Trevor Hoffman got 74 percent of the vote for the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, which put him one percentage point—or five measly votes—away from getting the Cooperstown call.

Even though I wrote that I wouldn’t have voted for Hoffman if I had a ballot of my own, I can certainly understand the argument that he’s a Hall-of-Fame level player, and I can further understand the disappointment for a city of sports fans looking for something to cling to.

Hoffman didn’t get in because he came up five votes short, obviously, and also because he’s something of a borderline candidate (also potentially because of a Boston bias). Nobody really knows how to handle relievers, and Hoffman—much as it pains me to admit—isn’t close to the Mariano Rivera level of relief pitcher dominance. Nobody is, really. So he hovers on the Hall periphery, gaining more support from the old-school voters than from the younger ones, more support from the west coast than from the east coast.

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Tom Verducci, respected baseball writer and talking head, wrote an article earlier this week about why he won’t vote for any known steroid users for the Hall of Fame. That’s a fine premise, really, and even though I clearly disagree, I can’t rail against the mind-set too vigorously. It’s fair, I guess.

What I can rail against are the specifics of Verducci’s article because, you know, I have both the time and awareness for nuance. Without going full FJM-style, here are a few things to chew on:

At one point, Verducci compares Fred McGriff to Barry Bonds, wondering what would have happened if McGriff went to BALCO and Bonds did not, going so far as to jerry-rig a virtual final stat line for each player. Okay, fine. The kicker is that Bonds would have still out-homered the Crime Dog, 599 to 564, and that’s without mentioning the obvious: that Bonds was a world-class outfielder and base runner and that McGriff, despite his full endorsement of Tom Emanski’s fielding videos, was a sub-par defensive first baseman with 72 career stolen bases.

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Believe it or not, I don’t have an actual Hall of Fame vote. But if I did, here’s what mine would look like.

On the Ballot

Barry Bonds—In 2004, Bonds’ worst month was May, where he hit .250/.532/.542. He had 29 walks and four strikeouts in 77 plate appearances . . . in his worst month of the season. At one point in 2002, Bonds—the game’s preeminent power hitter—went 20 straight games without striking out, racking up nine home runs, 24 walks, and a 1.622 OPS over the stretch. Warts and all, you can’t have a respectable Hall of Fame without Bonds.

Bonus points for:

  • Posting a .480 on-base percentage in his final season, at age 42.
  • Going 30-for-33 on steal attempts over the last six years of his career.

Roger Clemens—Clemens won at least one Cy Young award on four different teams (he won seven total), spanning three decades. And he should have won more. In 1990, he lost out to Bob Welch, despite racking up over seven bWAR more than Welch (Welch went 27-6 vs. Clemens’ 21-6); that’s like a full Max Scherzer of separation. He also could have/should have won in 1988 (finished 6th), 1992 (3rd), 1996 (no votes), and 2005 (3rd). Sure, there’s a big ol’ elephant in the room here, but like with Bonds, Clemens was too good to keep out.

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It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – Hall of Fame voting season! Every year, we gnash our teeth and argue in circles over mostly stupid things. The most recent trend seems to center on excluding players who played during the “Steroid Era” (but not those who we perceive as being clean, because you can just tell…you know?), which completely avoids context and usually devolves into general shouting at clouds. And then there’s Curt Schilling, who deserves to be in, but is an all-around awful/racist/xenophobic human being…which was probably enough to keep him out (for now), but several writers have finally decided he was bad because he posted a picture a shirt implying journalists should be hanged. Which is awful, but that was the tipping point? Anyway, enough garbage – we’re here to talk about Trevor Hoffman’s candidacy.

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The Tony Gwynn Museum at AleSmith has an update.

The 5,000 square foot museum will be the home to more than 300 items from the baseball Hall of Famers career, spanning from his early days in Little League, his time playing and coaching at SDSU and, of course, his entire Padres career, and will be occasionally rotated out to keep things fresh and new.

They are planning to complete the project by the 2016 MLB All-Star game, that will be hosted right here in San Diego at Petco Park on July 12th. To accomplish their goal, they are going to attempt to raise some funds.

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On Sunday, the Padres invited 40 or so fans who are active on social media to attend #SDSocialSummit, where we would get to chat with each other face to face and also ask questions of key decision makers. The team fed us and put us up in a suite in the Western Metal Building.

While the free food and seats are much appreciated, you should know that my price for loyalty is a lot higher than that. Yeah, I had to buy my own beer.

Anyway, I didn’t take notes and this isn’t exhaustive, but here are some highlights from the event.

BS Plaza

The Padres acknowledged their mistake in the way they communicated the creation of Bud Selig Plaza at Petco Park, but not the creation of BS Plaza itself. They later took us to the physical spot and showed us their plan for the space.

Not that I ever want to see Selig’s name on anything, but if they’d explained to the general public what they were actually doing, this wouldn’t have been such a big deal. As much as I wanted to be angry, after looking at the area, I was underwhelmed.

The idea of honoring former Padres players who are in the Hall of Fame representing other teams (Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry, Ozzie Smith, etc.) is noble. I’m glad they’ll be moving the plaques from their current inaccessible location under the batter’s eye to somewhere fans can enjoy them.

I’m less thrilled about having Selig’s name attached to the area. Symbolically it sucks. Then again, we’re free to call it BS Plaza while remembering a bit of Padres history.

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The Hall of Fame faces a credibility problem. Despite an abundance of worthy candidates, voters failed to induct anyone in 2012. After welcoming players with questionable credentials (e.g., Jim Rice over several similar players; Bruce Sutter, who wasn’t that much better than John Wetteland) in recent years, they denied entry to the game’s brightest superstars, thus diminishing the impact and relevance of an institution that serves to celebrate baseball’s rich history.

Steroids played a role. Or, the writers’ response to steroids played a role. Either way, their failure to act created a backlog of players who deserve to be honored in Cooperstown. With many more added to the ballot in 2013 and a limit of 10 selections per voter, some will be denied again. Others, who merit a longer look, risk failing to reach the minimum number of votes required to stay on future ballots.

There is an irony in writers who covered baseball during the so-called Steroid Era now denying entry to stars of that era. It’s as though the cloud of suspicion that hangs over those stars never existed while they were playing. As though nobody (aside from the occasional Steve Wilstein) thought to inquire into steroid usage until well after the chemically enhanced home-run delirium that helped baseball recover from a costly mid-’90s work stoppage had subsided. Read More…

Last year I submitted a mock Hall of Fame vote on the old Ghost of Ray Kroc blog. If you read it at the time, I’m shocked.

I do have a strong opinion on certain players not getting into the Hall because of PEDs:  They shouldn’t be allowed to even be on the ballot, let alone get in.

But, they’re on there. Doesn’t mean anyone has to vote for them though.

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In case you weren’t paying attention…

Always enjoy responsibly. Don’t read and drive.

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