Before I lay out my grand plan for an unprecedented three team...
My Hall Of Fame Ballot
I do not have a vote for the Hall of Fame. I am not a member of the BWAA. I am simply a guy with a half-way decent blog (something you invariably know considering you’re reading it). However, I can write a post about who I would vote for if I did have ballot, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Before I begin, it’s important to clarify my positon on a few things HOF related. First, I believe that only the truly elite should have a spot in Cooperstown. I am perfectly happy voting for no one if I don’t feel anyone is deserving that year. An empty podium is fine by me. The Hall should be reserved for the likes of Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron, not Bruce Sutter, Jim Rice, or Ron Santo. Jack Morris will not be getting one of my votes. Similarly, I believe that 15 years is too long to stay on the ballot. If a guy isn’t good enough to get in 10 years after he retires, why is he suddenly good enough 20 years after? That said, I think that it’s ridiculous that no one has been elected unanimously. How is there any doubt that Nolan Ryan belongs in the Hall? Or Cal Ripken? Or Willie Mays? Anyone who won’t vote for someone on the first ballot simply because they don’t want anyone to be a unanimous selection should immediately have all voting privileges taken away, and should probably be deported as well. There are a number of players who will be eligible over the next 15 or so years that I think should be unanimous selections. John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Ken Griffey Jr, and Mariano Rivera, just to name a few.
Now, the tricky part. The truth is that I’m not exactly sure how I feel about steroid users or suspected steroid users. I know that if a player is merely suspected of using some sort of PEDs, but there is absolutely no evidence that he actually used them, he should be fully eligible to receive a vote. I’m talking specifically about Jeff Bagwell. If people exclude Bagwell from their ballot because of PED links and not because they think that he is unworthy, they are making a mistake. That said, just because there isn’t enough evidence for, say, a court of law, doesn’t mean a player is clean. I believe that Roger Clemens used PEDs and I feel I’m justified in that belief.
Now, I don’t think that PED use necessarily disqualifies a player from consideration. However, this is where my thought process gets a little hairy. Admittedly, I’m not entirely consistent here. I think that Barry Bonds is a transcendent talent, someone who, regardless of any PED use, is one of the best players ever to play the game. His numbers are so far and away better than anything we’ve ever seen before that it really wouldn’t be a true Hall of Fame with out him. Read more on my thoughts on Bonds here. Roger Clemens though? I’m not so sure he deserves it in light of his likely drug use. Obviously I’m having some serious cognitive dissidence here.
Maybe it boils down to this: If, in my opinion, a player is accused or suspected (with some serious evidence) of PED/steroid usage, the threshold for admission into the Hall rises. If a PED guy is borderline and would likely get in if there were no PED allegations but is not a guarantee, they shouldn’t get in. However, if a guy is one of the all-time greats, he should be elected regardless of any PED stuff.
Clearly, this isn’t ideal but I think my thinking will evolve as we move deeper into the PED/Hall era.
Anyway, with out further ado, my 2013 HOF ballot (if I had one): (Remember, only up to 10 people can receive votes):
- Craig Biggio
- Barry Bonds
- Jeff Bagwell
That’s it. Players for me that came close:
- Roger Clemens
- Sammy Sosa
- Edgar Martinez
That’s it. Players that made me think for a second before ultimately deciding they were not close:
- Tim Raines
- Don Matingly
- Fred McGriff
- Mike Piazza
- Alan Trammell
That’s it. Player that made me laugh:
- Woody Williams
- Aaron Sele
- Rondell White
- Mike Stanton
- Reggie Sanders
- Jose Mesa
- Jeff Cerillo
- Jeff Conine
Well, what do you think?