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Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Hall of Fame Candidates

I had intended on writing a posting relating to the potential candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame but got interrupted several times and was unable to finish (I'm looking at you Joby).  Now, we've learned Andre Dawson is the sole inductee.  I wrote briefly last season about my feelings on Hawk's eligibility. My opinion has not changed.

Now, in sort of a post-election recap, I'll give my thoughts of each of the players on the ballot.  Be sure to check out baseball-reference to see each player's stats and awards.

Andre Dawson, 77%: I will not argue against his great defense, famous throwing arm, and power. But I want to reiterate something Keith Law said, "Dawson finished 8th all time in outs made but just 96th in times reaching base." The fact that his career OBP is .02 lower than the previous low (held by Lou Brock) should say all you need to know.

Bert Blyleven, 74.2%: Seriously, five votes short?  This poor guy.  Does anyone else think Hall voters have gotten really tough on starting pitchers since Nolan Ryan?  Not one single starting pitcher has been elected by the BBWAA since Ryan in 1999.  I'll argue Blyleven was just as good as Ryan if not better.

Roberto Alomar, 73.7%: This is what he gets for spitting on an ump. He'll be in next year so I won't complain too much.

Jack Morris, 52.3%: Universally known as the "Best pitcher of the 80's".  You know what?  If his best seasons were from 1985-1995 no one would even give a crap. Let it go, people!  Jack, you were a very good pitcher who pitched perhaps the greatest World Series game since Don Larsen.  That is all.

Barry Larkin, 51.6%: I had a discussion about Larkin via email with one of my friends the other day.  He believes Larkin should be a shoo-in.  I was on the fence about his candidacy but now I feel better about it.  Bill James ranked Larkin as the seventh greatest shortstop of all time in his latest Baseball Abstract.  While I won't go that far, I agree his ability to get on base, play very good defense, and his playoff performances equate to those of a Hall of Famer.  I'm mostly concerned with his inability to stay healthy as he only played 150 games two times.  With over 50% of the vote in his first year, it's likely he'll be enshrined in the next two seasons.

Lee Smith, 47.3%: I don't remember what his vote total was from last season but I seem to remember it being about the same.  He was a good relief pitcher who put up astronomical save totals but not Hall worthy.

Edgar Martinez, 36.2%: I think we should begin to evaluate full time designated hitters like we do relief pitchers.  Martinez didn't have a long career but when you put up an OPS+ of over 150 for seven straight seasons you're one heck of a hitter.  And remember, he wasn't moved to DH because he was an atrocious defensive player (though he wasn't good).  He was moved in an effort to keep him healthy (isn't this part of why the position was created?).  36% is a pretty good starting block.  I think he'll eventually get in.

Tim Raines, 30.4%: An 8% jump!  Seriously, Raines is the second best player on this ballot.  I've gone on too much about him already.  I'll just link you to Joe Posnanski.

Mark McGwire, 23.7%: The best player on the ballot.  I'd vote for him every year if I could.  Yes, he used performance enhancers. How do we really know who did and who didn't?  I vote yes because he was the best at a time when we need to assume everyone was using.

Alan Trammell, 22.4%: What's funny is that Trammell was the second best AL shortstop of his time, behind only Ripken.   He should be grouped with Ripken, Ozzie, and Larkin.  Maybe if Larkin gets in people will say, "Hey? What about Alan Trammell?"

Fred McGriff, 21.5%: The Crime Dog actually did pretty well.  I don't think he'll get in but he was a good player for a long time.  Thanks for the memories.

Don Mattingly, 16.1%:  Going backwards.  Mattingly was an excellent defensive player and had a couple of monster offensive seasons.   Would you say he was ever the best player in baseball? Second best? Top five?  I'm not sure I would (this will be a very interesting topic once Rafael Palmeiro becomes eligible).

Dave Parker, 15.2%: I don't see what the big difference between Dawson and Parker is.  Parker was a jerk, yeah, but that shouldn't cost him 60% of his votes.  Wait, what? Maybe people are overrating Dawson? No...couldn't be...

Dale Murphy, 11.7%: I wrote last year how I've changed my mind about Murphy.  Was Murphy ever the best player in baseball? Yes, 1984.  Top five? Four or five times.  That's quite a peak.  Remains a yes on my ballot.  Sadly, I doubt he ever gets in.

Harold Baines, 6.1%: Hard to believe he's still on the ballot.  He could hit but not as well as everyone thinks (finished in the top ten of OPS just three times).

Andres Galarraga, 4.1%: Hit his prime in the greatest offensive park of all time allowing him to put up some pretty amazing numbers.  I'm glad he got some votes.

Robin Ventura, 7 votes: I may have voted for him too as an homage to my favorite third baseman before Chipper.

Ellis Burks, 2 votes: See Galarraga.
Eric Karros, 2 votes: That Rookie of the Year Award really paid off.

Kevin Appier & Pat Hentgen, 1 vote: Good careers. Nice to see they got a recognition vote.
David Segui, 1 vote: WTF?

Todd Zeile, Ray Lankford, Mike Jackson, Shane Reynolds - 0 votes.  Congrats for being on the ballot.
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