It won’t be long before the MLB Hall of Fame announces its newest members so it is time once again for me to dream and pretend that I have a vote that counts. Heck, I have probably seen more games and follow baseball more closely than a lot of the clowns that have a vote but that is a whole different story. If I had a vote I still can’t find it in my heart to vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and that bunch. I am not going to waste my time and yours on my reasoning because we have heard all those pro’s and con’s before. Maybe some time in the future they will get my vote but it won’t be this year. Just to show how time can change your thinking I am just about ready, not quite there yet but very close to saying that Pete Rose has served enough time in purgatory to get elected to the Hall of Fame. I know he has been a jerk at times but he could play some baseball and who could argue his hustle? The rub is that “hustle” can have several meanings. I am not going to quote a bunch of stats here because if you want to see them then go to B-R and check them out for yourself.
Randy Johnson gets my first vote, simply because I think he was the most intimidating pitcher in my era. Johnson has to be the pitcher that most batters would hate to face and the man was just scary to watch but you couldn’t help but stay focused on the mound whenever he pitched.
Vote number two goes to Pedro Martinez, 5 foot 11 and 170 pounds and I think 170 may have been pushing it. Are you kidding me? The man could throw a baseball and he knew how to pitch. He never pitched for teams I liked so I was always hoping he would lose but the man seldom did, a career .687 winning percentage over 18 seasons. Hall of Fame in my book.
Tim Raines gets vote number three. Again, small in stature at 5 foot 8 and 160 pounds but the “Rock” could play some baseball. Not as well-known as some because he played in Montreal for so long but Raines had six straight seasons with 70 stolen bases or more to go with his .810 OPS.
Vote number four goes to Craig Biggio. The man was a catcher, second baseman and a center fielder and through out all those position moves he still found time to post a .281 career batting mark in over 10,800 at bats. Heck, playing for 20 years for the Houston Astros should get you a few bonus votes too.
My fifth vote goes to one of my favorite all-time players, John Smoltz. 213 wins and 154 saves to boot spread over 21 seasons. I still remember that fateful day in August 1987 when the Detroit Tigers traded him to the Atlanta Braves for Doyle Alexander. When someone mentions the word “winner”, I have an image of Smoltz in my mind. A great pitcher and a real gentleman.
My final vote this season goes to Jeff Bagwell. OMG, those Houston Astros sure cleaned the Boston Red Sox’s clock when they acquired Bagwell for Larry Andersen. Only 15 seasons but 449 home runs along with a .948 OPS is good enough for me.
How will my votes compare to the “real” votes? I am thinking I will be 4 for 6 with Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell coming up short of the 75% required. That will be a shame but we all know that life is not always fair and that there is no crying in baseball. Good luck to all the Hall of Fame candidates, you had to be a pretty special ballplayer just to make the ballot.