My 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot & A Fan Ballot

HOFAs a baseball fan at Christmas time, a perfect gift would be for players who created dynamic statistics in their era, cheating or not, being rewarded and honored for their achievements in a baseball museum, not critiqued for their personal shortcomings or judged for their character – baseball, after all, is a game of numbers. Players have cheated, been racists, drunks, and womanizers for nearly 140 years of the game’s professional existence, so why should character clauses and the personal vendettas of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America be the end-all-be-all vote in a museum created for baseball fans.

For these reasons, I felt that it was time to look at the 2014 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class and make my votes public. Statistics speak for themselves and this is who is eligible this season:

Batting Stats Pitching Stats
YoB %vote HOFm WAR WAR7 G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ W L ERA ERA+ WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
Craig Biggio 2nd 68.2% 169 64.9 41.6 2850 10876 1844 3060 291 1175 414 1160 .281 .363 .433 .796 112
Jack Morris 15th 67.7% 122 44.1 32.8 568 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 254 186 3.90 105 1.296 549 527 0 3824.0 3567 389 1390 2478
Jeff Bagwell 4th 59.6% 150 79.5 48.2 2150 7797 1517 2314 449 1529 202 1401 .297 .408 .540 .948 149
Mike Piazza 2nd 57.8% 207 59.2 43.1 1912 6911 1048 2127 427 1335 17 759 .308 .377 .545 .922 143
Tim Raines 7th 52.2% 90 69.1 42.2 2502 8872 1571 2605 170 980 808 1330 .294 .385 .425 .810 123
Lee Smith 12th 47.8% 135 29.6 21.1 1023 64 2 3 1 2 0 3 .047 .090 .094 .183 -50 71 92 3.03 132 1.256 1022 6 478 1289.1 1133 89 486 1251
Curt Schilling 2nd 38.8% 171 79.9 49.0 571 773 39 117 0 29 1 25 .151 .178 .171 .348 -9 216 146 3.46 127 1.137 569 436 22 3261.0 2998 347 711 3116
Roger Clemens 2nd 37.6% 332 140.3 66.3 709 179 5 31 0 12 0 13 .173 .236 .207 .443 17 354 184 3.12 143 1.173 709 707 0 4916.2 4185 363 1580 4672
Barry Bonds 2nd 36.2% 340 162.5 72.8 2986 9847 2227 2935 762 1996 514 2558 .298 .444 .607 1.051 182
Edgar Martinez 5th 35.9% 132 68.3 43.5 2055 7213 1219 2247 309 1261 49 1283 .312 .418 .515 .933 147
Alan Trammell 13th 33.6% 118 70.3 44.6 2293 8288 1231 2365 185 1003 236 850 .285 .352 .415 .767 110
Larry Walker 4th 21.6% 148 72.6 44.6 1988 6907 1355 2160 383 1311 230 913 .313 .400 .565 .965 141
Fred McGriff 5th 20.7% 100 52.6 36.0 2460 8757 1349 2490 493 1550 72 1305 .284 .377 .509 .886 134
Mark McGwire 8th 16.9% 170 62.0 41.9 1874 6187 1167 1626 583 1414 12 1317 .263 .394 .588 .982 163
Don Mattingly 14th 13.2% 134 42.2 35.7 1785 7003 1007 2153 222 1099 14 588 .307 .358 .471 .830 127
Sammy Sosa 2nd 12.5% 202 58.4 43.7 2354 8813 1475 2408 609 1667 234 929 .273 .344 .534 .878 128
Rafael Palmeiro 4th 8.8% 178 71.8 38.8 2831 10472 1663 3020 569 1835 97 1353 .288 .371 .515 .885 132
Greg Maddux 1st 254 106.8 56.3 759 1591 103 272 5 84 11 34 .171 .191 .205 .395 5 355 227 3.16 132 1.143 744 740 0 5008.1 4726 353 999 3371
Frank Thomas 1st 194 73.6 45.3 2322 8199 1494 2468 521 1704 32 1667 .301 .419 .555 .974 156
Mike Mussina 1st 121 83.0 44.5 537 52 3 9 0 5 0 1 .173 .189 .192 .381 1 270 153 3.68 123 1.192 537 536 0 3562.2 3460 376 785 2813
Tom Glavine 1st 176 81.4 44.3 709 1323 93 246 1 90 1 101 .186 .244 .210 .454 22 305 203 3.54 118 1.314 682 682 0 4413.1 4298 356 1500 2607
Jeff Kent 1st 122 55.2 35.6 2298 8498 1320 2461 377 1518 94 801 .290 .356 .500 .855 123
Kenny Rogers 1st 66 51.4 35.6 763 66 5 9 0 4 1 4 .136 .186 .182 .368 -4 219 156 4.27 107 1.403 762 474 28 3302.2 3457 339 1175 1968
Luis Gonzalez 1st 103 51.5 33.8 2591 9157 1412 2591 354 1439 128 1155 .283 .367 .479 .845 119
Moises Alou 1st 80 39.7 27.5 1942 7037 1109 2134 332 1287 106 737 .303 .369 .516 .885 128
Ray Durham 1st 64 33.7 25.7 1975 7408 1249 2054 192 875 273 820 .277 .352 .436 .788 104
Hideo Nomo 1st 24 21.1 22.8 324 485 22 65 4 26 0 13 .134 .156 .192 .348 -7 123 109 4.24 97 1.354 323 318 0 1976.1 1768 251 908 1918
Richie Sexson 1st 46 17.9 18.8 1367 4928 748 1286 306 943 14 588 .261 .344 .507 .851 120
Paul Lo Duca 1st 21 17.9 18.7 1082 3892 483 1112 80 481 20 266 .286 .337 .409 .746 97
Armando Benitez 1st 73 17.7 16.6 762 8 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 40 47 3.13 140 1.217 762 0 289 779.0 545 95 403 946
Mike Timlin 1st 49 19.6 14.0 1059 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 75 73 3.63 125 1.283 1058 4 141 1204.1 1168 118 377 872
Sean Casey 1st 38 16.3 16.3 1405 5066 690 1531 130 735 18 477 .302 .367 .447 .814 109
Jacque Jones 1st 8 11.5 13.2 1302 4594 632 1272 165 630 82 314 .277 .326 .448 .775 98
Eric Gagne 1st 46 11.9 12.0 402 86 5 12 1 3 0 1 .140 .149 .221 .370 -4 33 26 3.47 119 1.156 402 48 187 643.2 518 76 226 718
J.T. Snow 1st 16 11.0 12.8 1716 5641 798 1509 189 877 20 760 .268 .357 .427 .784 105
Todd Jones 1st 78 10.9 11.3 982 19 1 4 0 0 0 1 .211 .250 .263 .513 36 58 63 3.97 111 1.413 982 1 319 1072.0 1072 93 443 868
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/24/2013.

You can click on the links above for more specific statistics, but I’m a big fan of WAR7, which measures how dominant a player was in their seven most valuable seasons, which isn’t an entire career, but it is a great measuring tool when comparing players of the same era, that is, if you prefer to use statistics over your eyes and your own ideas of what makes a player great. Jack Morris, for example, is in his final season of Hall of Fame eligibility and I don’t view him as a Hall of Famer, postseason success and grit be damned, but despite a 32.8 WAR7, he earned 67.7 percent of the BBWAA vote in 2013. With legitimate Hall of Fame pitchers on the ballot this season, you would assume that vote percentage would drop significantly, right?

You can’t really assume anything when it comes to the BBWAA, but with all of the numbers provided above, these are the ten players who earned my vote (and, yes, I would fill the ballot and then some this season):

Maddux1. Greg Maddux: The best pitcher that I have seen in my 33 years on earth, Maddux could do whatever he wanted with the ball, using pressure points and amazing break to paint the corners and dominate opposing hitters. He didn’t overpower many, he was just smarter, which earned him the nickname “The Professor”, four straight Cy Young awards, and my vote.

2. Barry Bonds: Use the cream and clear to paint him as a monster who ruined the game all you want – I know what I saw out of Bonds and he was the best player of his generation, which included several other players who used steroids and even prior to his bulking up. Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer had he continued his production from his skinnier days in Pittsburgh for five more seasons in San Francisco, and the fact that he changed the game with his on-base skills and power mean more to me than how he treated reporters and how he manipulated his body when the collective bargaining agreement, at that time, didn’t call for the correct form of testing. Players sought advantages in every era and Bonds wouldn’t be the first cheater in Cooperstown.

3. Roger Clemens: Speaking of cheaters, Clemens was absolutely one of those and he was also one of the greatest pitchers of all time, using a dynamic fastball to overpower the opposition on his way to seven Cy Young awards and 354 wins.

4. Tom Glavine: Just like Maddux, Glavine used the corners to dominate over his career, winning 305 games and two Cy Young awards in his 22 year career. At just 6′ tall, he gives all of those “too short to start” labeled prospects a legitimate counter-argument, as the crafty left-hander creatively defeated so many in his strong career.

biggio5. Craig Biggio: After earning 68.2 percent of the vote in his first season of eligibility in 2013, Biggio would appear to be a lock to earn enshrinement this season; however, with so many solid first-timers, that number could fall. It shouldn’t. Biggio still has the same accolades in his 3,000-plus hits, 400-plus stolen bases, all of those runs scored, and seven All-Star games. He was an All-Star catcher and second baseman before moving to center late in his career. And he was a nightmare for opposing pitchers, along with…

6. Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell hasn’t been linked to any reports to the public’s knowledge, but for whatever reason, he enters his fourth year of Hall of Fame eligibility and has received a maximum 59.6 percent vote, which happened last year. His 1994 MVP season is one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, as he posted a 1.201 OPS and 213 OPS+ while hitting 39 home runs and driving in 116 runs in just 110 games. Shoulder woes cost him a chance to extend his career to reach 500 home runs, but Bagwell’s 11 year run from 1993 to 2003 was eye-popping.

7. Frank Thomas: “The Big Hurt” deserves the label of “best DH in MLB history”, which will and should cost Edgar Martinez a lot of votes. While Thomas did start 971 games (out of 2,322) at first base, he did most of his damage as the bat, posting a career .974 OPS to go along with 521 home runs. Thomas could have probably hit 400 home runs batting left-handed due to his strong 6’5″, 240 pound football-esque frame, and his upright stance and power formed a different breed of a power hitter, as evidenced by his low strikeout totals and high walk totals throughout his career.

8. Mike Piazza: Piazza may have been a horrendous defensive catcher, but the man could hit, and he changed the position with his power and many games with his incredible production. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star and he holds many offensive records for catchers. His offensive longevity at such a challenging defensive position is Hall worthy, and he, like Bagwell, appears to be lumped in with the steroid era, but is worthy of the vote in his second year of eligibility.

9. Tim Raines: Raines appears to be overlooked for what he accomplished due to being similar in abilities and skill-set to Rickey Henderson without actually being Henderson. This is Raines’ seventh season of eligibility and last season was his most vote-heavy, as he earned 52.2 percent of the vote. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth all-time and he made seven consecutive All-Star appearances from 1981 through 1987. He may get overlooked once again due to the powerful bats and magnificent pitchers, but Raines was a dynamic player who, clearly, did enough for enshrinement.

Trammell310. Alan Trammell: I wrote a whole article last winter about why Trammell deserves enshrinement (read here), but the fact that there are so many less worthy shortstops already in the Hall of Fame is a good enough reason for Trammell to earn his Cooperstown plaque in his 13th year of eligibility. It’s a shame that he has been overlooked for this long, and an even bigger shame that his voting trended in the wrong direction last season, falling from a high of 36.8 percent in 2012 to 33.6 percent in 2013. He didn’t win an MVP like Barry Larkin, but he and Cal Ripken, Jr. were the reasons why offensive-minded shortstops like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra were able to stay at short for so long…and now that the position is heading back to defensive skills as the focal point, it just goes to show the value of Trammell at his peak.

If I could vote for more: Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro would all earn a vote, as well, while I’d, of course, write in Pete Rose.

I’d love to see who you think is worthy for the vote. I created a survey for fans to cast their Hall of Fame ballot and after the BBWAA messes everything up again, I will post the fan results here.

Click here to take survey

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5 Comments

I concur; except I feet Raines was too marginal except his half dozen exciting years and Edgar Martinez is added to my ballot. I’d also wait in Thomas; I’m not convinced and agree with Reggie Jackson’s comments a few years back about exclusivity. And Palmeiro was a liar; I struggle with that. The others didn’t lie; they pleaded ignorance.

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Would you be willing to share your thoughts on Curt Schilling? You mentioned you are a big fan of WAR7, and Schilling appears to be fourth-highest on the ballot with 49.0, not to mention 3,116 strikeouts. I noticed he is not even on your list of additional candidates, which baffles me.

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Shilling should be a shoe-in, perhaps not first ballot. Although I never understood why someone can be not worthy now, but worthy 5 ballots later.

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I agree about schilling but did he win enough games? WAR7 is great when comparing a player’s peak but it doesn’t measure the length of the peak. Schilling wasn’t as good as long as the players who were mentioned. Maybe he deserves it due to his peak, but his seven great years were his only good years, if that makes sense. Does 7 years make a career? What was the rest of schilling’s career like when compared to Maddux’s, Glavines, and even Mussina? That’s why I chose not to list him, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t worthy. Palmeiro is worthy based on 500 HR and 3K hits and I didn’t list him.

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Shilling had that damn rib injury that almost took him out of baseball…. his wins are lower than I thought – but if you are going to mention Blyleven or Morris – well he runs circles around those guys. Perhaps I retreat and he misses, based on my previous comments about agreeing with Reggie that the HoF should be for the Elite, game changers.

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