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American League

Hall of Fame 2015: The Official OTBB Ballot

Max Frankel:

Let’s make this puppy bark.

Sean Morash:

Ruff!

Is our ballot for the baseball bloggers association due today?

Max Frankel:

If not today then soon. We have to figure out who we’re voting for.

Last year’s method was a smashing success. Should we run that back and do it again?

Sean Morash:

Sounds like a plan.  There’s 34 names on this year’s ballot and we need to pare that down to (at most) 10.

Max Frankel:

Well it can’t be harder than last year’s ballot… can it?

Sean Morash:

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance allows voting for whomever we want, but I think we should go with the regular HOF voting rules.

Max Frankel:

Definitely. 10 guys only. I’ve got my glass of honey whiskey and I’m ready to go.

Any ground rules we need to cover before we get cracking?

Oh, and to review, Glavine, Maddox, and Frank Thomas made it last year (I had to double check that earlier).

Sean Morash:

I don’t think there are any rules.

Rich Aurilia is on the ballot.  What do you think of his inclusion?

Max Frankel:

Hmm. Not knowing who the other 33 are yet, I say no.

.275 hitter, only once got MVP votes, 1 All Star team, decent shortstop but not a star. Not sure what he’s doing on the ballot. Anything to add?

Sean Morash:

He has the third most Stolen bases of anyone born on September 2nd.

Max Frankel:

There’s a stat.

Sean Morash:

Bagwell is next. Did we vote for him last year?

Max Frankel:

Yeah we did. I think we should vote for him again this year too.

15 year career, ROY, MVP, .408 career OBP, 12 straight years of 20 or more homers

Same arguments as the last go around.

Sean Morash:

Yup. And retired at age 37.  Let’s push him through, tentatively. His 449 homers don’t scream HOFer though.

Craig Biggio should get in and I think that’s a good thing.  He’s versitile and has a great smile.

Max Frankel:

I have no idea how he didn’t make it last year. We treated it as a foregone conclusion.

What percent did he get?

Sean Morash:

74.8%, missed it by two votes.

Max Frankel:

That’s ridiculous. He’s clearly a Hall of Famer.

Sean Morash:

I’ve read a few ballot explanations that mention leaving him off since they think he has enough support.  Could that possibly screw him?

Max Frankel:

Definitely. But that shows a major flaw in the system. Voting shouldn’t be a strategic decision. Just vote for who you think is deserving.

It’s this stupid 10 person rule.

What was that insanely dumb ballot some MLB columnist published the other day?

Sean Morash:

Couldn’t tell you.  I remember you were steamed though.

But we’ve got 34 names here and something like 500 real ballots that people cast.  I’m vetoing a conversation about one dumb ballot.

Bonds is next.

Max Frankel:

Fair enough.

Bonds needs to be in.

Strong set of B’s.

Sean Morash:

One more Bagwell note: His Career OPS+ of 149 would have placed him 10th this year.  So he was basically a top 10 hitter his entire career.

Max Frankel:

That’s pretty impressive. He deserves it. So does Bonds though. For me the argument stops at 500-500. PEDs or no, that’s incredible.

Sean Morash:

It should be noted that Bonds had a 189 OPS+ so he’s roughly 40% better than Bagwell.

Max Frankel:

If it wasn’t for the fact that nobody outside of the Bay Area likes him (and the PED thing), I think he’d be regarded as a top 5 player ever.

He needs to be in the Hall if it’s supposed to be any kind of baseball history museum.

Sean Morash:

How about this: His ranks on this year’s HOF ballot: 1st in WAR, Runs, Home Runs, RBI, BBs, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and second in SBs, and hits.

Max Frankel:

And yet a bunch of self important old men will give him about 40% of the vote.

That’s depressing. He’s on our ballot though. Who’s next?

Sean Morash:

He’s the single best player on this ballot and it’s not close.  Plus, I think you’re argument about the historical context is important.  He’s the face of an era.

Aaron Boone… I think I should just let you gloat about that homer for a moment.

(Editor’s note: F*&% you guys.)

Max Frankel:

You mean that time Tim Wakefield floated an 11th inning knuckleball in 2003 to send the Yankees to the World Series?

Good times.

Thanks for the one moment Aaron.

He’s a better announcer than 3rd basemen though.

Sean Morash:

Career OPS+ of 94 means that he was a below average batter.

Max Frankel:

I really want to know how they decide who gets on the ballot.

Sean Morash:

Tony Clark made the list.

Max Frankel:

See!

Sean Morash:

I’d like for you to make a half-serious case for him.

Max Frankel:

Clark? Ok.

He’s the most feared hitter of his generation….. if only because he’s like 6’10” and every pitcher would fear meeting him in a dark alley. How’s that?

Sean Morash:

So should we put Ray Lewis in the HOF too?

Max Frankel:

Well, actually… I think he’s a safe bet. But that’s not my sport.

Sean Morash:

BTW, Clark was officially listed at 6’8, 205.  Kevin Durant is 6’9 240 according to the Google.

Max Frankel:

I feel like we’re off topic. We’ve hit 3 sports in the last 3 minutes.

Who’s next.

Sean Morash:

Can we discuss this NHL mumps outbreak?

Max Frankel:

Sure. It’s the only sport that would have a mumps outbreak. Ha!

It is weird that I get protective of MLB stadiums when I see football and hockey messing up the grass?

Sean Morash:

Roger Clemens is next. If ever I were to invoke the character clause, it would be for him or Tony LaRussa.

Max Frankel:

You really don’t like Tony LaRussa.

I’m still in the same place I was last year on Clemens–I don’t think he should get in and I don’t know exactly why.

He was on Mythbusters though and that was cool, so he gets points for that.

Sean Morash:

It’s the character clause! He’s a total jerk.  He made millions and held no allegiances throughout his career other than to himself.  Andy Pettitte doesn’t get along with him anymore and I don’t like him either.

Max Frankel:

So we’ll count him out for no concrete or discernible reason? Yay, we’re real voters!

Sean Morash:

Plus, he had only a .207 career slugging percentage. What’s this guy doing on the ballot?

Max Frankel:

Um…

Who’s next?

Sean Morash:

Carlos Delgado.

473 HRs, basically the same player as Bagwell, but a little less awesome.

Max Frankel:

Well that doesn’t make me feel good about my Bagwell vote. I think Delgado is the classic good player/not even close to Hall of Famer.

Sean Morash:

I want to drop some serious wisdom on you right now, but I can’t come up with anything.  Maybe our feelings are based too much on the one team that Bagwell played for.  Delgado floated around, makes him FEEL less classic.

Max Frankel:

I think perhaps he has a more legitimate candidacy than we’re giving him credit for. BUT there’re too many better people on the ballot and given the PED backlog that might be the case for a while.

Sean Morash:

I’m pushing him through. He’s a step above Rich Aurilia and I think that needs to be clear.

Max Frankel:

He’s definitely that. So he makes the first cut but is on the ledge?

Sean Morash:

Agreed.

Jermaine Dye is on the ballot.  Odds someone votes for him who meant to vote for Delgado?

Max Frankel:

At least 20%. Something about Jermaine Dye I’ve always wondered though: Remember when he fouled that ball into his leg and broke it? Was that his last AB? I feel like he only stopped playing because no one would offer him a job and at the same time he was still quite good when he couldn’t find anything. Am I wrong?

Sean Morash:

I just clicked on Delgado when I meant to click on Dye… 40%

Max Frankel:

Ha.

Dye in or out?

Sean Morash:

I’m trying to load his stats and they won’t load.  I’m guessing this is the same problem that front offices ran into circa 2009.  They couldn’t remember if he was good, couldn’t verify, shrugged their shoulders, and offered Brian Giles a Spring Training invite.

Max Frankel:

Or Mark Kotsay…. boom.

Sean Morash:

Don’t do that to me.

Dye’s out. Good career though. Definitely deserving of being on the ballot.

Darin Erstad, however.

Max Frankel:

I feel like there was a point where he felt like a shoe in. Now’s not that time though.

Sean Morash:

Max, when was that time? Jeff Francouer looked like a HOFer for about 6 weeks at one point…

Max Frankel:

2000. He was an All-Star and top 10 MVP finisher plus a Gold glove that year. I feel like it was a ‘if he does this for 12 more seasons….’ type of deal. Obviously he didn’t.

.355 with 25 bombs and 100 RBIs and 24 steals!

That looks even better now.

As an aside, I had no idea half these guys played until 2009.

Sean Morash:

What did Darin do for those next 9 years?

Max Frankel:

Never hit above .295 and never hit more than 10 homers. Right, moving on.

I have a suggestion… let’s do the next 5 rapid fire.

(Editor’s note: Thank god)

Sean Morash:

Cliff Floyd

Max Frankel:

No

Sean Morash:

Nomar.

Max Frankel:

Hmmm.

No.

But could have been if things had broken differently.

Sean Morash:

Brian Giles.

Max Frankel:

Nope.

Sean Morash:

Dude, Nomar could hit. .313 avg and 229 HRs.

Tom Gordon.

Max Frankel:

Nomar was legit. I know, I had to watch him every damn year. For a while he compared favorably to Jeter in the Nomar-Jeter-Arod thing. Broke down though.

Tom Gordon? Cool nickname, not HOF worthy.

Sean Morash:

Great sperm, too.

Eddie Guardado.

Max Frankel:

We’ll see what Marlins fans think in a few months.

I’m out on Everyday Eddie. No idea why he’s on the ballot, one of those name recognition things.

When do we get to the tough choices?

Sean Morash:

Randy Johnson’s easy too.

We’re only to 16 though.

Max Frankel:

Yup.

Feared? Check. 300 wins? Check. Rings? Check. He’s the total package. We’re blowing past Randy but he should be as close to 100% as anybody.

We have 18 more?

Sean Morash:

Yup. Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez are next and these two are tough.

Max Frankel:

I’m out on both. Kent was good, not great, but good. Edgar just doesn’t have the numbers. I feel like he’s the kind of guy we argue about but will never get to 75%.

Sean Morash:

I think I’m out on Kent, but want to be in on Edgar.

Max Frankel:

Convince me. Again.

Sean Morash:

I never was all in until I saw a few tweets about him: From 1995-2003 (age 32-40), Edgar Martinez maintained a 9-year OPS+ of 159. There are 31 HOF hitters who have enjoyed only ONE 159 OPS+ season.

But it was this one that got me (from @aceballStats): HOF’ers Mize .312 AVG Musial, .417 OBP McCovey, .515 SLG Schmidt, 147 OPS+, Gwynn 68.8 WAR….. Edgar Martinez .312/.418/.515 147 OPS+ & 68.3 WAR

Max Frankel:

Those are some good points, and properly sourced too.

Should he make the first cut but hang with Delgado on that ledge?

Thing is, and not to ruin the suspense, it’s really only a 6 man ballot when you count the 4 no brainers and I’m not sure Edgar is in the top 6 of the remaining 30.

Sean Morash:

I think I’m putting him in front of Delgado.

Pedro is next.  Could you provide the readers with a superb Pedro fact?

Max Frankel:

In 1999, Pedro had 213 innings pitched and 313 strikeouts. In that season, he posted a ridiculous .92 WHIP. That looked awful compared to his .73 WHIP in 2000, when he threw 217 innings.

Given the era, we may have never seen a pitcher as good as 1997-2000 Pedro.

Who, by the way, finished with a 2.93 ERA in 2827 innings.

Sean Morash:

.73 WHIP in 217 innings? That doesn’t seem possible.

Max Frankel:

And his ’99 season was better!

Gibson’s ’68–when they lowered the mound as a result–and Pedro’s ’99 are the two best pitcher seasons ever. Bar none.

Also, for what it’s worth, statistically Clayton Kershaw’s last 4 seasons have been arguably in the same class as Pedro’s 1997-2000.

Sean Morash:

I was talking to my mom about this and she thought that Smoltz deserved to be in above Pedro.  He’s got to be criminally underrated.

I’m ready to rip Don Mattingly’s candidacy a new one.

I think that the voters who are putting Mattingly’s name on the ballot are doing it to be stubborn.  He was a fine player in his day, and is doing a good job managing now, but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that he’s among the 100 best players of all time.  He had a few great years and may have retired too soon, but this is just not a Hall guy.  5 seasons with over 20 HRs, 14 career SBs.

Max Frankel:

I agree. I think generally the Hall’s decision to change from 15 years on the ballot to 10 is misguided, but for Mattingly, it’ll be nice to see him finally go.

Sean Morash:

In that vein, let’s move onto McGriff.

Max Frankel:

Ok, ok. Go ahead. But before you do, let me remind you that we only have 10 spots.

And that you’d be putting McGriff in the same room as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Hank Aaron.

Sean Morash:

Guys with 10+ seasons of 30+ homers: Aaron, A-Rod, Ruth, Bonds, Schmidt, Foxx, Manny, Thome, Sosa, Mays, McGwire, Pujols, McGriff.

Max Frankel:

One of those things is not like the others….

McGriff bounced around a ton.

He was never a GUY for any team over the course of a long career, that says something.

Also, look at that list* again–8 of the 13 players played at the same time….. hammy

*hmmmmm

Sean Morash:

It was absolutely an era of impressive homerun totals, at least partially fueled by steroids.  How about this: There have been only 5 HOFers elected whose careers started after 1936.  McGriff was the GUY in 1993, when he finished fourth in MVP voting. He sustained that success for a surprisingly long time.

He might not be as good as Bagwell or even Carlos Delgado, but the guy has the character clause hammered.

Max Frankel:

Whah whah whah. Just 5  hall of famers whose career started after 1936? What do you mean to say there?

Sean Morash:

HOF first basemen.  We don’t elect first basemen despite their prolific offensive accomplishments.

Max Frankel:

Oh ok.

I admit McGriff was very good. But I think very good only gets you in if you have something special to go along with it… like hardware or rings. You said it yourself, he’s not even better than Bagwell or Delgado. I can’t see how he gets in.

I will say that I was initially against Frank Thomas last year too.

Sean Morash:

So, he’s probably not in. But would you vote for him if we could vote for whoever we wanted?!?

Max Frankel:

No I don’t think I would.

I just have trouble putting him up there with the best of the best.

The reason I think the voting is messed up is because we’re not letting in guys like Bonds, not that McGriff is getting muscled out due to the 10 man limit.

Who’s next?

Sean Morash:

McGwire.

Max Frankel:

Ugh.

Sean Morash:

He’s gotta be in. He got 11% last year though.

Max Frankel:

He’s actually really interesting. He’s got no shot whatsoever due to PEDs and the argument that he actually wasn’t good enough if you look at all his numbers, but he has like 580 something homers which used to be automatic.

Sean Morash:

There’s an argument that he wasn’t good enough? The guy had a higher OPS+ than Bagwell and an OPS that was 18 points short of 1.  He was a very good hitter.  Plus, if it’s the HOF and is about baseball history, the summer of ’98 has to be there.

Max Frankel:

I actually agree. But how do you account for the fact that Bonds consistently gets more votes?

They’re both ‘no-brainers’ being kept out for PED use, so shouldn’t the same people vote for both or not vote for both?

Sean Morash:

In theory, yeah.  I mean we’re talking about 35% for Bonds and 7% for Sosa.

Max Frankel:

Bonds needs to be in! We covered that though. For practical reasons, we’ve got to pass on McGwire too. Though that makes us no better than the other voters.

Also, I do realize I was much more forcefully against Big Mac last year.

Sean Morash:

How can we possibly pass on McGwire? This is insane. You let me talk you into bringing Gary Sheffield along, but not McGwire?

N. O.

Max Frankel:

There are 10 better candidates. We’ve already named like 6 guys we want to vote for and we’re barely halfway through. Realistically, there are 4 absolute musts leaving 6 spots. He’s not there. Same boat as Edgar.

Sean Morash:

Can we agree that he’s to be considered at the end, along with Sosa once we get to the end?

Max Frankel:

Sure.

We’ll deal with Delgado, McGwire and a few more when we have a better idea of the full ballot.

Moving on then.

Sean Morash:

Mike Mussina is not a HOFer, right?  He had a knuckle-curve annnnd pitched well for the Yankees and Orioles and got paid lots of money, but doesn’t seem like an all-timer.

Max Frankel:

I’m so out on Mussina! It annoys me so much that smart people think he should be in.

I watched him growing up. He wasn’t somebody Yankee fans got excited about. I think you have to be a guy people want to watch, isn’t that a low bar to have to meet?

Sean Morash:

Completely agreed. I never was excited to watch a Mike Mussina game.  He also never won a Cy Young, or lead the league in any of the “don’t allow runs” categories.

Max Frankel:

So why does he get so much support?

Well, not so much…. but still too much.

Sean Morash:

Agreed. What are your thoughts on Troy Percival?

Max Frankel:

Very fun video game closer, and that matters.

Also rocked those sweet Angels pinstripes for a while.

Sean Morash:

Yes, but we’re talking about the HOF.

Max Frankel:

Yeah. No dice for Percy.

Sean Morash:

Piazza.

Max Frankel:

Yup.

Sean Morash:

He’s got dice.

Max Frankel:

Best hitting catcher ever. Feared.

Also, he messed with Chipper Jones so he’s automatically got my vote

Sean Morash:

Chipper Jones messed with him.  Chipper owned NY.  Piazza was a cripple pretty boy.

No dice for Piazza until you take that back.

Max Frankel:

That’s awful bitter for a guy who won the division over Piazza every year. How about a little friendly respect?

Sean Morash:

http://snyted.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/piazza2.jpg?w=350&h=346

Max Frankel:

Ooh that’s a low blow.

Piazza’s in. He’s one of the 10. I’m not budging on it.

Larrrrrrryyyyy Laaaaarrrrrrrrryyyyyy

Sean Morash:

Larry hit .313/.407/.557 in Shea Stadium with 19 homers and 20 doubles. Piazza meanwhile looked like the above throughout his career.

Max Frankel:

You’re even missing the best part. Chipper named his kid Shea because he hit so well there. But that’s for another year. Pizza Man is in, let’s move on.

Sean Morash:

Tim Raines is in his 8th year on the ballot?

Max Frankel:

Yeah but he’s only been a viable candidate the past 3.

Isn’t it weird how some guys get in so late despite none of their numbers changing at all?

Sean Morash:

I like the idea of writers making cases for other writers to vote for their guy.  I also like Raines only a tiny, tiny bit.

Max Frankel:

Yeah. We covered him last year pretty well I thought. Statistically he’s got a pretty good case. Not great, but pretty good. But he lacks all that amorphous cache that apparently you need.

Sean Morash:

Wasn’t there some ridiculous Windows 94 website dedicated to Raines?

Max Frankel:

YES! Oh it’s the best.

http://raines30.com/

808 stolen bases is a lot, but I think he’ll get pushed out by the glut of other good candidates. And I’m cool with that.

Sean Morash:

So we push him along to the next cut?  I’m cool with that.

Max Frankel:

Yup. See what we have room for at the end.

Sean Morash:

Care to tell the good people why Curt Schilling doesn’t belong in the HOF?  Please leave his political/religious insanity out of this?

Max Frankel:

Ok, I’ll leave the fact that he’s a nutbag who defrauded his investors and the state of Rhode Island with some stupid failed video game company and all his religious and political nutbaggery about of it.

I’ll also try to leave out the fact that Schilling miraculously became a much much better pitcher in 2001 at the not exactly spry age of 31.

So what about the fact that during his time in Boston, when he supposedly solidified his HOF status with that bloody sock crap, he actually posted an ERA near 4.00?

When Schilling was the best pitcher on the team, his Phillies were garbage, when he finally won in Arizona, he was second fiddle to Randy Johnson.

His numbers are good; they’re fine. He’s not good enough. And not nearly as good as he thinks he is.

Sean Morash:

How about this: his best years were from 97-04, when he posted a 142 ERA+ and 3.24 ERA.  Across the same period, Pedro posted a 194 ERA+, and 2.43 ERA.

Max Frankel:

See! Pedro was much better.

I’m clouded from finding great stats like that by my personal dislike of him and stupid bloody sock.

Plus he hit .151 for his career.

Sean Morash:

He’s a total n00b.

I’m tempted to vote for Jason Schmidt based entirely on his performance in this year’s 2014-2005 World Series.

Max Frankel:

You’re going to have to back me up on this one at the Baseball-Sandwich club on Saturday, January 10th in Washington DC (register here: ow.ly/GHNmN)

He shoved in the 2014-2005 World Series. Definite HOF performance.

Sean Morash:

If you include that performance, his career ERA still stands at 3.96.

Great plug.

Max Frankel:

Thanks. Did you really run Schmidt’s ERA again including his MVP 2005 performance? Mad respect bro.

Sean Morash:

Yes. Those 11 innings hardly moved the needle at all.

I’m in on Gary Sheffield and not just because I have a poster of him hanging in my room from his time with the Braves (http://www.sportsposterwarehouse.com/catImages/braves02sl-1.jpg)

Max Frankel:

Talk to me about the Iron Sheff. Make your case.

Sean Morash:

.907 career OPS. Played a good outfield and hit 509 Homers.  He compiled more WAR than Piazza and stole 250 bags.  9 time All-Star.

Max Frankel:

The Piazza thing isn’t that compelling b/c Piazza was a catcher. It was much harder for him to stay on the field.

I have great memories of Sheff hitting upper deckers and making unnecessary one handed catches in Yankee Stadium though. I’m cool with putting him on the “figure it out later” list.

Sean Morash:

5 less WAR than Biggio is a nice little stat.

Max Frankel:

Yeah it is. Even better once Craig gets in.

Sean Morash:

Lee Smith is on the ballot again and he got 30% of the vote last year.

I don’t get the case for him at all.

Max Frankel:

Good for Lee Smith.

Yeah, I’m out on Lee Smith. I could see it if there was nobody else and we were bored and wanted to have a ceremony in August for somebody. But not with this ballot.

Sean Morash:

I agree.  Like when we voted in Jim Rice.

John Smoltz looks like he’s en route to join his other Braves friends in Cooperstown.  Are you upset about this?

Max Frankel:

Not at all. I’m much more upset that he’s not being treated like a guarantee. How is he not a 90%+ guy? Only pitcher ever with 150 wins and 150 saves.

In 2002 he led the league in saves. In 2004 he had 44 saves. In 2006 he led the league in starts.

Sean Morash:

His ERA+ is actually worse than Schilling’s.

Max Frankel:

Yeah but he did so much more. He went from Cy Young award winning starter to top 5 Cy Young finisher as a closer, to top 6 Cy Young award finisher as a starter again.

No one has ever done that before. No one.

Sean Morash:

I agree it’s absolutely great, and he was beyond dominant in playoff games.

Max Frankel:

He made the All-Star team 18 seasons apart.

Sean Morash:

2.67 ERA in 209 postseason innings.  In order for Kershaw to get there, he’d have to post a 1.89 in his next 157 innings

I’m killing it with these stats today.

Max Frankel:

Wow. Kershaw slam! I think Clayton will do ok for himself, whenever that is. Hopefully not for a while.

Smoltz is in though. He faded hard at the end which is a double shame because that disastrous 2009 season kept him from going in with Glavine and Maddox.

Sean Morash:

Things happen. Alan Trammel?

Max Frankel:

Nope.

Sean Morash:

Agreed. Larry Walker?

Max Frankel:

See I like Larry Walker.

.313 career hitter, 3 batting titles and an MVP.

He’s one of those guys who was just really, really good for a really long time.

Not 100% sure he’s better than McGriff or Delgado though. And not a lot of homers, especially considering he played in Coors field pre-humidor.

Sean Morash:

Just can’t see him in the Hall.  He played more than 150 games once.  Absolute freak player, but I don’t see what you see about him playing for a really long time.

Max Frankel:

18 seasons? As an outfielder? Pretty good. But I hear you. I’m just saying that I could see myself voting for him.

Sean Morash:

Maybe I’m wrong. At age 38 he was still worth 2 WAR.  His four year stretch from 97-01 is insane. .359 average, 30 homers per year, 16 steals per year and 291 TB.

Max Frankel:

Yeah. He’s got that peak!

Prime steroid/uber offense era though.

Sean Morash:

I’m sorry it’s actually a 5 year peak in which he hit .357 and averaged 31 homers and 299 TB.

Max Frankel:

As an aside, apparently someone anonymously submitted and published an official ballot with only Raines and Trammel on it.

In case anyone was wondering why we do this….

Sean Morash:

Pedro Gomez’ ballot was awful: Randy Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz, Lee Smith, Trammel, McGriff, Mussina.

Max Frankel:

Rick Gosslin had Smoltz and Johnson but not Pedro because apparently he’s not “first ballot material.”

No words.

Sean Morash:

Who do we have at the second cut?

Max Frankel:

Are we done? Was Walker last?

Sean Morash:

Yessir.

Max Frankel:

Nice.

So we have Randy Johnson, Criag Biggio, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz as in.

We seemed to agree on Bagwell so that’s 6.

Wait, 5.

Oh and Piazza makes 6.

Sean Morash:

We also had Delgado, Edgar, McGriff, and Bonds/McGwire/Sosa.

Max Frankel:

I’m committed to putting Bonds on.

Sean Morash:

So with the three of Bonds/McGwire/Sosa, we have to pick one of the remaining three.

I think it’s Edgar.

Max Frankel:

We have to go all 3 with Bonds, Sosa, McGwire? But no on Clemens? I really don’t want McGwire and Sosa in my imaginary Hall of Fame.

Sean Morash:

That’s insane. They’re two of the most prolific sluggers of all time. They saved baseball after the 95 strike and their influence made me like baseball. My first vivid baseball memory is McGwire rounding the bases.

Max Frankel:

You want to talk about character clause though? Sosa corked his bat!

And was excommunicated from the Cubs. Still is.

Also some very reputable online sources say Delgado won’t even get 5% of the vote.

They’ve got Mattingly, Sosa, and Sheffield getting kicked off too.

Sean Morash:

Cite your source!

I’m not saying Sosa is a good human, but that he’s hit 660 homers! He/McGwire WERE baseball for like 4 years.

Max Frankel:

ESPN sweetspot and Joe Posnanski or whatever his name is. Baseball prospectus guy.

And Clemens is a jackass but he won 7 Cy Youngs. We kept him out.

Sean Morash:

So you’re trying to do a ballot without McGwire and Sosa but with Bonds and who else?

Max Frankel:

Yes. I’m trying to do a ballot with Bonds and Bagwell and without Sosa, McGwire and Clemens. It makes no sense at all but it strikes me that neither does the Hall of Fame in general.

I think my reasoning is this: Bagwell shouldn’t be penalized for suspicion and since there’s no evidence he cheated we have to assume he didn’t. The other 4 are almost definitely PED users, some confirmed by a court and some admitted. Therefore, unless there is some extenuating circumstance, I’m keeping them out. Bonds’ extenuating circumstance is that he was so far and away better than any other player of his generation, and perhaps one of the two or three most talented players of all time, that it seems wrong to not include him.

Thus, my ballot is: Smoltz, Johnson, Martinez, Bonds, Piazza, Bagwell, Biggio. Those 7 names…. though I could be talked into Mcgriff, Sheffield or another of our cusp guys.

Sean Morash:

“Almost definitely PED users”

You ever heard of Pud Galvin? He used some like monkey semen as a PED and is in the Hall. I’m putting McGwire, Sosa and Sheffield on my ballot in addition to the 7 you listed. I’m not voting for Clemens out of personal spite (the fact that there has never been a player to receive 100% means I’m not the first to make this decision).

Max Frankel:

Ok. So our final ballot is my/our 7 and your three making it Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Edgar Martinez. Seems fair. And more efficient than last years 10k word marathon! Well done.

-Max Frankel and Sean Morash

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