I just returned from the post office where I dropped off my Hall of Fame ballot. It’s a ritual for me that on Dec. 31 every year I’ll fill out my ballot. I like holding on to it, read all I can about the players on the ballot, talk to those in the game and also to other voters.
Like most kids I grew up with, and I imagine like most of you, I grew up a baseball junkie. I even logged on to check the box score from the first game I went to, July 19, 1965, in Cleveland, where the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles. Chuck Hinton homered for the Indians. Rocky Colavito got a couple of hits.
I think back to watching the Indians with the father, to playing catch with my brother, to Little League, and from there, I get to vote for the Hall of Fame.
It is a privilege, which is why it pisses me off no end when I hear of my colleagues selling their vote to Deadspin, to leaving ballots blank, to not returning them, to not even caring whom they vote for. Shameful in my point of view.
I am sure there will be many who disagree with my ballot. I voted for the ten players I was allowed, and have some regret for those I might have omitted. I have no regrets for those I checked.
Jeff Bagwell: To my knowledge he’s like Mike Piazza. He’s never failed a drug test. He was never linked or accused in the Mitchell Report. Nobody on the record has ever charged him or testified to seeing him use PEDs.
Craig Biggio: Three thousand hits. Enough said. I read where one veteran voter accused Biggio of using PEDs, but offered no proof or time-frame.
Tom Glavine: Some say they’ll keep Glavine off and vote Greg Maddux ahead of him. Absurd. Three hundred wins is an automatic ticket punch for me. Glavine and Maddux should go in together.
Greg Maddux: A no-brainer.
Edgar Martinez: I know I’ll take heat for this, but I don’t mind. I didn’t invent the designated hitter position. And, as long as MLB plays with the DH, I don’t see why a player has to have his position work against him. Sure, Martinez played most of his games as the DH, but that is a legitimate position. How many of the numbers belonging to Paul Molitor, George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski and Eddie Murray were accumulated at a DH?
Jack Morris: He’s been on the ballot for years and don’t understand the reluctance of some voters to shy away from him. Morris was a money pitcher who fell shy of 300 wins. The game has changed and eventually you’ll see the bar lowered to accommodate those who just missed 300 wins.
Mike Mussina: He’s another who fell shy of 300 wins. If he hung on he could have made it. When you consider his body of work, he’s two blown saves a year from 300, which shouldn’t be enough to keep him out. I covered Mussina in Baltimore and with the Yankees, and have no doubts he did it cleanly.
Mike Piazza: If he gets the votes, he’ll likely go in as a Dodger. He’s on my ballot for the same reason as Jeff Bagwell. I don’t see where the accusations of several Holier than Thou writers who based their thinking on seeing several pimples on his back as being substantial.
Tim Raines: Along with Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock – both in the Hall of Fame – he’s one of the game’s premier leadoff hitters. Had he played the bulk of his career in the United States, especially New York or Los Angeles, he’d have been in already.
Frank Thomas: One of the outspoken critics of the PED era. He compiled massive numbers, and he did it cleanly.
Maybe next time:
The regrets on my ballot are Fred McGriff, who fell shy of 500 homers and Jeff Kent, the career leader of homers by a second baseman.
I never thought of Kent as a first ballot Hall of Famer, but several people have planted the seed for him. Maybe next year.
Mets on the ballot:
Mike Piazza: Voted for him.
Jeff Kent,: Maybe next year.
Moises Alou: Funny, when I think of him what I remember most is him pointing at Steve Bartman.
Paul Lo Duca: You must be joking.
Armando Benitez: His signature moment with the Mets was a 10-pitch at-bat in which he walked Paul O’Neill in the 2000 World Series. There’s also numerous blown save opportunities against the Braves.
Kenny Rogers: How about that bases-loaded walk against the Braves in the playoffs?