It's Hall of Fame Day!
OK, my book is in, my slate is relatively clear, our PosCast ALS Fundraiser is going smashingly, I just got some new unopened baseball and basketball card wax packs for the next two PosCasts, and it’s Baseball Hall of Fame Day. What could possibly be better?
Well, alas, I don’t think anyone is going to get elected today. It’s possible we could get one and not entirely impossible that we could even get two inductees.
But it’s likelier that at the end of the day, we will just hear sad trombone sounds.
For now, I’ll give you a big ol’ Hall of Fame rundown, and then tonight, right after the 6 p.m. ET announcement on MLB Network, I’ll do a live chat to go over the results.
I did want to tell you that I’ve got something pretty exciting things in the works: We’re going to create, from scratch, our own JoeBlogs Baseball Hall of Fame. You’ll get to be involved, too — it’s going to be fun. Between that and the big finish to the Football 101 and pitchers and catchers reporting in three weeks and all the WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL content that will be on here the next few months, I’d say it’s a great time to subscribe. But, hey, that’s just my opinion.
OK, so I voted for 10 players on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot because I have come to believe it’s best if everybody maxes out their ballots. This year, with the ballot significantly thinned out, that meant I voted for a couple of borderline players. But, hopefully by doing that, those players will stay on the ballot for further discussion. I wish voters had done that with guys like Kenny Lofton, Lou Whitaker and Johan Santana, just to name three.
Rollins and Vizquel and Kent (Oh My!)
Here’s the question: You have the choice of Jimmy Rollins, Omar Vizquel and Jeff Kent.
Which player do you choose?
I thought for a very long time about this. Kent is, by far, the best hitter of the group. And because of this, he has the highest WAR. Vizquel is, I think we’d all agree, the best fielder of the group.
And Rollins, I think, is the best player in the group. He’s the one I’d want. He played a classy shortstop (won a few Gold Gloves) he was far and away the best baserunner of the three (he led the league in stolen bases once and triples four times), he scored a ton of runs, hit with some power and was the only one of the three to win a World Series — he was a leader on that 2008 Phillies’ World Series team.
It’s easy to write off the last part. After all, one player doesn’t win a World Series. But I think if I wanted to win the World Series, which is the whole point, I’d want Rollins on my team more than Kent, who was a defensive liability and didn’t seem like the most popular guy in the clubhouse, or Vizquel, who really was a well-below-average hitter, despite the gaudy hit totals he compiled over a very long career.
There are a few middle infielders who I’d put in the Hall of Fame before Rollins — starting with Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich — but that’s not how this works. Rollins’ 47.6 WAR doesn’t say Hall of Fame, but I do think WAR understates his value. I voted for him. He was my No. 10 choice.
The Best Hitters of the Last 40 years
Here are, in my opinion, the 10 best hitters who debuted in the last 40 years: