The BBWAA handed in their Hall of Fame ballots with Hall of Fame selections announced in January. Many writers have already made their ballots public, and you can track the votes at Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Fame Ballot-Collecting Gizmo. Like last year, it is a loaded ballot, even if one were to discount the contributions of suspected PED-users. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield headline the first-time Hall of Fame-eligibles, joining an already crowded field that includes Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, and Jack Morris. A complete list of eligible players is here. The only former Royals on the ballot are Tom Gordon and Jermaine Dye.
Here are the ballots of the Royals Review staff which will not be counted because we are not members of the BBWAA....yet.
|BHWick||Tyler Drenon||Joshua Duggan||Matthew LaMar||Shaun Newkirk||Max Rieper||Kevin Ruprecht||Joshua Ward|
|Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Paul Bako||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell|
|Craig Biggio||Barry Bonds||Emil Brown||Barry Bonds||Barry Bonds||Craig Biggio||Barry Bonds||Craig Biggio|
|Barry Bonds||Roger Clemens||Tony Graffanino||Roger Clemens||Roger Clemens||Barry Bonds||Roger Clemens||Barry Bonds|
|Roger Clemens||Randy Johnson||Doug Mientkiewicz||Randy Johnson||Edgar Martinez||Roger Clemens||Randy Johnson||Roger Clemens|
|Randy Johnson||Edgar Martinez||Tomokazu Ohka||Pedro Martinez||Mark McGwire||Randy Johnson||Edgar Martinez||Randy Johnson|
|Pedro Martinez||Pedro Martinez||Sidney Ponson||Mark McGwire||Mike Mussina||Pedro Martinez||Pedro Martinez||Edgar Martinez|
|Mike Piazza||Mark McGwire||Glendon Rusch||Mike Mussina||Mike Piazza||Mike Piazza||Mike Mussina||Pedro Martinez|
|Tim Raines||Mike Piazza||Mike Piazza||Curt Schilling||Tim Raines||Mike Piazza||Mike Piazza|
|John Smoltz||Tim Raines||Alan Trammell||Gary Sheffield||Curt Schilling||Tim Raines||Alan Trammell|
|Sammy Sosa||John Smoltz||John Smoltz||John Smoltz||Alan Trammell||Curt Schilling||Larry Walker|
I don't think any of Duggan's guys are on the ballot. Gross oversight by the Hall of Fame, I'm sure.
Setting aside Josh Duggan's ballot, the vote percentage by the Royals Review contingent are as follows:
Max Rieper: If there was an unlimited ballot I'd also vote for Mike Mussina and John Smoltz. I'm still not sure about Edgar Martinez, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Jeff Kent, but my inclination is to say yes. You might even be able to convince me on Gary Sheffield and Larry Walker. Geez, what a loaded ballot.
Alan Trammell is probably my favorite non-Royals player of all-time, and a pretty clear HOFer in my opinion, probably one of the ten best shortstops to ever play the game. It will be a real shame if he never gets into Cooperstown.
Matthew LaMar: The Hall of Fame is supposed to be a place where baseball history lives and breathes, where the best players from every era are enshrined. Almost every discussion of steroids and the steroid era is born of false righteousness and wishful hindsight. As such, I consider it a non-issue. What's more of an issue with the ballots is the ridiculous 10-player rule, an arbitrary figure imposed by the Hall as if they require a few more car washes to raise money for those extra few players.
Bonds is arguably the best baseball player of all time. McGwire, Bagwell, and Piazza were some of the most prolific hitters in history. Smoltz and Mussina were two of the best pitchers in a generation; meanwhile, a case can be made that either Johnson, Martinez, or Clemens is the best pitcher of all time. Trammell was probably one of the top 10 shortstops to play the game and, on top of that, he's nearing the end of his eligibility.
The Hall will be fundamentally broken if it keeps out the player with the most hits of all time (Pete Rose) and the player with the most home runs of all time (Barry Bonds). There are a dozen players who deserve induction this year, and, unfortunately, we should consider it a wild success if half that are welcomed.
Tyler Drenon: To me, the steroids stuff doesn't completely negate what a given player did during his career. All these guys are going to be a part of the museum, whether they have a BBWAA-approved bust on the wall or not. The whole idea has become as much about the bestowal as the honor itself. If these votes counted, I'd need about five or six more to use them properly, but since I was hypothetically tethered to the arbitrary 10-legend limit I whittled down my list just as arbitrarily.
BHWick: Johnson and Martinez should make it on the first ballot and presumably they will. Bonds and Clemens were undoubtedly Hall-qualified based on 20th Century numbers alone. Sosa hit 60+ three times but is going to be remembered for not answering questions in front of Congress in his secnd language (ever notice how Congress was a lot quicker on baseball PEDs than NFL concussions?). The rumors against Sosa are a lot sketchier than what Bonds/Clemens/McGwire have been accused of in their times.
Bagwell and Piazza are being caught up in essentially sportswriter slander because they played at the "wrong" time. Raines is Hall of Fame-quality but he gets overlooked because of Rickey Henderson. Biggio should have made it last year. As for Smoltz...Smoltz/Schilling/Mussina are in similar territory for worthiness. Mussina might need to catch on as a TV commentator so he can be closer to Bert Blyleven than Jim Kaat in the eyes of Hall voters.
Kevin Ruprecht: The only reason I left off John Smoltz was because it was his first year of eligibility. Really, even if people select ten names, there will be some left off who deserve it - Craig Biggio, for example. I'd vote for more if there were more votes.
Shaun Newkirk: Schilling, Pedro, and the Big Unit should all make it it handedly so I wanted to vote for more fringe guys or non slam dunk ones. If there was to be a tenth and final person On my ballot then it would be McGwire. I was thinking he was a no-brainer but after digging a little deeper he was more underwhelming then I expected. We all remember 1998 (I was 9 years old) and 1999 he was pretty dang good too but he also had some injury years and some years he was "just" above average rather than a star. Prodigious power of course and is one of the most memorable hitters of all time.
Sheffield was almost on par with Edgar Martinez and is part of the 500 HR club, but man...the defensive metrics hated him, and maybe too much. He was certainly a bad defender, but it might be overstated. He's in that tough spot of 60-70 fWAR but perhaps a little more leeway in his true defensive skills vs the metrics could bump him to 70+. If that's the case then he's even more so in.
These were just the guys that made the cut for me. Larry Walker could be in there as could Raines and Sosa. Trammell doesn't make it for me because he's derived a lot of value through defense which should be questioned a bit for a guy who played in the 70s/80s/90s. He was also the "worst" hitters of the guys who made my initial consideration list.
Joshua Ward: I'm not necessarily a "let all the PEDs guys in" person, but Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are so otherworldly that I think they would have gotten in regardless. Borderline calls on Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire/Curt Schilling, I wish Carlos Delgado had done anything in addition to hitting home runs, Mike Mussina has a case but the field is stacked, and it is hard to vote for relievers and leave off any of the guys I put on the ballot.
The results of the 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be announced on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com on Tuesday, January 6 live at 1:00 p.m. CT as part of a four-hour announcement show beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT.
What about you? Who would be on your Hall of Fame Ballot?