Over the last year or so, I have dedicated my Twitter account to filling a void in the Braves baseball world. That void was that there was no place to find out if a Braves player had minor league options remaining. I have since filled that void, and have also expanded my online and Twitter presence to include any and all Braves roster transactions, as well as knowledge of the rules of major league baseball rosters, contracts, payrolls, and more.
With that said, I will never claim to have any expertise on the vast history of major league baseball and its players. When it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame, I like to read articles written by writers I trust and use them as the primary basis for my vote. I will defer to them in several cases as I try to explain why I voted for a particular player.
Here we go…
The 2017 MLB Hall of Fame
Bags gets my vote based on the fact he has one of the greatest batting stances in baseball history. He looked like he was squatting over a 4-foot wide ravine to…uhhhh…nevermind. Oh, and he has the 22nd highest career OPS of all time. More Bagwell facts can be found here.
Suffice it to say that Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Fame type, and we shouldn’t be discussing him in his seventh year.
One of the most prolific base stealers of all time, not necessarily in terms of total stolen bases, but in terms of caught-stealing rate. He has the lowest CS% of all-time with players who had a minimum of 400 attempts – 15.29%. For more, I’ll defer to Ryan Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) of The Sporting News.
Tim Raines is a yes.
What has Roger Clemens done? He has the pitching magic numbers:
- over 350 wins (9th most all-time)
- over 4500 strikeouts (3rd most all-time)
- highest career WAR (139.4) for any modern era pitcher.
Enough said. Welcome to the Hall of Fame.
If you had asked me a few years ago if Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame, I would have said “Hell no! He’s a cheater!” But as I’ve gotten to know the game of baseball better over the past few years, my stance has softened. Here’s the kicker for those who think he shouldn’t be in because of steroid allegations – he never failed a test under the CBA, and he was never suspended for banned substances. Not once. My stance on steroid use in baseball is very similar to Andy Harris’. Barry Bonds will never be the “Home Run King” in my book. Call me biased as a born and bred Braves fan, but that honor belongs to, and will ALWAYS belong to, Hank Aaron. That said, Bonds’ stats speak for themselves; he’s top 10 in nearly every career offensive category – WAR, OBP, SLG, OPS, Runs, Total Bases, RBI, BB, Extra Base Hits, OPS+, and Times on Base.
Barry Bonds received 120 Intentional Walks in 2004. Stan Musial was walked intentionally 127 times in a 22-year Major League career. Of the 238 players in the Hall of Fame or on the ballot, Bonds’ 2004 IBB total would, by itself, rank as the 37th best CAREER total among HOF types for intentional walks. He was the most feared hitter of his era, hands down.
Barry Bonds…come on down!
There are two types of people in baseball. There are those who are in favor of the DH and those who want it to go away. I am in the latter group. I will always enjoy the nuances of National League baseball over the sheer power of American league lineups. That said, I do think that it’s odd to have different rules for each league – it makes for significant advantages and disadvantages in today’s game, where there is inter-league play every day.
Edgar Martinez put the DH position on the map. All he did was hit and get on base, and that’s the primary job of a hitter. It’s probably more important for a guy who does nothing but hit. I’m almost of the opinion that any player with a career slash of over .300/.400/.500 should get serious consideration for Cooperstown. Edgar Martinez has a career slash of .312/.418/.515. His OPS+ is six points higher than sure-to-be first-ballot Hall of Famer Brave Chipper Jones, as well as many other current Hall of Fame players. For more on Edgar, I’ll defer to Jay Jaffe of SI.com.
Mike Mussina has some pretty good numbers in a career overlooked by many. Mussina compared favorably to many Hall of Fame pitchers. He was:
- 24th in pitcher WAR (82.7), higher than HOFers Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Don Sutton
- 33rd in wins (270), more than HOFers Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, and Jim Palmer
- 19th all-time with 2813 strikeouts, more than Cy Young, Warren Spahn, and Sandy Koufax
- 86th all-time with a 123 ERA+, better than HOF pitchers Bob Feller, Don Drysdale, and Gaylord Perry
Mussina quietly put up some of the best pitching numbers of all-time in an era that was dominated by sluggers, and did it in the high-octane league. He gets a Hall of Fame vote from me.
For me, there are a few milestones that should pretty much make a player an automatic Hall of Fame guy: 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 3,000 strikeouts, 300 wins. All are magic numbers. Fred McGriff finished his career with 493 home runs. If it weren’t for the strike-shortened 1994 season, I can almost guarantee he’d have over 500. He hit 34 HR that year, and was on pace for 48 homers. Those extra 14 would have given him a career total of 507. If you include his post-season home runs (10), he does finish with over 500 career home runs (503). For more on Fred McGriff and why he should be in the Hall of Fame, I’ll defer to my good friend Josh Brown of Tomahawk Take.
Plus, there was this:
The Crime Dog makes the cut.
There is a lot of debate over the value of the Save statistic and whether or not a relief pitcher who only pitches an inning at a time in roughly 1/3 of a team’s games each season should be in the Hall of Fame. I think you can see that, since I voted for Hoffman, I believe his career work stands on its own and he should be enshrined in Cooperstown. He is one of only two pitchers ever with more than 600 saves. He’s second only to Mariano Rivera – ask yourself honestly, do you really think Rivera WON’T be a first-ballot HOFer? Hoffman also has the ninth highest career K/9 rate (9.36) and the 14th highest K/BB ratio (3.69). He didn’t do it with blow-you-away velocity either. He did it with one of the most effective change-ups ever in baseball history. Batters knew it was coming and they still couldn’t hit it. That, to me, is Hall of Fame stuff.
Hells’ Bells, guys…Hoffman gets in.
I admittedly don’t know a lot about Vladdy, but from what I remember following the Braves in the late ’90s and early 2000s, he was a beast. Here’s a quick rundown of his career:
- 9-time All-Star
- The 2004 AL MVP
- 8-time Silver Slugger
- Two other top 3 MVP finishes.
He could hit pretty much anything that was thrown in his general direction. His hand-eye coordination was impeccable, and that allowed him to bat at least .295 every season of his career, save for his last one. He “only” hit .290 that year.
For more on Guerrero, I’ll defer, once again, to Jay Jaffe of SI.com.
Vlad is in.
There are plenty of arguments that Pudge is one of the greatest catchers to ever put on the gear and get behind the plate. He’s a 14-time All-star, including 10 straight from ‘92-‘01. Pudge won 13 Gold Gloves, including 10 straight from ’92-’01. Rodriguez was also a 7-time Silver Slugger, and the 1999 AL MVP.
How does he rank all-time among catchers? Glad you asked. His ranks among catchers:
- Games – 1st
- PA – 1st
- H – 1st
- 2B – 1st
- HR – 7th
- R – 2nd
- RBI – 5th
- fWAR – 3rd
I think it’s safe to say Pudge Rodriguez is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
There are a few others on this ballot whose career attributes could easily call for entry into the Hall of Fame as well – Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, among others. I’m looking forward to the next few years of Hall of Fame ballots when we will see some more all-time greats get their shot at Cooperstown – Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and of course Freddy “Just Make Pitch” Garcia.