The Hall of Fame ballot was released today to much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The stars of the "Steroid Era" are now starting to hit the ballot and the performances of these players are being ignored by those wishing to take a supposed moral stand.
I have two primary issues with those who want to use steroid use or speculated steroid use to deny players their vote for induction into the Hall of Fame. My first issue is the lack of evidence indicating that steroid use provided any assistance to the performance of these players. There are those who cite the explosion in home runs as evidence of steroid use but then conveniently forget that pitcher Roger Clemens, a suspected steroid user, was the premier pitcher of his era, if not all-time. So who were the steroids helping, hitters or pitchers? I personally think no one.
My second issue concerns those who have been denied eligibility for Hall of Fame induction based on their admitted or supposed drug use. Let's see, there's, well, no one. Pete Rose (and others) can't get in the Hall of Fame because their wrongs were deemed worthy of banishment from the game. No players of the late nineties, early 21st century have been banned. They are eligible to be considered for the Hall of Fame based on their accomplishments. It bothers me that there are members of the BBWAA who feel that they can arbitrarily choose to ignore the performances of players they think used drugs based on some sort of sense of moral superiority.
Well, none of that moral superiority will be in evidence here. At Rain of Error, there is a distinct lack of morals. Er, wait a minute. Maybe that's not the phrasing I wanted. Anyway, I've divided the members of the ballot into four groups. The guys I don't think have a chance will be covered today. The gentlemen who I do think have cases for the Hall will be in my next post. Without further ado:
NO POSSIBLE WAY
Sandy Alomar Jr.1988-2007 1st
Solid catcher defensively. Not so hot with the bat. Remember back in the day when the Padres had Benito Santiago, Alomar, and Mark Parent all catching in their system? That's 53 major league seasons between the trio. That was some serious scouting/drafting.
Jeff Cirillo 1994-2007 1st
He was a lot better than I recall him being. Career .296 hitter. Walked some. No power. Average glove. Not a bad player but not one you plan on seeing in Cooperstown.
Royce Clayton 1991-2007 1st
His one season playing in Coors Field, he led the league in sacrifice hits. That about sums things up.
Jeff Conine 1990, 1992-2007 1st
He only retired five years ago? He always seemed to be 35 years old, regardless of what he actually was.
Steve Finley 1989-2007 1st
I have faulty wiring in my brain which causes me to mix Finley up with Brady Anderson. I have no idea why. Combined I don't think they're Hall-worthy.
Shawn Green 1993-2007 1st
Four homers in a game is awesome and so he will have a legacy in Cooperstown, even without a plaque in the gallery.
Roberto Hernandez 1991-2007 1st
Dude almost died from a blood clot. Remember that? Then came back and pitched forever. I don't think I can seriously consider any relief pitcher post-Dave Righetti for the Hall of Fame.
Ryan Klesko 1992-2007 1st
Should probably get consideration because he had Jim Rice-level TEH FEAR. At least I thought so. Never a guy I wanted to see up with men on base. If he ever played even a single full season, things would have been different.
Kenny Lofton 1991-2007 1st
When he was 29, I would have thought he was a no-brainer Hall of Famer. Being mediocre or worse for eleven more seasons didn't help his cause.
Don Mattingly 1982-95 13th
Ditto Mattingly except the cutoff age was 25.
Jose Mesa 1987, 1990-2007 1st
More hype than substance in my mind.
Reggie Sanders 1991-2007 1st
I have an unpublished blog post about Reggie Sanders that may need reviving. Just a run-of-the-mill outfielder.
Aaron Sele 1993-2007 1st
Hall of Fame curveball.
Lee Smith 1980-97 11th
All those saves should be worth something. Just not entrance into Cooperstown.
Mike Stanton 1989-2007 1st
Wait, what?!?! Mike Stanton? Seriously?
Todd Walker 1996-2007 1st
A lot of people don't know that there is a preliminary stage players have to get through before the actual ballot. You need to have ten years in the majors to get on the ballot and then you have to pass a sort of vetting process. I don't know how Todd Walker made that cut. Or Mike Stanton for that matter.
David Wells 1987-2007 1st
Rondell White 1996-2007 1st
Would it be a tragedy if anyone who played 700 or more games for the Expos earned automatic induction into the Hall of Fame? Carter and Dawson are already in. Vlad Guerrero and Raines should get in. Tim Wallach, Warren Cromartie and Andres Galarraga? That wouldn't be horrible. Jose Vidro, Larry Parrish, Bob Bailey...OK, maybe not such a good idea. Chris Speier, Rondell White, Orlando Cabrera? All right, how about 1000 games then?
Woody Williams 1993-2007 1st
I got nothing.
GOOD BUT NOT A GUY WHO SHOULD BE IN THE HALL
Julio Franco 1982-94, 1996-97, 1999, 2001-07 1st
JULIOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! The Harold Baines of my generation. And my son's generation. And my grandson's generation. And my great-grandson's generation.
Fred McGriff 1986-2004 4th
The Crime Dog was a solid first baseman but in an era of many great first basemen. Too bad.
Curt Schilling 1988-2007 1st
He suffers on my ballot from my having watched his career in Philadelphia where he was a really good pitcher. He didn't become great until late in his career and after he left Philly. Through age 29, he was 52-52 with an ERA+ of 113. From ages 30-40 he was 164-94 with an ERA+ of 134.
Sammy Sosa 1988-2005, 2007 1st
One-dimensional. Or maybe two. He could throw pretty well. Sort of the Dave Kingman of my era.
Larry Walker 1989-2005 3rd
Just not enough games on the Expos. And too many in Coors Field for me to take him seriously. That and injuries.
Bernie Williams 1991-2006 2nd
If he plays for any team other than the Yankees, I think he's off the ballot his first year. Nice outfielder and should get bonus point for his guitar playing but doesn't.