As noted in my previous Bert Blyleven rant post, from the looks of the baseball blogosphere lately, it is part of my duty as a baseball blog writer to put in my 2 cents on the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot.
On Jan 5, 2011, Hall of Fame BBWAA voting will be announced and we’ll have an entire week of blog postings doing post-vote analysis. Its a great little way to fill the time in-between insignificant FA signings but before pitchers and catchers report.
I posted previously just about Blyleven, one of the most talked about candidates in some time. I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer but I think he’ll get voted in. Here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the ballot.
First, the returning candidates from previous years
– Roberto Alomar: Received 73.7% of the vote in his first year in 2010. Probably penalized for being a complete jerk to sports writers for most of his career, and for the infamy that has followed him since he retired (HIV infection lawsuits and restraining orders). Unfair that he wasn’t a first ballot hall of famer. 10 gold gloves puts him in pretty restrictive company. 12 straight all star games, numerous MVP vote gathering seasons. Retired rather early for a middle infielder at 36.
Verdict: Should be a lock for HoF.
Other’s on returning ballots:
– Jack Morris: i’d vote for him before Blyleven.
– Barry Larkin: unfair comparisons to current power-hitting short stops are leaving Larking behind.
– Lee Smith: Saves are overrated to begin with, and Smith never seemed like he was as dominant as his contemporaries.
– Edgar Martinez: great guy, great hitter, one dimensional.
– Tim Raines: Why he has lost candidacy points i’ll never know. Probably due to his later Yankee years souring the east coast sportswriter crew on his career in general.
– Trammell, Mattingly, McGriff, Parker, Murphy: all these guys are probably destined to be eventually included by some veterans committee 30 years from now, when we have recovered from the steroids era and we realize that a guy like Murphy and his 398 career homers isn’t that bad.
Requisite Steroid-Accused HoF Candiates.
– Mark McGwire: Yeah he used. But he was also quite a hitter prior to his using. 5 years run of 52-58-58-70-65 home run seasons. A shame. He’ll never get in.
First time on 2011 Ballot.
– Rafael Palmeiro: probably the dumbest steroids user on the accused list. He’s the punchline of the era and I’ll be surprised if he garners 10% of the vote.
– Jeff Bagwell: He should be a HoF lock, the first we’ve had in a while. But i’m hearing rumbling that not a ton of guys are supporting him. It may just be a matter of time before he gets in but he’s deserving.
– Larry Walker: excellent career OPS+ numbers clearly inflated by playing in Colorado. He really could hit though, leading the league in batting average 3 times and homers once.
– Juan Gonzalez: one or two great seasons and then a mess of a career. Hey at least he made a ton of money.
– Kevin Brown: amazing to think he’s been retired for 5 years. His career will be defined by his ridiculous 9-figure contract.
No one else on the 2011 ballot in my opinion will be close.
In summary, If I had a vote here’s my ballot: Alomar, Bagwell, Morris, Larkin, Raines, McGwire, Trammell.