Earlier this week, I analyzed the 2017 ballot for the baseball Hall of Fame. Now, I’ll reveal my votes in the balloting for the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). The ballots are similar, but ours does not include Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez because we have already inducted them. While I do not agree with the latter two, IBWAA members have been far more progressive than those other characters. Remember, we made Mike Piazza a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while the “real” writers made him wait four years.
I expect a repeat of that pattern this year with Ivan Rodriguez. He is obviously first-ballot material, but there have been PED rumors swirling around him. There was never any concrete proof, but that does not matter to the self-righteous folks at the BBWAA. They made Piazza wait; now they’ll make Pudge wait. He got my vote, going with my long-standing opinion that players who never tested positive or were never suspended for PED use should not be excluded.
Manny Ramirez, however, tested positive and was suspended twice. Therefore, he did not get my vote.
I voted for the other major first-timer on the ballot, Vladimir Guerrero.
When they were first-timers last year, I did not vote for Trevor Hoffman or ex-Met Billy Wagner. They did not rise to the level of first-ballot Hall of Famers, in my opinion. I did vote for them this time around. Hoffman has the numbers (601 saves), while Wagner was one of the most dominant closers of his era.
I also voted for Curt Schilling for the first time. Again, he did not feel like a first-ballot guy, but he had an excellent career, and his postseason record puts him over the top for me.
As always, I voted for the under-appreciated Fred McGriff.
And finally, the steroid crew of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield got my usual votes. Baseball looked the other way on PEDs during their careers, so why should we penalize them now?
I expect Guerrero and Rodriguez to get in on our vote. Hoffman got 70% last year, so he might get in as well. It will be interesting to see what happens with Bonds and Clemens. They each got about 65% of the vote last year. If they get in, expect lots of publicity for our little group. That’s what happened after we elected Piazza (that’s how I heard of it!).