The results of the BBWAA’s 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame voting will be announced at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 8.
If, I had a Hall of Fame ballot (and boy do I wish I did have one) this is how I would vote…
But, before I list my ballot I am issuing this forewarning: I am only listing the players I think should make the Hall this year…
Some players who on paper have the numbers to skate in on the first ballot, or otherwise, won’t even get a sniff on my ballot due to PED use… Palmeiro, Bonds and McGwire; some won’t sniff my ballot because, in my opinion, they juiced but there is no hard core evidence that they did (either admissions or failed tests)… Clemens and Sosa; some won’t be on my ballot because I just don’t think they merit first ballot entry though they may make into the Hall in some future time… Glavine and Mussina and maybe Jeff Kent, and, some just will never get in, including some who will probably be one and done on the HOF ballot this year… Ray Durham, Richie Sexson, Paul Lo Duca, Mike Timlin and Todd Jones just to list a few.
And, remember, the limit of selectees on any HOF ballot is 10 selections, but, a writer can vote for anywhere from none to one to up to the ten player limit or anywhere in-between…
1) Greg Maddux is an eight-time All-Star and a record eighteen-time Gold Glove winner, who just happens to have 355 wins (8th all-time), 4 Cy Youngs (consecutively from 1992-1995), 3371 strikeouts, has a career K/BB ratio of 3.4 to 1 (11th) and led the NL in ERA four times.
Plus, he was durable, reaching at least 190 innings pitched 21 times and he did it consecutively, even topping 200 innings pitched in the strike-shortened 1994 and ’95 seasons. In addition he put up a career ERA of 3.16 and a WHIP of 1.143.
At one point Maddux’ fastball touched 93 mph but, and regardless of the fact that he struck out more than 3000 batters, his fastball was never his primary focus as a pitcher…rather it was his use of his four seam fastball PLUS his sinker (two-seam fastball), circle change, cutter, curve, slider and split finger and command/control of all these pitches that made him into an excellent pitcher who could get hitters to ground out as well as strikeout.
And, he excelled in the so-called steroid era; has no connection to steroids; so, it is assumed he achieved his career cleanly.
Maddux is the best of the players eligible to be on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot and he will enter the Hall with a landslide vote total. The only question will be, if, it is by the greatest margin (Tom Seaver with 98.84%) ever by the BBWAA voters.
2) Craig Biggio is a seven-time MLB All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and five-time Silver Slugger winner. He has 3,060 career hits (21st) and is one of four players who has 3000 hits who are not in the Hall… of the remaining three, Pete Rose is banned from baseball for life for gambling on baseball games; Derek Jeter is currently an active player and Rafael Palmeiro has not been voted in for the past four years of eligibility primarily due to the fact that he told a congressional committee that he “… never used steroids, period.” And, then only days after recording his 3000th career hit he was suspended for testing positive for anabolic steroids.
Biggio also has 668 doubles (5th) which is a record for the most doubles by a right handed hitter. And, Biggio is the only player in the history of baseball with at least 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and, 250 home runs.
Also, consider that Biggio is 9 home runs shy of joining only Willie Mays as players who had at least 3,000 hits, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases.
In 1998 Biggio became only the second player to have 50 stolen bases and 50 doubles in the same season… joining HOFer Tris Speaker who did it in 1912.
And he reached all of these accomplishments primarily as a second baseman.
In his first year of eligibility he got 68% of the votes cast for entry into the All… why he didn’t reach the needed 75% of the BBWAA votes is somewhat of a mystery to me. If I had a ballot last year I would have listed him because, frankly, he is one of the best players to ever play at the position of second base, when his entire body of work is considered… and is, in my opinion, the fourth best in all of MLB history.
However, he shouldn’t feel too bad because considered against some of the best second sackers to play the game he just might make it into the Hall on his second appearance on the ballot while some HOFers, like Rogers Hornsby, arguably the best to ever play at second, didn’t get into the Hall until his fifth year on the ballot…
Rogers Hornsby (HOF/5th ballot) is one of the greatest hitters of all-time and as such probably the best hitting second baseman ever. He won seven batting titles (3 times he hit over .400), nine on-base percentage titles and nine slugging percentage titles. In addition, he also won two triple crowns (1922 and 1925). He won two MVPS (1925 and 1929)
For his career, he had a .358 batting average (2nd), .434 OBP (8th), .577 SA (11th), 301 home runs, 1584 RBI (37th), 1579 runs scored (52nd), 2930 base hits (36th), 541 doubles (30th), 169 triples (25th).
He was never selected to the All-Star team because there wasn’t an All Star game during his prime years.
Eddie Collins (HOF/4th ballot) in a 25 year career had a .333 career batting average, 1300 RBIs, 1821 runs, stole 741bases (8th), 3315 base hits (11th), 2,643 singles (3rd), 1499 walks (19th). Like Hornsby, he was never selected to the All-Star team. He retired in 1930; the first All Star game was in 1933.
He did win an AL MVP in 1914 with the Athletics. Baseball-Reference.com lists Collins #2, behind Rogers Hornsby.
Joe Morgan (HOF/1st Ballot) is considered by Bill James as the greatest second baseman in MLB history. Many others, including myself, do not agree, however, arguably, he may be the third best.
He was great offensively, and, defensively. In his 22-year career, he had a .271 average, a .392 on base percentage, 268 home runs, 1133 RBI, 1650 runs scored, 2517 base hits and 689 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team ten times, starting at second for seven of them. He won five consecutive Gold Glove awards in the mid 70’s, and, back-to-back MVP awards in 1975 and 1976.
And, Biggio should soon be here at #4 among the games best second basemen and along side these top three Hall of Fame second basemen.
3) Frank Thomas numbers rank up there with some of the best that have ever played the game… 20th in OBP (.419), 22nd in SLG (.555), 18th in home runs (521), 63rd in doubles (495), 22nd in RBI (1704), 71st in runs scored (1494), and 10th in walks (1667). He won back to back MVPs (1993, 1994); was a five-time All-Star (consecutively from 1993-1997); a four-time Silver Slugger winner and won a batting title (1997). Thomas is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons of a .300 average and at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 20 home runs (from 1991 to 1997).
His lifetime slash line is .301/.419/.555… Know who else has a slash line like that? Mickey Mantle… .298/.421/.557… Know whose slash lines he surpasses? Mel Ott (.304/.414/.533); Frank Robinson (.294/.389/.537); Mike Schmidt (.267/.380/.527); Willie McCovey (.270/.374/.515); Reggie Jackson (.262/.356/.490) Eddie Murray (.287/.359/.476 and Dave Winfield (.283/.353/.475)… all who are in the Hall.
There are only five other players in history who have both hit more home runs and have a higher career batting average than Thomas: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, Manny Ramirez, and Willie Mays. All are in the Hall, except for Ramirez, and all, except Ramirez, are considered among the best of the best to have ever played the game.
The one “big” knock against Thomas is that of his 2,322 career games played, 1,351 came as a designated hitter. However, given his lifetime numbers and how many Hall members he is equal to, or better than, I don’t think anyone should take a hardline stance against Thomas being a first ballot selectee to the Hall.
4) Over the course of 16 years, Mike Piazza hit .308/.377/.545 with 344 doubles, 427 homers, 1335 RBI and 1048 runs.
He won the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year, made 12 All-Star Games, and won 10 Silver Sluggers baseball. Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, Gabby Hartnett and Bill Dickey, all have similar numbers to one degree or another and all are HOFers. Admittedly, he will never be confused as a defensive master at his position on the level of Johnny Bench, or even Yogi Berra, but essentially the Hall is a pantheon reserved for ballplayers who achieved offensive numbers that rank with the best that have ever been achieved in the history of the game, or, at the minimum, within the era within which they played. So, except for some outrageously incredible defensive wizards, (Ozzie Smith, anyone?), Pizza meets the test for entry into the Hall.
The only thing that could keep Piazza out of the Hall is that for years it has been rumored that he used PEDs/steroids… at no time have any of these claims been officially substantiated nor has he ever failed a drug test. Unless, someone can come up with clear cut evidence that he used PEDs, I will not use that as an excuse to not vote for him.
Therefore, due to the position he played and the numbers he compiled while playing at that, arguably, most difficult position on the field, catcher, and being, for the most part, considered the best ever, as a batter, at the position, I would make him a first year selectee Hall of Famer on my ballot.
That’s it that is my ballot… I don’t think anyone else is “deserving” to be elected this year… Are there other players I would vote for next year that are on this ballot this year? Empathically, yes.. I just don’t think Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina are first ballot selections… but, if, I had a vote next year, then, I would place both at the top of my ballot to get into the Hall and deservedly so.
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