I know ballots for the 2018 Hall of Fame were due a few weeks ago, but I figured I’d cast my ballot just in case someone’s ballot gets lost or they decide to tell that guy from Cleveland who voted for the only two guys who played for the Indians on the ballot to fuck off.  Maybe the BBWAA wants to hear the voice of the people and will come to me.  Who knows.

So whatever the reason is, I will unveil my ballot to you, the loyal readers of Water Cooler Sports.  Before that though, let me tell you my philosophy on the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Maybe it’s because I’m a “baseball guy,” but I think that the the Baseball Hall of Fame holds a lot more prestige than any other Hall of Fame.  I know over the past 15-20 years as the steroid era guys are becoming eligible, and the fact that 90% of the BBWAA are enormous self-righteous douchebags, a lot of people are thinking that the Hall of Fame doesn’t quite have the luster as it once had, but the Hall of Fame still means something to me.

My stance on the steroid guys are that they were some of the best players I ever saw while I was growing up.  I cannot really speak to the Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, etc.  I can look at their numbers and say “holy shit they were fucking good” but I never saw them play.  I saw the steroid era guys play.  For that reason, I have no issue putting them in.

As far as who I think gets in to the Hall of Fame, it cannot be someone that you say “well maybe…” They have to be someone who when you hear their game you say “yep Hall of Famer.”  Curt Schilling said this in an interview once and it made a ton of sense.  He said a few names and asked if they were a Hall of Famer.  We’ll play the same game he played.  Ready?  Okay read the names below and tell me if you think they’re a Hall of Famer or not.

First name – Nolan Ryan

Yes Hall of Fame

Next name – Ken Griffey Jr

Yes Hall of Fame

Next name – Hank Aaron 

Yes Hall of Fame

Next name – Curt Schilling 

Well he had some good numbers, and a good post-season career so I could see him making it.

By my (and Curt Schilling’s) logic, that’s where the conversation ends.  If you hear a player’s name and your thought is not automatically “yes Hall of Famer” then they are not a Hall of Famer.  As with all rules, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, that’s how I go.

Alright so without further adieu, here is who I voted for to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Barry Bonds BondsHis numbers speak for himself.  All time home run leader.  Only member of the 500/500 club (homers and steals) and a Hall of Fame Monitor number of 340 (above 100 is a “likely” HoFer) on baseball reference.

Jim Thome ThomeEveryone who knows me knows I love Jim Thome.  612 career home runs and a career .956 OPS for one of the best sluggers of his generation.

Roger Clemens

 Clemens

354 career wins, which is insane considering the era he played.  4,672 career strikeouts and a career WAR of 103.3.  The only pitchers with a higher career WAR are Cy Young and Walter Johnson.

Manny Ramirez 

As a Red Sox fan, I will always love Manny, no matter how many estrogen pills he takes.  I was actually a little hesitant to include him since he is still playing in Japan, but he’s a top five right handed hitter of all time.  Gorgeous swing, .312 career batting average, 555 career homers and a .996 career OPS.

Vladimir Guerrero

Vladdy 

One of the most fun guys to watch of his generation.  The guy literally could hit a ball off the wall of a pitch that bounced.  Very similar numbers to Manny, actually.  .318 career batting average, .931 career OPS, but was a far superior defender.  Dude had an absolute rocket.

Trevor Hoffman

hoffman

I’m a big believer in “best at their position” and as of right now, Trevor Hoffman is the best Hall of Fame eligible closer that is not in the Hall of Fame.  601 career saves and in my opinion, 600 saves for a closer should be one of those numbers like 3000 hits for a hitter.

Larry Wayne Jones

chipper

You may know him as Chipper.  I hated Chipper, but it’s hard to deny he’s one of the best switch hitters in baseball history who played at a premier position.  He was the 1999 MVP, a 7 time all star who had 446 career dingers and a .303 career batting average.

Jeff Kent

jeff kent

It baffles me that Jeff Kent does not get more love on these Hall of Fame ballots.  It has to be because he was such a cocksucker to the media.  There’s literally no other explanation for why the best power hitting second baseman ever got 15% of the vote last year.  He was the 2000 MVP and beat out his teammate Barry Bonds, maybe you’ve heard of him.  Kent’s 55.2 career WAR is better than Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett, Jim Rice, and Sandy Koufax to name a few.

Larry Walker

walker

Another guy that I just don’t “get” how he doesn’t get more love.  Walker absolutely gets penalized for playing in Colorado (which is horseshit, you didn’t penalize the pitchers who played in the dead ball era, so why are you penalizing Walker for something he didn’t control).  7 Gold Gloves, a .313 career average, a .965 career OPS, and a member of the 200/200 club.

Finally, I’d write in Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael

If I’m voting for steroid guys, I’m voting for Rafael Palmeiro.  3020 hits, 569 career homers, one of the best hitters of his time.  I am genuinely cheering for him to make a comeback this year as a 53 year old so that he can shove it in everyone’s fucking face.

Just missed my cut…

Sammy Sosa

sosa

Actually much more than a power hitter, I just only have ten spots.

Mark McGwire

bigmac

Other than his high home run total, there wasn’t a ton there.

Scott Rolen

rolen

Scott Rolen?  Let’s play a game…

Player A – 70.0 WAR in 17 seasons, 8 Gold Gloves, .281 career BA, .855 OPS, 316 HR

Player B – 71.8 WAR in 18 seasons, 5 Gold Gloves, .310 career BA, .817 OPS, 260 HR

Player A is Rolen.  Player B? Derek Jeter.  Now I obviously conveniently left out Jeter’s 3465 hits compared to Rolen’s 2077, but Rolen is much better than I think a lot of people realized.  People forget he was regarded as top tier defensive third baseman.  His numbers actually match up pretty closely to Hall of Famer Ron Santo.  Just saying.

But there you have it.  That’s my ballot.  Two quick notes:

  1. I think Palmeiro fell off the ballot due to not reaching 5% of the vote as opposed to being phased off of the ballot because of the ten year rule.  If he wasn’t on the ballot because of the latter, then substitute Sosa in for Palmeiro.
  2. I still hold a lot of stock in batting average.  I get that for whatever reason some baseball experts don’t think batting average is that great of a stat, but in my opinion if you’re a guy like Vladimir Guerrero who is getting a hit almost 32% of the time when the league average was getting a hit 26% of the time during his 16 years, I think that’s pretty good.

Let me know your ballot!  Who did I forget?

 

@WhatAKetchWCS