First off I want to congratulate Andre Dawson for finally getting voted into the Hall of Fame. He received 420 votes (77.9%) from the BBWAA. Hawk was one of 6 players that received a check in the box next to their name on my BBA HOF ballot, so it goes without saying that I thought he was clearly deserving of the honor. All the stats aside, and he is worthy based just on those, Dawson was always a gamer and a class act. Those elements get lost among a lot of voters and fans. What follows are some thoughts about the other 5 players I voted for.
Bert Blyleven: 400 votes (74.2%)
Twinkie Talk lead blogger Steve Fetch does an excellent job covering the Twins for the FanSided.com Sports Network, but I have vehemently disagreed with him on some of his takes in the past. Today, Steve and I are on the same page.
For the most part I have enjoyed John Heyman on MLB Network, but after seeing that he voted for Jack Morris and not Bert Blyleven his credibility rating plunged in my book. I admit I am biased. I think Bert Blyleven should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago, but I’m not going to get worked up about the people that don’t vote for him. I don’t think Jack Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I am also not going to get worked up about the people that think he is in fact worthy. Heyman is apparently one of those guys that I do get worked up about. It is real simple. If you vote for Jack Morris on your ballot, then you have to vote for Bert. There is no legitimate way to slice and dice the numbers to view Morris’ career as more worthy than that of Blyleven.
Casting a vote for Morris and not for Bert is an affront to logic and reason. Unfortunately there are plenty of people out there who feel as Heyman does. I think each of them should be required to sit through a 30 minute lecture given by Joe Posnanski on the subject. His lecture would contain plenty of valuable information to highlight just how great a pitcher Bert Blyleven was, and just how much better he was than Jack Morris.
Actually Joe’s lecture would be two parts. The first would be why people should vote for Bert. The second 30 minutes would be dedicated to why people should vote for:
Tim “Rock” Raines: 164 votes (30.4%)
Joe spent a lot of time beating the drum for Rock and I hope he continues. Raines faces a much steeper and tougher uphill climb than any of the other players I cast my vote for. It shouldn’t be that way. He got his first extended playing time in 1981. I was 5 years old at the time and my soul was just starting to link up with the game of baseball. I grew up admiring Tim Raines as a ball player, but the stats back up the emotional argument.
In my opinion, the only reason he isn’t in the Hall of Fame is because he was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson his entire career and that doesn’t make sense to me. Raines was the second best leadoff hitter of his era. Second best to the player who many consider to be one of the best, if not the best, leadoff hitter ever. There is nothing wrong with that. Rock deserves his due, and while he has a long road ahead of him to reach the hall, I do believe he will get there in time.
Roberto Alomar: 397 votes (73.7%)
This is the one that shocked everyone. He had the look of a first-ballot lock. I don’t know what the 26.3% who didn’t vote for him were doing. The fact that he didn’t get in is a huge disappointment to me and baseball fans of all teams should be outraged. Alomar was easily one of the five greatest 2B to ever play the game. He was a complete player in every sense and deserved better than to be held out of the Hall due to some ridiculous notion that guys who go in on the 1st-ballot are the sacred, truly great players. It doesn’t wash with me in general practice, and it sure doesn’t wash with me when it comes to Roberto Alomar. He was a truly great player and the BBWAA should be ashamed of itself that he will have to wait another year to give his induction speech in Cooperstown.
Barry Larkin: 278 votes (51.6%)
Lark is another guy that, in my opinion, should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. In a lot of ways he was Roberto Alomar at SS, instead of 2B, with a ton of trips to the DL. He was a better SS than golden boy Cal Ripken offensively (OPS+ 116 to 112) and defensively. If he had played for the Yankees, I have no doubt his ticket would have been punched today. I’d like to think he will get his due next year, but with Blyleven and Alomar likely locks for the 2011 class it will be interesting to see if his vote total will jump the 23.4% he needs. If not 2011, then he will definitely get the call in 2012.
Edgar Martinez: 195 votes (36.2%)
Edgar is the best DH to ever play the game. The DH is a part of baseball and it’s not going away. The Hall of Fame is for the very best players. Therefore Edgar Martinez belongs in the HoF. Based on his vote total in his first year of eligibility, he’ll get his ticket punched in the coming years. If I had to guess, he’ll be part of the 2017 class.
There is one player I didn’t include on my ballot that in retrospect I wish I had so I wanted to mention him here. That player is Alan Trammell. I have no excuse for my oversight. I just whiffed on this one. I won’t make the same mistake next season. For those of you wondering, Trammell received 121 votes (22.4%)