January 6th is the day that the voting results for the 2010 Hall of Fame candidates are announced. Before I list who my predictions for election are, let me describe what the conditions are for eligibility. Candidates must have completed 10 full major league seasons and be retired for 5 full seasons. Once eligible, candidates must receive a minimum of 5% of the vote in order to stay on the ballot for the next year. The player need to amass 75% of the vote for induction into the Hall of Fame and upon receiving the minimum 5%, the player is allowed to stay on the ballot for 15 years before moving onto the ballot for the Veterans Committee. Now that we have that out of the way, here are the main candidates for election.
2009 Candidates (With previous years percentage of the vote. Bold is 1st year on Ballot)
Andre Dawson 67%
Bert Blyleven 62.7%
Lee Smith 44.5%
Jack Morris 44%
Tim Raines 22.6%
Mark McGwire 21.9%
Alan Trammel 17.4%
Dave Parker 15%
Don Mattingly 11.9%
Dale Murphy 11.5%
Harold Baines 5.9%
Here are my predictions for who will get in this year:
1. Andre Dawson:
The Hawk has steadily climbed up the ladder since he first received 43.5% of the vote in his first year of eligibility. At 67%, Dawson is in prime position to get the remaining 8% needed for induction. In 21 season, Dawson had a career batting average of .279 where he amassed 2774 hits (513 2B, 98 3B, 438 HR) and 1591 RBI with 314 SB. In terms of modern metrics, Dawson had a career OBP% of .323 and a SLG% of .482 for an OPS of .806. His best season was his MVP season of 1987 with the Chicago Cubs where he led the league with 49Hr 137 RBI and 353 total bases. Dawson also registered his career best OPS of .896 (.328 OBP and .568 SLG). Dawson was the Rookie of the Year in 1977 with the Montreal Expos, a 7-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glove award winner and also won 4 Silver Slugger awards.
Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com has an article on why Andre Dawson should be elected to the Hall of Fame. Click here.
2. Roberto Alomar
In his 1st year of eligibility, Roberto Alomar was the model of consistency at both second base forming one of the best double play combinations (with future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel) and at the plate. In 17 seasons, Alomar had a career batting average of .300 where he amassed 2724 hits (504 2B, 80 3B, 210 HR) and 1134 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Alomar had a career OBP% of .371 and a SLG% of .443 for an OPS of .814 and had 474 SB. His best season was 1999 with the Cleveland Indians where he came in 3rd in the MVP race batting .323 with 182 hits (40 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR) and 120 RBI and led the league in runs scored with 138. That season Alomar also had an OPS of .955 (.442 OBP and .553 SLG). Alomar was a 12-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove award winner and also won 4 Silver Slugger awards.
Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com has this article on Roberto Alomar and his hopes for a 1st ballot election. Click here.
Alomar helped to lay down the foundation (along side future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent) for the slugging 2nd basemen such as Dan Uggla and Robinson Cano. The only way I see him not getting in on his first try would be his time with the New York Mets. On track to break 3,000 hits, Alomar's career tanked (compared to his past seasons with Toronto, Baltimore and Cleveland) and just faded away playing his last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. Many a current Hall of Famer had diminished numbers at the end of their careers. They were elected in, as should Roberto Alomar.
3. Barry Larkin
Also in his 1st year of eligibility, Barry Larkin was one of the two premier Shortstops in the National League (along with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith). In 18 season, Larkin had a career batting average of .295 where he amassed 2340 hits (441 2B, 76 3B, 198 HR) and 960 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Larkin had a career OBP% of .371 and a SLG% of .4444 for an OPS of .815. His best season was his MVP award season of 1995 with the Cincinnati Reds (who he played his whole career for) batting .319 with 158 hits (29 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR) and 66 RBI with 51 SB. That season Larkin also had an OPS of .886 (.394 OBP and .492 SLG). Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, a 3-time Gold Glove award winner and also won 8 Silver Slugger awards.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com has an article stating how Barry Larkin helped to redefine the Shortstop position. Click Here.
I believe that if Larkin had played in an era where he wasn't behind Ozzie Smith year in and year out, there would be no doubt as to whether or not he's a Hall of Famer. Ozzie had the glove, but Larkin had the bat to go along side his leather.
4. Edgar Martinez
In his first year of eligibility, Martinez is the player that may finally put an end to the Designated Hitter bias that exists throughout baseball. Considered by many as the Best DH in the history of the game (the award for the best DH is named in his honor), I believe Martinez to be a Hall of Famer since he was asked to do a particular job as a ballplayer and did it as well, if not better than everyone else. The fact that he did not play defense on an everyday basis seems to be his Achilles heel but no one can dispute that as a DH, he was stellar. In 18 seasons, Martinez had a career a career batting average of .312 where he amassed 2247 hits (514 2B, 15 3B, 309 HR) and 1261 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Martinez had a career OBP% of .418 and a SLG% of .515 for an OPS of .933. Martinez also walked more (1283) than he struck out (1202) further cementing his status of a dependable hitter, His best season was the memorable 1995 season with the Seattle Mariners where he came in 3rd in the MVP race batting a league leading .356 with 182 hits (52 2B, 0 3B, 29 HR) and 113 RBI and led the league in runs scored with 121. That season Martinez also had an OPS of 1.107 (league leading .479 OBP and .628 SLG). Martinez was a 7-time All-Star and won 5 Silver Slugger awards.
David Schoenfield of ESPN.com has written this article making his points for why Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame. Click here.
I think baseball's traditionalists and snobs within the Baseball Writers Association lack the foresight to see past the fact that Martinez was a DH. He was more than that. Martinez was a player that was asked to do a job, and he did it not only to the best of his capacity but also better than anyone else. In my book if you can do all that is asked of you and put up impressive numbers to back it up, then you have proved your worth as Edgar Martinez has. We'll see what the election results show.
I think the rest of the candidates for election will get the necessary 5% of the ballot to remain eligible for next years election with Bert Blyleven moving to the top of the list. PS, after today's announcement of the retirement of 303 game winner Randy Johnson, there will be no doubt who gets in 1st ballot in 2015.