Big Z here. It’s my first post at The 300s, so let me introduce myself by discussing the oldest topic known to sports radio: the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The 2017 ballot, released last month, featured 34 players including 19 newcomers. Voters can select up to ten players from the ballot of 34. I’m not a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, nor am I Hall of Fame voter. But if I were, here is what my ballot would look like.
Barry Bonds – “An alien god who destroyed space-time to bring us joy.”
Roger Clemens – Only two players to play since 1931 have more wins than Clemens (Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux). No one has more Cy Young Awards.
Vladimir Guerrero – Vladdy made nine all-star games in 12 seasons 1999-2010. He was a great offensive player and one hell of an outfielder, one of the best players of the 2000s.
Trevor Hoffman – One of the best relievers of his era, Hoffman retired as the all-time saves leader. Hoffman shouldn’t lose votes because the greatest reliever of all-time is on the ballot in just a few years.
Jorge Posada – Maybe as a Red Sox fan I’m overstating his value, but the dude won five rings. A five-time all-star who played in at least 137 games every year between 2000 and 2007, Posada was a big part of the Yankees “Core Four.”
Ivan Rodriguez – One of the best catchers of all time, Rodriguez was arguably the best of his era. He appeared in 2,427 games as a catcher, the most in Major League History, and finished with 2,844 hits. It is too bad he stole Pedro’s MVP award in 1999, though.
Curt Schilling – The best big-game pitcher of his era, Schilling holds an 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason appearances. Won a ring in Arizona before winning two with the Sox. Sad to see him self destruct in recent years, but a worthy Hall of Famer nonetheless.
Sammy Sosa – If I’m going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, no reason not to vote for the only man in history with three 60+ home run seasons.
Jason Varitek – Again, as a Red Sox fan, I’m probably overstating his value. But Varitek caught four no-hitters and often worked wonders with a pitching staff. I never believed in the true effect a catcher could have on a pitching staff until the 2006 Red Sox season went up in smoke while Javy Lopez filled in for an injured Varitek.
Jeff Bagwell – Bagwell hit a lot of home runs in an era with a lot of home runs. A shame that the strike shortened his 1994 MVP campaign. Through 115 team games that year, Bagwell hit 39 home runs and drove in 116 runs with a .368 average. A truly special season could have put him over the top for me, but Bagwell was just one of the many guys who had the rug pulled out from under them that year.
Manny Ramirez – Tough decision here. I’m not opposed to voting for players alleged to have used performance enhancing drugs during their careers, but it’s tough to vote for a guy who was actually busted twice. Ramirez’s history of quitting on his teammates doesn’t help his case either.
HALL OF VERY GOOD
Jeff Kent – Kent had some really good seasons 1998-2005, including an MVP campaign in 2000. Ultimately, though, he was not dominant enough for a long enough period of time to get my vote.
Edgar Martinez – A seven-time All-Star, Martinez was a very good player for a long period of time. However, he wasn’t even the best player on his own team for most of his career (Griffey, A-Rod, Ichiro). Not enough offensive production to separate him from the pack for me, but it has nothing to do with him being a DH.
Mike Mussina – The Moose pitched very well in an era of inflated offense. However, he was never the most feared pitcher in the game, and never won a Cy Young award.
Tim Raines – Admittedly, Raines’s heyday was before my time. But looking at his numbers, there’s not enough there for me. Raines posted average numbers the second half of his career.
Gary Sheffield – Sheff posted very good offensive numbers for a long period of time, but it’s hard to think he would’ve bounced around as much as he did if he were truly one of the all-time greats.
Larry Walker – Very good offensive numbers are offset by playing in Colorado in the 1990s. To give you an idea of what was going on in that era, he hit .379 with 37 HRs and 115 RBI in 127 games in 1999 and finished 10th in the MVP voting that season. He was a very good player in his era, but not head and shoulders above everybody else.
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE
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