2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
Joe Giovannetti - Giants Cove
The continued exclusion of Bert Blyleven is perhaps the greatest evidence of ignorance of the voters. Blyleven ranks in the top
15 all-time in strikeouts, shutouts, and innings pitched. Baseball prospectus pegs him at 11th all time in pitching runs above
replacement. His stats are comparable and in most cases superior to the greatest pitchers from the 1970s. Had Blyleven
been given the opportunity to play for good teams his entire career, he would have more wins and get more support from
voters. He deserves to be in and as voters start to look more closely at the facts, he should get more support.
In the days before managers worried about overworking their pitchers, relievers like Goose Gossage were true work horses
out of the pen. In the 1970s and 1980s no relief pitcher worked as many innings as effectively as Gossage. Unlike modern
closers, Gossage would come into the game in any situation. He was a dominant force as evidenced by his strikeout rate.
From 1977-1985 Gossage threw 833 innings with an ERA of 2.10 striking out nearly a batter per inning in the process.
If a player is one of the best ever hitters at his position and a good defensive player doesn’t he deserve to be elected to the
Baseball Hall of Fame? Trammell was the best hitter at his position in the American league as well as a gold glove
shortstop. Of the 21 shortstops in the hall of fame only eight have more in RBI+runs scored than Trammell. Trammell OPS+
of 110 would 10th among hall of fame shortstops. In 1987 Trammell hit .343 with over 200 hits, 100 runs scored, 100 RBI,
slugged .551, and walked 60 times against just 47 strikeouts, but lost out on the MVP to George Bell of Toronto and his 49
home runs. I’m surprised at the lack of support for Trammell because he was a well respected clubhouse leader and he had
been visible as a manager.
For a decade Albert Belle was one of the most feared hitters in the game. He was an MVP candidate year in and year out for
teams that routinely contended for playoff spots. Don’t believe me; well let’s look at the numbers. From the time he entered
the American League in 1989 until the end of his career in 2000 Belle posted a slugging percentage of .564, the sixth highest
in baseball behind names like McGwire, Bonds and Griffey. Belle was an elite power hitter. He ranks fifth in homeruns (381),
fifth in doubles (389) and fourth (1239) in RBI over that same span. In the strike shortened seasons of 1994 and 1995 Belle
slugged .714 and .690 respectively. In 1994 Belle’s 1.152 OPS was nearly twice the league average. A hip injury ended Belle’
s career prematurely in 2000, but it is clear that for a decade he was one of the league’s most feared hitters. For that he
deserves inclusion to the Hall of Fame.
For the first five years off his career, you could make a compelling argument for Will Clark as the best hitter in baseball. Clark
was great all around hitter early, but his numbers were masked by hitting in Candlestick Park where fly balls get weighed
down by the fog. Clark’s peak numbers are on the same level of the best first baseman of his generation. As great as his
peak was, I’m not sure the rest of Clark’s career is hall of fame caliber. From 1994-2000 Clark was still a good hitter, but
never stayed healthy enough to have the same kind of impact on the pennant race. As much as I am unsure of Clark’s
candidacy I can’t get away from my sabermetric roots on this one. I value players with a high peak and Clark’s is quite
impressive with decline years that are still better than average. Given two players with identical numbers, the one with the
higher peak will better help his team to the pennant and early in his career Clark was the best player on good teams.
I may seem hypocritical to leave Rice of the ballot after voting for two players with careers that did not even last as long as that
of Rice. The reason is that Rice’s adjusted numbers (OPS+ of 128 and 282 Win Shares) don’t stand up as well as Clark’s or
Belle’s do in a similarly short career. His home run and RBI totals are masked by average on base skills (.352 OBP) and high
GDP totals (315). Rice is remembered for MVP caliber seasons, but they are not of historic stature. In Rice’s MVP season in
1978, Fenway Park inflated runs scored by 11%, to be by far the best hitter’s park in the league. In 1978 Rice hit .269/.325/.512
on the road and .361/.416/.690 at home. In his peak seasons of 1977 through 1979 Rice’s OPS was 1.104 at home and .845
at home. If Rice had played in the Astrodome during the 1970s and 1980s would he garner such support? No. Overall Rice’s
numbers are short of Hall of Fame caliber.
A career .323 OBP is too low for an outfielder.
Jack Morris: No
I am on the fence with Morris. He had 254 wins and a .577 winning percentage despite average ERA’s. The 80’s were tough
as many great pitchers flamed out, but Morris was able to pitch until he was 39. Still, I can’t put him in for 3 reasons.
1) No individual seasons scream greatness.
2) His ERA numbers are not impressive. He won because he played on great teams and that can’t be overlooked.
3) If he didn’t win that game 7 in 1991 would we even consider him a good candidate? My answer is no. Whenever someone
talks about him they can only mention game 7 and 254 wins. That’s not enough. Willie Mays would still be in without the catch.
Reggie Jackson would still be in without the three home runs in one game. Morris however, didn’t do enough outside that
game. He’s like the pitching version of Joe Carter.