It’s that time, folks. Time for me to give you my unofficial (but more researched than many official ballots, apparently) Hall of Fame Ballot for 2018:
In full disclosure, this is one of the reasons I decided to start a baseball blog. This time of the year, we all miss baseball, we all reminisce about our favorite former players (or the ones we hated) being recognized for their playing achievements…or not. It’s one of the cool generational aspects of baseball as well as we get to compare players of “our day” to players of our parents’ and grandparents’ days – always makes for great discussions while we’re waiting for pitchers and catchers.
And although, my ballot is unofficial, I’ll play it straight: I’m allowed to choose ten former players that I think are worthy of Hall of Fame induction. When looking at all the names on the 2018 ballot, I made it simple by dividing all names into three categories: Definite “Yes”, definite “No”, and definite “maybe”.
The “Yes” group either I already researched or don’t need to. They are clearly among the elite of the elite of their generation. Some are among the elite of the elite to ever play.
The “No” group has the same distinction: I either already researched or don’t need to, because despite having good (very good in some cases) careers, they are obviously not Hall of Fame players.
The “maybe” group I need to look at more closely. I have a leaning one way or the other on all of them, but I pride myself on not being that guy at the water cooler, or on sports radio, or online that runs their mouth without giving what they’re saying any prior thought. So I will look into these cases more closely at some point.
Problem for my “Maybe” list: I already have nine definite in the “Yes” group, so there’s only room for one more…(insert Heath Ledger voice, “So we’re holding tryouts…”)
Let’s clear the slate first – the definite “No” group:
All due respect, Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Trevor Hoffman, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Kevin Millwood, Jason Isringhausen, Hideki Matsui, Jamie Moyer, Billy Wagner, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano…you are not Hall of Fame players.
Please, please, really think through your Trevor Hoffman love before coming at me on that front.
My definite “Yes” group:
Barry Bonds: One of the best 3 players to ever play. His exclusion brings silliness to new depths.
Roger Clemens: In a generation that had Maddux, Johnson, then Pedro, Clemens is in the discussion of the best of his generation.
Chipper Jones: The 2nd best 3rd baseman of all time.
Edgar Martinez: One of the most impactful offensive players ever, not just of his generation. His offense far exceeds the drawbacks of lack of defense.
Mike Mussina: The only knock on him is that he wasn’t as good as Clemens, Maddux, Johnson and Pedro (similar to how Blyleven wasn’t as good as Carlton, Seaver and Palmer and was overlooked). People won’t admit it, but Mussina was better than Smoltz and Glavine who were immediate inductees.
Manny Ramirez: What I said about Edgar above? Ditto.
Scott Rolen: Great offensively and defensively for a long time. Somewhere between #5-10 all time 3B.
Curt Schilling: What I said about Mussina above? Ditto.
Jim Thome: Awesome offensive player for both the cumulative number counting crowd and the metric crowd.
As I said, I can only take one, and I’m already leaning one way on these guys. I’ll look into this more closely at some point.
Maybe, but leaning “Yes”: Jeff Kent, Johann Santana, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones.
Maybe, but leaning “No”: Johnny Damon, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Larry Walker.
Am I making a mistake on someone? Let me know.