Hall of Fame Roundup '07
by Tony Aubry, BaseballEvolution.com
January 10, 2007

Well, itís that time of the year, again. You know what Iím talking about. Itís the time where a bunch of bonehead baseball writers vote for the HOF and screw everything up. Iím not going to bother to talk about Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, the guys who got in, because there really isnít anything going on with them. Theyíre both no-brainers. However, the voting for some of the guys who didnít get in, specifically Bert Blyleven, Jim Rice, Goose Gossage, and Mark McGwire are more interesting.

I really think itís a shame that Blyleven isnít in the Hall of Fame, and the fact that Jim Rice received more votes than him really upsets me. Bert is 5th in career strikeouts, 9th in shutouts, 13th in innings pitched and 26th in wins. If that isnít enough, his ERA was 18% better than his league (the ďgreatĒ Nolan Ryan had an ERA only 12% better than his league, and he received over 98% of the vote).

Jim Rice, on the other hand, has got to be one of the most overrated players in the past 50 years and shouldnít be able to come with in 50 miles of the Hall of Fame. Rice was a bad left fielder who never walked and hit into a ton of twin killings, which is a combination that I hate. For the record, heís 6th all time in GIDP. Also, he led his league in outs twice. I donít think the ďbest hitter of the decadeĒ would lead the league in outs made, let alone do it twice. Rice also had an OPS+ of 128, which is pretty good, even for a LF, but he just didnít get on base enough and made too many outs.

Goose Gossage has the most blown saves of all time. Yeah, I bet you just learned something new, didnít you? He also blew 13 saves in one season, the second most ever. Now youíve learned two things. Heís also not even in the top 50 for save percentage. Thereís three. I understand he was pitching two and sometimes even three innings, but so was everyone else in his era, and they werenít blowing saves like he was. Also, out of the three years he lead the league in saves, at least half of his saves were less than 2 innings. Gossage pitched just under 2,000 innings, had an ERA+ of 128, and had 160 pitching runs. He does get some credit for pitching in high leverage situations, but to me, that just isnít Hall-worthy.

McGwireís case is the most interesting, and obviously has the most controversy surrounding it. Steroids: how do we penalize him for this? As of I right now, Iím not sure if I would have voted him in or not, but Iím leaning towards not. Let me just say this: steroids are not some kind of magical potion that gets injected into your ass, and turns you into Mickey Mantle (thought I was going to say Babe Ruth, didnít you?). You have to have some sort of talent for this stuff to actually give you results. You also just donít use them and just sit around, and all of a sudden turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger. You still have to work and you still have to possess some sort of talent. If you didnít, guys like Jason Grimsley and Ryan Franklin would be All-Stars.

Also, when did McGwire start using steroids, and how much did it affect his performances? He probably wouldnít have had years like í98 and í99, but I still think he would have been pretty good. Even before 1996, he was a very good player. Would I vote him in? Probably not. He did break a law and cheat the game. But then again, we donít know what he was taking, or whether it was outlawed by MLB. Itís definitely isnít a simple topic, and takes a lot of consideration before you start throwing asterisks around.

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony resides in Queens, New York and can be reached at tony@baseballevolution.com.