Tomorrow afternoon we’ll find out who will be enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. There are many very interesting first timers on the ballot this year as well as some veterans whose time is running out. I’m going to take a look at the ballot and give you the run-down on who I would vote and why.
This year’s first timers are very tricky. Plenty of guys who were good players but I’m not sure they were Hall of Fame players.
First, though, I’ll run through the players who were on my ballot last year who didn’t get in.
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.
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.
Now on to this year’s class:
Roberto Alomar played a total of 17 years in the majors with 8 different teams. He amassed over 2700 hits, 210 homers, and had 474 steals. He was also one of the best defensive second basemen of all time, earning 10 Gold Gloves. In 1993, he was part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series team. He also finished in the Top 6 of the MVP voting on five separate occasions. Unfortunately Alomar will be mostly remember for the spitting incident in the 1995 playoffs with umpire John Hirschbeck during the 1995 playoffs. Since the incident, he and Hirschbeck have become friends and the umpire has recently stated that he thinks Alomar should make the Hall of Fame. I’m conflicted. He’s really, really good, but I’m just not convinced he’s great enough. He make my ballot by the absolute slimmest of margins and I could be talked out of it. He’s sort of like Tim Raines with better defense and some more power.
If there was a way to make it by a slimmer margin than Alomar did, then Martinez has done it. The great debate over whether or not player who was primarily a Designated Hitter will surely rage and in the end, I don’t think he’ll make it but I’m putting him on my ballot. I don’t really care that he didn’t play much defense in his career. Designated hitter is position and therefore should not be disqualified from the Hall. Ozzie Smith certainly didn’t make it into the Hall with his bat, so why should it work the other way? Martinez was a hitting machine during his 18-year career, all with the Seattle Mariners. He finished with a .312 average and 309 homers. In his best season he hit 37 homers and knocked in 145 runs. He led the league in OBP three times and was a 7 times All-Star. I think the merits are there and he should probably make it, even if he doesn’t on his first try.
I’m quitting there. I would love to add Barry Larkin, but I feel like I have two players on there already who a case could be made against, I can’t justify three of them. I could also take some convincing with Andres Galarraga and Fred McGriff if someone wanted to make a case for them. I loved them as players but ehh…..
Filed under: MLB | Tagged: Andres Galarraga, Barry Larkin, Baseball, Bert Blyleven, Edger Martinez, Fred McGriff, Hall of Fame, Major League Baseball, Mark McGwire, MLB, MLB Hall of Fame, Roberto Alomar |