We continue today with the guys on the Hall of Fame ballot who I think merit at least strong consideration.
I COULD PROBABLY BE CONVINCED
Edgar Martinez 1987-2004 4th
I've made a case for Tommy Herr for the Hall of Fame based on cherry-picking stats so I'm not a fan of the process as a means of establishing greatness. That being said, there are just fifteen players in baseball history who have played in 2000 games, hit .300, with an OBP greater than .400 and a SLG greater than .500. I think we can agree that those are some high standards, right? Ten of those fifteen are in the Hall of Fame. The other five are Frank Thomas, Todd Helton, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones and Edgar Martinez. All five are serious candidates for the Hall of Fame.
But in the case of Edgar Martinez, hitting was all he did. It shouldn't matter that he was mostly a DH and maybe in a year or two I won't care. This year, though, I do. Although looking back over that list, I can almost talk myself into it this year. Yes, Frank Thomas had a position for a while but would you really say that either he or Manny contributed anything with their gloves? Hmmmmm. It's all right, Edgar, I'll put you in next year probably. You still have ten more years of consideration.
Mark McGwire 1986-2001 7th
He was just too injury prone. That's what does it for me. Also, as a single test case, McGwire doesn't lend much support to the idea that steroids increase longevity and keep players healthier (or lets them recover faster).
Jack Morris 1977-94 14th
Like members of the Montreal Expos, I think that all members of the 1984 Detroit Tigers should be in Cooperstown. Trammell and Whitaker at least. Evans. Then maybe Parrish and Morris and Gibson. Why not? Then Petry and Grubb and Lemon. OK, maybe not everybody. I used to think Morris should be in but over the years my confidence has diminished thanks to those danged sabrmagicians.
Dale Murphy 1976-93 15th
This is a sad one for me as I know he won't be inducted. If you had asked me my senior year of high school (1989) who the best player of my lifetime was, I would have said Dale Murphy. And he was already washed up by then. I still think he was one of the best. Just not one of the best for long enough, though.
Rafael Palmeiro 1986-2005 3rd
Like a Harold Baines who could play defense. An accumulator of stats.
Mike Piazza 1992-2007 1st
My word he was a horrible catcher. Besides, can we really put a former 62nd round draft pick in the Hall of Fame? Doesn't that make a mockery of the game? Don't we have to put Royce Clayton in then since he was taken with the 15th pick overall in the same draft? Let's get Brad Duvall in there, too, since no one seems to be mentioning him in the conversation.
NO DOUBT HALL OF FAMERS
Jeff Bagwell 1991-2005 3rd
Misses that .300/.400/.500 club mentioned in Edgar Martinez's entry by three batting average points. And shouldn't there be a factor for overcoming crazy batting stances? It always amazed me that Bagwell could even hit a ball since he seemed to be moving backward when he swung.
Craig Biggio 1988-2007 1st
If he were Pete Rose, he would have become a player/manager and found a way to get hit by three more pitches to be the career leader. A player who did more than what is expressed in traditional stats - taking extra bases, making smart plays in the field. One of the best second basemen ever.
Barry Bonds 1986-2007 1st
One of the best players of all-time. And an asshat.
Roger Clemens 1984-2007 1st
One of the best pitchers of all-time.
Tim Raines 1979-2002 6th
An Expo. One of the best leadoff hitters of all-time. One of the best base stealers. And a Hall of Fame caliber all-around player.
Alan Trammell 1977-96 12th
Terribly, terribly, terribly underrated. He will always be in my personal Hall of Fame no matter if a plaque hangs for him in Cooperstown. I'm sure that means a lot to Alan.
There's my ballot for this year. Six names, possibly seven if I hadn't mailed my imaginary ballot already. We'll take a look at the Veterans Committee this week in two separate posts (even though the results will be announced tomorrow), one on Wes Ferrell, the other covering everyone else (which should give some foreshadowing into my views on the matter).