We are now entering into the third and final phase of my hall of fame prognostication. I am going to tell you what my ballot would look like if I were able to vote in the BBWAA Hall of Fame election. Each voter is allowed to vote for as many as 10 players.
I have decided to list out for you who I would vote for if I had to vote for 10 players and tell you who I would remove if I could only vote for 9 players and downward until I get to who I would vote for if I could only vote for 1 player. Today I will go down as far until I get to the actual amount of people I will be voting for. Monday I will reveal that list in it’s entirety.
If I had to vote for 10 players, the last player on my ballot would be Bert Blyleven.
Why he’s in the top 10: Frankly because no one on the list who I didn’t put higher really screams out to me Hall of Fame. For some reason I just can’t fall in love with Jack Morris. I was thinking about Alan Trammell and after doing some stat comparison could not bring myself to vote for Him. I compared the 19 position players in 12 categories and Trammell was 1 of only 4 players did not finish in the top 5 in any of them.
Blyleven is also in my top 10 because he has the bonafides to be there. Blyleven has 3,701 strikeout 5th all time, 3rd of anyone who’e ever been on a BBWAA ballot. Of the top 10 strikeout leaders who have ever been on a BBWAA ballot, only blyleven has not been voted into the Hall. Blyleven’s 60 shutouts is good enough for 9th on the all time list. Not only is everyone ahead of him in the hall, he is the only one not in the top 20 not to make it.
Why he’s not any higher: For some reason Bert Blyleven does not feel like a hall-0f-famer to me despite the stats. One stat that may be dragging him down is wins. Blyleven is 27th all time in wins of all those only 2 players who have been elgible for election with more wins than Blyleven have made it to the hall. The problem is that Blyleven and those other 2 pitchers are the only ones who have less than 300 wins. One of those pitchers Tommy John, who at least to me, does feel like a hall-of famer failed to be elected on his 15th and final ballot last year. John had 1 more win than blyleven 21 point better winning percentage and only 3 hundreths higher earened runned average. The fact that the last starting pitcher to make the Hall was Nolan Ryan in 1999 doesn’t help either. While it’s unfair to hold him up to Ryan’s standard, I think it’s fair to hold him up to John’s and since John didn’t get in I’m not voting Blyleven there either.
If I had 9 votes my 9th vote would be for Edgar Martinez.
Why he’s in the top 9: A .312 lifetime batting average with 10 seasons over .300. 2 consecutive AL batting titles doesn’t hurt either. Many will begrudge him the hall because he was basically a career DH. I don’t think that’s fair. Now that we are finally letting relievers in the Hall, it’s time we start giving DH’s their due as well.
Why he’s not higher: That being said, I am not quite sure he is quite HOF material. He spent most of his career as the second or third best hitter. Some years he wasn’t even the best Martinez.
If I had 8 votes, my 8th vote would be for Fred McGriff.
Why he’s in the top 8. First of all, he has a HOF nickname. I mean the Crime Dog rocks! Second, McGriff was a clutch performer the fact that his playoff batting average and slugging percentage over 10 series are both approximately 20 points higher than his career #s. This is especially awesome, considering he has a .509 life time slugging percentage.
From 1995 to 1997 I lived near enough Atlanta, Georgia that I became a daily follower of the Atlanta Braves. It was there that I realized how great a player the Crime Dog really was. Statistically, these weren’t his best years but they were still very impressive.
Why he’s not higher: Many people make a case about whether a player should be a first ballot hall of famer or not. To me this makes no sense. If you think someone is good enough for the hall you should vote that way immediately. If you think someone is good enough for the hall you should vote that way immediately. But sometimes it is possible to think a guy as just shy of the Hall and in the years to come reshape your opinion of them. Then i believe it is fair to not cast a vote early only to add it in the years to come. For that reason, even though McGriff is 8th if I had to vote for 8, I would not now choose him for the Hall. I would actually vote for 7 on this years ballot and will reveal those 7 Monday.
Here is why the Crime Dog is on the outside looking in. Many would say that his 7 home runs shy of the 500 mark hurt his chances. To me banging on the door of the 2500/500 club with a lifetime slugging percentage higher than .500 enhances his chances doesn’t hurt them. If he stayed in the bigs long enough to get those 7 dingers he would have surely collected the 10 hits needed for 2,500 in the process. My deal is I don’t want to be some “everybody gets in Flynn” with my voting even though mine are only hypothetical. At 7 votes I already think I may be pushing the envelope this year. Something just cries out to be that McGriff had just below the career needed for the Hall of Fame. It’s nothing I find lacking in his resume as much as this lingering feeling I get that maybe the Hall is not something that Freddy should take a bite out of.
Future Hall of Fame Posts:
Monday: I will list my 7 votes for the Hall
Wednesday: I will have some final thoughts on the process including who I think will be elected this year.
After the voting is revealed: A briefing on the results and how my choices fared