2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
Eric Mirlis - The Writers
Yes or no - which way do they go?
--Albert Belle - One of the most dominating bats in baseball for just about his entire career. Who cares about the attitude. YES.
--Bert Blyleven - 287 career wins. Fifth all-time in strikeouts, eighth in starts, ninth in shutouts and seventh in innings pitched.
And one of the greatest curveballs in history. The question is this, though. Are the numbers that big due to greatness or
longevity? He never finished higher than third in the Cy Young voting. He made just two All-Star teams in 22 seasons. And he
never had that air about him that made you look at him in Hall of Fame terms, unlike others that we will discuss later. I say NO.
--Andre Dawson - If he played anywhere but Montreal the first half of his career, there would be no debate. But he flew under
the radar for so long, he was a nonentity in many baseball fans' minds. 400+ homers, 300+ steals, an MVP award (and two
second place finishes), a Rookie of the Year award, eight Gold Gloves and an intensity unmatched by most in his day all add
up to an easy YES from me.
--Steve Garvey - He was good. Very good. And he was among the top first basemen of the seventies. But he isn't a Hall of
--Dwight Gooden - Ah, what could have been. Click here for more of my thoughts, but unfortunately, a NO.
--Rich Gossage - The most feared reliever of his day and, possibly, all-time. Made nine All-Star teams and finished in the top
ten in MVP voting twice...as a reliever. Two 30+ save seasons when saves were much tougher to come by than they are today.
He should have been in already. YES.
--Orel Hershiser - One amazing year and six week stretch does not a Hall of Fame career make. NO.
--Tommy John - 288 career wins. Cy Young runner up twice. Three 20 win seasons, sixth all-time in starts. Another guy with
the big question being that of greatness or longevity. But with this argument comes an intangible. He has a surgery named
after him. That is his legacy now, but he deserves more because of it - not just the thanks of the dozens of pitchers his surgery
paved the way for. Add it all up and its a YES.
--Don Mattingly - Man, just one or two more years before the back gave out would have made him a lock. He is still a legend in
New York, but that is going to have to be his legacy, because the Hall of Fame isn't going to be. NO...and if he is a no, so is Will
Clark, even though he had possibly the most beautiful swing I've ever seen.
--Jack Morris - Yet another longevity versus greatness debate. 245 career wins. Never finished above third in the Cy Young
balloting. But...he led all pitchers in the 1980s in wins, starts, innings pitched and complete games. On top of that, his
complete game shutout in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series proved him to be one of the great money pitchers of his
--Dale Murphy - Great for a short period of time. Mediocre the rest of the way. NO.
--Jim Rice - Dominant when on top of his game. His 1978 season (46/139/.315, 406 total bases) is one of the all-time greats.
Seven .300 seasons, four 200+ hit seasons, 100+ RBI eight times. Yet something just doesn't feel right with him. Maybe it was
the surly attitude. Maybe it was the middle part of his career, where his numbers weren't the same. I can't do it. NO.
--Lee Smith - All-time saves leader. Too bad the stat doesn't mean as much as it did when other guys on the ballot earned
--Bruce Sutter - I hated watching him come in to face the Mets when I was a kid, since that meant the game was over. Fingers
and Gossage might have come before him, but this was the guy that revolutionized closing. He also revolutionized the
split-finger fastball, which a whole generation of pitchers should thank him for. Contributions to the game are just as important
as stats in my book. YES.
So its six on my ballot - Belle, Dawson, Gossage, John, Morris, and Sutter.