So, yesterday I had my hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot. So, here are my justifications for them:
Greg Maddux is the greatest control pitcher of the expansion era, if not any era. He was the best fielding pitcher of his time, if not all time. During the 1996 World Series, after the Braves had won game one, George Steinbrenner more or less demanded to know how Joe Torre was going to get out of this. Torre more or less told him that there was no way they were beating Maddux in Game 2 but after that things would turn around. Steinbrenner, apparently, took this as a legitimate excuse for going down 2-0 in the series. Let that sink in: losing to Greg Maddux was excusable to George Steinbrenner. Maybe I’m botching the retelling of that story a little bit, but not that much. A top-tier Hall of Famer.
Frank Thomas hit 521 home runs while also hitting .301. He is 14th in career OPS. He’s the Big Hurt, and he’s a Hall of Famer.
Craig Biggio played catcher, he played second, and he played in the outfield. And he was a great hitter who could get on base any way he could- he holds the record for HBP among modern players. Probably could have been a star in any era he played. Should have gone in last year.
Tim Raines may not get in on the “gut feeling” test, but he is, nonetheless, a Hall of Famer in my book. While certainly being a seven-time All-Star help, the big reason is because of how great he was as a leadoff hitter. Not only could he get on base- he was a respectable .294 hitter (and that was lower than it probably should have been because he stuck around a few years too long)- he also was a great base-stealer, 8th all-time.
Mike Piazza was the greatest power-hitting catcher of all time, and yet steroid rumors (none of which have been proven and most of which seem to be innuendo like saying he had an acne problem at one point) have kept him out. He should be in or whatever real evidence there is should be revealed.
Barry Bonds is in because, well, he was a Hall of Famer before he started using steroids in the late 1990s. The steroids merely turned him from a great player to arguably the greatest hitter of all time. Roger Clemens would also be on this list, for similar reasons, if there were more than 10 spots.
Edgar Martinez was the greatest DH-only player of his era. He won two batting titles, had a career .312 average, is 21st in career OBP and 34th in career OPS, and hit probably the most memorable hit in the history of the Seattle Mariners- the double that won the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees and arguably saved the franchise’s future in Seattle.
Should be in the Hall.
Jeff Kent was the 2000 MVP, a five-time all-star, and holds the record for HR by a 2B. Although famously prickly and a subpar fielder, he should definitely have gotten more votes than he did this year, and should one day be in the Hall.
Fred McGriff would be in the Hall of Fame right now if not for the 1994 strike. In the 113 games he had played in that year, he had 34 HRs. Had the season gone on, he would have been able to end his career with 500+ HRs, a steady hitter who never hit more than 40 HRs but constantly was hitting 30 or more. With basically no steroid cloud around him, he should be in the Hall of Fame.
Finally, I’d like to note that Jeff Bagwell would also be on the hypothetical ballot, but, again, 10 player limit. And Jack Morris, as great of a performer as he was at his peak, had a career ERA of 3.90, and I don’t believe in “pitching to the score”.