This year’s election is much different than last year’s vote in one specific way.
I can just about vote for everyone that I want to.
Thanks to the IBWAA’s swift couple hour consensus on enlarging the ballot to 15 from 10 ( a process the BBWAA is still in committee over), I can fill out my ballot without having to pull dastardly stunts like I did last year.
There are still a few guys that I would like to vote for but may have to swap out for one reason or another. But I feel less bad leaving them off than I did leaving guys off last year.
For reference, here is last year’s IBWAA voting and here is this year’s ballot.
Who didn’t make the ballot
Below are the guys who got eliminated without a long deliberation. I’ve broken them down into a couple of categories and will quickly define those categories if they’re not self explanatory.
Flashed brilliant- These guys had some Hall of Fame years, but not enough. Rich Aurillia, Aaron Boone, Jermaine Dye, Cliff Floyd, Eddie Guardado, Troy Percival. (Percival could belong in the further consideration group too)
Further consideration- These are guys who could be Hall of Fame, but don’t quite stack up to the rest, maybe in learner years. Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin (The best argument for Trammell is that Larkin is in the Hall, but since Larkin isn’t in the IBWAA hall…) Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlos Delgado, and Sammy Sosa.
It would be nice if most of these guys stayed on the list, I think they can be hall of famers. Sosa takes a back seat to worthy candidate because he was disciplined by the MLB for performance related issues.
Who is on my ballot
2. Barry Bonds– I’m looking forward to see if Bonds and Clemens make progress as the IBWAA adds members.
3. Roger Clemens– Well qualified, well disliked.
4. Randy Johnson– Last year I did not include Greg Maddux. It was because there wasn’t enough ballots to get other deserving players on. I’m happy to vote for (almost) everyone I want this year. Hopefully Randy Johnson, arguably the best lefty ever, hits that elusive 100%.
5. Jeff Kent– Kent was one of the players I wanted to put on my ballot last year, but still couldn’t because of the packed 10-man ballot. Kent was a spectacular second baseman. One of the best. The best should be in the hall.
6. Edgar Martinez– Remember when I said the best should be in the hall. One of the best designated hitters is this guy.
7. Pedro Martinez– His career was short, but he was good in his worst years and all-time in his best. And he was a Met. He’ll wear a Boston hat when he’s enshrined, but he was the piece that made the 2006 playoff run for the Amazins possible.
8. Don Mattingly– Mattingly fell off the BBWAA ballot last year, and this is his last year of eligibility otherwise. Last year I voted for Jack Morris. I thought it was fitting to use the slot he vacated for another last gasp player.
9. Mark McGwire– As I talked about last year, I can see the statistical argument to keep him out of the hall. It’s just not one I personally agree with.
10. Mike Mussina– Understated brilliance. Deserving but overshadowed by massive hitters and first ballot pitchers.
11. Tim Raines– I caved. I can’t tell you why exactly Raines is a hall of famer (other than he runs well), but the tide of people calling him a hall of famer is enough for me. It swayed me.
12. Curt Schilling– He could be the best postseason pitcher ever. And the best should be in the hall of fame.
13. Gary Sheffield– Sheffield was sneaky good. I think the best part of his candidacy was his consistency. He spent some time on the DL, but otherwise he was good for 30 homers a bunch of hits and 80+ RBI. He might have been a compiler, but you only get to be a compiler because you are good.
15. Larry Walker– He is an underrated hitter, who I fear will be on my list for years to come.
And that’s it. Next year’s class will add Ken Griffey Jr. as a surefire hall guy and Jim Edmonds, Luis Castillo, Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman, as guys to consider, among others. However, the increase to 15 and the fact that two or three players should go in this year makes things easier.