As Hall of Fame ballots begin to filter their way through the Twittersphere, I am once again filled with rage. I don’t know why I allow this to happen each year with no solution in sight but, nevertheless, I do. So I thought that this year, I would make it right with my own ballot.
I know what you guys are thinking - wow, the BBWAA is giving away Hall of Fame votes to Royals Review bloggers? Given the caliber of people who receive a ballot, this wouldn’t be all that surprising. I’m just kidding Bob. We love you.
Nevertheless, I thought that I would put together my own completely irrelevant and totally irreverent Hall of Fame ballot for 2018. This ballot will be listed in order of precedence. That doesn’t mean that my first player listed is the best player on the list but rather means that he is a combination of the best and most urgently in need of votes. It’s a very comprehensive system, folks. It also goes without saying that my ballot is deified, without flaw, and should not be questioned. Let’s begin.
Edgar Martinez - 9th year on the ballot
I would be surprised if Edger didn’t get in this season. The analytics revolution has brought about a once unconscionable thought that player should get in the Hall based on how good they actually were on the field and not how good our eyeballs said they were.
Edgar fits the bill. I imagine there will be several ballots submitted this year that include Omar Vizquel and not Edgar, despite the fact that basically every single meaningful metric on the planet seems to think Edgar was better. Why? That’s a good question. Why did I think Frank White should be a Hall of Famer as a kid and even made a Facebook page about it? Well, he had eight Gold Gloves, of course.
Even after David Ortiz closed out his legendary career with arguably his best season in 2016, Martinez still stands as the league’s greatest full-time DH, with his career 65 fWAR far besting Ortiz’s 50. He wasn’t as good Frank Thomas or Jim Thome, but he also played fewer games and far more at DH than either of those guys.
Some numbers: His career 147 wRC+ ranks better than Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew, and Chipper Jones. His career .405 wOBA ranks better than Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. The man belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Mike Mussina - 5th year on the ballot
He is only ahead of Bonds and Clemens because he could very well be forgotten once guys like Bonds and Clemens start getting in. And that would be a shame because Mussina is already the most underappreciated pitcher we have ever seen.
Exactly 16 pitchers in baseball history have a higher fWAR than Mussina’s 82. The man just two spots up from him was named Pedro. Some guys underneath him include Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, and Warren Spahn. If you want to read a more compelling and in-depth case, read this.
Barry Bonds - 6th year on the ballot
I’m not even going to tell you why he should be in, outside of telling you that it is utterly ridiculous that he isn’t.
Roger Clemens - 6th year on the ballot
See Previous Entry.
Chipper Jones - 1st year on the ballot
Chipper. The quintessential Hall of Famer. There are very few people with the all-around resume that Chipper has. He has a Jeter-esque glow to him, having played in Atlanta is whole career. He has better numbers, too. He has a higher career fWAR than Joe DiMaggio, Roberto Clemente, and Ken Griffey Jr. He didn’t have a single full or partial season where his wRC+ was below 112, and that was his rookie season. His Fangraphs page is a fun one.
Chipper is a no-brainer.
Curt Schilling - 6th year on the ballot
You either believe in a character clause or you don’t. If you are going to put guys like Bonds and Clemens in, you can’t leave Schilling out. Among starters, Schilling’s fWAR (79.8) is higher than John Smoltz, Warren Spahn, and Phil Niekro. And while the “clutch gene” is certainly overused, there are certain people it still applies to. Schilling is one of those guys. The Bloody Sock Game is about as epic as it gets.
Larry Walker - 8th year on the ballot
Larry Walker is my guy. You can fight me on that one. Walker is a very unique player, in the sense that he would almost certainly be a Hall of Famer had he not spent nearly his whole career in Colorado.
He has the Hall of Fame numbers. Baseball Reference’s Bill James Hall of Fame monitor loves him. He also has the ringing endorsement of the accolades crowd: seven Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, three batting titles, and the all-important MVP trophy.
Yet, he has never gotten more than 22% of the vote. Walker drew the short straw (as many players did) by playing in the steroid era. My hope is that he will linger around long enough to get in, but we haven’t seen much of a push for him thus far.
Manny Ramirez - 2nd year on the ballot
Manny is tricky. He is a more qualified Vizquel, in a sense. He obviously has Hall of Fame numbers, but the numbers wouldn’t suggest he is any better than Edgar, a full-time DH, and Walker, someone who is struggling to keep his head above water. The narrative, however, is on Manny’s side. We all love Manny, both his antics and his unbelievable bat. With all that to be said, I digress. Manny is a Hall of Famer but, for whatever reason, Trevor Hoffman’s constituency for his first year of eligibility nearly tripled that of Ramirez.
Which is crazy.
You will be hard-pressed to find many guys in the Hall who were better pure hitters than Manny. Exactly seven men in baseball history have a better slugging percentage than Manny’s .585. Only nine have a higher ISO. Let me put it to you this way:
Trevor Hoffman should not be in the Hall of Fame before Manny.
Scott Rolen - 1st year on the ballot
The Hall of Fame has always been a weird institution that didn’t allow for guys like Rolen. He never won an MVP. He never led the league in a major statistical category. He was never the best player on a World Series-winning team.
He was just really good for a really long time.
Rolen is perhaps the most underrated player of the bunch. The Hall of Fame hasn’t historically been a friend to third basemen, so that doesn’t bode well for Rolen. Regardless, you can’t overlook his resume. He was arguably the second greatest defender to ever play the position when he retired, but Adrian Beltre continued to be a thing.
But his bat, as was true of his borderline Hall of Fame teammate, was what most people forget about. Hall of Fame voters love guys like Omar Vizquel.
Andruw Jones - 1st year on the ballot
Last but not least. Andruw Jones holds a special place in my heart. He was my first favorite non-Royal. I grew up loving Carlos Beltran and Mike Sweeney only. Exclusively Royals.
Then I started collecting baseball cards and started loving stats. The internet was becoming more accessible and I could go on MLB.com to look at stats. I started to notice Jones. I noticed him because he was known for his glove--Jones is one of 14 non-pitchers to win 10 Gold Gloves and has the 8th highest defensive runs above average in baseball history according to Fangraphs--but he also smashed.
From 1998-2007, Jones never hit less than 26 home runs. Five times during that stretch, he hit 35 or more. So why is Jones not a sure-fire future member of Cooperstown? Because the Hall of Fame is basically a sham.