An early Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

by Gary Shelton on November 24, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Friday, 3 a.m.

When it comes to the Hall of Fame, let's face it. We're all guessing. We're all assuming. We're all amateur detectives playing Clue while we watch old Columbo reruns.

After that, we're voters.

Are we right? Who's to say? If the guy you backed gets elected, we're Einstein. If the guy you grew up rooting for falls short, we're Charley.

But this voting stuff has never been murkier. Did this guy use drugs? Was his performance sufficiently boosted? Were his stats

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Inflated, say, to the size of his head growth? Who do you suspect? Who do you know for sure. How firm is your line in the dirt? And so forth.

I refer, of course, to the imaginary steroid line. This guy tested postive. That guy was accused in court. The other guy admitted it. So who do you keep out? And for how long?

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, you might have heard, has come out in opposition of steroid abusers. And it's a nice line to be across. Clean players hate that others cheated the game. But do you need evidence? Do you need admission? No one is saying exactly what the guidelines should be.

So most of us go ahead and vote our conscious. If there was believable evidence, we generally stand against those guys. If not? Maybe not. It's a blurry line. All you can do is decide whether there is a reason to stand against.

Let's be honest here. A bunch of sportswriters aren't going to be able to tell for sure. There will be some abusers who get into the Hall, the same as gamblers and womanizers and racists. You can't catch everyone.

But in recent years, that's always been the question. How do you feel about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for instance. Both men would get into the Hall on their career numbers. Neither tested positive. So are you been staunch or are you being sanctimonious in opposing them? It depends on whether the writer's opinion aligns with yours, doesn't it?

At any rate, here is my preliminary Hall ballot, subject to change.

Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves: Jones is the most impressive newcomer to the ballot, and one of the easiest decisions. He's one of seven men to finish his career with a .300 average, a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. The other six are all in the Hall. He had an 85 WAR.

Jim Thome, Cleveland (mostly): Thome had 612 home runs, eighth all-time. Yes, home runs still mean something.

Trevor Hoffman, San Diego (mostly): Hoffman fell just short last year, finishing with 74 percent of the vote. His 601 saves should be enough this time around.

Vlad Guerrero, Expos-Angels: Guerrero was just short of induction a year ago, too. As a player, he played in nine all-star games. He hit .300 with 25 homers for 11 straight seasons.He was in the top 10 of MVP voting six seasons.

Edgar Martinez, Seattle: Martinez is running out of time, but he remains the best designated hitter of all-time. He played in seven all-star games. There have been years where he hasn't quite made my ballot. He will this year.

Fred McGriff, Atlanta: I've argued this before. If a guy was never whispered about in the age of steroids, it should affect his numbers. I vote for Freddie every year. Sue me.

Mike Mussina, Baltimore: Nine times, Mussina was in the top six of Cy Young voting. Nine times, he was in the top 10 for wins. That has to count for something.

Omar Vizquel, Cleveland (mostly): Vizquel had 11 gold gloves, and he had 2,877 hits. Eventually, that will get him in.

Just missed

Scott Rolen, Philadelphia: Again, Rolen will probably get in eventually. Just not yet.

Johan Santana, Minnesota: Ditto.

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