This is my third year as a Hall of Fame voter and, like the other folks who have a ballot (the exception being whoever supposedly played the whore for Deadspin), I take the responsibility seriously. I have found that the decision-making process doesn’t get easier, regardless of how many years you’ve voted.
The BBWAA has formed a committee to study, among other things, whether the 10-candidate ballot limit should be expanded or even done away with entirely. I don’t a problem with limiting the vote to 10 guys; it’s another way to filter who truly belongs in the Hall. At first, I expected my ballot to be full this year. After spending a few days of my Christmas vacation poring over stats, watching video and reading other reporters’ opinions on the candidates, I put checkmarks next to six names:
Maddux was a no-brainer. Glavine also was a relatively easy pick. Thomas has some really gaudy stats, and I’ll never forget the balls he mashed during the 1994 All-Star home run derby at Three Rivers Stadium.
I voted for Smith the past two years. I don’t expect he’ll ever get in, but he was one of the players who always impressed me when I was a young (pre-beat writer) baseball fan. He retired as the ML leader in saves and games finished. Ironically, one Smith moment that sticks with me is when Barry Bonds beat him with an 11th-inning homer in 1991 — a great moment that validated Bonds’ status as the best player in the game at that time.
Speaking of Bonds … yeah, I’m in that camp of voters. Mike Piazza was a very, very tough call for me. His admission of andro use tipped the scales against him — for now, at least.
I voted for Morris because he pretty much was The Pitcher of the ’80s. Awesome in big games, too. This is his final year on the ballot. If he’s not voted in this year, it will be up to the veterans committee fellas down the line to do it.
Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines and Curt Schilling also were difficult decisions. I spent more time on these guys than any of the others, probably. And there’s a good chance each of them will turn up on my ballot somewhere down the line.
Fire away with your comments, but please keep it civil. Remember my Twitter rule: I’m not here to babysit.
– Rob Biertempfel