While Mets fans spend the next month on pins and needles waiting to find out if Mike Piazza will get voted into the Hall of Fame, there would be no anxious moments if everyone listened to the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). We voted Piazza in on his first try two years ago. Last year we elected Craig Biggio — two embarrassing omissions with which the so-called “real” writers have to live. So this year those two players do appear on our ballot. Barry Larkin does, though; we have not elected him, while those other guys have.
In any case, I am leading up to my ballot. Before I get to it, let me explain the rules. A player needs the same 75% of the vote to be enshrined. In a break with the BBWAA, we can vote for up to 15 candidates instead of the usual 10. Our membership approved this after last year’s vote. The thinking was that the steroid guys are clogging up the ballot, so 10 is not enough. I was (and still am) opposed to this; voters should have to make difficult choices for such an important distinction. So I only voted for 10.
Here we go:
As far as first-time candidates, I voted for former Met Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and ex-Met Gary Sheffield (more on him in a moment). I have written previously that I expect Martinez and Johnson to be elected while Smoltz will have to wait until next year.
Another former Met, Carlos Delgado, has a strong case, but I just do not think he measures up, especially to be elected on his first try. I might have voted for him if I extended my ballot to 15, but this is where the tough choices come in.
I voted for Fred McGriff even though he has no chance of being elected. I just think seven home runs (he finished with 493) should not keep him out of the Hall.
I also voted for Jeff Bagwell, who is being kept out by the same steroid innuendo that has victimized Piazza. It just is not fair.
Speaking of steroids, I rounded out my ballot with Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we can assume almost everyone was using PEDs in the so-called steroid era. So keeping these guys out is not right. Besides, Bud Selig should be punished for looking the other way on steroids by having to look at the plaques of these players hanging on the wall in Cooperstown.
Back to Sheffield, who falls in with the above steroid crowd. Sure, he may have only accidentally used it once or twice when Bonds’s trainer rubbed some cream on him. Either way, he has to go down as an admitted user. It will be interesting to see how voters handle him.
So that’s my ballot. No Larkin. No Jeff Kent. No Mike Mussina. No Curt Schilling. No Tim Raines. No Edgar Martinez. What do you think?