2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
Randy Linville - Buried Treasure
Players I am voting for:
Bert Blyleven – of pitchers who played after WWII, only three have more career shutouts than him. He’s ninth all time. He’s fifth
all-time in Ks and 25th in wins. 25th all time in hits would put you between Clemente and Kaline.
Why is he not in? I read three criticisms of his career. First, he only made two All-Star games. Second he never had a “wow”
type year. He gave up too many homers. All criticisms are true but flawed. The All-Star game selections are not completely
reliable because they only take into account half a season. Also, because every team has to be represented, there are always
players who deserve to be on the team, but are left off. Sutton only played in four. Yount only played in three All-Star games –
fewer than Trammell and Concepcion. Do the people who base their lack of a vote on the All-Star game religiously vote for Bill
Freehan and Steve Garvey, both of whom reached double digits in All-Star appearances? Oops, Freehan is no longer on the
ballot. You missed your chance.
The wow season is also a bit flawed. Yeah, it probably helped Drysdale get in. But Saberhagen, Maris, and Dale Murphy are
not in despite a couple of eye popping seasons. Phil Niekro and Sutton also lacked a huge season. Both Blyleven and Niekro
reached the top five in Cy Young voting only three times each.
Blyleven is seventh all-time in homers allowed. Five of the six guys in front of him are HOFers.
This really is pretty silly. If he had 13 more wins, he’d already be in. He’s in the top ten in two major pitching categories and in
the top 25 in another.
Andre Dawson – yeah he didn’t walk. He hit a lot of homers when they weren’t cheap. He could field and run and throw and hit
Goose Gossage – absolutely feared. I’d take him over Sutter, whom I’m also voting for. Last pitcher to face Pete Rose in a
game. He struck Rose out in the 8th inning on 8-17-86. Great piece of trivia to win a bar bet with.
Jack Morris – 22 pitchers broke into the league between 1958 and 1970 who went on to win 200 games in their career. Of
those, 11 are already in the HOF and I’m advocating the induction of another – Blyleven. Tommy John, Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant,
who are also among the 22 have received strong consideration. Between 1984 and 1996, there are at least three pitchers who
made their debut that will wind up in the HOF – Clemens, Maddux and Randy Johnson. I’d also vote Pedro Martinez and Tom
Glavine in and Curt Schilling will receive hefty support, as will John Smoltz. In the period in between 1971 to 1983, only six
pitchers who came up wound up reaching 200 wins. Jack Morris, Denny Martinez, Frank Tanana, Rick Reuschel, Bob Welch
and Orel Hershiser. If Morris isn’t voted in, baseball historians are essentially concluding there was a 10 or 12 year black hole
where no starting pitcher was good enough to be considered among the all-time best when in the previous decade that
number reached double figures? I don’t buy it. His ERA isn’t very impressive and his win total is middling. Not putting Morris in
would be a huge historical anomaly. I’m not advocating putting a player in to prevent an anomaly. What I’m trying to point out is
that Jack Morris is better than what we think he is just by looking at his stats. He was the best starting pitcher of his generation
and the ace of three different World Series teams.
Lee Smith – He’s the career leader for saves. He started his career doing things the way Fingers, Sutter, Gossage and Quiz
did – getting more than three outs to get a save. So, a good portion of his saves are not the cheap three out variety. He finished
in the top 10 in games pitched six times. Eck only did it twice. Back in May of 2005, I posted about long saves (more than three
outs) versus short saves (three outs or less). The all-time leaders in long saves are, in order, Fingers, Gossage, Sutter, Smith,
Quiz and Reardon. The combination of a lot of saves and a lot of long saves puts Smith in the HOF.
Bruce Sutter – only question mark is that that he didn’t dominate for a very long period of time.
Players I’m not voting for:
Rick Aguilera – Sutter, Gossage, Lee Smith and Dan Quisenberry would have to be in before I’d even consider voting for him.
There are too many relievers from the past 20 years with similar stats.
Albert Belle – the Dick Allen of the ‘90s.
Will Clark – Probably edges out Garvey as the best 1B from the last 30 years who won’t be in the HOF.
Dave Concepcion. I grew up in Cincinnati. So, I love Davey. The career stats of Cal Ripken, and to some extent Robin Yount
and Ozzie Smith, prevent him from getting serious consideration.
Gary DiSarcina – not a bad player, but no.
Alex Fernandez – Ah the injuries. Has to have among the highest ratios of salary to victories for his career.
Gary Gaetti – super duper good guy, but not a good enough player.
Steve Garvey – consummate gamer. Couldn’t throw, rarely walked. Impregnated many.
Dwight Gooden – photo is in the dictionary next to the word “shoulda”
Ozzie Guillen – his success as a manger surprised me. I never viewed him as a very intelligent player. He was nailed by the
hidden ball trick three times according to Retrosheet and he never reached 30 walks in a single season. With his name in the
news, he might get enough votes to remain on the ballot, but he shouldn’t.
Orel Hershiser – like Gaetti, a solid dude. Chucked 8 shutouts in 1988 when he won the Cy Young Award and then had just six
more in the rest of his career.
Gregg Jefferies – didn’t the Royals learn in the Ed Hearn for David Cone deal? Don’t trade with the Mets. Not a horrible
ballplayer, but not quite up to the New York hype.
Tommy John – I’d rather have Blyleven. John has a higher ERA despite a lower League ERA.
Doug Jones – see my comments under Aguilera
Don Mattingly – loved to watch him play. He wasn’t good for long enough in my book. Belongs on a list with Maris and Oliva.
Willie McGee – exciting ballplayer. Did a lot of things well.
Hal Morris – uh, no. When was the last time the Reds had a power threat at first base? It goes back to them trading Tony Perez
after 1976. Dan Driessen never hit 20 in a season. The combination of Pete Rose and Nick Esasky would’ve been more
potent if Rose would’ve sat down more. But, alas, he was chasing Ty. Todd Benzinger never hit 20. Morris could hit for
average, but his career best was 16. Sean Casey hit 20 homers on three occasions but never landed in the top 10 in homers
or RBI. That’s a 30 year drought from a big hitting position.
Dale Murphy – how can you dislike Murph? I’d take Dawson over him, but Murphy was a tremendous ball player.
Dave Parker – on my blog on Most Valuable Network I did a quick examination of Parker’s numbers and adjusted out the years
that he was messed up on drugs. Still wouldn’t make it, it my opinion. The Cobra was a lot of fun to watch. He could run, throw
and hit for average and power.
Jim Rice – many people with more advanced tools than me think he is overrated. But, you can’t overrate how much fear he
struck into pitchers.
Alan Trammell – he’d get in before Concepcion, but he pales next to Ripken and Yount in most areas.
Walt Weiss – sorry, no
John Wetteland – another solid guy, but he’s not getting in. In my opinion, he’s ahead of the Doug Jones and Rick Aguilera
type because of his dominance in the post-season.