The BBWA elected one person to the Hall, RP Goose Gossage. Congrats to Goose, as I thought he was deserving of the honor. Poor Jim Rice missed by 16 votes, 8 of which I suspect were located in the city of NY. He’s got one more year, so there’s still hope.
Well, the results of the latest Baseball Writers Association ballloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced next week (January 8th). The 25 candidates are a varied bunch, some deserving, some leaving me wonder who the heck nominated them (and got 5 more supporters). This election should be interesting, especially given the impact of the Mitchell Report. I have a feeling that a few guys may get elected in part as a rebuke to the “steroid generation.”
BBBWA members of at least 10 years can vote, and can indicate anywhere from 0 to 10 candidates on their ballots. A player must be named on 75% of ballots to be elected. I’m not a BBWA member, nor will I likely ever be, but I can still put forth who I’d vote for right?
1. Bert Blyleven. This guys gets such a bad rap, mainly because of one bad season where he gave up 50 HR. Everyone forgets that he toiled for a lot of mediocre Twins and Angels teams, racked up a huge number of innings, strikeouts, and kept his teams in many games. Not to mention avoiding the injury bug, and at one time (before Clemens) was 3rd all time in strikeouts.
2. Jim Rice. One of the most intimidating and clutch hitters of his generation. The 1978 MVP was a dominate force at the plate, and though his range in the OF was average at best, he did have a solid throwing arm. Gets knocked by some writers for finishing his career with less than 400HR and a “mere” .298 average.
3. Andre Dawson. Much like Rice, one of the pre-eminent hitters of his day. But The Hawk was an 8 time gold glove winner, could run and steal bases, and had one of the most powerful and accurate OF throwing arms. Another former MVP (he won while playing for the last place Cubs), he toiled away on bad teams in Montreal and Chicago (Cubs).
4. Rich Gossage. If Rollie Fingers is in, the Goose should be too. The Goose was a closer in the days when such an animal was rare. He also usually got his saves by going 2+ innings at the end of a game, not this three and out stuff. He gets knocked a bit because of his time with the Yankees in the 70’s, so some consider him over rated. But look at what he did for the White Sox before he went to NY, and what he did for San Diego afterwards.
5. Dave Concepcion. Call him a test case for Omar Vizquel when becomes eligible. Concepcion was the slick fielding SS for Cincinatti’s Big Red Machine in the 70’s, playing alongside the likes of Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. Never one to hit for a high average, or for power, his defense was his stock and trade. But compare his defense and runs and RBI’s to someone like Ozzie Smith, and you see why Concepcion should be in.
6. Dale Murphy. One of those “5 tool players” who always hear about. Dale could hit for average, power, steal bases, and played gold glove defense. A 30 HR 30 SB guy in an era where that was excpetional. Not to mention a two time MVP. Never really got a chance to shine in the post season though.
7. Lee Smith. This guy was lights out at the end of a game for so many years, and has the save numbers to prove it. If Dennis Eckersley is in, Lee Smith sould be too. Smith has more saves, and a better ERA than Eck, though he didn’t get the World Series accolades.
8. Dave Parker. The Cobra was a poweful and important force for the Pirates alongside Willie Stargell. While he didn’t put up gaudy numbers over his career, he was very consistent, and a great clutch hitter. People over look Parker mainly because he wasn’t outstanding in any one aspect of the game, just well above average in all aspects.
9. Allan Tramell. Here’s a guy who doesn’t fit into the modern concept of a player. He played his career for one team, Detroit Tigers, was one half of one of the greatest double play combos (with Lou Whitaker), and was a team leader. His numbers certainly don’t match up with the powerhouse SS of today, and his defense wasn’t as good as that of Smith or Concepcion, but he was the inital prototype of todays Jeter’s and Orlando Cabreras.
10. Jack Morris. Again a player who didn’t put up outrageous numbers. But he was the winningest pitcher of the 1980’s, and had his share of post season success. HIs 1987 extra inning complete game victory for the Twins over the Braves was one of the great performances in WS history.
Guys that didn’t make the cut:
Tommy John. I watched this guy pitch for years. And never once did I ever see him as a HoFer. He probably would have had better numbers if he could have gone longer in games while in Los Angeles.
Chuck Finley. A solid left handed starter, he strikes me the same as Tommy John. Good but not “great.”
Travis Fryman. I like the “Fry-guy.” I had him on a Stratomatic team for years. Played SS and 3B for me. But he’s not in the same category as a Tramell.
Don Mattingly. If Steve Garvey isn’t in, neither should Mattingly. He had one outstanding year, and that’s about it. Yes, injuries slowed him down, but he never came close to what hecould have done.
Mark McGwire. Yes, he’s off the list untill his association with steroids is made clear (no pun intended). He is one of those guys that really disappointed me in all this mess. There are other guys who played the game right (relatively speaking), and deserve the honor more.
Harold Baines. The first “true” DH. He could hit and that was about it. Yes he played the OF early in his career, but he wasn’t all that good at it. And unlike say Edgar Martinez, he wasn’t the level of hitter he should have been. A solid player still, and good leader, but not a HoFer. Sorry Will!
Robb Nen. A fire ball closer. Had some great post season runs, and racked up a lot of saves. But his save numbers are a bit skewed, as he rarely faced more than 3 batters, and rarely the “meat” of an opposing teams order. Not like Gossage and Smith.
Tim Raines. Timmy just misses out on my ballot. Next time I promise! One of the all time great base runners, and base stealers. Lost out on a lot of wider recognition playing for so long in Montreal.
David Justice. He wasn’t on my ballot before the Mitchell Report, so that had no effect here. A good player, he tailed off too fast too early in his career for me to consider him. Does a nice job in the booth calling games though.
And now the “what were they thinking” category:
Chuck Knoblauch. Excuse me? He contracted Steve Sax disease while in NY. He’s named in the Mitchell Report. His time in Minnesota is over shadowed by his time in NY with the Yankees. And thus shall he suffer for all eternity.
Brady Anderson. Ummmm, one year a HoFer makes? Sure he was a gold glover in CF, but that was about it. Too many injuries, not enough offensive (excpet that one year).
Rod Beck. Nope, he blew too many games. Way too many. Sure he had a run of a few good years, but you didn’t fear him. Not like you did when Smith or Gossage took the mound.
Shawon Dunston. Once upon a time, I drafted him in the 1st round of a Strat league draft. Had high hopes for him. Never panned out. A good career, but not a HoF one.
Jose Rijo. The pitching version of Brady Anderson. One good year (1990), a whole lot of injuries and mediocrity.
Todd Stottlemeyer. Why? Because of his father? Because he played in NY? Why?
So there you have it. Be interesting to compare my ballot to the “real” writers and with who does, or does not get elected on the 8th.