Thoughts on the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot

Mike Mussina with the Orioles

Alright, I know you people have been breathlessly waiting to see who I think the writers ought to add to the Hall of Fame. Well, not being one to disappoint, at least not too often, here we go. As usual, I figure if they’re going to give me 10 votes, I’m going to take them.

In no particular order:

1. Mariano Rivera–if you have to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention.

2. Todd Helton–will be hurt by playing in Coors Field and being a gap power guy, but he was a good first baseman and an excellent hitter. I think he ought to be in, but I also think it may take a while. His WAR is 61.2.

3. Roy Halladay–first off, the playoff no-hitter will help a lot. Not getting a ring may offset that. His 65.5 WAR will help, as will the two Cy Young Awards (and two runners-up). I’m not sure whether his death will lead to a sympathy vote or not. It seems to help some guys and not help others. I also think that some of the writers will focus on his two seasons with 20 wins, while on the other hand, he never won an ERA or strikeout title.

4. Lance Berkman–frankly I’m not convinced Berkman is a Hall of Famer, but he’s a player I really liked and I’d like to see him get a second (and third, and…) chance so the writers can get more  time to evaluate him. A winner with both Houston and St. Louis and a valuable member of the 2011 World Series winner. He also has an RBI title and one doubles crown (both with Houston).

And the holdovers:

5. Edgar Martinez–sorry, guys, but designated hitter is a position and he was the best at it. It’s also his last chance before the Veteran’s Committee.

6. Mike Mussina–has a lot of good stats, both traditional and new age. For the old guys, he has a lot of wins. For the new guys his WAR is 82.9. He has one wins title and one 20 game win season (not the same season). A knock on him is that he was never a member of a championship team.

7. Curt Schilling–certainly was a member of championship teams, three of them. He is instrumental in breaking “The Curse of the Bambino” (if you believe in things like that), and he has the “Bloody Sock” (which is kinda like the “Bloody Shirt” after the Civil War). He also led his league in both strikeouts and wins twice. His WAR is 80.6, which exceeds a lot of Hall of Fame pitchers. But he has political opinions that are, in some quarters, unacceptable. He’s not being chosen for the Hall of Great Political Scientists, fellas. There are a lot greater rogues in the Hall than Schilling. I think it will probably hurt him at least one more time.

8. Scott Rolen–a much better third baseman than most people realize. He followed Mike Schmidt, wasn’t Schmidt (neither was anyone else), and was never forgiven for it. He did pick up a ring in 2006 with St. Louis (and had a fine World Series). I’ll bet most people don’t know his WAR is 70.2. He was a Rookie of the Year, but never led his league in any major hitting category, but he does have seven Gold Gloves and unlike a lot of winners, deserved most of them.

9. Larry Walker–super arm and a terrific hitter, but he, like Helton, played a lot of his career in Coors Field. He won an MVP and two batting titles there. He also moved to St. Louis late in his career and did well. He hit .357 in his only World Series (a loss). Unfortunately, he has no huge home run number nor RBI number to impress writers, but a 141 OPS+ and 72.7 WAR ought to get someone’s attention.

10. Jeff Kent–has an MVP, but it was controversial at the time. Has a lot of home runs for a second baseman, but wasn’t all that great a second baseman. He made one World Series (two years following his MVP year) and had a good series, but the team lost. He has the advantage of being arguably the best second baseman of his era. Not sure that’s enough to get him elected, certainly not this time.

So there it is, my list. And if they don’t all make it, the writer’s are wrong (and I’m, of course, right). My guess is we’ll see about 3 elected this time (just a guess).

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6 Responses to “Thoughts on the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot”

  1. Miller Says:

    As you know, sir, I sort of angrily grade ballots. While I haven’t quite finished my grading rubric for this year, I’m pretty sure this would get a 95 for me. You have nine guys who I think belong in – that’s 90 points. You also have Berkman, which won’t be a negative for me since I think reasonable people could choose to elect a guy who I call the 31st best first baseman ever. You get five points because you offer wise (says me) explanations.

    This ballot is a perfect example of how the anti-PED voter can offer an excellent ballot. My favorite nuggets: 1) you’re right about sympathy seemingly helping some but not all; 2) you seem to throw Berkman a bone because you want to see him on future ballots, which I totally sign off on; 3) DH is a position!!!; 4) everything you wrote about Schilling.

    Thank you for the ballot and especially for the explanations. The ballot may “only” be a 95, but you’re always a 100.

    • verdun2 Says:

      OK, nine of ten. Which one doesn’t belong?
      Nice to be “wise” to someone. Do I bring gold, frankincense, or myrrh? Thanks for the vote of confidence.
      v

      • Miller Says:

        It’s Berkman. However, I can see a reasonable anti-PED voter putting him on. After all, he’s better than a guy who’s getting his tenth try this year (no, not Edgar).

  2. wkkortas Says:

    I would agree with the wise Miller that Berkman is more a Hall Of Awfully Good type than a certified immortal, and I could be swayed either way on Jeff Kent, but I am with you on the other eight. I shall also express my annual exasperation with the voters’ inability to realize that Larry Walker belongs, period.

  3. Carl Goetz Says:

    Nice article. I’ve seen you post on the HoME blogs but didn’t know you had your own until Miller recently referenced it. I’ll be back for more.

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