcher so I don't know why you would look at either of these pitchers and say they shouldn't be in because they weren't as good as Blyleven.

 

After Clemens, Mussina and Schilling are the highest pitchers in terms of WAR that aren't in the HOF.

 

I think Mussina is pretty close to a lock to get in eventually, he was top 6 in Cy Young voting 9 times and one of the best fielding pitchers ever. If Schilling doesn't make it, it likely will have more to do with him being a lunatic. Not that I think that should necessarily keep him out, but it's not going to help him.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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TheLeviathan
Jan 04 2017 11:24 AM

I find it hilarious that Roger Clemens' name has been spelled incorrectly in what seems like 8 different ways in a matter of 1 page.  I'm not a stickler, I just think that's funny.

    • nicksaviking likes this

 

 

Had Mussina wanted the 300 wins he would have gotten it. He was only 30 shy and only 39-years-old.

 

I think the baseball community pretty rightfully recognized that Blyleven had been an overlooked pitcher so I don't know why you would look at either of these pitchers and say they shouldn't be in because they weren't as good as Blyleven.

 

After Clemmons, Mussina and Schilling are the highest pitchers in terms of WAR that aren't in the HOF.

 

I think Mussina is pretty close to a lock to get in eventually. If Schilling doesn't it likely will have more to do with him being a lunatic. Not that I think that should necessarily keep him out, but it's not going to help him.

I'm not sure that they shouldn't be in. 

I just think it's odd that they are getting so much first ballot attention, based on the recent history of one particular pitcher who was clearly better than either of them.

I am a small hall guy and would actually like to have an election to remove or down grade some of those who are in.  I am bothered by Bonds and Clemens, as much for their attitude as their acts so I probably would not vote for them, but I would not object either.  Bonds upped his production which never fell off, Clemens on the other hand had lost his luster and Boston was not anxious to keep him.  He had a second career, and as good as his first career was, it is his second, enhanced career that makes him the All Time Great.

 

Bagwell, Rodriquez, Walker, Raines - yes (I like their defense and I keep seeing too much emphasis just on offensive statistics)

 

Sosa, like McGwire was an interesting blip in the offensive fireworks, but before that no one saw him as HOF, neither were defensive giants, and unlike Bonds did not have anything to really boost them into the Hall without their steroid bombs. No to both.  

 

 

    • Kevin likes this
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nicksaviking
Jan 04 2017 11:39 AM

 

I find it hilarious that Roger Clemens' name has been spelled incorrectly in what seems like 8 different ways in a matter of 1 page.  I'm not a stickler, I just think that's funny.

 

Just pretend you don't see the ensuing edits to the posts previous to yours.


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