In the mix will be one guy who was found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs and another that just about everyone and their mother thinks did. Add to that combo a few of “good guys”, a prick or two and you’ve got the recipe for a great vote.
Why not start with one of the “good guys”? Here’s the rub with Franco, while I believe he is most certainly Hall-worthy…I can’t put him in until Lee Smith gets his number punched. Franco compiled a huge number of saves over his 21 year career. His 424 saves rank him fourth all-time behind Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera and, you guessed it…Smith. He is third in games finished behind, again, Hoffman and Smith. Franco was a four time All-Star and twice brought home the Rolaids Relief Man Award. A quiet closer, he compiled a 90-87 record (decent considering his role…Hoffman’s career mark is 57-67) and a 2.89 ERA.
Here’s the deal with me and Bagwell…I always ADMIRED Bagwell, but was never a huge Bagwell guy until AFTER he hung up his spikes. I respect the Hell out of the man for leaving the game after only 15 seasons. He could have very well hung around to pad some numbers to his already bloated 449 home run and 1529 RBI totals. But he chose not to. He could have left Houston a number of times. But he chose not to. His .948 OPS is 23rd all-time and the only Hall eligible player that is higher on that list and NOT enshrined is Mark McGwire. Bagwell was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1991 and followed it up three seasons later with the National League MVP award. A career .297 hitter, Bagwell also appeared in four All-Star Games and was twice (yes, TWICE) a 30-30 man. And…he had a bitchin’ goatee.
OUT (in random order).
Brown’s 211-144 record isn’t as impressive as the .594 winning percentage it carries with it. Of course, that is only the tip of the iceberg for the hot and cold hurler. A 3.28 career ERA, 2397 Ks and 13 seasons with ten or more victories makes Brown a hard choice to NOT put on the bubble. One ring, six All-Star Games and seven Gold Gloves…sorry Brown. If David Cone can’t sniff the halls of Cooperstown…you can’t either.
The College Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time World Champion isn’t going to get much love from Cooperstown. While his .295 career average and 2239 hits is impressive…he was WAY overshadowed by other great first basemen throughout his career. Here’s a fun fact…Olerud is one of only TWO players to hit for the cycle in both leagues. Can you name the other?
Another overshadowed first baseman (and probably rightfully so), Martinez is only mentioned here because there are some out there (I’m looking your way Yankees fans) that think guys like Tino, Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill deserve a spot up on the wall. But here’s the thing…none of them hold a candle to Don Mattingly, and last year, “Donnie Baseball” couldn’t muster more than 11.9%.
BJ Surhoff, Marquis Grissom, Bret Boone, Al Leiter, 1987 National League Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago, Carlos Baerga, 1994 National League Rookie of the Year Raul Mondesi, Bobby Higginson, Wilson Alvarez, Rey Sanchez, Charles Johnson, Jose Offerman, Ugueth “currently serving a 14-year prison sentence” Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Dan Wilson, Paul Quantrill, Cal Eldred, Kirk Rueter and Steve Reed.
ON THE BUBBLE.
Good friend of The HOVG, David Allan is going to KILL me for putting Walker “on the bubble” and Bagwell in the Hall of Fame, so here’s the deal…read what he had to say about Walker back in January and make up your own mind.
Possibly the hardest player to characterize on this list is Gonzalez. I’m a fan, through and through. I always bought into the “Juan Gone” hype, the two MVP awards and the monster long balls. His 1996-1999 stretch is, arguably, one of the best of the 90s and in any other era…he’s in. But was the dude clean? Are his numbers going to go the way of McGwire and be pushed to the side in favor of steroid allegations considering some of his teammates?
Which brings me to…
Beautiful mustache or no…it’s hard to look at Palmeiro’s numbers and not get pissed off. 3020 hits, 569 home runs, 1835 RBI…all spectacular, albeit wasted, numbers. His 5388 total bases ranks him tenth all-time and the afore mentioned hits and home runs total makes him one of only FOUR players to have 3000 hits and 500 dongs. That being said, there isn’t a snowball’s chance that a guy who pointed his finger to Congress and proclaimed “I have never used steroids, period” gets in a mere six years after being found guilty of doing the opposite.