It's funny how Hall of Fame induction day always creeps in on you. You never know when it is, so when it's coming, you're never prepared. Which is why today, the day before a few lucky individuals get the call from Cooperstown, I'm telling the blogging world who I want to see enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I'm not a sportswriter, and I realize this doesn't count for nothing, but my point of view should be known. I'll run down my picks, and the odds of each actually getting in. I'll also show a few of the people I left out.
Barry Larkin. People have called this man one of the most underrated shortstops of all time. To which I agree. When Larkin played, the likes of Smith, Ripken, and later Jeter, Rodriguez and others overshadowed him numerous times. Yet, while many people got more acclaim, Larkin got the numbers. He was an all star 12 times, and still held his own during the years where a bigger star entered Cincinatti and gobbled up the star power. He got 62% of the vote last year, which proves people have been watching. What's working against him is the fact that he wasn't necessarily a household name. But that's about it in terms of downsides. If Barry Larkin doesn't make it this year, he will soon. Odds of making it this year: 3:2
Jeff Bagwell. The one piece of information that will come up about Bagwell is that he held his own during the steroid era. He was a hard hitting first baseman who certainly mashed the ball in the clutch, and was a huge star in Houston for his years. And while steroid accusations piled up around Houston, not one was pointed at Jeff. So that's another plus. However, there is the case of his injuries. Bagwell spent a large amount of time on the bench, and ended his career a bit early due to that. What could have been a 20 year career ended up being a 15 year. But aside from that, Bagwell has the credentials for Cooperstown. It's just a matter of when. Odds: 3:1.
Jack Morris. People will begin to make comparisons to Bert Blyleven with Jack. Bert was a decent pitcher for many years, had a big moment in the World Series, and after years of waiting is finally inducted. Morris fits a few of those. He was a decent pitcher for a long time. He was on two World Series teams (or three, I forget). In the 1991 World Series, he has his famous two games in which he rocked the Braves. And, he's been waiting a little while for induction. Will he get in this year? You really never know. The youngsters could take it again. But there is a chance. Odds: 5:1.
Edgar Martinez. My uncle will agree with me on this one, since Edgar is his favorite player- this guy is the Greated Designated Hitter of all time. There's an award for DH's, and IT'S FREAKING NAMED AFTER HIM! Also, a fact my father will back up, he killed the Yankees everytime he was in town. The naysayer will say that his career wasn't long enough, or that he was a DH, and they should be HOFers, or that he never won a World Series. You know who else never won a world series? Jim Thome. He's been making a name for himself as a DH, and he's a surefire Hall of Famer. So if the 4th or 5th best DH will be going in, why can't THE best get in? Odds: 6:1.
Fred McGriff. Defense will be poweing this guy to the conversation. He was a quick outfielder, who played on several teams, and ended up with a few rings along the way. He was also a usual base stealer, and a favorite of many, including a Braves blogger or two. Maybe his numbers weren't as great as other contenders, but I think he was fun to watch. Odds: 7:1.
Tim Raines. Because Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock are in. Odds: 8:1.
Lee Smith. I really don't know why I think this guy should be in the Hall of Fame. It's just that he's been all around the league, he's been waiting for a while, and he's on the list of the most saves. I think he's one of the best closers of all time. I don't think other people share that logic, but I thought he was pretty good. Odds: 9:1.
Don Mattingly. A lot of you will think I'm pushing it, but I'm not. In the 1980's, he was one of the best players in baseball. He was pretty damn close to bringing the Yankees back to relevancy. And then, somehow, once the 90's hit he started getting hurt. A lot. So his career was pretty short, and aside from those years in the 80's he didn't have much. I just think he's one of the greatest Yankees of all time. And he should be a Hall of Famer. Odds: 10:1.
Dale Murphy. Maybe I'm slightly biased because he played for my team toward the end of his career. But before that, he was one of the better players of the 70's and 80's. Hell, his rookie card is a pretty hot item to this day. Sportwriters might not do him the justice he desevres. Odds: 15:1.
I left out Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero, as well as Juan Gonzalez, for obvious reasons. They took steroids, and while they racked up some huge numbers, Hall of Famers they ain't.
I also left off Alan Trammell. Why? Cause he's a member of the Hall of Very Good. Larry Walker is in there too.
Bernie Williams, while I would have loved to have added him due to my status as a Yankee fan, is also off the list. People are giving him acclaim all around, like saying he was a power hitter and good outfielder. Yes, he was those things, but in the 90's. In all the World Series winning teams, he was not the most important piece. Then, once 2006 came around he was a tired, aging outfielder who had nothing left. He wasn't very big for very long. So he wasn't a HoFer.
Anybody else I did not mention has approximately no chance whatsoever. Sorry Jeromy, Javy and Ruben.