Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Hall's 2012 BBWAA ballot -- candidate reviews, all in one big post

Boy howdy, I let December get away from me, and now the vote announcement is tomorrow. So, on to the reviews.

Returning candidates I supported in 2011: Bagwell, Larkin, Martinez, McGriff, McGwire, Murphy, Raines, and Smith. And I wanted to support Walker but limited myself to ten names, just like the actual BBWAA voters must. So I already have eight or nine of my possible ten candidates pre-selected, leaving little leeway for the ballot rookies, but if you're reading this you probably already know that the rookies this year are an uninspiring lot. There's probably no end-of-ballot conundrum about which name or names to bypass this time.

I tend to look more favorably upon great seasons produced than upon shiny career totals.

None of the rookie candidates are mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

WAR stats from BaseballReference.com.


The candidates....

1. Jeff Bagwell (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 ballot)

Year on ballot: 2nd (13 remaining).
Peak return: 41.7% (2011).
2011 return: 41.7%

Career: 15 seasons, 1991-2005 -- all with the Houston Astros.
Peak season: 1994 -- in a strike-shortened season, Bags played in 110 of Houston's 115 games. The strike ended the season on August 11, and this is what he did: 147 hits, 32 doubles, 39 HR, 116 RBI, 65 walks, .368 / .451 / .750, 104 runs scored, 213 OPS+, 8.9 WAR (in a short season). Geez.
Other outstanding seasons: 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001... he made a habit of being great.
Career WAR: 79.9.
Primary position: first baseman.
Honoraria and claims to fame: four All-Star selections (two starts), 1994 NL MVP, 1991 NL Rookie Of The Year, three NL Silver Sluggers, one NL Gold Glove for 1B. Led NL in games played four times, runs scored three times, doubles once, RBI once, walks once, slugging once. Jersey #5 retired by the Astros.
Postseason glory: member of six postseason teams, including the 2004 NL champion Astros. Bagwell didn't really shine in October, batting .226 / .364 / .321 in 33 games, 129 plate appearances, with 2 HR and 13 RBI. He had nothing left when Houston went to the Series in '05, he only pinch-hit or played DH, but he greatly helped his team get to the postseason every time. No real bonus points here, but Bagwell's seasons is why there even was postseasons to think of.

Reasons for Bagwell: amazingly good hitter, very good fielder. A bad shoulder drained his power and ended his career, he could have done more (though we cannot give credit for this), but what he did do was amazing and Hall-worthy.

Reasons against Bagwell: he played in the 1990s, hit a lot of home runs (in a power-hostile home park), and had muscular forearms.

I realize McCarthyist whispering campaigns are always going to be popular in certain domains, but I really hoped baseball would be immune to such wretchedness. Voting writers, the craven and cowardly sort, continue to embargo Bagwell based upon, not even real suspicions, but mere worries about maybe suspicions cropping up someday or other. None of these purported "journalists" actually LOOK for anything, of course; far too responsible an approach. Nah. Let's just go with the yellow option.

Such writers are failures. Failing in their responsibility to their charge by the Hall as electors, failing in their responsibility to Bagwell (and any other candidates so treated, based upon nothing), failing as journalists, failing fans of baseball. Got something? Show it. Got nothing? Then move on. Bagwell is a worthy candidate, and when he does get elected, and he will eventually, your failures will be complete. Any voter who refuses to support Bagwell's candidacy for a valid reason -- and your real reason, not whatever you publish; I'd more respect "I didn't like that scraggly goatee he wore for years" in earnest than any unsubstantiated suspicion of steroid usage -- is weak. Go copulate yourselves. Abstain. Withdraw permanently from the electorate. Just get out of the way, because you are not serving the cause.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


2. Jeromy Burnitz (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 14 seasons, 1993-2006 -- New York Mets 1993-94 & 2002-03, Cleveland Indians 1995-96, Milwaukee Brewers 1996-2001, Los Angeles Dodgers 2003, Colorado Rockies 2004, Chicago Cubs 2005, Pittsburgh Pirates 2006.
Peak season: 1999 -- .270 / .402 / .561, 33 doubles, 33 HR, 103 RBI, 91 walks, 142 OPS+, 3.4 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1997, 1998, 2004.
Career WAR: 17.6.
Primary position: right field.
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection.
Postseason glory: none. Part-time player for the 1995-96 Cleveland Indians but never got into a postseason game.

Good hitting, good slugging outfielder. An asset on the field and at the plate, but Burnitz didn't have greatness, and nothing in his career profile says otherwise. Not Hall class, but he got on the ballot, and that's a nice finish.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


3. Vinny Castilla (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 16 seasons, 1991-2006 -- Atlanta Braves 1991-92 & 2002-03, Colorado Rockies 1993-99, 2004, & 2006, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2000-01, Houston Astros 2001, Washington Nationals 2005, San Diego Padres 2006.
Peak season: 1998 -- .319 / .362 / .589, 206 hits, 28 doubles, 46 HR, 144 RBI, 127 OPS+, 4.5 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1996, 2004.
Career WAR: 16.4.
Primary position: third base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: two All-Star selections, three NL Silver Sluggers for third base, led NL in RBI once, games played once, assists by 3B twice, putouts by 3B twice, fielding percentage by 3B twice (and not always the same two seasons).
Postseason glory: played in four postseasons, hitting .350 / .409 / .617 in 17 games, 66 plate appearances, with 5 HR and 12 RBI. That's pretty darn good -- but all four teams lost in the Division Series, so he never got to really show off in October.

Castilla loved hitting in Coors Field. Well, sure, everyone did, and there's nothing like playing at home -- but among ballparks where he played more than ten games, he hit better only in Phoenix, and even there not much better. Vinny was a good player, a good hitter, and a good fielder -- yet even with Coors helping his cause, he never was great and never really looked great (because he wasn't). Even playing an underappreciated position like third base, he doesn't measure up to the Hall.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


4. Juan Gonzalez (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 ballot)

Year on ballot: 2nd (13 remaining, maybe).
Peak return: 5.2% (2011).
2011 return: 5.2%

Career: 17 seasons, 1989-2005 -- *Texas Rangers 1989-99 & 2002-03, Detroit Tigers 2000, Cleveland Indians 2001 & 2005, Kansas City Royals 2004.
Peak season: 1993 -- 166 hits, 33 doubles, 46 HR, 118 RBI, 105 runs scored, .310 / .368 / .632, 169 OPS+, 6.7 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001.
Career WAR: 33.5.
Primary position: right fielder. Gonzo did not DH very much -- only 370 games out of nearly 1700 in his career.
Honoraria and claims to fame: three All-Star selections (two starts), two AL MVP Awards (1996 and 1998), six AL Silver Sluggers. Led league in home runs twice, doubles once, RBI once.
Postseason glory: Played in four postseasons, including all three of the Rangers' first appearances. Devastating in 1996 against the Yankees with five home runs, but the rest of the team mustered nothing as they went down in four games. Scored Texas' only two runs total in 1998 and 1999 as the Yanks mercilessly swept them. And made a good showing with Cleveland in 2001, resulting in a career postseason line of .290 / .333 / .742, 8 HR, 15 RBI in 15 games, 66 PA -- but every team went down in the first round, obscuring his performances.

Mitchell Report: A bag belonging to one of Gonzalez's trainers was seized at Canadian customs (his team was heading to Toronto) with steroids inside.

So much fun to watch hit, because he'd swing at anything and, when he made contact, the ball tended to go a long way. Probably should have had another 400 quality games, but couldn't stay healthy. Barely escaped ballot relegation last year, and while he might survive again, it won't last. Loved watching him play, but there's no plaque forthcoming.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


5. Brian Jordan (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 15 seasons, 1992-2006 -- St. Louis Cardinals 1992-98, Atlanta Braves 1999-2001 & 2005-06, Los Angeles Dodgers 2002-03, Texas Rangers 2004.
Peak season: 1998 -- .316 / .368 / .534, 34 doubles, 25 HR, 91 RBI, 134 OPS+, 6.5 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1995, 1996, 2001.
Career WAR: 33.5.
Primary position: right field, though he played a good bit in center and left as well.
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection. Often among the defensive leaders as an outfielder.
Postseason glory: member of five postseason teams, mostly Atlanta including the 1999 NL champions, and once in St. Louis. Batted .250 / .305 / .436 in 38 games, 154 PA, with 6 HR and 27 RBI.

Really good defensive player who could hit and slug pretty well, a definite asset on the roster, but not a rare player and never ascended to greatness. Made the ballot, which is his last stop, and that's still more than most players ever get.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


6. Barry Larkin (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 and 2010 ballots)

Year on ballot: 3rd (12 remaining).
Peak return: 62.1% (2011).
2011 return: 62.1%

Career: 19 seasons, 1986-2004 -- Cincinnati Reds the whole time.
Peak season: 1996 -- 33 HR, 89 RBI, .298/.410/.567, 117 runs, 32 doubles, 36 stolen bases, 154 OPS+, 7.4 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999.
Career WAR: 68.9.
Primary position: shortstop.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Twelve All-Star selections (five starts), 1995 NL MVP, three NL Gold Gloves for shortstop, nine NL Silver Sluggers for shortstop. Ranks in the Top Five in many Reds franchise hitting records, including second in hits and doubles (behind Pete Rose).
Postseason glory: member of two postseason teams, including the 1990 World Series champions. Batted .337 / .397 / .465 in 17 games, 78 PA, with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 8 stolen bases and 7 walks. None of this excellence makes him any better a player, but should push his Hall candidacy from "slightly uncertain" to "no doubt at all".

Great player. Great shortstop, and position matters (a lot). Larkin is Hall-worthy, and the voters know it, so I hope this year they get over whatever has been holding enough of them back from giving him his due.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


7. Javy Lopez (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 15 seasons, 1992-2006 -- Atlanta Braves 1992-2003, Baltimore Orioles 2004-06, Boston Red Sox 2006.
Peak season: 2003 -- .328 / .378 / .687, 29 doubles, 43 HR, 109 RBI, 169 OPS+, 6.6 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1997, 1998, 2004.
Career WAR: 27.9.
Primary position: catcher.
Honoraria and claims to fame: three All-Star selections, one Silver Slugger for catcher, often among the defensive leaders as catcher in the NL.
Postseason glory: thanks to being a key part of the Braves dynasty, Lopez played in nine postseasons, including the 1995 World Series champions. Posted .278 / .324 / .493 in 60 games, 225 PA, with 10 HR and 28 RBI. Named MVP of the 1996 NLCS.

Lopez was a long-lasting part of the Atlanta dynasty, the 1991-2005 era that saw the Braves advance to October fourteen times. He caught greatness -- Glavine, Smoltz, sometimes Maddux. And he played in 100+ games ten times over eleven seasons (1995-2005), which isn't easy as a catcher; the position delivers a beating.

Even allowing for that, Lopez was never consistently great. One great season, four really good ones, and a bunch of adequate ones. Overall it's not enough for the Hall.

About that one great season, 2003 -- does anyone ever question it? It was his free agent year, he was 32, it was way better than anything he'd ever done, and it was before the steroids ban. Was he enhanced? I don't know and, since it was before the ban, I don't care -- but it is so out of line with his career, like the superb seasons of Brady Anderson or Bret Boone (just to name two) that it surprises me there are no questions asked about it. I suppose the BBWAA voters only really want to suspect high-leverage Hall candidates, and the hoi-polloi can go about their merry ways. Lopez isn't going to be back on the 2013 ballot, so it doesn't matter; but if the PED question DOES matter, shouldn't it matter in every case? Perhaps I hope for too much accountability, from the players and the writers.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


8. Edgar Martinez (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 and 2010 ballots)

Year on ballot: 3rd (12 remaining).
Peak return: 36.2% (2010).
2011 return: 32.9%

Career: 18 seasons, 1987-2004 -- all with the Seattle Mariners.
Peak season: 1995 -- 29 HR, 113 RBI, .356/.479/.628, 182 hits, 52 doubles, 121 runs, 185 OPS+, 7.7 WAR, while playing the entire 145 game schedule.
Other outstanding seasons: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003.
Career WAR: 67.2.
Primary position: designated hitter; was a third baseman in his early seasons.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Seven All-Star selections (four starts), five AL Silver Sluggers (one for 3B, four for DH), two AL batting championships, led the league in OBP three times, runs scored once, doubles twice, RBI once. MLB's designated hitter award is named in Martinez's honor.
Postseason glory: member of all four Mariners teams that have advanced to the postseason. Batted .266 / .365 / .508 in 34 games, 148 PA, with 7 doubles, 8 HR, 24 RBI, and 19 walks. Beat the utter crap out of the 1995 Yankees (.571 / .667 / 1.000!), including the game-winning and series-winning double that scored Griffey in extra innings of Game 5 of the Division Series, still the finest moment in Seattle baseball history.

Designated hitter is a real position, part of the game for nearly 40 seasons now. How many voting members of the BBWAA remember baseball before the DH? I suppose there's a few crusty old farts who still think expansion was a bad idea or are waiting for the Dodgers to move back to Brooklyn, but it cannot be more than a handful. The point, most voters have never known baseball without the DH. It's a part of the game, and the Hall is going to have to recognize a primary designated hitter some time or other, and may as well start with the best ever, Martinez. By the baseball gods, this man could hit like crazy. He's Hall-worthy. Let's see him on a plaque.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


9. Don Mattingly (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 12th (three remaining).
Peak return: 28.2% (2001 -- Donnie's first ballot).
2011 return: 13.6%

Career: 14 seasons, 1982-95 -- all with the New York Yankees.
Peak season: 1986 -- 238 hits, 53 doubles, 31 HR, 113 RBI, 117 runs scored, .352 / .394 / .573, 161 OPS+, 6.9 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989.
Career WAR: 39.8.
Primary position: first base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: six All-Star selections (one start), 1985 AL MVP, nine AL Gold Gloves at 1B, three AL Silver Sluggers at 1B, 1984 AL batting champion. Led league in slugging once, hits twice, doubles three times, RBI once. Set the major league single season record for grand slams with six in 1987. Tied the ML record for consecutive games with a home run, with eight. Jersey #23 retired by the Yankees.
Postseason glory: played in one postseason, 1995 v. the triumphant Mariners, and did very well -- .417 /.440 / .708 with 1 HR and 6 RBI, a shining swan song performance in a series that was decided more by the pitching than the hitting.

That lack of postseason airtime possibly could be what keeps Mattingly out of the Hall. Many fans attach way too much import to postseason play, at least when it comes to Hall consideration. The voters tend not to penalize players who missed October or never held aloft the trophy. But, while lack of playoff time doesn't count against most, it does tend to count against Yankees, because of the franchise's rich (and belabored) postseason history. Not winning, as a Yankee, is something seen as a fault or flaw. Had Mattingly gotten to the playoffs more, maybe he'd have higher returns -- probably not enough to get the plaque, but I think it is hurting him some. The Yankee mystique is working against his cause. Conversely, winning as a Yankee, even as a minor part, has gotten some men a plaque that history probably didn't see a great need in adding to the collection. Weird, ain't it?

It doesn't really matter -- the effect is interesting, but for Mattingly specifically it doesn't matter -- because his career doesn't measure up. Four great seasons, two good seasons, and the rest was average. Donnie's career is the opposite of Koufax's -- Sandy started out forgettably, then soared, then departed, leaving all to wonder "what more was there?". Mattingly started out soaring, then plunged, and if he left anything undone it wouldn't have impressed us anyway. Important lesson: leave them wanting more.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


10. Fred McGriff (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 and 2010 ballots)

Year on ballot: 3rd (12 remaining).
Peak return: 21.5% (2010).
2011 return: 17.9%

Career: 19 seasons, 1986-2004 -- Toronto Blue Jays 1986-90, San Diego Padres 1991-93, Atlanta Braves 1993-97, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1998-2001 & 2004, Chicago Cubs 2001-02, Los Angeles Dodgers 2003.
Peak season: 1992 -- 152 hits, 30 doubles, 35 HR, 104 RBI, 79 runs scored, 96 walks, .286 / .394 / .556, 166 OPS+, 5.2 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001.
Career WAR: 50.5.
Primary position: first base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Five All-Star selections (three starts), three Silver Sluggers (one AL, two NL) for 1B, led both leagues in HR once each. 1994 All-Star MVP.
Postseason glory: Member of five postseason teams, including the 1995 World Series champion Braves. Delivered .303 / .385 / .532 in 50 games, 218 PA, with 11 doubles, 10 HR, 37 RBI, and 27 walks. Certainly helped his teams' causes in October!

Outstanding hitter and very good fielder. First base will never be a premium defensive position, in fact it's considered the least demanding spot on the diamond, but McGriff was excellent at what he had to do. Often among the league leaders in power stats. I cannot help but think that if he had reached 500 home runs, his candidacy would be much higher, possibly even his plaque minted by now. Given back the 1994-95 seasons -- which we cannot do, of course, as as a MLBPA member McGriff supported the action -- he surely would have hit those seven more (at least) dingers and that would be that. C'mon, he's Hall-worthy, voters!

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


11. Mark McGwire (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 6th (nine remaining).
Peak return: 23.7% (2010).
2011 return: 19.8%

Career: 16 seasons, 1986-2001 -- Oakland Athletics 1986-97, St. Louis Cardinals 1997-2001.
Peak season: 1998 -- 152 hits, 21 doubles, 70 HR, 147 RBI, 130 runs, 162 walks (then an NL record), .299 / .470 / .752, 216 OPS+, 7.2 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000 even though he played only 89 games.
Career WAR: 63.1.
Primary position: first base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: 12 All-Star selections (six starts), 1987 AL ROY, one AL Gold Glove at 1B, three Silver Sluggers (one AL, two NL) at 1B. Led league in on-base percentage twice, slugging four times, home runs four times, RBI once, walks twice. Rookie record 49 HR. Record 70 HR in 1998, since surpassed once. Member of the 500 Home Runs Club (583 career).
Postseason glory: Member of six postseason teams, including the 1989 World Series champion Athletics. Hit .217 / .320 / .349 in 42 games, 151 PA, with 5 HR, 14 RBI, and 18 walks. Managed only one hit in the 1988 World Series, but it was a walk-off home run to win Game 3, a moment largely overlooked against the Dodgers' championship and Gibson's far more remarkable walk-off shot in Game 1.

On his playing merits, McGwire merits the Hall. Hit and slugged a ton. Missed a lot of time due to injuries, but I think his total production overrides that. And whatever magic waters he used, and he has said he did, he used before the 2004 ban was enacted. I will not penalize players for breaking rules which did not exist at the time.

Mac doesn't get to stand on just his playing merits, though. The writers have refused to give him fairer due to date, and they aren't much going to change. I won't go there, because it is an ugly place.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


12. Jack Morris (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 13th (two remaining).
Peak return: 53.5% (2011).
2011 return: 53.5%

Career: 18 seasons, 1977-94 -- Detroit Tigers 1977-90, Minnesota Twins 1991, Toronto Blue Jays 1992-93, Cleveland Indians 1994.
Peak season: 1986 -- 21-8, 3.27, 35 starts, 15 CG, 6 ShO, 267.0 innings, 223 K, 127 ERA+, 4.7 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992.
Career WAR: 39.3 (as a pitcher).
Primary position: starting pitcher (right handed).
Honoraria and claims to fame: five All-Star selections. Led league in wins twice, strikeouts once, shutouts once, innings pitched once, complete games once. Pitched a no-hitter in 1984.
Postseason glory: You've probably heard about this game, which helped him win the 1991 World Series MVP. Overall 7-4 in 13 starts, 92.1 innings, with a 3.80 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, and 64:32 K:BB ratio. Hey, he was very good in 1984 and 1991 and not very good in 1987 and 1992 -- which works out to Morris being on four postseason teams and helping win three championships.

Good pitcher. Sometimes very good. Rarely great. Those who see the Hall-worthiness will see it no matter what. I don't see it no matter how closely I look for it.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


13. Bill Mueller (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 11 seasons, 1996-2006 -- San Francisco Giants 1996-2000 & 2002, Chicago Cubs 2001-02, Boston Red Sox 2003-05, Los Angeles Dodgers 2006.
Peak season: 2003 -- .326 / .398 / .540, 45 doubles, 19 HR, 85 RBI, 59 walks, 140 OPS+, 5.5 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: um... 1998 was pretty good.
Career WAR: 22.6.
Primary position: third base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: 2003 AL batting champion. One AL Silver Slugger for 3B.
Postseason glory: Member of five postseason teams, including the historic 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Hit .234 / .302 / .310 with 8 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBI. No, it's not much, but his one RBI in the 2004 ALCS came in the bottom of the ninth in Game 4, facing elimination with Rivera on the mound, and Mueller smacked the ball into center, allowing Roberts to score and tie the game, and the greatest comeback in baseball history began that moment.

Mueller played for eleven seasons, and that's pretty amazing given what he provided. The first player for the curse-breaking 2004 Red Sox to reach the Hall ballot, he is no shining star, but his presence does evoke that storied season, and that's a happy thought. If he gets one vote, even from a Boston-area writer, that will be a triumph. I cannot give him my support, but Mueller was on one very special team that has proudly gone down in history.

Chipmaker's vote: no. But I'll always think fondly of Mueller or any member of the 2004 Sox.


14. Terry Mulholland (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 20 seasons, 1986 & 1988-2006 -- San Francisco Giants 1986, 1988-89, 1995, 1997, Philadelphia Phillies 1989-93 & 1996, New York Yankees 1994, Seattle Mariners 1996, Chicago Cubs 1997 & 1998-99, Atlanta Braves 1999-2000, Pittsburgh Pirates 2001, Los Angeles Dodgers 2001-02, Cleveland Indians 2002-03, Minnesota Twins 2004-05, Arizona Diamondbacks 2006. To save you counting, that's eleven different franchises.
Peak season: 1993 -- 12-9, 3.25 in 29 games (28 starts), 191.0 innings, 116 K, 1.136 WHIP, 122 ERA+, 3.8 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: With 20 seasons, there'd have to be some other noteworthy year, right? Um... 1991 and 1998 were interesting.
Career WAR: 10.3.
Primary position: starting pitcher (left handed), though he mostly pitched in relief after age 38.
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection. Led NL in complete games once. As a rookie, he made highlight reels when he fielded a hot bouncer back to the mound, couldn't get it out of the webbed pocket, and decided to toss the entire glove, ball stuck within, to his first baseman. They got the out.
Postseason glory: Member of five postseason teams, including two NL champions, the 1993 Phillies and 1999 Braves. Overall 1-2, 6.61 in 15 games (3 starts), 31.1 innings, with 15 strikeouts.

Mulholland was around forever, always finding a job somewhere, living proof that a left-handed pitcher is always a commodity in short supply. He could eat up innings, and teams do need to throw around 1400 every season, so that made him useful, but he was rarely good and never great. Nice to be on the ballot, but for Mulholland it is one and done.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


15. Dale Murphy (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 14th (one remaining).
Peak return: 23.2% (2000).
2011 return: 12.6%

Career: 18 seasons, 1976-93 -- *Atlanta Braves 1976-90, Philadelphia Phillies 1990-92, Colorado Rockies 1993.
Peak season: 1983 -- 178 hits, 24 doubles, 36 HR, 121 RBI, 131 runs scored, 30 stolen bases, 90 walks, .302 / .393 / .540, 149 OPS+, 7.2 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987.
Career WAR: 44.2.
Primary position: center field, right field when he got older.
Honoraria and claims to fame: seven All-Star selections (five starts), 1982 and 1983 NL MVP Awards, five NL Gold Gloves for outfield, four NL Silver Sluggers for outfield. Led league in slugging twice, runs scored once, home runs twice, RBI twice, walks once. Jersey #3 retired by the Braves.
Postseason glory: Only made it to October once, with the 1982 Braves, where he went .273 / .273 / .273 with three hits, all singles, and one run scored. Nothing more to say here.

Murf had six great seasons in an eight-year span, 1980-87, and then fell off a cliff. I think the great span was enough, though recognize that the fall-off-a-cliff part of his career does nothing to help his candidacy. A graceful tail-off would look much nicer, as would 400 home runs. The voters aren't seeing Murphy the way I am, and I am resigned to this. I still support him, but it's not going to happen.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes! Though it's clearly futile. Ah well.


16. Phil Nevin (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 12 seasons, 1995-2006 -- Houston Astros 1995, Detroit Tigers 1995-97, Anaheim Angels 1998, San Diego Padres 1999-2005, Texas Rangers 2005-06, Chicago Cubs 2006, Minnesota Twins 2006.
Peak season: 2001 -- .306 / .388 / .588, 31 doubles, 41 HR, 126 RBI, 71 walks, 158 OPS+, 6.6 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1999, 2000.
Career WAR:15.9.
Primary position: third base, but also played first base, left field, and even caught (!) 109 games.
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection. Overall #1 draft pick in 1992.
Postseason glory: Appeared in only one postseason game, the very last of his career, with the 2006 Twins. And went 0-3. And you thought Murphy was unimpressive.

Number one draft picks almost never live up to the inevitable hype. Some do -- Griffey, Rodriguez -- but most are like Nevin, who play well but it never looks like enough. He had a good career, never stepped it up for long, and it seemed like he never figured it out. Well, maybe, but maybe he should have been drafted lower instead. It doesn't matter, he got to play and got on the ballot this time, and we say a brief hello and goodbye, nice to remember you.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


17. Rafael Palmeiro (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 ballot)

Year on ballot: 2nd (13 remaining).
Peak return: 11.0% (2011).
2011 return: 11.0%

Career: 20 seasons, 1986-2005 -- Chicago Cubs 1986-88, *Texas Rangers 1989-93 & 1999-2003, Baltimore Orioles 1994-98 & 2004-05.
Peak season: 1993 -- 176 hits, 40 doubles, 37 HR, 105 RBI, 124 runs scored, .295 / .371 / .554, 150 OPS+, 7.4 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Career WAR: 66.0.
Primary position: first baseman. He DH'd some in his older seasons, but that was his primary role only twice, 1999 and 2003.
Honoraria and claims to fame: four All-Star selections (one start), two AL Silver Sluggers, three AL Gold Gloves for first base (though the one in 1999 was a bad joke, as he played only 28 games at 1B). Led league in hits once and runs scored once -- but he was in the top ten, and often the top five, in many categories in many seasons. Member of the 500 Home Run Club (569) and 3000 Hits Club (3020).
Postseason glory: Member of three postseason teams, providing .244 / .308 / .451 in 22 games, 91 PA, with 5 doubles, 4 HR, and 8 RBI. Never reached the World Series, though, which has happened to greater and lesser players.

Mitchell Report: mentioned for having failed a steroids test (stanozolol was found in his system) in 2005, for which he was suspended for ten games. Named by Canseco as having been using under his supervision, possibly as early as 1992.

Whatever players used before 2004, I give them a pass -- no rules, no rulebreaking, and the entire MLB internal culture was one of tacit complicity. No asking, no telling, use whatever you need for your competitive edge. But since the ban -- man, only an idiot gets caught. But we're not yet discussing Manny Ramirez....

Palmeiro brewed a perfect storm of witlessness -- testifying boldly before Congress, avowing his cleanliness, and then getting busted. On his playing merits, like McGwire and others, he's got more than enough testimony for the Hall. But getting nailed after the ban went into effect, that just crushes his candidacy, knowing better and still blowing it. Maybe knuckleheadedness shouldn't be an obstacle to the Hall, but today, in these circumstances, I still think it is.

Chipmaker's vote: no. Not yet, anyway.


18. Brad Radke (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 12 seasons, 1995-2006 -- the entirety with the Minnesota Twins.
Peak season: 1997 -- 20-10, 3.87 in 35 starts, 239.2 innings, 174 K, 1.193 WHIP, 120 ERA+, 4.0 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004.
Career WAR: 41.4.
Primary position: starting pitcher (right handed).
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection.
Postseason glory: Member of four postseason teams, overall 2-3, 3.60 in 6 starts, 35.0 innings, with 17 strikeouts.

Radke was rarely distinguished on the diamond; he was a quiet workhorse, throwing over 200 innings (usually well over) nine times in ten seasons. He was prone to serving longballs, but he mitigated that by not walking anyone. Seriously, Radke's high in walks issued was 57, and he only once else gave up as many as 51 -- and remember, these were 200+ inning seasons. But a lot of his early Twins teams weren't very good, so he never piled up wins but for the one 20-win season. Very useful pitcher; not a great one, but a lot better than most remember him as being. He deserves being on this ballot. He doesn't deserve more, but he does deserve this one.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


19. Tim Raines (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 5th (ten remaining).
Peak return: 37.5% (2011).
2011 return: 37.5%

Career: 23 seasons, 1979-99 & 2001-02 -- Montréal Expos 1979-90 & 2001, Chicago White Sox 1991-95, New York Yankees 1996-98, Oakland Athletics 1999, Baltimore Orioles 2001, Florida Marlins 2002.
Peak season: 1987 -- 175 hits, 34 doubles, 8 triples, 18 HR, 68 RBI, 50 stolen bases (caught only five times), 90 walks, .330 / .429 / .526, 149 OPS+, 6.8 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1993.
Career WAR: 64.6.
Primary position: left field. Leadoff hitter.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Seven All-Star selections, 1987 All-Star MVP, one NL Silver Slugger. Led league in batting once, on-base percentage once, runs twice, stolen bases four times. Career 84.7% stolen base success rate is the highest for anyone with 300+ SB. 808 career SB ranks fifth all-time. Jersey #30 retired by the Expos.
Postseason glory: Member of five postseason teams, including the 1996 & 1998 World Series champion Yankees, and the only Expos team ever to play in October. Stats: .270 / .340 / .349 in 34 games, 142 PA, with 7 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 14 walks, and 3 stolen bases.

What's not to love about Raines? The most successful base stealer in baseball history (and ranked fifth in total steals). Outstanding hitter in the first half of his career, very useful journeyman in the second. Compares favorably, in just about every way, with Rickey Henderson, his exact contemporary. Raines is Hall-worthy. His ballot returns are showing a promising trend, going up, though he's still got a long way to go. Let's hope it doesn't take very long, because he has more than earned the plaque, and the Hall needs another Expos logo.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


20. Tim Salmon (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 14 seasons, 1992-2004 & 2006 -- all with the Angels. That's the California Angels (1992-96), Anaheim Angels (1997-2004), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2006). Gracious!
Peak season: 1995 -- .330 / .429 / .594, 34 doubles, 34 HR, 105 RBI, 91 walks, 165 OPS+, 6.8 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1993, 1997, 1998, 2002.
Career WAR: 37.6.
Primary position: right field.
Honoraria and claims to fame: 1993 AL Rookie of the Year Award, one AL Silver Slugger for outfield. Often among the defensive league leaders for right fielders.
Postseason glory: Member of two postseason teams, though he played in only one, but one worth playing for -- the 2002 World Series champion Angels. Hit .288 / .382 / .525 in 16 games, 68 PA, with 2 doubles, 4 HR, 12 RBI, and 8 walks. Salmon certainly made the most of his one chance.

Tim Salmon was never an All-Star. How could that have happened? He wasn't an obviously great player but he was always a very good one; an All-Star berth should have popped up at least once. Strange.

Salmon was reliable. Started with a bang, collecting the Rookie award, hung on through some lean times in Anaheim, and was on hand (and helped greatly) when the Halos at last collected the trophy. He produced reliably, always with 20+ home runs, 90+ walks, a healthy OBP in the upper .300s, slugging around .500. And he was good on defense at an important position. It's nice to be able to pencil in someone like that.

I can't see any reason not to support Salmon, other than that he never really stepped up to greatness, but he provided reliable and consistent very-goodness, and that's worth remembering. I don't think he'll be back on the 2013 ballot anyway, and if I end up with too many candidates he'll be the first cut, but right now, heck, I'm happy to support Salmon for the Hall.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


21. Ruben Sierra (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 20 seasons, 1986-98 & 2000-06 -- Texas Rangers 1986-92, 2000-01, & 2003, Oakland Athletics 1992-95, New York Yankees 1995-96 & 2003-05, Detroit Tigers 1996, Cincinnati Reds 1997, Toronto Blue Jays 1997, Chicago White Sox 1998, Seattle Mariners 2002, Minnesota Twins 2006. Nine different franchises.
Peak season: 1989 -- .306 / .347 / .543, 101 runs, 194 hits, 35 doubles, 14 triples, 29 HR, 119 RBI, 146 OPS+, 5.7 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1991. For so many seasons, not many were noteworthy.
Career WAR: 13.6.
Primary position: right fielder for ten seasons, then DH for most of the second half of his career.
Honoraria and claims to fame: four All-Star selections, one AL Silver Slugger for outfield. Finished a close second for the 1989 AL MVP (behind Yount) and probably should have won, but such things happen. Led AL in games played once, slugging once, triples once, total bases once, RBI once (all in that 1989 season), and outfield assists once.
Postseason glory: Member of five postseason teams, including the 2003 AL champion Yankees. Hit .264 / .333 / .549 in 31 games, 105 PA, with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HR, 21 RBI, and 11 walks. Sierra certainly was doing his part.

Sierra was another fun player to watch -- I saw him often when he was with the Rangers. He wasn't much for taking a walk and would swing freely, but was better at both than his teammate and fellow candidate Juan Gonzalez. Sierra had some control to his plate approach. He was a very good hitter, but after age 27 he just petered out, though he hung around forever, but a DH who cannot hit better than league-average is not an asset. Not winning the 1989 AL MVP bothered him, he's said as much, but how long can resentment last? If he had more to prove, he didn't spend a lot of years proving it, because after 1992 he was nothing special -- a brief surge in 2001, but that was it. Being an adequate backup outfielder with the capability of hitting a pinch HR from either side must have been key to him keeping a job in the majors for so long. Sierra looks more like a might-have-been than a certainly-was. Nice to think of him again, but there's no second ballot next year.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


22. Lee Smith (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 10th (five remaining).
Peak return: 47.3% (2010).
2011 return: 45.3%

Career: 18 seasons, 1980-97 -- Chicago Cubs 1980-87, Boston Red Sox 1988-90, St. Louis Cardinals 1990-93, New York Yankees 1993, Baltimore Orioles 1994, California Angels 1995-96, Cincinnati Reds 1996, Montréal Expos 1997.
Peak season: 1991 -- 6-3, 47 saves, 2.34, 67 K, 157 ERA+, 1.137 WHIP, 2.6 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994.
Career WAR: 30.3 (as a pitcher).
Primary position: relief pitcher (right handed), primarily a closer.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Seven All-Star selections, three Rolaids Relief Awards (two NL, one AL). Led league in saves four times. Held the career record for saves from 1993 to 2006; currently third all-time.
Postseason glory: Only appeared with two postseason teams, the 1984 Cubs and the 1988 Red Sox, and got bloodied pretty harshly both times: 0-2, 8.44, in 4 games, 5.1 innings, 7 strikeouts (to only one walk). That's part of the risks of being the closer -- you only get a small amount of innings to do your stuff, and if you get pounded, everything looks much worse than it was (it was bad, but the stats look disastrous).

I think Smith measures up well when compared with the relievers who are in the Hall, and was an excellent pitcher in his own right with periods of greatness. Relief pitchers are still building a profile-in-progress for Hall evaluation, and I think Smith would well serve bringing that profile into clearer focus should he get the plaque. (Alas, middle relievers will continue to be utterly screwed here, but it's difficult to undertake more than one or two causes at a time.)

Chipmaker's vote: Yes! As before, and satisfied to say so.


23. Alan Trammell (career statistics | reviewed on 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 ballots)

Year on ballot: 11th (four remaining).
Peak return: 24.3% (2011).
2011 return: 24.3%

Career: 20 seasons, 1977-96 -- Detroit Tigers all the while.
Peak season: 1987 -- 205 hits, 34 doubles, 28 HR, 105 RBI, 109 runs scored, 21 stolen bases (against 2 caught steals), .343 / .402 / .551, 155 OPS+, 8.4 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993.
Career WAR: 66.9.
Primary position: shortstop.
Honoraria and claims to fame: Six All-Star selections, 1984 World Series MVP, four AL Gold Gloves, three AL Silver Sluggers.
Postseason glory: Member of two postseason teams, including the 1984 World Series champion Tigers. Provided .333 / .404 / .588 in 13 games, 58 PA, with 2 doubles, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 6 walks.

Baseball bonus points: Trammell was manager of the Tigers for three seasons, 2003-05. This part of Trammell's career does nothing to help his Hall candidacy.

That 1984 team was really something, and Trammell was a big part of it.

Now that Ron Santo has vacated his spot in the small Best Player Not In The Hall circle, I think Trammell steps in to fill the opening. For years I've seen him as being really, really close to Hall class but not quite there -- and with Larkin alongside him on the ballot, and probably imminently inducted, it's hard to keep thinking that. But I value seasons before career totals, and Trammell's seasons seesawed. From 1978 to 1993 -- 13 consecutive seasons playing full time, two more part time (1991, '93), and one we'll overlook (1992, 29 games), Tram's adjusted OPS went up and down: 89, 95, 113, 91, 97, 138, 135, 89, 120, 155, 137, 85, 130, 90, (114), 138. He didn't play more than 76 games in his last three seasons, and his hitting showed why.

That up-and-down, that inability to sustain his peak and keep his offensive value above league average consistently, drives me nuts. What was he missing? What held him back? Granted that OPS+ numbers in the high 80s or 90s are not bad, but this is the Hall under consideration, and league-average should be the minimum. Trammell cracked 100 (usually easily) eight times, and fell below seven times. (Larkin? OPS+ of 100 or more, thirteen straight seasons.)

My general consideration for the Hall is "sustained greatness", and for me, Trammell is missing -- just missing -- on the "sustained" part, and that's dampening the "greatness" part a bit as well.

I need someone to convince me otherwise, but I'm still placing him on the other side of the velvet rope.

Chipmaker's vote: no. Very, very close, but still "no".


24. Larry Walker (career statistics | reviewed on 2011 ballot)

Year on ballot: 2nd (13 remaining).
Peak return: 20.3% (2011).
2011 return: 20.3%

Career: 17 seasons, 1989-2005 -- Montreal Expos 1989-94, Colorado Rockies 1995-2004, St. Louis Cardinals 2004-05.
Peak season: 1997 -- 208 hits, 46 doubles, 49 HR, 130 RBI, 143 runs scored, 409 total bases, .366 / .452 /.720, 178 OPS+, 9.0 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002.
Career WAR: 67.3.
Primary position: right fielder.
Honoraria and claims to fame: five All-Star selections (four starts), 1997 NL MVP Award, seven NL Gold Gloves, three NL Silver Sluggers. Led league in batting three times, on-base percentage twice, slugging twice, doubles once, HR once, assists by a right fielder three times. Member of the 2004 NL champion Cardinals, and hit the only two homers St. Louis had against Boston in the World Series.
Postseason glory: member of three postseason teams, including the 2004 NL champion Cardinals. Batted .230 / .350 / .510 in 28 games, 121 PA, with 5 doubles, 7 HR, 15 RBI, and 16 walks. Walker was pretty much the only St. Louis player who showed up against the 2004 Red Sox in the World Series, hitting the only two Cardinals home runs.

Walker played in 1988 games -- 604 in Denver (both as a Rockie and a visiting player) and 1384 games elsewhere.

Walker in Denver: 604 games, 2163 at-bats, 823 hits, 181 doubles, 32 triples, 155 HR, .380 batting, .461 on-base, .709 slugging.

Walker elsewhere: 1384 games, 4744 at-bats, 1337 hits, 290 doubles, 30 triples, 228 HR, .282 batting, .372 on-base, .500 slugging.

The first line is, of course, insane, but that second line is pretty darn good. Let's pro-rate his non-Denver stats up to his career games total.

Walker pro-rated: 1988 games, 6814 at-bats, 1920 hits, 417 doubles, 43 triples, 328 HR, .282, .372, .500.

That's Larry Walker had he not played in Denver ever, and it's a very good line. Is it Hall good? Eh; it's not real, but combined with his excellent defense I'd probably go for it. But of course he did play in Denver, and took better advantage of the rarefied air than probably anyone else, and put up fantastic numbers. Even allowing for the Coors Effect, Walker was superb, a genuinely great hitter. Adjusted OPS adjusts for home parks, and even adjusting, Walker could and did hit the crap out of the ball.

I didn't support him in 2011 only because I already had ten names. That's not the case this year, and I'm glad to back his candidacy.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


25. Bernie Williams (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 16 seasons, 1991-2006 -- a lifelong New York Yankee.
Peak season: 1998 -- .339 / .422 / .575, 101 runs, 30 doubles, 26 HR, 97 RBI, 74 walks, 160 OPS+, 6.1 WAR (despite playing in only 128 games).
Other outstanding seasons: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Career WAR: 47.3.
Primary position: center field.
Honoraria and claims to fame: five All-Star selections, one AL Silver Slugger for outfield, four AL Gold Gloves for outfield, 1998 AL batting champion. Led AL in outfielder putouts once.
Postseason glory: Plenty! Member of 12 postseason teams, including the 1996 & 1998-2000 World Series champion Yankees. Batted .275 / .371 / .480 in 121 games, 545 PA (that's practically an extra season), with 83 runs, 128 hits, 29 doubles, 22 HR, 80 RBI, and 71 walks. Named the 1996 ALCS MVP.

Bernie Williams, long considered by many to be the headliner first year name on this ballot, and thought by few to be Hall class. Let's take a look.

Huh. Other than the one batting title, he never led the AL in anything, but he always produced -- nine consecutive seasons with an OPS+ of 119 or better. He only played 150+ games twice, but during that nine-season run he ony played in fewer than 128 games once, and that was the short 1994 season. So reliability is a bit off, but that's not a terribly harsh criticism. He completely lost it after age 33, probably should not have been in center or even in the starting lineup his last two seasons, but the Yankees have long valued loyalty, and the team had enough oomph to carry him as supercargo.

I'm seeing more reason to support Williams' candidacy than I am seeing reasons not to do so. Therefore -- yes. Bernie for the Hall. I don't think he'll get in this time, possibly not ever, but his plaque would be a solid addition to the collection.

Chipmaker's vote: Yes!


26. Tony Womack (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 13 seasons, 1993-94 & 1996-2006 -- Pittsburgh Pirates 1993-94 & '96-98, Arizona Diamondbacks 1999-2003, Colorado Rockies 2003, Chicago Cubs 2003 & '06, St. Louis Cardinals 2004, New York Yankees 2005, Cincinnati Reds 2006.
Peak season: 2004 -- .307 / .349 / .385, 91 runs, 22 doubles, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 26 stolen bases, 91 OPS+, 3.2 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1997, 1998, 1999, but only for the stolen bases and success rates.
Career WAR: 1.2. Yes, one point two.
Primary position: middle infielder (played a little more second base than shortstop).
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection, led NL in stolen bases three times, triples once, singles once.
Postseason glory: member of five postseason teams, including the 2001 World Series champion Diamondbacks. Hit .212 / .250 / .276 in 40 games, 167 PA, with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 6 RBI, and 4 stolen bases. Signature moment came in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, when Womack slashed a double to right field off Mariano Rivera, scoring the tying run, and moments later the Snakes were champions.

Womack's only significant skill was his basestealing -- his career success rate is 83%, par with Raines, and over the three seasons when he led the NL in steals (1997-99) his aggregate was 87%. Those are fantastic numbers -- but those are the only fantastic numbers he has in his Hall candidacy, and they're not nearly enough.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


27. Eric Young (career statistics)

Writers ballot rookie.

Career: 15 seasons, 1992-2006 -- Los Angeles Dodgers 1992 & 1998-99, Colorado Rockies 1993-97, Chicago Cubs 2000-01, Milwaukee Brewers 2002-03, San Francisco Giants 2003, Texas Rangers 2004 & 2006, San Diego Padres 2005-06.
Peak season: 1996 -- .324 / .393 / .421, 113 runs, 184 hits, 23 doubles, 8 HR, 74 RBI, 53 stolen bases, 98 OPS+, 3.8 WAR.
Other outstanding seasons: 1995, 1998, 2000, though only if we don't look too closely.
Career WAR: 17.0.
Primary position: second base.
Honoraria and claims to fame: one All-Star selection, one NL Silver Slugger for second base, led NL in stolen bases once, triples once. Stole six bases in one game in 1996, including consecutive steals of second, third, and home.
Postseason glory: Member of two postseason teams, and did really well, providing .409 / .458 / .727 in seven games, 24 PA, with 2 HR and 5 RBI. But both teams, the 1995 Rockies and the 2005 Padres, were eliminated in the Division Series.

Young was barely a league-average hitter, a pretty good but not elite base stealer (career rate 73%), and an adequate fielder. He had a good career, but not nearly a great one, and I can think of only one item to add -- his son, Eric Jr., has been a Rockies part-time player for the past three seasons. Young was a father at 18, and he's gotta be prouder than punch that his boy is following his footsteps. The son is no better a player, but he's in the majors. That's better than any honors.

Chipmaker's vote: no.


Wrapping up

My candidates: Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Tim Salmon, Lee Smith, Larry Walker, and Bernie Williams -- which, unfortunately, is eleven names, so I have to cut one. I already decided Salmon is my last choice, so, yes, I have to toss Salmon off the boat.

We learn the results later today, Monday, January 9.

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