The Baseball Hall of Fame 2010 voting is announced today at 12:30 p.m. (I think). Roberto Alomar will most definitely be gaining induction, at least according to preliminary vote totals.
Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven – a former Minnesota Twins pitcher – are in pretty good shape too. If they don’t get elected this year, they will likely be elected some time.
Those three seem to be the only likely candidates for "the call" today. I think Dawson’s chances were buoyed by Jim Rice‘s induction last year. Dawson and Rice played in the same era, and without question I think Dawson was the superior player. Rice was a hitter’s hitter who provided little defensively. Dawson was an eight-time Gold Glove winner who eclipsed 400 homers and 300 steals, and also won an NL MVP, albeit on a last-place Chicago Cubs team.
I’m convinced Blyleven will make it eventually too. He’s in his 13th year on the writers’ ballot, with all players spending no more than 15 years on it. He might need all 15 years, though today could be his big day too.
Blyleven’s career numbers are impressive. He’s got 287 wins and ranks in the top five in strikeouts all-time. His postseason numbers en route to two World Series titles are impressive.
If I had a vote – and, of course, I don’t – there are three other guys I would vote for this year who don’t appear to be close to getting in for 2010.
- Barry Larkin: Undoubtedly, he’ll get in one day. He made 12 All-Star appearances and spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds. He won an NL MVP award in 1995 and led the Reds to a big upset of the Oakland A’s in the 1990 World Series, hitting .353 during the four-game sweep. He won nine Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves, which may not seem like much, but considering his career intersected that of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, I’d say three is pretty darned good.
- Edgar Martinez: I’ll admit, when I saw the name, I didn’t think Hall of Famer. But his stats are just too good to ignore. During his 18-year career, Martinez hit .312 with a .418 on-base percentage and .515 slugging percentage. His career OBP ranks 22nd all-time, one spot ahead of Stan Musial. His career OPS ranks 33rd all-time. Only Lefty O’Doul ranks ahead of him in OPS among guys not in the Hall of Fame who are eligible. And yes, he spent most of his career as a designated hitter. But it’s safe to say anyone with his ability would have played first base in a non-DH world, and even if he was a poor first baseman, no one would care, because it’s first base.
- Tim Raines: Most underrated player on the ballot year-in and year-out. In 23 seasons, he hit .295 with a .385 OBP and 808 career steals (fifth all-time — four ahead of him are in Hall). During his prime in the 1980s, he went to seven straight All-Star games. I consider him to be one of the top five leadoff hitters of all-time. His stolen base success rate is the best in major league history, even ahead of Rickey Henderson. His career 1,330 walks rank 34th all-time, and only Dwight Evans and Eddie Yost walked more than him among eligible Hall of Fame inductees not currently in the Hall. And you can be certain they didn’t have the speed that Raines brought to the table. What hurt him? Playing in Montreal, of course, and probably hanging around too long. His cocaine problems in the early 1980s hurt his image too, though the voters were more forgiving of Paul Molitor‘s early cocaine problems since he had 3,000 hits, a total considered to lead to automatic induction.
So that’s what I would go with. Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, Martinez and Raines. Feel free to post who you’d vote for below.