Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot

Listen, I already know what you are gonna say... "But Josh, shouldn't this post have been made a few days ago, or like... a week ago?"  And yes, you have a valid point. But, a few contributing factors led to this being delayed:

1. About now is when the douchey "my opinion actually matters in all this" baseball writers will post their actual ballots to their own blogs for those cheap HoF frenzy hits.  So if in this bizarro world where I'm actually given a Hall of Fame vote, I'd be the douchey baseball writer who posts his own list after the inductees have been announced.  (But not the one who let his dumb fans fill in his ballot for him, like Dan LeBetard, what an idiot)

2. The holidays were a busy time and I've just now gotten back to a regular schedule.

3. I'm really lazy*.

*- Biggest contributing factor

So, the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 has already been announced, and for the most part, baseball writers got it right... But I still have a ballot of my own.  So, following the actual rules of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame (i.e. No Pete Rose), here is my highly anticipated list:

1. Randy Johnson, Pitcher.  Montreal Expos (1988-89), Seattle Mariners (1989-98), Houston Astros (1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2004, 2007-08), New York Yankees (2005-2006), San Francisco Giants (2009)

He is one of the four guys who actually made it in this year, and good for him.  He was one of the scariest pitchers to face in all of baseball for nearly 20 years, especially for left handed batters.  But what really gets him in the hall?  

BHWP (Birds hit with pitch):
Randy Johnson - 1
Rest of baseball, ever - 0

Those are some really impressive numbers there.  Congrats, Randy.

2. John Smoltz, Pitcher.  Atlanta Braves (1988-2008), Boston Red Sox (2009), St. Louis Cardinals (2009)

My 2nd guy is also a pitcher and also made it in the hall this year.  What makes Smoltz really special is that he did whatever the Braves needed from him for twenty years.  

Braves: "Hey Smoltzy, we need a great starting pitcher and a World Series ring"
Smoltz: "How's 157 Wins and a 1995 World Championship sound?"

Braves: "Hey Smoltzy, we screwed up and forgot to sign a closer, you good?"
Smoltz: "I can do 158 Saves and a 2.30 ERA over four years..."

Braves: "So... John, hate to do this to you again... but we really need a third starter behind our young guys..."
Smoltz: "I guess I can do another 47 wins over four years and lead the league in games started at age 39..."

John Smoltz is a pro and a damn fine hall of famer.

3. Mike Piazza, Catcher. Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-1998), Florida Marlins (1998), New York Mets (1998-2005), San Diego Padres (2006), Oakland Athletics (2007)

He is the greatest hitting catcher of all time.  He probably hit the most important home run in New York, NY's history on September 21st, 2001.  He also may or may not have done steroids.  That is the real reason he is the first guy on my list who ISNT on this year's class.  It's a stupid reason, because unlike Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa... there isn't any real proof he did or didn't.  There is a really good chance that we will elect a number of hall of famers over the next 10-15 years that at one point or another took a steroid of some sort for one reason or another.  Why are we going to exclude one of the nicest guys in baseball and the best hitting catcher of all-freaking-time?  It's stupid and another reason why the BBWAA is a joke.

4. Craig Biggio, Second Baseman, Catcher and Outfielder.  Houston Astros (1988-2007)

Another guy who would do whatever his team asked of him and did it all really well.  Not your prototypical hall of famer, but if you compare the careers of Craig Biggio and Derek Jeter (who likely is a first ballot hall of famer in 2019), they are very similar.  Smaller guys who played their hearts out day in and day out, put up good to very good stats just about every year and were clubhouse leaders.  If they were to swap teams, Craig Biggio is the one with 5 World Series rings, without a doubt.

Also, I really like when guys have careers of 15+ years and they stay with the same team.  Dude gets bonus points just for that.

5. Edgar Martinez, Third Baseman and Designated Hitter.  Seattle Mariners (1987-2004)

Here is another gripe of mine.  When the Hall of Fame takes this holier-than-thou stance against specialty positions.  There are very few Closers or Relief Pitchers in the hall, and zero guys who made a career out of being a Designated Hitter (I know you are going to say Jim Rice, but he played FAR more games in the Outfield than at DH.  Martinez played a huge majority of his career at DH).  It's stupid.  Edgar Martinez is the best and most consistent full-time DH of all time, and deserves a spot in the Hall for that accomplishment.

If you are the best at something, you should be recognized... even if it's just hitting.  There are certainly guys already in the Hall who took fielding about as seriously as Martinez did.  It's dumb and needs to be rectified.

6. Pedro Martinez, Pitcher.  Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-1993, Montreal Expos (1994-1997), Boston Red Sox (1998-2004), New York Mets (2005-2008), Philadelphia Phillies (2009)

"Why is Pedro so low?" you might ask.  Well, because the little bit of my blood that still secretly roots for the 1998-2003 Yankees freaking hates Pedro Martinez.  Also, his hall-of-fame worthy years were only about half of his career.  Johnson and Smoltz (the other pitchers so far) were at the top of the league for 15-20 years.  Pedro was there for about 7.

That's not to say what Pedro did in those seven years wasn't some of the best pitching performances of all time... but rolling his short-term success (comparatively) into the fact that I hated Pedro for a long time... he is sixth on my ballot.  Still a hall-of-famer... but screw him for throwing 72-year-old Don Zimmer onto the ground by his damn ears.  Piece of crap.

7. Curt Schilling, Pitcher. Baltimore Orioles (1988-1990), Houston Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-2003), Boston Red Sox (2004-2007)

You know what is going to be one of the great injustices in baseball history?  The fact that Curt Schilling won't be a hall of famer, but his damn bloody sock has been there for a decade.

There are a lot of reasons to not like Curt Schilling.  He is a crap baseball analyst.  He lost thousands of people their jobs by mismanaging his video game studio.  Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS.  

But after all that, he does have far too many fantastic postseason starts (and consistently great regular seasons) to not be in the Hall.  He probably never will be, but at least his DNA will be there forever.

8. Lee Smith, Pitcher.  Chicago Cubs (1980-1987), Boston Red Sox (1988-1990), St. Louis Cardinals (1990-93), New York Yankees (1993), Baltimore Orioles (1994), California Angels (1995-96), Cincinnati Reds (1996), Montreal Expos (1997)

The only player on my ballot that I never actually saw play (sorry, Tim Raines).  He was the career leader in saves until Trevor Hoffman finally passed him 15 or so years later... one of the best closers of all time who will probably never earn his spot in the hall because of BBWAA prejudices.  It's a dumb thing that needs to change.

9. Barry Bonds, Left Fielder.  Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-1992), San Francisco Giants (1993-2007)

So.... Yeah.  Did Steroids.  Did Lots of them.  Was a complete dick.  

However, the Hall isn't without it's assholes (see: Ty Cobb, everyone who didn't let Black People play until the 1940's, etc).

Also, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that without Steroids, Bonds would have ended up with 500 home runs, 500 stolen bases, 2000 Career Runs and a lifetime batting average hovering around .300.  Those are some solid Hall of Fame numbers, even without the extra 250 Home Runs that Steroids added.  

I know it's the BBWAA's way of "punishing" Bonds for his illicit steroid use (in an era when AT LEAST 75% of the players had to be taking them) and all those years of him not being nice to them... but screw that.  He was already on his way to be one of the best players of the 1990's before all the steroid stuff really started.  It's another dumb thing that makes me hate what the Baseball Hall of Fame stands for.

10. Troy Percival, Pitcher.  California/Anaheim Angels (1995-2004), Detroit Tigers (2005), St. Louis Cardinals (2007), Tampa Bay Rays (2008-2009)

Okay, this is my Homer Vote.  Yeah, it probably could have gone to someone like Sosa or Raines who deserves it more... but Troy Percival was the lone bright spot on those late-1990's Angels teams.  He had an impressive 350+ career saves over a relatively short (for a closer) big league career.  

I've even forgiven him for retiring as an Angel, then coming out of retirement to pitch three more seasons, then retiring as an Angel again as though nothing happened. 

Actually, wait... screw that... I haven't.  Sammy Sosa gets this vote.  Screw you, Troy... Angel fans never forget...