Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My two pennies on the HOF vote

It seems like everyone is talking HOF ballots so I thought I'd chime in with my opinion. I'm not going to weigh in on every candidate (I would if I had unlimited time), just those with Red Sox ties.

1. Rickey Henderson - He's a no-brainer. In fact, you'd have to not have a brain to keep him out. Don't worry though, some sportswriter somewhere will leave him off the ballot because he's not Babe Ruth and there's this insane rule (unwritten of course) that no one should be a unanimous first time selection. Here's my question. Do they coordinate and decide ahead of time who is going to be the moron leaving the obvious candidate off the ballot? What if they all left Rickey off because, "no one should get in unanimously?" Talk about embarrassing.

2. Jim Rice - He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Plain and simple, he was a dominant offensive force for over a decade. In his 16 year career, Rice was selected to eight All-Star games, finished in the top 5 MVP voting six times (he won the award in 1978), hit at least 39 home runs in a season four times, had eight 100 RBI seasons, four seasons with 200+ hits and batted over .300 seven times. He finished his career with a .298 batting average, 382 home runs (55th best of all-time), 1451 RBIs (56th). Sure he pissed off a lot of people, but Ty Cobb was no picnic and he's in the Hall. I'd be willing to bet that you couldn't find another more dominant player from 1975-1986 who isn't already in Cooperstown.

3. Andre Dawson - I'm on the fence with the Hawk. He only played with the Sox at the tail end of his career, when his knees were shot, so I know I didn't see him in his prime. Comparing him against Jim Rice, he has more home runs, but didn't hit for average as well, and in an extra 5 seasons has only 150 more RBI. He did win an MVP award and finished in the top 10 3 other times. He ranked among the league leaders in major offensive categories 60 times compared to well over a hundred for Rice. Dawson was clearly a better fielder and was more of a threat on the bases than Rice ever was. Overall though I think the Hawk is a borderline candidate and in my opinion, borderline isn't good enough. It's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Really Good. Would I be enraged if Dawson gets in, no. And I think he will eventually get in, even if its via the Veterans Committee.

4. Lee Smith - I think Lee Smith is a Hall of Famer, but I think it will take him a long time to get in. He may be another guy that gets in through the Veterans Committee. But he deserves to be in. He was one of the most dominant relievers in the mid-eighties, second only to probably Eckersley, and still ranks third on the all-time saves list (behind Hoffman and Rivera - both future HOFers). He finished in the top 5 voting for the Cy Young award three times and in the top 10 for the MVP award once, and was one of the players who helped to define the role of a closer as a vital part of the bullpen.

5. Mo Vaughn - If Mo Vaughn had been able to play longer than 10 full seasons he would probably be a Hall of Famer. In the mid-90's he was one of the best hitters in the game. He averaged 37 home runs and 117 RBIs between 1995-2000, while maintaing a .305 batting average. Unfortunately he wasn't able to stay healthy. Combined with his appearance in the Mitchell Report, Vaughn will never even sniff the Hall. I'd bet he won't even be on the ballot next year.

6. David Cone - David Cone is simply not a Hall of Famer. He was a very good pitcher, but very good doesn't get you into the Hall. His name is not one that readily springs to mind when naming the dominant pitchers of the 1990's, and his stats are simply not Hall worthy. He will forever be remembered for pitching a perfect game and that will have to be enough.


night owl said...

1. Rice and Lee Smith both need to be in the Hall.

2. I forgot completely that Cone played for the Red Sox

3. That Dawson Score card is awesome.

Dave - Fielder's Choice said...

Rice over Dawson? I'm surprised - but I guess a lot of writers agree with you. As for dominant players between 1975-1986 who aren't already in the Hall, how about Dawson, Dale Murphy, and Dave Parker? I think Dawson should get in, but Rice, Murphy, and Parker just weren't good long enough to qualify. And the biggest thing against Rice, for me, is that the only thing he was great at was being a power hitter - and yet he still didn't reach 400 home runs, which I think is necessary for anyone who's going into the Hall solely based on being a power hitter.

Also, Cone's name does spring to my mind when I think about the most dominant pitchers of the 1990s. He's right up there with Clemens and Johnson. So I think he's a borderline Hall of Famer...