Ethan’s 2022 IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot
by Ethan Semendinger
January 18, 2022
This mark Year 3 of my yearly announcing what players I have voted for this years IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot.
They say the third time is the charm, so did I put together a perfect ballot on this go-around?
The people who talk baseball with me all year round know my feelings about the Hall of Fame, the current ballot as it stands, and the many factors that people use to justify ballots that don’t make sense when considering what we- as writers, for small fan-blogs or massive conglomerates- are looking at.
We are looking at whether or not a player is worthy of being elected into a group that consists of the Top 1% of baseball players ever. There are 263 people inducted as baseball players (plus an additional 38 executives/pioneers, 28 managers, and 10 umpires) and there have been 22,238+ players in the Major Leagues. This is not a list of “I liked that guy, but I didn’t like that guy”, nor should it be. This is a list of players who were some of the best to ever play professional baseball in the MLB.
As I have also noted in years past, I do not hold back voting against a player who was suspected- or confirmed- to use performance enhancing drugs. If the commissioner of the MLB- who allowed rampant steroid use to go on to help the sport to gain popularity in the mainstream after the 1994/1995 strike- has been enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, then surely it makes sense that the players who brought professional baseball back to the mainstream deserve the same credit and honor. Expand this to the managers/executives/etc. of those teams also being in the Hall of Game while putting these players on the field.
I also have indicated in years past that I will not hold off-the-field occurrences against a player. I don’t care if they were a bad teammate, they are vocal about their political beliefs, they were convicted of crimes, they didn’t ever take the garbage out, or whatever. The use of the character clause by writers is a joke. At best it should be used to help elevate a great players case who was a perfect teammate, always worked and played hard, gave to charity, and lived an honorable life.
With all that being said, if you’re interested in seeing how my ballot has evolved over time here are my 2020 and 2021 ballots:
Ethan’s 2020 Ballot and Ethan’s 2021 Ballot
*Final Note: The IBWAA ballot allows for voting up to 12 players, of which does not include Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens as they have been previously inducted. Additionally, as my ballot does not feature more than 8 players consider this ballot, along with votes for Bonds and Clemens- as one I would also have submitted to the BBWAA if I was given a vote.
There are a few career milestones that should be obvious to everybody as indicative of a players worthiness to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And, while some of these metrics have have been inflated due to rampant use of PED’s, they are still exclusive clubs limited to a very select few players in the history of the MLB.
David Ortiz is a member of the 500 home run club with his career mark of 541. Including Ortiz, there are 28 players who have reached that mark with Ortiz ranking 17th all-time. Out of the 22,238 players in MLB history, Ortiz is in the top 0.1% of home run hitters. That’s HOF worthy to me.
To put this into perspective the next closest active players to doing so are Nelson Cruz (449) and Giancarlo Stanton (347). Cruz is going into his age-41 season without a contract, but if he can find his way to a 2-year deal (which is possible) it’s likely he’ll hit the 51 home runs he needs to crack the list as #29. Giancarlo Stanton is under contract for the next 7 years (8 with an option) and needs 153 home runs, or 22 HR’s a year between 2022 and 2027. If he plays, he can easily average 22 HR’s a year. The question is if he’ll play enough.Embed from Getty Images
I made the point last year that if players like Jack Morris, Kirby Puckett, and Bill Mazeroski can be inducted into the BBHOF on the backs of historic playoff performances, then Andy Pettitte is also deserving. However, in a conversation with my brother who cares little for baseball (whose favorite player was Andy Pettitte), he argued that basing a players case on the lackluster cases of others is telling. So, I won’t make that argument.
Across all pitchers from 1990-2020, his 256 Wins ranks him 6th, his 68.2 fWAR is 10th, and his 2,448 strikeouts ranks him at 18th. Being a near Top-10 player in the MLB during a standard 30-year stretch is impressive.
In MLB history, Pettitte has the 42nd most wins by a pitcher, 62nd highest pitching bWAR, and the 46th most strikeouts (2,448). With their being 66 pitchers in the BBHOF, Pettitte’s regular season numbers are well in-line.
All of this doesn’t count that Pettitte has the most postseason wins (19), innings pitched (276.2), and games started (44) in MLB history, along with the 4th most strikeouts (183).
This is a Yankee-homer pick because of the doubt from the large HOF voting base. This shouldn’t have to be considered as such. Pettitte is a worthy HOF’er.Embed from Getty Images
Now, I can totally understand if somebody thinks that a player who played in the late-1990’s/early-2000’s and made it into the 500 Home Runs Club is not a worthy milestone for the HOF. Offensive numbers were inflated a ton during those years and there were a lot of new members during that time.
So, how about the next arbitrary mark of being in the 550 HR Club? Only 15 guys have been able to reach that plateau, including Manny Ramirez with his 555. That’s twice as rare as a player with 3000 hits. To put it into another perspective: there have been just 15 confirmed unassisted triple-plays in MLB history. What Manny Ramirez did with home runs is as rare as what Eric Bruntlett did against the Mets in 2009 (the last time there was an unassisted triple play).
How about his career triple-slash of .312/.411/.585 (.996 OPS)? Not counting players from the negro leagues, that is the 8th best SLG and 9th best OPS in MLB history. His 1,831 RBI’s is 19th most in MLB history. A player with stats that good is easily a HOFer.Embed from Getty Images
Three players in MLB history have reached 700 home runs. Alex Rodriguez was 4 HR’s short with a career mark of 696 (4th most all-time).
Five players in MLB history have reached 2,000 RBI’s. Alex Rodriguez ranks 4th all-time with a career mark of 2,086.
Thirty Two players in MLB history have reached 3,000 hits. Alex Rodriguez ranks 22nd all-time with 3,115.
Twenty players in MLB history have a bWAR above 100. Twenty players in MLB history have an fWAR above 100. A-Rod ranks 12th all-time in bWAR with his +117.5 and 13th all-time in fWAR with +113.7.
I don’t need to say any more.Embed from Getty Images
Who is the best 3B not in the HOF? Adrian Beltre.
Who is the NEXT best 3B not in the HOF? Scott Rolen. (And after him, Graig Nettles.)
Scott Rolen is a worthy HOF third baseman and he was a great balanced player across hitting and fielding. His oWAR (52.8) ranks tied for 17th (with Graig Nettles) for 3B. His dWAR (21.4) ranks 6th (right behind Graig Nettles at 21.6) for 3B. His bWAR (70.1) ranks 10th best (right ahead of Nettles at 67.9). His fWAR (69.9) ranks 11th best (a few spots ahead of Nettles at 65.7…with the two guys between being HOFers Paul Molitor and Harmon Killebrew).
Scott Rolen is a worthy HOF’er.
If Scott Rolen is a worthy HOF’er, Graig Nettles is also a worthy HOF’er.
Graig Nettles is a worthy HOF’er.Embed from Getty Images
Non-HOF Pitchers with 3,000+ Strikeouts:
Roger Clemens (4,672…Should Be)
Curt Schilling (3,116…Should Be)
CC Sabathia (3,093…Not Eligible)
Max Scherzer (3020…Still Playing)
Justin Verlander (3013…Still Playing)
Non-HOF Pitchers with 70+ bWAR:
Roger Clemens (139.2…Should Be)
Curt Schilling (79.5…Should Be)
Jim McCormick (76.2…Pitched Pre-1900)
Zack Greinke (73.1…Still Playing)
Clayton Kershaw (71.9…Still Playing)
Justin Verlander (71.8…Still Playing)
Non-HOF Pitchers with 70+ fWAR:
Roger Clemens (133.7…Should Be)
Curt Schilling (79.8…Should Be)
Tommy John (79.4…Should Be)
Kevin Brown (76.5…Interesting Case)
Justin Verlander (72.0…Still Playing)
Schilling is 15th All-Time in Strikeouts, 26th All-Time in bWAR (for pitchers), and 20th All-Time in fWAR (for pitchers). It’s not a question. He’s not getting in via the BBWAA, but his candidacy will be one of the easiest veterans committee HOF picks ever. Embed from Getty Images
Like David Ortiz, Gary Sheffield is also in the 500 Home Run club with his career mark of 509. My feelings on that being a HOF-worthy milestone haven’t changed since I wrote that bit for Ortiz, so my logic has to hold that Sheffield is worthy as well.
Think about this: in the current moment how many players are on pace to reach the 500 home run milestone? Likely people would look at proven stars like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Nolan Arenado as that next wave.
10-15 years ago players like Ryan Howard, Andruw Jones, and Mark Texieira also were guys who had good odds. None of them made it. A lot can happen over the course of a career, and while each of those first 3 players have a lot of years left on their contracts, the next 3 players all their numbers limited by injury. Getting into the 500 club is not a given for anybody.Embed from Getty Images
If you’re not convinced on my arguments for David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, or Gary Sheffield based upon their home run totals, then how about I offer up Sammy Sosa?
Nine players in MLB history have broken the 600 home run milestone. Sammy Sosa ended his career with 609. He has the 9th most home runs ever.
To put that into perspective, in MLB history, there have been more of the following than players who had more than 600 home runs:
Pitchers with 19+ K in a Game (19)
4 HR’s by a Hitter in a Game (18)
10 RBI’s by a Hitter in a Game (16)
Natural Cycles (14)
Players stealing home TWICE in a Game (11) AND
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back HR’s (10)
That should amount to something. What Sammy Sosa did is nothing short of incredible. The fact that he’s going to leave the ballot after 10 years with no finish above 25% of the vote is a joke.Embed from Getty Images
#HallofFame #RogerClemens #AlexRodriguez #BarryBonds #SammySosa