By: Kelly Byrnes
Once again I agonized over my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. It’s an honor to have a vote and I take it seriously. I voted for seven last year and eight this year. FYI you won’t see Bonds and Clemens on my ballot. I know a lot of writers from the BBWAA have started voted for them once Bud Selig made the Hall through the Today’s Game Era committee. I’m still not ready to vote for them.
Note: Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines have already been honored in previous IBWAA elections, which is why you don’t see their names listed here.
WHO I VOTED FOR:
1st year on ballot. Vlad is a no doubt about it Hall of Famer. He swung at everything and even hit a few balls off a bounce. He had one of the stronger arms I have ever seen. He was someone that you went to the ballpark to watch play. 9 time All-Star, 2004 AL MVP and 8 Silver Sluggers.
2nd year on ballot. Hoffman gets overshadowed because he pitched in the same era as Mariano Rivera but he is probably just as good as a pitcher. He pitched in a smaller market and definitely didn’t have the same postseason success that Rivera did. 7 time All-Star, 601 saves (2nd most all time) and a career 2.87 ERA.
4th year on ballot. I changed my mind on Kent and voted for him this time around. He was one of the most prolific power hitting second baseman of all time (377 HR’s most ever for a 2B). One of our writers wrote a piece on why Kent belongs in the Hall, The Case for Jeff Kent. 5 time All-Star, 2000 NL MVP and 4 Silver Sluggers.
8th year on ballot. McGriff played in the wrong era. Put his numbers in any other era and he’s a shoe in for the Hall but because of the inflated numbers during his time he gets overlooked. 5 time All-Star, 4 time Silver Slugger, 493 HR’s, .509 SLG, .886 OPS. He belongs in the Hall, take a closer look and you will agree.
1st year on ballot. Another no doubt about it Hall of Famer. One of the best offensive catchers of all time with one of the best arms behind the plate of all time. Ivan even shined in the biggest of moments as he won the 2003 NLCS MVP and helped lead the Marlins to a World Series title that year. 14 time All-Star, 1999 AL MVP, 13 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Sluggers.
15th and last year on ballot. I think one of the things that has hurt Smith is that he played on so many teams, 8 in 18 seasons. He was still a 7 time All-Star and is 3rd all-time in saves with 478. I believe when he retired he was the all-time saves leader until Rivera and Hoffman came along. He was one of the most feared relievers in his time and pitched in an era where closers were asked to pitch more than just an inning. Not to mention a career 3.03 ERA.
2nd year on ballot. I also changed my mind on Wagner this time and voted for him. Wagner has a long road to the Hall and I’m not sure why. A lot of his numbers are right there with Hoffman and a few are better. Career 2.31 ERA blows away Hoffman’s. He pitched less innings compared to relievers already in the Hall. 422 career saves and a 7 time All-Star.
7th year on ballot. Walker gets hurt big time because he played most of his career in Colorado and that’s unfair. His road splits are just as good as some players already in the Hall. A big part of his game was his OF defense and that plays no matter what city you play in. Another one of our writers wrote a piece on why Walker belongs, The Case for Larry Walker. 5 time All-Star, 1997 NL MVP, 3 Silver Sluggers and 7 Gold Gloves.
I believe Manny is a Hall of Famer but he has two PED suspensions and that doomed him for me and a lot of other voters. I loved watching Manny play, it seemed like he was always having fun and it pains me not to vote for him, maybe next year.