Cooperstown, NY. A small, rural town upstate with tons of charm. It’s a place where every ball player who puts on a uniform and cleats wants to end up after their playing days are done. The hallowed halls of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the central point of this quaint town that thrives on the hundreds of thousands of baseball fans that visit the museum.
Every year, the Hall grows as a new class of inductees have the honor of joining their peers in the most prestigious of ways. Names like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ken Griffey, Jr decorate the building walls as visitors are transported into the history books of America’s pastime. This year is no different, as another crop of former players await the announcement to see if their name will be joining the game’s greats.
As you have seen on Twitter, Facebook and several other media outlets, voters have been publicizing their ballots trying to voice their support for certain players. The voting process has been under scrutiny the past several years and as a result starting next year, all voters will have their ballots accessible to the public. This is in hopes to eliminate the politics and backroom conversations that surround the voting. It is placing a measure of accountability on the voters, something that has never been there before.
Us here at Bronx Pinstripes have no problem sharing our thoughts, and votes, for who we think should be in this year’s Hall of Fame class! I was able to poll 14 of our writers and get their opinions on why they voted the way they did. Our rules for electing a player into the Hall is the exact same as the Baseball Writer’s Association of America; a player has to receive 75% of the vote in order to have their name etched in history. Below are our results:
Edgar Martinez: 85.7% (12/14 votes)*
Tim Raines: 78.6% (11/14)*
Vladimir Guerrero: 78.6% (11/14)*
Trevor Hoffman: 71.4% (10/14)
Mike Mussina: 71.4% (10/14)
Ivan Rodriguez: 71.4% (10/14)
Barry Bonds: 57.1% (8/14)
Roger Clemens: 57.1% (8/14)
Jeff Bagwell: 50% (7/14)
Manny Ramirez: 50% (7/14)
Fred McGriff: 28.6% (4/14)
Curt Schilling: 21.4% (3/14)
Jorge Posada: 21.4% (3/14)
Sammy Sosa: 14.3% (2/14)
Jeff Kent: 14.3% (2/14)
Gary Sheffield: 7.1% (1/14)
Larry Walker: 7.1% (1/14)
Players not receiving votes: Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordonez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez, Lee Smith, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek, Billy Wagner & Tim Wakefield
According to our voters, Martinez, Raines & Guerrero are your Bronx Pinstripes Hall of Fame Class of 2017! Quite interesting results as we’ve elected a full time DH, a player in his 10th year on the ballot, and a first ballot entry. Comparing to our voting to last year, Hoffman (who we elected in) lost a vote and misses this time around. Also, Mussina, Clemens & Bonds all see an uptick in percentages, but still not enough for the nod.
As for the players not receiving any votes, if this were the real ballot- they’d be off of all future voting as they did not receive the needed five percent to stay on. Luckily for them, we’re just a group of bloggers with no voting rights! However, we can offer some in-depth insight on why each of our voters filled out their ballots in the ways in which they did.
Tom Hanslin- (Ballot of: Bagwell, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, McGriff, Mussina, Raines & Schilling):
Bagwell, Raines, and Hoffman were on the most ballots last year. They’ll finally make it to Cooperstown in 2017. McGriff retired seven HR’s shy of 500, and Martinez should be the first DH inducted. Mussina and Schilling are comparable arms who won games and earned strikeouts. Guerrero also one HR shy of 450 and hit .318. Eight total players should be inducted next summer.
Ryan Nakada- (Bonds, Clemens, Hoffman, Kent, Martinez, Mussina, Raines, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Sosa):
Pudge is one of the best all-time and the [steroid] era cannot be ignored, especially with Bud Selig entering the HOF.
Charles Gattin- (Martinez & Raines):
Edgar- I could hardly watch every time he or Jay Buhner batted against the Yankees. Numbers speak for themselves. An OBP machine. One of top 30 hitters of all-time. Raines gets lost behind Rickey Henderson, but was as good as any during his prime. All around game was superb.
Tyler Fiedler- (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Ramirez, Rodriguez & Schilling):
If Bud Selig can be voted in there is no reason why guys accused or found guilty of PEDs shouldn’t be in, that’s why I voted for who I did. Also it is Mussina’s time.
Drew Sarver- (Bagwell, Guerrero, Hoffman, Mussina, Raines, Rodriguez & Sheffield):
It’s about time Raines got in. Mussina stacks up favorably to other Hall members like Juan Marichal.
Nick Delahanty- (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Posada, Raines & Rodriguez):
All 10 players I voted for I feel are Hall of Fame worthy. Hard to ignore steroid era guys when Bud Selig was just voted in. I feel it’s time to let them in the Hall if they are deserving.
Mick Tidrow- (Bagwell, Guerrero, Hoffman, Kent, Martinez, McGriff, Raines, Ramirez & Rodriguez):
There were some tough cuts. But I felt only nine players should be voted for. The top four: Pudge, Manny, Vlad and Bagwell. Martinez gets flack for being a DH only, but what he did was special.
Andrew Rotondi- (Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Ramirez, Rodriguez & Sosa):
I’m starting to feel bad for Bonds and Clemens. Dudes were the best of their generation. Obviously they did steroids, but I don’t think they did “more” than any other given player who was on PEDs during that time. They were just that much better than the rest of their competition. Why are we making examples out of guys like Bonds and Clemens, but not Piazza (who’s already in) and Pudge Rodriguez (who will probably get in this year)? Not to mention everyone else who has been linked to PEDs in the slightest. My approach is to vote for the players who stood-out when I watched the game. It’s as simple as that.
Mike Gwizdala- (Guerrero, Martinez, McGriff, Mussina, Posada, Raines & Walker):
Guerrero: Classic five-tool player, dominant and exciting.
Martinez: Classic consistent hitter, helped save baseball in Seattle.
McGriff: Consistently good for 30 plus homers a season and a .300 hitter in the postseason.
Mussina: Battled and put up big numbers for two decades in a tough AL East.
Posada: Solid hitting catcher and emotional leader on a Yankee dynasty.
Raines: Big time run creator, shouldn’t be penalized for not being Rickey Henderson.
Walker: Great average and power hitter, playing in Colorado shouldn’t be held against him.
Scott Reinen- (Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Martinez, McGriff, Raines, Ramirez & Rodriguez):
The steroid era needs to be dubbed as such and let the best players in the Hall. There is too much grey area about who took what, when, and how it affected their performance. Edgar Martinez was one of the best hitters (position aside) I have ever seen play the game and needs to be in the Hall. The DH position needs a precedent set, and EM should be the guy.
My process: I first go through the list and use only the eyeball test, then I back-check the numbers and research the players to make a final determination. Hall of Famers (in my opinion) should always pass the eyeball test and should have been a dominant fixture in their time playing. I didn’t vote for the closers because when you look at all of these guy, they are so very close in numbers and I can’t put them all in. When it comes down to it, I don’t think Billy Wagner is a HOFer and the numbers are just too similar for me to differentiate.
Brian Danuff- (Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Posada, Raines & Rodriguez):
Bagwell is getting in, so if I had a vote I’d give Posada a place on my ballot over him. He needs to stay on for future years.
Justin McElrath- (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Raines, Ramirez, Rodriguez & Schilling):
Steroids were a widespread issue throughout the game in the ’90s & ’00s. It wasn’t a handful of guys, rather the majority of players. To not say that Bonds, Clemens and others weren’t the best of the best, despite their peers using as well is just insanity. Bud Selig allowed these players to use and turned a blind eye in hopes to gain ratings and popularity. These guys saved the game and are now being punished by voters who are trying to maintain the innocence of the game. To me, you reward the best of the best with the honors of being in the Hall of Fame. That’s exactly what Bonds, Clemens, Pudge, Manny were during their careers.
Rich Kaufman- (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Martinez, Raines, Ramirez & Rodriguez):
I feel like it’s time to vote for the “PED guys” now that Bud Selig, who turned his cheek during most of that era, is in the HoF. If you vote for Bonds, you have to vote for Clemens. If you vote for Clemens, you have to vote for Manny etc. I don’t believe Sheff is a HoFer despite his good career.
Moose: Longevity and success in AL East impressive. 270 win total impressive, too. 7 time GG [Gold Glove] winner.
Pudge: One of the greatest two-way catchers of all-time. .296 career average from a catcher can’t go unnoticed. 10 straight ASG, 10 straight GG’s. First among catchers in a lot of offensive categories. (games, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, Total Bases). PED rumors, too, but again. It’s time to let these guys in.
Vlad: .318 career avg. as a righty is sick. six top-10 MVP finishes. All-time great arm. Impacted games on both sides of the ball.
Bagwell: One of the top offensive first basemen ever. Good glove, too. Although he didn’t reach 3K hits or 500 HR, overall package makes him a HoF’er. Should’ve gotten in sooner.
Raines: Should have gotten in sooner, as well. All-time great base stealer, OBP guy. .294 career average as a switch hitter. Longevity – played 23 years.
Edgar: One of the greatest pure hitters of his generation. .312 career avg, .418 OBP. Mariano Rivera said he was the toughest hitter he ever faced. That’s reason enough.
Joe Commesso- (Guerrero & Hoffman):
I stared at this ballot for hours, and I want so badly to elect Clemens and Bonds, but I can’t. These guys were freaks and the numbers they put up were unbelievable. But, I believe that steroids don’t belong in the Hall. I understand that people think Mike Piazza could pave the way for these guys, but Bonds and Clemens are a stretch. Ivan Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield are my steroid-era honorable mentions that almost got my vote (maybe next year). Vladimir Guerrero hit .318 with 449 home runs in his career. He was a home run shy of the “40-40 club” in 2002, plus he had a rocket strapped to his shoulder. I put him in the Hall. The other player I elect is Trevor Hoffman. His 601 saves which is good for second in baseball history, as well as his lifetime 2.87 ERA gets him the nod from me.
And there you have it. The votes. The thoughts behind the votes. And three new members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Let us know in the comments who you think will get in as the official announcement is set for tomorrow, January 18th!