The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) has proved itself to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the Hall of Fame. While that other organization refuses to induct the deserving Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell for nonsense whispers, we at the IBWAA have already voted them in (we also inducted Tim Raines, with which I don’t necessary agree). So they do not appear on our ballot this year.
As far as first-time players, I only voted for Ken Griffey, Jr. He should be unanimous on both votes, but those other guys will never do that. Perhaps we will.
I wrestled with Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner. Hoffman had 601 saves, the record until it was shattered by Mariano Rivera. But was Hoffman truly a dominant reliever? Did he ever real scare anyone? I’m not sure. Wagner was indeed dominant and scary. But he only had 422 saves, which puts him fifth all time, behind John Franco and Lee Smith, who are not Hall of Famers. Wagner was far better than those two, and perhaps better than Hoffman. I might vote for them someday, but I do not think they rise to the level of first-time inductees.
As far as the rest of the ballot, I once again voted for Fred McGriff. Had he hit seven more home runs to reach 500, he would have been a lock for the Hall of Fame. Should that keep him out? I say no. He had plenty of Hall of Fame caliber years, more than many players already in the Hall. He won’t get in, but he gets my vote.
Then I voted for the steroid boys — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield. As I’ve written in the past, let’s just assume everybody was using PEDs and vote them all in. I’m sure there are already users in Cooperstown. Steroids were technically against the rules during their playing days, but there was no drug testing and baseball turned a blind eye to what everyone knew was happening. Why punish them for the league’s shortcomings? The only disqualification should be if a player failed a drug test or was suspended by MLB for PED use. These guys did not.
And that’s my ballot. We were allowed to vote for up to 15 players (five more than those other guys), but I did not find even 10 players worthy.
I expect Griffey to get in on our vote, and maybe Hoffman, but that’s about it.