One Man's Theoretical Hall of Fame Ballot
Roberto Alomar Making his ballot debut, Alomar started his career with the Padres, but was traded to Toronto in 1991, and for the next decade was among the best players in the game, much less second basemen. Alomar combined both prowess at the plate with highlight reel level defense for the Jays, Orioles, and Indians. All three of his teams at his peak were playoff teams with him around, including the ’92 and ’93 World Champion Blue Jays. After 2001, he was traded to the Mets and all of a sudden he wasn’t the same player, but Alomar recognized it and retired in 2004 at the age of 36. Despite the fall-off, he finished with over 2,700 hits and a .300/.371/.443 career line, both excellent for a second basemen. His big negative is the spitting incident, which while unfortunate, doesn’t have much of anything to do with his play. Alomar should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and of those new on the ballot, has the best chance to be elected.
Bert Blyleven I’ve spoken on Blyleven before on this website, and the argument hasn’t changed. Blyleven ranks 5th all-time in strikeouts, 9th in shutouts, and despite a reputation of not being a “winning pitcher,” 27th in wins. His career ERA is 3.18 for a very good 118 ERA+ despite a 22 year career. This ERA is better than Lefty Gomez, Ferguson Jerkins, Phil Niekro, and Robin Roberts. Pitching for a lot of mediocre teams hurt his overall record (287-250), but when he got a chance in the playoff, he shined, going 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Again, that’s despite a strange rep that he was “unclutch.” The numbers say otherwise, and momentum has been building for his induction. He received 62.7% of the vote last year, and with this being his 13th year on the ballot, the race is on to see if he makes it.
Barry Larkin Larkin isn’t getting that much pub, despite a 19 year career, all with the Reds. The problem is in the 80s, he was overshadowed by Ozzie Smith, and then in the 90s by Cal Ripken and the offensive explosion from shortstops. This ignores the fact that Larkin could really hit. For his career, Larkin hit .295, with an even more impressive .371 OBP, especially for a shortstop. His MVP season in 1995 was brilliant (.319/.393/.492), and his next season was even better (.317/.410/.567). His defense was also considered excellent, although thanks to Ozzie, Larkin didn’t rake in the Gold Gloves. Durability is also considered a knock, but he still played in over 2100 games. It doesn’t look like Larkin will come close to election on his first ballot, but the numbers say otherwise.
Edgar Martinez Edgar has some significant negatives that I understand would make people not want to vote for him. Primarily, the fact he spent most of his career (1412 games) as a DH. Obviously, Edgar provided little to no defensive value for his career (although I hear when he did play third base he wasn’t bad). His other issue is thanks to the Mariners’ incompetence; his career didn’t really get going until age 27, which really hurts his career numbers. That said, Edgar could really hit. He finished his career with a 147 OPS+ (top 50 all-time), and finished with over 1.000 OPS five separate season (with one .993 thrown in there). I understand why some would say no on Edgar, and I’m probably a bit biased toward him, but there aren’t many pure hitters around like him.