2012 Writer’s Ballot

Sunday I posted the names that appear on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. This is the group that will be voted on by the Baseball Writer’s group. They are supposed to be knowledgable and frequently aren’t. So in order to help them along, and there are years they need all the help they can get, I thought I’d let them and you know exactly who I think should be on their ballot. They can vote for up to 10 players, but may vote for none if they so desire (and all blank ballots should be thrown out and not counted for purposes of getting to 75% of the vote-the magic number for election). That being the case, I have an old rule; if they’re going to give me 10 votes, I’m going to take them (sure works in political elections, doesn’t it?). Here, then, are the 10 guys I’d vote for off the 2012 ballot (alphabetically).

Jeff Bagwell-one of the better first basemen of recent years. Had a lot of good years and one great one (and picked up the MVP). His team got to one World  Series (and lost) when he was well on the downside of his career. Didn’t hit 500 home runs, but did hit 449. It’s the steroid question that is supposed to have hurt him last year, but he has no record of use nor is there rampant speculation that he used any, so I can’t see why that’s really a problem. Arguably best player in Astros history (behind maybe Ryan and Biggio).

Barry Larkin-consensus seems to be that this is his year. I sure hope so. Heck of a player, good team leader. Won an MVP he probably didn’t deserve, but might have won another. Winner of one championship.

Edgar Martinez-There’s a reason the DH award is named for him. Best DH ever (with apologies to Paul Molitor). Got to the Majors late but played an adequate Third Base until he got hurt. Then became a career DH. Won three batting titles Sorry, team, you just can’t leave out a player because he only did one thing well. If you do then every pitcher not named Ruth has got to go as well as a lot of hitters like Ted Williams who also only did one thing well.

Don Mattingly-A personal favorite, although I never liked the Yankees. He’s kind of the anti-Sandy Koufax. Koufax had some less than stellar early years then became great, Mattingly went the other way. Great player before he got hurt, and I think great enough to make the Hall.

Jack Morris-arguably the best starter not in the Hall of Fame and eligible (feel free to disagree). Won a lot of games, ace of three teams that win the World Series, 4-2 in World Series play. His problem is a huge ERA. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a disqualifier. A lot of those runs were given up in garbage innings after the game was decided.

Dale Murphy-Bill Miller at “The On Deck Circle” just made a good case for Murphy. Go there, check it out, and I’ll let it speak for me.

Tim Raines-mostly known for his stolen bases, but could hit a bunch (including one batting title). I think the last few years of  his career (his “nomad phase”) hurts him a lot, but still productive realatively late.

Alan Trammel-another of the people “The On Deck Circle” just touted. OK, I’m being lazy, but he did a good job and you should read it. I’m afraid Trammel’s years managing Detroit is going to hurt him, but this is supposed to be about his playing skill, not his managing acumen. Came close to one MVP award and won the 1984 World Series MVP.

Larry Walker-Yeah, I know he played in Coors Field, but he also hit a ton at Montreal and even with St. Louis right at the end of his career. Also has an MVP award, a home run title, two batting titles, a couple of slugging titles, and had one of the best outfield arms I ever saw.

Bernie Williams/Fred McGriff-I’m very torn over which of these to include. Williams led his team to four World Series titles (and a couple of losses), won a batting title, and was good enough to hit clean up for those World Series winning teams. Also a good outfielder. McGriff was a power hitting first baseman that the steroid era has made look better (sort of like happened with Andre Dawson). With no hint of steroids (take a look at him–if he was using them, they weren’t working) he almost had 500 home runs. He won one World Series title and a couple of home run titles (one with the lowest homer total in the National League in a non-strike year since  1946-35 in 1992). Frankly, I used to think he didn’t deserve the Hall, then the steroids allegations started and suddenly he looks a whole lot better.  I only get one, so I’m going with Williams, but I really miss putting McGriff on the list.

As to the others, if I had a lot more votes I’d give Vinny Castilla, Brian Jordan, Bill Mueller, Brad Radke, and Tim Salmon one. Not sure I think any of them ar Hall of Famers, but I liked them all, I’d like to see them stay on the ballot for a few more years so that better evaluations can be made of their careers, and I think we ought to take a moment and thank them for their contributions to a game we all love. In some ways, that’s what having 10 votes does anyway.

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