2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
Bob Scanlan - San Diego Padres Broadcaster
To be voted in to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame means to be elected to join one of the most elite fraternities in all of
professional sports. Membership is to be reserved for the truly great players who made an unparalleled impact on the game
during their careers. Admittance is subjective and a voter’s criteria for giving a vote may vary from one candidate to another,
and that is part of what creates so much discussion and at times heated debate about who is selected to join the Hall and
share company with the greatest baseball players of all time.
In making my selections, or non selections, out of the 2006 nominees it is clear that my evaluations are influenced by my
experiences, insights, and in some cases partialities from my major league playing career. At first I tried to put aside any
prejudices I might have from experiences with nominees either as a teammate or opponent, and just make an evaluation as
any outsider would. However, I realized that just as a fan or a writer would form an opinion of a player’s worthiness based
their own personal perceptions, experiences and interactions of that player, I must do the same. In some cases my playing
background may give me a better view, and in some cases I may be blinded. In either case it helped to form the following
ballot, and it shares the same imperfection of personal bias that every other ballot ever submitted has been tainted with. May
the discussions and heated debates live on!
BERT BLYLEVEN – YES: I’m not a believer that HOF selections should be all about the numbers, but this guy’s are
impressive. He sits at 5th all-time in strikeouts (3,701), 8th all-time in starts (692), 9th all-time in shutouts (60), 24th all-time in
wins (287), and 7th all-time in innings pitched (4,970). The only reason I can see that he hasn’t already been voted in is his
being 13 wins shy of the coveted 300 mark. Given the fact that he played for some awful teams during his career (12 times in
his 22 year career his team finished under .500), I am not shocked he didn’t win 300, but even more impressed with the 60
shutouts! There are only 21 HOF eligible players in the history of baseball with more career victories than him, and all but two
of them are already HOF inductees. There are 46 HOF inductees with fewer career victories. His durability was amazing as
he posted over 200 innings pitched in 19 of his 22 seasons, including 325 IP in 1975. His consistency, durability, and
effectiveness over his extended career warrant an induction by the writers, and not later by the veterans committee.
Understandably he has had to wait for this honor, but his 9th try would be a fitting time for the 9th all-time leader in shutouts to
be voted into the HOF.
DAVE CONCEPCION – YES: This is one of the few guys on this list I did not get to play either with or against, nor did I get to
watch him play on a daily basis. However, I was always aware as a kid growing up following NL baseball that Concepcion
was the premier shortstop in the league. It wasn’t until I was older and playing professionally myself that I started to hear the
stories from his peers (my coaches and older teammates) about just how spectacular he was during his reign as the best
shortstop in the NL. During his career he won 5 Gold Gloves and made 9 All-Star appearances. While he was not the
offensive threat that is expected out of today’s shortstops he still hit a respectable .267 and hit .300+ three times. Clearly his
greatest contributions came through his defense and his leadership. On a team that was arguably the most successful in
baseball during the 1970’s with four NL pennants, and two World Series Championships, and which featured personalities
such as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr., and Tony Perez among others, it was Dave
Concepcion who was their team captain. I admit that I witnessed his performance the least out of the “yes” votes I am
awarding. However, based on what I do know about his abilities, and on how I have heard his former teammates and
opponents alike speak about this man in reverent tones as being far and away the greatest shortstop of his era, I trustingly
give him my vote.
ANDRE DAWSON – YES: My emotional pick, but also a worthy entrant on his merits alone. “The Hawk” was a feared force in
the middle of major league lineups for 21 seasons, the first 11 of those in Montreal where his talents were overlooked and his
knees were ravaged by Olympic Stadium’s Astroturf playing surface. He was THE complete player of his era. He could hit (5
times over .300, 4 Silver Slugger Awards), hit for power (438 HR’s 42nd all-time), run (314 career SB’s), field (8 gold gloves),
and throw from right field with a cannon arm (157 career assists). He also had 4 seasons of 100+ RBI’s, ranks 24th all-time
in RBI’s and total bases, ranks 21st all-time in extra base hits, and made 8 All-Star appearances.
While all of these numbers are impressive enough, it was his MVP award in 1987 during his first season with the Cubs that
allowed the rest of the baseball world to understand just how great a player he was, and what a tough man he was even by
baseball standards. After his last season with the Expos in 1986 Dawson was unbelievably unable to find a job playing Major
league baseball despite batting .278, hitting 20 HR’s, and driving in 78 RBI’s. It was the “Collusion” year where the MLB
owners collectively agreed not to sign players to force down their market value. Dawson eventually agreed to play for Cubs,
but under a blank contract which the Cubs would fill in the salary for at whatever amount they wanted! Dawson went on to have
the year of his career batting .287, belting 49HR’s and driving in 137 RBI’s becoming the first player ever to win an MVP while
on a last place team. The Cubs “rewarded” him for his heroic effort by filling in the blank on his contract for $500,000 which
was millions less than his actual market value. By signing that blank contract he exposed and destroyed the owners attempt
at collusion, and became the poster child for the Players Association as they went on to win their grievance against the owners
in court and were awarded $280 million in damages. His courage, inner confidence, and ability to perform at the highest level
under the most difficult circumstances were all showcased during this season, and revered by his fellow players. These were
characteristics he demonstrated throughout his career.
On a personal note, he was the toughest and most determined competitor I ever had the honor to play with and one of the
classiest teammates ever. As I mentioned earlier the turf in Montreal destroyed the cartilage in his knees. When I played with
him on the Cubs, every day he would arrive at the park several hours early, and literally limp to the training room to get his
knees worked on (whirlpool, massage, ultrasound, analgesic, tape, and anything else available) so that he could compete
that night. Yet despite his daily physical agony, he played every day and played as hard as anyone on the field. To this day I
am in awe of what I witnessed him endure to play the game of baseball, and play it at a level that teammates and opponents
alike admired and envied. He inspired other players to play harder, and was a great mentor to younger players coming up.
He was a complete, impacting and enduring player. Is Andre “The Hawk” Dawson a Hall of Famer? No doubt in my mind.
STEVE GARVEY – YES: This is the vote I agonized over the most. His awards and accomplishments include the 1974 NL
MVP Award, 10 All-Star appearances including twice earning the All-Star MVP award, 4 Gold Gloves, twice named NLCS MVP,
holder of the best fielding percentage among first basemen in the history of the game (.9959), and holder of the NL record for
most consecutive games played at 1,207. This list of accomplishments is significant not only in its depth, but also its
breadth. It shows dominance at his position as fielder, exceptional skill to hit for average and drive in runs, unparalleled
durability, and the ability to come through for his team in the key, clutch moments.
Of course his biggest statistical hurdle to gaining entry to Cooperstown is his relatively modest career HR total for his position
of 272. While this is not an issue to be ignored, it’s significance is somewhat diluted by his offensive prowess in other areas
including 8 season of batting .300 or better, six season with 200+ hits, 100+ RBI’s five times, and he was undeniably one of
the best clutch hitters ever. Padre fans will never forget his game ending walk-off homerun against Lee Smith in the 1984
NLCS, but a more significant testimony to his ability to play large when in counted are his career post season numbers. For
NLCS play Garvey boasts a .356 average while belting a record 8 HR’s, and driving in a record 21 RBI’s while collecting 2 MVP
awards. In his five trips to the World Series he batted a dangerous .319. Defensively his range was below average and his
arm famously inaccurate, but with his amazing glove skills he saved countless errors for his teammates by scooping balls out
of the dirt and holds the MLB record for most consecutive errorless games in a season (159) and a career (190), and the most
consecutive errorless chances in a season (1,319) and a career (1,633). His durability was second only to Gherig and Ripken
as he set the NL record of 1207 consecutive games played.
Garvey probably lost many HOF votes after his squeaky clean image was tarnished during his very public divorce and the
subsequent revelation of illegitimate children with multiple women. However, from that incident came the greatest t-shirt
slogan ever worn on a brown shirt; in yellow print it read “Steve Garvey is not my Padre”. While I had my reservations,
ultimately it was his unmatched consistency, durability, and compilation of regular season, All-Star, and post season clutch
performances that swayed me to believe that The Garv belonged in Cooperstown…in a blue cap, not a brown t-shirt.
RICH “GOOSE” GOSSAGE – YES: Gossage is one of several great pitchers who have been victimized by the biased attitude
many writers have towards relievers. He pitched as a fireballer in the major leagues for an unbelievable 22 seasons. What is
interesting here is that the argument that “Saves” are an overrated stat because of one inning appearances does not apply to
Gossage who was known for often pitching several innings per outing, save or no save. There is nothing cheap about his
310 career saves (16th all-time), 1002 games pitched (10th all-time), nine All-Star appearances, being the AL saves leader
three times, or his two Fireman of the Year Awards. He was without question the hardest throwing, most intimidating, and
possibly most effective in any situation reliever to toe the slab during his era of the 70’s and 80’s. When the topic of who were
the most intimidating pitchers that batters feared to face is brought up, Gossage’s name is at the top of everyone’s list. This is
his 7th year on the HOF ballot and it is time for him to take his proper place amongst the other legends of the game.
JACK MORRIS – YES: Pure and simple he was a winner. A career winning percentage of .577 with 254 wins, three 20 win
seasons, 13 winning seasons, and three World Series Championships. He was also durable with 175 career complete
games, and more starts (332), complete games (133), innings pitched (2,443), and wins (162) than any other pitcher during
the entire decade of the 1980’s. He made the second most opening day starts in the history of the game (14), and held the AL
record for consecutive games started (515) before Roger Clemens surpassed him in 2001. While his numbers are
impressive, the thing that separates him from other pitchers with great numbers was his toughness and ability to pitch huge in
the biggest games. His pinnacle performance came in 1991 when he was named the WS MVP for his 10 inning 1-0 victory in
Game Seven to clinch the championship. He dominated his era, was a five time All-Star, and pitched with an unparalleled
toughness. I think he deserves to be remembered amongst the greatest pitchers of the game, but probably won’t be elected
until he reaches the veterans committee.
LEE SMITH – YES: As the standing all time saves leader in major league HISTORY, not only should Smith be voted in, but he
should receive an apology for having to wait until his 4th year on the ballot for entry. Not only does he merit entry statistically
as the all-time leader in saves (478) and games finished (802), 8th all-time games pitched (1022), 7 time All-Star, winner of 3
Rolaids Relief Awards and 4 Fireman awards, and led league in saves 4 times, but for almost two decades Smith epitomized
what it meant to be a major league closer; he was overpowering, intimidating, and resilient. I have heard some argue that
because many of his saves were one inning efforts his accomplishments are not that meaningful. Clearly these detractors
have never stood in front of 50,000 screaming fans on a major league mound in the ninth inning of a one run game, with
runners on base, and the cleanup hitter digging in. It takes a rare combination of pitching prowess, composure and pure guts
to perform in that situation. Smith had all of that and successfully closed out the game more times than anyone in history. Not
many guys can handle that pressure for one day, let alone 18 seasons. Smith dominated his era, and defined his position.
Lee Arthur Smith, you are a Hall of Famer.
RICK AGUILERA – NO: Nice career, but not do enough statistically to be ranked as one of the best relievers of all time.
ALBERT BELLE – NO: One of the toughest, if not THE toughest batter I ever faced. I don’t think I ever got him out, and if I did it
was a screamer right at someone. He even hit a game winning walk off homerun off me at Jacobs field on a pitch that I
thought was going to hit him in the head; I was starting to yell look out as I felt the ball leave my hand and watched it in slow
motion go towards his head, when suddenly he threw his hands at it and drove it over the left field wall. That being said, he is
not a first rounder. I do think he will get in eventually as he was the best hitter in the AL for most of his career. In a lineup that
featured Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome, Belle was the guy you couldn’t let beat you. Nine consecutive season with 100+ RBI’
s is HOF material no matter how juiced the ball was. Too bad his career was cut short by injuries, and his votes for the HOF
diminished by his run-ins with the press.
WILL CLARK – NO: Very nice career, but not HOF worthy.
GARY DiSARCINA – NO: With all due respect, why is he on this list?
ALEX FERNANDEZ – NO: Another nominee not even close to being HOF material.
GARY GAETTI – NO: An excellent career, and an even better person. He was a hard nosed competitor that you always had to
pitch carefully to as he could pull a mistake in the zone as hard as anyone. Now he is sharing his knowledge while doing a
great job as the batting coach for the Astros. He deserves some votes, but will have difficulty getting voted in by the writers.
DWIGHT GOODEN – NO: Probably the most dominating rookie pitcher to ever enter the big leagues, winning the triple crown
(W, ERA, K) at age 19. A couple of great seasons, but not a HOF career.
OZZIE GUILLEN – NO: Not a serious HOF candidate. His recent success as a manager may prolong his stay on the
OREL HERSHISER – NO: Certainly a candidate worthy of consideration. He had an excellent career, and a couple of HOF
caliber seasons and accomplishments, most notable 1988 when he won the Cy Young Award and set a major league record
pitching 59 consecutive scoreless innings. On top of that he was a great ambassador for the game, always handling himself
on and off the field with professionalism and character. Despite all of these impressive credentials, his career as a whole
does not warrant a HOF induction. He had a nice start to his career, but after his incredible ’88 season over the next 12
seasons he won more than 15 games in a year only once.
GREG JEFFRIES – NO: First and last year on the ballot.
TOMMY JOHN – NO: A great career, but is more famous for his namesake elbow surgery than his 288 career wins. I think his
positioning on some of the all-time lists in wins, games started, and innings pitched have more to do with his longevity than
his effectiveness. I admire what he accomplished, and feel that he would be a worthy addition to Cooperstown, but I think it
will be through the veterans committee, some of whom may have a zipper scar on their elbow from their Tommy John surgery.
DOUG JONES – NO: An excellent closer for many years. He had a very fine career but not HOF caliber.
DON MATTINGLY – NO: “Donny Baseball” was one of the most popular Yankees during an era when the Bronx Bombers were
a bust. He was an excellent first baseman winning 9 Gold Gloves, and won the AL MVP in 1985. But overall his numbers don’
t compare to other first baggers in Cooperstown; especially below average power numbers. Another great player that will
serve as an example of how exceptional you need to be in order to be immortalized with a HOF induction.
WILLIE MCGEE – NO: I loved watching Willie play because of his athleticism, quirky mannerisms, and unpredictability, but I
hated to face him. He was the best “Bad-ball” hitter I’ve ever seen. With 2 strikes on him if you did not put the ball 2 feet into
the dirt in front of home plate, it was going to get hit and hit hard. Baseball games were more fun for me to watch when Willie
was in the game.
HAL MORRIS – NO: One time nominee.
DALE MURPHY – NO: I gave up my first major league homerun to Murph, but I still can’t vote for him yet. Another great all
around player and great ambassador of the game. Not quite the same overall presence as Andre Dawson which is why he
doesn’t get my vote, but certainly worthy if he gets voted in by the veterans committee.
DAVE PARKER – NO: An amazingly gifted player, with great power and one of the best outfield arms I ever saw. Still, not quite
up to the same standards as Dawson who had 100 more homeruns, 5 more gold gloves, and 2 more All-Star appearances.
Another player on this year’s list of nominees who I have no problem with being elected by the veterans committee.
JIM RICE – NO: An amazing hitter, and an absolute force at the plate year after year. However, just as there are those who
have prejudices against relief pitchers, I admittedly have a biased against designated hitters. Granted Rice played the outfield
twice as many games as he was a DH, but his fielding was average in a park that required little defensive skill. I also feel his
power numbers are not as impressive as they should be (382 HR’s over 16 seasons) for a player who hit in one of the most
hitter friendly ballparks in baseball for right handed batters. Add Rice to the list of players who would be a fine addition to the
HOF if the veterans committee deems him worthy, which I think they will.
BRUCE SUTTER – NO: Although he was one of the first to revolutionize the closer role as a ninth inning specialist and the
man who gave life to the splitfinger pitch, Sutter did not quite dominate at the same level nor for the same length of time as
Gossage and Smith. When he gets voted in by the veterans committee I will definitely give him a cheer.
ALAN TRAMMEL – NO: Hall of Famer, but not yet. He was an exceptional fielder, and is one of the best people in the game. I
had the honor of playing with Tram briefly at the end of his career. What impressed me most was how down to earth he was,
and how not just willing but excited he was to help younger players to become better baseball players. I hope he gets another
opportunity to manage because he makes the game of baseball better by being a part of it, and he has so much to share. I
would definitely vote for him in a couple of years because of how much this guy has given, and continues to give to the game.
WALT WEISS – NO: A fine player with great defensive skills.
JOHN WETTELAND – NO: A great closer with Montreal and Texas, and one of the most explosive fastballs I ever saw. He
could get that fastball up in the zone to jump past even hitters with the fastest of hands.