A while back, Tony hit me up for my ballot. With voting in by Wednesday, I figured I’d come in with my 10 Mighty Ballplayers. They might have lightning bolts on their uniforms, too.
- Greg Maddux. Maddux is one of the best pitchers of all-time. The only question here is if he gets 100% of the ballot or “only” 99%.
- Tom Glavine. In a world without a steroid scandal, Glavine is a first-ballot guy who gets 75-80% of the vote. With steroids, he’s the second obvious candidate for me. It doesn’t hurt his case that he’s the pitcher I felt the most affinity toward growing up. Strangely, that’s not one of the Hall of Fame criteria, but Glavine’s still good enough despite that.
- Craig Biggio. Biggio was the second-best second baseman of our era, behind Roberto Alomar. He spent a long time as a very good ballplayer with a legit peak in the early to mid 90s. He was a hanger-on, which helps his case with the “lifer” Hall crowd (whereas I’m a “peaker”).
- Mike Piazza. He had a rag arm but hit like nobody’s business. He was the best catcher of our generation—yeah, better than Pudge.
- Mike Mussina. Talking it over with our resident Penguatroll, we were both surprised to see Moose did so well over his career. He was very, very good for a long time. His peak was never as high as Glavine’s or Maddux’s, but he was at a sustained level of very high quality.
- Larry Walker. Walker was great before Colorado, so park effects shouldn’t hurt his case much. He’s probably the only member of the Blake Street Bombers with a good enough case.
- Tim Raines. It’s time to bring Tim in out of the cold. I may still think of him as Discount Rickey Henderson, but DRH was pretty fantastic.
- Edgar Martinez. I’d call him the greatest DH of all-time.
- Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt was a monster. He came up looking like a bull and matched top-end power with an elite batting eye. In his peak from 1991-1997, he struck out 100 times in a season only once and averaged 75 a year against 119 walks. He had almost as many extra-base hits as strikeouts during those seasons.
- Fred McGriff. I think McGriff will be my new Dale Murphy, now that Murph is out of the running: a hopeless cause with a valid case. McGriff was fantastic for several years and was the primary offensive contributor for three separate teams (late ’80s Toronto, early ’90s San Diego, and mid-90s Atlanta). Unfortunately for him, there was a surge in outstanding first basemen. Even if you throw away Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro (who was a good career-wise comp for McGriff), Jeff Bagwell is definitely a more deserving candidate and should be in the Hall.
- As mentioned, I’d definitely vote for Jeff Bagwell. After voting for three DH/1B types, though, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for another one.
- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren’t on my ballots. I would vote for them, but I left them off for strategic purposes. There are ten people on my list I’d like to see in the Hall. Given that my interpretation of the Zeitgeist is that Bonds/Clemens are still going to fall well short, that frees up other slots for other worthy people. This might help out somebody like Raines or Walker, who would otherwise have to wait for a logjam to clear. I’d still vote for both of them, though, given that they were two of the best players ever.
- Curt Schilling would be in my top 15, but didn’t quite make the top 10. I’d have no problem with him in the Hall and I wouldn’t be so hurt if you swapped out Mussina for Schilling. Curt’s peak was higher and he was a major part of two World Series winners, so that will give him major love with the BBWAA.
- I threatened to vote for J.T. Snow but ran out of ballot space.