Final Verdict: My 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot

I finally made it, here are the 10 players I would vote for if I had the privilege (or punishment) to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Per usual, I'll go in alphabetical order:

Jeff Bagwell

I don't think Bagwell is a borderline candidate, he hit a crazy .297/.408/.540 triple slash line, with a 149 OPS+ for his career. He remains the only first baseman to have a 30 homer, 30 stolen base season, and he did it twice. He was an excellent first baseman, despite only winning a single Gold Glove (in his MVP season). He was an above average offensive player every year, except his final season (although he still walked enough to get on base over 35% of the time). Bagwell has been unfairly, in my opinion, harmed by accusations that he took steroids. There is no evidence that he ever took steroids, and even if he did, I would still vote for him.

Craig Biggio

Biggio is one of the greatest Second Basemen of all time. Although many consider Biggio to be a mere 'compiler' and not a truly great player, they miss his unseen greatness. For example; his 1997 season (when he was 4th in MVP balloting, behind the eminently worthy Larry Walker) was one for the ages. Biggio played in all 162 games, batting .309/.415/.501 with almost 200 hits, 22 homers. 47 stolen bases and 34 HBPs. Biggio's peak was quite impressive, From 1995-'99 Biggio had no less than 5.0 bWAR. Ironically, Biggio's long tail end of his career possibly hurt his Hall of Fame candidacy. He was a marginal player for the last four years of his career, actually costing his team two wins his final year (when he got his 3,000th hit). Had he retired in 2006 he actually would reach the JAWS standards for second basemen. That being said, I don't think Biggio's quest for 3,000 hits should, ironically, weaken his case for Cooperstown, and thankfully i think he'll make it this year.

Barry Bonds

Why vote for Bonds, if I didn't vote for Clemens? Honestly, I don't know. There was one player on the ballot, who did not use PEDs, who I wanted to vote for, and since I was already voting for 4 pitchers, I felt Clemens deserved to fall off the ballot this year. I will consider it again next year (then again, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are joining the ballot next year). I don't think I need to go over Bonds' achievements on the baseball field; he has an argument for the greatest player of all time.

Tom Glavine

Glavine won 300 games, and two Cy Young awards pitching for mostly excellent Braves and Mets teams over the course of a long career. Despite walking too many, and striking out too few, Glavine demonstrated an ability to outperform his peripherals. Although advanced stats suggest he was an inferior pitcher to both Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina (contemporaries on the ballot) Glavine deserves a chance at the podium alongside Greg Maddux, and will get his chance this year.

Greg Maddux

I don't think I need to rehash the argument for Greg Maddux here, he has an argument for the greatest pitcher following the dead ball era. He should be elected unanimously.

Mike Mussina

When one compares Mike Mussina to, say, Tom Glavine he fares favorably in every category except wins. However, even in traditional stats Mussina fares well. Mussina won 270 games over a lengthy career, and typically had a much higher winning percentage than his Oriole and Yankee teams. He had great control, and was a power pitcher when he was younger. He left the game on top, in 2008, his only 20 win season. Although some traditionalists may frown on his (comparatively) low win total, Mussina should have a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

Mike Piazza

The case for Mike PIazza is pretty straightforward: he is the greatest hitting catcher of all time. The only problems I can see with Mike is he was not a good defender (although recent evidence suggests he was good at blocking balls) and that he *may* have taken steroids. Frankly, Piazza's bat makes up for any defensive deficiencies he may have had, and I am sick unto death of fighting over steroids. Within the next few years, Piazza will be in Cooperstown.

Tim Raines

Raines is criminally underrated. He is, perhaps, the greatest basestealer of all time, stealing over 800 bases and was caught less than 200 times. He was a terrific hitter, with a career OPS+ of 123, and should have been more greatly recognized by MVP voters during his time. Thankfully, it seems the BBWAA is slowly changing its opinion on Raines, as he finally crossed the 50% threshold last year, which means he will probably be elected either by the BBWAA or the Veteran's Committee someday.

Curt Schilling

Schilling, like Mussina, is well above my Hall of Fame line. He has the greatest strikeout to walk ratio in baseball history, following 1900. He struckout 3,000 batters. Yes, he only won 216 games, but this is largely a function of his era, not his personal greatness and had the misfortune to play in an era alongside many all time greats, notably Randy Johnson, which cost him at least one Cy Young award.

Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt is one of a few players to end his career with a .300/.400/.500 triple slash line. He hit 500 homers. He is a 2 time MVP (and probably deserved a few more). He was outspoken early on against steroids. I don't see a reasonable argument not to vote for him. He has an argument for the greatest right handed hitter of all time.

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