Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Obligatory Hall of Fame Post

Later on this month, we'll find out who gets to join Lee Smith and Harold Baines in next summer's Hall of Fame class. I enjoy this time of year, especially as voters reveal their ballots. I actually like reading about these votes, and the thought process each writer makes in choosing who they think is worthy. I wish more writers gave us a inside look at their choices. It's fascinating.

Last year, I wrote about who I felt deserved to get elected. I decided to do that again this year as well. Pardon me while I copy and paste from part of that post:

I obviously do not have an official vote, but I too have thought about who is worthy and who would make my unofficial ballot. Before I list my choices, a few clarifications into my voting process:

  • I'm a "Big Hall" type of guy - I believe that the Hall's main purpose is to reflect the history of the game. I'm not going to cross a guy off just because he's not an inner circle type.
  • As far as PED users go, I generally don't have a strong opinion. Again, the Hall should reflect this era of the game. To be honest, I have genuine reservations as to how much PED usage affects a players overall stats. That being said, those guys are placed in the back of the line. As much as I may feel Manny Ramirez deserves to get in, if there are at least 10 other worthy candidates, he won't make my ballot.
I'm going to categorize players into 3 groups - definitely worthy, probably worthy, and maybe worthy. (Real scientific, I know...)

Definitely Worthy

These are the guys I don't have to think hard about. They belong, and that's all there is to it. Obviously, because of the PED issue, not all of these guys will make my final ballot.

Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Roy Halladay
Edgar Martinez
Manny Ramirez
Mariano Rivera
Curt Schilling

2012 Topps - Golden Moments #GM-11 Edgar Martinez

Probably Worthy

These players have strong cases, but not airtight. There are usually some reservations. However, if they get elected, I won't have a problem with it.

Todd Helton - There's a significant gap between his home/road splits. Should that matter? I haven't really decided.

Jeff Kent - Greatest power hitting 2nd baseman of all-time, at least until Cano becomes eligible.

Fred McGriff - He doesn't measure up to the hitters of the "Steroid Era", but I always remembered him as one of the true power hitters of his time. Not everyone has led both leagues in home runs!

Mike Mussina - I get he's got the "numbers", but I never considered him one of the all time best. He never stood out to me. (Plus, I absolutely hate the "He should get points for spending his whole career in the AL East" argument.)

Gary Sheffield - He may not have been the most likable person, but he was a scary hitter at his peak.

Larry Walker - A perennial .300 hitter, the fact he averaged less than 80% of games played per season bothers me.

1993 Score #534 Gary Sheffield (DT)

Maybe Worthy

I'll be honest, I'm not convinced these guys belong. They have genuine cases though, and I'll have to put more thought into it.

Andruw Jones
Andy Petite
Scott Rolen
Sammy Sosa
Omar Vizquel
Billy Wagner

With 3 of the position players (Jones, Rolen, and Vizquel), it seems their cases are tied to their great defensive prowess. I don't trust any attempt to measure defense past maybe the past 5 years. (It's my biggest hang-up with WAR.) Offensively, they didn't do enough. Sosa had a short stretch where he hit all those homers, but just didn't have that overall career. As far as Petite goes, he was rarely the best starter on his own team, let alone all of baseball. Wagner is (probably unfairly) a victim of my general bias against relievers, Mariano Rivera's impending election notwithstanding.

1993 Select #165 Sammy Sosa

My Ballot

Here's my unofficial 10 player ballot:
  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Roy Halladay 
  3. Todd Helton
  4. Jeff Kent
  5. Edgar Martinez
  6. Fred McGriff 
  7. Mike Mussina
  8. Mariano Rivera
  9. Curt Schilling
  10. Larry Walker
Bonds, Clemens, Ramirez, Sheffield and Petite are held back due to their PED connections. That leaves 4 players from the Definitely Worthy list and 5 guys from the Probably Worthy list. One last spot on the ballot for one of the PED connected players. It's a toss up between Bonds and Clemens, but Clemens gets my vote as he was my favorite player growing up.

In the end, I expect 3 players to get elected: Rivera, Halladay, and Martinez. That will make for an interesting class. Voters have struggled with how to view relievers and designated hitters, and it seems they will elect the 2 players generally regarded as the greatest of their position (Rivera and Martinez), while the Veterans Committee establishes the baseline for those same positions with Smith and Baines.You would think every future HOF DH would have to fall in between that Baines-Martinez span, while closers get the Smith-Rivera grouping.

No matter how it shakes out, it'll be another big class with some very worthy players!


  1. Haven't taken the time to create my list... but Bonds, Clemens, and Rivera would definitely be on my list.

  2. HOF voting is one of my favorite things about sports. It's so much fun to discuss and debate each candidate. I like the way you categorize each player, and it's interesting to see someone downgrade (but not rule out) PED guys. The high vote totals for Roy Halladay surprise me, only because I didn't expect him to vault ahead of Mussina and Schilling.

    Todd Helton is going to be a fascinating one to me. Walker was injured a lot, so it's easy to dismiss him for that. If Helton doesn't get at least 30% then the writers are basically saying: it's ok to be a DH, it's ok to be a closer, and if you're Bonds/Clemens, it's ok to be a PED user. But it's not ok to play home games in Denver.

  3. Great accounting of the players. You did well and I agree with most of what you laid out. Great post.