Thoughts on the Hall of Fame voting:
* I voted for shortstop Barry Larkin, who played his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds, but I don’t understand why my colleagues in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America don’t give more support to Alan Trammell, who was the American League’s version of Larkin. Their stats are eerily similar, and Trammell actually had more hits and RBIs. So Trammell should have more than 34 percent of the vote.
* Next year, will pitcher Jack Morris be able to build on the momentum of reaching 67 percent? Morris has strong support and detractors. Those who support Morris like that he was the starter with the most wins, starts, complete games and innings pitched during the 1980s. Those who don’t support Morris say that statistically speaking (3.90 ERA), he isn’t Hall-worthy. The fact that pitchers such as Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are coming on the ballot in the next two years could make it tough for Morris to reach 75 percent. Morris has two years left on the BBWAA ballot.
*I know closer Lee Smith has reached 50 percent of the vote, but I don’t vote for him, and I don’t think he should be in the Hall of Fame. He was the all-time saves leader at one point, but here’s a question: If Smith is a Hall of Famer, does that make Hall of Famers of Julio Franco and Billy Wagner, two other closers with 400-plus saves? Smith has a pile of saves, but I don’t see him in the same class as Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage or Bruce Sutter.
* Tim Raines deserves more support. Unfortunately, he played in the shadow of Ricky Henderson, but Raines had nearly 3,000 hits (2,605) and 808 steals. Raines shouldn’t have to wait, but apparently, it’s going to be a while.
* I voted for Jeff Bagwell, and even though he played in what is now known as the steroids era, there has never been a shred of evidence that suggests he took performance-enhancing drugs. That suspicion hurt Bagwell last year, but voters are coming around to seeing that he’s Hall-worthy.
* Next year, Craig Biggio should be a first-time Hall of Famer, but the focus will be on Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two players that have been linked to steroids use. Some voters believe that they should have no chance. Another group feels that writers shouldn’t have to police baseball’s steroids era and that Bonds and Clemens should be elected, but not on the first ballot.