Following my hiatus from last year’s mock voting, I am returning to my blog to make this post and to voice my opinions regarding this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. Considering the current MLB lockout (which seems to be a real train wreck as we speak), this is the ONE thing that’s going on for baseball right now, and it’s a very exciting one that bodes lots of analysis and discussion, along with the question, What IS a Hall of Famer?
Do you go off of overall stats, their impact on/in the game, judging their peak years, do you use a “character clause” on players, the number of championship they helped their team win, etc. All of these are valid points and overall is why voting for the Hall of Fame can be very tough.
With all of the new candidates to make up this year’s ballot: the players represented are starting to become players that I grew up watching, starting around 2006. Names like Tim Lincecum, Prince Fielder, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard (all players not appearing on my ballot) were stars in the mid-late 2000’s and seeing their stat lines every year, watching them make All-Star teams, seeing them in the postseason, was something that really hooked me into the game as a kid. All of these new players on this year’s ballot had SOME effect on me as a kid, but, were they hall of famers overall? That’s for me to decide, putting my nostalgic memories aside, and to assess their career as a whole, fairly.
As for the holdovers, I have taken a look at their careers too, some of whom I remember seeing at the tail end of their career as a kid. Most of the holdovers have made onto my ballot again this year, leaving some boxes available for me to mark, and some of those boxes have some REAL thinking to do about them. For years, I have invoked the character clause on some of these candidates, leaving them off of my ballot as “punishment” for leaving a stain on the game they played. However, given the events that have taken place over the past few years, I am at a mental dilemma.
As a fan of baseball, I was very disappointed in the findings of the 2017 sign stealing scandal that went on with my favorite team, the Houston Astros. What they did was wrong, punishment was handed out (appropriately, I must add, but that’s a topic for another day), and life went on. Do I still support the Astros? Hell yeah! They made a really big mistake but like everyone in life, they deserved a second chance. To forgive and forget is part of life, and can be applied here in baseball. I can forgive and forget, and this applies a lot to the two individuals who are the ballot for the last time this year: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
I have not voted for them in the past mock ballots, given their PED use controversy. Their stain on the game really affected me through the years, as I felt like they didn’t have to get themselves in this mess, and that they didn’t deserve enshrinement based on the hoopla they were in. My stance has changed on this not given the fact that what they were doing was wrong, morally, but instead, because there was no rules on PED’s yet in their time and they took the fall for EVERYONE using PED’s in the late 90’s-early 2000’s. I would feel like an immense hypocrite not voting for them, given the fact of what went down the the Astros. They deserve a second chance and recognition for their accomplishments in this great game.
They are two of the three adds on my ballot: and with that, let me go ahead an reveal my whole ballot:
1 Barry Bonds
2 Roger Clemens
3 David Ortiz
4 Curt Schilling
5 Scott Rolen
6 Billy Wagner
7 Todd Helton
8 Gary Sheffield
9 Jeff Kent
Explanation of the rest of my ballot:
Big Papi is the other add, he had an outstanding career, 500+ home run, a great postseason clutch hitter, he checks all of my boxes, and I’m throwing his PED rumors out of the door, Ortiz is a HOF’er.
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 performer, along with an absolute workhorse. Putting aside the BS that he starts with his politics/views, he qualifies for me.
Scott Rolen: He was a very solid player, always producing where he went, along with his very fine defense, analytics say he should get in and I agree, the numbers warrant it, plus there’s a spot for him on my ballot so I’m giving him a vote.
Billy Wagner: If you do your job well, you should be rewarded and Wags was one of the premier reliever of his era. He shouldn’t be criticized due to his lack of innings/because he’s a reliever. A WHIP under 1 for his career, along with a 12k/9 inn. rate, and a 2.31 ERA in 903 innings (853 appearances) gets my vote.
Todd Helton: One of the quiet superstars of his era. 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. His ability to stay healthy, averaging 140+ games per year during his peak and being a force for his ballclub gets my vote.
Gary Sheffield: A 9x All Star, 5x Silver Slugger, he was a great power hitter. Averaging 32 Home Runs/105 RBI’s per year; 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 I see him in a positive light, and his numbers are definitely worthy.
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.
Total: 9 Players
Omar Vizquel is dropping off my ballots for recent news of him coming to light that I don’t really need to explain much about. He was (still is?) Hall of Fame worthy with his numbers in my book, rewarding his defense and being a valuable shortstop (and a very solid one) for many, many years but right now I cannot put him on my ballot, comfortably.
I do have room on my ballot for one more vote but I couldn’t really justify giving it to anyone else of the candidates (close but no cigar goes to Andrew Jones). The honorable mentions were already given out towards the beginning of my entry, another thanks to those players for making baseball great as a kid.
As for other players with numbers definitely deserving of enshrinement, they don’t get my vote due to breaking the rules when rules were already in place, whom are Manny Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez.
That’s all for my ballot! It was really nice writing up a blog entry for the first time in forever, and thanks to everyone for listening to my opinions. I’m really looking forward to baseball in 2022 and until next time!
Again, you can find me here on WordPress as “theastrosballhawk”, and on Twitter & Instagram: @angel__arroyo.