MLB Hall of Fame: my IBWAA votes

Last year, I shared my Internet Baseball Writer’s Association of America votes for our Hall of Fame election. For those unaware of what the IBWAA is, it is a way for internet writers to be part of a bigger whole, as they work towards the BBWAA without the grueling — and arguably outdated — requirements to become a member. It is basically an alliance of writers joined together to discuss and promote our one common interest: baseball.

And then we vote. Last season, the vote saw Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey, Jr. get the required 75 percent to be elected into the IBWAA Hall. If you remember, I voted for many of the Steroid Era players, simply because it’s a part of the game that everyone else profited off of — including the writers who won’t vote for these villains of the game — and they should get to enjoy the honor of being forever remembered. I fell short last year on seeing some of the guys I wanted in, but it didn’t stop me from voting for them again.

(Important note: Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and as I already mentioned, Edgar Martinez have all received their 75 percent vote from the IBWAA. Just because the BBWAA doesn’t want to allow them in, doesn’t mean we have to continue to vote for them every year. They have been removed from the ballot, and considered Hall of Famers, but if I had to, I would continue to vote for all three.)

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET HIM IN:

Fred McGriff. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. The biggest hypocrisy in the recent Hall of Fame elections is the age old adage:

Well, he doesn’t have the numbers.

The Crime Dog played during the Steroid Era. The SAME ERA of sports that players who DO have the numbers can’t get in because those numbers are tarnished. You can’t have it both ways, either you have the numbers or you don’t.

We all know the magic number for home runs is 500. He finished his career with 493. Only 45 players in the history of the game have more RBI than him, and they are all in or about to be in the Hall of Fame, minus Harold Baines (who will never get the credit he deserves because he was a DH). He also is one of the few players who have led both the AL and NL in home runs.

Plus, he was a class act and the owner of one of the coolest nicknames in The Show.

POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK:

Bud Selig is in the Hall of Fame (you can read my thoughts on that mess by clicking HERE). Long story short is that all signs point to the fact that Bud knew what was going on well before it became a national affair. The Mitchell Report stated clearly that EVERYONE was to blame, including the commissioner. Said commissioner is now in the Hall of Fame, and that means all that played during his Era of baseball should be allowed to as well.

Barry Bonds.

Is he a jerk? Sure. Probably the biggest jerk of his era. So was Ted Williams. Barry Bonds lied (but never failed a test to prove so). Barry Bonds was also a sick player his entire career. Steroids enhance your game, they do not make you a legendary baseball player. Take away the PEDs and Bonds still likely hits every number needed to get in the Hall.

Roger Clemens

Jerk? Check. A liar? Check. The best pitcher of his era? Quite possibly. Clemens was a victim of his own ego, one that couldn’t stand to not compete. When his game slipped — and when the team he loved shunned him and claimed he was done — Clemens went Six Million Dollar Man and rebuilt himself better… stronger… faster.

He also took a lot of PEDs and got a few of his friends to take them as well. So did Jose Canseco. And that was the late 80s. A lot of those guys who played with Canseco are in. Time to let Rog in as well.

Manny Ramirez.

How many times do you look at a player and say, “Oh, that’s blah blah blah being blah blah blah.” Well, Manny being Manny was amongst the first, and for that alone he deserves to be enshrined in the Hall.

He was also the most feared hitter in baseball and arguably the best right-handed hitter of his generation. Plus, if the biggest problem people have with Bonds and Clemens (and Palmeiro and the likes) is that they lied, well Manny didn’t lie about a thing. When he got busted a second time, he “retired” and then came back as a player/coach in the Cubs farm system.

.312/411/.585. 555 home runs. 1831 RBI. You want numbers, I got one sentence for you: Manny being Manny.

THE NEWBIES:

Vladimir Guerrero.

There wasn’t a pitch that Vladdy didn’t like and unlike the Adam Dunns and Rob Deers of the world, he somehow hit everyone of them. He doesn’t have 500 home runs or 1500 RBI, but he was one of baseball’s most likable players with an infectious smile.

vladdy

Plus, the Hall needs more Expos. He and Rock should walk in together.

Ivan Rodriguez.

If Yadier Molina is the subject of debates about being a Hall of Famer, than Pudge is a no-brainer. He’s no Johnny Bench, but he may be 1B to the Big Red Machine’s backstop 1 A.

As with the names above, the only thing hurting I-Rod’s chances is the Steroid Era. But as with the aforementioned Molina comparison, take away the offensive numbers enhanced by the PEDs in question, you still have arguably the greatest defensive catcher in history. When you have a sentence “arguably the greatest…”, you are Hall of Fame worthy.

Trevor Hoffman.

You hear it? My only hope is that Hell’s Bells chime loudly when he gets his call.

Hoffman won’t be a first ballot BBWAA Hall of Famer because they hate relievers. And I get that. Here’s a guy who pitched one inning a night, supposedly super clutch, but never won or saved a really big game in his life. That’s because he played for the Padres, you can’t fault him for doing his job.

And he did his job better than anyone else except Mariano Rivera in the history of the game. TWO people have 600 saves: Hoffman and Mo. The next closest — Lee Smith — has 478. In today’s game of interchangeable bullpen parts, it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a closer notch up anywhere near 600 saves again.

There are closers and then there are Mo and Hoffman. Both deserve their due in Cooperstown.

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