If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, I’d look for the fire, collapsing structure, and/or runaway train/vehicle, and then, yes I’d jump, Mooom. When TCM and Bill put up their ballots, I didn’t really feel obligated to do one, but once Jason did it, I couldn’t become the least favorite son and look like a slacker. Well, okay I’m already the lesser of the two sons, but I just don’t want to lose anymore ground than I already have, okay? Anyway, without further ado.
Jeff Bagwell: He’s 34th all-time in OPS+ at 149, and he was an excellent baserunner and defender. The OPS+ adjusts for era and such, and he’s still one of the best hitters ever. But he might have used steroids! Even if he did, it wasn’t illegal, you doofuses. Get over your self-righteous indignation and put him in already. It’s already a year overdue.
Jeromy Burnitz: A .253/.345/.481 career line for an 111 OPS+ is a perfectly acceptable playing career. The only thing memorable about him is my 10-12 year-old team running around yelling, “Burn itz down. Burn itz down” to make fun of a kid who like him. Yeah, it’s not that funny. We were 10. We thought we were clever.
Vinny Castilla: I will always, always, always blame Castilla for making Chipper move, which made his hamstrings explode and his feet crack, which ruined Chipper’s chances at 3,000/500, which ultimately hasn’t ruined Chipper’s Hall of Fame chances. I still hate Vinny.
Juan Gonzalez: I used to imagine I was playing professional baseball while I was goofing around in my basement. I had a glove, a rubber ball, and a sturdy whiffle ball bat to go through this charade. I remember acting like I was a big power-hitter, but I didn’t know what the record for RBIs (I still cared about that at the time) was. I acted like I had 297 in one season. When Gonzalez came along and had his 1998 season (I was 10), I learned the record was 190. Then it got changed to 191. That’s what Gonzalez means to me.
Brian Jordan: He’ll always bring fond memories to mind for his three pretty good seasons in Atlanta that always seemed more than that. He’s now a pretty terrible broadcaster, but I give him a pass because I like him. That kindness doesn’t extend here, though. For what it’s worth, he and Gonzalez have the same amount of bWAR at 33.5.
Barry Larkin: Larkin’s 11th all-time among shortstops in OPS+ at 116, and he was a good defensive shortstop and baserunner. He and Jose Rijo are the only Reds I remember from my youth (other than Dave Burba; did Burba play for the Reds?), and I don’t remember thinking “Hall of Famer” when I thought of him. That’s why I have stats. They tell me he was.
Javy Lopez: Another former Brave, I loved Lopez. I remember my brother (huge Maddux fan) and I getting into a knock-out-drag-out brothers fight over the fact that Maddux didn’t like Lopez catching him. Adam, my brother, though Lopez was a terrible catcher. All I cared about was that Lopez could hit way better than Eddie Perez. I will not admit defeat in this argument, but Lopez was not a Hall of Famer.
Edgar Martinez: The most baffling thing about the Hall of Fame ballots that will be issued is not the steroid accusations and dismissals. I can understand that. They’re wrong, but I can understand. What I cannot understand are the people who will vote for Lee Smith and not Edgar Martinez. THAT. MAKES. NO. SENSE. His OPS+ was 147 (just a bit below Bagwell), and while he provided no defensive value and wasn’t a good baserunner, the offense was plenty to give him 67 WAR for his career. Bagwell’s an easy call for the Hall. Martinez is more debatable, but he’s still a pretty solid yes.
Don Mattingly: That someone will vote for him and not Bagwell is probably the second dumbest thing a BBWAA writer will do. Mattingly was a perfectly good player, but he had a total of 6 3+-win seasons. After 28, he was essentially done. I don’t care about the mustache (well, I do but not for this) or how nice he was. I guess he wouldn’t be the worst guy in the Hall, but that’s not really an argument you should be making to get him in.
Fred McGriff: Check that, the second dumbest thing will be someone voting Mattingly over McGriff. I love McGriff. He really got the ball rolling with me and being a Braves fan, but I wasn’t terribly torn up when the Braves let him go and got Andres Galarraga. Galarraga was way better … as a Brave anyway, and he beat the shit out of cancer. Oh this was about McGriff, sorry. No, just not quite enough peak or total value.
Mark McGwire: I have a semi-hard time with McGwire, but it has nothing to do with steroids. While his 162 OPS+ is good enough for 12th all-time, he was atrocious defensively and on the bases, which really hurts his value. That being said, he was one of the best hitters of all-time, and he can’t be left out of the Hall of Fame.
Jack Morris: His ERA+ was 105. His mother f$%^ing ERA+ was 105. That makes him a pretty good pitcher, but he was far from being excellent or Hall of Fame-caliber. Chuck Finley had a 115 ERA+. There are over 400 pitchers with a better ERA+ in their career than Morris. IF HE WAS SUCH A GOOD PITCHER, HE SHOULD HAVE PITCHED BETTER MORE OFTEN.
Bill Mueller: I remember Bill Mueller being a Red Sox and being good for a couple years. I know nothing else about his career. There’s something interesting about that, but I can’t put my finger on it. That being said, he was a decent player but not even Hall of Very Good-worthy.
Terry Mulholland: “Terry, which hat would you like to wear on your plaque?”
Dale Murphy: Even during his peak years, FanGraphs doesn’t even have him as one of the top 10 most valuable players. His peak was certainly good, but he was just worthless otherwise. I really like Murphy, and he holds a special place in my heart. But he’s more of a Hall of Really Odd and Interesting than Hall of Fame.
Phil Nevin: I used to play wiffle ball with a neighbor who was a couple years older than me. We would imitate the teams’ lineups, and he always beat me (he was like 3 years older than me). The only time I beat him was by imitating the San Diego Padres, and I won the game on an opposite field, walk-off bomb off the top of the neighbor’s roof. Suck it.
Rafael Palmeiro: I go back-and-forth on Palmeiro. He had a few really, really good seasons, but for the most part, he just played pretty well for a long time. That got him the 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but all in all, he had a 132 OPS+, good for 127th all-time. I go back-and-forth and want to dock him for raging on Congress and then using, but in the end, I wouldn’t really mind him being in. I’ll put a check next to his name.
Brad Radke: The only thing I know about Radke is that he made Bill an emotional sissy.
Tim Raines: Funny story, I didn’t know who Tim Raines was until 4 years ago. Had no idea. Absolutely no idea. Feel bad about that now that I know how good he was.
Tim Salmon: There’s always that guy you have to trade for when you play a video game. Tim Salmon was that guy for a few years. I really have no idea. Last year, I had to get Tyler Clippard and Ryan Webb, so I guess that tells me that my video game whims have nothing to do with guys who should make the Hall of Fame. I am actually shocked by how good Salmon really was, though. .282/.385/.498 for his career, but the dude was seriously bad in the field.
Lee Smith: Seriously, the dumbest thing people will do will be to vote for him and not Edgar Martinez. In what world does it make sense to keep Martinez out because he was a “part-timer” and vote in a guy who pitched like 70 innings a year? He was a really nice reliever but no.
Alan Trammel: He was basically Barry Larkin, just a tad worse. I have no idea, if one has any intellectual honesty, how one would vote for Larkin and not Trammel. I’m pretty sure it’s intellectually bankrupt, and it doesn’t make any sense.
Larry Walker: Coors Field blah blah blah. He was pretty awesome before and after Coors Field, and OPS+, which takes parks into account, rates him at 140. Add in that he was a terrific outfielder and baserunner, and he’s a Hall of Famer to me. Yes, Coors Field is a hitter’s paradise. That does not mean that everything that happens there is a mirage.
Bernie Williams: Bernie was the center fielder for the Yankees during my growth as a baseball fan, but I was always convinced he was a bit player in their runs. I never considered him a cog. I have no idea why that is, and I know that I was wrong about that. But I’m always shocked when I see the .297/.381/.477 line. It’s just too bad he wasn’t even a decent center fielder for most of his career. I think he’s as comfortably out as Edgar is comfortably in. There’s a case to be made, but there’s just not a good one.
Tony Womack and Eric Young: You guys were really fast.
So, we’ve got Bagwell, Larkin, Martinez, McGwire, Palmeiro, Raines, Trammel, and Walker. I don’t think any of those guys lowers the standard at all.