If I had a Vote
As a lifelong Baseball fan, I have an opinion on who I believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame from this year’s class. I know don’t have a vote, and my opinion means nothing to the actual Hall of Fame, but I felt the need to write who I think should be in and why. I used to be against the players who were attached to the steroid era, especially if they were accused of using, but I have moved past that; those were the times. There are non-pitchers who are in from the dead ball era, the times should dictate the criteria on which the votes are based. If there was a committee that could go though and look at all the players in the Hall of Fame and re-judge them by today’s standards, I truly feel that many of the Hall of Famers would not make the updated list. When making my choices I used my gut opinion from watching them play through the years, I looked at their stats over their careers, I looked where they align with other Hall of Famers, and I even used the newer Sabermetrics to come to my conclusions. With my list of ten players, which I have ranked, I did have a few that were on the cusp of making my list. I will break down why I did not include them in my top ten for this year. My list, in order, is:
- Mariano Rivera
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Sammy Sosa
- Roy Halladay
- Edgar Martinez
- Todd Helton
- Manny Ramirez
- Scott Rolen
- Fred McGriff
- Andruw Jones
- Omar Vizquel
- Billy Wagner
- Miguel Tejada
There you go. Those players listed 1-10 are who I believe belong in the Hall of Fame from today’s ballot. Andruw Jones was very close in my mind to making the list, but I felt that Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were just barely more deserving of the right. I believe that Andruw Jones will make the Hall of Fame eventually, I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.
Mariano Rivera. He is a Hall of Famer to me because I believe he is the best closing pitcher the game has ever seen. He is the All-Time leader in Saves, won the AL reliever of the year five times, and has a career WAR of 56.3. From my eye test, every time I saw a Yankee game, and he pitched, I knew the Yankees were about to win the game. He was dominant for 16 of his 19 years in the MLB. One of those years he was recovering from a torn ACL, when he was 42. The other two years were his first two in the major leagues. All of these factors tell me that he will be a no doubt Hall of Famer.
Barry Bonds. I think he should already be a Hall of Famer d. He is the All-Time Homerun leader, both career and single season, All-Time leader in Walks and Intentional Walks, He was a seven-time NL MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, two-time NL Batting Champion, and has a career WAR of 162.8. He was a beast when he was in the batter’s box. There was a time where he either walked or it seemed he hit a Homerun. His most notorious season where he hit 73 Homeruns, he also batted .328 and had 137 RBIs. Yes, I know he has been accused of using steroids, and I believe that he did. I also believe he was going to be a Hall of Famer before he ballooned up. Before the season when he hit the 73 Homeruns, he was hitting 25-45 homers, around 100 RBIs, and hitting around .310 every year. He was also a factor on the bases; he stole 514 over his career. All these factors tell me that he is definitely a Hall of Famer, and shame on the Baseball writers for not including him in the hall.
Roger Clemens. This is another player who I believe should already be a Hall of Famer. He is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers of all time. He won 20+ games 6 times in his career, leading the league four times, lead the league in ERA seven times, lead the league in strikeouts five times, he won the Cy Young award seven times, and even was an MVP once, which is rare for pitchers to do. In his career his win/loss record was 354-184, with a career ERA of 3.12, he amassed 4672 strikeouts, and had a career WAR of 139.0. He is another player who was extremely feared when he was on the mound. He too has been tied to the usage of steroids, I don’t doubt that he used them. It was the times, and I feel that if you weren’t using them, you were at a major disadvantage. I think he used them, not to get better, but to extend his career; he pitched until he was 44 years old. He is a player that when I watched him play, I knew he deserved to be a Hall of Famer. He will be someday.
Sammy Sosa. This one is hard for me to say, but Sammy Sosa should be a Hall of Famer. Growing up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I absolutely hated Sammy Sosa, but respected him for what he was doing on the field and for the game. He deserves to be a Hall of Famer purely for the run he went on from 1996-2002. He was one of the most feared batters in the game during that time. He finished his career with 609 Homeruns, 1667 RBIs, .273 batting average, 58.6 WAR, 1 MVP, and 6 Silver Sluggers. His stats line up with other Hall of Famers, not many players have hit over 600 Homeruns. He would have more MVPs if he didn’t play during the Barry Bonds era. For how he helped save the game of baseball during the 1998 season with his Homerun race with Mark McGuire, (who I also believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame), is enough of a reason, to me, why he deserves to be in. I believe Sammy Sosa will eventually be a Hall of Famer, but probably not until the veterans committee votes him in, with most of the big names from the steroid era.
Roy Halladay. He should be elected to the Hall of Fame because he was a special pitcher and dominated the batters he faced during the steroid era. He was never accused or attached to any steroid scandal but maintained his excellence over the league. He won 203 games over his career, struck out 2117, had a career ERA of 3.38, won the Cy Young award twice, would have been more if he wasn’t battling Roger Clemens for the award. The cumulation of all his stats, and how he dominated the league during his playing days, tells me that he is deserving of being a Hall of Famer. I’m not sure if I’d say he’s a top 10 pitcher of all time, but he is definitely a top 3 pitcher of his era. That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Edgar Martinez. He has been growing on me, I didn’t get the chance to watch him play often, as he was in Seattle and his games were rarely shown where I grew up. I do remember the name though and thinking that he was a really good player. Being a DH has handicapped his Hall of Fame selection over the years. It is hard for a pure DH to be elected, however, he was the best pure DH, until David Ortiz. I believe if it weren’t for Edgar Martinez being so good and so important for the team as the DH, then David Ortiz could have fizzled out and not become the super star that he is. Martinez redefined the position. The award for the best DH in the league was named after him, that alone tells me that he should be a Hall of Famer. He won this award five times and won the batting title twice. He will be elected this year, as voters have steadily increased their support for him over the years. Although this is his last year eligible, I believe if he does not get voted in now, the veterans committee will vote him in in a few years.
Todd Helton. My favorite stat about Todd Helton is that Peyton Manning was his backup Quarterback at University of Tennessee. Yes, I know that’s not related to his MLB Hall of Fame worthiness, but not many baseball players can say they were ahead of a future NFL Hall of Famer on the depth chart at any level of football. On the baseball field he was a force for the Colorado Rockies. Over his career, he hit 369 Homeruns, drove in 1406 RBIs, batted .316, with a season of hitting .372, had a WAR of 61.2, won three Gold Gloves, won four Silver Sluggers, and one Batting title. He is hurt for playing in the thin air of Colorado, but I feel where a player plays should not hinder their Hall of Fame status. If that were the case, move the Rockies out of the Denver. I remember him always being the most feared batter on the Rockies and one of the most in the league. He was an amazing First Baseman and with all of this, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame.
Manny Ramirez. The Hall of Fame needs a player like Manny Ramirez. He was so entertaining, and so good at the same time. He was one of the most feared batters during the time he played, amassing 555 Homeruns, 2574 Hits, 1831 RBIs, .312 Batting Average, and a .585 Slugging Percentage. Besides those stats, he won nine Silver Sluggers, one Batting Title, one World Series MVP, and was in the top-5 of the MVP voting four times. He was a major part of the Boston Red Sox team that ended their World Series Championship drought and was always great. He was one of my favorite players and I always thought he was a little different, in a good way, and a step above the rest of the players on the field. With all this, I feel that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Scott Rolen. Although he did have a few years where he was a feared batter, he is more known for being one of the best defensive Third Basemen ever in baseball. Offensively his career was still pretty good, hitting 316 Homeruns, 2077 Hits, 1287 RBIs, and batting .281. His offensive numbers would be better if he wasn’t battling injuries during the tail end of his 17-year career. Speaking of his defensive stats, he won eight Gold Gloves and had a career Fielding Percentage of .968 which is insane considering he had 5745 chances to make an error, of which he only made 186. Other awards that he has collected over his career are the NL Rookie of the Year, one Silver Slugger, and chased after a few MVP awards. I might be a little biased because he played for my hometown team, but I always was beyond amazed at how he played Third Base. It made me want to play Third Base growing up, and I still do play in when I play softball. His defensive skills were a major inspiration to me. Again, I know that doesn’t matter to his Hall of Fame worthiness, but it demonstrates how good he truly was.
Fred McGriff. This player was another of my favorites growing up. I remember him always being so good. Over his career he amassed some incredible stats, 493 Homeruns, 1550 RBIs, 2490 Hits, and a .284 Batting Average. I believe if he had hit seven more Homeruns, he would already be a Hall of Famer. He also brought home a lot of awards over his career, three Silver Sluggers, one All Star Game MVP, and he was in the Top-10 in the MVP race six times. In reading up on Fred McGriff, I feel that the fact that he played for so many teams is hurting his Hall of Fame chances. I’m not sure if he will get in on this ballot, but I hope that he will get in through the veterans committee eventually. He was one of the best that played the game and deserves this accolade.
Well those were the players that I would vote for, for the MLB Hall of Fame, if I had a vote. Now it’s time to talk a little about the players that were on the cusp of my ballot. Andruw Jones was the player who was the closest to making my ballot, basically being vote 10b, with Fred McGriff being 10a. I honestly gave Fred McGriff the nod over Andruw Jones because it is McGriff’s last year on the ballot and I believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame. Andruw Jones’ stats are very similar to Scott Rolen’s, but I liked Rolen more when he was playing. I believe Andruw Jones should be in the Hall of Fame, and I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot. Omar Vizquel was next, he would be going in purely on his defensive merit, and I don’t think that he was good enough on the offensive side of the field to deserve the right to be a Hall of Famer. I do believe he is close, but he didn’t make my ballot this year. The next two players I remember them being really dominant for a few years, but their peak years did not last very long. These two players are Billy Wagner and Miguel Tejada. These two players are at risk of falling of the ballot for next year, purely because there are so many great players ahead of them in many actual voters’ minds. Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in the game for a few years, but he needed that to last a bit longer.
Well, there you have it, my ballot, if I were to have one, for the MLB Hall of Fame. I wish that the actual voters would put out a breakdown like this, so the general public can see where they are coming from and to see why they made the decisions that that they did. I feel that it would make the Hall of Fame process run smoother and create a lot of interesting conversation. If you have any thoughts about my choices, feel free to leave a comment and start the conversation. I hope you all have a great day, and let’s go see some houses, and talk baseball.