The Class of 2014 for the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced at 2:00pm EST and the results will be announced live on MLB Network, as well as on the internet at both the Hall of Fame website and the site belonging to the BBWAA. If the early releases of ballots are indication (yes, I’m looking at you Ken Gurnick), then the results are likely turn heads and generate a ton of debate.
Now, let’s all sit back and pretend for a moment that the Jays Journal staff is actually an accredited member of the BBWAA and that we have a say in the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame election. How would we vote? What philosophies do we follow?
Well, the results would look a little something like this.
|2014 Jays Journal Hall of Fame Ballot Results|
|Jay Blue||Michael Wray||Jeff Morten||Robert Steele||Charlie Caskey||Kyle Franzoni||Alex Dinely||Justin Jay||David Stewart||Total Votes||%|
As you can see, our writers were split among the vote, especially when it came to those players with questionable pasts. However, unlike the majority of results out there, our poll (and admitted small sample size) would elect five candidates to this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Greg Maddux was perhaps the easiest selection on the ballot, and actually receives unanimous selection from our voters. Over a 20-year period from 1988 through 2007, Maddux posted an incredible 339-196 record, a 3.01 ERA, and a 3.57 K/BB ratio. Fangraphs has him rated a staggering 113.9 wins above replacement, which would place him 4th all-time. Oh, and did I mention he made 35 career postseason appearances, posting a record of 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA?
Frank Thomas was our second inductee. He’ll get some slack for his lack of defense and his primary role as a DH during the second half of his career, but it is hard to argue with what The Big Hurt did with the stick. From 1990 through 2003, it was hard to find a more dangerous hitter in the game, as Thomas posted an average slash-line during the decade of .310/.428/.568, with an average of 30 home runs and 99 RBI. The two-time American League MVP was an on-base machine before it became fashionable, and was worth 72.4 wins above replacement, despite having a lifetime dWAR of -23.4.
Tim Raines could be seen as somewhat of a local favorite here, as he was featured on 8 of our 9 ballots. Rock gets a lot of love from saber guys that place value in lifetime wRC+ of 125, his WAR of 66.4, and his lifetime slash-line of .294/.385/.425, especially considering he was a lead-off man. However, traditionalists knock him because he failed to reach the 3000-hit plateau (2605), his calling card of stolen bases (808 lifetime) fell off the cliff at age 34, and he perhaps hung on a few years too many. Still, for those who saw Raines play, they know how much of a weapon his was and his mold certainly belongs in the Hall next to the likes of his contemporary Rickey Henderson.
Tom Glavine is the fourth member of our class, and deservedly so. Like his teammate Maddux, Glavine excelled during an era when pitchers were knocked around, and he did so with a repertoire that wasn’t overpowering. A 22-year veteran, Glavine finished his career with a 305-203 record, a 3.54 ERA, and a 64.3 WAR. However, some wonder if Glavine was partially a product of the great Braves teams he played for, noting that his 3.95 FIP and 4.59 xFIP were not so impressive. Still Glavine was a 5-time 20-game winner, made 35 starts in the postseason, and was a huge piece of those stellar Braves teams of the 90’s.
The final member of our class was Craig Biggio. A man that three times transitioned to another position, Biggio was a 7-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove winner, and a solid role model for those learning the game. Over the course of a 20-year career, Biggio fits the molds you look for from a Hall of Famer, posting the prerequisite 3000 hits, a lifetime slash-line of .281/.363/.433, 291 home runs and 414 stolen bases during his career. Fangraphs has Biggio rated 65.3 wins above replacement which would rank him 10th in WAR among second basemen (4 above Ryne Sandberg and 1 ahead of Roberto Alomar).
Of those not making the cut, we were all torn on what to do with the so-called steroid class. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell just missed the cut by a single vote each. In regards to Bonds and Clemens, I think the issue came down to character as well as the cloud of evidence around them. Piazza and Bagwell were likely not punished by our voters, as I don’t think speculation came into their consideration, rather available slots victimized them.
The biggest story I see in our vote is Jack Morris. Morris gets a lot of love from those voters that saw him pitch, dominantly I might add, but those that are held to the numbers and value of new systems like sabermetrics saw less worthiness in Jack than did other. I think that holds true in our vote and will likely become an issue when the results are announced later today.
So, there you have it. Do you agree with our selections? Have a different choice to pass along?