The MLB Hall of Fame is a prestigious club. Only the top one percent of those who have played in the league
Nevertheless, the Baseball Writers Association of America has the distinct honor and duty to vote in who they feel are deserving. And while I do not have an official vote, I wanted to give my opinion as to who I think deserves to be an MLB Hall of Famer. And to add my opinion about the Hall of Fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the only one that truly matters. But let’s not hesitate any longer here are my picks for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame. And also check out my selections from last year’s vote.
Just Missed Section
So let me begin by saying, this is what my ballot would look like if my vote were to count. And I keep to the rules followed by the members of the BBWAA. So I can only have a maximum of ten votes, and I made ten selections. I also made choices based on guys I feel are worthy but are at risk on not meeting the 5% mark to remain on the ballot. So guys that I would have voted for like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Omar Vizquel, Jeff Kent, and Curt Schilling I could not fit on my ballot. Another guy I would have voted for if I had on another spot to be able to keep him on the ballot was Andruw Jones. But again the list is limited to ten votes.
No. 1: Mariano Rivera
I will start with an easy one, Mariano Rivera. Mo is the first name I looked for on the ballot and the first one I checked off. There is only one clown that isn’t voting for Mariano, and he’s just doing that to get his 15 minutes of fame. But everyone else knows that Mariano is the Greatest of All Time. So I’ll move on.
No. 2: Edgar Martinez
Edgar is on his final year on the ballot. And the fact that he hasn’t already been inducted in an absolute joke in my opinion. But despite that injustice to this point, I do believe Edgar gets the call this year. Martinez is arguably the best pure hitter of the last generation. And Edgar was able to thrive in a position where most others struggle.
The Designated Hitter has been viewed as less than a real position become they aren’t playing defense. But hitting at the Major League level is not an easy task. And Edgar did that better than anyone else before him, and nearly everyone since him. And it is apropos that Mariano enters the final year that Edgar is on the ballot because he gave Mariano the most difficulty during Mo’s career.
No. 3: Fred McGriff
Much like Edgar Martinez, the Crime Dog, Fred McGriff is on his final year on the ballot. However, sadly unlike Martinez, McGriff doesn’t seem likely to reach the promise land this year, although he without question should. McGriff is penalized for playing clean through a dirty era. The Steroid debate will live on for the rest of times. Guys like Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa have seen their production totals elevated by steroids. And yet many of the BBWAA voters say that they will not vote for steroid guys, which is their prerogative. But yet they don’t vote for a man that played clean and is being overshadowed by players in his era that played dirty.
Fred McGriff would end his career with 493 home runs, 1550 rbi’s and a slash line of .284/.377/.509. Across his 19 Major League seasons, McGriff would average (according to BaseballReference.com’s 162 Game Average) 32 home runs, 102 rbi’s to compliment that impressive .284/.377/.509 slash line. And across postseason Crime Dog would be even better slashing .303/.385/.532. Proving to elevate his already stellar game when it counted most. Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff is a Hall of Famer, period end of story.
No. 4: Mike Mussina
Mike Mussina is often overlooked when discussing the games best pitchers in history. Mussina would pitch 18 seasons in the Major Leagues. All 18 of which came in the ultra-difficult American League East. Moose would win 270 games and pitch to an ERA of 3.68. Mike Mussina may have never won a Cy Young, but he would receive Cy Young votes across nine different seasons including his final active year in 2008, at the age of 39. Mike Mussina would be a dominant force in the high-scoring environment of the highest scoring era in baseball history. That to me qualifies him as a Hall of Famer.
No. 5: Roy Halladay
It is sad that Doc Halladay won’t be with us for his induction into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, New York’s Museum of baseball excellence. But despite his much too soon passing, Doc did more than enough to earn his spot. The Two-Time Cy Young award winner would dominate on the mound for 16 seasons. He would amass 203 career wins and a career ERA of 3.38 to go along with a career ERA+ of 131 (league average 100.) Roy Halladay was amongst the best to ever step on a mound, and the eight-time All-Star deserves his legacy etched in the halls of immortality.
No. 6: Scott Rolen
While some may question this addition, there is no denying the impact Scott made in the MLB. One of the best fielding third basemen of all time, Rolen would capture eight Gold Gloves to go along with seven All-Star selections and a 1997 Rookie of the Year award. Now personally growing up in Sout Jersey, I got to see a lot of Rolen’s early career. So I have a special place in my memory for Rolen. And although injuries would derail the latter half of his 17-year career. Rolen would still make an impact and would receive my vote as a stay of execution on falling off the ballot as he only received 10.2% of votes.
No. 7: Larry Walker
Another man plagued by injuries during the latter half of his career, Larry Walker would also receive my vote. For another old enough to have watched Walker in Montreal you know the all-around all-world talent that Larry Walker possessed. Larry Walker was the true epitome of a 5-Tool Player. And when Walker went to Colorado people did not give him the required credit that was merited. And once Walker left Colorado the stigma was already there even though the Hall of Fame worthy resumé was already in place.
No. 8: Billy Wagner
Billy Wagner much like Fred McGriff gets penalized for the era in which he played. Wagner often gets compared against Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman the two greatest closers in history. And while Wagner may not be Mo of Hoff, he has his place among the elite in baseball history. Billy Wagner would pitch less than 1000 innings for his career which hurts his candidacy with voters. But in those 903 innings he pitched, he was incredibly dominant. Wagner would amass 1196 strikeouts and only 300 walks. That’s a SO/BB of 3.99 and add in his SO/9 of 11.9; Billy Wagner was filthy. Wagner would also notch 422 saves in his career and allow 300 fewer hits than innings pitched. Wagner may not be Mariano, but he is no doubt a Hall of Famer.
No. 9: Todd Helton
Just like much of the argument against Larry Walker stems from the Coors Field effect. The entire case against Todd Helton is how much did Coors aid him. Helton spent his entire 17 year Major League career in Colorado. And often that discredits a player and their numbers. Despite the Coors effect, Helton would have over 2500 hits, over 1400 rbi’s and an OPS+ of 133 (again league average is 100.) Todd for his 162 game average (according to BaseballReference.com) would slash .316/.414/.539. And even when you split up his career slash line, Todd Helton would still be over the line of the Hall of Fame mark (H-.345/.441/.607, A-.287/.386/.469)
No. 10: Lance Berkman
Lance Berkman, much like Todd Helton, Scott Rolen, Andruw Jones, and Billy Wagner are players that deserve an extended look. We have seen talented Hall of Fame potential players fall off the ballot because of the 5% rule. Thus my selection of Lance Berkman is about the combination of his talent needing to be deep dived upon and the 5% rule. Berkman played well during his career, and his 7 MVP votes and 6 All-Star selections are evidence of that. But despite those accolades, he was never viewed as elite. However, when you examine back his numbers for an exercise such as this, you realize just how talented and worthy the player is of the Hall of Fame vote.
The Final Verdict is in January 22nd
Ultimately the decision of who makes it into the Baseball Hall of Fame will be on the Baseball Writers Association of America. The players that they select will be announced on January 22nd. I encourage you as baseball fans to run through this exercise yourself. Check the stats, looks at video and remember back to find your perfect ballot. But remember your ballot is your own. So