Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Larkin comes to the top of 2012 HOF Class

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, we are asked to take part in a few different voting exercises throughout the year. We pick out the top players in each end of the year award category, we vote for the starters in the All-Star Game, and we submit a ballot for the Hall-of-Fame during each off-season. The end of the calendar year means it is getting closer to the announcement of the Class of 2012 for the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame. There have been plenty of national writers who have written about their ballot in the last week.

With each of the other announcements, the BBA asks each member to post their ballot to their blog. The Hall-of-Fame vote is the only one for which this is not a requirement. I still feel like the Hall-of-Fame balloting should be posted with my reasons for selecting each candidate. I usually break my ballot into a few different categories because I know that not all of the players listed below will be making a speech in Cooperstown this summer.

Class of 2012
Barry Larkin (2011 HOF Vote: 62.1%) - Cincinnati Reds
Accolades: 12-time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Sluggers, 1995 NL MVP
BA: .295
H: 2340 (131st)
HR: 198
R: 1329 (108th)
RBI: 960
SB: 379 (87th)
OPS: .815
WAR: 68.9 (90th)

This year will mark the third year for Larkin on the ballot and he has been steadily moving closer to the 75% needed to be inducted. In my lifetime, he might be the best shortstop who played in the National League. His combination of hitting, base running ability, and defensive prowess are worthy of induction with the best players of all-time. In a year where many of the other top position players have the PED cloud surrounding them, Larkin should be a lock to be the only player selected by the baseball writers.

Future Inductions
Jeff Bagwell (2011 HOF Vote: 41.7%)- Houston Astros
Accolades: 4-time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1994 NL MVP
BA: .297
H: 2314 (139th)
HR: 449 (35th)
R: 1517 (63rd)
RBI: 1529 (46th)
SB: 202 
OPS: .948 (22nd)
WAR: 79.9 (57th)

Edgar Martinez (2011 HOF Ballot: 32.9%) - Seattle Mariners
Accolades: 7-time All-Star, 5 Silver Sluggers,
BA: .312 (95th)
H: 2247 (160th)
HR: 309 (120th)
R: 1219 (160th)
RBI: 1261 (121st)
SB: 49
OPS: .933 (34th)
WAR: 67.2 (100th)

Martinez will be facing his third year of being on the ballot and Bagwell will be making his second appearance. For Bagwell, there have been slight connections made to him and the other steroid era sluggers. He was a very good hitter in an era where it seemed like everyone was using PEDs so there are going to be writers who leave him off of their ballot for this reason. Martinez is one of the best designated hitters of all-time and he changed the position for current generations. It might be a long process for each of these two to get into the HOF but they should be elected sometime in the next decade.

May Never Get In (But still on my ballot)
Mark McGwire (2011 HOF Vote: 19.8%) - Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals
Accolades: 12-time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, Passed Roger Maris for most HR in single season
BA: .263
H: 1626
HR: 583 (10th)
R: 1167 (199th)
RBI: 1414 (67th)
SB: 12
OPS: .982 (10th)
WAR: 43.3 (131st)

Jack Morris (2011 HOF Vote: 53.5%) - Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians
Accolades: 5-time All-Star, 1991 World Series MVP
Wins: 254 (42nd)
ERA: 3.90
WHIP: 1.296
K: 2478 (32nd)
IP: 3824.0 (50th)
WAR for pitchers: 39.3 (141st)
Shutouts: 28 (134th)

Rafael Palmerio (2011 HOF Vote: 11.0%) - Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs
Accolades: 4-time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
BA: .288
H: 3020 (25th)
HR: 569 (12th)
R: 1663 (31st)
RBI: 1835 (16th)
SB: 97
OPS: .885 (82nd)
WAR: 66.0 (109th)

It seems weird to have Morris in the same category as McGwire and Palmerio but his time on the ballot is running out. As I wrote about in the last couple of weeks, this year marks the last best chance for Morris to make the Hall. He is the best pitcher on the ballot this year and there will be a lot of good first time candidates on the ballot in the next two years. McGwire and Palmeiro put up the power numbers to be enshrined in Cooperstown but the cloud of steroids will follow them on every ballot. It could be tough for either of these men to make the jump needed to reach 75% of the vote.

Honorary Vote:
Brad Radke (2011 HOF Vote: N/A) - Minnesota Twins
Accolades: 1-time All-Star
Wins: 148 (249th)
ERA: 4.22
WHIP: 1.260
K: 1467 (198th)
IP: 2451.0
WAR for pitchers: 41.4 (120th)
Shutouts: 10

Did Radke have the type of career for which he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? The answer is no. But for fans of the Twins organization, he represents one of the most consistent pitchers to take the mound for the organization. He was a very good pitcher on some Twins teams that were not very good. My favorite Radke fact is from the 1997 season. He would win 20 games that season for the first and only time in his career. The crazy thing is the Twins only won 68 games in 1997 and Radke was the winning pitcher in almost a third of those victories.

As always, leave a comment. Who would be on your ballot? Will the PED sluggers ever be enshrined in Cooperstown? Do you have any fun Radke stories?

1 comment:

thrylos98 said...

Pretty much in this order:

Larkin
Raines
Martinez
Bagwell
McGwire
Palmeiro

and I am not sure whether I would draw the line under Raines or under Bagwell. But Larkin and Raines for sure.