Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

The Dubsism 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Tomorrow, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2018.  Those elected by being on 75% of the ballots will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 29th.

No matter what happens with the voting, the good news is the Veterans Committee corrected what I consider to be two serious errors of omission by selecting Alan Trammell and Jack Morris for induction. The bad news is that as the selection process stands today, it lends itself to creating more such errors.

I’m casting this ballot as though I were a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).  That means I get to vote for ten players I believe deserve induction into Cooperstown. The problem is this ballot has more than ten players worthy of induction.  A while back on his radio show, Dan Patrick expressed a belief the induction process should be a one-time “thumbs up or down” vote; the guy is either a Hall-of-Famer or he isn’t, and there is no limit on the number of inductees.

It may be time to take a hard look at such an approach because there’s a logjam of players coming eligible in the near future, and this problem is compounded by the fact the BBWAA voters have clearly been softening their hard-line “nyet” on the “steroid” guys.  But the process exists as it is, and while as much as it may need a bit of modernization, it’s what we have.  That means I’m casting a traditional BBWAA ballot, but as I am wont to do on this blog, I’m going beyond that to at least begin a discussion on the players I beleive should be inducted.

The players for whom I voted are noted in bold.

The 2018 Ballot:

  • Trevor Hoffman, 3rd Year
  • Vladimir Guerrero, 2nd Year
  • Edgar Martinez, 9th Year
  • Roger Clemens, 6th Year
  • Barry Bonds, 6th Year
  • Mike Mussina, 5th Year
  • Curt Schilling, 6th Year
  • Manny Ramirez, 2nd Year
  • Larry Walker, 8th Year
  • Fred McGriff, 9th Year
  • Jeff Kent, 5th Year
  • Gary Sheffield, 4th Year
  • Billy Wagner, 3rd Year
  • Sammy Sosa, 6th Year
  • Chipper Jones, 1st Year
  • Jim Thome, 1st Year
  • Scott Rolen, 1st Year
  • Andruw Jones, 1st Year
  • Johan Santana, 1st Year
  • Johnny Damon, 1st Year
  • Carlos Zambrano, 1st Year
  • Jamie Moyer, 1st Year*
  • Omar Vizquel, 1st Year
  • Chris Carpenter, 1st Year
  • Livan Hernandez, 1st Year
  • Orlando Hudson, 1st Year
  • Kevin Millwood, 1st Year
  • Kerry Wood, 1st Year
  • Carlos Lee, 1st Year
  • Aubrey Huff, 1st Year
  • Hideki Matsui, 1st Year
  • Jason Isringhausen, 1st Year
  • Brad Lidge, 1st Year

Why I Voted For Them and The Order I Placed Them On My Ballot:

  1. Barry Bonds: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said it, but it look like i need to at least one more time.  In going counter to the prevailing opinion amongst the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA); I don’t care about the steroid issue. I’m on record saying the whole issue is much ado about nothing, and I’ve stated my reasons for believing that on more than one occasion. Besides, if all the sudden moralists in the BBWAA want to exclude “cheaters’” then we have to go back and remove everybody in the Hall of Fame who ever corked a bat, doctored a ball, or stole a sign. If you were to do that, Cooperstown would be deserted. Like it or not, the fact that all the “cheaters” we’re still trying to win. Any of the aforementioned types of “cheating” were all about gaining some sort of competitive advantage in the pursuit of victory. The bottom line: Barry Bonds might very well the best player I ever saw.
  2. Roger Clemens: See my comments above on the “steroid” matter.  The bottom line on Clemens: A solid argument can be made he’s amongst the top three dominant right-handed pitchers of all-time
  3. Omar Vizquel: For all the Ozzie Smith-o-philes who take communion on the concept Smith is the greatest shortstop of all time…consider that Vizquel was every bit as good defensively (11 Gold Gloves), played one the toughest positions in the game at a high level into his mid-40s, and was a far better offensive player.  Don’t look now, but Vizquel finished his career less than a season shy of 3,000 hits, and had over 400 stolen bases.
  4. Chipper Jones: Larry Wayne Jones has 2,700+ hits, 460+ home runs, 1,600+ RBIs, and a league MVP title, and is only out-classed as a switch-hitter by baseball immortals Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray.
  5. Jim Thome: Thome’s 612 career home runs had him at 7th all-time, and only Albert Pujols has passed him since.  There is not another active player who will get near Thome’s total anytime soon.
  6. Fred McGriff: Had Fred McGriff had stuck around for seven more home runs, I don’t think there would be much debate on his deserving enshrinement. That’s a minor detail; he’s only tied with Lou Gehrig for homers and ahead of Mickey Mantle in RBIs. He was also a five-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and he was the first player in the “live-ball” era to lead both the American and National Leagues in home runs.
  7. Gary Sheffield: Start with the numbers….292 BA, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI.  End with fact Sheffield is overwhelmingly regarded as the game’s best pure “dead red” hitter.  There wasn’t anybody’s fastball he couldn’t turn around.
  8. Mike Mussina: Here’s a guy who got over-shadowed being on a lot of star-studded Yankee teams, but he still was one of the dominant pitchers of his era, particularly in October. Mussina won 270 games, posting a .638 winning percentage.  Only Jim Kaat, Tony Mullane, and Roger Clemens have more wins without being in the Hall of Fame.
  9. Trevor Hoffman: Retired as the all-time saves leader, has only been passed by first-ballot lock Mariano Rivera, and won’t get passed for quite some time.  Huston Street is the closest active reliever; at 33 years old he still needs 277 more saves to tie Hoffman. Once again, we have no idea what the “magic numbers” for closers are going to be, but it would seem that if Mariano Rivera is a “lock” with 652 saves, then Trevor Hoffman should get a nod for  his 601, leading the league twice in saves, and having 14 seasons with 30 or more saves.
  10. Sammy Sosa: 600+ career home runs, and if the only argument you have against him is the shop-worn “steroid” thing…well, I’ve already covered that crap. This guy came up one home run short of five straight 50+ HR seasons, and had nine consecutive 100 RBI campaigns. If steroids made the player, then name me somebody else with those kind of numbers.  Again, I’m waiting…

If Dan Patrick Had His Way

In other words, this is about if I didn’t need to limit my voting to ten players.  I get to go “thumbs up, thumbs down” on every guy on the ballot.  In this case, if I were allowed to vote for as many players as I wished, here’s six more who aren’t like a half-dozen others.

Vladimir Guerrero:  Easily one the most-feared bats of his era because he was the best “bad-ball” hitter not named Kirby Puckett or Yogi Berra.

Jeff Kent: In terms of offensive production, Kent was one of the best second-basemen of all time.  He was a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger winner, and he won the 2000 NL MVP.  He is the only second basemen to have six consecutive seasons with 100 RBI and eight such seasons all-together. The only second baseman with more 100-RBI seasons is Honus Wagner.

Curt Schilling: Now that Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Bert Blyleven have all been inducted, Schilling is the only eligible pitcher with more than 3,000 K’s who is not in the Hall of Fame.

Billy Wagner: While Wagner never led the league in saves while racking up 422 in his career, he was one the dominant closers of his time, and he belongs on the list of all-time guys in that role.  And yes, I know I’ve changed my mind on Wagner, but that’s the beauty of intelligence; it allows for such a change.

Larry Walker: Enter the following search in your web browser: “players who put up gaudy number’s in a hitter’s era in a hitter’s ballpark.” Three names you’ll get are Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul, and Larry Walker. This is another guy for whom I’ve had a change of heart, largely because numbers are one thing, but this guy was a feared hitter for a long time.

*Jamie Moyer – As Dubsism has been the home of the Jamie Moyer for the Hall of Fame campaign, I feel it only fair I recuse myself.  Rather, as I have throughout this campaign, I would suggest reading my five arguments for and against the existence of God and their equivalents concerning Jamie Moyer as a Hall of Famer, then make your feelings known in our poll.

The Guy Who Is Going To Get In Despite The Fact I Disagree

Edgar Martinez

To be honest, the fact that I’m convinced Edgar Martinez is going to get into Cooperstown is a big part of why I’ve re-evaluated past stances on guys like Billy Wagner and Larry Walker.  Frankly, if Martinez gets in, it will represent a serious lowering of the bar.

That’s because Martinez represents the other side of the designated hitter coin; his career numbers of 309 home runs and 1,261 RBIs just aren’t good enough for a guy who doesn’t do anything other than hit. If you are a DH who wants my Hall of Fame vote, you have to produce – you have less excuses not to get to the “magic numbers” of either 500 home runs or 1,500 RBIs, ergo Harold Baines or David Ortiz..

On top of that, the vast majority of the of the pro-Martinez arguments are SABR-metrically based. Baseball is the king of all sports in which statistics matter; home runs, RBIs, strikeouts are all what the game is all about.  But there is something called “too much of a good thing” which is the perfect definition of SABR-metrics.  The “slash line” just wasn’t good enough for a bunch of poindexters who never threw a ball in their lives.  There’s two kinds of hard-core stat-quoters in all sports; there’s the guys who don’t watch games and there’s the guys who don’t know what they are looking at.

Here’s what the stat-geeks miss on Edgar Martinez.  The most important ability is sports is avail-ability.  I just said that a guy who just hits needs to put up the “magic numbers.” But another important one is at-bats.  There’s no way that a designated hitter who is supposedly so important to a line up should have less than 500 ABs in a season. Martinez’ durability issues ensured he only cracked that mark in 7 of his 18 seasons.

The Coming Log Jam

The common “wisdom” is that four players are getting in this year; first-timers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, along with Vladimir Guerrero and Edgar Martinez. Let’s assume that’s correct.  That means there could a large number of worthy inductees who will still be on the ballot with more coming in the next five years.

I’ve compiled a list of the notable players who become eligible for induction in each of the next five years.  Players who are eligible have played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball and have been retired from for five full seasons.

Players who are likely to be inducted or should be inducted are noted in red. Borderline players noted in green.

2019:

Lance Berkman, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Darren Oliver, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Juan Pierre, Mariano Rivera, Kevin Youkilis, Michael Young

2020:

Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Eric Chavez, Adam Dunn, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, Alfonso Soriano

2021:

Mark Buerhle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Adam LaRoche, Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rios, Nick Swisher, Dan Uggla, Barry Zito

2022:

Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Joe Nathan, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jimmy Rollins, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira,

Conclusion:

There’s a few points that must be considered in terms of discussing this list.

The first is there are two types of people who are clearly screwing up what the Hall of Fame is supposed to be about.  The first group are the “steroid moralists,” a group whose complete hypocrisy should of itself be enough to disqualify them from having any say in who belongs in the Hall of Fame. The same people who are wringing their hands about what steroids did the the “integrity of the game” are the same ones who cried about how baseball was “boring” in the 1990s and couldn’t wait to sing the praises of the offensive explosion of the late 90s. Thankfully, that problem seems to be abating itself.

The second group is the people doing the voting; the process using the Baseball Writer’s Association of America is clearly broken.  A few years back, Craig Biggio became the first player with 3,000 hits not be inducted in his first year of eligibility because the writers decided to invent the “played in the steroid era” excuse despite the fact Biggio was an all-star at two different position. This year, the tea leaves seem to point at Jim Thome being the first non-steroid guy with 600 career homers not to get in on the first ballot. Thome’s names was never even in the same breath with the word “steroids,” but that’s why I’ve always called this the era of “Chemical McCarthyism.”

But the most egregious thing which might happen tomorrow is the induction of Edgar Martinez. That will represent a significant “lowering of the bar.”  If you doubt that, first consider my change of direction with guys like Larry Walker.  There isn’t anybody being intellectually honest who would take Martinez on their team over Walker in their respective primes.  If that comparison isn’t good enough for you.  How about the fact we are seriously talking about the plausibly possible induction of an above-average, part-time player over one the greatest players of the 1980’s.  Seriously, it’s a fucking joke that it’s even possible Edgar Martinez could be inducted ahead of Dale Murphy.  Martinez may have had a higher career batting average, but they both had 18-year careers in which Murphy out-paced him in home runs, RBIs, won 5 Gold Gloves, was a seven-time All-Star and was the National League MVP twice.  Again, who would you rather have ; a guy who was one of the best all-around layers in the game for close to a decade, or a guy who pulled his hamstrings while shaving?

That leaves us with the Hall of Fame itself; specifically the Veteran’s Committee. This group needs a significant structural change because it needs broader abilities to “fix” the mistakes made by the BBWAA if the flaws in the current voting procedure aren’t addressed. Even if you reject my position on the steroid issue, look at all the names who clearly belong in Cooperstown, but won’t get there because the Veteran’s committee has limited abilities.

Regardless of what happens with the ballots on Wednesday, the process needs fixing.

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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

3 comments on “The Dubsism 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

  1. aFrankAngle
    January 25, 2018

    I see you only missed Vlad. Well done!

    Personally, I don’t support the steroid group. On the other hand, the writers are full of crap by NOT supporting the steroid group after letting Bud (head in the sand) Selig.

    Like

    • J-Dub
      January 25, 2018

      I have been a rant about the “chemical McCarthysim” about the silliness in the hysteria about steroids. I’ve got a host of reasons for that I’ve written about time and time again, but the big one is I’m not enough of a self-appointed moralist to deem one form of cheating better or worse than another. And let’s be honest, whether you’re corking bats, doctoring balls, or stealing signs, baseball is a game built on cheating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • aFrankAngle
        January 25, 2018

        I see your point. For the record, I hate Bud Selig more than any other person in sports … my than any player who regularly caused any of my teams to lose …. Correction: I hate Kentucky basketball more.

        Like

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