Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Unofficial Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot (2015)

In general, January's a pretty sucky month. It seems like everything great in January is leftover from the previous year, and everyone acts like it's normal.

The only highlight of my January is Hall of Fame induction time. Why? Because I get to see new people inducted into the baseball hall of fame, and I get to plead my case as to which ones should go through.

This year, three big-time candidates have broken into the list of candidates, and I'll talk about their probability of induction in a little bit. So I'll list the ten people I'd be voting for if I did indeed have a ballot, in alphabetical order.

Jeff Bagwell: Jeff Bagwell is one of the best hitters on the ballot, despite injuries limiting him to a fifteen-year career. When he was healthy, he was one of the strongest hitters, and has an MVP and a ROY under his belt, as well as 450 home runs. The one thing people forget about him is how consistent he was,  having a span of nine straight 25+ home run seasons up until his penultimate year in the bigs. What Jeff has working against him is the fact that Craig Biggio has the '90's Astros player' vote demographic down pat. I doubt Bagwell will get in this year, but he deserves to eventually.
Team of Induction: Astros
Odds of 2015 Induction: 7 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: 5 to 1

Craig Biggio: It is my humble opinion that Craig Biggio should not have taken three seasons to make it into the Hall of Fame. Why? Because he's a legendary defensive player and a member of the 3000 hit club. I used to think that, steroids notwithstanding, that was a given for induction. But apparently when, otherwise, there are no apparent reasons for induction, it can wait three years. Which I think is preposterous. Biggio should have been a first-ballot-hall-of-Famer, but here we are.
I think the fact that he played multiple positions, including catcher, outfield and second base, and still managed to secure his identity on the field is a thing of beauty. Biggio isn't necessarily defined by a single position, although a lot of people attribute him to 2nd base. He was versatile as he was consistent, and that's worthy of something, I think. Also, the guy played until he was 41, and still played as well as he did when he was 24 towards the end. That was his attitude.
If Biggio doesn't make it in again this year, there is definitely something terribly wrong with the system.
Team of Induction: Astros
Odds of 2015 Induction: 3 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: Even

Randy Johnson: From the second Randy Johnson retired, with 300+ wins, well over 3000 strikeouts, and multiple Cy Young awards, I knew he'd be in Cooperstown someday. I imagine he'll be in this year, unless something goes horribly wrong.
People have said enough about the Big Unit's accomplishments, and if there's any surefire inductee for this season, it's definitely Johnson, so I'll say this: From 1991 to 2004 Johnson was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. This was a career that could even withstand being signed by a one-year-old expansion team. Johnson was pitching no-hitters well into his forties, and still being considered a powerful force on the mound until his retirement as a San Francisco Giant in 2009.
So yeah. Randy Johnson's in. And he's probably in this year.
Team of Induction: Mariners (though could be D-Backs)
Odds of 2015 Induction: 3 to 2
Odds of Eventual Induction: Even.

Edgar Martinez: This is one of the two guys I keep bringing up that nobody agrees with me on. Nobody understands why a career DH should be enshrined in Cooperstown. To that I say '*because* he was a career DH, and he hit the way he did'. Edgar has some of the best numbers for a Designated Hitter outside of David Ortiz, and, need I remind you all, he has a yearly DH Award named after him. I don't expect Martinez to get in this year, but I think it'd be nice if he did eventually.
Team of Induction: Mariners
Odds of 2015 Induction: 14 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: 7 to 1

Pedro Martinez: If you're listening to most sportscasters, then this is the second lock for 2015. Pedro Martinez had one of the most consistent pitching careers of anyone from the last two decades. The man has a Cy Young award in the NL and AL, and pitched in the postseason twice, once with the 2004 Red Sox, and then with the 2009 Phillies (woot!). He has over 3000 strikeouts and has a career 2.93 ERA. The guy is one of the best pitchers of the 1990's, and should be compared to people like Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer, guys who would dominate the mound entirely.
He should get in this year, but if he doesn't, it's a crime.
Team of Induction: Red Sox
Odds of 2015 Induction: 2 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: Even

Fred McGriff: The other guy I have to fight to convince. If the 1994 strike never would have happened, he'd have 500 home runs. Instead, people have to be reminded about how powerful he was at the plate.
Probably won't get in, and that's kind of sad.
Team of Induction: Braves
Odds of 2015 Induction: 20 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: 9 to 1

Mike Piazza: A lot of BBWAA voters seem to be under the delusion that Piazza took steroids. I don't think I ever saw him on the Mitchell report, and I did a damn 8th grade project on steroids in baseball. Some reporter "claims" to have overheard Piazza saying something about it, and I'm not 100% believing it. So until he becomes "tainted" in my mind, he's still a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate. Why? Because one of the greatest hitting catchers since Johnny Bench.
Just the things he did with the Dodgers, hitting home runs while retaining a run as a defensive catcher. Then once he got to the Mets he got even better. Piazza has 425 home runs and a ton of defensive and offensive awards. He should get in, but I'm not certain that he will this year.
Team of Induction: Dodgers
Odds of 2015 Induction: 4 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: 2 to 1

Tim Raines: This guy doesn't have much time left on the ballot, but he's one of the best base-stealers of all time. It's a shame he lacked his 80's relevance during the second decade of his career, or else he'd be in by now.
I don't know if he'll get in, but I'd like him to eventually.
Team of Induction: Expos
Odds of 2015 Induction: 10 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction:  5 to 1

Curt Schilling: I needed a 10th spot, and I didn't want Bonds or Clemens on my ballot, so Schilling got the spot. But still, he had an amazing career, and didn't hit his absolute prime until he left the Phillies, becoming a mainstay for Arizona and Boston. More than that, he was consistent, and had several 20+ win seasons, in addition to having over 3000 strikeouts. His only drawback is his lack of star presence, and the fact that he left the game with a whimper instead of a bang. Plus, to a lot of people, Schilling doesn't exactly scream "Hall of Fame". So he may or may not get in. It could go either way.
Team of Induction: Phillies (or D-Backs)
Odds of 2015 Induction: 8 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: 5 to 1

John Smoltz: The other guy on the ballot that should be a lock. However, thanks to a lot of sportswriters, he isn't really. Smoltz spent a lot of seasons recovering from injuries, or saddled to a bullpen role (which he still thrived at), but that took away from him being a serious HOF candidate for them. In my opinion, he should be a guarantee, simply because he was part of the strongest pitching rotation of the last few decades, and made a lot of the more impressive contributions, like his 1996 season, which won Smoltz his only Cy Young award.
While he is the most underrated of the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz rotation, I think Smoltz deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. If he doesn't get in this year, he will eventually.
Team of Induction: Braves
Odds of 2015 Induction: 3 to 1
Odds of Eventual Induction: Even

Those are my picks. Let's see how it all plays out.


  1. Great post! I'm hoping to see 4-5 guys get in today!

  2. I'm always lobbying for Edgar Martinez. You know people are going to vote for Ortiz when he retires and Edgar's numbers hold up well to his. Edgar's career WAR is 68 while Ortiz is still below 50.

  3. Great post and logic, although I wouldn't vote for 10. Actually, I'd only vote for the 4 guys who made it, but I am an admitted HOF elotist. Next year's ballot is weak for first timers, with Griffey Jr. being the only real lock. I think most of your other 6 will get in next year.