UPDATE: Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice Elected to BB HoF. Congratulations to Jim Rice! It’s finally here.
At 1:30 pm Eastern today, the 2009 Base Ball Hall of Fame inductees will be announced. There will be at least one new inductee this year, with a couple more “on the bubble.” So, as is my want, here I will give my ballot, if I had one…
The rules of the Base Ball Writers Association (BBWA), state that each voting member may list up to 10 names per ballot. As the list of elligibles often exceeds this number, choices must always be made. Of course, there is no minimum number to list either, so a voter may vote for no one in a given year. So with those restriction in mind, here are my choices:
1. Rickey Henderson (OF). This should be a no brainer, but guaranteed, at least 10% of the voters will not list him. Base Ball’s all time leader in steals, second in walks, and he played 26 seasons. He was dynamic on the base paths, and not just as a base stealer. He played an outstanding outfield for many years, with more than a few high light plays. Sure he could be a complete moron and prat off the field, or when he opened his mouth, but that’s not what’s at issue here (or shall we bring up Ty Cobb?). His stats, and his ability on the field put him in the Hall.
2. Jim Rice (OF). This is Jim’s last year of eligibility for the voters. He deserves to be in. Few hitters were more feared in his 16 seasons. He was consistently in the top 10 in HR, RBI, and even batting average over those years. The big knock against Rice is his last year in Boston, which was terrible (and brought his career average down to .298), and that he didn’t reach 400 HR (finished with 382). Even so, the former AL MVP was a big reason why Boston was as good as they were from 1975-1986. His average season was 30 HR, 113 RBI, and a .300 average.
3. Bert Blyleven (SP). Here’s another guy who gets worked over for one bad year. Yes, he gave up 50 HRs one year. So what. The rest of his career, and where he stood all time when he retired, should be what matters. Then again, Base Ball writer’s don’t always exhibit good sense. When Bert left the playing field, he was 3rd all time in strike outs (with only Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton ahead of him), but only had 287 wins. Not reaching the 300 plateau is also probably holding him back in some wirter’s minds. But if guys like Drysdale and Koufax and Sutton are in, Bert should be as well.
4. Andre Dawson (OF). He won an MVP for the last place Cubs. He toiled for years in Montreal. He was a consistent all around hitter. He could steal bases, he could play defense. Even at the tail end of his career, when he became something of a journeyman, he still had the hitting ability, though the wheels had slowed down. He hit 438 HR in his 21 seasons. He has 1591 RBI to go with them. An 8 time All Star, 1977 ROY, and 8 time Gold Glove winner, and had over 300 SB for his career. What’s not to like?
5. Dale Murphy (OF). This two time NL MVP winner keeps getting over looked IMO. Here’s a guy who didn’t have a position with the Braves when he first came up, bouncing between catcher and 1B. He finally settled in the outfield. He won back to back MVP awards in 1982-1983, a 7 time all star, 5 gold gloves, 4 silver sluggers, finished with 398 career home runs, and over 1200 RBI. I will admit that his career .265 average is not all that sexy, but the other numbers, and his reputation on, and off the field should carry him through.
6. Allan Trammell (SS). The 1978 AL ROY played all 20 seasons with the Detroit Tigers. A six time all star, and 1984 World Series MVP, Trammell heralded a new era of short stops. He was Derek Jeter before Jeter. Trammell turned Short Stops from light hitting good glove players into all around players. He was a three time silver slugger, and 4 time gold glove winner. While his numbers certainly can’t compare with the big gun positions, among hius fellow short stops, he is outstanding.
7. Jack Morris (SP). No one was more dominant in the 1980’s on the mound than Jack Morris. He was the Tiger’s number one starter for most of his career. The big turn off on Jack is his 3.90 career ERA, and that he too never reached 300 wins. But the 5 time All Star consistently pitched 240+ innings per season, won 20 games 3 times, and 3 200+ strike out seasons.
8. Tim Raines (OF): Rickey’s contemporary in the National League. While Raines never quite put up the same staggering numbers as Henderson, when one talked about the best in the game from 1980-1990, Raines was among those mentioned. Tim is 5th all time in stolen bases with 808. He was a 7 time All Star, and won the 1987 ASG MVP. He finished with a .294 career average (winning the 1986 batting title).
9. Dave Parker (OF). The NL MVP in 1978. Parker was a 7 time All Star, 3 time Gold Glove winner, 3 time Silver Slugger, and won two batting titles. Oh, and he had some wheels too, stealing at least 10 bases in a season 7 times, to go with 339 career HRs.
10. Mark McGwire (1B). This was a tough one, and for obvious reasons. While I am one of those that will discount his power numbers, and will hold it against him, I still find that he has the stats to be in the Hall. His 1987 ROY campaign was nothing short of amazing, and all natural at the time. He was derailed by injuried several times, but still had some fine seasons. And McGwire is probably one of the very few players in MLB history who could hit 29 HR, with 64 RBI, and only hit .188.
Guys I just couldn’t pull the trigger on:
Harold Baines (OF/DH). Just can’t do it. He doesn’t have the numbers, and wasn’t one of those guys you just dreaded facing, or wanted up for your team in the do or die situations. Edgar Martinez will be the first “true DH” in the Hall.
David Cone (SP). Cone had a couple of good seasons, but never reached 200 wins, and had a lot more mediocre years than good. He’ll get votes because he played for the Yankees and Mets.
Tommy John (SP). I might vote for John in other years, but not this one. He deserves some credit for all his years of service, though his numbers are far from impressive for that length of service. In a weker ballot year, he might get in.
Lee Smith (RP). Much like Tommy John, in any other year. Lee was the “first” of the lights out 1 inning closers. Even so, he still racked up quite a few 2 inning saves, and more often than not faced the heart of an opponents line up, unlike many closers today. He is among Base Ball’s all time saves leaders.
Matt Williams (3B). Another tough cut. If Matt had put up some slightly better numbers in Arizona, he would have made the list. But if Graig Nettles isn’t in, Matt shouldn’t be either.
Jesse Orrosco (RP). Jesse had a long career. He had some good years. But not a Hall of Fame type career. He’s this generations Kent Tekulve.
Jay Bell (SS). Jay was good, but not great. Sure he had some ridiculous years in Arizona, but those were the excpetions rather than the rule. Only 2 All Star appearances and 1 Gold Glove over 18 seasons.
Mark Grace (1B). A slick fielding first baseman is not going to cut it. Yes he was a consistent .300 hitter, but he never moved beyond that. Which is great for a career, but not for the Hall of Fame. Plus he’s gotten annoying on FOX Sports pregame show.
Ron Gant (OF). I started looking at Gant’s numbers, and other than the batting average (.256) they weren’t bad. Better than I had thought. But nothing near Hall of Fame. Add to this the fact that he was awful defensively (at any position), and his lack of All Star, and other post season awards, and he just doesn’t make the cut.
Dan Plesac (RP). Dan put up some good saves numbers. That’s about it. His ERA for a closer is mediocre at best, and though he rarely walked anyone, he never blew anyone away either. He was also never dominant as a closer. Solid and consistent yes, but never dominant.
Mo Vaughn (1B). I never knew Mo stole 11 bases one year. I never Mo was capable of stelaing 11 bases in a year. Still, Mo could have been a contender, if he had played longer. If injuried hadn’t derailed him, he could have finished with 400+ HR, and a career .300 average. He didn’t though, and that’s what’s at stake here. Sorry Mo, but you don;t make the cut.
Greg Vaughn (OF). I had to look at Greg’s numbers to see why he was even up for consideration. He had three high profile power years, but that’s about it. But the rest of his numbers just aren’t there. The average (.242) is sub-par at best, he barley has over 1000 RBI (1072), never was noted for his glove, and wasn’t consistently among the league leaders in any category. I guess all you need for consideration is one 50 HR season, which would explain Brady Anderson.