Monday, January 16, 2023

2023 Obligatory Hall of Fame Post

On January 24th, we'll find out who gets to join Fred McGriff in next summer's Hall of Fame festivities. 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.

For the past few years, 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 my original post from 2018:

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 player's 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...)
I actually add a group this year, Not Worthy, to at least give a nod of appreciation to those "one and done" ballplayers you won't likely see on next year's ballot (and there are a lot of them this year - pretty much all but one of the new names...)

Definitely Worthy

These are the guys I don't have to think hard about. Statistically, they belong, and that's all there is to it. Obviously, because of the PED/cheating issues, it's possible that not all of these guys may make my final ballot.

Carlos Beltrán
Manny Ramirez
Alex Rodriguez
Scott Rolen

2002 Fleer Tradition Update
#U334 Scott Rolen (AS)

The "character clause" gets interesting this year with Beltran's first ballot. He was the primary scapegoat of the Astro's cheating scandal, due in part to being the only player from that team whose career concluded between that World Series victory and the report getting released. He was never officially punished, so how do the voters view this transgression? For now, I'm lumping Beltran with the PED users as guys who get will get my non-official vote, but not if there are any worthy candidates ahead of him.In this group, Rolen is the only sure thing. 

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.

Torii Hunter - Statistically, he's not among the elite, but he strikes me as the kind of player whose 9 Gold Gloves, highlight reel catches, and overall love of the game will get him in someday through a veterans' committee.

Andruw Jones - A decade of being one of the most dynamic and electrifying players in baseball might be enough to overcome a legendary drop-off in production.
Jeff Kent - The greatest power hitting 2nd baseman of all-time isn't getting the look he deserves.

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

Billy Wagner - He was dominant on the field (more so than Trevor Hoffman), but pitching under 1,000 innings in his career is a tough hurdle to jump.

1993 Score #534 Gary Sheffield (DT)

Maybe Worthy

These guys have their supporters, and will have a long stay on the ballots because of them, but I'm not convinced they belong.

Bobby Abreu - Walks are not exciting. He may have been elite at getting on base, but he was never someone I saw play and thought "Now that's a Hall of Famer!"

Mark Beuhrle - He was a consistently solid starter, but that's not really Hall worthy.

Andy Petitte - An average pitcher who had the benefit of pitching for one of the most dominate baseball dynasties in recent history,

Francisco Rodríguez - 4th all-time in saves and the single season leader, but he just wasn't the same when he left the Angels.
Jimmy Rollins - There was a stretch where it looked like he was well on his way, but the end stats don't seem to put him over. He's another guy I wouldn't be surprised to get the veterans' committee nod.
Omar Vizquel - Without even getting into what a horrible human being he is, he was never a real candidate for me. Outside the Gold Gloves, he was an mediocre ballplayer at best.

Not Worthy

In my opinion, none of these guys have a strong enough case to be elected. 
Bronson Arroyo
Matt Cain
R.A. Dickey
Jacoby Ellsbury
Andre Ethier
J.J. Hardy
John Lackey
Mike Napoli
Jhonny Peralta
Huston Street 
Jered Weaver
Jayson Werth

Beltran is the only newcomer that has a chance, and even he's not a given. There's a lot of former Red Sox players on this list, and they all contributed to a World Series title. Thanks for that guys, but I still wouldn't vote for you.

My Ballot

Here's my unofficial 10 player ballot:

  1. Carlos Beltran
  2. Todd Helton
  3. Torii Hunter
  4. Andruw Jones
  5. Jeff Kent
  6. Manny Ramirez
  7. Alex Rodriguez
  8. Scott Rolen
  9. Gary Sheffield
  10. Billy Wagner

Ramirez, Rodriguez, Sheffield, and Petite are held back due to their PED connections, while Beltran gets the same treatment for his involvement in the Astos scandal. That leaves Rolen from the Definitely Worthy list and 5 guys from the Probably Worthy list. Four spots remaining for the cheaters, which gives them all a spot save for Petitte.

A weak ballot will make this one of the most boring Hall of Fame classes ever. Maybe Rolen finally reaches the 75% threshhold, but I have a feeling it's going to be another shutout and mcGriff will have the stage all to himself.


  1. It's weird casting my "fake" ballot and not being able to write Bonds and Clemens on it. I guess the next two on my list would be Manny and Alex. There are a few other guys who I feel are worthy, but it's early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet. So I'll start with those two.

  2. There was an article analyzing Helton's case once again. They showed that his road numbers were in line with other HOFs actual numbers. So while he got a bump at Coors, his road numbers were still HOF worthy as compared to his 1B peers. Injuries kind of hurt his case as well. Manny and Alex knowingly broke the rules in place so that will be held against them.

  3. Based solely on their on-field accomplishments I'd vote for A-Rod, Manny, Beltran, Rolen, Helton, and Kent. Wagner, Sheff, and Jones would round out my ten.

    However, I would never reward cheaters. The arguments of "it's not the Hall of Nice Guys" is weak IMO. The PED guys (and Beltran) knew exactly what they were doing. They didnt go to jail, or lose money, or have their awards and accolades vacated like college athletes. All they're losing is a vote. It's a sorry excuse for a penalty, but it's not nothing.

    Anyway, if I had a ballot, the only player I'd feel 100% confident voting for is Scott Rolen.

  4. I agree with all your "Definitely Worthy" guys, and the only other one I might kick up into that category is Todd Helton. I don't tend to punish guys who played in hitter-friendly ballparks, even if the splits are kinda drastic.

    I'm also interested to see if R.A. Dickey gets any votes. He's by no means a HOFer, but I always thought it was cool that a 40-year-old knuckleballer was the best pitcher in the game at one point. It so perfectly embodies how crazy baseball can be.