Much to blame for my Baseball Hall of Fame ballot turning into a nightmare

My Hall of Fame ballot is a nightmare.

I like my choices, but I hate my ballot. It is more than unsatisfactory. It’s actually quite terrible.

I suspect almost everyone is.

We can blame it on the ballot, which is made up of 26 very good to almost great players, many of them borderline Hall of Famers, plus two bona fide Hall of Famers and slam-dunk on their accomplishments – two who were great but who are not going to enter, at least in a short time. (Note: the limit is not an insult, it only means that they are in the top 1-2% of players to ever wear a big league uniform.) We can blame the ballot or the system, but we , the writers, have some to blame (more on that below).

I didn’t vote for any of the biggest winners, Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez, which makes this such a mess. A-Rod received the largest per-game suspension in MLB history (not including Jenrry Mejia’s indefinite ban), which was shortened by a referee to what was still the largest per-game suspension. games in MLB history. And Manny is one of the few players to have failed two PED tests.

It’s okay if others want to honor drug cheaters, and I won’t automatically exclude anyone based on chemical enhancement. I ended up voting for Barry Bonds, who I’m sure only started doing PEDs after Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa overtook him by artificial means, and more importantly, got posted Hall of Fame numbers before he started juicing. Once Bonds started participating, it’s no surprise that he did so better than everyone else.

Andrau Jones
Nury Hernandez

I do not rule out PED users on morality. I just don’t want to bestow baseball’s highest honors on guys — no matter how talented — who have already boosted their stats, resumes, and bank accounts through illicit means and by who knows how much.

Here’s who I voted for…

1.Andruw Jones: He is one of the two or three greatest center backs in history and achieved big numbers in the first decade of his career, before falling off a cliff in Los Angeles.

2. Scott Rolen: Thanks to a superb defense and a very good mid-range batting, he was a dynamo for three teams in the National League. His 70 WAR life says he’s part of the elite even though we didn’t necessarily see him that way in his time.

3.Jeff Kent: When a second baseman has 100 RBI seasons in eight of nine years, I take note of it (yes, I still count RBIs).

4. Jimmy Rollins: I know it will be difficult for him with his 95 OPS plus, but he made an impact. He was a four-time Golden Glove winner MVP who led the league in various ways in games, beats, runs, triples and stolen bases, and was the heart of some formidable teams in the Phillies.

Scott Rolen
Scott Rolen
Reuters

No, thanks to steroids

5. Rodriguez: It’s likely he would have been a Hall of Famer even without the steroids. But he just couldn’t help it.

6. Ramirez: One of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

7. Gary Sheffield: His numbers probably top the Hall of Fame line. But a borderline guy who was a Balco star? No thanks.

Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez
Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Very, very close

8. Carlos Beltran: He’ll probably get there eventually, but he’s the only player named in the worst team scandal in a century. Difficult to honor in year 1.

Damn close

9. Todd Helton: Terrific rate stats, but looks like someone who played their entire career at Coors (mostly pre-cellar) might have bigger career totals.

10. Billy Wagner: Incredible numbers of strikeouts and WHIPs, but they didn’t quite make it here for being hit hard when it mattered most (21 playoff hits 10.03 in 11 ¹/₃ sleeves).

11. Torii Hunter: One of the best defensive center players of all time had a better career than I remember.

12. Andy Pettitte: He had a big impact, but a PED brush is hard for another borderline guy to ignore.

13. Bobby Abreu: Very good numbers but a little short of impact.

14. Omar Vizquel: Amazing defender, but the attacking numbers tipped the scales the wrong way.

Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte
Paul J. Bereswill

15. Mark Buhrle: Incredible consistency and very memorable moments make me think.

16. Francisco Rodriguez: Big moment early and 437 total saves. Not bad.

The remaining 12 players have had stellar careers and deserve to be on the ballot, but are harder to defend (Jayson Werth, Jered Weaver, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, RA Dickey, Huston Street, Bronson Arroyo, JJ Hardy , Andre Ethier, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury).

It’s all pretty messy, I know.

We have only ourselves to blame, for not working harder to uncover steroid use while it was happening.

So I’m not here to complain, only to admit. It seems wrong to omit the two “best” players. But I can’t do it.

And so, my ballot really stinks.

But at least it’s not the worst I’ve seen. It must be the K-Rod ballot only. At least I didn’t do that.

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