2017 Hall of Fame Ballot: If I Had a Vote

Each and every year there arises a major debate around the baseball world as to which players are deserving of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. While certain players from any given year are no doubt picks, sparking little argument as to whether their career numbers are worthy of election, others players have rather borderline statistics, making things very controversial. This year is no different.

The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot has 34 players on it, with 19 of them being in their first time on the ballot. After reviewing the ballot numerous times, I gave each and every player careful consideration, but in the end I wound up placing only four on my ballot. Here are the four players I feel should make it into the Hall of Fame in 2017 (not necessarily the players I think will get elected) when the official announcement is made exactly two weeks from today:

The first player on my ballot is Tim Raines.

Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos drops his bat and prepares to run.

As recently as the 2015 ballot results, it seemed as if Tim Raines stood virtually no chance at getting into the Hall of Fame. That year, Raines received only 55 percent of the vote, with just two years of eligibility remaining. But 2016 saw him make a huge jump, climbing all the way up to 69.8 percent. Though Raines only hit 170 homers in his career, his 808 stolen bases and 2,605 career hits truly stand out. With this being his final year on the ballot, I’m hopeful that Raines receives his rightful induction.

Second on my unofficial ballot is Jeff Bagwell.

bagwell

I originally didn’t have Jeff Bagwell as part of this blog post, as I was on the fence about whether or not I felt he deserved the honor. However, after numerous number comparisons, I decided he was in fact worthy. Bagwell doesn’t have numbers that jump off the page, with a .297 career average and just 449 home runs, but Bagwell averaged 37 homers and 116 RBI’s a year over a ten season span from 1994-2003, and therefore should be inducted in the Hall of Fame, as 71.6 percent of voters agreed last year.

Next, I have Trevor Hoffman.

hoffman

Trevor Hoffman is probably the surest bet of all returnees to get enshrined in 2017. In his first time around last year, Hoffman picked up 67.8 percent of the vote, placing him just 7.2 percent back of induction. Hoffman was the first closer to reach 600 career saves, and sits second all-time behind Mariano Rivera with 601 career saves. In addition, Hoffman also holds a 2.87 career mark, and when you put it all together is a definite Hall of Famer in my mind.

Lastly, Vladimir Guerrero finds his way onto my list of picks.

guerrero

The only first-time player I have on my ballot is Vladimir Guerrero, but it’s no true mystery as to why. One of the most fun players to watch, Guerrero could hit pretty much anything from a ball in the dirt to one over his head, evident in his .318 career average — the highest of all the players on this year’s ballot. But Guerrero didn’t just hit for average, he also had one of the best power bats, notching 449 homers and totaling 1,496 RBI’s. There should be more than enough support for Guerrero from the voters.

Unfortunately, even with all of the great players on the ballot this year, I had to leave off the remaining 30 players, including a large number of the really good players from the ballot, including Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Billy Wagner — all of which have good arguments for induction into the Hall.

In addition, I’ve excluded Barry Bonds, Rogers Clemens and Sammy Sosa, among others traced to PED’s, not based solely on their PED use, but merely because I don’t feel they should get in this time around. Not yet; maybe not even at all. I haven’t fully decided how I feel. The Hall of Fame is an exclusive club, and I’m not sure I’ll ever feel that PED players are deserving of induction.

Though you may disagree with some of the players I feel are Hall of Fame worthy and with some of the players I left off my ballot, it’s just the way I feel. With the vote set to be announced on January 18th, it will definitely be interesting to see who gets in.

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2016 Hall of Fame Ballot: If I Had a Vote

Each and every year there arises a major debate around the baseball world as to which players are deserving of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. While certain players from any given year are no doubt picks, sparking little argument as to whether their career numbers are worthy of election, others players have rather borderline statistics, making things very controversial. This year was no different.

The 2016 Hall of Fame ballot has 32 players on it, with 15 of them being in their first time on the ballot. After reviewing the ballot numerous times, I gave each and every player careful consideration, but in the end I wound up placing only four on my ballot. Here are the four players I feel should make it into the Hall of Fame in 2016 (not necessarily the players I think will get elected) when the official announcement is made on Wednesday:

The first player on my ballot is Mike Piazza.

New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

Mike Piazza is facing his fourth time around on the Hall of Fame ballot, but after making the jump up to 69.9 percent of the vote last time around (75 percent is needed for induction), I think Piazza will finally make it in this year. In my mind, Piazza is hands down a Hall of Famer. While he doesn’t have the most impressive statistics (2,127 hits, 1,335 RBI’s and 427 home runs) in baseball history by a long shot, when you compare his numbers against the greatest catchers of all time — many of which are already in Cooperstown — Piazza is right there with the best of them.

Next, I have Tim Raines.

Raines

I’m not sure Tim Raines will ever make it into the Hall of Fame, but I have him on my ballot. There are a number of people who understandably don’t see him as worthy, with him only receiving 55 percent of the voters approval last year, but I think he did enough to make it in. Raines sits fifth all-time on the stolen base list, with the four players ahead of him each holding a spot in Cooperstown. Having blasted just 170 home runs in his career, Raines doesn’t jump off the page as a Hall of Famer, but it’s his 808 stolen bases combined with his 2,605 total hits that make him worthy.

Of the first time appearance players, the first one on my list is Ken Griffey Jr.

Griffey Jr.

This is by far the easiest selection of the entire 2016 Hall of Fame class. There is absolutely no way that Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t get into the Hall his first go around. Although there are a number of people who are speculating the notion that Griffey Jr. could possibly become the first player to ever received a unanimous election, I don’t see that happening. There are always a few holdouts who refuse to vote for a player their first time on the ballot for a number of crazy reasons. Even so, Griffey’s 630 career home runs, 1,836 RBI’s and 2,781 hits will inevitably see him making an acceptance speech in July.

The final player on my ballot is Trevor Hoffman.

Hoffman

Picking Trevor Hoffman on my ballot is likely the most controversial pick. In my mind, he is a no doubt Hall of Fame player, but there are a number of people who don’t feel that he is worthy — especially his first time on the ballot. But there is one stat that makes him worth the selection: 601 career saves. Hoffman’s 2.87 ERA doesn’t make him a Hall of Famer, given he was a reliever, and he only struck out 1,133 batters over 1,089.1 career innings. But only Mariano Rivera (another future Hall of Fame closer) has more saves than Hoffman. Trevor Hoffman was simply one of the all time best at what he did, and he deserves enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, even with all of the great players on the ballot this year, I had to leave off the remaining 28 players, including a large number of the really good players from the ballot, including Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith and Billy Wagner — all of which have good arguments for induction into the Hall.

In addition, I’ve excluded Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rogers Clemens, among others traced to PED’s, not based solely on their PED use, but merely because I don’t feel they should get in this time around. Not yet; maybe not even at all. I haven’t fully decided how I feel. The Hall of Fame is an exclusive club, and I’m not sure I’ll ever feel that PED players are deserving of induction.

Though you may disagree with some of the players I feel are Hall of Fame worthy and with some of the players I left off my ballot, it’s just the way I feel. Now, I want to hear from you. Of the players on the 2016 ballot, who do you want to see get inducted in July? Cast your vote below for the number of players from the 2016 ballot that you would vote into the Hall of Fame, and feel free to leave your thoughts below.