Since there was so much interest in the SB Nation Awards at the end of this season, they decided to let us have our own Hall of Fame vote. Each blog got two ballots with every player on the actual HOF ballot this season. Each voter could choose up to ten players for induction into the new SB Nation Baseball Hall of Fame.
There were 52 votes cast, meaning a player needed at least 39 votes to reach the 75% cutoff to actually be inducted. Bert Blyleven was the only player to top that mark, getting 48 of 52 votes. Robby Alomar was just one vote shy of induction.
|Player||% Vote||Total Votes|
|Not receiving votes: Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile|
Yes, that vote for Shane Reynolds was from me. I'll list my complete ballot and have a few thoughts on this year's crop of players after the jump.
FIrst off, here are the players I voted for: Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Blyleven, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Lee Smith, Harold Baines and Shano. I wanted to vote for 10 players, since I had 10 spots on the ballot. There were certainly players who deserved inclusion and I think I only reached on two guys.
Robby Alomar deserved inclusion as probably the best all-around second baseman of the 90's. Craig BIggio may have had better offensive seasons, but Alomar was better defensively. I'm going to advocate for Bidge getting in the Hall when he's eligible and can't really find reasons why to dock Alomar. Yes, his career had an abrupt ending, but that doesn't tarnish the work he did to that point. Like Jack Black asked in High Fidelity, is it better to flame out or to fade away?
The case for Blyleven has been made so, so many times. A great case for Barry Larkin was made over at Red Reporter and more recently by Jayson Stark. Tim Raines and Alan Trammell have both been discussed in multiple places, though I can't find any of the links to Rob Neyer's arguments for Trammell.
Edgar Martinez was a no-doubter in my book. He had a higher WAR than Fred McGriff and is only really penalized because he got a late start to his career and played DH. Neither of those should prevent him from being in the Hall of Fame if he was one of the best hitters of his era. I think he was, and that's why he got my vote. He will be an interesting test case for when Ryan Howard becomes eligible one day. Martinez played in his first full season at 27 while Howard played his at 25. Edgar was able to get on base with more regularity than Howard, but Ryan has the MVP hardware and the home runs in his favor.
Mark McGwire was the same way, except his sin was not being a DH, it was steroids. Or at least that's what everyone assumes at this point. I'm sorry that my sense of moral outrage for the steroid era isn't high enough to pass judgement on him. If you assume that there were many, many users out there and that we'll never know who did or didn't take banned substances before testing became mandatory. What I do know is that we can only judge these guys against their contemporaries and McGwire was one of the best at getting on base and hitting for power. I'll leave morality for those better equipped to dole it out than me.
If relievers are allowed in the Hall (after Bruce Sutter got in, I assume they are), then why is there no room for the leader in saves for all those years? Was Smith one of the first modern closers? Was he one of the best? I happen to think Trevor Hoffman was, and fittingly, he broke Smith's record. I can't justify thinking Hoffman is a Hall of Famer and keeping Smith out, so he found his way onto my list.
Harold Baines was the first of my reaches and I can't explain it for any one set reason. Sure, his stats were inflated by his long career. He still made an All-Star team at 40 and has more hits and RBIs than anyone on the ballot. Those aren't compelling reasons for me. No, the reason I voted for him was anecdotal more than anything. One of my friends at work is a big baseball fan. We talk all the time about different things, different teams, how good certain players were and how good guys from the past used to be. His take on Baines? There was no one else that hit the ball like Baines. When he made contact, it made a different sound than anyone else. It's kind of the same point that Buck O'Neal made about Bo Jackson, I believe. That's what I thought about when I voted for Baines. Probably the weakest of my votes.
As for Shane? The vote for him was one of the surest on my ballot. It's kind of like when Jim Deshaies got that vote from Jose De Jesus Ortiz a couple of years ago. Reynolds was one of the better pitchers for the Astros in the 90's and won just over 100 games in his career. Does that mean he's in the Hall? No, this was a complete homer pick. I just wanted to get Shane on the ballot.
The omissions weren't surprising. Karros and Hentgen being left off everyone's ballot just shows you how the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young doesn't always a great career make. I'm also not surprised at any of the players who received votes but didn't make the cutoff. Andre Dawson gets a lot of the 'Why isn't he in the Hall?" noise every year, but obviously our fine bloggers think much like the actual voters. Jack Morris also didn't get much love, even though he's "the only pitcher I'd want starting Game 7" as so many old-time guys argue.
My ballot wasn't perfect but I sure liked having a say. If you'd like, we can set up a ballot for TCB and have all you vote as well to see if our results here mirror the results across SBNation.