Originally written on Hall of Very Good  |  Last updated 12/20/14
The time for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame vote is upon us once again. While I may not have an actual vote in the process, it doesn’t mean that I can’t throw down who I would pick if given the opportunity. Since all of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA) get up to 10 votes, I will be picking the same amount out of the pool of 36 players up for election. Some will make sense, while others will be controversial, but in either case the players I choose are the ones who I feel are most worthy of entry. It should also be noted that the players I choose should have nothing to do with the numbers of times they’ve been on the ballot. To me, you’re either worthy or you’re not. Jack Morris.  Now in his 15th and final ballot, Morris should have been in several years ago. In 18 seasons with four different teams Morris compiled 254 wins (43rd all-time)-186 losses along with a 3.90 ERA and 2,478 strikeouts (32nd all-time) in 3.824 innings (49th all-time). Morris almost won the Triple Crown in 1983 while with the Detroit Tigers, but came up four wins short of the mark. Morris also made five All-Star Game appearances and won four World Series rings. Greg Maddux.  “Mad Dog” won 355 games (eighth all-time), posted a 3.16 ERA (102nd all-time) and struck out 3,371 batters (10th all-time). He also made eight All-Star Game appearances (all with the Atlanta Braves), won 18 Gold Glove Awards, won one World Series title in 1995 and won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992 to 1995. He is arguably the greatest pitcher of the 1990s. Frank Thomas.  There are few players who could hit the ball as far and as consistently as Thomas. Even though he was pretty bad defensively his ability to get on base, .419 career on-base percentage which is 19th all-time, more than made up for it. Thomas hit .301 for his career along with 521 home runs (tied for 18th all-time) and 1,704 RBI (22nd all-time). He made five All-Star Game appearances, won four Silver Slugger Awards and won back-to-back American League MVP Awards in 1993 and 1994. Tim Raines.  Raines should have been in by now, but is currently on his seventh year on the ballot. While he is listed for having played 23 seasons, realistically he only played in about 17 due to his first two seasons being call-ups and the other four being plagued by injury. Rock won one batting title in 1986 with the Montreal Expos (.334), which is something that many seem to forget about as he is mostly known for his speed (double entendre), even though he hit .294 for his career. Raines scored 1,571 runs (53rd all-time) and stole 808 bases (fifth all-time). He made seven consecutive All-Star Game appearances from 1981 to 1987 (all with the Expos) and tallied 2,605 hits. Had he had those extra full seasons he more than likely would have reached 3,000. The biggest thing working against him is his well-publicized cocaine problem. Craig Biggio.  Biggio played 20 amazing seasons with the Houston Astros and is arguably the face of the franchise next to Larry Dierker. Throughout his career he hardly ever missed a game and was always willing to play anywhere he was needed, but most of it came at second base. His .281 career average is solid, but his 3,060 hits, seven All-Star Game appearances, four consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1994-1997) and four Silver Slugger Awards are certainly the highlight. Rafael Palmeiro.  Palmeiro should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer as he is one of four players to tally 3,000 or more hits and 500 or more home runs in their career. The other three guys (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray) are all in the Hall of Fame. Palmeiro played for 20 seasons and made four All-Star Game appearances, won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards; however, his steroid bust in the final year of his career AFTER hitting the 3000/500 plateau and after his wag of the finger in front of Congress derailed his career. It should be noted that he never tested positive before or after that incident and could have easily been a fluke. Either way, he more than proved his worth. Barry Bonds.  It’s funny how almost every critic will tell you that Bonds was a Hall of Famer before the BALCO incident yet, only 36.2% of those people backed up their words. Bonds is arguably one of the greatest players to ever touch the game. He has the most home runs all-time with 762, the most walks all-time (2,558), most intentional walks all-time (688), 2,227 runs (third all-time), 514 stolen bases (33rd all-time), 1,996 RBI (fourth all-time), a career .298 average and 2,935 hits. He also made 14 All-Star Game appearances, has the record for the most home runs in a season (73), eight Gold Gloves Awards, 12 Silver Slugger Awards and seven NL MVP Awards which are the most for any player in any league. Roger Clemens.  “Rocket” found himself in the same predicament as Bonds in that he is one of the greatest to ever play the game, but also is knee-deep in steroid/PED speculation. Simply based on the numbers Clemens should have his own wing in the Hall of Fame next to Bonds’. His 354 wins are the ninth-most all-time, his 4,672 strikeouts are the third-most all-time, his 4, 914 2/3 innings pitched are the 15th-most all-time and his 3.12 ERA is the 97th-best all-time. He won the Triple Crown with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997 with 21 wins, a 2.05 ERA and 292 strikeouts and made 11 All-Star Game appearances. He also won six AL Cy Young Awards, one NL Cy Young Award (most all-time) two World Series rings with the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2000 and won the AL MVP Award in 1986 along with the Cy Young Award that year on top of setting the record for most strikeouts (20) in a game. Whew! Lee Smith.  The career of Smith is quite interesting when compared to other Hall of Famers. Smith was the first premier one-inning closer while all other relief pitchers who held the position averaged two-to-three innings per appearance. Even with an average of 600 less innings pitched than the likes of Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers, Smith previous set the mark for the most saves in MLB history with 478 before Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera passed him up. However, compared to the likes of Bruce Sutter, who is in the Hall of Fame, Smith should have been in a long time ago especially when taking into consideration that Smith as more years pitched (six more) , more innings pitched (247 more), more strikeouts (390 more) and obviously more saves (178 more). It’s kind of a joke at this point. And finally… Larry Walker.  This was really a toss up between Walker and Edgar Martinez; however, Walker got the slight edge based on accomplishing more in less games played. Walker played for 17 seasons with the Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals, but realistically played in a shade over 12 full seasons due to injuries. In the time that he was available he hit .313 for his career along with 383 home runs (all-time) and 1,311 RBI (101st all-time). His is also one of 60 players to post an on-base percentage of .400 or higher with 3,000 or more plate appearances and holds a .565 career slugging percentage (13th all-time). Walker won three batting titles with the Rockies (1998, 1999 and 2001), made five All-Star Game appearances, won six Gold Glove Awards, won three Silver Slugger Awards and won the NL MVP in 1997. The only downside is that Walker only tallied 2,160 hits which has clearly been a red flag for voters. But when you compare his numbers to another Hall of Famer like Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Ralph Kiner, you can see how Walker should be an easy decision. So what do you think? Agree...disagree?!?  Let me know in the comments.
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