We all know the voting process for the MLB Hall of Fame is flawed, but nonetheless, it still goes on. If (when) I have the actual power of having a real vote for the Hall, here’s what my 2015 ballot would look like.
Randy Johnson is arguably the most intimidating pitcher the game has ever seen, striking immeasurable amounts of fear into opposing hitters. Johnson’s career accomplishments include: 4,875 strikeouts (2nd all-time to Nolan Ryan), five Cy Young Awards (2nd all-time to Roger Clemens), the all-time record for highest career strikeouts per 9 innings pitched ratio (10.61), eclipsed the 300-win plateau, 10 all-star appearances, and was named Co-MVP of the Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 World Series championship team where he won three of his teams four games in the series. He became the 1st pitcher since 1968 to win three games in a single World Series, a feat that has yet to happen since.
What he did to John Kruk in the 1993 all-star game embodies everything Johnson was as a pitcher:
When Pedro was on, there may not have been a more dominant pitcher in the history of baseball. His 1.054 WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched) is the lowest since the live-ball era began in 1920, his 2.93 career ERA is the best of any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings in the last 40 years, his .687 winning percentage is the 2nd highest in modern baseball history, and he has three Cy Young’s to his name. While throwing down Don Zimmer in the 2003 ALCS was not his finest moment, his relief performance in game five of the 1999 ALDS certainly was. Pedro came out of the bullpen in the 4th inning of an 8-8 tie, and proceeded to pitch six no-hit innings. The 1999 Indians were the first team in the modern era to score over 1,000 runs in a season, and Pedro made them look like little leaguers attempting to play in the big leagues.
It’s a shame John Smoltz didn’t retire one-year earlier, because then we could have had a Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Bobby Cox, and Smoltz 2014 induction. The trio of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz was the heart and soul of the Braves amazing run from the early 90s through the mid 2000s. But Smoltz will join his fellow mates in the Hall of Fame this year. Not only was Smoltz a dominant starting pitcher, he was also dominant coming out of the bullpen. He’s the only pitcher in Major League history to amass 200 wins and 150 saves, he struck out over 3,000 hitters, won both a Cy Young and Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award, and his 15 postseasons wins rank 2nd all-time. Of the three big-time pitchers getting in this year, Smoltz will likely have the lowest percentage, but he’s still more than deserving.
Mike Piazza will keep appearing on my ballot until he gets enshrined in Cooperstown. He’s statistically the best hitting catcher of all-time. Piazza’s 427 home runs (396 while playing catcher, 31 at other positions) and career OPS of .922 are the most ever for a catcher. He’s one of ten players to hit over 400 career home runs and have a lifetime batting average above .300 while never striking out more than 100 times in a season. Piazza was a 12-time all-star, and 10-time silver slugger award winner. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown, but still has a major hill to climb with the voters.
Who will get in but shouldn’t: Craig Biggio
Craig Biggio fell just two votes shy of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame last year, which means unless there is a miracle of epic proportions, he will get in this year. To me, Biggio was a really good player for a long time. I never consider him one of the games greatest players, and to me, that’s what the Hall of Fame should be about.
As is going to happen every year until the voting changes, the Hall of Fame writers will continue to ignore the great players who played in the “Steroid Era”. I hope someday, these players will have their day:
Who do you think deserves enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Leave a comment below.