My Hall of Fame Ballot

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announcing its 2020 Class of Inductees on Tuesday.  Although we at the Syndicate are not yet members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), that won’t stop us from giving our opinions on this year’s ballot.

Photo courtesy of yahoo.com
Who is Hall-Worthy?

I am of the opinion that the Hall of Fame is for the best of the best, and the smaller the better.  I believe the Hall should be reserved for the dominant players of their generation.  If you have to put a lot of thought into whether a player belongs in the Hall, or compare his stats to other players currently in the Hall, then most of the time that says to me they aren’t Hall-worthy.  In most cases I’m going to rely on what I saw when the player was playing and not dive too far into the stats.

Steroid Era Players

The majority of the players now on the ballot played at some point in their careers during the late ‘90s/early 2000s, or in other words, during the height of the Steroid Era.  While at one time the implication or suspicion of being a steroid user meant automatic disqualification in the minds of most old school veteran writers, the attitudes of many voters have changed with the times.  Many take the approach of “assume they were all doing it, and the playing field was level.”  That may be true, but undoubtedly some players took the use of steroids to extremes and their numbers are artificially inflated, at least for brief stretches of their careers, well beyond what could be considered normal for them.

At one time I fell into the category of believing no proven steroid users should get into the Hall.  My opinion has eroded somewhat over time, but I still have a hard time voting for proven users, especially if they were repeat offenders.

First Year Ballot Players

MLB T-shirts at Fanatics.comThere are also those who believe that a player may be worthy of getting into the Hall, but not on the first ballot.  Some use the argument that if Joe DiMaggio wasn’t voted in on his first ballot, no one is worthy.  I am not one of those people.  In my mind you’re either a Hall-worthy player or you’re not.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your first year or your tenth.  While my opinion of a player may change over time, I would not automatically exclude a player simply because it is his first year.

With the ground rules laid out, below are my selections for the 2020 Class for induction Baseball Hall of Fame.  Baseball allows a maximum of ten votes per ballot, but I only have four on mine.  As my co-host Matt Desrosiers said in our Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later, it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good.

Derek Jeter

Despite the chants that frequently echoed through Fenway when the Yankees were in Town, was there ever any doubt that Jeter was a Hall of Fame caliber player?  He did not have the physical attributes of the two other American League shortstops to which he was most often compared, Nomar Garciaparra and Alex Rodriguez, but he did have a flare for the dramatic in big moments and was one of the most clutch players of his generation.  He should be a near unanimous selection in his first year of eligibility.

Barry Bonds

Bonds is arguably the poster child for the Steroid Era.  No player transformed his game as much as Bonds by getting on the juice.  The problem is, he didn’t need it.  Had Bonds never rubbed the cream or the clear on himself he would have been inducted in the Hall in his first year of eligibility eight years ago.  Bonds was a seven time MVP in his 22 year career, and three of those came before he allegedly began dabbling with HGH after McGwire and Sammy Sosa turned the game into Home Run Derby in 1998.  He also won eight gold gloves and was a 14-time All-Star.  He was a complete player and one of, if not the best position player of his generation.

Roger Clemens

Clemens story is essentially the same as Bonds, though his motivation for juicing was different.  He was a lock for enshrinement in Cooperstown based on his three Cy Young Awards and Most Valuable Player won during his Red Sox career.  It was only after Dan Duquette’s “twilight of his career” comment that spurred Clemens to get his Vitamin B12 shots.  Clemens ended his career with a total of seven Cys and made eleven All-Star teams.  He was also the first man to strike out 20 players in a game, which he did twice, both with the Red Sox.

Both Bonds and Clemens have been on the ballot for seven previous votes, and their vote total has increased every year.  Last year each was on just under 60% of the ballots, and in time they will both get in.  With a lack of clear cut selections on the ballot, I expect this will be their year.

Curt Schilling

He was a polarizing figure during his playing days because of his affinity for being the center of attention, and he has done himself no favors with his outspoken political views.  Not to mention his failed video game company which still sticks in the craw of Rhode Island taxpayers.  But there was no one else you wanted with the ball in his hand in a big game.

Schilling sported a 216-146 career record with a respectable 3.46 ERA.  He was overall 11-2 in the postseason with a 2.23 ERA in 19 games started.  In the World Series he was 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in seven total starts.  He was also a co-MVP of the 2001 Series with Arizona.  And his bloody sock will forever live in baseball legend.

Tough Omissions

MLBshop.com The Official Online Shop of Major League BaseballLarry Walker.  Walker was an MVP, seven time gold glove winner, and a three time batting champion.  He had a decent start to his career in Montreal, but it was after he was traded to Colorado when his numbers exploded.  Because of the Colorado factor, I’m passing a Walker.

Andy Pettitte.  Pettitte was 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA, mostly spent with the Yankees.  He also pitched in 44 postseason games with a record of 19-11 and a 3.81 ERA.  Very good, but not Hall-worthy.

Other Notables

Omar Vizquel.  One of the best fielding shortstops of all time, but the bat wasn’t enough to get in the Hall.

Jeff Kent.  One of the first power-hitting middle infielders.  He batting .290 in his career with 377 home runs.

Gary Sheffield.  Sheff clubbed 509 home runs in his 22 year career, but he was not known for his glove and served primarily as a DH.  A victim of suspected steroid use.

Manny Ramirez.  Manny being Manny hit 555 home runs in his career and was a RBI machine with 1831.  He was also an adventure in the outfield and was suspended not once, not twice, but three times for using illegal substances. 

Selections from the Syndicate


James Collard
Ryan Besse
Chris Henrique
Mike Travers
Billy Wagner
Derek Jeter
Manny Ramirez
Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens
Barry Bonds
Curt Schilling
Barry Bonds
Andy Pettitte
Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens
Omar Vizquel
Cliff Lee
Larry Walker
Barry Bonds
Manny Ramirez
Curt Schilling
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker
Billy Wagner
Todd Helton
Gary Sheffield
Omar Vizquel
Gary Sheffield
Larry Walker
Andruw Jones
Derek Jeter
Sammy Sosa
Derek Jeter
Omar Vizquel

Derek Jeter
Manny Ramirez


Jason Giambi
Barry Bonds





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Boston Sports Syndicate: My Hall of Fame Ballot
My Hall of Fame Ballot
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