I had my hypothetical HoF ballot yesterday. So here are my justifications. Portions of these have already been printed earlier in the blog’s history.
Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are obvious. Johnson is one of the great left-handed pitchers of all time, while Pedro’s pitching peak was perhaps the greatest of all time- maybe even greater than Sandy Koufax.
John Smoltz was likely the third-best of the Atlanta aces when his starting career is taken as a whole, but when he wasn’t starting, he was an excellent reliever, a latter-day Dennis Eckersley in his adaptability. He’s the only player in history with 200+ wins and 150+ saves.
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… and the year before that.
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 is a similar story. Would have been a Hall of Famer before his PED use, so I say he should still be a Hall of Famer.
Mike Mussina is known as “Mr. Almost”. He was almost a Cy Young winner, he almost threw perfect games or no-hitters, he was Orioles teams that almost made the World Series and Yankees teams that almost won the World Series. It wasn’t until his final season that he finally won 20 games. He was never the best, but he was always one of the best. It’s a sad irony that he might end up “almost” a hall of famer.
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 Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent and maybe McGwire and Sosa would receive votes if there was more than 10 spots on a ballot.
You make good points, as usual. Smoltz is my all-time favorite Brave, so of course I think he deserved it. I would also love to see McGriff get in one day. I’ll never forget how he jump-started the Braves offense when he came over from the Padres in 1993.
I’m also stunned that Piazza and Bagwell aren’t in yet. As far as I know, neither was formally accused of steroid use, and I don’t buy into the idea that they should be questioned just because of the era they played in. Maybe next year will be a catch-up year; Griffey is the only shoo-in I see on next year’s ballot.