Friday, January 6, 2012

My 2012 MLB Hall of Fame ballot

Much like last year, I'm going to create my own Hall of Fame ballot, even though I obviously don't get an official vote.

My 2011 ballot:
Roberto Alomar*
Bert Blyleven*
Barry Larkin
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
*- 2011 inductee

Here's my 2012 Hall of Fame Ballot (percent of 2011 vote in parenthesis, 75 percent required for election):

Jeff Bagwell (41.7)
- Bagwell was one of the most fearsome hitters of the 1990s, posting an average season of .304/.416/.545, 29 HR, 107 RBI, 35 2B, 102 R, 98 BB. That includes his first two seasons, including a Rookie of the Year award in 1991 and two strike-shortened seasons. His career took off in 1994 when he slugged 39 home runs, drove in 116 runners and posted an obscene 1.201 OPS. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the NL MVP that season. From 1994 to 2003, he averaged the following: .301/.420/.574, 37 HR, 116 RBI, 36 2B, 116 R and 107 BB. So it seems his 1994 season (minus the .368 batting average and .750 slugging percentage) would set the tone for the rest of his career. The only reason he wasn't a surefire first-ballot guy was phantom steroid/performance-enhancing drug allegations. I left him off last year because I didn't envision him as a first-ballot guy in general (side note: he was one of my favorite non-Dodgers in the '90s). Upon further review, it appears I was mistaken. The guy put up some amazing numbers and should be rewarded as such.

Most impressive season: 1994, Houston: .368/.451/.750, 39 home runs, 116 RBI, 32 2B, 104 runs scored, 213 OPS+, 8.9 bWAR, 7.8 fWAR
Extrapolated for 162-game schedule (155 games played): .368/.451/.750, 55 HR, 163 RBI, 45 2B, 146 runs scored

Barry Larkin (62.1)
What I wrote last year:
- Much like Roberto Alomar, when you thought of shortstops in the '90s, Larkin was one of the first guys you thought of. Not only was he a solid defender, he was pretty good with the bat -- so much so that he took home the 1995 NL MVP. He was a consistent hitter, putting up a career line of .295/.371/.444 and was the face of the Cincinnati Reds franchise for the better part of 13 years.

Most impressive season: 1996, Cincinnati: .298/.410/.567/.977, 33 home runs, 89 RBI, 36-for-46 in SB, 117 runs scored, 154 OPS+, 7.4 bWAR, 6.8 fWAR

Edgar Martinez (32.9)
- I'm a National League guy. I'm staunchly opposed to the designated hitter, but Martinez was such an incredibly talented hitter that it's a little easier to look beyond the fact he played the vast majority of his games as a designated hitter. Nevertheless, he put up some awfully impressive numbers: .312/.418/.515 career slash line. He was Ken Griffey's primary protection for the great Seattle teams of the '90s. He led the Majors in batting in 1992 (.343), but that wasn't nearly his most impressive showing. His 1995 season was one of his best, leading the AL in batting and runs scored. He led the Majors in on-base percentage, OPS, OPS+ and doubles that season. Martinez is one of the most underrated hitters of all-time. He would have been a shoo-in first-ballot guy if he played in the field. There has to be precedent for a designated hitter making the Hall, so why not the best one of all time?

Most impressive season: 1995, Seattle: .356/.479/.628, 29 HR, 113 RBI, 52 2B, 121 runs scored, 185 OPS+, 7.7 bWAR, 7.5 fWAR
Extrapolated for 162-game schedule (162 games played): .356/.479/.628, 32 HR, 126 RBI, 58 2B, 135 runs scored

Tim Raines (37.5)
What I wrote last year:
- Aside from Rickey Henderson, Raines is the best leadoff hitter of the last 50 years. Batting first, he had a slash line of .294/.385/.427. Surprisingly, he spent a lot of time batting second and third in his career (2841 plate appearances), but he will always been known as a leadoff guy. He had a four-year stretch from 1981-84 in which he led the National League in stolen bases -- 71, 78, 90, 75 respectively. In 1981, a strike-shortened season, he stole those 71 bases in 88 games.

Most impressive season: 1987, Montreal: .330/.429/.526/.955, 18 home runs, 68 RBI, 50-for-55 in SB, 123 runs scored, 149 OPS+, 6.8 bWAR, 6.9 fWAR

Alan Trammell (24.3)
What I wrote last year:
- Trammell is a lot like Larkin. When you think of the Tigers in the 1980s, Trammell is the first guy you think of. He, along with Cal Ripken, were the first two guys to redefine the shortstop position, as they were offensive (the good offensive) players. However, they didn't sacrifice defense for offense. From 1983-90, Trammel had an .813 OPS as a shortstop. In a time when shortstops were "glove-only" guys, it was almost unheard of. He also has the 72nd-best WAR of all-time (66.9), 0.2 points in front of Dodgers' Hall-of-Famer Pee Wee Reese. He's also 0.2 points ahead of former Dodger Eddie Murray.

Most impressive season
: 1987, Detroit: .343/.402/.551/.953, 28 home runs, 105 RBI, 21-for-23 in SB, 155 OPS+, 8.4 bWAR, 7.9 fWAR

Knowing the history of Hall of Fame voters, I'm betting Barry Larkin is the only guy elected (to go in along side Ron Santo, may he rest in peace). Jack Morris fell 21.5 percent short last season and could sneak his way in, but I don't believe he's worthy of the Hall.

Larry Walker (20.3 percent) will likely see an increase in his voting share and could get in eventually. His 1.172 career OPS in Coors Field could hurt him, though (fair or unfair).

Then we have the known PED users: Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. Both would be unquestioned Hall-of-Famers if not for the PED use. I'm doubting either get elected anytime soon.

Former Dodgers on the ballot: Jeromy Burnitz, Brian Jordan, Don Mattingly, Terry Mulholland and Eric Young -- none of these guys are Hall-bound.


  1. Great article except for the use of the phrase "I left him off last year because I didn't envision him as a "first-ballot guy" in general."

    What does one look like? Can we find it on their plaque anywhere? The are on the ballot for many years. You either are or are not a Hall of Famer. Is their a difference between second year and third year Hall of Famer also?

    This concept went out with the dinosaur. Please don't ruin a great article by talking nonsense.

  2. Interesting you feel Trammell is more worthy than Morris. I am a Detroit fan and feel both of them belong, but I feel Morris has more career accolades. 3 World Championships with three teams.. Winningest pitcher of 80's... most Opening Day starts ever (sign of durability... and a fierce leader and competitor. Trammell would be sure fire if he wasn't robbed in 1987 for the MVP by George Bell.

  3. Steve: A fair point. Maybe I'm a little old school, but when I think of best first basemen of all-time, Bagwell doesn't immediately jump to mind. I know he had great numbers, but the first ballot should be reserved for the very best of all-time (at all positions). Bagwell was great, but not great enough for my first ballot.

    When guys like Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Frank Thomas (comparable to Bagwell, I know) -- they're no-doubt first-ballot guys in my eyes.

    Hell, there are some people who don't vote obvious first-balloters in until their second year just out of principle.

  4. Anonymous: It's tough to compare the two. Morris' numbers just don't scream "Hall of Famer" to me. He benefited from a long career. His K/9 (5.8) and K/BB (1.78) immediately jump out to me. I know he wasn't a strikeout guy, but those numbers seem a bit below-average. Guess the intangibles don't speak to me as much as others.

    Trammell played a premium position on defense and did it damn well. He was an offensive force when the position was anything but.

  5. Also, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate reaching out to new readers.