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. Last year I voted for eight and voted for the same number this time around. I did change my mind and voted for someone that I hadn’t voted for before. I really thought I was changing my mind on Bonds, Clemens and Ramirez but when I went to check their names on the ballot I just couldn’t do it. I know there is probably a steroid user already in the Hall. It is the thing that I agonize over every year.
Note: Vladimir Guerrero and Edgar Martinez have already been honored in previous IBWAA elections, which is why you don’t see their names listed here.
WHO I VOTED FOR:
3rd 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.
1st year on ballot. Plain and simple Larry “Chipper” Jones is a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Just check out his numbers: #1 overall draft pick, 1999 NL MVP, 8-time All-Star, 2 Silver Sluggers, 1995 World Series Champion, 468 HR’s, and 1,623 RBI’s. Always helps when you spend your entire 19 year career with one team.
5th year on ballot. He was one of the most prolific power hitting second baseman of all time (377 HR’s most ever for a 2B). Just look at a few of his numbers compared to a couple of second baseman’s already in the HOF. AVG: Kent .290, Sandberg .285, Biggio .281. OPS: Kent .855, Sandberg .795, Biggio .796. OPS+: Kent 123, Sandberg 114, Biggio 112. 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.
9th 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.
5th year on ballot. Mussina is who I changed my mind on. A couple years ago I didn’t even have him on my Near Misses list. He pitched his entire 18 year career in the AL East during the Steroid Era for the Orioles and Yankees, that’s impressive in its own rights. He finished in the top six in Cy Young voting nine times. 270 wins, 2,813 K’s, 5-time All-Star and 7 Gold Gloves.
1st year on ballot. Is Thome a Hall of Famer, yes I believe so but I can’t say that he was ever one of the best players during his time. He compiled some impressive numbers in his 22 year career, 612 HR’s, 1,699 RBI’s, 1,583 runs, 451 doubles and a career .956 OPS. He finished in the top seven in MVP voting four times. 5-time All-Star and 1 Silver Slugger.
3rd year on ballot. 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 Trevor Hoffman’s. His 11.9 K/9 are higher then both Mariano Rivera and Hoffman. He pitched less innings compared to relievers already in the Hall and that hurts him. 422 career saves and a 7-time All-Star.
8th 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.