My 10-man Hall of Fame ballot revealed - and wishing I had a few more spots available - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

My 10-man Hall of Fame ballot revealed — and wishing I had a few more spots available

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The newly elected class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be revealed at 6 tonight on MLB Network.

I’m always honored to be among those members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have a say in the annual election.

Honored, and also frustrated, overwhelmed and a little confused.

It’s a heck of a responsibility, and I’d say the vast majority of BBWAA voters take it extremely seriously. I know I do. I read stories, crunch numbers and discuss it with other voters.

I also talk with friends who aren’t in the sportswriting business. So many people like to engage in baseball’s Hall of Fame debate, and I get a few calls each December from friends outside of the business who feel it’s important for me to hear their impassioned pleas. And I happily listen.

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Ultimately, though, this is my ballot. I have to live with my decisions. And, as much as I seek external information, sometimes I simply listen to my gut. Who do I think is a Hall of Famer and why? Each year, I go through the list in mid-December as if I’ve never reviewed the information before, and then I make my selections.

Once again, I feel there are more Hall of Fame-worthy candidates than there are spots on my ballot, a situation created by the logjam of “steroid users” that otherwise would have been enshrined by now coupled with the Hall’s mandate to vote for no more than 10 each year.

Here’s my take on the Steroid Era: It happened. It was part of the game; a black mark, for sure, but part of it nonetheless. I’m not going to act like it never occurred and I’m not going to penalize everyone who wore a uniform at that time.

What I’ve decided to do is lessen the impact of the power numbers of everyone who played in the Steroid Era – homers and slugging percentage for hitters, strikeouts for pitchers – and look more at the player’s overall game. I put an increased emphasis on defense and baserunning and the ability to hit, and I won’t allow myself to get wowed solely by incredible power.

That’s the reason, for instance, that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have never been on my completed ballot but Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro have. All things being equal, steroid involvement or suspicion hurts a candidacy, in my opinion. But doesn’t destroy it.

It’s a fine line and not a fool-proof way to make decisions. I understand the hard stance Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and others have taken, imploring the electorate to skip the players who have been connected to performance-enhancers.

My problem is I don’t know, with complete certainty, who cheated and who didn’t. So, instead of playing judge, jury and detective, I’m weighing the information I have and pairing it with my personal wrinkle of dumbing-down the power.

What’s harder for me to defend right now is why certain players who I feel should be Hall of Famers are not on my ballot.

The big omission for me this year is former Oriole pitcher Curt Schilling, who I have voted for in the past but left off in 2018. It has nothing to do with Schilling’s controversial comments about, well, whatever, over the years.

As I wrote last year in this space, I’m not hiring him to teach a journalism class; I’m deciding whether his career was worthy of Cooperstown induction.

I think it is, but in ranking these players, he was in a cluster in the bottom bubble of my 10 with Larry Walker and Omar Vizquel. I’ve been a staunch Walker supporter since he has been on the ballot and I’m not wavering now.

I feel almost as fervently about Vizquel, a first-year candidate whose defense was exceptional, baserunning was formidable and offense underrated.

It’s really difficult to choose between a defensive standout shortstop and a big-game pitcher. Really difficult. Ultimately, I wasn’t sure how Vizquel would do in balloting before I turned mine in – he’s not exactly a darling of the advanced metrics community — and I wanted to do my part to keep him on the ballot for further consideration in 2019. Schilling wasn’t in danger of failing to receive the required five percent to stay on the ballot and I assume he’s not close enough to get 75 percent for induction. So, with all things being apples and oranges, I felt Vizquel needed my vote more than Schilling in 2018.

Therefore, I left Schilling off — with the intention of putting him back on next year, assuming the math works and the logjam subsides some.

It’s unfortunate I have to make a non-baseball call about a very-baseball decision, but that’s what the 10-vote limit does. Frankly, I could make a solid case for 16 players’ inductions and sleep easy at night. Instead, here are my 10, with a comment on each.

Chipper Jones — If I had one vote for 2018, it likely would be Jones. This guy was the model of consistency, posting career slash marks over .300/.400/.500. From the point when he won his NL MVP in 1999, it just seemed like he was headed to the Hall so long as he stayed healthy.

Jim Thome — I covered him on a daily basis in Baltimore for only three months at the very end of his career. His reputation held. One of the nicest, most professional players I’ve ever encountered. Oh, and he hit the junk out of the ball, a .554 career slugging percentage and 612 homers. A slam dunk in his first year.

Vladimir Guerrero — Another guy I covered on a daily basis in the last season of a splendid career. Guerrero was no longer the same player in 2011 with the Orioles that he had been with the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels. But I’ve never seen such plate coverage – even hitting a bouncing ball for a hit against the Orioles in one at-bat as a visitor at Camden Yards.

Trevor Hoffman — I understand the argument about closers and their place in the Hall of Fame. I’m partial, though, to guys who were consistently among the best at what they did. He was the top closer in the National League for most of his career. Good enough for me.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — I’m grouping them together: Performance-enhancing drug users who were the best players of their generation. I don’t have to feel good about voting for them. I respect the opposite opinion. But I think it is untrue to the history of the game to keep out the most deserving; though I’d have no problem mentioning their indiscretions on their plaques. For the record, if Pete Rose were allowed to be on the BBWAA ballot – he never was – I’d vote for him, too.

Mike Mussina — Strangely, I never covered Mussina in an Orioles’ uniform; he went to the New York Yankees in the same offseason, 2000-01, when I was hired to write about the Orioles. But I didn’t need to be around him every day to understand just how great (and consistent) he was throughout his career in the AL East and while pitching in the Steroid Era. And, yes, I have him rated above Schilling.

Edgar Martinez — It goes back to the argument with Hoffman. Martinez was the best at the role he filled. Last I looked, designated hitter was a position in the American League. That works for me. I’ve checked off Martinez each year I’ve been able to vote.

Larry Walker — I know, his numbers outside of Coors Field weren’t as good as they were in the home run haven he called home for 10 seasons. That gives me some pause. But this guy was a terrific all-around athlete – a seven-time Gold Glover — who was overshadowed playing his first six years in Montreal. Besides the Coors Field argument, his Hall of Fame argument is rock solid.

Omar Vizquel – I probably need a full column to defend Vizquel’s candidacy and not just a long paragraph. His offensive game had some warts, but he still “collected” 2,877 hits and batted .272 with a .336 on-base percentage while stealing 404 bases with a 71 percent success rate. An 11-time Gold Glover, advanced defensive metrics make a case that Vizquel wasn’t as dominant in the field as the narrative suggests. Well, I absolutely distrust defensive metrics. And the narrative? I once asked Vizquel’s AL counterpart all those years at shortstop, Mike Bordick, if he thought Vizquel was Hall of Fame worthy. I thought Bordick was going to slap me he was so passionate about the issue. Vizquel probably cost the sure-handed Bordick multiple Gold Glove awards, but Bordick didn’t care. He said Vizquel had no defensive equal for a decade at the toughest spot on the diamond. And he was also a tough out who could make things happen on the basepaths. In this instance, I’m more about my own eyes and “the narrative,” than purely the analytics.

57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. GSISDANNO

    January 24, 2018 at 8:21 am

    It is a good thing that I am not allowed to vote for the Hall of Fame because I have a hard time bring objective.
    There is no way I would ever vote for Mike Mussina to get into the Hall of Fame.
    He was not a big game pitcher. When he left for New York, he wanted to be on a world championship team. It never happened and I don’t think that was a coincidence.
    Mussina was an arrogant jerk who always thought he was the smartest guy in the room.

    • Orial

      January 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Find that to be an interesting commoment about about Mussina(arrogant jerk). Hope it’s not sour grapes(leaving to NYY). Most opinions I’ve heard are of a serious,quiet,scholarly,polite type.

    • Paul Folkemer

      January 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

      I’m not sure what you mean about Mussina not being a big game pitcher. His career postseason ERA was actually better (3.42) than his regular season ERA (3.68).

      How soon we forget 1997, when Mussina beat Randy Johnson twice in the ALDS and then pitched two incredible games in the ALCS (15 innings, 1 run, 25 strikeouts) but got no run support. That was one of the best playoff performances by a pitcher I’ve ever seen.

      He also had plenty of great outings in the playoffs for the Yankees (along with some not-so-great ones, true). As much as you might not like the guy or his personality, he’s a deserving Hall of Famer.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Paul hit the main points here. Really hard to defend assumption he wasn’t a big-game pitcher. As for his personality, there definitely was a smugness. But he was well liked by his teammates and media members who got to know him. I think guarded is a lot better term than jerk from my experiences. I find him engaging once he decides that’s what he wants to be.

    • IrishMimi

      January 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      I just thought he was reserved and cautious. In many cases, he WAS the smartest guy in the room. I doubt it, but hope he goes in as an Oriole.

    • thebookdoc

      January 24, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Wow, G SI… we must have been watching different players. Mussina competed. He’s a guy I’d want there in any game, let alone an important one. And someone put him in a game on short rest in the ALCS to hold the Sox to nothing in the 7th game. (http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/12/08/210631860/remembering-mike-mussinas-gritty-2003-alcs-game-7-outing)… Are you just trolling?

      I hated when he left for the NYY. Sad. But look at the teams he was playing for and what the ownership was doing. I played on a HS team whose best athletes played another game during baseball season. We lost a lot…like my no-hitter where the thirdbaseman made 5 errors. It wasn’t easy knowing with a little help, winning would not be so hard.

      Mussina was not self-centered or he’d have waiting out 300 wins. he WALKED on his first 20 game win season. He’s practically unbelievable in his stats matching Palmer and his general behavior and demeanor. Have another one.

    • bv22

      January 24, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      I think your anger at his leaving for NY is clouding your judgement…..and, he probably was the smartest guy in the room- he earned an economics degree from Stanford in 3 years. That’s pretty ridiculous in it’s own right.

      • thebookdoc

        January 25, 2018 at 2:05 am

        bv22, an argument that makes no sense, congratulations. If I was angry about him leaving, I wouldn’t be on his side, would I?

        • bv22

          January 25, 2018 at 11:44 am

          Bookdoc, my comment was in response to GI’s initial comment, not yours. I hit reply to GI’s comment, and it brought me down below your last comment, making it look like I replied to you when in fact that wasn’t my intention. Consider that next time before making a d**chey comment. With that in mind, how does my argument not make any sense? GI is clearly angry about Mussina leaving for NY and it clouds his view of Mussina’s career. GI also commented on Mussina acting like he was the smartest guy in the room and my comment stated that he actually probably was, given his educational background of completing college in less than 3 years.

          .

          • thebookdoc

            January 25, 2018 at 11:48 am

            If you were arguing with me it didn’t make sense. new to the forum format… mea culpa.

  2. phildell

    January 24, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Solid choices Dan! We can agree to disagree on how those stars of the steroid era are handled, but Bonds and Clemens were headed to the HOF before they decided they needed medicinal assistance. And I couldn’t agree more on the eye ball test vs. analytics. Vizquel was a magician with the glove and had amazingly quick hands. I don’t envy you having to make the tough calls on some of these guys. I hope everyone who votes takes it as seriously as you do.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:36 am

      I think most voters do. I remember when I was about to mail my first ballot. I stood by the mailbox for a minute like, “what am I about to send away?” Pretty cool.

  3. Marshall

    January 24, 2018 at 8:49 am

    No arguments. I think that because there are moe than 10 worthy candidates, there won’t be a lot of “snub” talk or negative debates.

    I think Sheffield was a better hitter than Edgar.
    I think Larry Walker is probably the most underrated player of my lifetime as Jeter is the most overrrated.
    Mussina is a fringe. He did not excel in a particular aspect other than consistency but he’s up there all-time.
    Vizquel isn’t Ozzie, but he was a better all around player that what I’m reading at most sites. He wasn’t just defense, as you allude to.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Mussina was one of the most consistent pitchers of the Steroid Era. That speaks volumes to me.

  4. Orial

    January 24, 2018 at 9:07 am

    The steroid era is an interesting dilemma facing MLB. May have to come to an ownership/writers vote fairly soon. Great choices on list. My three:Chipper,Thome,Guererro. Mussina,Edgar down the road a bit.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:38 am

      I don’t know what you mean by “ownership” vote. Explain. Curious to hear what you mean by that.

    • Orial

      January 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      NFL Owners have voted on various issues. 32 teams,32 votes. MLB 30 teams,30 votes. 28-2,25-5,etc. Writers similar to HOF voting. Almost sounds too easy.

  5. Dblack2508

    January 24, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I agree with you with Vlad, Hoffman, Mussina and Thome. Possibly Bonds, for which I believed he was a hall of famer. Clemens the same.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:39 am

      I think Jones should lead the list, frankly. He was excellent for a very long time.

  6. ZantiGM

    January 24, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Just my opinion and we will never know for sure but i always thought Thome, Bagwell, Pudge, Schilling and Larry Walker were cheaters

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:40 am

      There are some in that list I say no way. And some I say most likely. That’s why it is so difficult. Who knows for sure.

      • thebookdoc

        January 24, 2018 at 12:23 pm

        My position is what’s the difference? You don’t do anything without talent. It doesn’t come in a pill.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          January 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm

          The difference the pill makes is that 3 men can hit over 60 home runs in the same season, when it took a century for 3 other men to do it.

          The difference the pill makes is suddenly our “Home Run King” can hit 73 taters when he never once hit more than 46 in his other 20 years.

          The difference the pill makes is … nevermind … ask Brady Anderson what difference the pill can make.

          Surely it takes talent, but to say nothing is gained in a pill, is burying your head in the sand.

          • thebookdoc

            January 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm

            Boog… are you B&B from mlb?
            Nothing is gained by replacing parts of your body with surgery? Why is surgery ok? you think it might encourage needless surgery at a young age?

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            January 25, 2018 at 6:57 am

            I’m not sure I understand the surgery analogy. And no … I’m not B&B from mlb … not sure who that is even.

          • thebookdoc

            January 25, 2018 at 7:05 am

            There was a guy called Boog and Brooks on a previous forum I participated on… it was an interesting coincidence.

            About surgery…
            http://bleacherreport.com/articles/766086-reconstructive-surgery-baseballs-new-steroid-comes-without-asterisk

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            January 25, 2018 at 7:46 am

            That IS an interesting article sir. And now that I understand what you were saying “surgical-wise” … at this point .. I’m not sure what I think about it. At 1st glance, I would certainly be against unwarranted surgery as a way of gaining advantage. If this type of thing comes of age, we’ll have to re-examine our thoughts, baseball and HOF-wise.

          • thebookdoc

            January 25, 2018 at 11:33 am

            My point BR&R is that if steroids are a bodily modification, so is surgery — of any type. You have to regulate everyone’s diet to be the same. Maybe their decision to meditate or not.

            The playing field is never totally even. Some people are more naturally gifted. Eddie Gaedel got one plate appearance and he walked because his strike zone was 1.5 inches tall. If someone trained a gorilla to play baseball and used the animal as a DH…what disqualifies the animal from playing as long as it gets the banana a day it signed for? My guess is the hand-eye coordination and arm strength would put just about any pitch out in one swing.

            I wrote that article. I’m all for fair competition. Rules have to be rules BEFORE you follow them, or Gaylord Perry isn’t in the HOF. He is a cheater. It isn’t like the infield fly rule…there was no clear definition of MLB stance, testing, policy or punishment. media created it after the fact…and a lot of people believed steroids were evil… tell me exactly why. Some people benefit from smoking marijuana because of pain. Some abuse it substantially as a recreational drug. Some sell it to children. Those three things are distinctly different.

            If Bonds was hitting singles into the upper deck because of an injection, my guess is that everyone else had the opportunity. My guess also is: no one gets walked 200 times in a season because they took good vitamins. Give him 400 more atbats and see if he doesn’t clear 800 HRs.

            I’m not calling for everyone to turn flat – earther… but damn. What happened on the field? Cobb was an angel? Hack Wilson? Bob Gibson? A-Rod? These people were competing. What did they do on the field. Did they excel beyond the other people in their generation or not? Did they accomplish things like Rose did that are just pure drive and terror (go ahead… stand in front of him as the throw is coming from the outfield…)?

            Do you think the few players singled out who had exceptional performance were the only players of the era who were using steroids? I just think they were already the stars, and they got a little brighter — and only potentially. There was an orioles farmie who pretty much died on the field from steroids (or other drug). I mention in the article the famous acid No-no. Tell me boozing Hack Wilson didn’t somehow benefit from knocking back a few in the clubhouse when he knocked in almost 200 runs one year.

            The steroid sham is a media hoax. Rules are closer to being disclosed now, but they might change at any time… but what if you find a weird vine that you eat the fruit of that pumps your system…you are guilty? Of what… exactly. How are you cheating by participating with a body that you have?

            That’s why I think surgery is worse. it CAN give you what you don’t have.

  7. karks

    January 24, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I can’t complain about your ballot, Dan. It’s clear you take it seriously. Vlad should be a no-brainer and I can’t imagine someone not voting for him. At his best, he was unstoppable (his time with the O’s not withstanding).

    The steroid guys are just a tough call. Personally I find it hard to have a Hall of Fame and not have Barry Bonds in it (whatever you think of his personality – Ty Cobb will always be my excuse there). Same with Clemens. These guys were already great players and did something really stupid. And they are paying the price for it in terms of the Hall and perhaps someday with their health.

    And Larry Walker, he was no joke. The Expos were my adopted second-favorite team back in the day (someone had to root for them) and he was a pretty great all-around player. He had several great seasons before he got to Denver.

    Edgar Martinez also belongs. It’s like kickers in the NFL. If you’re going to have this position, then you should enshrine the best to ever play it. Same with closers. Who was more dominant in the NL than Trevor Hoffman?

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:50 am

      It’s always a fun debate. And many I’m too liberal in my choices. I just can’t envision a museum of baseball history excluding the Best DH ever in the game, the 2nd Best closer in the game and the two biggest stars of a generation. They all defined a quadrant of the game in the 1990s and 2000s, for better or worse.

  8. James Conlon

    January 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

    excellent story, and choices. can’t disagree with a single. if jones doesn’t make it there should be an inquiry..

  9. thebookdoc

    January 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Makes me want to change what I write about… You made all nice choices as far as I see. I’m glad you are not one of those with steroidosis. I did write about baseball once in an article saying that surgery was the new steroid — without asterisk. How many people reclaimed a career by moving a ligament, and no one cared. I don’t think even Ruth swung a bat like Bonds. You walk a guy 200 times in a year? To keep the bat out of his hands. Steroids don’t make talent.

    I don’t think there are more that need to go…except Rose. Just ridiculous not to have that man in the hall. He did nothing worse than a lot of people in it.

    I’d love to see Palmiero actually come back and bat 300. Just like I wanted to see Palmer on the mound again AFTER he was already in the hall. Actually, I really like the Vizquel pick too. There are players that never really get noticed for the magic they brought.

    • thebookdoc

      January 24, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Somehow I skimmed that you even mentioned Rose. Good for you.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 11:40 am

      If anyone could come back and hit .300 it would be Raffy. Can’t imagine a 50-plus body could stay healthy for long tho during such a grind. And no one is gonna give him the chance anyway.

      • thebookdoc

        January 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm

        I never played to get to the bigs (stupidly discouraged by a freshman tryout where the incumbent arms were John Franco and Frank Viola at St. Johns University). Give me 3 months training and I’ll throw 7. I’m the least injured 55 year-old I know — I took a knee injury playing too hard at volleyball at 38. I feel better now than I did in my mid 40s. You believe with your age, you turn into something other than me. I wanna see Raffi swing to see if he still can like he did. If so, why not. Ted Williams hit 316 at 41 with 29 HRs; the year before was the ONLY ONE IN HIS CAREER where he hit under 300. Bonds can probably still plow some out. Pinch hitter anyone?

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          January 24, 2018 at 2:22 pm

          I never played to get to the bigs either. (I played for the burgers and sodas from the concession stand after the game)

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      It’s the daily grind that will kill ya. People don’t realize how tough 162 in 187 is. No time to recover from tweaks.

    • BunkerFan

      January 25, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Steroid use was NOT banned in baseball until many players had become regular users. I remember an ESPN video interview with McGwire in ’98 when he and Sosa were locked in that dinger battle in which a very large jar that read “Androsterone” sat on the top shelf of his locker. He made no attempt to hide it because it wasn’t banned yet. If you are going to penalize players for using it you have to do so for years AFTER it became illegal. Then as Dan says, deduct a certain percentage from their totals for those years and then see where they end up in your rankings.
      Also, if steroids were the magic formula for achievement, what about all the mediocre to awful players who were caught after it was banned. Why didn’t it improve them?

  10. JParsley

    January 24, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I question whether or not

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      I need more of a clue to properly respond. How many words? Sounds like?

    • JParsley

      January 24, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      I know what I am doing, maybe

  11. ClyOs

    January 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I agree if you only had one vote, Chipper Jones hands down. In fact, if he doesn’t get 75% of the vote this year, they should change the process. I also agree with Omar Vizquel, he deserves it. If I were voting however I think I would have gone with Manny Ramírez over Larry Walker. Like Bonds and Palmeiro, he would have gotten in on the first try if not for the PED use. It wouldn’t surprise me if his share of the vote climbs gradually like Bonds and Clemens have over time.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      The two failed tests may be his undoing. That’s a difficult obstacle to climb. Plus he was a shaky defender and terrible baserunner.

    • Eldersburg Enigma

      January 24, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      The baserunning issues clearly are a result of having the first name of Manny.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Now that’s funny.

  12. Dblack2508

    January 24, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    An accidental omission from my earlier post was Chipper Jones. He should get close to 100% of the vote. My apologies for using my cell phone to make that post.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Hahaha. I always use it too. So I feel your pain.

  13. bv22

    January 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    No complaints about your choices Dan. You shouldn’t feel any guilt or hesitation about Walker- the man can’t help that he played in Denver all of those years. That shouldn’t be held against him or Todd Helton or any other Rockies star; Denver and it’s altitude are part of the modern game the same way the DH and closers are part of the modern game. Walker hit pretty well on the road too and played pretty well pre- and post- Denver, so he solely wasn’t a product of Coors Field.

    So why do you feel that Sosa was one dimensional? He almost had 2500 career hits and stole over 200 career bases. He had more to his offensive game than McGwire who was all power and a decent fielder.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      True. But he had a lot less to his defensive game. By the end he was a one-trick pony who couldn’t be trusted on the field or on the basepaths. But when he was younger he had a better all-around game. I’ll give ya that.

      • bv22

        January 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

        I see where you’re coming from; he never was much for defense.

  14. Ezrine Tire Award

    January 24, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Danno what about Jeff Stone? I can’t believe he had to wait the full five years for a HOF nod letting alone hanging out this long!

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I’m afraid he slipped past us and over to the Eras Committees now.

  15. Tiss

    January 24, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    They really need to remove the 10 vote limit. Or at least raise it. They won’t, and if they do, it’ll take forever. The BWAA does nothing quickly. Jones, Vlad, Thome, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Walker, Bonds, Clemens, and Andruw Jones would be my 10, the only surprise being the last. Jones was the Brooks Robinson of CF…best defensive CF of all time. I think McGwire and Sosa need to be in too, but we’ll start the steroid era breakdown with Clemens and Bonds, who might be underrated even if you take away some steroid stats.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Hey Tiss: I’m looking for a break here. The BBWAA approached the Hall about changing the limit and the proposal was shot down. It’s the Hall’s vote. We are just caretakers.

  16. Camden Bird

    January 24, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Dan, I totally agree with your ballot…except for Bonds and Clemens.

    I heartily agree with your take on Omar Vizquel. He was the best defensive shortstop I ever saw. I was just wondering if you would agree with my assessment that Omar Vizquel is Luis Aparicio, but better, both offensively and defensively.

    Second, I’m interested on your take on Andruw Jones and Fred McGriff. Had it not been for the strike-shortened 1994-1995 seasons, McGriff finishes with roughly 510 HR’s — all clean — and back during a time when 400 career homers still meant something, let alone 500.

    Andruw Jones was arguably the greatest DEFENSIVE center fielder I’ve ever seen, and that includes Griffey. From 1998 – 2006, Jones won a Gold Glove every year (and deserved it), while averaging 35 HR and 104 RBIs, with a .270/.347/.513 slash line. Ask fellow Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Bobby Cox, John Schuerholz, and Chipper Jones their thoughts about him. Unfortunately, I think the writers (no offense) look too much at the final five years or so of his career and write him off. But in my opinion, if you’re arguably one of the top 3 greatest defensive center fielders of all-time, while slugging 400+ career home runs, playing for a perennial winner with solid postseason numbers of his own, then that warrants a call from Cooperstown.

    I’m just wondering your thoughts, Dan. Good article!

    • Dan Connolly

      January 25, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Camden: one of the problems with the ballot in recent years is we aren’t deciding whether a player is a Hall of Famer but whether one potential HOFer is better than another. McGriff is a victim of this. He is definitely on my bubble but he has been behind about a dozen others for me due to the ballot glut. I’m hoping to really study his case next year because his time is almost up. As for Jones, I’m really glad he survived the first year. He’s worthy of more consideration too.

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