The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

It's that time again! Here is the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. The results will be announced on January 9, 2013. A voter may select up to ten players, and a player must be named on at least 75% of the ballots to be elected. Mine is a fan ballot only, just like always.

This is the ballot the baseball world has been talking about for years. Not only does this year begin an incredible flood of talent, but it also represents the acid test for the steroid issue. Thus far every juicer who has hit the ballot has had some other reason not to be elected, rather than merely "he cheated so I'm not going to vote for him." Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro are commonly perceived as players who would not have been particularly strong candidates without steroids. Kevin Brown was, more than anything, hurt by the story of the terrible contract. Jeff Bagwell - who has not exactly been ignored - was the sort of player who was great overall, but who did not have one "juicy" aspect of his career to wow the voters; such players have always had a harder time being elected. And Juan González, despite his reputation, simply was not a Hall-caliber player. But now we have the poster children for the Steroid Era, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two all-time greats who may be straight-out penalized for their PED use. Anybody who says he knows what will happen is either a liar or a fool.

For definitions or detailed explanations of these statistics, please visit Baseball- Reference.com.


Congratulations to third baseman Deacon White, executive Jacob Ruppert, and umpire Hank O'Day, who were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee! No player was elected by the BBWAA this year.



Sandy Alomar
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 20 seasons, 1,377 games, 4,865 plate appearances
WAR: 11.6 (11.8 offensive, -0.2 defensive)
-3.2 WAA
Peak (1993-1997): .291/.330/.467, 216 runs, 62 HR, 243 RBIs, 104 OPS+, 8.2 WAR
Best year (1997): .324/.354/.545, 63 runs, 37 doubles, 21 HR, 83 RBIs, 128 OPS+, 3.6 WAR
The good: 9.1 AB/SO
+0.7 Rtot/yr at catcher
6 All-Star Games
1 Gold Glove
Rookie of the Year
1 All-Star MVP
The bad: 86 OPS+
.406 slugging percentage
22.9 PA/BB
4.54 catcher's ERA (league average 4.30)
Caught 30% of base stealers (league average 31%)
.214/.247/.364 in 49 postseason games
Only even played 90 games in a season five times in his career
The ugly: .309 on-base percentage
Overrated/Underrated: It's hard to imagine how this guy could have made six All-Star teams. Definitely overrated.
Verdict: No.

Jeff Bagwell
Voting history: 3rd ballot, 56.0% in 2012
Career Length: 15 seasons, 2,150 games, 9,431 plate appearances
WAR: 76.7 (71.6 offensive, 5.1 defensive)
52.0 WAA
Peak (1994-1998): .310/.430/.588, 536 runs, 168 HR, 569 RBIs, 98 SB, 171 OPS+, 33.5 WAR
Best year (1994): .368/.451/.750*, 104 runs*, 32 doubles, 39 HR, 116 RBIs*, 15 SB, 213 OPS+*, 7.9 WAR (strike-shortened season)
The good: 149 OPS+
.297 batting average
.408 on-base percentage
.540 slugging percentage
488 doubles
449 home runs
202 stolen bases
1,517 runs
1,529 RBIs
1,401 bases on balls
Two 30-30 seasons
+2.0 Rtot/yr at first base
1 Player of the Year award
1 MVP
2 top-three MVP finishes
3 Silver Sluggers
1 Gold Glove
4 All-Star Games
Rookie of the Year
6 consecutive seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 runs scored
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: 5.0 AB/SO
.226/.364/.321 in 33 postseason games
Vague steroid allegations
Notes: He has the highest career WAR of any eligible player not in the Hall of Fame.
Overrated/Underrated: He might have been just a touch overrated during his career - or maybe not, since he only made 4 All-Star teams. In any event, thanks to the steroid allegations he is definitely underrated now. He deserved at least 60% of the HOF vote on the first ballot, not a measly 42%.
Verdict: Bagwell is probably the best NL first baseman to play after Cap Anson and before Albert Pujols. Even assuming he did juice, this is the sort of player who steroids can enhance, but could never create. Absolutely he belongs in the Hall.

Craig Biggio
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 20 seasons, 2,850 games (16th all-time), 12,503 plate appearances (10th all-time)
WAR: 62.1 (72.5 offensive, -10.4 defensive)
29.1 WAA
Peak (1994-1998): .308/.404/.477, 593 runs, 85 HR, 194 SB, 136 OPS+, 31.5 WAR
Best year (1997): .309/.415/.501, 146 runs*, 37 doubles, 22 HR, 81 RBIs, 47 SB, 143 OPS+, 9.3 WAR
The good: 112 OPS+
3,060 hits
668 doubles (5th all-time)
414 stolen bases, with a 77.0% success rate
1,844 runs (15th all-time)
Hit by pitch 285 times (2nd all-time, modern-era record)
3.69 catcher's ERA (league average 4.30)
5 Silver Sluggers
4 Gold Gloves
7 All-Star Games
Only player to play a full 162-game season without grounding into a double play
Long career
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: -2.4 Rtot/yr at second base
-8.9 Rtot/yr at catcher
Caught 23% of base stealers (league average 31%)
.234/.295/.323 in 40 postseason games
Never finished in the top 3 in MVP voting
Notes: Every eligible player with more runs or with more doubles is in the Hall.
In his three full seasons as a catcher, he led the league in stolen bases allowed three times.
Overrated/Underrated: I'd have to say Biggio was overrated. He was always good, but seldom great, compiling big numbers mainly through longevity.
Verdict: While Biggio certainly had a high peak, he really didn't maintain a high level of play for most of his career. He was a good-but-not-great baserunner, his hitting (.281/.363/.433) was "whelming," and Gold Gloves notwithstanding, he really wasn't a notable force in the field. He's good enough to deserve a vote, but I'm not at all convinced that he really belongs in the Hall.

Barry Bonds
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 22 seasons, 2,986 games (10th all-time), 12,606 plate appearances (9th all-time)
WAR: 158.1 (3rd all-time) (138.7 offensive (3rd all-time), 19.4 defensive)
123.9 WAA
Pre-steroid peak (1992-1996): .312/.448/.628, 558 runs, 192 HR, 540 RBIs, 168 SB, 190 OPS+, 41.3 WAR
Pre-steroid best year (1992): .311/.456*/.624*, 109 runs*, 36 doubles, 34 HR, 103 RBIs, 39 SB, 205 OPS+*, 8.9 WAR
Steroid peak (2000-2004): .339/.535/.781, 615 runs, 258 HR, 544 RBIs, 241 OPS+, 50.0 WAR
Steroid best year (2001): .328/.515*/.863*, 129 runs, 32 doubles, 73 HR*, 137 RBIs, 259 OPS+*, 11.6 WAR*
The good: 182 OPS+ (3rd all-time)
.298 batting average
.444 on-base percentage (6th all-time)
.607 slugging percentage (6th all-time)
2,935 hits
601 doubles (14th all-time)
77 triples
762 home runs (MLB record)
12.9 AB/HR (3rd all-time)
5,976 total bases (4th all-time)
514 stolen bases, with a 78.5% success rate
2,227 runs (3rd all-time)
1,996 RBIs (4th all-time)
2,558 bases on balls (MLB record)
688 intentional walks (MLB record)
Only 500-500 (or 400-400) player in MLB history
Five total 30-30 seasons (tied for MLB record), including one 40-40 season
One of only two players to have both a 50-HR season and a 50-SB season
Single-season records include home runs (73, 2001), bases on balls (232, 2004), on-base percentage (.609, 2004), slugging percentage (.863, 2001), and OPS+ (268, 2002), among others
13 consecutive seasons with at least 30 HR (MLB record)
Reached base in 15 consecutive plate appearances (tied for MLB record)
+9.4 Rtot/yr at left field
Long career
7 MVPs (MLB record; nobody else has more than 3)
2 top-three MVP finishes
3 Player of the Year Awards
8 Gold Gloves
12 Silver Sluggers
14 All-Star Games
13 Player of the Month Awards (MLB record)
The bad: Steroid allegations
Notes: Even before using steroids, Bonds was already one of the game's true all-time greats.
Bonds basically had two distinct HOF-level careers, as reflected by the dual peaks listed above. In his "clean" career (1986-1999), he was a classic five-tool player who was frequently compared first to his father, then later to Willie Mays, and who managed an incredible 100.5 WAR. Then in his "juiced" career (2000-2007), his fielding and baserunning cooled off, but he became possibly the greatest hitter of all time (221 OPS+) and managed 57.6 WAR.
In 2004, Bonds literally had more times on base (376) than he did official at-bats (373), the only time that has ever occurred for a full MLB season.
He would likely have reached both the 3,000-hit and 2,000-RBI plateaus had any team signed him in 2008. I know I'm not the only person who believes there was some collusion going on.
He ranks 1st all-time in home runs, 33rd in stolen bases, and 6th in on-base percentage. No other player in MLB history even ranks in the top 125 in all three categories.
How does Bonds' career compare with those of other (known or alleged) steroid users? He has more WAR than Álex Rodríguez and Miguel Tejada - combined. More than Jeff Bagwell and Curt Schilling combined. More than Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, and Juan González combined. More than Sammy Sosa, Iván Rodríguez, and José Canseco combined. More than Manny Ramírez, Gary Sheffield, and Ken Caminiti combined. More than Mark McGwire, Kevin Brown, and Magglio Ordóñez combined. More than Jason Giambi, Lenny Dykstra, Mo Vaughn, and Matt Williams combined. Tell me again how anybody can be that good if they take steroids?
Overrated/Underrated: The 688 pitchers who wet their pants when they saw him coming definitely overrated him. Other than that, he's actually underrated, as so many people think of him as nothing but a chemical creation, and refuse to recognize his real ability.
Verdict: Even after accounting for steroids, Bonds is one of the absolute greatest players in history. With steroids, he's quite possibly number one. A Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds is not a Hall of Fame. Hell yes!

Jeff Cirillo
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 14 seasons, 1,617 games, 6,136 plate appearances
WAR: 32.0 (23.6 offensive, 8.4 defensive)
14.9 WAA
Peak (1996-2000): .317/.391/.462, 481 runs, 65 HR, 436 RBIs, 114 OPS+, 22.6 WAR
Best year (1998): .321/.402/.445, 97 runs, 31 doubles, 14 HR, 68 RBIs, 123 OPS+, 5.7 WAR
The good: .296 batting average
7.78 AB/SO
+9.7 Rtot/yr at third base
2 All-Star Games
The bad: 102 OPS+
.430 slugging percentage
Relatively brief career
Overrated/Underrated: Third basemen tend to be overlooked in general, as do strong fielders who don't win Gold Gloves. Underrated.
Verdict: Very strong defensively, but too limited offensively. No.

Royce Clayton
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 17 seasons, 2,108 games, 8,164 plate appearances
WAR: 16.4 (11.5 offensive, 4.9 defensive)
-6.1 WAA
Peak (1995-1999): .265/.318/.383, 353 runs, 43 HR, 259 RBIs, 119 SB, 83 OPS+, 11.2 WAR
Best year (1999): .288/.346/.445, 69 runs, 21 doubles, 14 HR, 52 RBIs, 98 OPS+, 3.3 WAR
The good: 231 stolen bases
+4.5 Rtot/yr at shortstop
1 All-Star Game
The bad: .258 batting average
.312 on-base percentage
.367 slugging percentage
5.2 AB/SO
14.4 PA/BB
.244/.306/.244 in 13 postseason games
The ugly: 78 OPS+
Overrated/Underrated: I think his good steal totals overshadowed his weak success rate (69.8%). Slightly overrated.
Verdict: No.

Roger Clemens
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 24 seasons, 709 games, 4,916.2 innings (16th all-time)
WAR: 133.9 (8th all-time) (133.1 pitching (3rd all-time), 0.8 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
94.8 WAA
Peak (1988-1992): 92-50, 2.62 ERA, 1,179 SO, 160 ERA+, 1.094 WHIP, 3.51 SO/BB, 38.5 pWAR
Best year (1997): 21*-7, 2.05 ERA*, 292 SO*, 222 ERA+*, 1.030 WHIP*, 4.29 SO/BB, 11.6 pWAR*
The good: 143 ERA+ (10th all-time, 7th among starters)
3.12 ERA
1.173 WHIP
2.96 SO/BB
8.55 SO/9 (19th all-time)
7.66 H/9
0.66 HR/9
354 wins (9th all-time, 3rd post-deadball)
.658 winning percentage (19th all-time)
4,672 strikeouts (3rd all-time)
Struck out 20 batters in a 9-inning game (tied for MLB record, achieved twice)
Long career
5 Pitcher of the Year Awards
7 Cy Young Awards (MLB record)
3 top-three Cy Young finishes
1 Player of the Year Award
1 MVP
1 top-three MVP finish
11 All-Star Games
1 All-Star MVP
Won Cy Young Awards with four different teams
The bad: Steroid allegations
Annual Brett-Favre-style near-retirements
Missed game in Springfield due to poultry-identification issues
The ugly: Throwing a piece of a broken bat at Mike Piazza
Notes: Clemens is the "Kevin Bacon" of the 2013 ballot, with specific connections to five of the strongest new candidates. He allowed the first-ever MLB home run to Sammy Sosa. In 1999, he was traded for David Wells. Game 7 of the 2001 World Series was a classic pitcher's duel between Clemens and Curt Schilling. He had a noted rivalry with Mike Piazza which included the infamous bat-throwing incident. And as all-time greats who used steroids and who hit the ballot at the same time, his name will always be linked with Barry Bonds.
Overrated/Underrated: He may be a tiny bit underrated due to the PED issues, but I don't think that's nearly as big a factor for him as it is for Bonds.
Verdict: As with Bonds, Clemens was a clear HOFer before he ever started juicing. With steroids, he was one of the absolute greatest. Absolutely he deserves to be elected.

Jeff Conine
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 17 seasons, 2,024 games, 7,782 plate appearances
WAR: 16.2 (16.4 offensive, -0.2 defensive)
-5.8 WAA
Peak (1993-1997): .291/.360/.467, 337 runs, 98 HR, 422 RBIs, 117 OPS+, 9.9 WAR
Best year (1995): .302/.379/.520, 72 runs, 26 doubles, 25 HR, 105 RBIs, 134 OPS+, 2.5 WAR (strike-shortened season)
The good: .285 batting average
+3.1 Rtot/yr at first base
+3.1 Rtot/yr at left field
2 All-Star Games
1 All-Star MVP
The bad: 107 OPS+
Overrated/Underrated: I think he may have been overrated as a hitter, but his fielding was not fully appreciated.
Verdict: No.

Steve Finley
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 19 seasons, 2,583 games, 10,460 plate appearances
WAR: 40.4 (40.7 offensive, -0.3 defensive)
12.3 WAA
Peak (1992-1996): .287/.344/.439, 447 runs, 64 HR, 48 3B, 64 HR, 271 RBIs, 134 SB, 113 OPS+, 17.2 WAR
Best year (1996): .298/.354/.531, 126 runs, 45 doubles, 30 HR, 95 RBIs, 22 SB, 135 OPS+, 5.5 WAR
The good: 124 triples
320 stolen bases
1,443 runs
300-300 club
7.2 AB/SO
5 Gold Gloves
2 All-Star Games
Oldest player ever to lead league in triples
The bad: 104 OPS+
.332 on-base percentage
12.4 PA/BB
-1.0 Rtot/yr at center field
Rarely among league leaders in major hitting categories
Overrated/Underrated: Overrated. His fielding was nowhere near good enough to merit five Gold Gloves, and his 300-300 status tends to overshadow his weak averages.
Verdict: Finley is basically a poor man's Kenny Lofton. No.

Julio Franco
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 23 seasons, 2,527 games, 9,731 plate appearances
WAR: 39.7 (44.8 offensive, -5.1 defensive)
12.3 WAA
Peak (1987-1991): .315/.385/.435, 458 runs, 57 HR, 345 RBIs, 145 SB, 127 OPS+, 23.0 WAR
Best year (1991): .341*/.408/.474, 108 runs, 27 doubles, 15 HR, 78 RBIs, 36 SB, 146 OPS+, 6.1 WAR
The good: 111 OPS+
.298 batting average
281 stolen bases
+4.8 Rtot/yr at first base
5 Silver Sluggers
3 All-Star Games
1 All-Star MVP
Oldest regular position player in MLB history
Oldest player to hit an MLB home run
The bad: .417 slugging percentage
-2.1 Rtot/yr at second base
-7.6 Rtot/yr at shortstop
.224/.267/.296 in 31 postseason games
Notes: Including his play in Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and the Dominican Republic, he managed a total of 3,611 hits at a top professional level.
Overrated/Underrated: Probably overrated, as his high batting average and good steal totals combined with his longevity to make him seem much greater than he really was.
Verdict: He was pretty good, but never great, not even when he was young. No.

Shawn Green
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 15 seasons, 1,951 games, 7,962 plate appearances
WAR: 31.4 (35.8 offensive, -4.4 defensive)
9.6 WAA
Peak (1998-2002): .288/.369/.545, 569 runs, 192 HR, 561 RBIs, 107 SB, 136 OPS+, 25.9 WAR
Best year (2001): .297/.372/.598, 121 runs, 31 doubles, 49 HR, 125 RBIs, 20 SB, 154 OPS+, 6.7 WAR
The good: 120 OPS+
.494 slugging percentage
One 30-30 season
19 total bases in one game (MLB record), including 4 home runs (tied for MLB record)
1 Silver Slugger
1 Gold Glove
2 All-Star Games
The bad: 5.4 AB/SO
-2.2 Rtot/yr at right field
Overrated/Underrated: He was a good hitter, but frequently viewed as a great one. Overrated.
Verdict: He was a pretty good power-speed guy, and he had the one fantastic game, but he just wasn't all that great in general. No.

Roberto Hernández
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 17 seasons, 1,010 games (13th all-time), 1,071.3 innings
WAR: 17.2 (17.2 pitching, 0.0 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
5.8 WAA
Peak (1996-2000): 24-24, 2.89 ERA, 352 SO, 164 ERA+, 1.315 WHIP, 2.03 SO/BB, 11.2 pWAR
Best year (1996): 6-5, 1.91 ERA, 85 SO, 249 ERA+, 1.217 WHIP, 2.24 SO/BB, 4.0 pWAR
The good: 131 ERA+ (132 as reliever)
3.45 ERA (3.42 as reliever)
2.05 SO/BB (2.06 as reliever)
7.94 SO/9 (7.98 as reliever)
326 saves (13th all-time)
2 All-Star Games
The bad: 1.367 WHIP
3.88 BB/9
Allowed 74% success rate stealing (league average 69%)
Spent his career pitching one inning
Overrated/Underrated: Like most closers with high save totals, he's a little overrated.
Verdict: A good closer, but not a great one. No.

Ryan Klesko
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 16 seasons, 1,736 games, 6,523 plate appearances
WAR: 24.6 (31.5 offensive, -6.9 defensive)
7.3 WAA
Peak (1998-2002): .288/.381/.521, 407 runs, 124 HR, 450 RBIs, 137 OPS+, 15.0 WAR
Best year (2001): .286/.384/.539, 105 runs, 34 doubles, 30 HR, 113 RBIs, 23 SB, 145 OPS+, 4.4 WAR
The good: 128 OPS+
.370 on-base percentage
.500 slugging percentage
1 All-Star Game
The bad: 5.2 AB/SO
-6.9 Rtot/yr at left field
-5.5 Rtot/yr at first base
Overrated/Underrated: Underrated. He was a good hitter, with (occasionally) good speed, yet only made one All-Star team.
Verdict: No.

Kenny Lofton
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 17 seasons, 2,103 games, 9,234 plate appearances
WAR: 64.9 (54.5 offensive, 10.4 defensive)
38.4 WAA
Peak (1992-1996): .316/.382/.437, 542 runs, 42 triples, 39 HR, 261 RBIs, 325 SB, 117 OPS+, 29.8 WAR
Best year (1994): .349/.412/.536, 105 runs, 32 doubles, 12 HR, 57 RBIs, 60 SB*, 144 OPS+, 7.1 WAR* (strike-shortened season)
The good: .299 batting average
.372 on-base percentage
116 triples
622 stolen bases (15th all-time), with a 79.5% success rate
1,528 runs
8.0 AB/SO
+8.2 Rtot/yr at center field
34 postseason stolen bases (MLB record)
4 Gold Gloves
6 All-Star Games
The bad: 107 OPS+
.423 slugging percentage
.247/.315/.352 in 95 postseason games
Notes: He would have been a stronger candidate had his best season (1994) not been cut short by the strike. Had the strike not occurred, his projected career numbers (assuming an additional 45 games in 1994 and 16 in 1995) would be: .300/.372/.426, 1,583 runs, 122 triples, 653 steals with a 79.6% success rate, 108 OPS+, 68.3 WAR.
Lofton has come through with many key postseason plays. He scored from second on a passed ball to help secure the 1995 ALCS; he hit the NLCS-winning single in 2002; and he drove in the go-ahead run in the 2003 NLDS.
Overrated/Underrated: Heavily underrated. Lofton's average-and-speed offense was overshadowed by the power explosion of the '90's, and his defense was never fully appreciated.
Verdict: He may not have exactly been Tim Raines, but he was a very good leadoff hitter, and backed it up by excellent defense. Although I am sure not very many voters will agree with me, I believe Lofton belongs in the Hall.

Edgar Martínez
Voting history: 4th ballot, 36.5% in 2012
Career Length: 18 seasons, 2,055 games, 8,672 plate appearances
WAR: 64.4 (62.9 offensive, 1.5 defensive)
38.6 WAA
Peak (1995-1999): .334/.455/.579, 518 runs, 136 HR, 512 RBIs, 165 OPS+, 28.7 WAR
Best year (1995): .356*/.479*/.628, 121 runs*, 52 doubles*, 29 HR, 113 RBIs, 185 OPS+*, 6.7 WAR (strike-shortened season)
The good: 147 OPS+
.312 batting average
.418 on-base percentage
.515 slugging percentage
514 doubles
+4.7 Rtot/yr at third base
7 RBIs in one postseason game (MLB record)
1 top-three MVP finish
5 Silver Sluggers
7 All-Star Games
"Outstanding Designated Hitter Award" now officially known as "Edgar Martínez Award"
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: Spent most of his career as a DH
Notes: His relatively low home run totals (only 309 for his career) overshadowed his overall excellent hitting ability, thus costing him HOF votes.
Many voters believe that designated hitters should not be in the Hall of Fame because they do not field and are thus not "complete" players. Yet this logic should also exclude AL pitchers, who do not bat and are thus equally incomplete. Similarly, relief pitchers never play more than a couple of innings in a game, and rarely come to the plate, yet five have been elected to the Hall. Furthermore, below-average defensive first basemen get into the Hall, so why should a player be penalized for playing a position that did not hurt his team the way that poor fielding would?
Overrated/Underrated: Underrated. Too many people think of him as "just a DH," rather than appreciating how good he really was in that role.
Verdict: One of the best hitters of his generation, and the standard by which designated hitters will be measured for some time to come. Yes.

Don Mattingly
Voting history: 13th ballot, 17.8% in 2012
Career Length: 14 seasons, 1,785 games, 7,721 plate appearances
WAR: 39.8 (36.9 offensive, 2.9 defensive)
17.7 WAA
Peak (1984-1988): .332/.376/.541, 502 runs, 137 HR, 571 RBIs, 150 OPS+, 28.0 WAR
Best year (1986): .352/.394/.573*, 117 runs, 53 doubles*, 31 HR, 113 RBIs, 161 OPS+*, 7.1 WAR
The good: 127 OPS+
.307 batting average
.471 slugging percentage
15.8 AB/SO
6 grand slams in one season (tied for MLB record)
Home runs in 8 consecutive games (tied for MLB record)
+2.8 Rtot/yr at first base
.417/.440/.708 in 5 postseason games
6 All-Star Games
1 Player of the Year award
1 MVP
1 top-three MVP finish
9 Gold Gloves
3 Silver Sluggers
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: Only 222 home runs for a left-handed first baseman who was known for his bat and who played his home games at Yankee Stadium
13.1 PA/BB
Long sideburns ticked off both Steinbrenner and Burns
The ugly: Yankees made it to the World Series in 1981, then again in 1996, with only one postseason appearance (an ALDS loss) in between. When did Mattingly play? 1982-1995. Ouch.
Notes: Mattingly's record 6 grand slams in 1987 were largely a fluke - they were the only grand slams of his career. Similarly, his home runs in 8 consecutive games (10 home runs total) were pretty much coincidental, considering his low career total.
Overrated/Underrated: A bit overrated. People remember him when he was at his best, but forget that he didn't stay there for long (hence his relatively low WAR total).
Verdict: For a four-year period, Mattingly was a clear HOF-level player. Unfortunately, he was not able to maintain that level for long (112 OPS+, 15.1 WAR from 1988-1995). That's just not enough for the Hall of Fame. No.

Fred McGriff
Voting history: 4th ballot, 23.9% in 2012
Career Length: 19 seasons, 2,460 games, 10,174 plate appearances
WAR: 48.2 (51.4 offensive, -3.2 defensive)
19.9 WAA
Peak (1988-1992): .283/.393/.531, 452 runs, 171 HR, 472 RBIs, 158 OPS+, 25.2 WAR
Best year (1989): .269/.399/.525, 98 runs, 27 doubles, 36 HR*, 92 RBIs, 166 OPS+*, 6.2 WAR
The good: 134 OPS+
.377 on-base percentage
.509 slugging percentage
493 home runs
1,550 RBIs
3 Silver Sluggers
5 All-Star Games
1 All-Star MVP
The bad: 4.7 AB/SO
-2.0 Rtot/yr at first base
Rarely led league in major batting categories
Never finished in top 3 in MVP voting
Overrated/Underrated: He was a little bit overrated during his career, but he seems to have been somewhat forgotten today.
Verdict: McGriff was a very good player, but he was seldom great, and his career numbers are just not all that notable for a first baseman. No.

Mark McGwire
Voting history: 7th ballot, 19.5% in 2012
Career Length: 16 seasons, 1,874 games, 7,660 plate appearances
WAR: 58.7 (62.0 offensive, -3.3 defensive)
37.2 WAA
Peak (1995-1999): .287/.438/.702, 513 runs, 284 HR, 620 RBIs, 191 OPS+, 28.5 WAR
Best year (1998): .299/.470*/.752*, 130 runs, 21 doubles, 70 HR*, 147 RBIs, 216 OPS+*, 7.2 WAR
The good: 163 OPS+ (13th all-time)
.394 on-base percentage
.588 slugging percentage (8th all-time)
583 home runs (10th all-time)
1,414 RBIs
10.6 AB/HR (MLB record)
Twice exceeded Roger Maris' home-run mark
49 home runs as a rookie (MLB rookie record)
1 top-three MVP finish
12 All-Star Games
3 Silver Sluggers
1 Gold Glove
Rookie of the Year
Along with Sammy Sosa, is often credited with "saving" baseball after the 1994 strike
The bad: .263 batting average
3.9 AB/SO
-2.0 Rtot/yr at first base
.217/.320/.349 in 42 postseason games
Known steroid user
The ugly: Even after admitting to using steroids, he still insisted that his 70 home runs came under his own power. The crocodile tears he shed during that interview were pretty ugly too.
Notes: Despite all his home runs, he never won the MVP, and only finished in the top three once.
McGwire was one of the worst baserunners in MLB history.
Overrated/Underrated: During his career, he was highly overrated, as people saw little more than the home runs. Now, I'd say he's a little bit underrated - he doesn't belong in the Hall, but he deserves more support than he's gotten.
Verdict: Although McGwire was a fantastic hitter, he really didn't do all that much other than to hit home runs. Even his impressive on-base percentage was partially due to his home-run totals, as pitchers tended to work around him. Given the impact that steroids - along with similar substances like androstenedione - had on his power numbers, and given that he did not even manage to maintain a long career, I just can't quite bring myself to give him the vote. I think I will always consider him the best player who I would not be willing to vote for.

José Mesa
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 19 seasons, 1,022 games (11th all-time), 1,548.7 innings
WAR: 9.6 (9.5 pitching, 0.1 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
-3.1 WAA
Peak (1994-1998): 24-23, 3.20 ERA, 104 saves, 317 SO, 147 ERA+, 1.329 WHIP, 2.31 SO/BB, 7.9 pWAR
Best year (1995): 3-0, 1.13 ERA, 46 saves*, 58 SO, 418 ERA+, 1.031 WHIP, 3.41 SO/BB, 3.8 pWAR (strike-shortened season)
The good: 321 saves (14th all-time)
Allowed 61% success rate stealing (league average 69%)
1 Rolaids Relief Award
1 top-three Cy Young finish
2 All-Star Games
The bad: 100 ERA+ (110 as reliever)
4.36 ERA (3.95 as reliever)
1.472 WHIP (1.449 as reliever)
1.59 SO/BB (1.80 as reliever)
9.47 H/9 (9.21 as reliever)
3.78 BB/9 (3.83 as reliever)
5.14 ERA, 1.629 WHIP in 27 postseason games
Notes: His career numbers would have been much better had he converted to the bullpen earlier than age 28.
Overrated/Underrated: The fact that he remained a closer as long as he did despite (mostly) unimpressive numbers indicates that he was highly overrated.
Verdict: Aside from one great season, he was never really a star. No.

Jack Morris
Voting history: 14th ballot, 66.7% in 2012
Career Length: 18 seasons, 549 games, 3,824.0 innings
WAR: 39.3 (39.3 pitching, 0.0 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
9.6 WAA
Peak (1983-1987): 94-54, 3.38 ERA, 1,002 SO, 120 ERA+, 1.209 WHIP, 2.20 SO/BB, 20.2 pWAR
Best year (1979): 17-7, 3.28 ERA, 113 SO, 133 ERA+, 1.204 WHIP, 1.92 SO/BB, 5.6 pWAR
The good: 254 wins
1 no-hitter
1 Pitcher of the Year Award
2 top-three Cy Young finishes
5 All-Star Games
1 World Series MVP
14 consecutive opening-day starts (MLB record)
The bad: 105 ERA+
3.90 ERA
1.296 WHIP
1.78 SO/BB
Led league in wild pitches 6 times, and is 13th all-time
Allowed 72% success rate stealing (league average 67%)
The ugly: ERA+, WHIP, SO/BB, WAR all worse than Dennis Martinez'
Notes: Despite Morris' reputation for being a clutch, "big-game pitcher," his postseason numbers (3.80 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 2.00 SO/BB) were not all that much better than his regular-season numbers.
The highest ERA for a Hall of Fame pitcher is Red Ruffing's 3.80, followed by Ted Lyons' 3.67.
There is a pervasive myth that Morris was the best pitcher of the 1980's, supported by his leading the major leagues in wins and being third in strikeouts. However, those numbers were primarily the result of his leading the majors in innings, rather than any notable ability on his part. (He also led the majors in hits allowed, home runs, runs scored, earned runs, and wild pitches, and was third in walks and losses.) His actual rates, of both good and bad elements, were much tamer; for example, he was 18th among starting pitchers in winning percentage and 26th in SO/9. Overall, he only ranked 13th in pitching WAR for the decade.
Even if wins and losses really were valid pitching statistics, it is still by no means certain that Morris would deserve the Hall. His 254 wins were more than 15% below the magic number of 300. (Imagine if your kid told you he had "aced" a test, but he had actually scored an 85. What would your reaction be?) As for winning percentage, the level which is generally held to indicate "dominance" is .600, significantly higher than Morris' .577. In fact, he would need 25 more wins - with no additional losses - to reach .600!
How unlikely was Morris' win total? Since 1900, no pitcher has ever won more games with fewer pWAR. During that same period, eighty-five starting pitchers (and a handful of relievers) have won fewer games with more pWAR. Some of the more notable examples include Sandy Koufax (165 wins, 50.3 pWAR), Roy Halladay (199 wins, 63.1 pWAR through 2012), and Pedro Martinez (219 wins, 82.6 pWAR).
Overrated/Underrated: Can there really be any doubt that he was severely overrated? People focus way too much on his win-loss record, and ignore the fact that those games were primarily won by his strong teams. His individual statistics, while certainly respectable, have never been great. And although his ten-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was highly impressive, it was only a single game, and does not even reflect his overall postseason performance, much less his overall career.
Verdict: I have tried to understand the case for Morris. I have really tried. But as far as I've been able to tell, that case has been built on: his pitching wins, which is a nigh-worthless statistic; claims that he was "clutch" or "the best pitcher of the '80's," which are not supported by the stats; his performance in a single game in the World Series; and vague ideas like his being a "game-changer" (what does that even mean?) He wasn't a bad pitcher by any means; at his best, he was a solid if unspectacular number-one starter, and overall he was the level of a respectable number-two starter. But he was simply never Hall of Fame level. No.

Dale Murphy
Voting history: 15th (final) ballot, 14.5% in 2012
Career Length: 18 seasons, 2,180 games, 9,040 plate appearances
WAR: 42.6 (44.9 offensive, -2.3 defensive)
16.3 WAA
Peak (1983-1987): .290/.383/.536, 547 runs, 182 HR, 520 RBIs, 82 SB, 146 OPS+, 26.5 WAR
Best year (1987): .295/.417/.580, 115 runs, 27 doubles, 44 HR, 105 RBIs, 16 SB, 157 OPS+, 7.4 WAR
The good: 121 OPS+
398 home runs
One 30-30 season
+5.2 Rtot/yr at right field
2 MVPs
5 Gold Gloves
4 Silver Sluggers
7 All-Star Games
The bad: .265 batting average
4.6 AB/SO
1,748 strikeouts versus only 986 walks
-5.3 Rtot/yr at center field
.273/.273/.273 in 3 postseason games
Notes: He was an excellent player up through age 31 (.279/.362/.500, 310 HR, 132 OPS+, 38.8 WAR). Then he turned 32, and the numbers thereafter were .234/.307/.396, 88 HR, 96 OPS+, and 3.8 WAR.
Overrated/Underrated: People readily remember the period when he was one of the most feared players in the league, but forget how brief that period was. Overrated.
Verdict: Had he managed to maintain his level of play from the mid-1980's, he would be a clear HOFer. But a Hall vote is based on a career, not just a few seasons. No.

Rafael Palmeiro
Voting history: 3rd ballot, 12.6% in 2012
Career Length: 20 seasons, 2,831 games (18th all-time), 12,046 plate appearances (15th all-time)
WAR: 66.1 (61.9 offensive, 4.2 defensive)
30.4 WAA
Peak (1991-1995): .302/.376/.529, 494 runs, 147 HR, 458 RBIs, 142 OPS+, 24.9 WAR
Best year (1993): .295/.371/.554, 124 runs*, 40 doubles, 37 HR, 105 RBIs, 22 SB, 150 OPS+, 6.5 WAR
The good: 132 OPS+
.288 batting average
.371 on-base percentage
.515 slugging percentage
3,020 hits
585 doubles (16th all-time)
569 home runs (12th all-time)
1,835 RBIs (16th all-time)
1,663 runs
1,192 extra-base hits (6th all-time)
119 sacrifice flies (8th all-time)
7.8 AB/SO
One of only four 3,000-hit, 500-HR players (along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray)
+3.3 Rtot/yr at first base
1 Player of the Year award
3 Gold Gloves
2 Silver Sluggers
4 All-Star Games
Long career
The bad: Rarely led league in any major hitting category
Never finished higher than 5th in MVP voting
.244/.308/.451 in 22 postseason games
Steroid allegations
The ugly: Willing to tell the world that he used Viagra, but not willing to tell Congress that he used steroids
Notes: Palmeiro is the only eligible member of the 3,000-hit club not in the Hall of Fame.
He holds the record for most career home runs by a player who never led the league in that category.
One of his Gold Gloves came in a year when he only played 28 games at first base, spending most of the year as a DH.
Overrated/Underrated: Judging by the 12% vote he received, he's rather underrated.
Verdict: Palmeiro is a difficult case. His home run totals are almost certainly largely the result of steroids, and his high career totals are largely due to simple longevity. Still, he was a very consistent hitter and a good fielder, and maintained high averages for an unusually long career. I would cautiously be willing to vote for him.
Willing, mind you. Able, not so much. Voters are restricted to ten players, and there are twelve I want on my ballot. Someone has to be cut, and Palmeiro is not quite at the level of my chosen ten.

Mike Piazza
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 16 seasons, 1,912 games, 7,745 plate appearances
WAR: 56.1 (63.2 offensive, -7.1 defensive)
35.9 WAA
Peak (1995-1999): .335/.401/.590, 461 runs, 180 HR, 557 RBIs, 161 OPS+, 29.5 WAR
Best year (1997): .362/.431/.638, 104 runs, 32 doubles, 40 HR, 124 RBIs, 185 OPS+*, 8.5 WAR
The good: 143 OPS+
.308 batting average
.377 on-base percentage
.545 slugging percentage
427 home runs
16.2 AB/HR
Hit 396 home runs as a catcher (MLB record)
Had at least one RBI in 15 consecutive games (2nd all-time)
One of ten players to have a lifetime .300 batting average and 400 home runs, without ever striking out 100 times in a season
3.80 catcher's ERA (league average 4.41)
3 top-three MVP finishes
10 Silver Sluggers (won consecutively for MLB record)
12 All-Star Games
Rookie of the Year
1 All-Star MVP
The bad: -5.4 Rtot/yr at catcher
Caught 23% of base stealers (league average 31%)
Led league in stolen bases allowed 10 times, and is 7th all-time
.242/.301/.458 in 32 postseason games
Never led league in major hitting categories
Vague steroid allegations
The ugly: Did he really need to call a press conference to tell people that he wasn't gay?
Notes: Although Piazza was widely considered a defensive liability, baseball insiders regarded him as being great both at blocking balls in the dirt and at calling pitches.
Piazza's 143 OPS+ is easily the MLB record for players with at least 1,000 games as a catcher. Second place is Mickey Cochrane's 129.
His 1997 season was almost certainly the greatest offensive season ever by a major-league catcher. Among all historical seasons by a player who spent at least 100 games catching, it ranks first in hits, fifth in home runs, tenth in runs scored, eighth in RBIs, second in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and first in OPS+ (second-best is his own 172). And that is all despite playing his home games at Dodger Stadium.
He was almost certainly the greatest 62nd-round pick in MLB history.
Overrated/Underrated: I think Piazza's career was always overshadowed by his weak defense, such that his incredible hitting was sometimes overlooked. He's a smidge underrated.
Verdict: Piazza is the greatest-hitting catcher in MLB history, bar none. And his defense, while subpar, is definitely better than advertised. The steroid allegations are worrisome, but I still think he belongs in the Hall.

Tim Raines
Voting history: 6th ballot, 48.7% in 2012
Career Length: 23 seasons, 2,502 games, 10,359 plate appearances
WAR: 66.2 (65.7 offensive, 0.5 defensive)
35.4 WAA
Peak (1983-1987): .318/.406/.467, 568 runs, 57 HR, 302 RBIs, 355 SB, 142 OPS+, 31.4 WAR
Best year (1985): .320/.405/.475, 115 runs, 30 doubles, 13 triples, 11 HR, 41 RBIs, 70 SB, 151 OPS+, 7.3 WAR
The good: 123 OPS+
.294 batting average
.385 on-base percentage
808 stolen bases (5th all-time, 3rd for a post-dead-ball-era player)
84.7% success rate stealing (second-highest recorded among players with at least 200 steals)
113 triples
1,571 runs
1,330 walks for a non-power hitter (versus only 966 strikeouts)
9.2 AB/SO
7 All-Star Games
1 Silver Slugger
1 All-Star MVP
The bad: .425 slugging percentage
-0.2 Rot/yr at left field
Never finished higher than 5th in MVP voting
Career temporarily derailed by cocaine addiction
Notes: Every player with more steals is in the Hall of Fame.
Career numbers would have been a touch higher had he not missed a month in 1987 due to collusion by the owners.
Overrated/Underrated: Definitely underrated. Much like Duke Snider was overshadowed during his career by Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, Raines had the misfortune of playing at the same time as Rickey Henderson. Against that kind of standard, nobody looks good.
Verdict: Raines is the second-best leadoff hitter in the post-dead ball era, only behind Henderson. He clearly deserves the vote.

Reggie Sanders
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 17 seasons, 1,777 games, 7,043 plate appearances
WAR: 36.7 (28.9 offensive, 7.8 defensive)
18.1 WAA
Peak (1992-1996): .275/.358/.489, 358 runs, 91 HR, 313 RBIs, 124 SB, 124 OPS+, 16.8 WAR
Best year (1995): .306/.397/.579, 91 runs, 36 doubles, 28 HR, 99 RBIs, 36 SB, 154 OPS+, 6.4 WAR (strike-shortened season)
The good: 115 OPS+
.487 slugging percentage
304 stolen bases
300-300 club
+9.4 Rtot/yr at right field
1 All-Star Game
The bad: 3.9 AB/SO
1,614 strikeouts versus 674 walks
.195/.283/.326 in 64 postseason games
Notes: He would probably have had a 30-30 season in 1995 had the season not been shortened by the strike.
Overrated/Underrated: I think Sanders tended to be overlooked, despite his power-speed combination. Certainly his defense was never fully appreciated.
Verdict: He was good at a lot of things, but just not good enough, or for long enough. No.

Curt Schilling
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 20 seasons, 569 games, 3,261.0 innings
WAR: 76.1 (76.9 pitching, -0.6 offensive, -0.2 defensive)
53.0 WAA
Peak (2000-2004): 85-40, 3.24 ERA, 1,174 SO, 145 ERA+, 1.064 WHIP, 6.38 SO/BB, 35.0 pWAR
Best year (2001): 22*-6, 2.98 ERA, 293 SO, 157 ERA+, 1.075 WHIP, 7.51 SO/BB*, 8.5 pWAR
The good: 127 ERA+
3.46 ERA
1.137 WHIP
4.38 SO/BB (2nd all-time)
8.60 SO/9 (18th all-time, 13th among starters)
1.96 BB/9
3,116 strikeouts (15th all-time)
Allowed 57% success rate stealing (league average 69%)
2.23 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 4.80 SO/BB in 19 postseason games
2 Pitcher of the Year Awards
3 top-three Cy Young finishes
6 All-Star Games
1 World Series MVP
1 NLCS MVP
The bad: 0.96 HR/9
Despite all his yelling, may have used steroids
The ugly: Attacked a QuesTec camera with a bat because he didn't like the umpire's calls
Notes: He became an immediate part of baseball lore with the famous "bloody sock" game.
Schilling has long been a vocal (and somewhat radical) opponent of steroid use. Now, maybe I'm just overthinking things, but I can't help noticing that his career was comparatively weak up through age 28 (109 ERA+, 6.91 SO/9, 1.207 WHIP), then suddenly picked up from ages 29-37 (141 ERA+, 9.53 SO/9, 1.075 WHIP), well after the normal MLB peak. Then his numbers nosedived beginning in 2005, when testing and penalties for steroid use were instated (110 ERA+, 7.45 SO/9, 1.291 WHIP his last three seasons). That peak lasted from 1996-2004, which is pretty much exactly the steroid era. (The hitters were unstoppable, but Schilling was unhittable.) He also has demonstrated erratic behavior (as the people at Questec would surely attest), and his body underwent a Bonds-esque transformation around the time he got really good. Seems to me that his anti-steroid crusade is little more than a blind.
Overrated/Underrated: The idiots who judge a pitcher by wins alone will underrate him, because he "only" won 216. However, due to his postseason heroics - especially the "bloody sock" game - he has developed a larger-than-life image among most fans, making him a little bit overrated. Plus, due to his ostentatious opposition to PEDs, people refuse to notice all the evidence against him.
Verdict: I used to think Schilling was a clear Hall-of-Famer, until I realized that he was a likely juicer. Now I'm not so sure. His numbers before and after his apparent steroid usage were good, but nowhere near good enough. Maybe he'd have gotten better during the middle period naturally, so I'm willing to call him a borderline case and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, the vote limit has struck again, so Schilling is not on my list this year. It doesn't really bother me, though. Anyone who would attack other players for PEDs in order to distract fans from his own PEDs deserves to wait a year or two before getting in the Hall.

Aaron Sele
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 15 seasons, 404 games, 2,153.0 innings
WAR: 17.5 (17.2 pitching, 0.3 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
-0.3 WAA
Peak (1993-1997): 38-33, 4.41 ERA, 478 SO, 110 ERA+, 1.494 WHIP, 1.78 SO/BB, 7.7 pWAR
Best year (1994): 8-7, 3.83 ERA, 105 SO, 131 ERA+, 1.395 WHIP, 1.75 SO/BB, 3.3 pWAR
The good: 2 All-Star Games
The bad: 100 ERA+
4.61 ERA
1.491 WHIP
1.76 SO/BB
10.1 H/9
Overrated/Underrated: He was very good for his first few years (146 ERA+ in limited action his first three seasons), and I think people may have had their perceptions colored by that. Plus, his winning percentage of .569 was much higher than he deserved. Overrated.
Verdict: No.

Lee Smith
Voting history: 11th ballot, 50.6% in 2012
Career Length: 18 seasons, 1,022 games (11th all-time), 1,289.1 innings
WAR: 27.6 (27.9 pitching, -0.3 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
13.4 WAA
Peak (1987-1991): 25-24, 2.76 ERA, 168 saves, 146 ERA+, 1.254 WHIP, 3.07 SO/BB, 9.1 WAR
Best year (1983): 4-10, 1.65 ERA, 29 saves*, 229 ERA+, 1.074 WHIP, 2.22 SO/BB, 4.7 WAR
The good: 132 ERA+ (134 as reliever)
3.03 ERA (2.98 as reliever)
1.256 WHIP (1.253 as reliever)
2.57 SO/BB (2.58 as reliever)
8.73 SO/9 (15th all-time) (8.8 as reliever)
7.91 H/9
0.62 HR/9
478 saves (3rd all-time)
3 Rolaids Relief Awards
1 top-three Cy Young finish
7 All-Star Games
The bad: Allowed 73% success rate stealing (league average 68%)
Spent his career pitching one inning
8.44 ERA, 1.875 WHIP in 4 postseason games
Notes: His averages were not really all that remarkable for a relief pitcher.
Smith's fame is largely a result of timing. He was one of the first players to spend nearly his entire career as a modern, specialized closer, which allowed him to post then-unheard-of save totals. The fact that his saves record has been surpassed twice in less than fifteen years - and by over 100 each time - seems to indicate that his total was more of a new standard than a true record.
Overrated/Underrated: Just as people have always put too much stock in a starting pitcher's win-loss record, relievers have been judged too much by their save totals and not enough by their actual abilities. And since Smith set his then-record for saves during the era when saves were first coming to the forefront, this made him seem much greater than he truly was. Overrated.
Verdict: He didn't get a lot of long saves like Bruce Sutter or Dan Quisenberry, and wasn't really dominating as a one-inning specialist like Dennis Eckersley or Mariano Rivera. Considering how few innings closers throw, the standards for election have to be higher than normal, and Smith simply doesn't meet those standards. No.

Sammy Sosa
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 18 seasons, 2,354 games, 9,896 plate appearances
WAR: 54.8 (46.6 offensive, 8.2 defensive)
28.1 WAA
Peak (1998-2002): .306/.397/.649, 622 runs, 292 HR, 705 RBIs, 167 OPS+, 31.9 WAR
Best year (2001): .328/.437/.737, 146 runs*, 34 doubles, 64 HR, 160 RBIs*, 203 OPS+, 10.1 WAR
The good: 128 OPS+
.534 slugging percentage
609 home runs (8th all-time)
234 stolen bases
1,667 RBIs
1,475 runs
Two 30-30 seasons
14.5 AB/HR (8th all-time)
Three times exceeded Roger Maris' home-run mark (MLB record)
20 home runs in one month (MLB record)
+7.2 Rtot/yr at right field
1 Player of the Year Award
1 MVP
1 top-three MVP finish
6 Silver Sluggers
7 All-Star Games
Along with Mark McGwire, is often credited with "saving" baseball after the 1994 strike
Hit home runs in 45 different ballparks (MLB record)
The bad: 3.8 AB/SO
2,306 strikeouts versus only 929 walks
Steroid allegations
Found to have used a corked bat
Notes: For the first four seasons of his career, his slugging percentage was .380. I wonder what could have happened?
He has the third-, fifth-, and sixth-highest single-season home run totals in MLB history. Yet he did not lead the league in home runs any of those three years.
Sosa's 10.1 WAR in 2001 were only good enough for second in the league. Not since Lou Boudreau in 1948 (second to Stan Musial) had anyone achieved that high a total without leading the majors, and not since Lou Gehrig in 1927 (second to Babe Ruth) had that high a total not led the league.
Overrated/Underrated: Sosa is best known for his offense, and that part of his career is seriously overrated. How did he manage 609 home runs but only a 128 OPS+? Well, it probably had something to do with his .273 batting average and .344 OBP. Nor did it help that he only hit 379 doubles, and struck out 2,306 times. And while his stolen-base totals are respectable, he was only successful 68.6% of the time.
Verdict: Sosa was by no means a one-dimensional player, as shown by his stellar defensive numbers. However, his HOF case is primarily based on his offense, which is largely one-dimensional, and which was probably heavily boosted by steroids. Much like with McGwire, I just can't bring myself to vote for him.

Mike Stanton
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 19 seasons, 1,178 games (2nd all-time), 1,114.0 innings
WAR: 13.3 (12.6 pitching, 0.7 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
5.0 WAA
Peak (2000-2004): 22-21, 3.36 ERA, 289 SO, 133 ERA+, 1.322 WHIP, 2.17 SO/BB, 7.0 pWAR
Best year (1997): 6-1, 2.57 ERA, 70 SO, 176 ERA+, 1.260 WHIP, 2.06 SO/BB, 2.8 pWAR
The good: 112 ERA+
2.13 SO/BB
7.23 SO/9
0.75 HR/9
266 holds (MLB record)
Allowed 62% success rate stealing (league average 69%)
2.10 ERA, 1.150 WHIP in 53 postseason games
1 All-Star Game
The bad: 3.92 ERA
1.352 WHIP
Didn't even average one inning per appearance
Notes: He pitched in every postseason from 1991 through 2002.
Overrated/Underrated: I think he may have been underrated. While he certainly was not a great pitcher, he did have a few great seasons, and was reliable for a long time.
Verdict: No.

Alan Trammell
Voting history: 12th ballot, 36.8% in 2012
Career Length: 20 seasons, 2,293 games, 9,375 plate appearances
WAR: 67.1 (59.3 offensive, 7.8 defensive)
40.4 WAA
Peak (1986-1990): .298/.365/.459, 414 runs, 83 HR, 381 RBIs, 75 SB, 127 OPS+, 29.8 WAR
Best year (1987): .343/.402/.551, 109 runs, 34 doubles, 28 HR, 105 RBIs, 21 SB, 155 OPS+, 8.0 WAR
The good: 110 OPS+
.285 batting average
236 stolen bases
9.5 AB/SO
+5.3 Rtot/yr at shortstop
1 top-three MVP finish
4 Gold Gloves
3 Silver Sluggers
6 All-Star Games
World Series MVP
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: .415 slugging percentage
11.0 PA/BB
Not often among league leaders in major batting categories
Notes: He has easily the highest WAR of any eligible modern-era shortstop not in the Hall. Second place is Bert Campaneris' 49.2.
Trammell was one-half of the longest continuous double-play combination in MLB history, along with second baseman Lou Whitaker. Neither player received anywhere near the HOF support he deserved.
Overrated/Underrated: Decidedly underrated. He may be a borderline candidate, but he's borderline enough to deserve Jack Morris-level support.
Verdict: While Trammell was never quite a spectacular player, he was good enough for long enough that his career compares very favorably to those of other HOF shortstops. I think he deserves the vote.

Larry Walker
Voting history: 3rd ballot, 22.9% in 2012
Career Length: 17 seasons, 1,988 games, 8,030 plate appearances
WAR: 69.7 (59.6 offensive, 10.1 defensive)
48.3 WAA
Peak (1997-2001): .357/.445/.658, 535 runs, 156 HR, 486 RBIs, 77 SB, 157 OPS+, 29.1 WAR
Best year (1997): .366/.452*/.720*, 143 runs, 46 doubles, 49 HR*, 130 RBIs, 33 SB, 178 OPS+, 9.6 WAR
The good: 141 OPS+
.313 batting average
.400 on-base percentage
.565 slugging percentage (13th all-time)
471 doubles
383 home runs
230 stolen bases, with a 75.2% success rate
One 30-30 season
+8.1 Rtot/yr at right field
1 MVP
7 Gold Gloves
3 Silver Sluggers
5 All-Star Games
The bad: Despite spending much of his career at Coors Field, did not amass particularly high totals
Notes: Many people attribute Walker's impressive numbers almost entirely to the effects of hitting at Coors Field. While that certainly was a factor, his park-adjusted OPS+ was still a very impressive 141, marking him as an elite hitter by any standard.
Walker is an example of a player who did everything well, but will have a tough time making the Hall because he did not do any one thing truly superbly. Alternately, he may be viewed as an excellent player who simply did not maintain that excellence for a long enough career.
Overrated/Underrated: He was probably a bit overrated during his career, due to his Coors-inflated numbers. Now he's underrated, because people only remember that his numbers were Coors-inflated. Plus he spent his best years in Montréal, which the average American would have a hard time finding on a map of southern Québec.
Verdict: I think people put too much emphasis on his having played at Coors, and not nearly enough on his fielding and baserunning. He deserves the vote.

Todd Walker
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 12 seasons, 1,288 games, 5,055 plate appearances
WAR: 8.3 (15.2 offensive, -6.9 defensive)
-5.7 WAA
Peak (2001-2005): .292/.349/.449, 374 runs, 68 HR, 314 RBIs, 102 OPS+, 6.1 WAR
Best year (1998): .316/.372/.473, 85 runs, 41 doubles, 12 HR, 62 RBIs, 19 SB, 118 OPS+, 1.6 WAR
The good: .289 batting average
8.0 AB/SO
.635 slugging in 15 postseason games
The bad: 98 OPS+
-7.0 Rtot/yr at second base
Relatively short career
Overrated/Underrated: A little underrated. He had a couple of good seasons, and should have made an All-Star team.
Verdict: No.

David Wells
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 21 seasons, 660 games, 3,439.0 innings
WAR: 49.2 (49.4 pitching, -0.2 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
21.9 WAA
Peak (1994-1998): 66-43, 4.03 ERA, 653 SO, 115 ERA+, 1.226 WHIP, 3.23 SO/BB, 18.8 pWAR
Best year (1998): 18-4, 3.49 ERA, 163 SO, 127 ERA+, 1.045 WHIP*, 5.62 SO/BB*, 4.5 pWAR
The good: 1.266 WHIP
3.06 SO/BB
1.88 BB/9
.604 winning percentage
1 perfect game
3.17 ERA, 1.128 WHIP, 3.32 SO/BB in 27 postseason games
2 top-three Cy Young finishes
1 ALCS MVP
3 All-Star Games
The bad: 108 ERA+
4.13 ERA
9.51 H/9
1.07 HR/9
The ugly: Announced that he was half-drunk (or possibly just hung over) during his perfect game
Notes: Had Wells made the ballot in 2012, he would have led all newcomers in WAR. But in 2013, he's only good enough for eighth place.
Overrated/Underrated: Overrated. Like Jack Morris, he was a decent but unspectacular pitcher who benefitted from playing on strong teams.
Verdict: About the only thing Wells was really good at was not walking batters. Overall, he just doesn't make it as a Hall of Famer.

Rondell White
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 15 seasons, 1,474 games, 5,852 plate appearances
WAR: 25.5 (20.7 offensive, 4.8 defensive)
9.5 WAA
Peak (1995-1999): .293/.345/.480, 343 runs, 86 HR, 302 RBIs, 81 SB, 113 OPS+, 15.7 WAR
Best year (1997): .270/.316/.478, 84 runs, 29 doubles, 28 HR, 82 RBIs, 16 SB, 106 OPS+, 4.6 WAR
The good: +4.2 Rtot/yr at left field
+10.9 Rtot/yr at center field
.400/.400/.867 in 4 postseason games
1 All-Star Game
The bad: 108 OPS+
.336 on-base percentage
16.3 PA/BB
Relatively short career
Steroid allegations
Overrated/Underrated: White was a classic understated player, with solid defense and respectable offense, but no flash. Such players are generally underrated.
Verdict: No.

Bernie Williams
Voting history: 2nd ballot, 9.6% in 2012
Career Length: 16 seasons, 2,076 games, 9,053 plate appearances
WAR: 45.9 (59.5 offensive, -13.6 defensive)
18.8 WAA
Peak (1997-2001): .325/.411/.548, 534 runs, 128 HR, 527 RBIs, 147 OPS+, 25.3 WAR
Best year (1998): .339*/.422/.575, 101 runs, 30 doubles, 26 HR, 97 RBIs, 15 SB, 160 OPS+, 5.1 WAR
The good: 125 OPS+
.297 batting average
.381 on-base percentage
.477 slugging percentage
80 postseason RBIs (MLB record)
4 Gold Gloves
5 All-Star Games
1 Silver Slugger
ALCS MVP
Spent entire career with one team
The bad: -8.0 Rtot/yr at center field
Rarely among league leaders in major categories
Never finished higher than 7th in MVP voting
The ugly: -12.0 defensive WAR
Notes: His Rtot/yr and defensive WAR were both negative in each of his four Gold Glove seasons. He was so weak defensively at center field that it might be more proper to compare his offense to that of a left fielder or first baseman; by those standards, his numbers are much less impressive.
Overrated/Underrated: Williams' career (especially his peak) corresponded pretty closely with the Yankees' period of postseason success. This caused his name to become much more famous than he really deserved. Overrated.
Verdict: He was a very good player, but had too many limitations (weak arm, not very much power, not a lot of steals). No.

Woody Williams
Voting history: 1st ballot
Career Length: 15 seasons, 424 games, 2,216.3 innings
WAR: 28.1 (25.0 pitching, 3.1 offensive, 0.0 defensive)
12.4 WAA
Peak (1998-2002): 56-42, 4.00 ERA, 629 SO, 107 ERA+, 1.273 WHIP, 2.18 SO/BB, 12.2 pWAR
Best year (2000): 10-8, 3.75 ERA, 111 SO, 114 ERA+, 2.06 SO/BB, 1.226 WHIP, 2.7 pWAR
The good: 2.08 SO/BB
1 All-Star Game
The bad: 103 ERA+
4.19 ERA
1.321 WHIP
9.00 H/9
The ugly: 1.25 HR/9
Overrated/Underrated: His winning percentage (.532) was higher than his pitching really deserved, so he was a little overrated.
Verdict: No.

The All-2013-Ballot Team
First Base: Jeff Bagwell
Second Base: Craig Biggio
Shortstop: Alan Trammell
Third Base: Jeff Cirillo
Catcher: Mike Piazza
Left Field: Barry Bonds
Center Field: Kenny Lofton
Right Field: Larry Walker
Designated Hitter: Edgar Martínez
Starting Pitcher: Roger Clemens
Relief Pitcher: Lee Smith

The 2013 Willie Davis Cup:
Reggie Sanders
previous winners

Finally, here is a chart summarizing the ballot. I have listed the players in the approximate order of their deservedness. As you can see, my judgments frequently disagree with those of the voters.
Name Year WAR WAA My vote 2012 result 2013 result
Barry Bonds 1 158.1 123.9 yes N/A 36.2% - remains on ballot
Roger Clemens 1 133.9 94.8 yes N/A 37.6% - remains on ballot
Jeff Bagwell 3 76.7 52.0 yes 56.0% 59.6% - remains on ballot
Tim Raines 6 66.2 35.4 yes 48.7% 57.8% - remains on ballot
Larry Walker 3 69.7 48.3 yes 22.9% 21.6% - remains on ballot
Edgar Martínez 4 64.4 38.6 yes 36.5% 35.9% - remains on ballot
Mike Piazza 1 56.1 35.9 yes N/A 57.8% - remains on ballot
Kenny Lofton 1 64.9 38.4 yes N/A 3.2% - removed from ballot
Alan Trammell 12 67.1 40.4 yes 36.8% 33.6% - remains on ballot
Craig Biggio 1 62.1 29.1 yes N/A 68.2% - remains on ballot
Curt Schilling 1 76.1 53.0 no (over limit) N/A 38.8% - remains on ballot
Rafael Palmeiro 3 66.1 30.4 no (over limit) 12.6% 8.8% - remains on ballot
Mark McGwire 7 58.7 37.2 no 19.5% 16.9% - remains on ballot
Sammy Sosa 1 54.8 28.1 no N/A 12.5% - remains on ballot
Fred McGriff 4 48.2 19.9 no 23.9% 20.7% - remains on ballot
Don Mattingly 13 39.8 17.7 no 17.8% 13.2% - remains on ballot
Bernie Williams 2 45.9 18.8 no 9.6% 3.3% - removed from ballot
Reggie Sanders 1 36.7 18.1 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
David Wells 1 49.2 21.9 no N/A 0.9% - removed from ballot
Dale Murphy 15 (final) 42.6 16.3 no 14.5% 18.6% - no longer eligible
Julio Franco 1 39.7 12.3 no N/A 1.1% - removed from ballot
Jeff Cirillo 1 32.0 14.9 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Lee Smith 11 27.6 13.4 no 50.6% 47.8% - remains on ballot
Shawn Green 1 31.4 9.6 no N/A 0.4% - removed from ballot
Steve Finley 1 40.4 12.3 no N/A 0.7% - removed from ballot
Jack Morris 14 39.3 9.6 no 66.7% 67.7% - remains on ballot
Ryan Klesko 1 24.6 7.3 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Rondell White 1 25.5 9.5 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Jeff Conine 1 16.2 -5.8 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Roberto Hernández 1 17.2 5.8 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Woody Williams 1 28.1 12.4 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Mike Stanton 1 13.3 5.0 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Aaron Sele 1 17.5 -0.3 no N/A 0.2% - removed from ballot
Royce Clayton 1 16.4 -6.1 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Sandy Alomar, Jr. 1 11.6 -3.2 no N/A 2.8% - removed from ballot
José Mesa 1 9.6 -3.1 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Todd Walker 1 8.3 -5.7 no N/A 0% - removed from ballot
Name Year WAR WAA My vote 2012 result 2013 result




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