Legends On Deck

My Hall of Fame Ballot

One of the greatest honors in my opinion for a baseball writer is to have a vote for the Hall of Fame.  Having the privilege of selecting 10 players worthy enough to have a plaque hanging in Cooperstown is something that should be cherished.  It shouldn’t be something taken lightly or not taken seriously.  These players worked their entire life for the opportunity to be considered one of the greatest to ever play, similar to what the writers have done to be given the chance to vote them in.

One of the things that keeps coming up in different articles I have read over the last several days, has to be the “rule of 10”.  Each writer is allowed to vote for just 10 players each year.  Some don’t feel the need to use all 10 votes for one reason or another, and others have a hard time narrowing it down to 10.  But no matter 10 is all you get.

Now I could go on and on about how I think the system is flawed, but with no remedy in my mind there is no reason to get into it.  Let’s get to it.

Randy Johnson

The Big Unit.  He was intimidating to watch in person or on television, I couldn’t imagine what it was like to stand 60 feet 6 inches away.  With those long arms coming at you it had to appear that once he released the ball he could bee-boop you in the nose.  Let’s face it.  The guy has over 300 wins, over 4,800 strikeouts, an a career ERA of 3.29.  I don’t see any way he isn’t elected on Tuesday.  If for some reason he isn’t, the system is more flawed than I originally believed.

Pedro Martinez

Hard to deny a three-time Cy Young award winner, eight-time All-Star, and MVP runner-up a place in Cooperstown.  Pedro was dominant and for quite a stretch.  He struck out 200 or more batters nine time from 1996 – 2005.  The one year he missed he made only 18 starts but still was able to strike out 163.  He also boasts a career ERA of 2.93 which I feel is incredible pitching in the twilight of the “Steroid Era”.

John Smoltz

Another pitcher getting the distinction of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  John Smoltz is the last remaining part of the Atlanta Braves triumvirate to make his way to Cooperstown, joining Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  Smoltz was great as a starter and was great as a closer.  In his career Smoltz had 213 wins, 154 saves, and over 3,000 strikeouts in 21 years.  The only problem I have with Smoltz is that he didn’t retire when the other two did so they could enter together.

Craig Biggio

Just missing out last year on being elected, there is no way Biggio gets denied this time.  3,060 hits over 20 seasons, nearly 300 home runs, seven All-Star appearances, and a handful of Gold Gloves.  I am pretty sure nothing else needs mentioning here and it would be a shame if he doesn’t get in this time around, but I fear that some voters may just assume he has enough and spread their votes elsewhere.  Time will tell.

Mike Piazza

I am afraid to say it but I don’t think Piazza gets in on Tuesday missing by a narrow margin.  I don’t understand how as the greatest hitting catcher of all-time doesn’t get in, but of course we will have to deal with the cloud of PED suspicion for the remaining time he has on the ballot.  Piazza hit 427 homeruns and has a lifetime average of .308 over 16 years.  Rookie of the year honors in 1993, 12-time all-star, and 10-time silver slugger is more than enough, but some still won’t see it that way.  Piazza gets in but I am afraid in three years from now.

Jeff Bagwell

Here is another guy that has a cloud around him with no proof.  PED suspicion rears its ugly head once again.  He has the credentials to get in, but I am not sure he does.

Tim Raines

Raines played 23 seasons and collected over 2,600 hits and 800 stolen bases.  Jayson Stark of ESPN points out an interesting fact when dissecting his ballot, Raines reached base more times than Tony Gwynn, Honus Wagner, Lou Brock or Roberto Clemente.  Pretty good company to be in, unfortunately that isn’t where it counts.  Raines is running out of time and I would like to see him get voted in before slipping into the hands of the Veteran’s Committee.

Mike Mussina

One thing that used to be a lock would be the 300-win mark for a pitcher.  Mussina fell 30 wins short of that but was a very consistent pitcher averaging 17 wins a season over 18 years.  I think it is going to be a struggle for Mussina to make it and the ballot’s are going to be getting tougher as the years go buy.

Fred McGriff

The Crime Dog hit 493 home runs over 19 seasons.  One of the biggest problems again is the time period he played in.  Sure it isn’t his fault but voters don’t see it that way.  He never hit more than 37 in a season but it came at a time when nobody was hitting that many which of course raises suspicion that is probably unwarranted.  I would like to see him get in but like so many others will probably not.  Guess we will just have to wait and see.

No matter what happens tomorrow there will be debate.  Players will rise, players will fall but in the end there will be a new class heading to Cooperstown, and a larger group waiting another year.  Unfortunately for a few their time on the ballot is up and it may not be fair but it is out of our hands.


John has recently graduated from the University at Albany with a B.A. in History and is currently finishing his Master's Degree there as well in secondary education. After being away from school for over two decades he decided to go back and work towards his dream of becoming a social studies teacher.

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