Cooperstown Express

The writers sure botched the AL MVP voting. Now comes the HOF ballot. Who will be immortalized? Here are the choices: Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Dante Bichette, Bert Blyleven, Bobby Bonilla, Scott Brosius, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Dave Concepcion, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, Tony Fernandez, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Orel Hershiser, Tommy John, Wally Joyner, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Paul O’Neill, Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Bret Saberhagen, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Devon White, Bobby Witt.

Our immediate, seat of the pants response would be to vote the following players in: Blyleven, Dawson, Gossage, Gwynn, Morris, Ripken. Those would be the easy calls. And then, because we’re easy, we’d probably pull the lever for these fellas as well: Mattingly, Murphy, Rice, Smith, Trammell. But how do you solve a problem like McGwire? Um, that right there is a toughy. But seems to me, in lieu of any official sanction, he goes in. Jose Canseco….not so much. Also, we just don’t see Harold Baines as an all-time great. Sorry Harold. Tommy John? Hmm. We’d be happy to see him in, desevering or not, and preferably right next to Jim Kaat. And where the heck is Marvin Miller? People!

19 comments… add one

  • My ballot, with a fuller explanation some other time:
    Definites:
    Ripken
    Gwynn
    Blyleven
    Rice
    Gossage
    Trammell
    Dawson and Smith I go back and forth on.
    I don’t vote for McGwire because we’re not in court, and I wouldn’t be able to justify it knowing what we know — and what we don’t.

    Paul SF November 27, 2006, 7:33 pm
  • I don’t remember where I heard this (I think multiple sources), but there was an argument for making McGwire wait, not because of his credentials, but because it would somewhat dampen the completely deserved celebrations of guys like Gwynn and Ripken. I can see that line of thinking, personally. Should McGwire get in? I’d say they might make him wait until a Sutter-type year, where he would be the only one to go. At the same time I can see the argument that if you see him as a HOF-player, there’s no reason or rationale to making such a player wait at all.

    Quo November 27, 2006, 7:50 pm
  • In this year:
    Gwynn (duh)
    Ripken (double-duh)
    Lee Smith – It’s time to recognize his accomplishment.
    If not this year, eventually:
    Orel Hershiser (Great pitcher, loved by the writers)
    Rich Gossage (Smith this year, Goose next)
    If not this year, a better than even chance:
    Bert Blyleven – If he goes, so will Morris
    Jack Morris – see above
    Jim Rice (he was the first Red Sock I despised, because he was so good.)
    Probably not:
    Andre Dawson – I love Hawk, but I just don’t think it will happen.
    Don Mattingly (this KILLS me; he was my favorite player. Maybe as a manager?)
    Dale Murphy – Just can’t see it, not anymore. Blame Mac.
    Alan Trammell – It’s longevity that has him here.
    Steve Garvey – His last year of eligibility. Great set of stats, but his percentage of HOF votes has trended worse ever since eligible. Victim of his off-field transgressions. If he’s out on a character issue, there’s no way that..
    Mark McGwire ever would deserve to be in. Power hitter when power hitters brought it and bought it from the shelf, no other game in retrospect, though he and Sammy sure had a nice ride for one year.
    Never:
    Harold Baines – nah
    Albert Belle – hated by the writers
    Dante Bichette – raise your hand if you enjoyed watching him play. What? No hands?
    Bobby Bonilla – what?
    Scott Brosius – I wish, but no.
    Jay Buhner – I remember being thoroughly pissed when NY let him go.
    Ken Caminiti – A tragic story.
    Jose Canseco – A ridiculous story.
    Dave Concepcion – Great player, but the numbers aren’t there.
    Eric Davis – Pass.
    Tony Fernandez – Longevity at a tough position, but his numbers look pedestrian compared to the current generation of uber-stops.
    Tommy John – Solid pitcher, but he only gets so much attention because of his eponymous surgery
    Wally Joyner – Nope.
    Paul O’Neill – Maybe in the wing of dented water coolers.
    Dave Parker – Like Dave Winfield, but less.
    Bret Saberhagen – Numbers aren’t there.
    Devon White – Ibid.
    Bobby Witt – Ibid.

    attackgerbil November 27, 2006, 9:01 pm
  • Ripken in a landslide.

    Hudson November 27, 2006, 10:03 pm
  • Brosius and O’Neill – that’s it.
    Who says you need numbers, like those Gwynn and Ripken characters, whoever they are.
    They don’t have HEART, or <3 as I like to write in online.
    And you can’t say I’m biased, because even though I’m a Yankee fan, I’m not biased. So there.

    yankeesnj November 27, 2006, 11:32 pm
  • Gerb: Garvey’s career .329 obp isn’t very hof-like. He compares to Mattingly in that he was a contact hitter, and had better longevity, but, well….HE WAS A DODGER.
    On that note, Hershiser just doesn’t have the numbers, IMHO. The run of dominance was short.
    Over on WasWatching, Steve Lombardi makes an interesting comparison between Gil Hodges and Paul O. Can’t take one without the other….

    YF November 27, 2006, 11:43 pm
  • If it was the Hall of Pretty Good, Paul O would have a valid arguement, otherwise, nope.
    AG – my guess is right in line with yours, with the exception of replacing Rice with Hershiser.
    “They don’t have HEART,
    Maybe they will create a Hall of Tries Hard and Gave It All They Could With What They Had?

    Brad November 27, 2006, 11:50 pm
  • David Eckstein will be the first inductee into that one, Brad!
    I think Lee and Gossage have to go in because they were among the trailnlazers for their position, although I’d like to see Gossage miss it just because he’s such a whiner about it.
    I can see why people vote no on Rice, but he had a 10-year streak of dominance in the low-offense, pre-steroid 1980s.
    Blyleven is a member of the 3,000-K club, and I think that’s still a mark that should ensure enshrinement, with 300 wins, 500 HR and 3,000 hits.
    I’ve changed my mind on Trammell, at least until I hear a better argument, but looking at his stats more closely, he has good career numbers but not very good season-to-season totals. If he could have replicated his 1987 season (.347, 28, 105) four or five more times, then he’d be going.
    Realistically, Gwynn and Ripken will be the only two going to the Hall this year. No one has ever received as many votes as Rice and Gossage got last year and been denied entry to the Hall, so they’ll go in. Next year, there’s no one big coming on the ballot, so that’ll be their year — lucky for Rice, too, since it’ll be his second-to-last on the ballot.
    Even though he’s not very good on NESN (keeps stumbling over his words and talking too fast), it’s cool to have him re-introduced to a new generation of baseball fans. My one and only memory of Rice is when he announced his retirement (I was 7), so I’ve enjoyed listening to him reminisce (when I can understand what he’s saying, that is). Considering the other choice for slugger on the ballot this year, it would be nice for a decent guy with a better all-around game to win election over the first of the Steroid Era sluggers up for induction.

    Paul SF November 28, 2006, 12:04 am
  • …as much as i love guys like mattingly, munson, o’neill, brosius, gossage, they don’t belong in the hall…if we examined every single member, we could probably find others who already got in with borderline credentials, but what’s done is done…
    …brad had a good line: this isn’t “the Hall of Pretty Good”…it isn’t the hall of “Great For Just A Few Years” either, which would include mattingly and munson…it’s a shame that we can’t include our sentimental favorites, but that’s what makes the hall so special…

    dc November 28, 2006, 8:54 am
  • YF: I agree Garvey’s numbers were below borderline at best. He was an immensely popular player in his time. I really think the distraction of the paternity suits and tell-all books had to have something to do with his loss of favor. I don’t think he belongs in the Hall, based on numbers alone. His case is a bellwether for the future chances of guys like Mattingly, Trammell, and some day, Bernie, and it appears according to the percentages he has received, I would agree with the voters.
    Lombardi’s piece is an interesting read. O’Neill makes a stronger case than Garvey does, to be sure.

    attackgerbil November 28, 2006, 12:00 pm
  • Let me rephrase part of that: “guys like” should have “read players similar to” Mattingly, Trammell, Bernie, etal.

    attackgerbil November 28, 2006, 12:03 pm
  • steroid issue aside, isn’t there an anti-hall arugment to be made on mcgwire based on the numbers?
    .250 lifetime hitter, sure a ton of home runs, but between juice in his veins and the ball, a lot of that was assisted. never won an mvp award. never played that well in the postseason (lots of a-rod moments if memory serves).
    or does 500+ hr’s automatically put you in (steroids aside)?

    YFinBeantown November 28, 2006, 12:20 pm
  • McGuire is an interesting case. Not because he never won an MVP (meh, how often do the writers get that right? They screw it up more often than not), but because of his rather one-dimensional nature in conjunction with the ‘roids issue and the overal offensive explosion (‘roids assisted or not) in the game.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) November 28, 2006, 12:46 pm
  • YFIB: It’s doubtful that 500 will be considered an automatic pass anymore. HOF’ers that McGwire would compared to would be guys like Willie McCovey and Harmon Killebrew, both of whom were significantly more durable. I agree a lot of people will look past the steroid cloud and consider that Big Mac may very well not deserve entry based on his lifetime .263 hitting/one dimensional nature of his offense. However, he was not horrible in the field early in his career, and even when he got heavier, he still had a solid glove, if no range. His work ethic was renowned. A cheater? Probably. There were lots. Personally, I’m leaning against his inclusion, because the power numbers of this era aren’t “holy sh*t that’s spectacular” anymore; power by itself isn’t enough to elevate over the field.

    attackgerbil November 28, 2006, 12:58 pm
  • McGwire was a decent fielder in his youth, by my recollection. Won a GG, for what it’s worth. He was “one dimensional” if by one dimensional you mean a completely awesome offensive force. Huge power. Huge OBP. And then the record year, which may now be tarnished, but was what it was. He goes in, I think.
    Mattingly….I will always say this: if Kirby Puckett is a HOFer, then Don Mattingly is a HOFer. Same deal for Jim Rice.
    Trammell….cornerstone ss of a historic team. I let him in.
    Jack Morris was the best AL pitcher of the 80s not named Clemens. In.
    ….

    YF November 28, 2006, 1:16 pm
  • While he will be surpassed by many a hitter later, McGwire is still the 7th home run hitter in the history of the game. Okay, ‘roids will probably prevent me from voting first ballot, so he’ll have to wait his turn, but he’s definitely in for me.

    Lar November 28, 2006, 1:24 pm
  • YF: The more I think about it, the more I think you’re right about Hershiser. If you look at him in direct comparison to Morris, they are remarkably similar with Hershiser missing a large chunk of starts due to his rotator cuff tear right in the middle of his career.

    attackgerbil November 28, 2006, 1:25 pm
  • YF: If Trammell should be in, so should Sweet Lou, yet he couldn’t get enough votes to stay on the ballot.

    attackgerbil November 28, 2006, 1:55 pm
  • …penalize mcguire for other deficiencies or the cheating allegations, but don’t exclude him based on the .250 batting average…i saw something on espn that showed a graphic where a couple of players went into the hall with BA’s in that range, including reggie jackson…although, reggie probably got “extra points” for his post-season heroics…

    dc November 28, 2006, 7:00 pm

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