- Mariano Rivera– Greatest closer of All-Time. Period. 652 saves, a master in the regular season and constantly clutch in the postseason (5 rings!), the fact that more men have walked on the moon than the number of ER that Mariano allowed in the postseason is CRAZY. Even crazier? A 0.70 ERA in 141 Postseason innings. Wow. I sure hopes he goes in 100%, amazing talent, and even a better man. Respect to him.
- Roy Halladay– This guy was the definition of a workhorse/ace. Something that is quickly fading away in today’s game, “Doc” always had the intention to finish a game that he started, as he overwhelmed hitters with movement and displaying/executing his pitchers like art, showing how to effectively get through a game. With 67 complete games (I wonder if anyone will come close to that in this era!), a career ERA of 3.38, along with 2,000+ strikeouts during his 16 year career, he was a tribute to old school pitchers of the past, and for that, he’s should be honored like one with a plaque in Cooperstown. A fitting posthumous honor.
- Lance Berkman– A hometown pick, yes, I enjoyed watching Lance growing up as a kid, a profilic switch-hitter who knew how to hit from both sides of the plate, and how drive in runs. During his 10 year peak/run with the Astros, he drove in 100+, 6 times, and constantly hovered around batting .300, pretty damn solid for a switch hitter. He deserves some love, almost for certain falling off the ballot after just one year.
- Todd Helton– This is another guy who deserves some love who’s going to fall off of the ballot, as Todd Helton was one of the quiet superstars of his era. His numbers during his peak in Colorado are very comparable to another person on the ballot, Larry Walker (who I will get to later). He was a constant threat, averaging .330, 30 HR’s, driving in 100+, and also an OPS of .996 during his 12 year peak. There will always be the criticism of the “Coors effect”, but I didn’t really factor that in when looking at Helton and Walker. Comparing the two, I favored Helton’s numbers for his consistancy, and his ability to stay healthy, averaging 140+ games per year during his peak. Either way, Walker will probably replace Helton on my mock ballot next year, as he’ll be entering his 10th and final year.
- Jeff Kent- A very deserving 2nd basemen, who’s numbers compared to fellow 2B’s in the HOF fare very favorably, a .290 lifetime hitter, including a stretch from 1997-2005 in which he averaged 30+ HR’s, 110+ RBI’s, 45 XBH per year.
- Edgar Martinez- He
playedhit his position very well. One of the bests, definately the best of his era. A 7x All Star, 5x Silver Slugger, a .312 lifetime batting average, he just flat out did his job over his 18 year career, all with the Seattle Mariners.
- Fred McGriff- In his last year of eligibility, Fred McGriff deserves a look from everybody. Severely overlooked, he was a 5x All Star, 3x Silver Slugger, a very consistent power hitter as he averaged 32 Home Runs/102 RBI’s each year, was feared by pitchers, and even though he fell 7 Home Runs short of 500 (which to me, is almost a guarantee to get it), he’s a HOF to me. Won 1 World Series Title w/Braves in ’95. He’s probably not going to get in with the writers, but I hope when his time comes to get looked at by a committee, that he gets in.
- Mike Mussina- A 5x All Star, 7x Gold Glover, he had 17 STRAIGHT seasons of winning 10+ games. A .638 lifetime winning percentage record, a constant top 10 Cy Young finisher, even though his ERA may be shaky (AL East Pitcher w/Yankees & Orioles), he’s got my vote. According to trackers, he’s very borderline to make it in this year, but if not this year, he will get in next year for sure.
- Curt Schilling- A 6x All Star, 3x World Series Champion, and 3,116 strikeouts. Over his career, he did really well with his teams (Phillies, D-Backs, Red Sox), and he constantly came through, a clutch postseason preformer, an absolute workhorse. A HOF’er to me, putting all of the political BS aside.
- Gary Sheffield- A 9x All Star, 5x Silver Slugger, he too was a good power hitter. Averaging 32 Home Runs/105 RBI’s per year (similar to McGriff); he actually made it into the 500 home run club, finishing with 509 over his 22 year career. I’ve taken his PED accusations into account, but compared to Bonds/Clemens, I see him in a postitive light, and his numbers are definitely worthy.
Guys I would vote for if I had more room:
Omar Vizquel- A defensive wizard with 11 gold gloves, along with staying durable for 24 seasons (wow!), while amassing 2,877 hits, Omar is very deserving a being enshrined in Cooperstown.
Larry Walker- He will probably be making my ballot next year, a true power 1B during his era, overlooked due to the “Coors effect”, his recent surge in voting is deserving given a good hard look at his career. He’s worthy.
I truly believe a lot of logjams in the ballot will be cleared after this year, giving way to giving a lot more players some deep consideration with more spaces on the ballot. What do you guys think of my ballot? Make sure to follow me on Twitter @angel__arroyo, and I can’t wait for baseball season right around the corner!