The hall of fame voting is coming up soon in one of the most loaded ballots of the century. I obviously can't vote, but here's who I would vote for it I could, in order from easiest to toughest.
Greg Maddux: One of the greatest pitchers of all time should have no trouble making it on his first ballot. Maddux was more than just a great pitcher, but also a workhorse, leading the league in inning pitched five times and complete games three and arguably the best fielding pitcher of all time, winning eighteen gold gloves.
Frank Thomas: In the era of crazy power stats and Sosa, McGwire and Bonds, Thomas put up monster numbers year after year. He has never been connected to any sort of steroid rumors either. The Big Hurt ended his career with a .301 batting average. Ahead of Joe Morgan, Cal Ripken Jr, and Carl Yastrzemski, to name a few.
Tom Glavine: The Robin to Maddux's Batman, Glavine was also a very similar pitcher to Maddux. He led all pitchers in games started six times, and pitched over two hundred innings fourteen times in his career.
Craig Biggio: Biggio was one of the best and most underrated players of the 90s. You can't just use stats to measure his greatness. Stats won't tell you that he switched positions three times his career for the good of the team. They also won't tell you about his nonstop hustle, never taking a game off. And when you look at stats he wasn't too shabby either, averaging .281, 38 doubles and 24 stolen bases per year.
Barry Bonds: I'm not a huge fan of disregarding steroids, but hear me out on this one. What happens if you take the steroids away from Sammy Sosa? You get a skinny little outfielder who averaged nine homers a year from 1989 to 1992. What about Bonds? You don't have the all time homer king, but you do have the only member of the four hundred homer four hundred steal club. An eight time gold glover, and a guy with at least one MVP. It's hard to speculate when he started using and what he would have done without them, but it's safe to say he would have still had a pretty good career.
Roger Clemens: Very similar to Bonds, if he hadn't juiced, we'd still consider him one of the greatest pitchers of all time. He didn't get huge or have an enlarged head like Bonds, so it's harder to tell when he began taking steroids, but my guess is that it was still pretty great.
Player A: Let's take a look a Player A's stats and compare them to Player B's.
Player A: .284 BA, .377 OBP, .509 SLG, 493 HRs, 1550 RBI
Player B: .267 BA, .380 OBP, .527 SLG, 548 HRs, 1595 RBI
Player B is Mike Schmidt. Player A is Fred McGriff. Look at those numbers again. Schmidt holds a slight lead in almost all of them, but why is Schmidt considered a no doubt hall of famer while McGriff has never gotten more than 23% of the vote? I'm not insinuating that McGriff is better than Schmidt, but he should at least get some attention. The thing that bothers me the most is that if McGriff had hit seven more homers in his career, or about an extra third of a home run every year, he might be in by now.
Tim Raines: Give me a reason Raines shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. You can't. He has a .385 on base percentage, a .291 batting average, and on top of that he was one of the most dangerous base stealers of all time. Compare him with Rickey Henderson. While Henderson holds the record for most stolen bases, he also has the record for most times thrown out, and his percentage is about 76%. Compare that to Raines' percentage. His 84% is clearly much better than Henderson's. Just like I said while comparing McGriff to Schmidt, I'm not saying Raines is better than Henderson, he just should get the attention he deserves.
The last two are a bit harder. There are three candidates who I think are deserving, but I only have two slots left. I'll start with.....
Mike Piazza: Without a shred of doubt Piazza's the best hitting catcher of all time. I don't think there's any argument against that. No one else comes even close to replicating his numbers. Of course there's the steroids controversy. Piazza did admit to using andro before it was banned in his book, Long Shot. I don't think that counts as a real PED. As far as those are concerned, my policy is innocent until proven guilty.
Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell had everything you could want in a player, power, (449 homers) hitting for average, (career .297 hitter) fielding, (won a gold glove in '93) durability, (played 162 games four times) and even speed, (stole 30 or more bases twice). Of course there's the sigh, PED controversy. Whatever see Piazza.
One last thing: Apologies to Edgar Martinez, Jeff Kent and Curt Schilling. Sorry, you don't quite make it.
Ok, that's mine. What do you guys think?