It’s Baseball Hall of Fame Announcement Day!

Well, it’s been a VERY long, trying month. I got pneumonia right before Christmas (which I’m still not 100% recovered from), and the rest of my family got hit by Covid. But I’m back, and there’s no time like the present to come back like Baseball Hall of Fame Announcement Day. I didn’t get as far into my series as I would have liked thanks to being sick, but here are the players who would have received my Baseball Hall of Fame votes and why, as well as my reasonings on some players who did not make my ballot. (For a preview on a couple of the players I did write-ups for, see Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, and Mark Buehrle.)

As you can see, I used all ten of the allotted votes, and I could have added probably four or five more names to the list.

The Players I Would Vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame::

Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu got my vote as he is on a very short list of players with a career slash line of .290/.390/.475. Abreu is also on a very short list of 23 players who had 250 career home runs and 250 career stolen bases. If you combine those numbers with his career slash line, the list is whittled down to five players: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Willie Mays, and Abreu. That’s some very elite company.

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds is on the final year of MLB Hall of Fame eligibility. It’s a crying shame that he hasn’t already been voted in by the blockheads of the BBWAA. Bonds is in the discussion of one of the top five players OF ALL-TIME. Yes, he has the stench of PEDs all over him. However, where I draw the line is that after 2003, Bonds never tested positive for performance enhancers, and there’s no real way of knowing who was taking them before then as the MLB offices were drawing a blind eye to everything that was happening in their sport until Congress got involved. If you want to mention the PED stench, then put it on his plaque. But not including Bonds on your ballot is akin to saying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn’t an NBA Hall of Famer. It’s ludicrous.

Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle is someone I hedged on giving my vote for the Hall of Fame. My last spot came down to Buehrle and Gary Sheffield, and ultimately I decided on Buehrle. Buerhle is one of only 29 pitchers to throw multiple no-hitters in their career. Cy Young, Randy Johnson, and Sandy Koufax are the only three pitchers to throw both a perfect game and a second no-hitter. In an era of five-man rotations, Buehrle had 214 career wins. He made at least 30 starts every full season of his career, and was over 200 innings every year except his last (he finished with 198.2). Yes, his ERA will be the highest of any starter who would be elected. But if you’re looking for the fame factor, and I know he’s not a sexy name, but Buehrle ticks the boxes for me.

Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Roger Clemens

Much like Barry Bonds, it’s criminal that Roger Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame yet. Clemens is a top-five ALL-TIME pitcher, and there’s no argument about that. He’s ninth in career wins, second all-time in strikeouts. He won SEVEN Cy Young Awards (no one else has more than four). He’s a former American League MVP. What more do you want? Sure he reeks of PEDs, and his affair with Mindy McCready doesn’t exactly paint a lovely picture. He’s another player who has been screwed by the BBWAA for far too long.

Todd Helton

Now that Larry Walker has broken the glass ceiling for players who hit in Coors Field, it’s time to add Todd Helton to that list. Helton is just one of nine players with a .310/.410/.530 career slash line. There’s seven Hall of Famers (Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Foxx, Musial, Hornsby, and Greenberg), and one on this ballot (Manny Ramirez). If that doesn’t scream Hall of Famer I don’t know what does. Enough said.

Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones is one of just six outfielders to win ten or more Gold Gloves. The other five are all either Hall of Fame members or will be in the case of Ichiro. When you combine that with his 434 career home runs, Jones should be a no-brainer selection for the Hall.

Jeff Kent

Another player who has been criminally underappreciated by the BBWAA in their Baseball Hall of Fame voting is Jeff Kent. There is not a single second baseman in the history of baseball who hit more career home runs than Kent. That right there is enough for Kent to have already been selected. Sure, he lied to the Giants about a preseason injury. Sure he famously didn’t get along with Barry Bonds, but who did? The fact is that Jeff Kent should already be in the Hall and the fact that it’s taking this long is a joke.

Photo by Matthew Lee/Boston Globe

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is my only first-time ballot selection this year. Ortiz is the greatest designated hitter of all time (all you Edgar fans and WAR addicts can stuff it). 541 career home runs, a career slash line of .286/.380/.552 (with the 25 players above Ortiz in career slugging littered with Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers). He’s a ten-time All-Star and is in the argument for the most clutch hitter in postseason history. His walk-offs in the 2004 playoffs against the Angels and Yankees will go down in Red Sox history. Oh yeah, and he was the 2013 World Series MVP after hitting an absurd .688 in the series.

Scott Rolen

Can the Hall of Fame voters finally get their heads out of their collective asses and put Scott Rolen in the Hall? The Baseball Hall of Fame is vastly under-represented by third basemen. Rolen is arguably one of the five best third basemen of all-time (behind Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Adrian Beltre, and Eddie Mathews). The only third baseman who was better defensively is Brooks. Yes, injuries cost Rolen a LOT of playing time throughout his career. The fact that his career WAR is only bettered by Hall of Famers (and Alex Rodriguez) should have made him a shoo-in for election.

Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner hasn’t been getting the love he deserves as a closer by the voters. Here’s the list of relievers who have a higher K/9 ratio than Wagner and H/9 below 9 (750 minimum innings): . That’s right, no one. Wagner was THAT dominant in the closer role. Yes, that makes him more dominant than the great Mariano Rivera. Now am I saying that Wagner was better than Rivera? No, that would be absurd. But he’s in the discussion for the second-best closer of all time (with Trevor Hoffman).

Those Who I Also Considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Gary Sheffield – If I had an 11th vote, Sheffield would have received it. See Abreu, Bobby for why he would get my vote. Yes, he has the PED stench on him, but it’s a very small odor compared to some of the other names on this ballot.

Andy Pettitte – Like Buehrle, Pettitte was the mark of consistency throughout his career. He was as clutch as it comes for the Yankees during their 1996-2000 World Series run. Andy is another guy that if I had more spaces on my ballot, he’d have received my vote.

Those Who Have the Numbers but I Can’t Bring Myself to Vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Alex Rodriguez – He’s one of the ten best players in baseball history. There’s no argument about that. However, A-Fraud REEKS of PEDs and is one of two players on the ballot who have actually been suspended by Major League Baseball for using PEDs (see below for the other one). I can’t justify voting for someone who willingly violated MLB’s policy AFTER 2003.

Manny Ramirez – see Alex Rodriguez.

Curt Schilling – His postseason numbers alone would give him great Hall of Fame credentials. When you combine that with his regular-season stats, then you would think he’s an automatic vote. HOWEVER, there is the character clause, and when you threaten violence on the writers who control your Hall of Fame vote, that ends your chances. See you on the Veterans Committee ballots.

Sammy Sosa – One of just a handful of players with over 600 career home runs, you’d think he would also be an automatic vote in the Baseball Hall of Fame. BUT – he has the PED stench on him. He was suspended for using a corked bat. His dodginess as it relates to PEDs and his “sudden” inability to speak English when he was in front of Congress during the PED hearings brings into question the character clause. Don’t get me wrong, I was enthralled by the home run chase with Sosa and McGwire in 1998 and 1999 just like everyone else. I just can’t bring myself to vote for him.

If you want to debate any of the players I selected, or if you want to talk sports in general, catch me on Twitter. Check out the other content here at Belly Up Sports.

About Author

Tim Farmer

I'm a lifelong Boston sports fan, having spent the first 22 years of my life in Maine. I'm an unabashed Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics pro sports fan, and Notre Dame football and Duke basketball college sports fan. I currently live in Yankees and Bills territory, which lends itself to a lot of sports trash talk.

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