2016 Baseball Hall of Fame Preview

The 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame results will be released in a few hours, at 6:00 to be exact and here I break down the ballot, who I’d vote for and who I think gets in. SPOILERS: Why hasn’t Nomar been elected yet?

For those of you who don’t know, in order to get enshrined in the Hall of Fame you need to receive at least 75% of the votes on the ballots cast, and if you do not receive at least 5% of the votes your name will be removed from the ballot. Otherwise, if your total percentage lies between 5% and 75% you remain on the ballot for a total of ten years.

 

The Ballot

 

“Bye, Bye, Bye” – NSync, the players that will get less than 5% of the vote and be taken off of the future Baseball Hall of Fame ballots

Brad Ausmus- One-time All Star and three-time Gold Glover, but this catcher had a career 0.251 batting average.

David Eckstein- Two-time All Star and two-time World Series Champion. A World Series MVP but without the milestone numbers don’t expect much.

Mark Grudzielanek- Over 2,000 career hits and a one-time All Star back in 1996, won a Gold Glove in 2006 and finished 27th in MVP voting for the 2003 season, I kid you not.

Mike Lowell- A name that will go down in Red Sox folklore forever, he had a World Series to remember in 2007. A career scattered with Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, All Stars and MVP votes but not enough for Cooperstown

Garret Anderson- A career 0.293 that spent 14 years with the Angles. Anderson had a strong 2-3 year peak but not much else worth mentioning.

Randy Winn- An All Star in 2002 but really nothing else worth mentioning

Luis Castillo- Strong defensive second baseman that split time with the Marlins, Twins, and Mets in his 15 year career. Three-time Gold Glover and three-time All-Star but only one-time member of the Hall of Fame ballot.

Mike Hampton- Barely lost out on the 1999 Cy Young to Randy Johnson going 22-4 with an ERA of 2.90, one-time Gold Glover, two-time All Star and FIVE-time Silver Slugger for the pitching position.

Troy Glaus- Glaus was one of the names featured in the Mitchell Report, with a below average HoF resume on top of the looming Mitchell Report cloud, no chance

Jason Kendall- Kendall, a three-time All Star and career 0.288 hitter for majoritively the Pittsburgh Pirates. Great player in Backyard Baseball 2003 but not great enough for the Hall.

Sammy Sosa- One of those players whose achievements were obviously affected by the fact that he cheated his entire career. Corked bats and PEDs. Regardless, Sosa was a fun player to watch and the only player to hit more than 60 homers in three seasons but no shot at the Hall. Can’t forget his embarrassing strikeout at the 1999 All Star Game via Pedro Martinez. To be fair, Pedro could have thrown it through a brick wall that night but still.

 

“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” – Luke Bryan, the players that have no eligibility remaining and therefore will be taken off of the ballot

Alan Trammell- A great defensive shortstop and a career 0.285 hitter at the plate doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame but the Hall of Above Average. Hats off to a successful career and a 15 year Hall of Fame ballot saga.

Mark McGwire- Big name plagued by the shadow of the steroid era. The twelve-time All Star sits at 10th all-time for home runs* Similar to Sosa pretty much all of McGwire’s accomplishments were a result of PED use. Same as Sammy Sosa, Pedro also struck out Mark McGwire during the 1999 All Star Game.

 

“I’m Still Alive But I’m Barely Breathing” – The Script, the players that will stick around for at least another year on the ballot but are real longshots at the Hall unless something drastic happens

Mike Sweeney- I remember Mike Sweeney because he had a baseball card with his hands up, if that is what comes to mind when I see your name… chances are your career wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy. Sneaky a five-time All Star and career 0.297 hitter though. Dark horse to push the 5% mark.

1mike sweeney

Nomar Garciaparra- Many people think that this is the year that Nomar’s name gets taken off of the ballot. As a Red Sox fan in the late 1990s and early 2000s I can’t agree with that. The six-time All Star won’t make it into Cooperstown but at his prime during the steroid era Nomah was unprecedented. If not for Juan Gonzalez (name appeared on the Mitchell Report) in 1998 Nomar would have had ⅔ of the Triple Crown missing the batting average title by 0.001. A lifetime 0.313 hitter while batting 0.372 in 2000, if Garciaparra could’ve continued his Boston success elsewhere he very well could have had a shot at the Hall.

Lee Smith- With two years of eligibility left, Smith is still a ways away from the needed 75%. The seven-time All Star has had a great ride on the HoF ballot but don’t expect him to be enshrined into Cooperstown.

Gary Sheffield- Sheffield is a member of the 500 HR club and with nine All Star appearances he seems like a lock for the 75%. But Sheffield was on the Mitchell Report, therefore it will be tough for Gary to overcome the PED use cloud that is over him.

Larry Walker- Yet another member of the 1999 NL All Star team that was struck out by Pedro Martinez. The 1997 NL MVP with a career 0.313 batting average and five-time All Star still has a ways to go in the voting and it doesn’t seem likely.

Fred McGriff- 7 homers shy of the 500 HR Club but not enough other attributes to make him worthy of the Hall. Definitely a member of the Hall of Very Good.

Jim Edmonds- Eight-time Gold Glover and four-time All Star made some of the most unbelievable catches in centerfield for my memory, injuries might hold Edmonds out of potential votes. He’ll consistently get the votes to stay on the ballot but not much else.

1edmonds

Jeff Kent- Five-time All Star and 2000 NL MVP and contestant on Season 25 of Survivor. He was famous enough that fellow tribemates thought that he didn’t deserve the money that comes with winning Survivor and was voted out. A career 0.290 hitter that truly reached his stride in his thirties. Kent has hit the most home runs ever by a second baseman with 377.

 

“But It’s Not My Time” – 3 Doors Down, the players that get enough for to remain eligible but have their sights on pushing 75% in the upcoming years.

Billy Wagner- There are only five relievers in the Hall of Fame which shows the degree of difficulty ahead of Wagner but with over 400 saves and ranking fifth all-time gives him hope.

Trevor Hoffman- Ranking second all-time in saves with 601 through 18 seasons gives him quite the resume for a relief pitcher. Many people including myself think that Hoffman is destined for the Hall but not this year.

Tim Raines- In his ninth year Raines will push the 75% mark once again most likely getting somewhere above 60%. A seven-time All Star and a career 0.294 hitter with over 2600 total hits seems like Cooperstown is a possibility but Raines will most likely need a few sympathy votes during his last year in 2017 to get in.

Jeff Bagwell- BagPipes was a four-time All Star and the 1994 NL MVP. A lifetime Astros played a major role in their top heavy lineup with Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio. With 449 career home runs, 51 more homers would have him enshrined for sure but since he’ll have to wait another year or so in order to get the nod.

Mike Mussina- Played his college ball at Stanford and played his pro ball in the AL East. The five-time All Star and zero-time Cy Young Award winner won 270 games but his ERA numbers struggled in the offensively superior AL East. In his 3rd year on the ballot, Moose should make a move with his slurve but we will see if voters change their mind on him.

Edgar Martinez- A lifetime Mariner and seven-time All Star totals over 300 homers and a career 0.312 hitter. One of the better career designated hitters but his ballots will be close, I don’t think it’ll be close enough. A member of the 116 win 2001 Mariners alongside Ichiro Suzuki, Aaron Sele and Bret Boone.

Barry Bonds- Same old story, name was on the Mitchell Report and if not for the PED use he would be a sure-fire Hall of Famer. The most career intentional walks, walks and home runs ever. If fourteen-time All Star and seven-time MVP with 762 career homers isn’t enough credentials to overcome PED use, nothing will. Bonds belongs in the Hall because he brought an unprecedented amount of excitement to the game and the kayakers of McCovey Cove in San Francisco.

Roger Clemens- In my opinion the best pitcher of all-time but otherwise a consensus top five pitcher. Going into his fourth year on the ballot, his % last year was exactly half of the needed 75%. If Clemens can gain a significant amount of votes in a down year for the ballot The Rocket will be in good shape. Eleven-time All Star, one-time MVP, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner, over 350 career wins, a 3.12 career ERA, and 4,672 strikeouts. Magical seasons like 1986, 1990, 1992, 1997, and 2005 (three and a half seasons without alleged PED use) will go down in history but his alleged PED use will cost him votes. Clemens should get in and I think that he will get in, in due time.

Curt Schilling- Schilling’s politics seem to be his worst enemy since most of the voters don’t seem to be a fan of his. Schilling was a gamer and a crucial part to the 2004 Red Sox World Series run. Although Schill never won a Cy Young he finished second in the Cy Young voting three times. A group of three World Series rings to his resume and a 2001 Fall Classic MVP honor. In his fourth year, Schilling will have to get around 50% of the ballots in order for hope down the road for an induction.

1schilling

 

“Glory Days” – Bruce Springsteen, the players that will get greater than 75% of the votes and will immortalized in Cooperstown.

Mike Piazza- Piazza JUST missed making the Hall last year with 69.9% of ballots. Mike Piazza was one of the biggest draft steals in MLB history getting drafting with the 1,390th overall pick in 1988. The 1993 Rookie of the Year and twelve-time All Star has the most career home runs for a catcher with 427. With a 16 year batting average of 0.308 and according to Max Marchi, Piazza was exceptional at framing pitches. This year will be extremely close for Piazza once again, I suspect that he’ll get between 70% and 80%. If not this year Piazza will get in soon enough.

1piazza

Ken Griffey Jr- The Kid is an absolute lock to make the HoF this year. Junior will be the first 1st overall pick ever to make it into the Hall of Fame. The thirteen-time All Star and 1997 MVP could’ve been the greatest of all-time if not for injuries. Even with all of Griffey’s injuries he still managed 630 home runs. A ten-time Gold Glove recipient and seven-time Silver Slugger. Ken Griffey Jr was truly a once in a generation player and even steroid prevalent game, he was able to remain clean, productive and well perfect. His swing alone has Hall of Fame credentials, it is just a matter of how high his percentage will be. Will he push Tom Seaver’s 98.8%? I’d say so. The Kid should get a percentage of the ballots in the mid to high nineties and could flirt with Seaver’s number but only time will tell.

1griffey

 

MY BALLOT

I thought about this for a considerable amount of time, and originally I felt that I would not vote for Ken Griffey Jr because he’ll get in regardless and I could use that vote somewhere else. But without further adieu, here are the ten I voted for.

Ken Griffey Jr- Duh

Mike Piazza- Perhaps the greatest offensive catcher to play

Roger Clemens- Best pitcher of all-time, seven Cy Youngs, the 1986 season alone, two 20 strikeout games

Barry Bonds- Seven MVPs with fourteen All Star Games, he would’ve had a bunch more home runs if pitchers were not so afraid of him but instead he has the intentional walk record

Jeff Bagwell- BagPipes is one of those guys that everybody assumed did PEDs and that hurts his case even though there is no evidence

Trevor Hoffman- The second best reliever statistically ever behind Mariano Rivera, sure he belongs in the Hall

Larry Walker- Career 0.313 average speaks for itself and the 1997 MVP

Nomar Garciaparra- Best player ever, hands down no questions asked. Not really but he’s my passion project for this ballot, I can’t not vote for him. Garciaparra was the best shortstop in the league for five years or so, that isn’t saying much now but in an era with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter that means something

Curt Schilling- “Thanks for 2004” – Red Sox Fans, “Thanks for 2001” – DBacks Fans, the bloody sock is already in the Cooperstown museum so the foot/ankle belong in it as well.

Edgar Martinez- A big part of the historic 2001 Mariners and career 0.312 hitter paired with seven All Star appearances

Stay tuned for an article once the Hall of Fame results are released.

 

Cover Photo from ESPN

Various photos from COMC

Gifs from Total Pro Sports, BuzzFeed, and Amazin Avenue

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