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Like many of you, pretty much every year I’ve talked my friends about which players should or shouldn’t be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Those players that are on the edge of getting in like Bert Blyleven are always the ones that everyone talks about. But I’ve never sat down and evaluated every player on the ballot for my vote… until this year. As part of my membership in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I participated in the vote for the 2011 National Baseball Hall of Fame class.
It was more difficult than I thought it would be to decide which players I think were great and which players were just very good. The following are the players I voted for and the players that I thought were close but not good enough for me to vote for this year.
Roberto Alomar – He’s one of my least favorite Mets of all time. I thought he loafed through 2002 and the first half of 2003 before getting traded to the White Sox. I hated his ridiculous head-first slides into first base that he did with regularity. I pretty much disliked everything about him. But there’s no denying that he had a Hall of Fame career. I’m shocked that he didn’t get in last year in his first year of eligibility. Maybe it had something to do with spitting in John Hirschbeck’s face. I don’t know but he’s on my ballot this year.
Bert Blyleven – He’s been on the ballot since ‘98 and got 74.2% of the votes last year. 22 seasons and 287 wins, 3700 strikeouts, and a 3.31 career ERA. But he was never higher than third in Cy Young Award voting and only played in two All-Star games in 22 years. You could make a good argument that he was very good for a very long time. But he had good enough numbers for me to get in.
Jack Morris – He’s similar in many respects to Blyleven although his total career numbers weren’t quite as good. He’s been on the ballot since 2000 and got 52.3% last year. He won three World Series’ and went 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA in the WS. If you were around to see him pitch, he was a #1 starter for a long time. He was good enough to get my vote.
Dave Parker – The Cobra was a great player for 19 years. He won the ‘78 NL MVP. He won the ‘79 World Series with the Pirates and the ‘89 WS with the A’s. Parker had a career .290 average, 339 HR’s, 1493 RBI’s, and 154 SB’s. He also had a rocket arm in right field. I may be a little biased because I met Parker at a restaurant in Cincinnati in ‘86 and shook his hand. But he has Hall of Fame numbers in my book. He’s been on the ballot since ‘97 and got 15.2% last year. It’s time for the Cobra to get in.
Lee Smith – Smith finished with 478 saves in 18 seasons in the big’s. His ERA was a little high for a closer at 3.03 but he racked up monster save numbers before anyone else did. He’s been on the ballot since 2003 and got 47.3% last year. I’m voting for Smith and not John Franco because I don’t think of either as a first ballot Hall of Famer but Smith should get in. Smith got three Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the year awards and pitched in seven All-Star games. He deserves to get in.
Those are the five that I voted in for the Hall this year. This isn’t meant to be a prediction of which players I think will be voted in. There are some notables that I didn’t vote for that I want to mention below.
John Franco – He should get in and I believe he will get in. I just don’t see him as a first ballot Hall of Famer. I’ll probably vote for him next year.
Questionable Career Stats – I’m not voting for Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmiero, or Larry Walker because I either know or suspect that they didn’t do it naturally. Walker got a lot of help from Coors Field before they put the humidor in. After everything that we’ve learned over the last decade, I just don’t believe in these guys that put up numbers in the 90’s that were out of this world.
Barry Larkin/Alan Trammell – Both were awesome shortstops and Larkin, in particular, was an incredible athlete on offense and defense. I might think about voting for them next year but there were five more deserving players that I think deserve to get in this year.
Tim Raines – He’s one of these guys that’s on the edge of great and very good to me. He finished with a really long career, great batting average and stolen bases. He won one World Series with the Yankees in ‘96 but only hit .214 in that series against the Braves. This is a tough one for me but Raines might be where I draw the line between very good and great. I’ll have to think more about him next year.
There are my thoughts on the 2011 Hall of Fame voting. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’m sure there are some people that would disagree with my votes.
3 thoughts on “2011 National Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot”
I think you're a bit biased about Parker, yes…
Always enjoy HOF debate. So please allow me to address a couple of your yes/no votes:
Jack Morris didn't WIN three World Series, but he did pitch in three, true – check his '92 stats. He almost LOST the Series for the Blue Jays.
Larry Walker – there has to come a time where the Coors effect, though true, has to be discarded. The Green Monster seems to help hitters. The short RF porch in Yankee Stadium helped hitters. Walker was a five-tool player that hit everywhere – perhaps if he spent his prime in a more neutral park, he could have shown this, but he didn't.
Suspected Guys – bold statement that they don't get your vote based on a suspicion. Not saying it's unreasonable, but suppose you're wrong?
Tim Raines – that World Series sample is a pretty small number of at-bats to focus on. Really long career, high average, outstanding OBP, steals… what ELSE do you want from your leadoff hitter? He suffers from being compared to Rickey Henderson… but being the SECOND-best leadoff guy of all-time ain't too shabby. If you believe it, isn't that a mark of greatness?
Jason, Great comment and thanks for reading…
I know that Parker will probably fall into the "very good" category as opposed to "great". But I still like his career stats for the Hall. He may get knocked for the Pittsburgh drug trials but Tim Raines was just as guilty in his testimony if not worse.Sliding head first to avoid breaking the cocaine vial in his pocket. Come on!
You're right, Morris didn't have a good World Series in '92 but he still finished with three rings and a 4-2 career record in the World Series. He torched the Pads in '84 and the Braves in '91.
I don't have any information about Walker and PED's. But, as I wrote, I'm suspicious of everyone from that era that went crazy offensively. I saw a lot of Walker, especially in the Expos years, and I just don't think he was as good as his numbers were. Something helped him out. Maybe it was Coors Field and that was all. I'm not sure…
You're right about Raines. I saw a ton of him in the Expos years and Yankees years when he was older. I do think he'll get in eventually but he was a poor man's Ricky Henderson. Lou Brock was second best to Ricky anyway and he's already in. Raines is third.
Thanks for the response, Dave!
I respectfully disagree about Raines. When I hear "poor man's X", it makes me think that the "rich man" – in this case, Rickey – did EVERYTHING. However, Raines was a better percentage stealer, had a better batting average, better slugging percentage… he was right up there. And hey, NO ONE was Rickey. It's like comparing all power hitters to Babe Ruth.
I'd go so far as to say Brock falls behind Raines, too. Brock got about 900 more career plate appearances than Raines, about 1.5 seasons worth… but Raines reached base about 100 MORE times (3,977 to 3,833). Brock out-stole him by about 130 bags, holdng the record till Rickey came along… but Raines was caught WAY less (146 vs. 307). Raines also hit more homers, had more RBI, a better batting average, a better on-base average, and a better slugging percentage.
Brock was a deserving first-ballot guy – but I still think Raines was better!