Hall of Fame voting is probably one of the most controversial topics in all of baseball. It's the type of conversation that gets friends going, triggers "journalists" online, and angers the old timers of baseball. The end of the year brings back this excitement with the official release of the Baseball Hall of Fame candidates.
With no free agency to pay attention to at the moment (thanks Manfred), resources have been shifted to figuring out who's going to make the HOF next year. After last years embarrassing debacle, are we certain anyone is going to even be inducted this year?
It's the final year of Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling on the ballot, and more turmoil is now being introduced with the additions of Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz (all of who deserve to be in the hall). 14 writers left their ballots empty, out of the 401 voters. Curt Schilling missed the 75% threshold by 16 votes. There are some newcomers on the ballot, with Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, and Tim Lincecum but do they have better resumes than Big Papi and AROD?
There needs to be a real spring cleaning of writers, because some aren't truly looking at the careers of some all-time greats. With that being said, if I were to have possession of a ballot and be able to cast my vote, here is who I am choosing. Just to clarify, this isn't a prediction on who will get in or not, this is merely my opinion on who I think should get in.
The steroid era has tarnished these gentlemen's names. If Bud Selig allowed this (and he himself is in the hall), then these players should be enshrined. Bond-Clemens-Schilling. The big three of the most deserving players, besides the steroids' and off the field antics. They tell the story of baseball in their respective time frames. These three have been debated for years, and in their final chance to make it in, I only look at their resumes. They truly speak for themselves.
Barry Bonds put people in seats during his entire career. He clobbered over 700 home runs, winning 7 MVP's and 12 silver slugger awards, and that is just a small part of his impressive resume.
Roger Clemens has 7 CY Young awards, on top of 2 triple crowns and two world series rings.
A 6x All-Star, 3x World Series Champ, 2x MLB Wins Leader, and has over 3,000 strikeouts. He is one of the most prolific postseason pitchers in history, compiling an 11-2 record in 19 starts, including a 4-1 mark and 2.06 ERA in seven World Series starts.
More controversy, but alongside the three above, you can't tell the story of baseball in the 2000's without Big Papi and AROD.
An influential leader and Red Sox legend, there shouldn't be a questions of if he deserves the HOF. 10 All-Stars, 3 World Series, 7 Silver Sluggers, 541 home runs. Do I need to say more? When Ortiz got up to bat, you knew he was going to get a stadium going.
A generational talent, who has excelled more off the field than on, Alex Rodriguez is a hall of famer. 22 seasons, 696 homeruns, 14 All-Stars, 3 MVP's, 2 Gold Gloves, 10 Silver Sluggers, there was no one like prime AROD
I don't need to dive any deeper on these five players. They earned it, they deserve it, they ARE Hall of Famers.
The Deserving Players
He was a formidable defender, earning 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards in center field which more than anyone except Willie Mays. On the either side of the ball, Jones was also promising. He hit at least 25 homers and drove in at least 84 runs in every season from 1998-2007, making his total 434 by 2012. He also had four seasons with at least 20 stolen bases. Add his five All-Stars, a Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award amongst other accolades, Jones is ready to earn his place.
Voters missed out on Mark McGwire, they shouldn't make the same mistake with Sosa. He is one of the greatest hitters ever in the game collecting over 600 homers and 2400 hits. An NL MVP with a multitude of accolades, he is a historical figure and made baseball entertaining in the 90's and 2000's.
A career .312 hitter, Manny collected 2,574 hits, 1,831 RBI's, and a whopping 555 home runs. With five teams and 18 seasons, Ramirez was a 12x All-Star, 9x Silver Slugger, 2x Hank Aaron winner, and 2x World Series champ. He was an offensive juggernaut and his career 81.8 offensive WAR ranks fifth among all left fielders.
7x All-Star, 1,196 strikeouts, and 422 saves, with a very similar career as current Hall of Famer, Trevor Hoffman. Relief pitchers tend to get the short end of the stick, but Wagner's dominance for over 900 innings, should garnish him the honor.
You make think this is just a Yankee throw in but to be honest, no pitcher has had a more prolific postseason career than Pettitte. He's the all-time leader in playoff wins, innings and starts (19, 276 2/3, and 44 respectively. He also ranks fourth in strikeouts, won 21 games twice, pitched at least 200 innings in 10 seasons, plus five World Series rings.
*Todd Helton, Mark Teixeira, Mark Buehrle, and Ryan Howard are all deserving and should deserve to get in at some point*