Buckley: Here’s my ball for Baseball Hall of Fame – Boston Herald
As I’ve done in the past when revealing my ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I’ll begin with my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s not bravado. That’s a genuine interest in wanting to know your opinions, for the simple reason that it was an impassioned email from a reader, several years back, that inspired me to dig a little deeper . . . and then add Jack Morris to my ballot.
Morris didn’t make it and is no longer up for election by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, which, to us supporters of the tough, ornery right-hander, is a shame.
But we move on, and listed below is my 2015 ballot.
First, though, the annual disclaimer: I’ve yet to move on the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and other stars of “Performance Enhancing Drugs: The Movie,” though nothing is cast in (Jeff) Stone. Also, and I guess this is where I do begin revealing my choices, I continue to vote for Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, and here’s why: Your innuendo about steroids doesn’t sync with my cold, hard facts. If that doesn’t jive with your views, let’s just agree to disagree. Or, you can call me a pinhead. I’ve heard worse. It’s OK. Really.
Oh, one more thing: I’m taking the liberty of (mostly) leaving out the stats. You either already know them or you can easily look them up. Or email me. I’ll send you whatever you need — unless it has anything to do with Pete Rose, the simple reason being that Charlie Hustle isn’t even on the ballot and, hence, not germane to this discussion.
And now, having used a steam shovel to bury the lede, here’s Buck’s Ballot for 2015: Bagwell, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Alan Trammell.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way, beginning with Griffey. I happened to be covering the Mariners for the Tacoma News Tribune when Seattle selected Griffey with the first pick in the 1987 amateur draft. Even now, all these years later, it gives me night sweats that then owner George Argyros unsuccessfully lobbied the baseball ops people to take pitcher Mike Harkey, who would go on to win 36 games in parts of eight major league seasons. Griffey would go on to become one of the best all-around players I’ve ever seen.
The Piazza and Bagwell picks are easily explained. Piazza is one of the best offensive catchers in history and Bagwell was a solid glove guy at first base who hit 449 home runs in just 15 seasons.
In explaining my annual vote for Schilling, allow me to make my annual rant about how much I despise this oft-stated blowhard comment, “If you have to ask if he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s not.”
What these people are really saying is, “I’m too lazy to do my homework.” Look, anyone can pick Griffey (Though not all voters will, because there has never been a unanimous Hall of Fame selection and never will be, which is embarrassing.) Yes, Schilling “only” won 216 career games. Yes, he never won a Cy Young. But do your homework. He registered 3,116 strikeouts against just 711 walks, which is sick, and he was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts, which is even sicker.
I’ll give you the only Martinez number that matters: .417. As in: Oh my God that was Edgar’s career on-base percentage. And anyone who doesn’t vote for Martinez because he was largely a designated hitter simply doesn’t get it. (I’m being kind.)
All I have to say about Mussina is that it amuses me to hear people say he “only” had one 20-win season, his final one. But he had two 19-win seasons, two 18-win seasons and two 17-win seasons. Even taking into account that wins can be overrated, he had 270 of ’em.
Raines, Kent and (especially) McGriff baffle me.
Few players combined speed, batting prowess and the occasional pop as Raines did. Kent was a power-hitting second baseman who for nearly a decade averaged more than 100 RBI.
McGriff is something of a cause of mine. Crime Dog hit 493 home runs, had eight seasons of 100 or more RBI, had a .284 average with a .377 on-base percentage and in 10 postseason series hit .303 with 10 home runs. Yet in six appearances on ballot, he has fallen far short of the 75 percent required for induction, with a high of 23.9 percent.
I believe part of the problem with McGriff is that he was a vagabond throughout his career, playing parts of five seasons apiece with the Blue Jays, Braves and Devil Rays, three with the Padres, and so on. As such, I don’t know if he’s had anybody to champion his cause, as the late, great Red Sox exec Dick Bresciani did for Jim Rice.
My last choice is Trammell, whom I have not voted for in the past. I’ve always considered him a borderline choice, a choice I have agonized over. But this is his last year on the ballot and, while I doubt he’ll get in, I wouldn’t want to sit on the sidelines and see him miss out by one vote.
My Trammell logic is not the best way to vote for the Hall of Fame. Too bad. Email me if you have a problem. Or even if you don’t.