So I have talked at length about the Hall of Fame and what I believe should change and be the same, but I also wanted to share what my ballot would have been this year if I were a voter.
Quick tangent…this guy would not be in the Hall of Fame, but I find this commercial hilarious!
- Craig Biggio – .281 avg / 3,060 H / 291 HR / 414 SB / 285 Hit by Pitch / 7 x All-Star / 4 x Gold Glover – 3,000 hits is one of the baseball magic numbers and puts Biggio in a rare group. Add nearly 300 home runs and over 400 stolen bases for a guy that primarily played second base, and you have an all-time great. Of course, I think there’s something special as well that he played 3 positions right up the middle of the field which are widely considered the most important defensive positions, and he was good at all three. He also has the all-time record for times Hit by Pitch which means he’s a special kind of crazy.
- Mike Piazza – .308 avg / 427 HR / 12 x All-Star / Rookie of the Year / All-Star MVP / 2 x Runner-up MVP – I don’t know what to say other than he was the greatest offensive catcher of all time. He wasn’t a great catcher, but he was serviceable at a very tough position and was able to sustain a long career there. And he was an offensive juggernaut.
- Jeff Bagwell – .297 avg / 449 HR / 202 SB / 4 x All-Star / Rookie of the Year / MVP/ Gold Glove – To nearly be a .300 hitter while hitting right at 450 Home Runs, be able to steal bases, and win a Gold Glove is a special combination of talent. He was one of the most feared hitters of this generation.
- Barry Bonds – 14 x All-Star / 7 MVPs / 8 Gold Gloves / 2 x Batting Champion / Gargantuan Head Growth / ah, who am I kidding, the guy (while being a massive cheater and jerk), was the single scariest hitter since Babe Ruth. When a team is not criticized for intentionally walking a player with the bases loaded, that player is a Hall of Famer.
- Roger Clemens – 354 Wins / 11 x All-Star / 7 x Cy Young Winner / MVP / All-Star MVP / Keen understanding that steroids make you grow thumbs out of your forehead – Ok, so he’s not the brightest, but Clemens was the most dominant pitcher of a generation.
- Tim Raines – .294 avg / 2,605 Hits / 170 HR / 808 SB / 7 x All-Star / Batting Champion / All-Star MVP / 4 x SB Champion – His numbers are very similar to those of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and yet he just has never gotten the love. Spending the majority of his career in Montreal is a factor, but that should not be what keeps him from the Hall.
- Curt Schilling – 216 Wins / 22 Saves / 8.6 Strikeouts per 9 innings pitched / 6 x All-Star / LCS MVP / World Series MVP / 3 x Cy Young Runner-Up / 3 x 20 game winner / 2 x Strikeout Champion – That resume would probably be enough as it is, but when you add in his postseason proficiency there can be no doubt. In the postseason he was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.968 WHIP, including being 4-1 in his career in the World Series.
- Edgar Martinez – .312 avg / 309 Home Runs / 2,247 Hits / 7 x All-Star / 2 x Batting Champion / 2 x Doubles Champion / In 4 AL Division Series’ he racked up a .375 avg, with 7 HR, 5 2B, and 20 RBI. Edgar was the best pure hitter of his era. He was as reliable a hitter as there was in baseball over a 7 year period.
- Alan Trammell – .285 avg / 2,365 Hits / 185 HR / 1,003 RBI / 6 x All-Star / World Series MVP / 4 Gold Gloves – One of the Top 7 shortstops of all time. He and Cal Ripken really ushered in a new era of production from the shortstop position. He also was a .333 hitter in the post-season.
- Dale Murphy – .268 avg / 398 Home Runs / 7 x All-Star / 2 x NL MVP / 5 x Gold Glove winner / 2 x Home Run Champion / 30-30 club member – After converting from catcher, Murphy became the best Center Fielder in the national league for the better part of a decade, won two league MVPs, while leading the Braves to a division championship and was the face of the franchise.
Now if you could vote for more than 10 I would also add Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, and Don Mattingly.
So there you have it. You shouldn’t have to read more from me on the Hall of Fame for at least another year. Hopefully you have found these pieces to be informative or at the very least thought provoking. If for some reason you want to petition the White House to create the Sports Czar position (proposed previously by ESPN’s Bill Simmons) and nominate me for that position I will humbly accept.
Oh, also, if you want to donate to the Send Jamie to Cooperstown for Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame Induction in 2016 Foundation, we absolutely encourage you all to do so!