Monday, January 3, 2011
Hall of Fame
The hall of fame has a fairly straightforward voting system, however the threshold for election (75%) is so high that it is rare when more than one player is elected per year. Personally I believe the Hall should be very inclusive insted of exclusive, as a variety of interesting players with less prolific careers still deserve to be historically praised and discussed instead of forgotten. However, given the current nature of the system here is my ballot, were I a sportswriter for 20 years:
I'll focus on the more debatable ones and issues you may be familiar with. Why do I vote for McGwire if he was a cheater and roided up as much as possible you ask? His historic impact is too great to leave him out of the hall, without McGwire baseball would've had a lot more trouble recovering from the bad press surrounding the 1994 Strike. His At Bat/ Home Run Ratio is tops in history, and while that's somewhat steroid aided I'm sure he could have still hit 500-600 HRs with a longer career and no steroids. Apart from all that the steroids were so prolific at the time it is difficult to single out certain players. While standards themselves may be raised 10-25% I don't think the exclusion needs to be there. Palmeiro was an accumulator of stats who stuck around for a very long time, but if he hadn't played in his specific era with steroids I'm sure he'd be a 300 HR 2500 Hit good but not great type of player, McGwire I presume would still be excellent regardless.
There seems to be some nebulous suspicion of Jeff Bagwell for Steroid usage, though there is absolutely no indication of this. However he had a ridiculous peak performance so I think it's safe to say even if he played in a less offense based era (whether or not he used steroids) he would probably still be great. He is one of the top 5 first basemen of all time, and while he's not quite as offensively superior as my favorite player Frank Thomas his defense and baserunning while actually playing first base probably give him the edge on that front as well.
Trammell, Larkin, and Alomar all have similar cases with Alomar being slightly better and a near first ballot elect last year. Each is a Second Basemen or Shortstop with superior offensive performance for the position and good defense to go with relatively long, consistent careers. Before the offensive surge of the 1990s they would presumably all have been first ballot hall of famers, but due to that era making certain numbers less impressive they'll have to wait a few years. Trammell may never get in unfortunately.
Fred McGriff was an excellent player for a very long time, he may have been an accumulator of sorts but there is no steroid suspicion whatsoever so presuming he managed to hit all of 7 more homeruns to go with his 493 he might be in in just a few ballots. However due to him falling 7 short of the magical milestone (not quite as magical as it used to be) he might not even make it in, or get more than 10-15% of the vote. In a few years the ballot will be crowded with first ballot types like Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Ken Griffey, and Frank Thomas along with several other outstanding players so many of the players on this years ballot will fall off, including McGriff.
Kevin Brown was an outstanding pitcher during a steroid enhanced offensive era. Were it not for Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Schilling, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens he may be considered one of the best of the era. Unfortunately due to poor relations with the press and a lackluster performance following a very rich contract as he was aged he is getting very little support. However that doesn't change his being superior to many of the pitchers already in the Hall. He may fall short but that doesn't make him any less deserving.
Blyleven and Raines already have huge cases made for them by a variety of writers, Saber-oriented and not. Look at Joe Posnanski's blog or the Hardball Times or just google them if you want to see those, they are far more well analyzed and written than I could achieve here. For some reason it won't let me color the links blue, apologies.