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Article: Running Down The Hall (Of Fame Ballot)

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 08:30 PM

Over the last handful of weeks, I have made a clear case for Johan Santana’s inclusion in Cooperstown. If I had a ballot, his would be one of the ten names I would pencil in. He might not survive his first trip through the Hall of Fame process but others in this year’s class will be enshrined.

Debating the resumes of Hall candidates has become contentious in recent years. The steroid era clouded the results of this hallowed ground. Two players, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, might have been the all-time best hitter and pitcher. Neither has gotten the call from Cooperstown.

This year’s class is shaping up to be a big one.If you missed any of the series on Johan Santana’s Cooperstown Case, there were three parts to the series. The first post looked at the Kirby Puckett Clause and how it can be applied to Santana. The second article touched on the similarities in careers between Santana and the great Sandy Koufax. The third and final piece touched on his missing third Cy Young.

Class of 2018
Vladimir Guerrero: In his first year on the ballot, Guerrero garnered 71.7% of the vote and finished a mere 15 votes shy of induction. He will most certainly get the call this season. Across 16 big league seasons, he hit .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 477 doubles and 2,590 hits. He ranked in the top five in the MVP voting four times and took home 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.

Trevor Hoffman: Much like Guerrero, Hoffman fell just votes shy of being elected last year. He received 74% of the vote and only needed five more votes to be inducted. He held the all-time record for career saves before Mariano Rivera took over the lead. 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 he is one of two players to reach the 600-save mark.

Chipper Jones: The long-time Braves third baseman is making his first appearance on the ballot and he should easily make it to Cooperstown. During his 19-year career, he hit .303 while combining 468 home runs with a .930 OPS. He took home the 1999 NL MVP Award. He is one of five players to compile a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, at least 450 home runs and at least 2,700 hits over a career. The other players are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Mel Ott.

Jim Thome: Twins fans are well aware of the legend of Jim Thome. From home runs off the top of the flag pole to his devastating Game 163 bomb, Twins Territory has seen the good and the bad of Thome’s career. Thome smashed over 600 home runs, got on base over 40% of the time and compiled a career .956 OPS. Beside his performance on the field, he was known as one of baseball’s great ambassadors for his contributions off the field. Because of a log-jam on the ballot, he might be close in his first year but I still think he makes it.

Future Inductions
Omar Vizquel: Vizquel is an interesting case in that nearly all of his value came on the defensive side of the ball. He slashed .272/.336/.352 including only two seasons with a 100-plus OPS+ in his 24-year career. He was a defensive wizard who won 11 Gold Glove awards. Many compare him to Ozzie Smith, a first ballot Hall of Famer, who didn’t provide a lot of offensive value. With a loaded ballot, I’m guessing Vizquel won’t be elected in 2018 but he will gain some support in the years to come.

Edgar Martinez: I continue to push for Edgar Martinez since he is one of the best designated hitters in history. Unfortunately, voters continue to hold his lack of defensive value against him. It’s shaping up to be a very close race for him. Out of the almost 60 public ballots, he is polling at over 80%. This would be good enough to get in but there are still plenty of unknown ballots to be counted.

May Never Get In (But Still On My Ballot)
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Johan Santana
Bonds and Clemens are two of the greatest players of all time but their connection to the steroid era has kept them out of Cooperstown. Mussina continues to make it on to my ballot and I think he might start to pick up some voters in the years to come. He was a very good pitcher for a long time but it might not be enough to find a place in Cooperstown. I built Santana’s Cooperstown case in multiple posts. I think he deserves to get in.

To be transparent, little has changed in my ballot from last year to this year. I correctly predicted the three players who would be elected last year (Bagwell, Raines and Rodriguez) and I dropped Curt Schilling from the end of my ballot. I have replaced those four players on this year’s ballot with four first-time nominees (Jones, Thomes, Vizquel and Santana).

Here is the official list of players available to be voted for by the BBWAA. Who makes your list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

Click here to view the article

Cody Christie
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#2 theBOMisthebomb

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 09:14 AM

Barry Bonds should never be inducted. Yes to Johan Santana.

#3 Launch Angle

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 09:25 AM

If Omar Vizquel can make it with little offensive value, Edgar Martinez should have been in years ago. Regardless of how people feel about the DH, its still a position in baseball and if you are the best at your position you deserve to be in the hall. It's no different than an elite closer making it in.

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#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 10:34 AM

I'd vote for 10 guys just because I like a big hall. In no particular order, I'd vote for Andruw Jones, Vlad, Edgar, Moose, Schilling, Walker, McGriff, Thome, Johan Santana, Chipper.


#5 JLease

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:38 AM

My list:

 

Vlad Guerrero

Trevor Hoffman

Larry "Chipper" Jones

Jim Thome

Mike Mussina

Edgar Martinez

Larry Walker

Curt Schilling

Johan Santana

 

 

I still can't decide where to fall on the PED guys, so I left 'em all off for now. Bonds & Clemens were both of HoF caliber before they started juicing, but the whole thing is still a mess. Manny...gah. Insanely great hitter. Useless defender. Cheater. feels like we need more distance from it all to decide.

 

Toughest omission: Andruw Jones. Still thinking about adding him to the list. He was amazing defensively in his prime, and was a good hitter for most of his career. But wow, did he fall apart right after turning 30. Fast and steep decline. I'd be ok if he made it, still deciding on that 10th slot if I need to use it.

 

Couldn't vote for Omar, much as I loved to watch him play. Bad hitter, much closer to Davey Concepcion than Ozzie Smith in my mind.

 

Larry Walker is underrated, in my mind. He wasn't just a Coors Field phenom, he was a great player who could do it all...except stay healthy. But when he played, he was fantastic. Hall of Famer in my book.


#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 12:59 PM

 

 

 

I still can't decide where to fall on the PED guys, so I left 'em all off for now. Bonds & Clemens were both of HoF caliber before they started juicing, but the whole thing is still a mess. Manny...gah. Insanely great hitter. Useless defender. Cheater. feels like we need more distance from it all to decide.

 

On the PED guys, if I had a vote, I'd vote for 10 guys. If there were 14 guys who I thought had reasonable HOF claims I'd vote for the guys who I thought weren't roiding up before I voted for the roiders. I'm positive the voters have already elected some roiders so it's really a question about the handful of guys who were actually linked to PEDS in some way. Most roiders got away without any punishment.


#7 kellyvance

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 03:24 PM

No PED guys. Ever. Cheaters should not be honored. 


#8 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 04:08 PM

Craig Edwards at Fangraphs had his take:

https://www.fangraph...-new-to-ballot/

It caught my eye what he said about Johan Santana. Basically his claim is that the Sandy Koufax argument doesn't work because Koufax was much better than Santana. I could go either way on Santana objectively, while hoping he gets in some day based on my fandom, but his Koufax argument is just terrible. Koufax was one of the game's greatest pitchers ever, in context, perhaps the greatest, he's not the cutoff line for admission.

His argument would be like saying Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't belong in the HOF because he's no Willie Mays.
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#9 JLease

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 11:40 AM

I left off Scott Rolen. Big oversight on my part. He won't make it in this year (partly because Chipper was a better hitter and healthier) but he should. He was a great player.


#10 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 12:04 PM

 

I left off Scott Rolen. Big oversight on my part. He won't make it in this year (partly because Chipper was a better hitter and healthier) but he should. He was a great player.

Yeah, tough ballot. I think he should be in but I'd vote for 10 guys before him.


#11 EddieMatthews

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 04:15 PM

"The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This game, it's a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again." Terrence Mann, Field of Dreams.

 

Baseball is a mirror of society.  We see cheating in politics, business, academics, where the result is accepted in the name of winning, and the means to the end doesn't matter any more.  Well, it does matter, and our institutions like baseball need to project the ideals that the rest of our society should be adapting and accepting.  

 

No cheaters in the Hall of Fame.


#12 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 05:52 PM

I'm a little at a loss regarding your inclusion of Mussina. Had he pitched for the Mariners only true baseball fans would know who he was.

He had a higher ERA, a higher FIP and a lower win total (270) than Blyleven (287). Blyleven had one of the highest K totals in the history of the game when he retired (currently ranked 5th all time). Blyleven accumulated 102.9 fWAR in his career. Mussina, 82.2 fWAR

It took Blyleven forever to get into the Hall.

Don't think Mussina would make my ballot.

(and maybe I just need to get over Blyleven's being shunned for so long because he didn't play in a big market)

 

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#13 jimmer

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:25 PM

Mussina, for me, is a definite HOFer.
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#14 ashburyjohn

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:28 PM

I'm a little at a loss regarding your inclusion of Mussina. Had he pitched for the Mariners only true baseball fans would know who he was.

Had he pitched in the 1970s everyone would know who he was.

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Modesty, n.: Being comfortable that others will discover your greatness.


#15 jimmer

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 06:34 PM

 

Had he pitched in the 1970s everyone would know who he was.

The numbers he had pitching in the steroid ERA AND AL East in the 1990s-2000s, HOF worthy.  

Edited by jimmer, 20 December 2017 - 06:37 PM.

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#16 gunnarthor

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:22 AM

 

I'm a little at a loss regarding your inclusion of Mussina. Had he pitched for the Mariners only true baseball fans would know who he was.

He had a higher ERA, a higher FIP and a lower win total (270) than Blyleven (287). Blyleven had one of the highest K totals in the history of the game when he retired (currently ranked 5th all time). Blyleven accumulated 102.9 fWAR in his career. Mussina, 82.2 fWAR

It took Blyleven forever to get into the Hall.

Don't think Mussina would make my ballot.

(and maybe I just need to get over Blyleven's being shunned for so long because he didn't play in a big market)

I posted this before but here are the starting pitchers the BBWAA has elected since 1990 - Jim Palmer, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Blyleven, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Pedro, Big Unit.That's an incredible list of all-time greats. Seaver, Unit, Maddux, Niekro and Blyleven are all top 10 all time in pWAR. Carlton and Pedro each had two of the all-time seasons for pitchers. Ryan owns many records and is probably the most famous pitcher. Perry and Sutton threw over 5000 innings, etc. 

 

The BBWAA has been very small hall when it comes to pitchers, demanding innings, hardware and substantial peaks. If these 14 are the standards for being a HOF pitcher - and they shouldn't be - guys like Moose and Schilling are going to wait but eventually get in and guys like Johan Santana and Kevin Brown don't even get considered. Sutton and Niekro had to wait five or six years. Blyleven longer. My guess is that Moose and Schilling will both get in sometime in the next 3 years. 

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