Growing up, we learn to idolize people who stand above and beyond. Being a millennial, I was not around when greats such as Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, etc. played. However, certain players are known to the younger generations anyway. Their legacy lives on, because they are inducted into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Nowadays, the players I grew up watching are retiring, and a select few have had their names on the Hall of Fame ballot to be recognized as one of the greats of all time. I do not have a Hall of Fame vote, but I do have an opinion on which players should get in and why
Voters are limited to ten player votes. All of these players are very good, however, they have to be recognized by 75% of the voters as the best of the best. No write-in votes are allowed, only the players chosen to be on the final ballot can be taken into consideration. With the limitations, several deserving names have to be left off. However, the following ten names (random order) are in my opinion the ten most deserving names:
Jeff Bagwell (Previous Percentage of Votes Received: 71.6%)
.297/.408/.540, 449 HR, 1529 RBI
A member of the 200-200 club, Bagwell was the leading voter last season to not get elected into the Hall of Fame. He delivered with a large amount of power, while also hitting for average. The biggest question surrounding Bagwell was alleged steroid usage. There were similar rumors surrounding Mike Piazza, who was elected last season. With an already high percentage, and one “tainted” player now elected, Jeff Bagwell should be able to get into the Hall, with very deserving numbers.
Trevor Hoffman (67.3%)
2.87 ERA, 601 SV, 1.058 WHIP, 1133 KO
There are only two players with over 500 career saves. There are also only two players with over 600 career saves. Trevor Hoffman is one of them, with Mariano Rivera being the other. Trevor Hoffman was simply dominant. The past few post-seasons, we have come to further learn the strength behind a talented bullpen. Hoffman’s numbers are phenomenal. If it was not for Rivera, Hoffman’s amount of saves would be unimaginable. In this new bullpen era, Hoffman deserves recognition. He belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Curt Schilling (52.3%)
216-146, 3.46 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 3116 KO
Schilling did not have a tremendous ERA. He allowed guys to get on base, he allowed some runs, but he won. He especially won when it counted. Over 19 playoff starts, Schilling had an ERA of 2.23, with an 11-2 record. A three time world champ, Schilling is one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. The regular season strikeout numbers show he still was very effective before October rolled around. Regardless of 38 Studios, or controversial statements while working for ESPN, Curt Schilling was a winner. A winner belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds (44.3)
Do I even need to list Bond’s numbers? There is no question to whether or not they are Hall worthy, it is a matter of if steroid users should be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Bonds definitely did use, but in the court of American Law, he is innocent. It is nothing more than allegations. You don’t care? Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mayes are just some of the current Hall of Famers to allegedly use amphetamines. I’d argue that is worse than taking steroids. Amphetamines helped with focus, allowing a player to hit the ball. Steroids allowed them to hit the ball further. One enhanced a skill, one created it. If you’d leave in Aaron, Mantle, and Mayes, what’s your argument against Bonds? That steroids were banned? There weren’t punishments. We are all guilty of driving 35 in a 25 MPH zone. If there isn’t enforcement, the rules won’t be followed. He never faced suspension. Do you erase the entire era, because so many guys used steroids? Even before the alleged usage, he put together a Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh. Then we get back to Mike Piazza. Barry Bonds was an animal. I could argue for him even more, but this is a Hall of Fame article, not a Barry Bonds article. Hands down, Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer.
Roger Clemens (45.2%)
This is another player’s numbers who I do not need to list. It gets down to steroid users being allowed into the Hall of Fame. Piazza’s in, and if Bonds is on my ballot, Clemens should come as no surprise. This doesn’t mean that Clemens did not take steroids. He definitely did. But how many other players used steroids? How many of those steroid users were that dominant? I could raise millions of points again. Bonds and Clemens are a package deal, and I’d be shipping that package to Cooperstown.
Edgar Martinez (43.4%)
.312/.418/.515, 309 HR, 1261 RBI
Maybe his numbers do not jump off the page. He didn’t exactly provide the biggest power numbers, and as a DH his only job is to provide runs. A .312 average is nothing to hold against him, but the real thing held against him is the position he played. The designated hitter is a position. You might not be a fan of it, but if it is in existence a player shouldn’t be discredited for filling an actual role. We’ll see what happens in five years when Ortiz is on the ballot. Growing up closest to an American League city, I recognize the DH. The best of the era was Edgar Martinez. He belongs.
Vladimir Guerrero (1st year on ballot)
.318/.379/.553, 449 HR, 1496 RBI
A power hitter that hit .318? That is a player that you need to have in your lineup, and needs to be included in this ballot. Vladdy leads the list of potential candidates in batting average. In his career, the lowest he ever hit (other than 9 games as a September call-up) in a season was .290, and that was during his last season. He might only have been the MVP once, but his numbers cannot be ignored. Vladimir Guerrero is a Hall of Famer, and can be expected to get in on his first try.
Tim Raines (69.8%)
.294/.385/.425, 2605 hits, 808 SB
Tim Raines is one of the few players on this list who I do not remember watching. Maybe that’s because he has already been retired for fifteen seasons. Fifteen years is a long time. The time between has gone by fast, but not as fast as Tim Raines. With twelve seasons of 30 steals or more, Raines ranks fifth in all time steals. An average below .300 for a guy who did not have a lot of power might not seem worthy enough. Raines offensive job was to steal bases. He did it better than almost everyone else. While he was the toughest decisions on this list, Tim Raines was an all-time great amongst base stealers, and deserves the recognition of a plaque.
Billy Wagner (10.5%)
2.31 ERA, 422 SV, 0.998 WHIP, 1196 KO
Billy Wagner does not have the amount of saves as Hoffman. Trevor Hoffman did a great job at locking guys down. Billy Wagner did even better. With an ERA measuring in at half a run less, a WHIP below one, and more strikeouts over less seasons, Wagner measured out to be a better pitcher in averages. Hoffman was better in the stat that can only go up, not down, saves. If we do look at stats that add up over time, Hoffman lost 35 more games in only two more seasons. Hoffman cannot be discredited, but save opportunities come from the situations brought on as a result of everyone else. It is not Wagner’s fault that he didn’t get as many chances. He should not be penalized for being on a team that did not produce as much. If Hoffman gets in, Wagner deserves to get in.
Gary Sheffield (11.6)
.292/.393/.514, 509 HR, 1676 RBI, 253 SB
Gary Sheffield’s numbers are impressive. Very impressive. If he were clean, he’d be in the Hall already. He’s admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, but says he did so unknowingly. For those of you against voting in steroid users, scroll back up. We’ve had this debate. We didn’t see Sheffield suspended. The difference between him and the other users I’ve mentioned is Sheffield admitted it. If I’m saying Bonds belongs, or Clemens belongs, Sheffield belongs as one of the best steroid users of all time.
Do not agree with my ten? Comment with who you would elect into the Hall of Fame.
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