HOWARD MEGDAL: For me, the ballot is filled with deserving candidates.
Bert Blyleven: Fits comfortably in the middle of Hall of Fame pitchers.
Roberto Alomar: 116 OPS+, great defense over a long career at second base.
Barry Larkin: Arguably the same ticket as Alomar. Ironic that he was overshadowed by Garciaparra/Jeter/A-Rod, but is flat-out better than Nomar, lasted at SS longer than A-Rod, and had a better career (including defense) than Jeter.
Edgar Martinez: The DH is an abomination. But that isn’t all-time great hitter Edgar Martinez’s fault.
Tim Raines: I’m not going to withhold a vote because a guy isn’t Rickey Henderson. They’d never elect someone to the HOF again!
Mark McGwire: Too good not to be in the Hall, but I’m no steroids zealot. Played by MLB rules during his career- separates him from Palmeiro, who I left off the ballot.
Alan Trammell: Wish I could cast a joint vote for Trammell and Lou Whitaker.
Jeff Bagwell: When the only case against a guy is “played while muscular”, that’s a pretty good sign he should be in the Hall of Fame.
Larry Walker: As previously discussed, I think he’s a top five RF all-time. Obviously, that gets him on my ballot. Not that I have a ballot…
MIKE SILVA: I would say my ballot uses statistics, intangibles, and the eye test. Although I don’t deny the use of PED’s I don’t penalize since I don’t know enough about pharmacology to do so.
Roberto Alomar: Short of the magic 3,000 hits he was the best second baseman in baseball from 1992 to 2001. The gold gloves make up for some years during that period (95, 98) that were less than Hall worthy offensively.
Bert Blyleven: Won 287 games, and the fact that he is 13 wins short of the magic 300 wins shouldn’t be reason to keep him out. This is a pitcher that would go deep into ballgames throughout his career. One of his best seasons came at the age of 38 pitching for the Angels. Don’t forget the impressive 3,700 strikeouts and sixty shutouts.
Jack Morris: Won 254 ballgames. He also was a big time postseason pitcher for Detroit and Minnesota, of course winning that classic Game 7 in the ’91 World Series against Atlanta. With the advent of bullpens 250 should be the new 300
Edgar Martinez: His production from 1995 to 2003 is right up there with all the all time greats. Even the move to spacious Safeco Field didn’t slow him down. Has eight seasons with a BA over .300, OBP over .400, SLG over .500. Every player with eight or more such seasons is in the Hall of Fame, with the exception of Barry Bonds.
Mark McGwire: Most feared slugger of the nineties. His at-bats were “events.” As Howard said he did nothing that was against the rules of baseball.
Jeff Bagwell: Spent a large portion of his career playing in the pitcher friendly Astrodome where he produced an OPS of .996. How can you argue with a career that yielded 449 homers, 202 stolen bases, and a .948 OPS? Bill James called Bagwell in 2001 the fourth best first basemen of all time.
Rafael Palmeiro: Produced 3,020 hits, 569 homers, over 1,800 RBI, and an .885 OPS for his career. Although he never won an MVP, he did win three gold gloves (one very dubious one in 1999).
Tim Raines: If he didn’t chase a ring as a part time player with the Yankees I suspect he might have collected 3,000 hits. For his career he had over 2,600 hits, 808 stolen bases, and a career OPS of .810. Time to recognize “Henderson lite” and put him in the Hall.
ALEX PREWITT: This year’s ballot has more first-timers (19) than any year since 1991, and thus presents a difficult problem for those voters limited to 10 selections. Obviously, the other issue surrounds the inclusion (or exclusion) of steroid-era players.
Robbie Alomar: Sixth among all second basemen in hits, fourth in stolen bases, seventh in runs and 10th in RBIs. Plus, he’s won 10 Gold Gloves, tops among players at his position. The statistics are there, and there’s no reason why Alomar won’t get inducted in 2011.
Jeff Bagwell: Nothing outstanding across the board, but he’s still solid in every relevant offensive and defensive statistic. Career OPS+ of 149, 449 home runs and over 1,500 RBIs. I’d say that earns him a vote in my book.
Bert Blyleven: Next year will be his last year of eligibility, and his 3,701 strikeouts (fifth all-time) and 90.1 WAR for pitchers (13th all-time) should be enough to avoid a nail-biter in ’12.
Barry Larkin: OPS+ of 116, which ranks ninth among shortstops, and other assorted hitting statistics which place him in an elite group of the best (and I use best relatively lightly, to describe top-10) offensive shortstops of all-time.
Edgar Martinez: It’s a shame that the fact he’s a DH might keep him out of Cooperstown. I think Mike said it all, though. Any wavering voter should simply look at the elite company Martinez has put himself in, and the decision should be easy.
Fred McGriff: Of the 12 first basemen currently in the Hall of Fame, only five have more RBIs and four have more home runs than McGriff. Problem is, he’s matched up against McGwire and Bagwell this year. Will that hurt is case?
Mark McGwire: Won’t ever make the Hall. Probably should make the Hall. That’s about it.
Tim Raines: There’s no reason that Tim Raines shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. His 808 career stolen bases puts him in the discussion for second-best leadoff hitter of all-time, as does his .385 career OBP.
CHRIS PUMMER: My hypothetical ballot hasn’t changed much from a year ago, when I gave the rundown of why I was voting for 10 guys. One guy was elected (Andre Dawson), and another guy fell off the ballot (sorry, Robin Ventura).
I still feel the same way about the BBWAA not electing enough guys, so if I had a ballot, I’d still vote for 10.
The eight holdovers: Blyleven, Alomar, Raines, Larkin, McGwire, Trammell, Martinez and Dale Murphy. Howard and I will be talking about Murphy’s HOF credentials later this week, obviously with me on the pro side.
The two additions for me this year are Jeff Bagwell and Kevin Brown.
In a crowded crop of potential first base candidates, Bagwell and Frank Thomas stand head and shoulders above everyone else from the era of their contemporaries, which includes guys like McGriff and Rafael Palmiero.
Brown was dominant in an era that belonged to hitters. Maybe not as dominant as Maddux, Martinez or Johnson, or with the longevity of Glavine or Mussina. But he was still very good for long enough to earn a vote from someone who thinks hitters will be overrepresented compared to their 1990s and 2000s mound counterparts who had to toil in small ballparks with both the hitters and baseballs likely juiced.
I would not vote for Larry Walker among my top 10 on this ballot. I like Walker a lot, his rate stats are among the top 5 right fielders of all time. But he’s light on total plate appearances compared to the very best guys. And as terrific as he was when he played, it’s still very hard for me to get around the fact that his highest games played totals were 153, 143, 143, 142, 138, 137, 136, 133, 131 and 130.
In other words, if you took Walker’s 10 most durable years, he still missed almost a season and a half worth of time.
Now, even missing that time, Walker still still helped the Expos, Rockies and even the Cardinals win a lot of ballgames. And on a less-crowded ballot, Walker would be getting my vote. But I do think it cuts into his peak. You can’t dominate the league part time.
Or put another way, how comfortable would you have been if your team had signed Walker to a huge contract right before the 2000 season?
That’s why I have a hard time putting Walker in front of the other guys.