Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot!
OK, the new Hall of Fame ballot is out. We’re going to have A LOT more to write about this, as there will be an essay on every player on the ballot in December and January, leading up to the vote. It’s Hall of Fame season, which means this is a great time to subscribe!
Here’s our Hall of Fame season schedule:
Next week on JoeBlogs: Breakdown of Contemporary Baseball Era Committee ballot. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s missing? Who’s better? Who’s best?
Dec. 5: Election results from Contemporary Baseball Era. Live reaction on JoeBlogs!
Dec. 6 and 7: The Hall of Fame will announce this year’s winners of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award (previously called the J.G. Taylor Spink Award) and the Ford Frick Award, given annually to a broadcaster for major contributions to baseball.
Mid-December, sometime on Joe Blogs: We will have individual essays of all 28 players on the ballot, along with some surprises.
Jan. 24, 2023: Live announcement on MLB Network of which players (if any) got into the Hall of Fame!
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Today, I just want to briefly go over the 14 players who were added to the ballot this year … and a few more who were not added.
The new players include:
Bronson Arroyo: One-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Arroyo picked with effectiveness for the better part of 15 seasons. Significant part of the ghost-busting 2004 Red Sox. Also has a rock ‘n roll band. Finished with 24.7 WAR.
Carlos Beltran: There will be so much discussion about the Houston cheating scandal, it will definitely be exhausting. Beltran was an eight-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove winner, he hit 565 doubles, 435 home runs, and stole 312 bases. He finished with 70.1 WAR.
Matt Cain: One of the sturdiest players of his time, Cain threw a perfect game and was a part of all three Giants World Series winning teams in the 2010s. Just as solid as they come, he was good for 200 innings every year. Two-time All-Star. Finished with 29.3 WAR.
R.A. Dickey: The 2012 Cy Young Award winner and a beloved figure because, seriously, who doesn’t love a great knuckleballer? Fantastic story, as he reinvented himself in his-mid-30s. Also won a Gold Glove. Finished with 23.1 WAR.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Might have been the best player in baseball in 2011, when he hit .321/.376/.552 with 212 hits, 46 doubles, 32 homers, 39 steals and he won a Gold Glove. He was never quite that good before or after, though he did lead the league in steals three times. Signed a massive contract with the Yankees that didn’t work out. Finished with 31.2 WAR.
J.J. Hardy: A three-time Gold Glover and two-time All-Star for Milwaukee and Baltimore, he was a defensive maestro. He was also a sporadically dangerous hitter; he banged 25-plus homers three times in his career. Finished with 28.1 WAR.
Andre Ethier: Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star who spent his entire career with the Dodgers. Best year was 2009, when he hit .272/.361/.508 with 42 doubles, 31 homers and 105 RBIs — he actually finished sixth in the MVP voting that year. Finished with 21.5 WAR.
John Lackey: Big bull of a pitcher for 15 years, he had double-digit victories every year after his rookie season. Led the league in ERA for the Angels in 2007 and was a key pitcher for the 2016 Chicago Cubs, who ended the long drought. Won 188 games in all, with a solid 110 ERA+. Finished with 38.1 WAR.
Mike Napoli: One-time All-Star, he could really swat, particularly for a catcher — he hit 267 home runs in his career, which places him 10th among all players who spent a good amount of time behind the plate. Finished with 26.3 WAR.
Jhonny Peralta: I always thought you could tell a casual baseball fan from an intense one by showing them Jhonny’s first name and asking if it was misspelled. Three-time All-Star who ended his career with 376 doubles, 202 home runs and 30.4 WAR.
Francisco Rodriguez: K-Rod holds the single-season record with 62 saves in a season. Still the only player to save 60 games in a season. He led the league in saves three other times and finished with 437, fourth all-time behind three Hall of Famers. Finished with 24.2 WAR.
Huston Street: Rookie of the Year and a two time All-Star; fine relief pitcher for more than a decade, particularly for the A’s. Saved 324 games, even though he did not get a save after age 32. Finished with 14.5 WAR.
Jered Weaver: Finished top five in Cy Young voting three straight years from 2010 through 2012. Twice led the league in wins and starts and once led in strikeouts. Turned out to be better than his older brother Jeff. Finished with 34.9 WAR.
Jayson Werth: Slugger who was a big part of Philadelphia’s back-to-back pennant winners in 2008 and 2009. He led the league in doubles in 2010 and then signed a big deal to play for the Washington Nationals. He was a popular, though often injured, player in Washington. Finished with 29.2 WAR.
OK, so those are the players who are on the ballot. You can say right now that other than Beltran and perhaps K-Rod, none of them have a chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame. But the point today is, it’s an honor to be nominated.
So were there some good players not nominated? Yes. Here are the top five players by WAR who did not make the ballot.
Yunel Escobar, 26.8 WAR
Aaron Hill, 24.4 WAR
Erick Aybar, 22.7 WAR
Carlos Ruiz, 22.4 WAR
Ubaldo Jiménez, 21.0 WAR
Should any of them have been on the ballot? I think you could argue for any of them — Escobar was a solid hitter for a decade, Hill was an All-Star who twice received MVP consideration, Aybar won a Gold Glove and had a nice career, Ruiz was, for a time, considered one of the best catchers in baseball, and he was key figure on those Phillies teams, and Jiménez might have been the best pitcher in the league in 2010, which was rather incredible, since he pitched for Colorado.
I might have put Jiménez and Ruiz on there instead of Huston Street and Andre Ethier, but realistically it’s too close to call. I suppose they could have just put ALL of them on there, but I’m not sure who that serves … plus it would make things a lot tougher on me if I’m really going to write an essay on everyone.
As many of you might know, my new book, WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL, will be coming out in September 2023, published by the good people at Dutton Books. It’s not yet available for preorder (though I hear the Dutton people are already working on a cover, which is SUPER exciting) but I want to mention it to you anyway, because I’m deep in the writing now and I just get more and more excited about it every day.
Essentially the book is a countdown of the 50 greatest moments in baseball history. But it’s really a lot more than that. I won’t go into details now, except to say that every day I’m discovering numerous incredibly cool baseball things that will be going in the book. Like yesterday, in a search that is only tangentially related to what I’m writing about, I looked up some info about Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season of 1927. And I discovered two things I either never knew or somehow forgot.
Did you know that there were charges going down the stretch that at least a couple of pitchers purposely grooved fastballs to Ruth so that he would break his own home run record?
Did you know that on Sept. 5 of that year — with only 24 games left — Ruth and Lou Gehrig were actually TIED with 44 homers each? In those final 24 games, Gehrig hit .315 with three homers. And Ruth hit .393 with 16 homers. What a wild month!
I cannot wait for you to read this book, but in the meantime I’ll try to throw in a few cool stories and facts here at Joe Blogs over the next few months, because a lot of this stuff is just too good. Thanks for reading! All right, fine, here’s one more subscribe button!