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  • Ethan Semendinger

The Contemporary HOF Ballot

It's the first year under a new Veteran's Committee, and we have 8 names up for consideration to make the Hall of Fame.

 

The Contemporary Hall of Fame Ballot Overview:

A panel of 16 members will have the decision to evaluate and determine who among these players, if any, deserve to be recognized forever in the annals of baseball history. These 8 players were selected by an 11-member panel of baseball historians and each must have played 10 seasons in the MLB, been retired for at least 15 seasons, must not be on the BBWAA ballot, and must not be on the MLB Ineligible List.


For a player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, they must be on 75% (or more) of the ballots submitted by the members of the committee. The committee will meet during the MLB Winter Meetings during the first week of December and the results will be announced live on MLB Network at 8:00 PM (EST) on Sunday, December 4th.


The committee this year consists of the following people:

7 Former Players: Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas, and Alan Trammell

6 MLB Executives: Paul Beeston, Theo Epstein, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter, and Ken Williams

3 Baseball Historians: Steve Hirdt, LaVelle Neal, and Susan Slusser

 

The Players:

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Albert Belle:

Teams: Cleveland Indians (1989-96), Chicago White Sox (1997-98), Baltimore Orioles (1999-2000)

Statistics: 12 Seasons, 1539 Games, .295/.369/.564/.933 (144 OPS+), 1726 Hits, 381 HR's, 1239 RBI's, +40.1 bWAR/+41.0 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (28/27), Gray Ink (137/144), HOFm (135/100), HOFs (36/50)

Honors: 5 time All-Star, 5 time Silver Slugger, 3 time Top-5 MVP Finish


One of the most feared hitters during his prime, Albert Belle is the only player to have a 50 home run and 50 double season. He was also the first to break a $10 Million per year salary. His career was shortened to just 12 seasons due to degenerative hip osteoarthritis, which prevented him from playing out the final 3 years on a 5-year deal with the Orioles signed before the 1999 season. An interesting case for the Hall of Fame, Belle's numbers are good enough as a whole but his attitude and persona as a jerky teammate and an avid avoider of the media will hurt his case whenever he gets considered by a veterans committee.


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Barry Bonds:

Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-92), San Francisco Giants (1993-2007)

Statistics: 22 Seasons, 2986 Games, .298/.444/.607/1.051 (182 OPS+), 2935 Hits, 762 Home Runs, 1996 RBI's, +162.8 bWAR/+164.4 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (69/27), Gray Ink (289/144), HOFm (340/100), HOFs (77/50)

Honors: All-Time MLB Leader in Home Runs & Walks, 7 time MVP, 14 time All-Star, 8 time Gold Glove, 12 time Silver Slugger, only 500 Home Run & Stolen Base player, Single-Season Home Run Record (73)


The greatest hitter of all time. Or at the very least, of the modern times. Barry Bonds was the symbol of the steroid era as he posted ungodly numbers that both helped to save baseball in the late-1990's and also make a mockery of the sport we all love. The question will never be about his statistics, but how the committee will evaluate his steroid usage. However, the tides might change drastically as other presumed steroid users get into the Hall of Fame and as his case is evaluated amongst a committee of other former players and coaches from his time and not the writers.


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Roger Clemens:

Teams: Boston Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-98), New York Yankees (1999-2003; 2007), Houston Astros (2004-06)

Statistics: 24 Seasons, 709 Games, 354-184 Record (.658 WP%), 3.12 ERA (143 ERA+), 4916.2 Innings Pitched, 4672 Strikeouts, 1.173 WHIP, +139.2 bWAR/+133.7 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (100/40), Gray Ink (320/185), HOFm (332/100), HOFs (73/50)

Honors: 1 time MVP, 7 time Cy Young Award, 2 time Pitching Triple Crown, 11 time All-Star


The greatest pitcher of all time. Or at the very least, of the modern times. Roger Clemens was the token great steroid-using pitcher who- much like Barry Bonds, above- posted otherworldly numbers during an era of baseball history that is met with many many asterisks and questions about legitimacy. It also brings out a lot of hypocrisy. The question here also isn't about statistics, but about how the committee will consider steroids.


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Don Mattingly:

Teams: New York Yankees (1982-95)

Statistics: 14 Seasons, 1785 Games, .307/.358/.471/.830 (127 OPS+), 2153 Hits, 222 Home Runs, 1099 RBI's, +42.4 bWAR/+40.7 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (23/27), Gray Ink (111/144), HOFm (134/100), HOFs (34/50)

Honors: 1 time MVP, 6 time All-Star, 9 time Gold Glove, 3 time Silver Slugger, Manager of the Year


A legend for the New York Yankees, Don Mattingly holds the distinction as being the lone Yankees player to have his number retired while having never won a World Series. While this may seem like a negative- which on one hand it is- it is also a positive. It showcases how important he was, as a non-winner, to a franchise known strictly for winning. He was one of very few Yankees captains ever and was a beloved player across the whole sport. He was truly one of the "good guys" in baseball, which has also extended to a solid career as a manager. A close case on the statistics alone, his staying in the game will likely help his case.


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Fred McGriff:

Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (1986-90), San Diego Padres (1991-93), Atlanta Braves (1993-97), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2001; 2004), Chicago Cubs (2001-02), Los Angeles Dodgers (2003)

Statistics: 19 Seasons, 2460 Games, .284/.377/.509/.886 (134 OPS+), 2490 Hits, 493 Home Runs, 1550 RBI's, +52.6 bWAR/+56.9 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Blank Ink (9/27), Gray Ink (105/144), HOFm (100/100), HOFs (48/50)

Honors: 5 time All-Star, 3 time Silver Slugger


After going through 10 years on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame without gaining the support needed to get into Cooperstown, McGriff has been considered one of the game's most underrated players. His case for the Hall of Fame is held up mostly by his just falling short of the 500 home run club, of which the strike of 1994 is put at blame. (How this same logic will come back in future years with 2020 and COVID will be interesting.) He's another token case of good numbers, being another "good guy" in baseball, and staying involved with the game. His case could play up amongst this crowd of players.


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Dale Murphy:

Teams: Atlanta Braves (1976-90), Philadelphia Phillies (1990-92), Colorado Rockies (1993)

Statistics: 18 Seasons, 2180 Games, .265/.346/.469/.815 (121 OPS+), 2111 Hits, 398 Home Runs, 1266 RBI's, +46.5 bWAR/+44.3 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (31/27), Gray Ink (147/144), HOFm (116/100), HOFs (34/50)

Honors: 2 time MVP, 7 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove, 4 time Silver Slugger


What is surprising is the amount of former MVP's who have missed induction into the Hall of Fame. Outside of a few notable cases (i.e. Jack Morris) a single season or two of high performance does not necessary mean a player will automatically be remembered forever. Look to Dale Murphy (and Roger Maris) for that to be highlighted clearly. Murphy's numbers are all "Hall of Fame-esque" and his trophy case does help to boost his overall candidacy. However, I think his relative lack of being involved with the sport since his retirement- while honorable as he spends time with his family- will play against him.


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Rafael Palmeiro:

Teams: Chicago Cubs (1986-88), Texas Rangers (1989-93; 1999-2003), Baltimore Orioles (1994-98; 2004-05)

Statistics: 20 Seasons, 2831 Games, .288/.371/.515/885 (132 OPS+), 3020 Hits, 569 Home Runs, 1835 RBI's, +71.9 bWAR/+70.0 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Black Ink (8/27), Gray Ink (183/144), HOFm (178/100), HOFs (57/50)

Honors: 4 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glove, 2 time Silver Slugger


A member of both the 3000 hit and 500 home run club, he's one of just 7 players in MLB history to do both. However, he did also get there in large part due to his steroid usage, and even while being a steroid user it did not make him otherworldly like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Unfortunately for Palmeiro, he was an all-around great player with easy to vote for and see Hall of Fame numbers, but his involved with PED's in addition to his being a bottom-tier steroid user by the statistics really ruins his case. Until the voter base accepts it was a part of baseball history, he'll be on the outside looking in.


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Curt Schilling:

Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1988-90), Houston Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-03), Boston Red Sox (2004-07)

Statistics: 20 Seasons, 569 Games, 216-146 Record (.597 WP%), 3.46 ERA (127 ERA+), 3261.0 Innings Pitched, 3116 Strikeouts, 1.137 WHIP, +79.5 bWAR/+79.8 fWAR

Hall of Fame Metrics: Blank Ink (42/40), Gray Ink (205/185), HOFm (171/100), HOFs (46/50)

Honors: 6 time All-Star


There is a lot to say about Curt Schilling off of the baseball field, but there is no denying that his career numbers are worthy of Hall of Fame induction. Now that the writers do not have the ultimate decision and the "character clause" (something historically used only to reject players from the Hall of Fame, but rarely- if ever- used to induct rightful guys), it will be interesting to see how his case plays with the committee of former players/coaches/managers. By all non-political accounts, Curt Schilling was a great guy to his teammates, was always dedicated to the sport, and was a winner. There is a reason he asked writers not to vote for him last year. He wants to be judged by his peers and I think that will play favorably for him.


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Ethan's Thoughts on the Ballot:

There are many ways that the ballot and resulting votes could go.


If the ballot goes for the "good guys" of baseball, it is very likely that Don Mattingly and Fred McGriff get in. This would be a vote that would be based mostly on avoid the cases for Belle, Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, and Schilling in an effort to promote the goodness of the sport.


If the ballot goes strictly for statistics, it is likely that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get in. They are without a doubt the best players- steroids or not- on the ballot. Nobody else compares.


If the ballot goes for ex-teammates/players, then it is likely that Fred McGriff (who was teammates with Chipper Jones and Greg Maddux) will get in. Theo Epstein could vote for Curt Schilling. Kim Ng could vote for Don Mattingly.


In my opinion, I think it's going to point more towards the "good guys" and the "nepotism/bias" (for lack of a better word) picks. Don Mattingly and Fred McGriff are going to get in.

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