Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is known for being an avid video game player. In fact, he’s even joked about changing his last name to "World of Warcraft" after his favorite video game.
"I could make a lot of money if I changed my name to that," Kluwe told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Kluwe said he’s not serious about changing his name, but he does spend an awful lot of time playing video games.
"I think more people like to hear me talk about playing video games than football," Kluwe said. "I’ve played video games since I was 4 years old. I play them a lot more than I kick a football. I kick the ball about 45 minutes a day. I play video games about five or six hours a day. But that’s OK. I don’t watch TV."
The Baseball Hall of Fame balloting is announced on Jan. 12. Baseball, moreso than any other, is the one sport that people really seem to care who gets in and who doesn’t.
Here’s a list of the players I considered on this year’s ballot:
- Rickey Henderson: Rickey is a slam dunk candidate. Baseball’s all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases is in the conversation when discussing the best players of my lifetime.
- Jim Rice: Rice has picked up some steam in recent seasons. Last year, he got 72.2 percent of the votes (the Hall requires a player must reach 75 percent to get in). To my knowledge, no player has gotten that close to 75 percent in one season without ever getting in at some point. I’m starting to buy into him deserving to get in. His .502 slugging percentage while playing before the offensive boom of the 1990s is impressive. Six times he finished among the top five in AL MVP voting, winning the award once in 1978.
- Andre Dawson: Dawson his 438 homers in his career and stole 314 bases. He hit .279, but the knock on him is his .323 career OBP. He won eight Gold Gloves. Only five outfielders in history have won more, and it’s a darn good group – Clemente, Mays, Griffey, Andruw Jones, Kaline.
- Bert Blyleven: This is the toughest case for me. I grew up a Twins fan while Blyleven was leading them to the World Series title in 1987. He is fifth all-time in strikeouts and was consistently among the league leaders in complete games. But he went to just two All-Star games. Two! And his career ERA of 3.31 was only .59 better than the league average during his career (3.90). David Cone, who is on the ballot, was .71 better than the league average. Blyleven got 61.9 percent of the vote last year.
- Jack Morris: Morris was the winnigest pitcher of the 1980s and had one of the greatest postseason performances in World Series history, tossing a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the Twins’ 1991 World Series victory. But Morris’ ERA of 3.90 was only .18 better than the league average (4.08). That is pretty pedestrian. I’ve backed off on him. He got 42.9 percent of the vote last year.
- Dale Murphy: Murphy won back-to-back NL MVPs in 1982-83 for the Atlanta Braves. He won five straight Gold Gloves from 1982-86 and hit 398 homers in his career. But a career BA of .265 hurts him. His case is a difficult one. He only got 13.8 percent of the vote last year.
- Tim Raines: In my opinion, this is the most underrated player on the ballot. Raines played 23 seasons, being one of only a handful of players to play in four different decades. He played 12 seasons in relative obscurity – at least in terms of finding national publicity – in Montreal.
- Alan Trammell: Trammell played 20 seasons with the same team – the Detroit Tigers. He had an all-world year (by 1980s middle infield standards) in 1987 and somehow didn’t win the AL MVP, hitting .343 with 28 homers and 105 RBIs (George Bell won MVP; Trammell was 2nd in voting). He won four Gold Gloves early in his career and three Silver Sluggers later in his career.
- Don Mattingly: Donnie Baseball had a fine career with the Yankees, though his peak seemed too short. He hit .307 for his career and was the AL MVP in 1985.
- Tommy John: Most victories of any non-Hall of Famer with 288. His career ERA was just .35 better than the league average during his career. The man behind the now-famous Tommy John Surgery.
- David Cone: AL Cy Young winner in 1994 with Kansas City. Very solid 3.46 ERA during his career in the very much live-ball era. Only had eight seasons where he pitched at least 200 innings. FIve-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion. Career record of 194-126.
- Lee Smith: Seven-time All-Star ranks third in career saves at 478, behind only Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera. ERA was .94 better than the league average in his career. Best season was with the 1991 St. Louis Cardinals when he saved 47 games and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting.
And now for my ballot. I used to believe – and still do – in Cooperstown being only the best of the best. However, I think the 1980s gets slighted. There are a lot of deserving players that have slipped through the cracks because of the inflated numbers of the "Steroid Era" in baseball.
Thus, this year, I find myself thinking I would vote for more than usual – if I actually had a vote.
Here it is: Rickey Henderson, Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Alan Trammell.