Today’s the day. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced at 3pm PST today. Who will get in? Who will be snubbed?

I’m not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). I know, big shocker there. But I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA). And, like the BBWAA, the BBBA votes for the Hall of Fame every year, using the same rules and the same ballot. Does it mean anything? Not in the least. But it’s fun.

Like a lot of BBWAA members, I believe in making your Hall of Fame vote — official or not — public for all the world to see and yell at you for.

Here’s how I voted.

Jeff Bagwell

Rookie of the Year in 1991, won a Gold Glove & was the NL MVP in 1994, and a 4-time All-Star over his 15 years, all with the Houston Astros. Baseball Reference’s Similarity Score compares his career with Hall of Famers Frank Thomas and Willie Stargell.

BBWAA: Looks like he’s getting in, based on Ryan Thibodeaux’s tally of public votes, with 88.7%.

Vladimir Guerrero

Guerrero was one of those players I made special trips to the ballpark for. He was that good. Made 9 All-Star teams in his 16 seasons and won the AL MVP in 2004. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Stargell, Billy Williams, and Duke Snider.

BBWAA: Guerrero is so close to getting in this year. He’s at 71.4% as of last night.

Trevor Hoffman

Do I have to explain it to you guys? Really? C’mon! #buyest

BBWAA: It’s looking like it might happen this year with 72.7% writers voting for him as of last night. He’s closer than Guerrero, at least.

Edgar Martinez

The designated hitter, no matter how much you or I hate it, is a position in baseball. When a manager fills out a lineup card (in American League parks) he fills in a space for the DH. Martinez was the best player at his position for so many years. And isn’t that the definition of a Hall of Famer? No-brainer. Made 7 All-Star teams in 18 seasons with the Seattle Mariners.

Fred McGriff

The Crime Dog likely isn’t getting in and I can understand why. He’s actually my tenth choice this year. He wasn’t the best first baseman defensively, but he could hit. Hit 493 home runs over 19 seasons, which actually hurts him. He never hit more than 37 home runs in a season. If he had managed just 7 more, it probably wouldn’t be as hard, as Hall of Fame voters love them some 500 Home Run Club members. Made 5 All-Star teams. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Stargell, Thomas, and Williams.

Mike Mussina

Mussina is one of those pitchers you forgot were really good when they played. At least, that’s how I see it. A 5-time All-Star (all with Baltimore) and 6 Gold Gloves in 18 seasons. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, and Carl Hubbell.

Tim Raines

How it’s taken this long for Raines to get in, his 10th and final year on the ballot, is criminal. Was an All-Star seven straight years between 1981 and 1987. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Max Carey, Fred Clarke, and Enos Slaughter.

BBWAA: Looks like he’s getting in too. He’s at 89.5% as of last night.

Ivan Rodriguez

14 All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Gloves (including 10 straight between 1992 & 2001) in 21 years of playing. AL MVP in 1999. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Yogi Berra, Roberto Alomar, and Ryne Sandberg.

BBWAA: And he appears to be in as well, based on his 78.6% so far.

Lee Smith

If I vote for Hoffman, I have to vote for Smith. Hoffman broke his career saves record, 478. Some question the legitimacy of the save as a stat, but a record is a record. Made 8 All-Star teams over 18 seasons. Baseball Reference compares him with Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter. And, of course, Hoffman.

BBWAA: Sadly, this is Smith’s final year on the ballot and he’s already been eliminated from induction. Maybe the Veterans Committee will induct him in a few years, but I doubt it.

Billy Wagner

If I vote for Hoffman, I have to vote for Smith, and I may as well vote for Wagner. And I can assure that I would have voted for Wagner even if he didn’t follow me on Twitter. Made 7 All-Star teams in 16 seasons.

 

Now, you may notice some glaring omissions, notably Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Many writers say that because Bud Selig is being inducted this year (via Veterans Committee selection), that clears a path for Bonds & Clemens. Whatever. I still won’t vote for them. Am I being petty? Possibly. I don’t care.

And let’s just say Curt Schilling can shove it and buy a ticket like the rest of us if he wants in.

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  • Pat

    Really DH is a role, much like relief pitcher is a role, but at least Martinez hit like a HOF and played in enough games, had an impact on enough games, each season and over the course of his career to warrant induction into the HOF. Relief pitchers do not, except in the rarest of circumstances. Voting for three of them is unjustifiable. There’s simply no way those guys are worthy of the HOF. Fine, be petty and arbitrary in who you don’t vote for, the writers do it all the time, so you’re in “good company,” but you could at least try to be reasonable in who you do vote for.

    Larry Walker is massively better, and more deserving, than any of them. If McGriff, then why not Sosa and Sheffield? No to steroids? Then Posada is still much more deserving than a player who appears in fewer than half his team’s games, and who pitches far fewer than half the innings on a seasonal basis, and on a career basis, than a starting pitcher.

    • That’s how I see it. Doesn’t matter anyway.

      • Pat

        If it doesn’t matter, why blog about it? 🙂

      • Good content. Duh.

      • Pat

        Oh! Guess I didn’t realize since I’m not a blogger 🙂

    • GT500KR

      DH is a role, yes, but it’s a role specified by rule. That differentiates it from relief pitcher. If there was no DH, the Mariners would have left Martinez at 3rd until his defense became unbearable, then moved him to 1b. A .405 wOBA , 65 fWAR, that’s Frank Thomas (and therefore HoF) territory, especially if you give Martinez a bump because Seattle didn’t give him a full-time job until he was 27, even though he’d terrorized minor league pitchers for years previously. I realize we’re agreeing and I’m rambling on, but thought I’d point that out.

      Compare that to relievers — nobody thinks that Hoffman, Wagner, or Smith would have been even decent starting pitchers. They became relievers for that very reason.

      Walker is in that Darrel Evans category, if you’ve read the Bill James Historical Abstract. Good at a lot of things but not one BIG skill, really good at things that are hard to notice (defense, baserunning), played for multiple teams, put up his biggest counting numbers in a park that’s hard to account for. To be optimistic, Raines was in a similar boat until this election.

      • Pat

        Yes, I agree you can further differentiate between DH and relief pitcher in this way, but I think the bigger distinction is simply in playing time and impact. Martinez as a full time DH was getting 4 to 5 PA’s per game, 140 or so games per season, and over 2,000 games and 8,600 PA’s over the course of his career. Hoffman, who folks like to point to as someone who had a LONG career as a reliever, and he did, appeared in about half that many games, and essentially one inning at a time. There’s simply no way he had anywhere near the impact of even a DH like Martinez. Heck, Martinez, who folks generally characterize solely as a DH, has over 4 times as many innings on defense as Hoffman has IP.

        “Compare that to relievers — nobody thinks that Hoffman, Wagner, or Smith would have been even decent starting pitchers. They became relievers for that very reason.”

        Would this were so! Last year I had this conversation with an old school voter who had Hoffman on his ballot, but not Mussina. When I pointed out that relievers were nothing more than failed starters, he scoffed at my antiquated attitude. There are many, obviously by Hoffman’s vote count, old school types who fully buy into the closer narrative and think it is somehow special, and that this elevates them to a comparable level as a starting pitcher. It’s baffling to me, but there it is. He had not even bothered to look at Wagner’s minor league record which shows him as a starter essentially the entire time, nor had he done so with Smith, who wasn’t converted to a reliever until his fifth year in the minors (Hoffman is a bit unique in that he was a converted position player, but the example still stands). It’s also readily apparent, or should be, in the difference in salaries paid to starters versus closers. But, IMO, the writers created the narrative of The Closer!, and so they buy into it when it comes to voting.

        “Walker is in the Dwight Evans category, if you’ve read the Bill James Historical Abstract…. To be optimistic, Raines was in a similar boat until this election.”
        Sure, I know where you’re coming from. Walker also has other issues such as writers not being able to deal with the effects of Coors, and his lack of in season durability. On the former I’ve tried pointing out to voters that his road OPS/slash stats match up nicely with numerous other HOF corner OF, but on the latter I don’t think there’s anything which will overcome it any time soon. Too many voters are simply too enamored with the quantity of counting stats compiled by HOF players, and use them as a criterion for measuring HOF candidates. Relative to other HOF corner OF he’s well below on playing time, nearly 1,800 PA’s fewer than the average, which leads to lesser counting stats (and discounting of the ones he has because, Coors!)..
        I’d love to be optimistic on him, but he’s really not in a similar boat to Raines. Rock dropped to 46% in his 7th year on the ballot (when three went in while Biggio and Piazza were in their second year), and he still bounced back to 55% the next year despite four going in! Walker is at less than half of that 46% now in his 7th year, and still on a very crowded ballot. Realistically he doesn’t have a shot with the writers.

      • GT500KR

        The closer narrative seems to be more “It takes guts” than “they could have been starting pitchers.” I don’t think anybody outside an absolute fringe minority believe that most closers could have been adequate starters, and, as you say, they don’t get paid like it. But you’re right, some fans and writers still manage the mental gymnastics to KNOW that closers are failed starters, to KNOW that teams don’t value them like starters, but still BELIEVE that closers possess magic powers.

        There was a segment a few years ago on the MLB Network regarding Chapman. It was Brian Kenney and two players (Leiter, Ripken? Doesn’t matter). The two players were all in favor of Chapman’s conversion to closer. “He can impact 60 or 70 games a year! A starter only impacts 30 or so.” Kenney asked, with I’m sure secret glee in his heart, “Why not convert Kershaw then?” The former players looked like they’d swallowed a chicken bone.

        On Raines, I mean he had the same complications as Walker, not the voting totals. A generalist whose best skills (baserunning and getting on-base) weigh less with traditional voters than power, RBI, and postseason success. Barring a Blyleven / Raines campaign on his behalf, he’s probably outside looking in, but before sabremetrics he’d have no chance at all.

      • Pat

        Oh sorry. I mistook your Raines, Walker comment. Great story about Kershaw being converted to a closer!

  • Double_Up

    No to steroids. Vlad deserved in, and with so many new voters going hard to push steroid users into the Hall, and newly eligible players coming on, and WAR people who vote based on biased ice cream numbers, not baseball facts, Vlad may never get in. I can easily see him dropping below 60% next year:
    Chipper, Thome, Clemens, Bonds, Mussina, Schilling, Rolen, Andruw, Martinez, Walker, Sosa, Ramirez, and Hoffman will get a ton of votes.

    No room for a player who is one of 6, first born in almost 100 years, to hit over .315 with over 400 HR, and rake 35 HR, 123 RBI, and 186 hits average for 11 years. Sad.

    • Pay

      On the off chance you’re not a straight up troll, Guerrero is not going to drop next year. He is not going to lose votes to the many guys you listed who he is in front of. He is not going to lose votes to Andruw Jones, or to Rolen, both of whom will be fighting to make it to 5%. Thome and Chipper Jones will have sufficient ballot space due to four people dropping off, the three elected plus Smith. We’re either looking at four going in, or three with Thome just missing.

  • nick

    Here are some numbers for you all
    Player A (not in HOF)
    .284 BA 2490 hits 1305 BB 1550 RBI
    Player B (HOF)
    .297 BA 2314 hits 1401 BB 1529 RBI
    Player C (HOF)
    .298 BA 2452 hits 1423 BB 1451 RBI
    Player A postseason career 50 games .303 BA 57 hits 10 HR 37 RBI
    Player B postseason career 33 games ,226 BA 24 hits 2 hr 13 rbi
    Player C postseason career 18 games .225 BA 16 hits 2 HR 7 RBI
    Player A is Fred McGriff Player B is Jeff Bagwell and player C is Jim Rice.
    Absolutely no way Fred McGriff isn’t in the HOF. There is zero argument against and zero logic behind this. Any true baseball analyst should see this