Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Astros County's Hall of Fame ballot

Not that we have a vote - obtaining a BBWAA Hall of Fame vote isn't easy (you must have covered baseball for ten years just to vote) - but since we feel bad for not having been around much for the past week or so, like a father who has a whole other family on Long Island, we feel like we owe it to you to post who we feel should be in the Hall of Fame. Remember, BBWAA voters can only list ten players on the ballot. Here are ours:

Roberto Alomar
In addition to getting over 2700 hits in his 17-season career, Alomar was the preeminent defensive 2B, posting a .984 Fld% in 2320 games (3rd most of all time). He was a 12-time All-Star in a system where you have to be well-known in order to make the team, and finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting five times. He won ten Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers, to finish with a .300/.371/.443 slash line.

Jeff Bagwell
Do we really need to go over this again?

Bert Blyleven
Bert's 90.1 WAR is the highest among anybody still eligible for the Hall of Fame, and it's a shame that he has had to wait this long. There has been one constant statistic in baseball for pitchers, and that is strikeouts. And Blyleven has 3701 of them - 5th all-time - and he finished in the Top 5 in strikeouts 13 times. No, he does not have 300 wins. Blyleven has a 287-250 record, but started 685 games. That means that Blyleven got 148 No Decisions. In those No Decisions (seven of which came in a relief situation), Blyeleven posted a 3.90 ERA / 1.37 WHIP. If even a third of those games go his way, Blyleven finishes his career with 336 wins. He was a victim of his offense as much as anything - from 1971 to 1974 Blyleven was 70-66, despite a 2.67 ERA / 1.13 WHIP. Yes, he's a Hall of Famer.

Barry Larkin
Over 19 seasons, Larkin was an integral piece to the Cincinnati Reds, and that should count for something. In 2180 games, Larkin hit .295/.371/.444 (with a lot of that at Riverfront Stadium), made 12 All-Star teams, nine Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves, and was the 1995 MVP. He drew more walks than strikeouts twelve times, and never struck out more than 69 times. In 2085 games at SS, Larkin posted a .975 Fld%.

Edgar Martinez
At some point, people are going to have to realize that the Hall will have to expand to allow for how the game has changed (see: Miller, Marvin; Smith, Lee). Closers and Designated Hitters - for better or worse - are a part of the game, and excellence at those positions has to be recognized. Edgar, despite his status as the game's first pure DH, finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting twice, and his OBP (.418) ranks 22nd All-Time. His .933 OPS is 35th All-Time. This includes a 1995 season in which Edgar hit .356/.479/.628 for a 185 OPS+ and a 1.107 OPS (and somehow finished behind Mo Vaughn and Albert Belle for AL MVP). From 1992-2001, Edgar hit .325/.435/.993 with an OPS+ of 159, and had an OPS over 1.000 five times. That is some dominant hitting over the course of a 10-year span.

Tim Raines
There has to be some form of "If X is in, then Y deserves consideration." But I subscribe to the theory that, just because the Veterans Committee elected their buddies for 20 years doesn't mean the BBWAA has to be as stupid as them. Because Frankie Frisch is in the Hall of Fame shouldn't affect any other player like him. That said, if Rickey Henderson is in (rightfully), Tim Raines should be in, as well. Raines was effective with the bat, hitting .294/.385/.425, but he could steal bases. Over 23 seasons, the last six of which saw him play in over 100 games just once, Raines averaged 52 stolen bases. His 808 stolen bases are 5th All-Time, and with getting caught just 146 times, he posted an 84.6% success rate. He made seven straight All-Star teams, and finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting three times.

Lee Smith
Going along with the Edgar Martinez line of reasoning, Lee Smith should be honored for his 478 saves. Smith, in addition to the saves - which he was in the Top 5 in saves in the NL 12 times - finished in the Top 5 in Cy Young voting three times. In Save Situations, Smith held opponents to a .640 OPS (98 tOPS+), and 2.94 ERA / 1.12 WHIP.

Alan Trammell
Look, I was an Astros fan growing up in the 1990s. And I knew who Alan Trammell was. At some point, the BBWAA are going to have to stop judging 1980s players by 1990s standards and realize how integral Trammell was to the Tigers. He hit .285/.353/.415 over 20 seasons (with 874K:850BB), and had a .977 Fld% in 2139 games at SS - 22nd All-Time.

Agree? Disagree?