With less than a week to go before actual Hall of Fame ballots are due, we decided to put our heads together to create a fake (and yet far more important) ballot of our own. We followed the voting requirements of the Hall of Fame, selecting no more than ten players to make the cut. However, we also noted players that we would have voted for if the ballot were not unfortunately limited to ten players. Those marked with an 'X' represent our actual picks; those marked with a '-' are the woulda, coulda, shouldas. And while you have to wait until January 6 to see who will be joining the hallowed grounds of Cooperstown, you can dive into our results today. The following players made the cut based solely on actual votes:
- Jeff Bagwell
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Ken Griffey, Jr.
- Mike Mussina
- Mike Piazza
- Tim Raines
- Larry Walker
What, if anything, can be gleaned from this? The most obvious takeaway is that we, as a group, are not terribly concerned with PED issues insofar as all-time greats are concerned (Bonds and Clemens), nor did we pay much heed to the inane rumors regarding Bagwell's forearms and Piazza's bacne. I cannot speak for everyone, but I see McGwire, Sosa, and Sheffield as borderline candidates, and their clearly defined links to PED use are enough to move the needle away from enshrinement as a result.
It also appears as though we are a largely unified front, with seven unanimous inductees, and an eighth appearing on all but one ballot. Some may say that it is because we are shills for advanced metrics or the like - but that could not be further from the truth. We have a considerable array of opinions on sabremetrics, in addition to a fairly diverse representation of ages. I'm inclined to chalking it up to great minds thinking alike.
The hardest exclusion from my ballot was Jim Edmonds. He is a fairly straightforward 'no' from an analytical perspective, and his narrative isn't terribly strong (eight Gold Gloves, a World Series ring, and ... not much else). However, he was incredible to watch in the field, and he was one of the best players in baseball during my high school years - from 2000 through 2004, he batted .298/.410/.593, averaging 102 R, 36 HR, and 100 RBI per season. He was 4th in fWAR over that time, and 7th in wRC+. Reminiscing about players may well be the best part of Hall of Fame season, regardless of their actual candidacy.
This post has been updated to correct an error in the individual ballots.