Being a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America is pretty cool. It’s opened me up to finding out about scores of great writers and bloggers who all cover the game from different angles. As someone who is a baseball nerd, I love reading as much about the game as I can.
But the best part of membership is being able to cast votes for year-end awards and Hall of Fame.
It’s something I take seriously because these awards and achievements always mattered to me as a fan and to be involved in a process to recognize the players in the greatest game on Earth is an honor, no matter how small my role in it is.
I received my ballot for the IBWAA Hall of Fame last week and already had a good idea of who I’d be voting for, but still took a couple of days to go over everything once more just to be sure. I know this doesn’t change the world, but like I said, I do take this seriously because I know very well that 11 year-old me wouldn’t accept anything less.
With that being said, let’s go over my choices. First off, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines weren’t on the IBWAA ballot because all three have been elected in previous years.
Now to those actually on the ballot.
Players I Voted For Last Year Who Remained on My Ballot:
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Trevor Hoffman
- Jeff Kent
- Billy Wagner
- Larry Walker
Players Appearing For the First Time Who I Voted For:
- Vladimir Guerrero
- Manny Ramirez
- Ivan Rodriguez
Players I Dropped From My Ballot:
- Curt Schilling
Not Receiving A Vote:
- Casey Blake
- Pat Burrell
- Orlando Cabrera
- Mike Cameron
- JD Drew
- Carlos Guillen
- Derrick Lee
- Fred McGriff
- Melvin Mora
- Mike Mussina
- Magglio Ordonez
- Jorge Posada
- Edgar Renteria
- Arthur Rhodes
- Freddie Sanchez
- Gary Sheffield
- Lee Smith
- Sammy Sosa
- Matt Stairs
- Jason Varitek
- Tim Wakefield
All told, I voted for nine players this year. We are allowed to vote for up to 15, but, obviously, I didn’t feel the need for that this year.
On The Issue of Voting For the “PED Guys”:
At first, I was completely against those who had ties to PEDs. As time went on, I saw players with nothing but the suspicion because of how they looked being punished because of the cloud over the era. That caused me to change my tune. Also, this isn’t life or death and the Hall of Fame isn’t exactly filled with choirboys. So, if it’s all or nothing, I’d rather go for “all”.
Manny Ramirez is a different case, I get it. He was actually caught and suspended twice. But it is impossible for me to know just how much of his career was played while taking PEDs, so I feel like I have to include him under the same criteria as the others.
I voted for Schilling last year with my final pick. At no point did I ever feel like he was a no-doubter, but I felt like his extraordinary postseason performances were enough to sway me over to a “Yes” since his regular season numbers don’t exactly jump out at you. So what changed this year? This is where I confess to being a hypocrite. Whereas I felt it’s not my place to be the judge on the PED guys, Schilling’s social media performance over the past year has completely worn on me and I just want him to go away. He’s a stretch vote to begin with and this year I just decided his whole act negated what was able to sway me last year.
Jeff Kent is arguably the greatest offensive second-baseman ever. To me, what really hurts him is not being easily identified with a single team since he bounced around quite a bit over the course of his career. I wasn’t necessarily the biggest Jeff Kent fan, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers he put up at the position.
When it comes to Larry Walker, you vote based on what you think of the Coors Field effect. Personally, I’m not going to punish someone for where he played and the man was a damn good hitter as well as an elite defensive outfielder.
Vladimir Guerrero was simply a joy to watch. A player who had as much raw talent as anybody I’ve ever seen and was able to turn it into a great career.
On Players Left Off:
The one player I kept going back and forth on was Jorge Posada. Incredibly solid at a difficult position, but I’m still inclined to lean toward “Hall of Very Good” on him. I don’t know if my feeling on that will change going forward, but if I did “snub” somebody, I think he would probably qualify as the most notable.
Other than that, I feel like there was quite a bit of filler on this year’s ballot. Not to take away anything from these men and their careers, but pretty obviously, a lot of these guys just aren’t close to being Hall of Famers. Even then, I still voted for nine players and am happy with the ballot I submitted. Obviously, not everybody will agree and I’m OK with that.
IBWAA voting is still open until the end of the year.
Feel feel to let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading.