Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Common Man's 2011-2012 Hall of Fame Ballot

Bill laid out his Hall of Fame picks the other day, so it's incumbent upon The Common Man to similarly lay his cards on the table. Here's TCM's fake ballot:

Jeff Bagwell: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Bagwell is one of the ten best first basemen in baseball history. That's not up for debate. Anyone saying otherwise is plum ignorant. And anyone who wants to keep him out because they think, without evidence, he might have used PEDs is probably a damned plagiarist.

Jeromy Burnitz: No. The Indians didn't need him when they traded him to the Brewers for Kevin Seitzer, but he became an excellent player quickly in Milwaukee. Seems like the Tribe should have done more with him. Burnitz killed everyone's buzz in 1999 during the Home Run Derby, when he ousted Mark McGwire in the second round. Boo. Still, a very good career.

Vinny Castilla: No. Superficially strong numbers, achieved thanks to the general league uptick in offense and the six full seasons in Colorado mask the fact that Vinny actually wasn't very good. Averaging under 40 walks per 162 games? Ew.

Juan Gonzalez: No. He's not a Hall of Famer, but good God did the man have power. The only players with more homers through age 23 when he hit did it in 1993 were Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Junior Griffey, Ted Williams, and Orlando Cepeda. Then he got hurt. It's easy to assume that's when he started using PEDs. But he faded out far too quickly. Essentially done at age 33.

Brian Jordan: No. Nobody ever talked about Brian Jordan's football player mentality, did they? They saved that for America's toughest punter, Darin Erstad.

Barry Larkin: Yes. If the Reds had invested more of their ego into Kurt Stillwell, who was the 2nd overall pick in 1983 (ahead of Roger Clemens, by the way), Larkin (the 4th overall pick in 1985) may have never gotten a chance. But Cincinnati committed to Larkin, getting Danny Jackson from the Royals for Stillwell. Personally, The Common Man thinks he's the 11th best shortstop in baseball history. Good enough.

Javy Lopez: No. As Bill pointed out yesterday, Lopez had one crazy out there season. But he also was a really great catcher for a long time, and was an enduring part of the Braves dynasty in the 1990s and early 2000s. Strange that he only was an All Star three times, but Mike Piazza and Jason Kendall were premier players in the NL at that point.

Edgar Martinez: Yes. DH is a position. It has been so for 40 years. One thing that doesn't get discussed enough is how DH allows you to play a bad fielder, and collect all his hitting value, without that player costing you runs in the field. It's a tremendous advantage, especially when you contribute as many runs with the bat as Edgar did.

Don Mattingly: No. Sorry. He just didn't play well enough, long enough. If you vote for Mattingly, and you don't vote for Fred McGriff or didn't vote for John Olerud, you've lost all credibility.

Fred McGriff: Yes. Like Bill, The Common Man is a big hall guy. Of the 145 hitters in the Hall of Fame, McGriff would be tied with TOny Perez in rWAR for 95th. It's not great, but it's enough given that McGriff was a big part of baseball history in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Mark McGwire: Yes. The Common Man has no problem voting for players who used PEDs, and McGwire is the ultimate test case for that. He didn't "disgrace the game" in the 1990s any more than the hundreds of other hitters and pitchers who used PEDs, and who McGwire had to compete against, in the 1990s but weren't caught did. He was a force of nature, and to not include him would be to start a process to essentially omit an entire era's-worth of the best players in the game, which would delegitimize the Hall of Fame, and the idea of making the HOF being an honor for a player's performance.

Jack Morris: No. Bill and The Common Man went around and around and around on this last year. Here's TCM's take: The Common Man wouldn't vote for him. Morris does not meet TCM's minimum criteria like, say, McGriff does, for extra credit to push him over the top. However, if 75% of the BBWAA voters agree that Morris should make it, it hardly seems like a travesty to TCM. And if you don't like it, be angry for Kevin Brown, and not at Morris.

Bill Mueller: No. What a perfectly nice player. You could win with Bill Mueller, as the Red Sox proved. Not a long enough career, and not enough PAs when he did play.

Terry Mulholland: No. The Common Man's first favorite player, despite the fact that Mulholland was a Giant at the time, thanks to his 1987 Topps card, and a darn good innings eater for the Phillies for four years. God bless lefties who pitch forever.

Dale Murphy: No. Just not good enough for long enough. But when he was at his peak, God what a player.

Phil Nevin: No. Four good years. TCM will always remember how bad he looked at DH for the Twins in 2006, after they got him in August from the Cubs.

Rafael Palmeiro: Yes. As with McGwire, TCM doesn't know who used and who didn't, nor what effect that had. Given that, it's best to give a person the benefit of the doubt. Palmeiro may be the definition of a "compiler," but that just means he was really really good for a long time.

Brad Radke: Yes. Like Bill, TCM has no problem throwing a courtesy vote a player's way if there's room on your ballot and as a sign of respect for what that player meant to you and your team. Radke couldn't even comb his own hair by the time his career ended, because it hurt too badly.

Tim Raines: Yes, and it's not close. Just a devastatingly effective player in his prime. Go to this site that Bill linked to yesterday and educate yourself.

Tim Salmon: No, but a tremendous amount of respect for a player that was really good for a really long time. Salmon might be TCM's favorite non-Twin on this ballot.

Lee Smith: No. Just no. Come on, people. Closer isn't a position. If you're going to vote for Smith, you have no excuse not to vote for Edgar.

Alan Trammell: Yes. You know, it's really funny that so many people think Trammell and Larkin were the same player. They weren't. Larkin was a better hitter by quite a bit over his career (though Trammell was probably better in his prime. Meanwhile, (and this shocked TCM) Trammell seems to have been the much better fielder. That's the exact opposite of what The Common Man expected. It all balances out, of course, and the two were worth within a couple wins of each other as players. And both are Hall of Famers.

Larry Walker: No. This is really going to piss Bill off. Unlike McGriff, Walker doesn't get any extra credit from TCM. Especially since he played so many games at Coors Field. At home, he hit like Ruth. On the road, he hit like Corey Hart. It leads The Common Man to believe that WAR still isn't very good on the Coors Questions, or at least it wasn't in the 1990s. This is legitimately one case where The Common Man would need more information to switch his vote.

Bernie Williams: No. Bernie was a very good player for a long time. He just wasn't Hall of Fame-caliber in TCM's mind. Why McGriff and not Bernie? Officially, let's say that McGriff's far superior fWAR gives TCM confidence that McGriff was just better. But unofficially, it's mostly a gut feeling.

Tony Womack: Ha! That's funny. No.

Eric Young: Also no. No real explanation needed.


So that's nine for TCM's ballot: Bagwell, Larkin, Edgar, McGriff, McGwire, Palmeiro, Raines, Trammell, and Radke.


William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Disagree about Radke, McGriff and Larry Walker. but otherwise, a solid "ballot."

Adam Darowski said...

I might not say Walker was "Corey Hart" on the road... I might say "Tim Salmon" or "J.D. Drew", which just sounds better.

Walker on the road: .278/.370/.495
Hart: .277/.334/.487
Drew: .278/.384/.489
Salmon: .282/.385/.498

I mean... is that really a bad road slash for a guy who's a tremendous defensive player and good baserunner?

I used to waver on Walker. But now I just think it's enough.

Vidor said...

It is factually incorrect to call DH a "position". The reason that we call positions "positions" is that they are physical places on the field that baseball players assume when their team takes the field. DHs do not take the field. What a DH is, is a permanent pinch-hitter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being civil about jack morris, whether he gets in or not.