Which of These First Time HOF Candidates Deserve Enshrinement?

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Right on the heels of award season comes the second best second-guessingstravaganza known as Hall of Fame season! Yes, the ballots have been sent out to the BBWAA folks and are due back at the end of December, which means that your 2010 HOF inductees will be announced the first week of January. We can hem and haw now about who deserves to get in and we can hem and haw later about how poorly the writers missed the mark.

Either way, put your hemming-and-hawing hats on: let's take a peek at some of the first time candidates and figure out if we support their enshrinement or wish them some sort of specific harm:

  • Fred McGriff: The Crime Dog accumulated 493 homers, 1349 runs, 1550 RBI, and 1882 strikeouts, enough whiffs to put him 8th all time. Fella never won a Gold Glove and yet made thousands of dollars endorsing fielding drill videos. McGriff did collect two World Series homers in two straight years, and became the first batter to win HR titles in both leagues. Was anyone a more feared first baseman in the early-to-mid nineties? No, but does it matter? He was never considered one of the ten best players in the sport and there are too many power-hitting first basemen and outfielders in the HOF already. I say "No, sir".

  • Edgar Martinez: A lifetime Mariner, Edgar hit The Double that won the memorable '95 ALDS against the Yankees and can easily be dubbed the greatest Seattle ballplayer of all time. But hey, he was only a designated hitter and never helped his team out on the field. And designated hitters don't belong in the HOF no matter how high his career OBP (.418, 22nd all time), how many doubles he collected (514), or how many porn star moustaches he grew. Okay, I'm being a sarcastic jerk. Edgar was pretty much the best DH in history and actually saved his team some runs by sitting his flat ass in the dugout while the rest of the team was out in the field. He didn't have a positive impact to the Mariners defense but he didn't have a negative impact either. They put Tony Perez in the Hall and that dude had more holes in his glove than a Dickensian orphan. Edgar's value to the team was smacking hits and riding the bench every half-inning. Don't hold that against him.

  • Barry Larkin: Pity Barry Larkin. No, really, pity Barry Larkin, he needs it! From 1988 to 1995, he and Cal Ripken were the outstanding two members of a consummate new breed of shortstop in the game. Fella won six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and the 1995 NL MVP award in the span while smacking homers, stealing bases, and drawing walks with aplomb. But in the late 90's, a few guys by the name of Jeter, Rodriguez, Garciaparra, and Tejada stole the spotlight a bit: they were bigger, faster, and far more popular than the aging Larkin who, after age 35, never played a full season again. But don't let that cloud your memories of Barry because, as one of the best shortstops to ever grace the field and one of the top five NLers in the early 90s, he deserves to be a first ballot HOFer.

  • Roberto Alomar: One immediate concern presents itself like a veritable Colossus of Constantine gazing upon the voters with caution. Roberto Alomar once spit on an umpire! Character issues ding ding ding ding! Well if the voters were really going to consider character issues, they might as well clear out Cooperstown, leaving behind only Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente, and Gus the janitor with a heart of gold. Let's not allow these haughty BBWAA folk to criminalize the man twice for the same indiscretion. With Craig Biggio, Alomar was the second baseman of record in the 1990s (sorry Mariano Duncan!) He's one of the ten best second basemen in history despite the fact that he never did a damn thing after age 33. Vote yes!

  • Robin Ventura: Better than you think! But not HOF worthy, mostly because everyone still can't get the image of him getting pummeled by Nolan Ryan out of their minds. Sorry, Robin.

Of course, some of the downballot players are getting their share of support. Yes, even Todd Zeile, who once played third base for the Orioles, fielded a grounder, and threw it directly into the dirt about two feet in front of him. You played the game for a long time, Zeile-y, but c'mon, they don't let folks with Z-names into the hall.

Also, I say no to Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds, and especially to David Segui. Don't think I've forgotten the time you cut me off on the Van Wyck, Segui! Next week we'll peruse the holdovers from past ballots, also know as the annual Bert Blyleven pimpstravaganza.

What say you on these first-timers?

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Larkin, yes. And as much as I hated Alomar, yes.

Also, they need to stop fucking around and put Jim Kaat in the HoF.

I'd vote for Larkin. And Alomar.
But I can't vote so I say none of them get in. SPITE.

There's a good argument for creating higher barriers for DH's to get into the Hall, but if you can get past that, Edgar Martinez has legitimate offensive credentials. He was consistently one of the best hitters in the league over the course of his career, won the batting title twice, and was robbed of the MVP in 1995 (seriously, compare his numbers with Mo Vaughn, et al. here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1995.shtml#ALmvp). .312/.418/.515 is a pretty awesome career slashline, with a career OPS of 147 to boot. Definitely has the offensive chops, but I do hold his DH-ness against him (the best baseball players should be able to contribute in the field). Not sure if I'd vote for him or not if I was in the BBWAA, but he wouldn't be the first player to make it in on offense alone.

Get the prods out and shock the Wholphin again. Placido Polanco will bring his satellite-sized melon to the Phillies! And maybe play third base, too!

Also, Larkin and Alomar are in, fer shure. Maybe that will raise the values of the approximately 37 rookie cards that I own of each. SOME ARE PSA 8.

I don't know if Edgar will ever get in, but he should. Larkin and Alomar seem like pretty easy choices to me. I'm fairly positive that there are too many fossilized writers holding grudges against Alomar for him to get close in his first year, though.

I have a gem mint ten Robin Ventura rookie card.


Alomar and Larkin are shoe-ins. First Blue Jays hat evaarrrr!!!


But seriously: Larkin and Alomar, without a doubt. I also like the Edgar idea simply because if you're gonna have the Designated Hitter rule, why not honor someone who was really friggin' good at it?

Agreed with the general consensus: The DH is a rule, it seems silly to disqualify a player just because he happens to be good at that position. Martinez's OPS+ of 147 is certainly Hall-worthy (unless, apparently, you're Dick Allen). Alomar is a good vote, too.

You guys forgot Doug Glanville, who last played in 2004. He'll have my vote.

Edgar, Larkin, Alomar and McGriff yes.

I'd be hesitant to vote for Edgar or McGriff this year because TIM RAINES IS NOT YET ENSHRINED. No vote splitting. Get the Rock in and then we can worry about these other scrubs.

I always really liked Rock Raines, even though I missed his best years since I was either not yet born or too young to comprehend baseball. He was still very good later in his career, and I have a soft spot for Canada. I'd like to see him in.

(As I sort of hinted at above, I'd like to see Dick Allen in, too, if only because it'd piss off people.)

I'd vote for Alomar, Larkin and Martinez. Raines should be in. So should Blyleven. And Ron Santo.

Despite being a grade A douche, shouldn't Albert Belled get more consideration than he has in the past. If you think about it, he was mostly being a jerk to the beat writers that we make fun of today.


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