The Baseball Writers Association of America is the group that officially gets to vote on the Hall of Fame entrants each year. But the group here at Redleg Nation decided that we should have a vote in fantasy land, too. 11 of the contributors here put in votes for the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot. Using the same criteria that the official ballots use, we would have elected six players to the Hall of Fame. In order to make the cut, a player needed nine votes from the eleven voters.

If the group here at Redleg Nation were in charge the 2019 Hall of Fame class would be made up of the following six players: Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, and Roger Clemens. All six of those players received nine of eleven votes – good for 82% of the vote.

Three players fell just short. Larry Walker, Roy Halladay, and Scott Rolen all needed one more vote – finishing at 73% with eight of the eleven votes. Maybe next year, guys.

Let’s take a look at how the votes broke down among the contributors here at Redleg Nation (you can click the image to see a larger version):

Several writers also decided to include a short reason about someone they voted for.

Wes Jenkins on Todd Helton

From 2000 to 2007, the peak of Todd Helton’s career, the only big leaguer with a higher wOBA was Barry Bonds. Four players had a higher fWAR — Bonds, ARod, Albert Pujols and Andrus Jones. Helton had the highest batting average, the second-highest OBP (Bonds), and the third-highest WPA (Bonds, Pujols).

Yes, he played at Coors Field. Yes, his back betrayed him. And yes, he lacks the gaudy counting numbers. If you want to make the argument that a player whose only contemporaries for eight seasons were Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez doesn’t belong in the Hall, then that’s your right. Personally, that’s enough for me.

Jim Walker on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

It is time to end the hypocrisy.  Nobody knows how many of the pitchers Bonds faced were juicing when he faced them or how many of the batters Clemens faced were juicing when he face them.

Bonds was a 147 OPS+ and 50+ bWAR  player at the end of his age 27 season when he left the Pirates for the Giants. Judged by his physical appearance  then versus later on, there is no reason to suspect he was juicing yet at that time. If the 50+ bWAR on its own isn’t enough to merit the HoF, scale his future numbers based on them using a normal aging curve and career length; and,  he would easily be an HOF player.

Jason Linden on Scott Rolen

Jason wrote an outstanding piece at The Hardball Times on why Scott Rolen should be voted into the Hall of Fame. You should read the entire piece here. Below, however, is the first paragraph into why the head of the Linden household has Scott Rolen on his ballot.

Rolen received only 10 percent of the Hall of Fame vote last year, and I genuinely don’t know why. In terms of WAR, the Hall of Fame voters generally seem to require a player to be right around 60. Rolen has a career 69.9 WAR at FanGraphs and 70.2 at Baseball-Reference. These are numbers that should push him easily into the Hall, especially given his reputation.

Doug Gray on Edgar Martinez

One of the big rubs on Edgar Martinez is that “he was a designated hitter”. And you know what, that’s true. He spent a lot of time as a designated hitter. You know who else did? Recently elected Harold Baines. Except that Baines wasn’t nearly as good as Edgar Martinez.

The whole “he doesn’t play defense/both sides of the game” thing just rings hollow to me in most cases. Why? Well, because nearly every single person who makes that argument will also say that Mariano Rivera is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. And he threw 75 innings a year, one inning at a time. Rivera is the greatest reliever of all time. Martinez may not be the best designated hitter of all time – but it’s close if he’s not. But Martinez was a better, more impactful player than Rivera was (at least in the regular season). If Rivera gets your vote, then Martinez should also. For me – they’re both in.

Photo of the National Baseball Hall of Fame by Dan Gaken. Licensing for the photo can be found here.

37 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Bonds, NO, Roider does not deserve to be in.
    (Know I will get pushback on this one)
    Edgar, no, 1 or 2 tool player. Not overall good enough.
    Clemons NO, Roider.
    McGriff, YES, look at the overall stats, belongs in.
    Larry Walker, YES, should be in.
    Todd Helton, Should be in.
    The others I agreed with.

    • MATTHEW

      I agree with this comment 100%. McGriff, Walker, and Helton all 3 deserve to be in.

      • doofus

        Yet you vote in Bonds and Clemens. Cheating is cheating.

        No Rose, fair enough, then neither Bonds nor Clemens should be enshrined at 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY.

      • Doug Gray

        That’s not how this works.

        One guy is banned from the game and he knew that he would be before he made his decision to bet on baseball games.

        Using performance enhancing drugs was not a rule that was a banishment from the game (and it’s still not until you do so three times).

        Might as well try to compare socket wrenches and coconuts.

      • doofus

        “That’s not how this works?”

        Cheating is cheating.

        So, by your definition if Bonds and Clemens each used PEDs 3 times they should be banished? I believe they each had needles popped into their arses 3 times or more.

      • Doug Gray

        No, that’s not how this works. One guy is completely and entirely kicked out of the game, banished, not allowed to participate in it. The others are not.

        Those are the rules. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t change that.

      • doofus

        Doug, it seems that you’re in a tizzy over nothing. I’m not the lest bit upset over “rules.”

        Excuse me for having a conversation with you.

        Please take care.

      • Doug Gray

        You seem very bothered by the fact that we are allowed to vote for some players, but not another one.

    • wkuchad

      would love to see Pete included above just to see how the vote went

  2. Hotto4Votto

    Bonds, Clemons, Schilling, Rivera, Martinez, Mussina, Ramirez, Sheffield, Rolen, Holladay. Those would have been my votes.

  3. Brock

    Overall very good ballots, especially when compared to some of the actual ballots of BWAA members. I have two thoughts/questions:

    1. Unfortunately Sheffield played most of his career in the NL, meaning he had to play in the field and was a disaster as a 3rd baseman and outfielder, leading to a horrendous -27.7 dWAR. However if you look at just his performance as a hitter, one could definitely argue he is HOF-caliber. His oWAR of 80.8 is well above Edgar’s 66.9, and he finished his career with a .907 OPS and 509 HRs. And over a 10 year peak from 1994-2003, he hit .305/.425/.563 with a 158 OPS+. If Sheffield had had the opportunity to play DH for more of his career, would he had received more votes?
    2. What’s Bill Lack’s explanation for voting for Sheffield and Ramirez but not Bonds and Clemens?

    • Sliotar

      Interesting exercise, and a great off-season RLN post.

      But, it shows the bias and flaws with the whole process.

      -Andruw Jones and Manny Ramirez flat out dominated their roles in their primes. But, because of who is also on the ballot, they are lost in the shuffle, at least for this year.

      -And, as much I enjoy Jim Walker’s comments on RLN….only 2 votes, neither of which being Edgar Martinez and Mariano Rivera? Yikes.

      Even “Doc” would feel sorry for the heat that ballot would get, if it were BBWAA issued and made public.

      (Kudos to those who actually used all 10 votes, BTW. The idea of a “narrow” Hall, with all the advanced statistics uncovering players’ greatness, feels antiquated.)

    • Chris Garber

      Manny is the only person on the ballot who was actually suspended for PEDs, right?

      • Brock

        I believe so. I know for certain Clemens, Bonds, and Sheffield were not.

    • Bill Lack

      I screwed up…honestly. I had forgotten about their steroid use or wouldn’t have included them. So, delete those two from my ballot.

      • Brock

        Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!

  4. AMWills

    Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner, Fred McGriff

  5. Scott C

    I have no arguments with any one’s votes after all they are your votes. My only argument is why Fred McGriff does not receive anymore love. Here or nationally. McGriff was afeared bater 52.6 Career War, 284/.377/509 slash line, 493 career homers and 1550 RBIs. And even better in the post season.
    My votes Are Bonds, Schilling, Clemens, Rivera, Musina, Halladay, Martinez, Walker, Mc Griff.

    • Brock

      52.6 WAR is pretty low for a first baseman. The average WAR for HOF first basemen is 66.8. First basemen with higher WAR and higher on the JAWS rankings include John Olerud, Will Clark, and Keith Hernandez. Of course WAR is not the end all stat for HOF measure. I agree that McGriff deserves to have a long discussion on his merits. He was definitely a feared hitter and those 493 HRs speak volumes, as do 6 top-10 MVP finishes. To me he is right on the cusp, but with so many deserving candidates, I can see why he’s not on more writers’ ballots.

  6. jreis

    put Bonds, Sosa, Clemens in the HOF if you want. But that means you have to let Rose and Jackson in as well. steroids did more to damage baseball than gambling ever could.

    • Michael Smith

      @jreis are you trying to compare steroids to throwing games and a world series? One is barely a crime the other could land you Rico charges depending on how far you take the gambling and who is involved.

    • Mark Moore

      I agree … I’ve never read any hard evidence that Jackson under-performed in that series. It was mainly the pitchers who had the control to throw the games.

      And Pete should be in … he’s a jerk who played with fire, but again, no evidence he manipulated games.

      I still say “no” to Bonds and Clemens.

    • Jeff Granger

      Steroids “damaged” baseball only in the eyes of purists. The owners and commissioner at the time didn’t care because people were coming out in droves to watch newly huge players knock the cover off the ball. After the strike disaster of 1994, steroids were just what the doctor ordered.

      I’m not condoning steroids, and I think we as a society are hypocritical on vices like gambling, but in my opinion comparing the two is apples and oranges.

      • Mark Moore

        Fair point, Jeff, in that the owners turned a completely blind eye to the steroid use. And I think Pete was a very sick man with an extreme compulsion. As it stands, their records are in, but none of them are. I’m fine with that outcome.

      • LWBlogger2

        Correct in that it is apples and oranges… Also, was this an intentional bit of wordplay? “Steroids were just what the doctor ordered.”

        That’s wordsmith work at its finest and also true, as many doctors were prescribing the substances, which were often used legally because of that fact. People tend to forget that MLB had no rule against steroid use even though they had rules specifically banning other substances such as cocaine, heroine, marijuana, etc.

      • Matt Esberger

        I think the outrage had subsided a bit. I remember last year thinking Jones, Guerrero & Thome might not get in and the year before that with Bagwell because majority of playing careers happen during the roid era and many HOF writers viewed all players with suspicion. Eventually Bonds & Clemens will get in and probably would be in by now if both had been likeable.

      • doofus

        Just curious, so one type of cheating is okay, but another type of cheating is bad?

  7. Matt Esberger

    Baines getting voted in opens the door for Edgar Martinez & Big Papi and that should probably be it as far as Full Time DHs. Only other guys I can think of during DH era are Chili Davis,Ken Singleton & Don Baylor and neither are HOFers. Most AL teams seem to use as a day off for a regular or as a platoon anymore. Cruz & Morales are probably it as far as Full Timers.

  8. LWBlogger2

    Bonds, Clemens, Mussina, Schilling, M. Rivera, L. Walker, Sheffield, Rolen

    That would be my ballot. Helton and McGriff, two of my favorite players, would just miss out. Edgar Martinez was a master at getting on base and he was indeed better than Harold Baines but I look at what he did, not what he did compared to Baines. He falls just short along with Helton and McGriff.

  9. Jreis

    Since the steroid era the game has too many lions and tigers and not enough leopards and cheeetahs.it is more reminiscent of a beer drinking Sunday softball league than the the game we all grew up watching and loving.
    And I am not really blaming Bonds and Clemens for juicing. Just saying if you let them in to the hall you are almost obligated tolerance Pete and shoeless Joe in

  10. Chris

    I’m actually surprised that I’m the only guy who voted for Sosa. Not a perfect player, for sure. But 600 HR and seven top-10 MVP finishes says that he was among the best of his era.

    I think I shortchanged Roy Halladay. Honestly, I think I’m still upset with him for how he died. That’s silly, but I’m not over it.

    • RiverCity Redleg

      Not sure why you are upset at Halladay. He died in a plane crash. He was hopped up on pain pills, which I would bet is not uncommon for most former athletes. He retired because of severe back pains. His story evokes feelings of tragedy and sympathy much more than anger. Am I missing something?

  11. Frostgiant80

    I really thing McGriff should get more consideration. Guy was a stellar player and I feel he gets hurt by not being associated with one team. The San Diego Padres that could have been…McGriff, Sheffield, Kruk, Gwynn.

  12. RiverCity Redleg

    Here’s my two cents on Pete Rose (as if anyone asked), because of course every hall of fame post on a Reds’ fan site quickly turns to the Rose discussion;

    Rose should most definitely and emphatically be in the Hall of Fame!!

    I agree with baseball that he should be banned from the sport indefinitely. He should never be associated with baseball in any capacity. However, as far as I’m concerned, the Hall is a separate entity. It is purely a shrine to past accomplishments. In every sense of that definition, Rose qualifies for inclusion.

    His numbers speak for themselves. Any amount of gambling could not bolster those numbers. He earned them and consequently, those numbers should earn him induction to the Hall. That’s the difference between him and the roiders. Steroids did indeed bolster their number, making it more difficult to compare their numbers to other players. With that said, I’m not necessarily against most of the roiders getting in. Bonds should definitely be in.. The others, I would have to take on a case by case basis. What I do know is the Pete Rose deserves to be in and I have never heard a credible argument to the contrary other than “Well, MLB says he is banned”. I would challenge those people to take it a step further and ask if that makes sense.