Thanksgiving doesn’t mean it’s time to gorge on turkey. No, it means it is time to analyze the latest Hall of Fame ballot (hey, everyone has their traditions!).
As obvious a first-ballot Hall of Famer if there ever was one. The greatest reliever of all time had 652 saves and a 2.21 ERA for his career. He should be unanimous, but he won’t because there is always one moron out there.
Halladay was an excellent pitcher but his career numbers do not necessarily scream “Cooperstown” to me. 203-105, 3.38 ERA, averaging less than a strikeout an inning. His career seemed short; he really didn’t come into his own until he was 25. But he did win two Cy Youngs and throw a postseason no-hitter. I think his tragic passing guarantees he gets in on the first ballot. I hate to say it, but I think he might have had to wait a couple of years if he were still alive. Then again, with Jack Morris in, the bar is very low, so maybe he would have gotten in anyway.
Helton is an interesting case. He had some monster years early on that were overshadowed by the gargantuan years of the steroid folks like Barry Bonds and the clean guys like Albert Pujols. Also he played in Colorado, so people were suspicious of his numbers. The back half of his career was less than ordinary as his power evaporated. He finished his career with a solid .316 average with 2519 hits and 369 home runs. Was his peak (seven or eight great years) long enough to warrant inclusion? He definitely won’t get in on the first ballot and may never get in. Interestingly, his career numbers are very similar to Edgar Martinez, who will probably sneak in on his final year on the ballot (more on him in a moment). He also has similar numbers to another Coors Field creation, Larry Walker, who is not getting in.
Pettitte was a solid pitcher and will get a fair amount of support for his role in the Yankees dynasty. He was 256-153, but his ERA was a relatively high 3.85. He was only an All-Star three times and received Cy Young votes in just five seasons. He simply was not a dominant pitcher. Oh, and the steroid thing, which everyone seems to forgive him for because he is a good guy. But how many times did he lie about it? “I only did it once.” “Well, no, there was a second time.” How about changing his story to help pal Roger Clemens get acquitted? And this is a good guy?! My guess is he never gets in because of the steroids issue, but mostly because he is not worthy. And if Mike Mussina is not in (more on him in a moment as well), how can you justify Pettitte’s inclusion?
Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt
Two old Astros who had solid careers but won’t sniff Cooperstown.
The also rans:
Including the likes of Jason Bay (!) and others who do not deserve a single vote.
He got 70% of the vote last time and will undeservedly, in my opinion, get in on his 10th and final year. While everyone agrees he was a great hitter, his career numbers don’t add up to me. a .312 average, 2247 hits and 309 home runs. He only got MVP votes in five seasons. But with the Hall of Fame turning into the Hall of Very Good, Martinez will be elected.
Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling
These pitchers were moving towards enshrinement in unison until Schilling started spewing his nonsense. Now he’s going in reverse while Mussina is heading towards Cooperstown. I personally don’t consider Mussina elite, but he’s better than some pitchers already in, so he’s bound to make it some day, possibly this year.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
This will be the seventh year for Bonds and Clemens. Their elections seemed inevitable at one time, but they stalled in the mid-50% the past two votes, so maybe that is where they’ll end up. The other steroid guys have no shot.
The final year for the writers to vote him in. He won’t make it. Maybe he’ll have better luck with the Veterans Committee.
He was more dominant than Trevor Hoffman, who got in last year. His 2.31 ERA is just a little higher than Rivera’s, who will be a first-ballot guy while Wagner is headed to the Veterans Committee in the future.
Viquel got 37% of the vote in his first year. I can see him slowly growing his total until possibly getting elected. It just won’t happen this year.
Larry Walker, Jeff Kent, Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen (who many feel is a Hall of Famer, yet received just 10% in his first year last time around) were very good players who have gathered little enthusiasm.
So in the end it will be Rivera, Halladay and Martinez getting the required 75% of the vote, possibly joined by Mussina.