The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2016 inductees tomorrow, as the BBWAA selects from what is again a loaded ballot. After sending four players - Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz - last year, there remain a bevy of outstanding superstars on the ballot to choose from. While not likely to get inducted, the list also includes a trio of former Royals - Mike Sweeney, Mark Grudzielanek, and Jason Kendall.
Here is your complete list of 2016 Hall of Fame-eligible players (first-time nominees in bold).
|Garret Anderson||Nomar Garciaparra||Mike Lowell||Gary Sheffield|
|Brad Ausmus||Troy Glaus||Edgar Martinez||Lee Smith|
|Jeff Bagwell||Ken Griffey||Fred McGriff||Sammy Sosa|
|Barry Bonds||Mark Grudzielanek||Mark McGwire||Mike Sweeney|
|Luis Castillo||Mike Hampton||Mike Mussina||Alan Trammell|
|Roger Clemens||Trevor Hoffman||Mike Piazza||Billy Wagner|
|David Eckstein||Jason Kendall||Tim Raines||Larry Walker|
|Jim Edmonds||Jeff Kent||Curt Schilling||Randy Winn|
This is the final year on the ballot for Alan Trammell.
So who is on our Hall of Fame ballots?
|BHWick||Tyler Drenon||Josh Duggan||Matthew LaMar||Shaun Newkirk||Max Rieper||Joshua Ward|
|Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell||Jeff Bagwell|
|Barry Bonds||Barry Bonds||Jim Edmonds||Barry Bonds||Barry Bonds||Barry Bonds||Barry Bonds|
|Roger Clemens||Roger Clemens||Ken Griffey Jr.||Roger Clemens||Roger Clemens||Roger Clemens||Roger Clemens|
|Ken Griffey Jr.||Ken Griffey Jr.||Edgar Martinez||Ken Griffey Jr.||Ken Griffey Jr.||Ken Griffey Jr.||Ken Griffey Jr.|
|Edgar Martinez||Edgar Martinez||Mike Mussina||Edgar Martinez||Edgar Martinez||Jeff Kent||Edgar Martinez|
|Mark McGwire||Mike Mussina||Mike Piazza||Mark McGwire||Mark McGwire||Mark McGwire||Mike Mussina|
|Mike Mussina||Tim Raines||Tim Raines||Mike Mussina||Mike Mussina||Mike Piazza||Mike Piazza|
|Mike Piazza||Curt Schilling||Gary Sheffield||Mike Piazza||Mike Piazza||Tim Raines||Curt Schilling|
|Tim Raines||Alan Trammell||Alan Trammell||Curt Schilling||Curt Schilling||Curt Schilling||Sammy Sosa|
|Sammy Sosa||Larry Walker||Billy Wagner||Alan Trammell||Larry Walker||Alan Trammell||Larry Walker|
Candidates need to be on 75% of all ballots to be elected.
BHWick: Griffey should be obvious. The only votes that won't name Griffey are from the same guys that cast write-in votes for Mickey Mouse against unopposed candidates for County Surveyor.
Bonds/Clemens/Sosa/McGwire/Piazza are all essentially being punished for being around when MLB may have overlooked so-called PEDs because home runs boosted interest in the game post-strike. (remember that Congress had hearings over steroids in MLB before concussions in the NFL). Out of those five, Piazza is the closest. Mussina is better than you'd think. Although he did pitch opening day against the Royals a bunch of times in the 90s. Mussina is better than Schilling, but Schilling has rings and Mussina doesn't.
Raines should be in. Unfortunately for him, he stole a lot of his bases in Montreal and not in a city that currently had an MLB team. You can pick any 2 out of Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Gary Sheffield, and Larry Walker and have a reasonable vote. Not sure if i'd seriously consider Jim Edmonds in that triangle. Also, i'm not particularly moved to put Trevor Hoffman on my ballot. Hoffman should replace Lee Smith on ballots for closers that get 35% every year.
Tyler Drenon: The character clause does not apply to this list – not even to hate speech rabble-rousers, I guess. Personally, I'd love to leave Schilling off for being a public bigot, but that wouldn't be consistent with the inclusion of PED users — even though they aren't equal character flaws by any means. Morality and baseball have a strange relationship. Spousal abusers, racists, drug users, & cheaters of all kinds are embraced and unquestionably enshrined in the Hall. Hell, Ty Cobb apparently claimed to kill a man. Yet somehow the only thing that gets you excluded from the Hall is cheating — and only if you get caught.
Bonds and Clemens might be the best ever. And yes, they used PEDs, but Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle used amphetamines. Raines used cocaine for crying in a cup! PEDs might be more effective, but the desired effect was the same. Players have been using substances to help them stay on the field forever. Anyway, the questionable guys are probably Walker, Trammell, Raines, & Edgar. I think they all belong. McGwire and Sosa belong as well, but if I had to choose I'd go with the better all around players (or in Edgar's case, the better all around hitter).
Josh Duggan: I don't care about the PED issue at all. If I had a vote, I'd want to make sure that marginal guys who should stay in the conversation would get further consideration. So the guys who were perceived as, uh, prickly get bumped for guys like Edmonds or Sheffield or Wagner. For the guys, I voted for, Griffey, Bagwell, Raines, Piazza, and Trammell make pretty obvious sense.
Mussina and Martinez both seem like no-brainers to me. Edmonds may not belong (it's hard to say how good he was defensively, but he deserves further consideration on a loaded ballot. Of the eligible closers, I think Wagner was the best, and some deserve to get into the Hall. Sheffield is much better than his marginal vote total last year warrants.
Matthew LaMar: The Hall of Fame is supposed to showcase the greatest players of each era. No era has been morally spotless. These are the best players, period, end of story. They were better than all the other PED users out there, and the entire sport was doing it. The best is still the best. The exception here is Trammell, who is out of time and should have been voted in years ago. Otherwise, there are another three or four guys who deserve it over him.
Shaun Newkirk: In regards to PEDs for some of the above players I look at several things. 1) We don't know the full list of who did or didn't take PEDs 2) We don't know the impact on performance PEDs have 3) Testing was inconsistent at times and substances were added to the banned list continually (after players had already taken it) I'm willing to look past PEDs. If players can commit a litany of other crimes, be terrible human beings, and be drug users of non-PED substances and still make the HoF then why not PED users. There's a good chance that other current Hall of Famers were on some substance.
Bonds is the greatest hitter of all time. Clemens is the greatest pitcher of all time. Mussina and Schilling were simply just very good for a very long time. Neither were better in their prime than say Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson, but they lasted a thousand innings longer. Bagwell has a higher career fWAR and wRC+ than Ken Griffey who is a slam dunk first ballot guy. Griffey is Griffey. A star that burned out quicker than we would have hoped but shined brighter than we could have dreamed.
Walker has a higher career wRC+ than Griffey too, and remember that wRC+ control for the park and era he played in. He still had a .500 slugging percentage and .217 ISO away from Coors. McGwire is a better hitter than everybody on this list except for Bonds with a career 157 wRC+. He also owned the single season home run record to boot. Martinez holds a special place in my heart. He's the greatest DH of all time and I think he's supremely underrated. He's as good a hitter as Bagwell and the DH penalty may be too strict. Piazza hit like Larry Walker and was at least an average catcher behind the plate. He trailed off after age 32-33 but had been good enough to solidify himself for me before that
Max Rieper: VOTE FOR TRAMMELL! Seriously. His career is a slight step below Barry Larkin, who was a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. Trammell is probably one of the top fifteen, if not top ten shortstops of All-Time, I think there is room for a guy like him.
I said I was on the fence about McGwire and Kent last year, but with a few more open spots on my ballot I have room for them. McGwire's power numbers are just so overwhelming, even if he had artificial help. Kent's offensive numbers are incredible for a second baseman. I would probably vote for Mike Mussina and Sammy Sosa if the ballot was unlimited. I'm still on the fence a bit about Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker.
Joshua Ward: I honestly could probably go to 12, and could be talked into 13 and maybe 14 guys for this year's ballot. It is one of the side effects of letting guys sit on the ballot year over year out of some misguided sense of vigilante justice, clogging future ballots when more and more guys become eligible. So alas, here we are.
The guys who I am leaving off (Trammel, Raines, McGwire) should have been voted in already. New guys on the ballot, notably Wagner (who should be getting more consideration than he is) get pushed off because a) he's a reliever, and b) too many full-time guys are better. Wagner had an ERA- of 54, struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings, and was generally awesome. Wagner's problem is that he represents the baseline of Hall of Fame relievers, and for borderline guys who didn't play in the right market and don't have the hardware (not to mention a postseason ERA of 10.03), it becomes nearly impossible to get in. I suspect Wagner will not receive enough votes to remain on the ballot, and will join Kenny Lofton in the Hall of Very Good who received less consideration for all the wrong reasons.
Despite leaving him off of my ballot, I really don't understand the antipathy being directed at Trevor Hoffman. Don't like saves? Fine. The dude has a career ERA- of 71, put up around 2.5 fWAR a season during the height of baseball's juiced era, and finished his career with a 2.87 ERA and 1,133 strikeouts in 1089.1 innings, to say nothing of the fact that he is one of two relievers in baseball history with 600+ saves. He should be in, ahead of guys like Lee Smith and Billy Wagner, who both belong as well.
Gary Sheffield should probably be in, but is getting buried under the rest of the talent. I think Fred McGriff should be in, but he's essentially the Billy Wagner of position players. Really good, a lot to like, but is basically the floor of expectation for his position and production. Jeff Kent will get more votes than he should, as will Jim Edmonds. If Ken Griffey Jr. is not voted in unanimously, it is the clearest indication of how flawed, prejudicial, and outright absurd the balloting process is.