Shamrock Thoughts: James’ 2018 Baseball Hall Of Fame Ballot

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So the announcement for the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is around the corner (January 24th) and since I grew up around baseball and got my start professionally working in the sport, I thought it would be fun to do my own “ballot.” To give you an idea of how the ballot works is that BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) votes for who they feel like should be in the Hall of Fame and each member can vote up to 10 names (they don’t have to vote 10 though). If a former player gets at least 75% of the writer’s votes, he is in. With that being said, if I was a voter (and there will be a ballot linked below) here are the 10 former players who get my vote:

Trevor Hoffman-Closer

601 saves! 601! That’s total dominance. He used to be the all-time leader in saves until Mariano Rivera overtook him and he was the first reliever to record 500 and 600 saves. When he entered, the game was basically over. I think he gets overlooked because he played for the San Diego Padres for most of his career and didn’t make the playoffs enough to get the recognition he deserves. He should be a shoo-in for this vote as he garnered 74% in last year’s ballot.

Vladimir Guerrero-Outfielder

One of the best pure right handed hitters I had ever seen. He hit for high average, he hit for a ton of power, and he drove in a lot of runs. He also had probably the strongest arm I had ever seen as there is a well known clip of him throwing a line drive, with no bounces, to the plate to gun down the runner. He also was the best bad ball hitter as the ball could bounce in the dirt and he could hit the ball into center field. Didn’t quite hit 500 home runs as he was 51 short of that, but he was so good that he should be a shoo-in and probably is a shoo-in for this year as he got 71.7% last year.

Edgar Martinez-Designated Hitter

This is a controversial pick just because Martinez was a designated hitter for the majority of his career. While I get the sentiment that not playing in the field, the man was a really good hitter. What also hurts him is that he didn’t become a good hitter until he was 27 and not a dominant hitter until he was 31, but he also helped Seattle keep the Mariners in town. Martinez was an MVP type hitter every single year it felt like. If he was putting up the numbers and was getting MVP recognition, he is no doubt a Hall of Famer. Heck, there’s even an award named after him for the best designated hitter in any season. Martinez hit .312 with 309 home runs and drove in 1,261 runs. He also got 58.6% in last year’s ballot, so while he might not get it this year, he could have a really good chance getting in next year.

Mike Mussina-Starting Pitcher

Didn’t quite win 300 games and I wish he had stayed around to do that as he has 270 career wins, but he was really, really good. Even when the team he played for was not good, he still dominated. How he doesn’t have a no-hitter or a Cy Young award on his resume is beyond me, but if you watched him pitch, you know that he should be a hall of famer.

Larry Walker-Outfielder

This guy had power, he had speed, he hit for a high average, he had a great arm, and was a stout defender. This guy gets overlooked a bit, but if you look at his numbers you would think this guy probably should get serious Hall of Fame recognition if Edgar Martinez got as much as he did. Walker’s numbers were .313 with 383 home runs and 1,311 RBIs. He might not get in, but he certainly gets my vote.

Fred McGriff-First Baseman

Just short of hitting 500 home runs (493) and he hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves?! This man was such a good hitter with tremendous power that he was so much fun to watch especially with the helicopter like swing he had. “Crime Dog” never hit more than 37 home runs, but he consistently hit lots of home runs year in and year out. Why he hasn’t gotten even serious consideration for the Hall is beyond my comprehension.

Jim Thome-First Baseman

Was a designated hitter later in his career, this man was as powerful of a hitter that I have ever seen. He was just a massive guy and so strong that he his 612 home runs. He was a part of a very good Cleveland Indians team in 1990s that probably should’ve won a couple of championships and made more World Series appearances. This guys is a first ballot Hall of Famer because of how great of a hitter he was. You really don’t have to say much to talk about how good of a player he was.

Chipper Jones-Third Baseman

Probably the greatest switch-hitter of all-time. 468 home runs with a .303 average and was part of an Atlanta Braves team that won 14 straight division titles including a World Series title in 1995. He is most certainly one of the better hitters I watched over the years and is most certainly a first-ballot hall of famer.

Roger Clemens-Starting Pitcher

This is a very controversial pick because of steroids allegations, but Roger Clemens might be one of the best pitchers ever to play the game. 354 career wins certainly qualifies that and had 4,672 strikeouts is the nail on the coffin. Sure the allegations doesn’t help, but steroids wasn’t illegal during the time. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a hall of famer.

Barry Bonds-Outfielder

Probably one of the greatest players I had ever seen the game, but he is also the most controversial on this list because of the steroid allegations. However, he is the all-time home run leader (and single season with 73) and even has over 500 stolen bases. The man was such a good hitter, in fact the most dangerous I ever saw, that pitchers were legitimately scared to pitch to him. He was a five-tool player and an incredibly special talent. His 2002 season was probably the best season for any player in the history of the game and those numbers are so gaudy you would think they are video game type numbers. The allegations and also being accused for being a terrible teammate really help him here, but he is no doubt a hall of famer.

Snubs:

Jeff Kent-Second Baseman

Probably the greatest second baseman to play the game.

Gary Sheffield-Outfielder

Has over 500 home runs, but has been accused of doing steroids.

Billy Wagner-Closer

One of the most dominant closers during his time.

Sammy Sosa-Outfielder

Over 600 home runs, but steroids allegations hurt him.

Jamie Moyer-Starting Pitcher

The ageless wonder won 269 games.

Omar Vizquel-Shortstop

Probably the best defensive shortstop ever to play.

Ballot:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2018.shtml

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