Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Craig Biggio IS A Hall of Famer

Contrary to the results of the announced elections for the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame vote, I stand in my belief that Craig Biggio is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Before I go any further in what I believe will be a diatribe, here is the published results of the vote for the Hall:

NameVotes (Pct.)Yrs on ballot
Craig Biggio388 (68.2%)1
Jack Morris385 (67.7%)14
Jeff Bagwell339 (59.6%)3
Mike Piazza329 (57.8%)1
Tim Raines297 (52.2%)6
Lee Smith272 (47.8%)11
Curt Schilling221 (38.8%)1
Roger Clemens214 (37.6%)1
Barry Bonds206 (36.2%)1
Edgar Martinez204 (35.9%)4
Alan Trammell191 (33.6%)12
Larry Walker123 (21.6%)3
Fred McGriff118 (20.7%)4
Dale Murphy106 (18.6%)15
Mark McGwire96 (16.9%)7
Don Mattingly75 (13.2%)13
Sammy Sosa71 (12.5%)1
Rafael Palmeiro50 (8.8%)3
Bernie Williams19 (3.3%)2
Kenny Lofton18 (3.2%)1
Sandy Alomar Jr.16 (2.8%)1
Julio Franco6 (1.1%)1
David Wells5 (0.9%)1
Steve Finley4 (0.7%)1
Shawn Green2 (0.4%)1
Aaron Sele1 (0.2%)1
Jeff Cirillo0 (0%)1
Royce Clayton0 (0%)1
Jeff Conine0 (0%)1
Roberto Hernandez0 (0%)1
Ryan Klesko0 (0%)1
Jose Mesa0 (0%)1
Reggie Sanders0 (0%)1
Mike Stanton0 (0%)1
Todd Walker0 (0%)1
Rondell White0 (0%)1
Woody Williams0 (0%)1
****Courtesy of the Baseball Writers Association of America website

Let me touch on the Bonds, Clemens and the other main steroid era players/culprits/suspects first. The votes that Bonds and Clemens got were near what I said they'd get. I said around 40%. I'm fine with McGwire (16.9%), Sosa (12.9%) and Palmiero (8.8%) though I'd say Sosa and Palmiero should have more than McGwire since they was ten times the player McGwire was. I'll get to the other players at another time. I want to focus on Biggio.

So you're trying to tell me that reaching the 3,000 hit plateau while staying loyal to ONE organization and being one of the best to play your respective position is no longer the criteria for being a first ballot Hall of Famer? You're trying to tell me that a guy who played with guts, a dirty uniform, never saying he couldn't play, not running for more money to a bigger market while doing it day in and day out everyday is NOT a Hall of Famer? I say you're full of it to those 39 votes that Biggio needed for enshrinement. Who else can you say was the best at second base during the years that Craig Biggio played? Jeff Kent comes to mind...and Craig Biggio.

Allow me to quote Chris Smith of in his article Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds Robbed Of MLB Hall Of Fame Entry for this paragraph:
In 20 seasons with the Houston Astros, Biggio put put up over 3,000 hits, nearly 1,200 RBIs, more than 400 stolen bases and 668 doubles, good for fifth-most all-time. His career WAR according to Baseball Reference is 62.1, ranking 88th among position players and higher than those of Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Harmon Killebrew and Hank Greenberg. Fans who watched Biggio play will remember him for his rare combination of speed, power and an interminable work ethic constantly on display both at the plate and in the field.
The voters dropped the ball. Plain and simple.

Allow me to touch on something else that is bothering me. Howard Bryant of in his article Drawing a blank of a HOF ballot says the following:
As it turned out, I sent my 2013 Hall of Fame ballot in blank...This wasn't science. It wasn't a clever attack in the three-front culture war among the players, the SABRs and the BBWAAs. It wasn't a protest either. It was just one voter's inability to reach a comfortable verdict on a colossal mess that for years no one wanted to take responsibility for and that isn't going to get any less complicated as time goes on. 
This is what I say to this. If you don't vote for anyone, then you lose your right to vote. Plain and simple. I respect his colleague T.J. Quinn's stance concerning the hall in his article The HOF: Why I Stopped Voting. This man gave up his right to vote rather than continually send in blank ballots. He lost the excitement for the vote. Instead of being a part of the problem, he decided to take himself out of the debate. That I can respect and applaud him for. Not voting is something that I can't respect and/or applaud.

There needs to be a change in the way the vote is undertaken especially since the writers were the witnesses (if not more so) to the "damage" as they put it that the Steroid era placed on the game of Baseball. The writers did not nothing but write elaborate articles on the exploits of McGwire and Sosa as they saved Baseball from the spectre of the 1994 Baseball Strike. They knew what was going on more than us since they are on the field, in the locker room, in the press box, in the hotels and bars before and after games. They have no place to be pious and "holier than thou" when it comes to their placing the fates of players in their hands and votes. It wasn't like they were reporting for inside of a bubble. They were on the field, in the locker room, in the press boxes. THEY KNEW. Now they act as if they are better than everyone else and are trying to protect the sanctity of the game. They are full of it and to avoid getting crass and profane you all know what I mean by what they are full of.

T.J. Quinn has a potential solution to a change on how players are elected to the Hall of Fame:
But at the end of the day, the game, the Hall and journalism would be better served if voting was limited to a select group of veterans, historians and even journalists -- if they're the right journalists. Columnists and national writers who have devoted their careers to the game, not dabblers. That wouldn't solve the problem of how to evaluate players in the age of modern chemistry, but at least the right group would be making the call.
But alas, I don't see the BBWAA giving up their position. They have leverage on the game of Baseball and will always hide behind their stance of "Well, this player played in the Steroid Era so there is a black cloud over their accomplishments even if they didn't fail a test".

So you know what I say? Let's take that burden off of your backs and give up your vote. No? You want your cake and eat it too? Then I say just close the Hall. Simply close it so you don't have to vote. So you don't have to be burdened with such a hard decision on who is tainted and who is not. Just close the Hall.

Close the Hall until every player that played in the Steroid Era is done playing. So that means, Derek Jeter doesn't get in. Albert Pujols doesn't get it. Mariano Rivera doesn't get in and so on and so forth. Do those players deserve to get in? Absolutely. But based on the point of view taken by the writers who sit like the Gods on Mount Olympus dishing out their judgment at will, they might not. After all they did play during the Steroid Era.

Today is a sad day in the game I so love. It is a sad day for Baseball.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Predictions For The 2013 Hall of Fame Ballot

We are a few days away from the announcement of who will be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This year's ballot marks the eligibility of players that have the cloud of the Steroid Era hanging over their careers. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa among others are some of those whose clouds are the darkest. Here is the complete list of players eligible for this year's vote:
PercentYrs on
Dale Murphy8314.5%14
Jack Morris38266.7%13
Don Mattingly10217.8%12
Alan Trammell21136.8%11
Lee Smith29050.6%10
Mark McGwire11219.5%6
Tim Raines27948.7%5
Edgar Martinez20936.5%3
Fred McGriff13723.9%3
Jeff Bagwell32156.0%2
Rafael Palmeiro7212.6%2
Larry Walker13122.9%2
Bernie Williams559.6%1
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Jeff Cirillo
Royce Clayton
Roger Clemens
Jeff Conine
Steve Finley
Julio Franco
Shawn Green
Roberto Hernandez
Ryan Klesko
Kenny Lofton
Jose Mesa
Mike Piazza
Reggie Sanders
Curt Schilling
Aaron Sele
Sammy Sosa
Mike Stanton
Todd Walker
David Wells
Rondell White
Woody Williams
***Chart courtesy of the BBWAA website

Just to specify the rules for being placed on the ballot. Players must be retired for a full five years after their last at-bat and may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in the previous year.

So looking at the list, who do I think get's the necessary 75% for enshrinement?

I believe the Baseball writers will elect the two main "Killer B's" of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell of Houston Astros fame, as well as, arguably the best offensive catcher in the history of the game Mike Piazza. With Jeff Bagwell already having 56% of the vote in his first two years of eligibility, it would make sense to enshrine these two lifelong teammates together. At least it makes sense on a sentimental level. In terms of Mike Piazza, I've already made my case for him in my prior post Mike Piazza Hall of Famer 2013. I think Jack Morris gets closer to reaching 75%. He's already at 66.7% with two years left.

In terms of the players I mentioned linked to the Steroid Era, I think Bonds and Clemens will get a substantial part of the vote in their favor. Something within the 40% range. Sosa probably a bit less and McGwire will remain at around 15%-20% of the vote. Palmiero is a bit of a wild card. I'm not sure how the voters will see him past the 12.6% of the vote he got last year. He is the one guy who has a positive test attributed to him. So we'll have to see.

Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker and Tim Raines will continue their slow climb up to 75%. Schilling will get some votes, but not enough for 75%. I believe it'll take him within 5-10 years to get 75%. Bernie Williams will stay on the ballot getting close to his 9.6%.

I don't see Trammell, Mattingly, Smith making too much headway in the voting and sadly, Dale Murphy will no longer be eligible after this year with his reaching his 15th and final year on the ballot. I don't see him making a 60%+ increase in voting to get enshrinement. The fact that he has only gotten 14.5% is a travesty.

I think the player association needs to make a better case of getting these players stats and achievement out to the younger voters who may have never had a chance to see them play. With all the video that is available, they should build campaigns to better highlight these players and show them things that the younger voters might not know about them.

Ok folks, there we go. That's how I feel it will play out when the announcement is made on January 9, 2013. BTW, here is the list of the players that will be first year eligible in 2014:
Moises Alou, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Jose Cruz Jr., Ray Durham, Damion Easley, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Scott Hatteberg, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Trot Nixon, Hideo Nomo, Jay Payton, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, J.T. Snow, Shannon Stewart, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Steve Trachsel, Jose Vidro
Five names stand out to me on that list for potential first-year enshrinement:
Tom Glavine
Jeff Kent
Greg Maddux
Mike Mussina
Frank Thomas
2014 looks to be another star studded Hall of Fame ballot.