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My 2012 Hall of Fame Ballot

By Mike Silva ~ December 2nd, 2011. Filed under: Hall of Fame.


It’s that time of the year again when we debate the Hall of Fame. Although I am not a member of the BBWAA, I always like to share my perspective on how I would vote if I were granted the privilege. When I select players I look at total numbers, period of dominance, and historic feats. I also add in precedent and position to the equation.

Last year, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were selected for the Hall of Fame. I supported both of their candidacies, along with  Jack Morris, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, and Tim Raines. I will continue to support those six candidates this year, and will continue to leave Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell, and Larry Walker off my ballot. Here is a breakdown of each of my votes and why, as well as some players that hold a special place in the hearts of New York fans.

Jack Morris - He doesn’t have the peripheral numbers of  other Hall of Famer’s, such as Bert Blyleven, but that shouldn’t take away the fact that he won 254 ballgames. He also was a big time postseason pitcher for Detroit and Minnesota, of course winning that classic Game 7 in the ’91 World Series against Atlanta. With the advent of bullpens 250 should be the new 300 and Morris clearly knew how to pitch well enough to win. Let’s not make wins the end all, but let’s not diminish the fact that is ultimately what pitching is all about.

Edgar Martinez-  It might take the BBWAA some time to appreciate the designated hitter, just like they needed some time to warm up to relievers. His production from 1995 to 2003 is right up there with all the all-time greats. Even the move to spacious Safeco Field didn’t slow him down. There is one site that evaluates him based on an award called POP (Premium Offensive Player). A POP season is one in which the player has a BA over .300, OBP over .400, SLG over .500. Martinez has eight POP seasons for his career- more than Mickey Mantle. Every player with eight or more POP seasons is in the Hall of Fame, with the exception of Barry Bonds, who is not eligible as of this writing. Martinez is also one of five players who have had more walks than strikeouts (with at least 1200 or more of each) while hitting .300. The others are Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones.

Mark McGwire - For the first-timers to the site I will repeat my position on steroids. Unlike many members of the BBWAA, I don’t get offended by the use of PEDs during the 90s. Perhaps it was because this is the generation in which I “cut my teeth” in learning the game, but more likely because there never has been definitive scientific proof as to the cause and effect. Both pitchers and hitters were using drugs that were not against the rules of the game. We all know that McGwire is currently 5th all-time in home runs with 584, but his numbers are comparable to other Hall of Fame first basemen such as Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, and Willie McCovey. We have racists, tax cheats, drunks, and spit ballers in the Hall, so there is no reason why we can’t honor someone that used enhancements that were not outlawed at the time. What really puts me over the top with Big Mac is that his at-bats from 1995-2000 were an “event” like no other in the history of the game. Not even Barry Bonds (who I will support when he is eligible), garnered that much interest across all 30 big league ballparks.

Jeff Bagwell -   is one of the few players that spent his entire career in one city and produced Hall of Fame quality numbers his entire career. He spent a large portion of his career playing in the pitcher friendly Astrodome where he produced an OPS of .996. How can you argue with a career that yielded 449 homers, 202 stolen bases, and a .948 OPS? Bill James said in 2001 that Bagwell is the fourth best first basemen of all time. High praise for someone that plays a position known for offense. Personally, I think only Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx are better offensive players at the position. If I am going to support Gil Hodges on the Golden Era ballot, I can’t not support other first basemen such as McGwire, Bagwell, and the man I am going to talk about next.

Rafael Palmeiro - Wouldn’t be much of a debate if he didn’t have that infamous dialogue with Congress and failed drug test. Palmeiro had 3,020 hits, 569 homers, over 1,800 RBI, and a .885 OPS for his career. Although he never won an MVP, he did win three Gold Gloves (one very dubious one in 1999) during his career. Again, I don’t know the true impact of steroids on these results. I also don’t know how many pitchers were using that Palmeiro faced. The offensive numbers are no doubt Hall worthy. Is that even arguable?

Tim Raines- He is one of the individuals that I examine every year. Part of me believes he doesn’t have enough Hall worthy seasons (I count 9 out of 23).  The presence of Rickey Henderson in the eighties sometimes overshadows Raines who was his National League counterpart. He had speed and hit for power and average. His 13 years in Montreal were impressive, and he tacked on in Chicago and New York. If he didn’t chase a ring as a part time player with the Yankees I suspect he might have collected 3,000 hits. For his career he had over 2,600 hits, 808 stolen bases, and a career OPS of .810. Time to recognize “Henderson lite” and put him in the Hall. If you added 400 more hits and subtracted 400 walks this wouldn’t be a debate because he would have the magic number of 3,000. It took me a couple of years, but I think Raines is on my ballot to stay.

Noticeable Exceptions

Barry Larkin -   The problem with Larkin is that he never sustained a period of dominance. He always seemed to have a season (usually caused by injury) that interrupted that string. He also played in an offensive era where other SS (Garciaparra, A-Rod, Jeter, Tejada) were top notch hitters. The ’95 MVP and two Gold Gloves aren’t enough. Some like to point out his numbers compare favorably to Jeter. From 1998 to 2007 Jeter has ten consecutive seasons that I would call “Hall of Fame Worthy.” When you add in 2009 it brings the total to eleven Hall of Fame seasons in his 17 year career. On the other hand, Larkin has, in my estimation, five seasons that are Hall of Fame worthy (’91,’92, ’95, ’96, and ‘98).

I feel he is truly a bubble candidate, and I expect him to get in this year because of the BBWAA’s anti-steroid policy. Unlike McGwire, Bagwell and Palmeiro, Larkin doesn’t have any steroid suspicions and the 2012 ballot appears to be his best chance to make that final jump to 75%. He finished with 62.7% of the vote in 2011.

Alan Trammell - I could make more of an argument for Trammell who might have been the best shortstop on both sides of the ball from 1983-1988. His best season was ’87 (28/105/.343), but that was the year of the “juiced ball” and Trammell would decline offensively after age 30. During a 20 year career he did compile some great total numbers, but lacks the sustained period of success that I believe warrant Hall of Fame consideration.

Larry Walker - His career numbers are definitely Hall worthy (.313 average, 383 homers, 1231 RBI, .965 OPS), but a majority of it was produced in the rarefied air of Coors Field (career OPS of 1.172). Is penalizing Walker for Coors Field unfair? Perhaps, especially since I didn’t do the same for McGwire regarding PED’s, but I know the impact of Colorado statistically, while PEDs are hard to quantify.

Don Mattingly - From ’84 - ’87 he was Jeff Bagwell when he averaged 30 HRs, 121 RBI, .941 OPS, and 155 OPS+. The MVP award and 9 Gold Gloves help, but the period of dominance is just not there. Yankees fans love Donnie Baseball and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the Yankees version of Gil Hodges down the road.

Bernie Williams - I could actually make a better case for Williams than Don MattinglyFrom 1996-2002, he averaged 25 HRs, 104 RBI, .946 OPS, .323 BA, and 4 Gold Gloves. His 146 OPS+ puts him near the top five centerfielders of all-time. Bernie was a late bloomer and tailed off after ’02. If he produced for another 2-3 years we might have an interesting debate on our hands.


I know there are others that might be worthy of debate, which we can discuss in the comments section below.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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15 Responses to My 2012 Hall of Fame Ballot

  1. Chuck

    I’m a small Hall guy and if a player is on the fence I usually lean no, but this is very disappointing.

    If you’re linked to steriods, even if just by suspicion, you’re out.

    And I wouldn’t vote for McGwire even if he was clean.


    A part time player?

    Again, the Hall is for the greatest of the great “all-round” players.

    Pinchhitting four times a game and doing nothing else hardly qualifies.

    OK, that’s my two cents.

    See ya.

  2. Mark


    In regards to Edgar, I guess the same can be said about relief pitchers and closers for that matter. They are a part time player as well. Coming into the game to get 3 outs means that they are not doing as much as designated hitters either. I guess Mariano Rivera will never be in the HOF, right?

  3. Chuck

    You’re right, Mark.

  4. Mark

    Morris, Edgar, Bagwell and Raines I can see. Big Mac does not deserve it even with the HRs. And steroids did help to some extent. How much is up for debate, but there is some assistance from Steroids.

    All your guys you leave off are not Hall worthy. Good to great players, but not HOF great.

  5. MBN

    Sorry, I am the Mark above. Did not notice the other fellow. I changed my handle here

  6. Piazza

    I think it’s time to get past the fact that Edgar was a DH. He’s far and away a Hall quality hitter, for average and power. If he played any position, he’d be in already, even if he had Manny Ramirez or Jeter style defense (i.e. bad).

  7. Chuck Johnson


    You can’t say that definitively.

    While Griffey is playing center in Texas in July in 100 temps with 90% humidity, Edgar’s sitting in an air-conditioned clubhouse munching on tacos and watching the game on TV.

    If he was an everyday player, his offensive stats would be much worse.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re not a complete player, you’re not a HOFer, and I don’t care what you’re batting average or WAR was, or how many saves you had.

  8. Steve

    The designated hitter is a position in baseball. Every AL manager fills out his lineup card every game and pencils in his DH. It is ridiculous to say that baseball has a position that has been around for 30 years, but no player who plays it should be considered for the HOF

    I do understand the bias but it’s wrong. Same thing for relievers. You’re going to deny Mariano’s place in the HOF? You honestly believe the Yankees have their last 5 championships without him?

  9. Chuck Johnson

    “You honestly believe the Yankees have their last 5 championships without him?”


    Unlike money, closers actually do grow on trees.

  10. Steve

    “Unlike money, closers actually do grow on trees.”

    Better bring a snack while you wait for a closer with a 0.70 ERA in the post season to fall from a tree

  11. Chuck Johnson

    So, Steve, let me ask you…

    Switch Hoffman and Rivera…Yanks have zero and Padres five?

  12. Mike Silva

    I think if you switch Rivera and Wetteland, then you might have an argument. I do think Hoffman coughs up a few more saves than Rivera… Yanks still win WS, but I don’t know if they win 5. Although Mo did piss away the ’97 division series.

  13. Chuck Johnson

    We’re over-valuing closers here, people.

    Rivera spends his entire career in Pittsburgh and nobody knows who he is.

    Or cares.

  14. Brien Jackson

    Martinez played 4605 innings at third base, and wasn’t horrible at the position by any means. He was moved to DH because he had trouble staying healthy from 1992-96, and the M’s eventually decided keeping his bat in the lineup was more important than keeping him at third. That seems like a pretty ringing endorsement of his value as a hitter to me, and it’s also pretty silly to penalize Martinez for management’s decision.

    Of course, so long as we aren’t actually docking elite hitters who are also terrible defensive players when we think of their Hall candidacies, it won’t really make any sense to say that a DH shouldn’t be considered because they provided a net-zero benefit in the field. It’s one thing to not like the DH, but that opinion shouldn’t be biasing HoF voting.

  15. MBN


    Just my opinion, but the Yankees do not win in 1996 without the role MO played in the 7th and 8th that year. Also, they might not have won in 2009 without the role MO played. They probably win in 1998 and 1999. Not sure about 2000, as the whole team had problems down the stretch late in the season.

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