2009 Hall of Fame Candidates – Who’s on Your Ballot?

December 4, 2008 at 2:42 pm 22 comments


The 2009 MLB Hall of Fame list is sure to bring up a lot of discussion. It has one sure lock in Rickey Henderson, a player in Jim Rice that has his last chance at getting in but has already brought out a ton of controversy in HOF voting, and Mark McGwire, a player that survived his first two years on the ballot amidst a cloud of steroid controversy. Not to mention those who have voters divided: Bert Blyleven, Alan Trammell, and Tim Raines. Needless to say, this year’s class will have a ton of controversy around it one way or another.

Harold Baines – For his career he hit .289/.356/.465 with an OPS+ of 120 and 384 homers (53rd), 488 doubles (57th), 1628 RBI (28th), 1299 runs, 1062 walks (87th), 2866 hits (40th), and a career .356 wOBA while playing in 2830 games (18th) and amassing 9908 at-bats (27th). Baines has impressive running totals but with those running totals comes 298 doubles plays (8th) and 7482 outs (27th). He was never an asset in the field either.

Jay Bell – For his career he hit .265/.343/.416 with an OPS+ of 101 and 195 homers, 394 doubles, 67 triples, 860 RBI, 1123 runs, 1963 hits, 853 walks, and a career .336 wOBA in 2063 games and 7398 at-bats. Bell was a plus defender up the middle for most of his career and deserved more attention for his glove work.

Bert Blyleven – He was 287-250 (27th in wins, 10th in losses) over 4970 innigs (14th) in 692 games (91st) starting 685 of them (11th) with an ERA of 3.31, ERA+ of 118, 242 complete games (91st), 60 shutouts (9th), 3701 strikeouts (5th) against 1322 walks (29th), a K/BB ratio of 2.80 (48th), a K/9 rate of 6.70, a H/9 of 8.39, and a 3.18 career FIP. He was a 2-time All-Star and finishded in the top 7 of Cy Young Award voting 4-times. Morris gave up 430 homers (8th) and threw 114 wild pitches (53rd).

David Cone – He was 194-126 over 2898.7 innigs in 450 games starting 419 of them (99th) with an ERA of 3.46, ERA+ of 120, 56 complete games, 22 shutouts, 2668 strikeouts (22nd) against 1137 walks (64th), a K/BB ratio of 2.35, a K/9 rate of 8.28 (20th), a H/9 of 7.77 (62nd), and a 3.56 career FIP. He was a 5-time All-Star and won a Cy Young Award and finished in the top 6 of Cy Young voting 4 other times. Cone gave up 258 homers and threw 149 wild pitches (26th).

Andre Dawson – For his career he hit .279/.323/.482 with an OPS+ of 119 and 438 homers (36th), 503 doubles (45th), 98 triples, 314 stolen bases, 1591 RBI (34th), 1373 runs (92nd), 2774 hits (45th), 589 walks against 1509 strikeouts (45th), and a career .352 wOBA in 2627 games (33rd) and 9927 at-bats (26th). Dawson won a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP (and finished 2nd two other times), he was an 8-time All-Star, and he was a plus defender for a good number of years. His 1039 exta-base hits are 23rd all-time.

Ron Gant – For his career he hit .256/.336/.468 with an OPS+ of 112 and 321 homers (96th), 302 doubles, 243 stolen bases, 1008 RBI, 1080 runs, 1651 hits, 770 walks, and a career .352 wOBA in 1832 games and 6449 at-bats. Gant finished in the top 6 in MVP voting twice, was a 2-time All-Star, a 2-time 30/30 (homers/steals) guy, and an average fielder.

Mark Grace – For his career he hit .303/.383/.442 with an OPS+ of 119 and 173 homers, 511 doubles (39th), 1146 RBI, 1179 runs, 2445 hits, 1075 walks (79th) against just 642 strikeouts, and a career .363 wOBA in 2245 games and 8065 at-bats. He finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting, was a 3-time All-Star, and was a plus fielder for his career.

Rickey Henderson – For his career he hit .279/.401/.419 (56th all-time in OBP) with an OPS+ of 127 and 297 homers, 510 doubles (40th), 1406 stolen bases (1st), 1115 RBI, 2295 runs (1st), 3055 hits (21st), 2190 walks (2nd) against 1694 strikeouts, and a career .386 wOBA in 3081 games (4th) and 10961 at-bats (10th). Henderson won an MVP award and finished in the top 10 five other times, and ALCS MVP, and he was a 10-time All-Star. He was an above-average fielder for his career as well. Rickey Henderson was on base an incredible 5343 times, good for 4th best all-time.

Tommy John – He was 288-231 (26th in wins) over 4710.3 innigs (20th) in 760 games (53rd) starting 700 of them (8th) with an ERA of 3.34, ERA+ of 110, 162 complete games, 46 shutouts (26th), 2245 strikeouts (48th) against 1259 walks (41st), a K/BB ratio of 1.78, a K/9 rate of 4.29, a H/9 of 9.14, and a 3.37 career FIP. He was a 4-time All-Star and finishded 2nd in Cy Young Award voting twice. TJ gave up 302 homers (43rd), threw 187 wild pitches (9th) and allowed 4783 hits (10th). He played in a ridiculous 26 seasons and he is the reason we have “Tommy John Surgery” today.

Don Mattingly – For his career he hit .307/.358/.471 with an OPS+ of 127 and 222 homers, 442 doubles (94th), 1099 RBI, 1007 runs, 2153 hits, 588 walks (against only 444 strikeouts) and a career .361 wOBA in 1785 games and 7003 at-bats. He has one MVP award (he finished in the top 7 three other times), he was a 6-time All-Star, and he won 9 Gold Gloves (I don’t put much impact on this award but Mattingly was that good on defense).

Mark McGwire – For his career he hit .263/.394/.588 (9th all-time in SLG) with an OPS+ of 162 (12th) and 583 homers (8th), 252 doubles, 1626 hits, 1317 walks (35th), 1414 RBI (65th), 1167 runs and a career .415 wOBA in 1874 games with 6187 at-bats. He’s won an MVP, a ROY, and is a 12-time All-Star. He also holds the best AB/HR ratio of all-time by homering every 10.6 at-bats. But he does have the steroid cloud surrounding him.

Jack Morris – He was 254-186 (41st in wins, 59th in losses) over 3824 innigs (49th) in 549 games starting 527 of them (36th) with an ERA of 3.90, ERA+ of 105, 178 complete games, 28 shutouts, 2478 strikeouts (31st) against 1390 walks (19th), a K/BB ratio of 1.78, a K/9 rate of 5.83, a H/9 of 8.40, and a 3.93 career FIP. He was a 5-time All-Star and finishded in the top 5 of Cy Young Award voting 5-times and he won the 1991 World Series MVP. Morris gave up 389 homers (14th) and threw 206 wild pitches (8th).

Dale Murphy – For his career he hit .265/.346/.469 with an OPS+ of 121 and 398 homers (46th), 350 doubles, 161 stolen bases, 1266 RBI, 1197 runs, 2111 hits, 986 walks, and a career .357 wOBA in 2180 games and 7960 at-bats. Murphy was a 2-time MVP (and one could argue he should’ve won in 1987) and a 7-time All-Star. Murphy was a very good defensive outfielder with many years plus and above-average.

Jesse Orosco – He was 87-80 with 144 saves (69th) over 1295 innigs in 1252 games (1st) with an ERA of 3.16, ERA+ of 125 (62nd), 1179 strikeouts against 581 walks, a K/BB ratio of 2.03, a K/9 rate of 8.19 (23rd), a H/9 of 7.33 (24th), and a 3.60 career FIP. He was a 2-time All-Star and finishded 3rd in Cy Young Award voting in 1983.

Dave Parker – For his career he hit .290/.339/.471 with an OPS+ of 121 and 339 homers (82nd), 526 doubles (32nd), 75 triples, 154 stolen bases (against 113 CS), 1493 RBI (49th), 1272 runs, 2712 hits (55th), 683 walks, and a career .352 wOBA in 2466 games (59th) and 9358 at-bats (45th). Parker won an MVP award (and finished top 5 in four other times) and was a 7-time All-Star. Despite winning three Gold Gloves (77′-79′, three of his best offensive seasons) he was an average fielder for his career at best.

Dan Plesac – He was 65-71 with 158 saves (59th) over 1072 innigs in 1064 games (6th) with an ERA of 3.64, ERA+ of 117, 1041 strikeouts against 402 walks, a K/BB ratio of 2.59 (61st), a K/9 rate of 8.74 (10th), a H/9 of 8.20, and a 3.45 career FIP. He was a 3-time All-Star.

Tim Raines – For his career he hit .294/.385/.425 with an OPS+ of 123 and 170 homers, 430 homers, 113 triples, 808 stolen bases (5th), 980 RBI, 1571 runs (49th), 2605 hits (71st), 1330 walks (33rd) (against only 966 strikeouts), and a career .374 wOBA in 2502 games (50th) and 8872 at-bats (70th). Raines was also a well above average defensive outfielder for his career.

Jim Rice – For his career he hit .298/.352/.502 (89th in SLG) with an OPS+ of 128 and 382 homers (55th), 373 doubles, 79 triples, 1451 RBI (56th), 1249 runs, 2452 hits (100th), 670 walks, and a career .375 wOBA in 2089 games and 8225 at-bats. He has won an MVP award (finished in the top 5 four other times) and is an 8-time All-Star. Rice was a slightly below average fielder for his career and he grounded into 315 doubles plays (6th).

Lee Smith – He was 71-92 with 478 saves (3rd) over 1289.3 innigs in 1022 games (9th) with an ERA of 3.03, ERA+ of 131 (33rd), 1251 strikeouts against 486 walks, a K/BB ratio of 2.57 (65th), a K/9 rate of 8.73 (12th), a H/9 of 7.91 (90th), and a 2.92 career FIP. He was a 7-time All-Star and a 3-time Rolaid Relief Award winner.

Alan Trammell – For his career he hit .285/.352/.415 with an OPS+ of 110 and 185 homers, 412 doubles, 236 stolen bases, 1003 RBI, 1231 runs, 2365 hits, 850 walks (against only 874 strikeouts), with a .343 career wOBA in 2293 games and 8288 at-bats. Trammell finished in the top 9 three times in MVP voting and was a 6-time All-Star. He should’ve won the 1987 MVP and he was a plus defender for his career.

Greg Vaughn – For his career he hit .242/.337/.470 with an OPS+ of 112 and 355 homers (73rd), 284 doubles, 121 stolen bases, 1072 RBI, 1017 runs, 1475 hits, 865 walks, and a career .350 wOBA in 1731 games and 6103 at-bats. He finished 4th in MVP voting twice and was a 4-time All-Star. He was never an asset with the glove.

Mo Vaugh – For his career he hit .293/.383/.523 with an OPS+ of 132 and 328 homers (91st), 270 doubles, 1064 RBI, 861 runs, 1620 hits, 725 walks, and a career .386 wOBA in 1512 games and 5532 at-bats. He won an MVP and was a 3-time All-star. He was never an asset with the glove and his career was shortened by injuries.

Matt Williams – For his career he hit .268/.317/.489 with an OPS+ of 112 and 378 homers (61st), 338 doubles, 1218 RBI, 997 runs, 469 walks, and a career .344 wOBA in 1866 games over 7000 at-bats. He is a 5-time All-Star and has finished in the top 6 in MVP voting 4 times. He was always an above average defender at third with many reasons of Gold Golve caliber defense.

Those are your 2009 HOF candidates, the lowest total on a ballot ever.

Who would you vote for if you had a vote? Who would you leave off your ballot?

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 4, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    My ballot in order is: Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell.

    I am torn on Blyleven and he could make my ballot. Baines has good numbers but not position and no real dominant seasons. Dawson’s OBP really takes him off my ballot. His numebrs are pretty close otherwise. Jim Rice really isn’t very close. Tommy John is another one I consider due to his surgery.

  • 2. Jay Evans  |  December 4, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Bert Blyleven, and Dale Murphy. I’d love to see Jay Bell get in, as he’s one of my favorite players of all time, but will never get in.

    I considered: Tommy John, Andre Dawson, Alan Trammell, and Lee Smith.

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    What’s up Jay!? Long time no talk. I’m glad to see you’re not scared by steriods like a lot of people are. McGwire needs to be in. Really, Dale Murphy? I’m surprised you picked him. Bell definitely won’t get in. Most of his offensive stats were from 1999 when everyone hit. I think Rafael Belliard could’ve hit double digit homers that season.

  • 4. Danno  |  December 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    My order: Dawson, Rice, Henderson. Almost in are McGwire, Murphy, Blyleven, Morris and Trammell. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if any or all were voted in.

  • 5. RC3  |  December 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Jack Morris and Rickey Henderson for sure.

    Maybe Jim Rice

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Danno – Really? Dawson then Rice over Rickey Henderson? Please explain.

    RC3 – Jack Morris but not Blyleven? Why Jack Morris?

  • 7. Charlie Nehl  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:27 am

    I would probably vote as follows.

    Henderson — (assuming he doesn’t sign something this spring haha). Stealing that many bases, and his longtivity pretty much secure it for him. I don’t think he’ll have the uber high percentage that Ripkin had or anything. Comfortable but not 100% shoe in.

    Dawson — I’ve spoken my thoughts about the Hawk many times. He deserves it. Had he not played those years on the concreate in olympic stadium in montreal, would have been able to play those few extra seasons to give those last few stats he needed to be a shoe in. His knees just gave out on him. I think the ones stat though is the 400 hrs, 1500 rbis, and 300 SBs, i think. The only other two people to do that. Barry Bonds, and Willie Mays. He’s a true class act. A real good ambassador for the game, and a childhood hero of mine.

    Jim Rice — With the weaker ballot I can see him squeaking in.

    Other Notes.

    Mark McGwire — I think it will take a few more seasons for people to get over the steroid thing, including myself.

    Lee Smith — Should have been voted in years ago, but with Hoffman and Riveria passing him, pretty much seals the deal for him to never make it. He was so dominating in the 80’s. He was truly a guy that when he came in, you can turn the tv off. He was taht good in my opinion. I always thought of him as a reliever Bob Gibson as far as intimidation goes (in the 80’s) and just being a big presence on the mound.

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I agree about Lee Smith. He has been passed and there is no way he gets in. I do like his peripherals but, for me, it would take a lot to make my ballot if you’re a reliever. I’ve already said my piece on what I think about saves (most overrated stat ever).

    I can totally see Jim Rice getting in but that would be awful! He does not belong. The HOF has become “The Hall of Very Good”. There are a number of guys I would take out that are already in and Rice would be one if he gets in.

    I really don’t have much beef against Dawson except that his OBP is .323 and his OPS+ is only 119. Not even close for HOF outfielders. But I do like his running totals.

  • 9. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Why no love for Raines or Blyleven people?

    Raines has been on base 3977 (good for 41st most of all-time) which is more times than Tony Gwynn. If Raines had 3000 hits would he be a lock? Probably. So why should we negate his stats becuase he decided to draw walks (33rd most all-time)? Plus he stole over 800 bases and his OBP is higher than the average HOFer. If he doesn’t get in he will be the only player with 1500 or more runs scored not in the HOF.

    Since 1900, Bert Blyleven ranks 5th in career strikeouts, 8th in shutouts, and 17th in wins.

  • 10. Charlie Nehl  |  December 5, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I forgot to comment on Blyeven. This shutouts, and complete games is a pretty daunting stat (If you don’t include the olden’ day guys where it was expected. Much like that 500 hr for hitters, 300 wins is almost a prequiste and he falls just short.

    Unlike Catfish Hunter, and Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith was starting in the era where 1 inning saves were becoming more of the norm, thus a knock on him. But you’ll see The Hoff and Riveria first time balloters.

  • 11. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Catfish Hunter and Bruce Sutter are two guys I would take out of the Hall of Fame. Good job watering down the HOF voters!

  • 12. Jay Evans  |  December 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I would vote Smith until his record was broken. And Hunter is a sure-fire HOF, Sutter not so much. Raines just isn’t a HOFer to me.

    and McGwire gets in because of how great his offensive stats were. Steroids or no-steroids, he was a great ballplayer.

  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Hunter has a career ERA+ of 104, that’s basically league average for his career. No way that belongs in the Hall.

    I do agree 100% on McGwire. Steroids don’t help your ability to actually hit and square a ball up.

  • 14. Erik  |  December 5, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    If I had votes I would vote this way… mind you no particular order:

    Henderson- NO Doubt 1st ballot hofer the man was the best leadoff stolen base threat in the game.

    Blyleven- Sure he didn’t amass 300 wins but during his playing days he was one of the most dominate pitchers of his era.

    Morris- Same with Morris he was dominate lead a few teams to the WS victories. He was a stud pitcher and found a way to win.

    Murphy- He was a 2 time MVP for a hapless Atlanta Braves team. He was consistant and a 5 tool player when they weren’t many.

    Raines- Great leadoff hitter played well for the whitesox, expos and Yankees.

    Rice- sure he isn’t mr. personality but his numbers were great during a dead ball era and he was an underrated LFer playing in Fenway (not an easy task).

    Dawson- He had some late surges and won the MVP for the last place cubs. He had a canon for an arm and his numbers were solid.

    Baines- He was Mr. Whitesox for a long time (I feel if he gets in it paves the way for Edgar Martinez) who was a pure hitter like Baines was.

    I think John will be a Veteran’s committee entry as will Matt Williams, both were nice players but I don’t look at them as First, second or third ballot hofers.

    McGwire is a tough sell because of the steroid implications however I feel he is a HOFer. He, Palmerio, Bonds and Clemens will be tough when the Hall votes on them. Is steroids as bad as gambling? Personally I think they should let them all in but never allow them to come back and they don’t get a vote for the veteran’s committee, they can use their HOF credentials to sign baseballs and attend shows but that should be it.

  • 15. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Jack Morris had a career ERA+ of 105, meaning he was nearly league average for his career. Not sure I would call that dominant.

    Murphy had too short of a prime and his numbers fell short for me.

    Dawson’s .323 OBP is not even close to Hall worthy.

    I also think John will get in by the Veteran’s committee, which has allowed some awful players in but I wouldn’t be upset if Tommy John got in via Veteran’s committe.

  • 16. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Also, for Jim Rice, if we’re going to discredit Colorado players in the future for their Home/Road splits then Rice should be discredited too. He was a below average player outside of Fenway (.277/.330/.459 with 166 doubles, 35 triples, 174 homers in 4150 at-bats) opposed to at Fenway (.320/.374/.546 with 207 doubles, 44 triples, 208 homers in 4075 at-bats)

  • 17. Danno  |  December 6, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Jonathan….I remember watching both Dawson and Rice, and they were as intimidating as they were great offensive players during their generation. Dawson was also an exceptional outfielder (8 gold gloves) in his prime. I’m not sure any player was feared as Dawson in his era. (little known fact: Dawson was in the top five for extra base hits six differnet years). He even had over 300SB. I’m not saying Henderson doesn’t deserve to get in, but he disrespected the game in my opinion. Henderson was always a me-first, team-second kind of guy. I guess the HOF is all about individual achievement, but being a team player should hold some merit. Would I vote for Henderson…probably so, but I’d go with Dawson, then Rice before Henderson.

  • 18. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 6, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Again, I just don’t see how Rice gets in with his lack of running totals, his poor defense, and his ridiculous home/road split.

    Dawson is a guy I’m torn on myslef but his low OBP and, I’m sorry, the argument for intimidating or feared hitter is not even in consideration for me.

    Also, why no love for Trammell at all? The guy was a master with the glove and he was an incredible offensive SS when there weren’t any outside of Ripken Jr.

  • 19. Danno  |  December 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    The home/road split could apply to many lefthanded hitting Yankees who made the HOF because they played in a park where a pop shot to RF went out for a HR.

    The low OBP means little to me, but you know I’m a intangibles guy, and many here are strictly numbers guys. As for Dawson being feared….he was because he could flat out hit….but also made those around him better by his presence in the lineup.

    As for Trammell, I understand the argument for him, and he was one of the best in his era, but I think the talent of todays shortstops may have changed voters thinking. Only 3 of 19 seasons did he have over 75 RBI. If you’re talking stats, that doesn’t do it for me. Actually, I think his under-rated teammate Lou Whitaker has a better case for the HOF, but he’s ignored entirely.

  • 20. Erik  |  December 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Trammell was a nice player as was his partner Lou Whitaker, but the problem Trammel had is he played for a lot of horrible Tiger teams didn’t show consistancy yes, he had some nice years but none of which really blew me away thinking he’s a HOFer. Trammell though as all middle infielders that get consideration are lumped against not only SS but 2b as well by the voters committee. He is similar to Barry Larkin but his stats will be measured against that of Cal Ripken Jr. and a guy named Ryne Sandberg.

    Morris I believe was dominate during his era despite his era. 5 time allstar, had 11yrs of 15 or more wins, career whip of 1.296 and 3.90 career Era. Had a win pct of .577

    Tommy John on the other hand, 4 time allstar, 5 yrs of 15 or more wins, career whip of 1.283 over 26 yrs, 3.34 era and .555 win pct. But he is more famous for his surgery than his pitching dominance.

  • 21. Sweet Daddy  |  December 8, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Rickey Henderson, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Mark McGwire, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Tommy John are the Ten I would write on my ballot. I recall a writer may write in ten total. That would be the order I would rank them in. I believe the Hall of Fame is about contribution to the game of baseball in one’s lifetime. The numbers do not always tell the story. That is why there is a Hall of Fame; so one may visit the hall and be told the stories.

  • 22. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 9, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I really love your last sentence (honestly, I swear that is not meant as sarcasm). That is so true. I want to take my kids there one day and tell them about the great players of all-time.

    But, I will have to pass by a few plaques and then explain why I did. Those who are borderline should be left for told stories not plaques.


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