It’s that time of the year again where sport writers all debate who should be inducted into the HOF, and more importantly, if steroid users should be inducted. It’s the argument that’s been going on for years now. Before I jump into that argument and cast my vote, let’s take a look at this year’s ballot:
Jeff Bagwell, Casey Blake, Barry Bonds, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, Roger Clemens, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Kent, Derrek Lee, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Melvin Mora, Mike Mussina, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Tim Raines, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Ivan Rodriguez, Freddy Sanchez, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek, Billy Wagner, Tim Wakefield, Larry Walker
Now keep in mind that a HOF voter is allowed to vote for up to 10 players, so I’ll follow that guideline. Granted I’m a 21 year old and didn’t get to watch most of these guys in their prime, but numbers never lie.
The sure-fire locks:
- Tim Raines
Raines missed out on being inducted last, showing up on 69.8% of ballots, just 5.2% less than needed. Most notable for his time on the Expos back in the day, Rock spent his career on 6 different teams during his 23-year career. A lifetime .294 hitter with 2,605 hits, 170 homers, 980 RBIs, and 808 stolen bases. Add in a 7x all-star and 4x NL stolen base leader, and he’s good for 6th all-time career hits, 4th in career run, 7th in singles and doubles, and 8th in triples. Additionally, he holds 5 Expos/National franchise records. Maybe he didn’t (or did, depending who you ask) deserve to be voted in before 2017, but look for Raines to be on his way to Cooperstown this year.
Little fun fact for Tim Raines: he would ALWAYS slide head first instead of feet first. Not because of preference, but because he didn’t want to squish the bag of cocaine he kept in his back pocket.
- Jeff Bagwell
Like Raines, Bagwell JUST missed out on the HOF last year, cumulating 71.6% of votes, just 15 votes shy of being elected. He spent his entire 15-year career playing first base for the Houston Astros, winning the NL ROY in 1991 and NL MVP in 1994. Bagwell hit a monstrous 449 homeruns throughout his career. He holds the MLB record of 6 consecutive seasons of hitting 30 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored, and 100 walks in a season. That’s fucking crazy. No man has been able to do that in his career except for Bagwell. Additionally, he’s the only first basemen in MLB history to achieve 400 homers and 200 stolen bases in his career. An all-around threat. Without a doubt, I think he’ll be hearing Bagwell’s name called with Raines.
The looking good:
- Vladimir Guerrero
Tied with Bagwell with 449 career homeruns is Big Bad Vlad, who spent 16 years being one of the best power hitters in the league. A 9x all-star, MVP winner in 2004, and 8x Silver Slugger winner, it’s hard to look past what this guy has done. He finished top 10 in MVP voting 6 times, top 10 in homeruns 8 times, top 10 in RBIs 9 times, top 10 in slugging percentage 10 times, on top of other achievements. The one issue is he never won, and never really came close to it either.
- Trevor Hoffman
The all-time National League leader in saves deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That’s what the hall is for: the very best. I know it’s tough to vote for a man whose job it is to come into a game with the lead and pitch for one winning, and his only job is to NOT lose games, but when you’re that dominant you deserve to be in. He’s second all time in saves to Mariano, who I’m sure will be a first ballot despite being a closer. Just ridiculous to leave him off.
The controversial nominees:
Before I start talking about which “cheaters” should be elected, let me first say that Bud Selig should NOT be in the Hall of Fame if they want to keep out the likes of Bonds and Clemens. I mean, Selig was the biggest enabler of the 90s. He showed ZERO control over players taking PEDs. He came down with NO punishment. There was zero reason for guys like McGuire and Sosa to be shoving a needle in their ass. And besides, we should be THANKING McGuire and Sosa for practically saving the MLB with their homerun race after the lockout. The MLB was as good as dead, and these two guys made it exciting. Two heated rivals in the Cardinals and Cubs, and their two best players battling it out. It literally saved the league, and now people want to chastise them. If Selig is entering the hall, then there’s absolutely no reason to keep these guys off the ballots. SO:
- Barry Bonds
Granted, Bonds didn’t really the ‘roids to help him solidify his legacy as one of the best players ever. You all know how productive he was (14x All-Star, 7x MVP, 8x Golden Glove, 12x Silver Slugger). I mean, the guy was a SEVEN TIME MVP. That’s ridiculous. No one was able to take that from him. Add in MLB records of 762 career home runs, a 73-home run season, and the all-time leader in walks. This guy was so dominant that he was getting intentionally walked in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, down 2 runs, and bases loaded. Imagine how crazy Buck Showalter was going when he realized he was going to have to give up a run and put Bonds on first instead of pitching to him. So insanely dominant. He has my vote any day.
- Roger Clemens
Let me first say this: as a Mets fan, fuck Roger Clemens. I don’t care what you do in your career. If you throw a bat at Mike Piazza, I hate your guts. But that doesn’t mean Rocket didn’t win the Cy Young 7 times. That’s even more impressive than Bonds being a 7x MVP. To win the Cy Young in 3 different decades is plain stupid. AND he won the MVP. The equivalence of a pitcher being an 11x all-star is like a position player doing it 20 times. It just doesn’t happen. And when it does, they end up in the Cooperstown. Hate him all you want. I know I do every time I look at his fat ass head. But that doesn’t mean I refuse to acknowledge his numbers.
The maybe next year:
- Ivan Rodriguez
Pudge was so insanely dominant, but his lack of winning is going to hold him back, similar to Bagwell. Look for him to get the nod next year.
- Manny Ramirez
While I think that steroid users should get voted in, Manny won’t get voted in before Bonds or Clemens. Mostly because of when he took his PEDs. He took them after the MLB instated their drug policy suspension rules, and was suspended for 50 games. After coming back from suspension, he failed another test, and opted to retire instead of taking a 100-game suspension. Weak shit right there. And do Sox fans even rep Manny? I’ve never heard a Boston fan talk about Manny in a positive way. Watch 30 for 30: 4 days in October. They don’t even mention him once. Maybe he’ll get in one day, but not before Bonds or Clemens get the call.
- Mike Mussina
The most impressive part of Mussina’s career was his ability to play in the American League East in the 90s and 2000s. One of the most competitive and high scoring divisions in all of baseball, Mussina had an impressive 2,813 strikeouts with a career 270-153 win-loss record and a lifetime 3.68 ERA. I’m not gonna bullshit and say I know so much about Mussina, but every other pitchers to match his 17 seasons of 10 or more victories are all in the hall of fame, with the exception of Tommy John. I don’t know if he’ll make it this year, but one day I think he will.
- Tim Wakefield
My no means does Tim Wakefield have an impressive resume. But one thing is for sure, and that is he is the best Knuckleball pitcher to play the game. And when you’re the best at what you did, you get inducted to the hall of fame. He’s no Randy Johnson or Greg Maddux, but he has 200 career wins, and he won all those games by throwing the most unique pitch in the game. Give the man some votes. You vote in the best curveball and fastball pitchers, add the best knuckleball pitcher in there too.
- Curt Schilling
Man, Curt Schilling would’ve been a hall of famer one day if he didn’t tweet his way out of it. Social media strikes again, and Curt has shown just how ridiculous and head-scratching he is. If we’re going off the numbers, sure, he gets my vote. But the guy who tweets out that Muslims and Nazis have more in common than we thought, and his ill-received views on transgender people, it won’t be easy for him to get in.
The official 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced January 18th. After only 2 players got elected last year (Piazza and Griffey), look for 5-7 players to make the hall this year. Will this year be the turning point for a whole era of steroid users?