As Stuart wrote yesterday, the 2014 BBWA Hall of Fame Ballot was released yesterday. This is one star-studded ballot, and like last year controversial. Each member of the BBWA gets to put names on their ballot and with this article I am going to do the same, not that my votes counts at all.
In 2013 no players were elected to the Hall of Fame, some writers sending in blank ballots due to PED use of some players appearing on the ballot. After looking at this years list of eligible players, I came up with 10 names of my own, not that I have a vote, I would surely vote for. My list includes 6 players that have appeared on the ballot in previous years, and 4 first ballot players.
Barry Bonds, the single season and career home run leader in all of Major League Baseball. The fact that Bonds was not voted in on his first chance last year proves that some writers took PED use and speculation into consideration. I know that I am not alone in this thinking, but Bonds is arguably the greatest player of the last 30 years, if not of all time, with or without PEDs. Bonds has a record 7 league MVP awards, 2 when with Pittsburgh and 5 more with San Francisco. In 2001 Bonds broke the single season HR record of 70, set by Mark McGwire in 1998, with 73. Bonds also became the first, and only to this date, member of the 500/500 club (Stolen Bases and Homeruns). In 2007 he broke Hank Aarons record off 755 career Homeruns, Bonds finished his last season with a career total of 762. Bonds owns career records for Intentional Walks (688) Walks (2588) Single Season Slugging Percentage (.863) and is all over almost ever offensive category known to the game. This link (courtesy of baseball-reference.com) shows Bonds’ career numbers, you can judge for yourself, but in no way can I see how he is NOT in the Hall of Fame.
Roger Clemens, like Bonds, is on the ballot for a second year and also left out of of last years Hall of Fame class due to PED use and speculation. Clemens has won a total of 7 Cy Young awards, 6 in the AL and 1 in the NL. Clemens, in my opinion, was the most dominant pitcher during the 80’s and most of the 90’s. On 2 different occasions, he struck out a record 20 batters in a single game. Clemens has a career record of 354-184 3.12 ERA and 4672 career strike outs. Like Bonds, I really don’t know how you look at these numbers and not vote him into the Hall of Fame.
Craig Biggio, another second timer on the ballot, and also left off last year due to PEDs. Biggio played his entire career with the Houston Astros. His numbers don’t stand out like Bonds and Clemens do, but I still think what he did during his career is very Hall of Fame worthy. He started his career as a catcher but was later moved to second base and later in his career playing center field. Biggio’s biggest career milestones was getting to 3000 hits, finished with a total of 3,060. I am one who thinks that 3000 career hits should be reason enough for induction. Some of his other career achievements include 414 stolen bases, 4 Gold Glove awards 5 silver slugger awards. Here are Biggio’s career stats
Jeff Bagwell, who was a teammate of Biggio’s, played from 1991-2005 and was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year and 1994 National League MVP. Bagwell doesn’t have the “blow your mind” numbers like Bonds. but I do think they are good enough to get him inducted
Mike Piazza, appearing on the ballot for a second time. Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all time, all time leader for catchers in homeruns and career slugging percentage. Piazza is also in top 10 of most offensive categories for catchers. I think these numbers are very Hall worthy
Tim Raines, appearing on the ballot for the 7th time. It really confuses me as how to Raines has not yet been elected. Raines is without a doubt the greatest leadoff hitter, not named Rickey Henderson, of his era. He had a career total of 808 stolen bases, .385 on base percentage and 2605 hits. I truly do believe the reason that Raines has not yet been inducted is because of the comparisons to Henderson, but I think this year we will see that changed and “The Rock” will find his place in the Hall. Here are his career numbers for you to debate
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I would also include 4 first time eligible players. I will keep my reasons short and to the point, and will include links to their career numbers.
Tom Glavine, career numbers include 305 wins, 3.54 ERA and 2,607 strikeouts. Glavine was part of one of the most dominant pitching rotations of the 90’s
Jeff Kent, 2000 National League MVP and one of the greatest offensive second baseman of all time. Some could say that his numbers were the benefit of hitting behind Bonds most of his career, but you can not take away from them either way
Greg Maddux, one of the best and without a doubt the most crafty pitchers during the 90’s, and part of the Atlanta Braves rotation that dominated the 90’s with Glavine. Maddux wasn’t known as a blow it by you pitcher, he was a strict control pitcher. Maddux had a career win total of 355 to go with 3,371 career strikeouts. Greg is also a 4 time NL Cy Young award winner, to go along with his 18 (not a misprint) gold glove awards for pitchers. I believe Maddux is a guarantee to be elected to this years Hall of Fame class, the numbers back that statement
My 10th and final inductee is Frank Thomas, 2 time AL MVP winner. I believe there is a very good chance that Thomas gets in on his first ballot, his name was never linked to PEDs and the numbers warrant election. Thomas finish his career with 521 homeruns, 2468 hits and lifetime batting average .301. When I think of the 90’s and hitters, the 3 that first come to mind are Bonds, Ken Griffery Jr. and Thomas, these 3 may have been the most dominant hitters during their time.
We will see how this plays out come January, when the inductees are announced. I do not think we will have a repeat of last year, no inductees. I’d really like to know who other people would vote for, leave your “vote” in the comment section below