Tap-In Question: Which eligible ex-O's would be on your Hall ballot? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Which eligible ex-O’s would be on your Hall ballot?


One of the great things about being a baseball writer is there is always something to write about or consider, even when there are no games.

We just finished last week with baseball’s annual BBWAA awards and the setting of rosters for the Rule 5 draft. Free agency is underway, the winter meetings are right around the corner and we’re anticipating a hiring announcement concerning the Orioles’ pitching coach any day now (most likely, Roger McDowell).

And, on Monday, the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot was announced.

It has a whole lot of Orioles’ flavor.

So, come into the Tap Room, grab a seat and a dark, winter beer (porter, maybe) and let’s talk Hall of Fame inclusion while the winds (trade and otherwise) swirl outside this dive.

There are 34 candidates for induction this year – and 10 of them played for the Orioles, at least briefly. Casey Blake, for instance, had 16 plate appearances for the Orioles in 2001. He’s one of 19 new candidates on the ballot this year – and, no, he’s not the headliner.

That distinction probably goes to 14-time All Star Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who won 13 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards and retired as one the best all-around catchers in baseball history.

But there are two other eyebrow-raising, first-year candidates: outfielder Manny Ramirez, who had more than 500 home runs and two performance-enhancing drug suspensions; and outfielder/designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, who completed his splendid, 16-year career with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in his lone season with the Orioles in 2011.

One of the most popular Orioles of the past 15 years also is a first-time candidate on the Hall of Fame ballot: Melvin Mora, who spent 10 of his 13 years in the majors playing in Baltimore. His 1,503 hits and 171 homers won’t get him into Cooperstown, but he did have some great seasons with the Orioles, including 2004, when he set the franchise record with a .340 batting average.


First baseman Derrek Lee and lefty Arthur Rhodes, perhaps two of the better people to play for the Orioles in the last 20 years, are also ballot newcomers with Orioles ties.

Ballot holdovers include former Oriole pitchers Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling and Lee Smith and outfielders Tim Raines Sr., and Sammy Sosa.

I think Mussina and Schilling have a real chance to get in, but I doubt it will be in 2017. So does Raines, who played four games with the Orioles in 2001 (basically, so he could be on the same team as his son).

But this is Raines’ last year of eligibility for induction by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 69.8 percent of the vote last year; candidates need to be named on 75 percent of submitted ballots to be enshrined.

A candidate must get at least five percent of the vote to stay on for next year, so players like Mora, Blake and Lee are probably one-and-done. (Rafael Palmeiro dropped off the writers’ ballot in 2014 after getting just 4.4 percent in his fourth year of eligibility).

This is Smith’s last chance on the writers’ ballot before ultimately being sent to the veterans’ committee (this is his 15th year of candidacy; he was grandfathered in when the eligibility terms were changed from 15 to 10 years in 2015).

Full disclosure, or partial anyway: I have a Hall of Fame vote, but won’t be revealing mine until the full results are announced January 18. Besides, I have a lot of research to do between now and the end of the year. I always like to put a fresh eye on the candidates’ numbers before submitting my ballot.

But this is about you, and your Oriole watching.

Let’s get parochial today. Forget about Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds (wish it were that easy for the barkeep).

Let’s say your ballot only has the 10 ex-Orioles on it. Tell me which of those former Orioles belong in the Hall of Fame (explaining why would be a bonus): Casey Blake, Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, Arthur Rhodes, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Sammy Sosa.

Tap-In Question: Which eligible former Orioles (or Oriole) would be on your Hall-of-Fame ballot? Why?




  1. Bancells Moustache

    November 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    As I am pretty sure I am the only one who constantly demands he be immediately inducted into Cooperstown, it saddens me to not see the name of the greatest non-Big Papi or Edgar Martinez DH of all time, the man, the myth, the eastern shoreman, Harold Baines.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 22, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      That’s a good one. But he is out of writers’ hands now. Onto the vet committee.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 23, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Moose is the only one in this list that warrants consideration.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 23, 2016 at 9:37 am

      No Vlady or Schilling? Tough voter.

      • John in Cincy

        November 24, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        Tough indeed, Dan. In my mind, Mussina is a lock to get in, but when? I think it should be before it gets to the Veteran’s Committee.

        Ditto for Vlad. Play as long as he did, finish with a .318 career average and plus power, how can he not get in? It might take until the Veteran’s Committee, but it shouldn’t.

        As for Schilling, there’s no way I see him getting in before the Veteran’s Committee. He had a career similar to Jack Morris, okay in the regular season, but lights-out in the postseason. Morris had many more wins and is still languishing in Hall limbo, so no reason to think any different with Curt.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 23, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I’d like to change the word “consideration” to “admittance” in my statement.

  4. bigdaddydk

    November 25, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Mussina is the one I’d peg as a definite. 270 career wins, a career WAR almost 10 above the average HOF pitcher, 17 consecutive seasons with 11 or more wins. He was incredibly consistent over his career, which pained me when he was doing it for the Yankees.

    The only real hole in the resume, as I see it, is the lack of a Cy Young Award, but he also had the rotten luck of pitching during the same era as Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez. Plus, he compares quite favorably to others enshrined already (Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, Tom Glavine, Juan Marichal, John Smoltz, Jim Bunning, and others.) He should make the cut on the baseball writers’ ballots and not go to the veterans committee, or there is no justice in the baseball universe.

    • bigdaddydk

      November 25, 2016 at 7:02 am

      To add on, I’d definitely vote for Guerrero. .318 career BA, 449 HRs, 2590 hits, 12 consecutive seasons batting over .300, 10 seasons of 100+ RBI, .931 career OPS. In his prime period of about 10 years, he was a 3.5 WAR minimum, and 7 of those seasons was 4.5 WAR or above. Dude was a beast at his best. They could really use his contact nowadays too. His 985 career Ks translate to 74 per 162 games. At his best, he was statistically comparable to Willie Mays, maintaining that for the entirety of his mid-20s. And he didn’t decline much after that for a while.

      Unfortunately, the O’s didn’t get to enjoy him in his prime, but he was a heck of a ball player.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 25, 2016 at 11:31 am

      I tend to agree with both players. I also think Schilling is worthy of serious consideration. As is Raines and Smith. But Guerrero and Mussina lead the pack imo

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