BBWAA HOF ballots are in and the writers have selected as electees to Baseball’s Hall of Fame… Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez…
The MLBRT crew also cast their HOF ballots earlier in the week and made their decisions who should be enshrined in the HOF… check it out and see if they agreed with the BBWAA…
1) Should character … vis-à-vis the HOF’s so-called “character clause” which states “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, (editor’s emphasis) and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played” … be that big of a factor in considering whether a player merits inclusion into the Hall?
Dan: I think the play on the field should be the main determining factor for writers/voters to use in order to decide if a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame or not. If, they’re on the border where it’s not wrong if they’re in, and, it’s not wrong if they’re out, then I’d say you can use that as a tiebreaker. But it shouldn’t be an important deciding factor.
With regards to Curt Schilling and his comments, I have no problem with voters not voting for him due to his comment on lynching journalists. I think he is deserving of the Hall of Fame based on his play, but you can definitely make the argument for exclusion. So, tiebreaker would go to his character and it definitely is terrible towards writers and voters.
Earl: Character should matter. The Hall of Fame is indeed a museum, and, it is an honor after a great playing career, but, I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable if character was completely overlooked in the voting process. Inducting a great player is important, and, yes, there are players already in the Hall, as well as up for possible induction, that are of suspicious character, but, I do think that character is important and should be thought about when voting on a player.
Steve: Not in my opinion. I base all of my decisions solely on their play on the field. As a fan, while I would prefer they have a decent life off the field and steer away from controversy, it (character) does not sway my decision if they had a phenomenal career on the field.
2) If you had a vote as a member of the BBWAA and a player had a career that merited inclusion into the Hall of the Very Good BUT also had an exceptional record in a World Series or two would that be a legitimate enough reason to sway your decision to cast your ballot with his name on it? Why or why not?
Dan: I don’t think so. I think they need to perform at a Hall of Fame level throughout the regular season as well as the post-season. Just a couple great performances in the playoffs means that he’s clutch. But, a playoff performance or two isn’t what should put a player in the Hall. The majority of the statistics and results you see from the player comes in the 162-game regular season. So, no, I don’t think that would sway me to putting a player in the Hall of Fame who should only be put in the Hall of the Very Good.
Earl: The World Series is the pinnacle of the sport. It’s what you are playing to win, and if you are a player that has come up big in multiple World Series’ then yes, it should be something that would swing a good player towards induction. However, it’s a case by case basis. You can come up big in big moments, but your overall record might not warrant induction. If I were a voter, I would consider it but I would have to take it on a player by player basis.
Steve: While it does not really sway my decision. I would say Curt Schilling… his World Series and playoff performances with Arizona and Boston could be enough to put him over the top. While overall, I think he had a Hall of Very Good. However, I am one that would never leave a ballot blank, so I would vote for him if there were no others that were worthy of the Hall of Fame on the ballot, simply because of his playoff resume.
3) Retired MLB pitcher and SNY analyst Ron Darling recently predicted that the Mets’ starting rotation should have a big 2017 season. Among his comments were… “I really expect a magical year out of those guys. We haven’t seen the full effect of five studs going out there every fifth day and doing their thing. I really think they’re going to give you a show like you haven’t seen in quite some time. I would be completely shocked if they didn’t.”
Not enough praise? Add this… “You might have four guys with ERAs under 2.25. It’s easily possible.”
Considering four members of the rotation dealt with various injuries … Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob DeGrom (elbow injury), Steven Matz (bone chip in his elbow) and Zack Wheeler (Tommy John complications) … is Darling’s appraisal worthy of serious thought or do you want some of what he is drinking?
Dan: I want some of what he’s drinking because I might look at the Brewers way better than what I do for this season.
While I do think that they have a good rotation, I don’t think they’re the best rotation in the majors and I don’t think that four or three or even two of the starters in the Mets’ rotation will have an ERA close to 2.25. They’re good pitchers, but them coming off injuries is going to factor into their season. Who knows how they’ll truly end up pitching. But, I don’t think it’s going to be as dominating as Darling thinks they will. That’d be unheard of!
Earl: I understand his appraisal, and, if they are healthy, I would agree with Ron, but that’s a big risk. Elbow and shoulder injuries are rough to come back from and for all those players to come back from the injuries and perform at a high level next year might be way too much to ask for.
Steve: Okay, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities that the NY Mets starting rotation could have a year like Ron Darling stated. They are all talented pitchers, that all have Cy Young capable stuff. And, if healthy all year, the sky is the limit for these guys. I actually thought that the Mets would run away with the division last year in the East because of their rotation.
However, with the injuries, there is not a chance in the world that I would actually go on record and predict that they will have that kind of season, simply for the aforementioned reasons in the question. I don’t trust their health.
4) In your opinion, which right fielder do you want in your starting lineup… Mookie Betts or Bryce Harper? Why? Or, is there some other right fielder you would rather have in your lineup and why?
Dan: I’ll take the second best player in the majors in Bryce Harper.
Now, I’m not discrediting Mookie Betts or how good of a player he is. Because he’s an awesome player. But, he’s not better than Harper, in my opinion.
Look at what Harper did last year. And, that was a down year. Most players would love to have the type of season he had. He’s competing with Mike Trout for the top player in the league (along with Giancarlo Stanton and Kris Bryant) and I wouldn’t want anybody else in RF than Harper. Yes, he might have his little antics, but, I’ll take his antics and put up with them in exchange for his play on the field.
I’m taking Bryce Harper every day and twice on Sundays. He is one of the best players in the Major Leagues and despite a “down” season, last season, he’s a sure bet to be in my starting lineup.
Steve: Call me crazy, but I’m going Mookie Betts here. Betts has shown that he can perform for power, average, speed, and defense. I can’t say that about Harper, who after a monster 2015, he struggled quite a bit in 2016, hitting around .240, and consistently took days off to rest, or clear his head. While I think that Harper may have more God given talent that Betts. Betts is your safe “Bet” if you ask me.
5) These are the players on this year’s HOF ballot…
15 holdovers to the ballot from 2016: Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Billy Wagner and Larry Walker.
And, 19 newcomers: Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Freddy Sanchez, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
(You can pick anywhere from only 1 player up to 10.)
Who is on your ballot? Just names are fine, but, if, you want to add a short rationalization that’s OK.
Dan: Here are my 9 players I voted for: Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Trevor Hoffman. Edgar Martinez. Mike Mussina. Jeff Bagwell. Vladimir Guerrero (played in PED era. NEVER associated with PEDs. Insane hitter. Hit anything that was thrown, even if it was in the dirt). Jorge Posada and Ivan Rodriguez.
I’m voting for Bonds and Clemens because they deserve the Hall of Fame. Their performances show that. Even with PED usage, they were still were great players. Bonds definitely deserves the Hall of Fame vote because if he retired before he started taking steroids, he still would’ve been a Hall of Fame player. He was an amazing player, one of the best to ever touch the diamond and steroids or not, it won’t change my stance on how good of a player he was.
Hoffman needs to get in. 701 saves? Please. How can you leave him out? Writers don’t like to vote in closers for some reason, but Hoffman HAS to be in. There’s no reason to exclude him. Mariano Rivera will get in immediately, or should, as well.
I’d place Jeff Bagwell on that list as well. Of the newcomers. I’d vote for Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez as well.
Barry Bonds- PED’s or not, no way I leave off the All-time HR king.
Roger Clemens- Same as Bonds, his career is easily HOF worthy. He may be the best pitcher of all time in my opinion.
Billy Wagner- Loved this guy watching him pitch in High School. May be the most dominant closer I can remember.
Edgar Martinez- Anyone with a life time batting average of over .300 has my vote. DH or not.
Ivan Rodriguez- Easily the best catcher of his era in my opinion. He is the only one on this list that I would elect on the first ballot. Sorry Vlad, maybe next year.
Lee Smith- Perhaps the best of his era. He was a dominant closer, but his lack of post-season experience may keep him off the writers ballots.
Congratulations to he newest members of the Hall of Fame… Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday (1/18.)
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