As a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), here’s how I would have voted on this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
We will know later today (6 p.m. Eastern time on MLB Network) who (if anyone) has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and baseball immortality inside the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, N.Y.
While Scott Rolen and Todd Helton seem to have legitimate chances to earn their place inside the Baseball Hall of Fame during this voting cycle, it will likely be a razor-thin margin that pushes them in or keeps them out. Remember, a player must be named on 75 percent of the returned ballots in order to earn enshrinement.
You can learn more about the Baseball Hall of Fame and voting here.
I am in my third year as a member of the BBWAA, meaning I still have seven years to go until I can cast my first official Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. According to the BBWAA, “In order to be eligible for a Hall of Fame vote, a writer must be an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years.”
While I can’t officially cast my ballot this year (like I did earlier in the offseason for the National League Rookie of the Year), I can give some insight into who I would have selected and why.
The MLB players who would have earned my vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame
First, let’s start with Helton, a player who is making incredible gains this offseason, gaining 35 votes from last year after the 192nd BBWAA ballot was made public this morning. Yes, there are plenty who will point to Helton’s 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies and simply say, “Coors Field.” However, that shows a lack of understanding of the numbers that Helton not only put up during his illustrious career in Denver, but away from altitude as well.
As my friend Manny Randhawa from MLB.com points out in this article, “His .855 OPS away from his home ballpark is higher than the road OPS of Hall of Famers Dave Winfield (.841), Eddie Murray (.838), Rickey Henderson (.836), Tony Gwynn (.835), Al Kaline (.827) and George Brett (.826), among others.” That’s just one of the reasons that Randhawa lists to help educate those who look at altitude as negatively as steroid usage, and I highly recommend reading his article linked above if you still wonder if Helton is Hall-worthy.
Helton will get into the Hall of Fame either this year or next year, much like Rolen, another player who would have earned my vote this cycle. A seven-time All-Star, Rolen is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, earning eight Gold Gloves. His career slash line of .281/.364/.490 and career bWAR (70.1) overcome any concerns about his injuries in my mind.
Andruw Jones also would have received my vote. Now in his sixth year on the ballot, I think the five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner will eventually get in because he is one of the most gifted outfielders to ever play the game. I also think the same for Carlos Beltran, who will forever be linked to the sign-stealing scandal with the Houston Astros. However, I still would have voted for him, based purely on the numbers he put up during his playing time in the years when he was not in Houston.
Speaking of the Astros, on the pitching side, Billy Wagner is a no-brainer for me as well. A career ERA+ of 187 will absolutely earn my vote, even though relievers have been a tough sell to BBWAA voters in the past. When you think of a dominant closer, Wagner fits the description on so many levels.
So my ballot would have consisted of Helton, Rolen, Jones, Beltran, and Wagner. While I understand BBWAA members can vote for up to 10 players on a ballot, I believe these five were the most deserving.
Now it’s your turn. Where was I right with the ballot and which players did I miss? Let me know in the comments section below your reasoning.