Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Hall of Fame Ballot that Doesn't Mean Anything

I meant to write this much earlier. Then I went on vacation. And here we are.

So, if I had a vote in this year's election (and a million dollars and a unicorn and a million dollar unicorn insurance policy), here's who I'd put on my ballot (in alphabetical order):

Roberto Alomar. If the various advanced defensive metrics developed by smarter folks than I are to be believed, Roberto Alomar was not the defensive genius I thought he was when I was a wee one. But when you hit .300/.371/.443 over 17 seasons at a skill position, you're one hell of a ballplayer.

Bert Blyleven. One of my favorite arguments against Bert Blyleven (and I wish I could remember who made it) was that no kids in the 80's opened up Bert Blyleven baseball cards and got excited. I was excited when I opened Blylevens in the 80's. That's the fun thing about argumentative absolutes: as soon as one little thing doesn't fit, the argument falls apart. As for an argument that matters with regards to Blyleven, point your browsers Rich Ledererward (the Bert Blyleven series is about halfway down the left navbar) if you've not done so already.

Andre Dawson. For a long time, I didn't think Dawson was a Hall of Famer. I saw that .323 OBP and cringed. But the Hawk also slugged .482 on his career, and took a lot of extra bases (314) at a 74% success rate. In other words, when he got on base, he got on bases. And until his knees went to hell, he was a premier defensive center fielder, as well, which is an added bonus. He's not a slam-dunk, but I think he makes the cut (especially when I look at some of the other folks who already have plaques). He is, however, easily the most arguable of my choices (ignoring PED-related debates, that is).

Barry Larkin. Larkin did absolutely everything well. He hit for average (.295 lifetime). He hit for power (.444 SLG as a middle infielder). He got on base (.371 OBP). He had speed (379 SB at an 83% success rate). He fielded his position (37 defensive RAR). He's 59th all time in WAR with 68.8. He is, quite simply, a Hall of Famer.

Edgar Martinez. Yes, I know he played most of his career as a DH (of course, so did Paul Molitor, and so did future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas). But inducting relief pitchers has been all the rage lately (and fairly, I think). Designated hitters are a lot more valuable than relief pitchers. And Edgar Martinez was the greatest DH of all time. It's time we set the bar, no?

Mark McGwire. I'll also be casting my vote that doesn't mean anything for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro, by the by.

Tim Raines. A case could be made for Tim Raines as the second greatest leadoff hitter ever. Unfortunately, he played at the same time as the greatest leadoff hitter ever, and he played in Montreal. But there's no reason a .294/.385/.425 hitter with an OPS+ of 123 and 808 of the most efficient stolen bases in baseball history shouldn't have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Alan Trammell. Trammell will probably never make it to Cooperstown (like fellow HoF-worthy Tiger Lou Whitaker) because he spread his value over several skillsets, and not as obviously as Larkin did. Trammell could hit. He could field. He was what so many sportswriters have called a "complete player." But he was outhit by Cal Ripken (an anomaly at SS at the time) and outfielded by Ozzie Smith (who was the best defensive SS of all time), putting him in a Tim Raines-easque purgatory despite his 66.8 WAR (69th all time).

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on all counts really. Your argument of Martinez over Molitor fails to take into account that Martinez did not reach an arbitrary plateau of hit totals divisible by 1000. So yeah.

    Blyleven in 2011!