As we know, the off-season is at times slow and draining, as we tirelessly read copy and paste tweets from reporters letting us know that indeed, team in need of pitching is interested in pitcher. We all just want baseball back, no matter how much it pains us to watch during the summer. We spend our days predicting and re-predicting anything and everything to do with any and every team and free agent. We propose trades, argue about trades, and do it all over again.
One element of the off-season is, of course, hall of fame balloting. Everyone and their brothers have opinions here. Should the hall of fame be small? Or large? Should players associated with steroids be allowed in? What cutoff line should be used to decide? How much should post season performance matter? How much should "character" matter?
Well, I am of the opinion that if a player has the numbers to get in, put him in. I know- this seems like such a crazy concept, right? I mean, how dare we just vote for deserving players. If ten people deserve to get in, vote for them. Period. Stop leaving people off to try and "save" players that shouldn’t be elected anyway. And if players in the steroids era were the best of their time, vote them in. If a guy is a jerk but deserves a vote, give him a vote (unless they have done something really awful like murder or sexual assault, etc.). It shouldn’t be this hard in my opinion. And yet, we have people every year throwing strange votes because of some unwritten rule that tells them to. In truth, hall of fame voting has kind of become a joke. But nevertheless, here we are to debate it anyway.
So with all that said, here is my hall of game ballot:
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Curt Schilling
- Manny Ramirez
- Scott Rolen
- Todd Helton
- Jeff Kent
- Andruw Jones
- Gary Sheffield
- Billy Wagner
So, there it is. My ballot. I used data from both Fangraphs and BR to make my judgements, but here’s a link to BR for those interested: https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2021.shtml
Ultimately, to me, it comes down to who was truly dominant (either at their position or offensively overall) or who was truly the greatest examples of well rounded players of their time. My choices this season were very similar to last season, and again I happened to end up with a full ballot. Wagner snuck on to my list this season, and change from last season as I have grown a greater appreciation for his numbers as a closer. However, no one else from the old group or any of the new group found themselves all that close. It’s not an exact science, or course, but I did the best I could. In the end I believe the steroid era players were still the best of the era, and deserve a spot. Much like I believe Schilling, as awful as I believe he has shown himself to be outside of the game, has earned a spot. Let's be real, there are some pretty terrible people already elected to the hall. It's not nearly as utopian as voters would have you believe. The others I think I clearly outlined.
Ultimately, we all know some controversial votes will be made and everyone will be mad anyway. I would expect that maybe one player, but more likely no one, ends up elected this season. And while its a weaker ballot, I still argue its a damn shame if that ends up happening.