Ballots for the Hall of Fame had to be postmarked by New Year’s Eve, so, here’s a look at one voter’s ballot:
I voted for Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell and Lee Smith.
* With 3,060 hits, Biggio was an easy selection. And wouldn’t it be great if he and Bagwell, his Astros teammate, could go into together? In his first two seasons on the ballots, Bagwell’s vote totals were likely hurt by unfair suspicions to steroids, but he should improve on last year’s 56 percent.
* Morris, who will always be remembered for his 10 shutout innings for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, doesn’t have the overwhelming stats, but he defined pitching in the 1980s. Morris has a 3.90 ERA, but anecdotal evidence from managers, opposing hitters and coaches says he deserves to be in.
* Martinez, a legend as a Mariner, was the most dangerous hitter of his time, and is the most recognizable DH to this point.
* Piazza could be the best-hitting catcher in history. His defense was always questionable, but his 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs are amazing.
* If Barry Larkin, a one-team superstar for the Reds, gets in with a .295 average, 2,340 hits and 198 home runs, then so should Trammell, who played his entire career with Detroit and finished with 2,365 hits, 1,003 RBIs and .285 career average.
* Along with Trammell, Raines is the most overlooked player not in Cooperstown. He’s the second-best leadoff hitter in history behind Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Raines had 808 steals and 2,605 hits. He led the National League in steals four times and won a batting title.
* I changed my mind on Smith. I’m voting for him for the first time. When he retired, he was the all-time saves leader. Now he’s third. He was a seven-time All-Star who finished in the in the top 10 of NL Cy Young voting three times. He doesn’t have an outstanding postseason record, a la Goose Gossage or Dennis Eckersley, but his stats are outstanding.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, players linked to steroids, are going to get sizable vote totals because baseball writers don’t think the Baseball Writers’ Association of America should be the organization policing alleged used of steroids. I understand that point of view, but I’m not there yet.