My HOF deliberations: Fred McGriff

| December 24, 2011

Moving along, I still just have yes votes for Bagwell, Larkin, McGwire and Raines. I’ve eliminated Trammell and Edgar Martinez. I’ve only got three guys left to consider, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker and Bernie Williams, and we’ll do McGriff here.

First time he was on the ballot, I didn’t think he’d be a serious candidate, but then the more I looked at him, the more impressed I was. That tends to happen by the way. Invariably, the longer I look at someone, I’m more likely to raise their stock than lower it. Maybe that’s just me. I have gone from no to yes on a few people (Blyleven, Raines, McGwire), but not from yes to no on anyone.

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My HOF deliberations: Trammell

| December 23, 2011

It’s time to start filling out my Hall of Fame ballot.

The guys I voted for last year, who didn’t make it, were Jeff Bagwell (explanation here), Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire and Tim Raines. I’ll start by voting for all of them again.

Some of the guys who have come closest for me in the past have been, alphabetically: Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker. (Jack Morris and Lee Smith? I have not voted for them, and I’m perfectly comfortable with those decisions, so I don’t feel the need to revisit them. Rafael Palmeiro? I think he was an overrated compiler, far from the top at his position in his era. I also feel Dale Murphy has a decent case, but I’ve looked at him for at least five years and still not voted for him, so I’m done with him.)

So, this year I will look closely again at Edgar, McGriff, Trammell, Walker and — the only newcomer worth a sniff — Bernie Williams.

We’ll start with Trammell, since he’s been on the ballot the longest. He also seems to be the new Bert Blyleven, which is to say he’s become a “cause.” A few of my friends who I respect very much, like Scott Miller and Tracy Ringolsby, both wrote recently that they feel Trammell is one of the most underrated players on the ballot. Scott went so far as to say that Larkin should not get in unless Trammell is.

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Jack Morris and “pitching to the score”

| August 8, 2011

We’re almost at the end of the publication cycle for the A’s and Giants magazines, which means most of my work is done, but not all of it. So I mostly sit around and wait for someone to pass something off to me, and then I do whatever I need to do, which usually takes about five minutes, then I sit around again.

Anyway, that means I spend a lot of time pointlessly surfing on Baseball-Reference.com, looking for … I don’t know … whatever.

So today I started thinking about my Hall of Fame ballot — hey, the thing’s due in less than five months! — and in particular Jack Morris. I have never really felt Morris had all that compelling of a case for the HOF, mostly because he had a rather pedestrian ERA and his vaunted “postseason excellence” is based on two or three games. (His overall postseason ERA is 3.80, compared with his regular season ERA of 3.90.)

Well, the crux of the argument in Morris’ defense is that he was one of those “winners.” He did win 254 games, which is an impressive total, for whatever it’s worth. The Morris defenders say you can throw out his ERA.

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