Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2009

The 2009 Hall of Fame class will be announced at 1 o’clock CST tomorrow, so I figured I might as well give my ballot if I had one.  We’ll start with the easy one:

rickey-henderson-939-stolen-bases-1991-c10103677Rickey Henderson

This is the only lock for the voting tomorrow.  Rickey should end up with over 90% of the vote.  I’d imagine that he would go in as an Oakland A, but Rickey has been known to pull surprises in the past.  I’m not going to bring up all of his stats since you it’s pretty common knowledge that he’ll get in, but here are a few:

1406 career steals

2190 career walks

.401 career On-Base %

2295 career runs

Yeah, he’s getting in.

Now for the not-so-easy picks.

286221635_ea7df110dbJim Rice

Rice fell just 16 votes short in 2008.  I think he deserves to get the call this year, his last on the ballot.  He spent his entire 16 year career in Boston and hit .298 with 382 homers and 1451 RBIs.  Rice finished in the Top 5 in the MVP voting six times, winning it once. Rice was a force throughout his career and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  There is still a chance that he would be elected by the Veteran’s Committee after his eligibility is exhausted.

g_bb_i

Bert Blyleven

I’m not sure how Blyleven isn’t in there already.  His track record is extremely impressive.  Blyleven finished his 22 year career with 287 wins, a 3.31 ERA and 3701 strikeouts.  That strikeout total puts him fifth all time.  Maybe he isn’t already in the Hall because he never won a Cy Young and only went to the All-Star Game twice, but still, this is a pretty glaring omission from the Hall of Fame.  I’d guess he’s the victim of a media bias since he played most of his career for the Twins.   Still, the guy who’s fifth in career strikeouts should be in the Hall.

941169f915e03b04a407a21145ea3524_mcgwire2Mark McGwire

I’m saving the controversial one for last.  McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame, and never will be elected.  In 16 seasons, McGwire hit 583 homeruns and had 1414 RBIs.  There was also that season where he single-handedly saved baseball with his 70 homeruns.  Baseball was still realing from the effects of the 1994 lockout and was looking for someone to bring the attention back to the sport.  That’s where McGwire came in.  People tuned into SportsCenter to see if he’d hit another 500 foot shot that night.  It was something to behold and a summer people will remember forever.  No one cared at the time that McGwire was twice the size that he was when he bashed 49 homers as a rookie in 1986.  It’s not like it was difficult to see that.  To me, steroids or not, McGwire saves baseball and that accomplishment in itself is worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Agree?  Disagree?  Think Andre Dawson should be in, as well?  Leave a comment.

4 Responses

  1. Agree. McGwire should be in.

  2. I agree with this ballot. McGwire is a tough call with the steroid thing, but I think Bonds is a Hall of Famer so I gotta think McGwire is one. Maybe the 5th or 6th try he’ll get in. I do think it will be funny if Bonds doesn’t make the cut and we have the all-time hits and home runs leaders left out of the “Hall of Fame.”

    I also think Tim Raines should be in. Call me biased, but he has some solid career numbers and was a great leadoff hitter himself. He’s 5th all-time in steals and hit .294 for his career. Some have called him the second greatest leadoff hitter behind Henderson.

    I think Blyleven should be in for sure. Although when I looked at his career numbers one thing jumped out at me that could be keeping him out. While he had 287 career wins he also had 250 career losses. Here are his win-loss totals from years 2, 3, 4, and 5 of his career.

    16-15
    17-17
    20-17
    17-17

    Still think he is a Hall of Famer. Cy Young is in there and he had like 350 career losses. Maybe even more.

  3. I agree Jet. Rock Raines should be in and is the 2nd greatest leadoff hitter ever.

    I can see McGwire deserving to be in but let me throw this at everyone…

    I sort of put him at the head of the steroid class and almost responsible for it. I don’t see him like Bonds, who was a Hall of Famer prior to steroids. I see Mac as a guy who was someone who influenced people like Bonds to take them.

    McGwire, in my eyes, was taking them day one in the league. He was lean and strong but I can’t help but see him with the biggest steroid villain (Canseco) from the start. It’s just impossible to believe.

    Now some say McGwire saved the game in 98′ and should be rewarded. In a sense they did, but if everyone is going to be so touchy feely about steroids, then they hurt it.

    McGwire’s use of steroids can be linked at the reason behind his big numbers. Now regardless of my opinion on how much they help you, he put up huge numbers.

    Those numbers made great seasons from great players get overlooked. The clean guys had their great seasons deminished, and other guys like Bonds saw the results and wanted them for themselves.

    If you agree with that logic. I think McGwire should be held out for that reason. I think not only did he tarnish record books, but he created a more wide-spread problem than the distributor of steroids – Jose Canseco.

    If someone offers you something you don’t want or are skeptical of, you say no. If you see someone doing unreal things using what you were offered, you’ll reconsider and want to try it for yourself. Which is what I think happened with much of baseball.

    If steroids can really be linked as the main reason for the monster seasons, and not juiced balls (which is what I lean towards), then McGwire ruined not only his era but every era after because those seasons influenced our minds and other players.

    Ken Griffey’s 58 homer campaign. Howards 57. Monster seasons by Frank Thomas in 2000 all get overlooked because it made us see that season as nothing more than a pretty good season. The fact other players during that period were putting up bigger numbers also overshadows what lots of these guys have done.

    To me. I don’t put him in and I am one of the people who don’t even fully believe Roids are the root of this evil. I sit on the side that baseball was behind it with tighter wound balls and steroids a little. I think MLB suffers less from a steroid scandal with it’s players then it would knowing that the powers that be in mlb’s front office were responsible for tampering with the integrity of the game.

    Baseball can survive steroids, knowing that they deliberately tampered with the ball to increase numbers causing more entertainment for fans wouldn’t be something they could survive.

    Hope that makes sense.

  4. Pumpkin-
    Your comment is very long and I’m sure I won’t address all of it, or most of it.

    I can’t disagree with much of what you said, it’s as simple as a difference of opinion. McGwire can easily be seen as the main cause of the steroid fiasco because of his success. I don’t see him that way. I look further down upon guys like Palmeiro and Bonds who continued to use steroids after it was outlawed and supposedly purged from the game. There is no telling how many players used in the 80s and 90s, so I don’t single McGwire out for that.

    I also fault Bud Selig and the commissioner’s office. They had to know. If baseball was truly that dirty, then there is no way they could that blind to it. They saw McGwire and others as marketing tools to regain the fanbase after the 1994 strike. It worked. If they really looked down upon the practice so much, they would’ve stopped it before it got out of hand. I’m not saying McGwire is a victim here, because obviously he could have abstained from taking them, but part of the blame falls on Selig’s office. They wanted him to succeed and he did, now the repercussions are falling on McGwire and baseball is sinking back into the shadows.

    I also look into the Hall and see a guy like Gaylord Perry. He was a cheater. He used foreign substances on the balls he pitched and everyone knew it (though he didn’t get caught until late in his career). Still, he’s in the Hall and no one has questioned it. Granted, he wasn’t shattering records and captivating a nation in the meantime, but cheating is cheating. Neither did anything that would get them banned from baseball for life like Pete Rose, so I’m curious as to the difference. We know what effect doctoring a baseball can cause, we still don’t know how much steroids really help (or hurt, I guess).

    I understand the argument both ways. In fact, it’s pretty simple to make an argument against him. I just don’t know where baseball would be if it weren’t for that ’98 season. It’s tough for me to completely discredit a guy who I feel was internally supported by baseball the whole time.

    I have no idea about tighter balls, but it would be interesting to see how Selig would handle that. They would have no one to point to but themselves on that.

    Good comment.

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