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The Tuesday Discussion – Our Choices for the Hall-of-Fame

This week we asked our writers:

“If you had the ability to vote for the Hall-of-Fame this year, who would you vote for?

Their responses are below:

Lincoln Mitchell – If I were a Hall of Fame voter I would vote for the following players. Derek Jeter is a clear Hall of Famer. There is no rational reason not to vote for him. I would also vote for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds who almost certainly used PEDs, but also played against many players who were also using and still dominated. Curt Schilling was one of my least favorite players, not least because of how he seemed to beat the yankees in so many big games, but he had a a Hall of Fame career so would get my vote. The rest of the ballot is not clear. There are a lot of players who were either just good enough to be in, like Scott Rolen and Larry Walker, but were not famous or central to the story of baseball during their career. There are also several players on the ballot like Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa who are big stars, but may have come up a little short in the numbers. Walker and Ramirez would be the only other player son the ballot to get my vote.

Mike Whiteman – Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Scott Rolen all get my vote.

Ed Botti – You will notice, I do not favor players tied to the game’s performance-enhancing drug scandal. Sorry, but cheating is cheating. Although there are plenty of excellent players on the ballot in 2020, in my opinion the Hall of Fame is a different level of excellence; players that set the bar at their positions in all areas of the game. Not just a home run derby.

1. Derek Jeter – 310 Career average, 3,465 Hits, 5 Rings, as clutch as it gets. What else needs to be said?

2. Omar Vizquel – Defense does mean something. This is the best, or one of the best shortstops I have seen in the last 30 years, and he could hit, bunt and run. Vizquel is the all-time leader in both defensive games played at shortstop (2,709) and fielding percentage at shortstop (.9847). So yes, he has longevity, and that isn’t a crime, but he still was a master at shortstop and did amass 2,877 hits.

3. Jeff Kent – Kent hit 351 (of his 377) home runs as a second baseman, the most of any second baseman in the history of the game. Additionally, he is the only second baseman to have six consecutive seasons with 100 + RBIs; doing so 8 times. His .290 career batting average is higher than Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan. He was the 2000 National League Most Valuable Player hitting .334 with 33 home runs and 125 RBIs.

4. Andruw Jones – I went back and forth on this selection, but again, defense does count. 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1998-2007) and hit 434 Home Runs in his career. During his first 12 years, he hit .266 with 345 home runs and 1,034 RBIs, while playing flawless defense in center field. He definitely hung on too long, but I cannot overlook his first 12 seasons.

John Nocero – If I had to vote for the HOF this year, I would vote Jeter, Bonds, Clemens and Schilling. It’s a complicated issue, especially with the PED cloud, but to me, Bonds is the greatest pure player I have ever seen. Period. Junior in his prime is probably # 2.

There is a part of me that is leaning toward Larry Walker too, but I just can’t.

It is so hard – especially with the newfangled stats. Let’s take Schilling, who in sticking to the facts seems to qualify for the Hall. Schilling’s career OPS+ is Cy Young/outstanding quality level. He is easily a HOFer based on the quality of his pitching.

In summary, Schilling had 9 HOF quality seasons totaling 1871.0 IP (Pitched at a HOF level for 57.4% of his career.)

He had 1 season (129, 268.2 IP) when he pitched at Cy Young quality level.

He had 1 season (124, 210.1 IP) when he pitched at an excellent level.

How about his run support? His career RS was 4.74 and his team’s RS was 4.83, so Schilling’s RS was 1.82% less than his team. Not too bad. OPS+ projected Curt’s career record as a SP to be 220-127. His actual record was 212-135. Most likely that difference was due to his slightly inferior RS.

How about his performance in clutch situations? Basically the same.

Career BA/SLG of 243/387.

RISP BA/SLG of 247/382.

Then again, part of what you look at, you know what a HOF’er is. Those I selected definitely are.

As an aside, I believe Dave Parker is too – but that’s a story for another day.

Ethan Semendinger – My Hall-of-Fame picks are in this article.

Paul Semendinger – Regarding former Yankees, my Hall-of-Fame picks and thoughts are in these articles:

Looking at the entire ballot, for the IBWAA HOF ballot, I voted for Derek Jeter, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, and Larry Walker.

Andy Singer –

1.) Barry Bonds

2.) Roger Clemens

3.) Derek Jeter

4.) Larry Walker

5.) Scott Rolen

6.) Andruw Jones

7.) Todd Helton

8.) Billy Wagner

The three obvious names I leave off are pretty obvious: Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Omar Vizquel. Manny is different from the other known steroid users on my list in that steroids were explicitly banned in Manny’s career, but he still was suspended multiple times for PEDs. Schilling had a HOF caliber career, but he meets my standard for exclusion via the character clause. Everything Schilling has been as a public figure since his career ended is just miserable, and I don’t think he deserves the Hall of Fame on those merits. Vizquel has a ton of popularity among some voters, but the truth is that he was an average ballplayer at his best who accumulated numbers over a long career. I am also of the opinion that his defense was overrated to some extent.

Beyond that, I don’t think most will be surprised by my votes – each of these guys was dominant for extended periods throughout their careers, and accumulated enough above-average seasons outside their primes to merit inclusion on this list. Much as I have issues with his post-career highlights as an owner, I still am looking forward to the Derek Jeter induction speech.


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