It’s that time of the year again! The loyal readers of South Side Sox have the opportunity to voice their opinions on what legends should walk with the immortals in the Hall of Fame! There are 34 candidates this year to break down. The first timers include Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez. It is time for Tim Raines and Lee Smith to crap or get off the pot, as it is their final time on the ballot. Will time and Bud Selig’s Hall Call push candidates like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens over the 75% threshold? Will the forgotten Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield gain some traction? It is all up to you.
Here are the guidelines:
- We follow the rules set by the Hall of Fame. Only up to 10 votes will be allowed. Any more, your ballot gets the boot.
- Even though Tim Raines has been elected by us multiple times, he will still be on the ballot to give this year the most authentic feel.
- If you are Murray Chass, please select “None” so your vote can be counted.
- Only vote one time. Any multiples will be given the boot.
- Voting will stop at 7 PM on January 17th, so our results can be released on the morning of the MLB announcement.
Jeff Bagwell (Astros)
Career Stats: .297/.408/.540, 2,314 Hits, 449 HR, 1,529 RBI, 202 SB
Jeff Bagwell is on the ballot for the seventh time. He had a big time career all for the Houston Astros. He didn’t hit any of the magic career numbers, but he definitely had big time rate stats. He also was a well rounded first baseman, as he played very good defensively and also stole 202 bags. Bagwell has suffered a bit from unfounded PED claims, but Mike Piazza who was in the same boat got in last year. Will this be Bagwell’s year?
Casey Blake (Blue Jays, Twins, Orioles, Indians, Dodgers)
Career Stats: .264/.336/.442, 1,186 hits, 167 HR, 616 RBI
Blake’s career got off to a rocky start. To be honest I didn’t even remember he played on some of the teams he played on. He turned himself into a solid piece for the Indians. In 2004, he hit .271/.354/.486 with 28 homers and 88 RBI. In 2008, he was dealt to the Dodgers. In fact, he is still paying off for the Indians as they received Carlos Santana in that trade. Even more reason not to vote for him. Not that you needed a reason.
Barry Bonds (Pirates, Giants)
Career Stats: .298/.444/.607, 2,935 H, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 514 SB
The seven time MVP is on the ballot for the fifth time. He is the career leader in home runs and walks, a 13 time all-star and an eight time gold glover. He is on the short list of the greatest players of all time. In my opinoin, the 1990’s were a great era for baseball and Bonds was one of the greatest. You know the reasons why he’s not in. Last year, Bonds received 44.6% of the vote.
Pat Burrell (Phillies, Rays, Giants)
Career Stats: .253/.361/.472, 1,393 H, 292 HR, 976 RBI
Burrell had some big years for the Phillies. He had eight years in a row with at least 20 home runs, including four with at least 30. He won rings for the 2008 Phillies and 2010 Giants, but he only hit .037 in his 27 Fall Classic at bats. Burrell had a nice career, but he was never an all-star let alone a Hall of Famer.
Orlando Cabrera (Expos, Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, Athletics, Twins, Reds, Indians, Giants)
Career Stats: .272/.317/.390, 2,055 hits, 123 HR, 854 RBI, 216 SB
The two-time gold glove winner had a pretty solid career before becoming a nomad at the end of it. He was very solid for the Expos, where he hit .297/.347/.460 with 17 homers and 80 RBI in 2003. In 2004, he helped break the Red Sox curse as he came aboard mid-season at shortstop for Nomar Garciaparra. He followed that up with three good seasons for the Angles before being dealt to the White Sox for Jon Garland. He hit .281/.334/.371 for the 2008 division champs. He then jumped around to five teams over three seasons to close his career. Our old pal O.C. will always be a Hall of Famer in Mrs. Cowley’s heart.
Mike Cameron (White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox, Marlins)
Career Stats: .249/.338/.444, 1,700 H, 278 HR, 968 RBI, 297 SB
Cameron started his career right here on the South Side. He started to get some real playing time in 1997 and had a good year hitting .259/.356/.433 with 14 home runs. He didn’t fair as well in 1998 and then was traded to the Reds for their own faltering youngster, Paul Konerko. The rest is history on the South Side as Konerko’s 14 is retired and a World Series flag flies from a team that Konerko was the captain. Cameron, however, also went on to better things. He had a very good year in 1999 for the Reds and then was part of the trade that brought Ken Griffey back home to Cincinnati. Cameron went on to be a big piece for some real tough Mariners teams in the early 2000’s. He hit at least 20 home runs eight times, stole at least 20 bases eight times and was an All-Star in 2001 when he hit .267/.353/.480 with 25 homers and 110 knocked in for the Mariners. He also played a stellar center field for many years and ended his career with 46.5 bWar. Konerko finished his career with 27.6 bWar. Cameron is not likely to stay on the ballot after this year, but he did have a very good career after a shaky start with the White Sox.
Roger Clemens (Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros)
Career stats: 354-184, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts, 118 complete games)
The seven-time Cy Young winner and 1986 American League MVP lead the league in wins four times, with six 20 win seasons, led the league in strikeouts five times and ERA seven times. He was an 11-time All-Star. This is his fifth time on the ballot. He jumped to 45.2% last year. Like Bonds, the reasons why Clemens isn’t in is well known. He is one of the best pitchers of all-time.
J.D. Drew (Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox)
Career stats: .278/.384/.489, 1,437 hits, 242 home runs, 795 RBI
Drew was an on base guy throughout his career. In 2004, he hit .305/.436/.569 with 31 homers, 93 RBI and 118 walks. He was an all-star for the 2008 champion Red Sox. Drew had a very good career spent with some of the sports most storied franchises. He doesn’t have the counting stats for me to seriously consider him, though.
Vladimir Guerrero (Expos, Angels, Rangers, Orioles)
Career stats: .318/.379/.553, 2,590 hits, 449 home runs, 1,496 RBI, 181 SB
Bad Vlad was the last real superstar in Montreal. He kept up his superstar status when he went to Los Angeles. There were very few players as exciting as Guerrero. From his ridiculous arm to him golfing fastballs at his shoestrings deep into the stands,everything about this dude screamed Hall of Fame. The nine-time all-star and 2004 American League MVP eventually slowed down due to numerous leg injuries. In his last two seasons he was mostly a DH for the Rangers and Orioles, but he could always hit. In 2011, he hit .290 for the Orioles. It was his lowest batting average since receiving regular playing time in 1997.
Carlos Guillen (Mariners, Tigers)
Career stats: .285/.355/.443, 1,331 hits, 124 HR, 660 RBI
Guillen was a fine hitter and a certified White Sox killer. He really came into his own once joining the Tigers in 2004 and was a three-time all-star for Detroit. His best season was 2004 when he hit .318 with 20 homers and 97 RBI. Guillen played a big part of turning the Tigers from laughing stock to a yearly contender.
Trevor Hoffman (Marlins, Padres, Brewers)
Career stats: 61-75, 2.87 ERA, 601 saves
Hoffman was one of the most dominant closers of all-time. He currently ranks second on the career saves list behind Mariano Rivera. At the time he retired, Hoffman was the career leader. He had nine seasons with at least 40 saves and led the league twice, including 53 in 1998, when he also had a 1.48 ERA. He was a seven-time all-star and received 67.3% of the vote last year. The only reason he wouldn’t be voted for is if you don’t believe the current crop of closers belong in the Hall, because Hoffman is one of the best.
Jeff Kent (Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros, Dodgers)
Career stats: .290/.356/.500, 2,461 hits, 377 home runs, 1,518 RBI
Kent was a decent player for the Mets in the early portion of his career. When he went to the Giants in 1997 as a 29 year old, he became a potential Hall of Fame player. Kent was a five-time all-star and the 2000 NL MVP. He hit .334/.424/.596 with 33 homers and 125 RBI that season. From 1997 through 2005 he knocked in at least 105 runs eight out of nine seasons and homered at least 20 times in every one of those years. His offensive numbers are right there with every second baseman in the Hall, yet he received 16.6% of the vote last year. Maybe Kent will get more serious consideration if he hangs around the ballot a few more years.
Derrek Lee (Marlins, Cubs, Braves, Orioles, Pirates)
Career stats: .281/.365/.495, 1,959 hits, 331 homers, 1,078 RBI, 104 SB
Lee started his career in Florida where he blossomed into a solid slugger. For the 2003 World Series champs, he hit .271 with 31 homers. After that season he moved onto the Cubs where he was a two-time all-star. While the White Sox were busy winning the 2005 World Series, Lee was busy finishing third in the NL MVP voting. He led the league with a .335 batting average, a .662 slugging percentage, a 1.080 OPS, 199 hits and 50 doubles. He also tallied 46 homers and 107 RBI. A broken wrist shortened his 2006 season to only 50 games. He bounced back to have some good seasons for the Cubs before floating around from Atlanta to Baltimore to Pittsburgh. He always had a solid bat.
Edgar Martinez (Mariners)
Career stats: .312/.418/.515, 309 home runs, 1,261 RBI, 2,247 hits
Martinez was a horse in the Mariners lineup throughout their most successful run in team history. He has outstanding rate stats. A late start to his career kept his counting numbers from being elite and he was also playing in the shadow of Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro. Is there enough room for a fifth Mariner?
Fred McGriff (Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs, Dodgers)
Career stats: .284/.377/.509, 493 home runs, 1,550 RBI, 2,490 hits
The Crime Dog was one of the most consistent producers throughout his era. He had ten seasons with at least 30 dingers. He led the AL in ‘89 and the NL in ‘92. He had eight seasons with more than 100 RBI. He hit .303/.385/.532 with 10 post-season homers. He fell just short of 500 homers and he was a casualty of the steroid era as the huge numbers some stars put up dwarfed the consistently great numbers of McGriff. If you aren’t voting for the PED guys, then in my opinion, a vote should be cast for McGriff.
Melvin Mora (Mets, Orioles, Rockies, Diamondbacks)
Career stats: .277/.350/.431, 171 homers, 754 RBI, 1,503 hits
Mora had some big years for the Orioles. In 2004, he hit .340/.419/.562 with 27 homers and 108 RBI. He was a solid contributor for nearly a decade with the Orioles. I was a fan of his and always had him on my fantasy team. However, he was never a star of the team. Therefore, he is not a Hall of Famer.
Mike Mussina (Orioles, Yankees)
Career stats: 270-153, 3.68 ERA, 2,813 strikeouts, 1.192 WHIP
Mussina was consistently great as he pitched his entire career in the best division in baseball, the AL East. He won double digit games 17 years in a row, and even topped the illusive 20 win mark in 2008, his final season. The five-time all-star finished with 43 percent of the vote last year. Can he make a jump in his fourth time through the process?
Magglio Ordonez (White Sox, Tigers)
Career stats: .309/.369/.502, 294 home runs, 1,236 RBI, 2,156 hits
Magglio Ordonez was one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen on the White Sox in my 34 years of fandom. He had 11 years of hitting .300 or better, topping out with a league leading .363 for the Tigers in 2007. He had eight seasons with 21+ homers and four with 30 or more. He had seven seasons with at least 103 RBI. Magglio played a large part of bringing the Tigers organization back to life, including his pennant clinching homer to send the Tigers to the 2006 World Series. I named my daughter Maggie...or Maggs... after him. The White Sox should do a better job of honoring one of the best hitters in their history.
Jorge Posada (Yankees)
Career stats: .273/.374/.474, 275 home runs, 1,065 RBI, 1,664 hits
One of the Yankees core four in their dominant run that started in the mid 90’s, Posada was a steady force in the lineup throughout the latest dominant Yankee dynasty. He was a five-time all-star that caught some of the best pitchers of the era. While I’m sure he won’t make it in on a ballot that also includes a legend like Ivan Rodriguez, I would like to see Posada hang around for a while because I do think there is a case for him.
Tim Raines (Expos, White Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Orioles, Marlins)
Career stats: .294/.385/.425, 170 home runs, 980 RBI, 2,605 hits, 808 stolen bases
Tim “Rock” Raines was one of the greatest lead-off hitters of all time. He was an elite star on the Expos, a very solid regular on the White Sox and a fantastic role player for the Yankees. Raines is on the ballot for the 10th and final time. We here at South Side Sox have voted in the Rock on multiple occasions. After getting 69.8% of the vote last year, will the Rock get the extra few votes he needs to get the call? I sure hope so.
Manny Ramirez (Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, Rays)
Career stats: .312/.411/.585, 555 home runs, 1,831 RBI, 2,574 hits
The 12-time all-star came up as a young gun in the ridiculous Indians lineup and had five seasons with at least 30 homers. He knocked in a league leading 165 RBI in 1999. In 2001, he moved on to the Red Sox and formed a dynamic duo with David Ortiz that eventually toppled the curse of the Bambino. “Manny being Manny” became a catchphrase because the sometimes eccentric star marched to the beat of his own drum. Eventually this got hip shipped out of Boston. He arrived in L.A. and it quickly became known as Mannywood as Ramirez lead the Dodgers back to the playoffs with a ridiculous 53 game run, where the slugger hit .396/.489/.743 with 17 long ones. Nagging injuries, age and failed PED tests caught up to him and he quietly closed his career with the White Sox and Rays. Ramirez case is a bit different than the rest of the PED guys that have been on the Hall ballot as those guys never failed an official test. Ramirez failed two of them. Does that make a difference in his Hall chances?
Edgar Renteria (Marlins, Cardinals, Red Sox, Braves, Tigers, Giants, Reds)
Career stats: .286/.343/.398, 140 home runs, 923 RBI, 2,327 hits, 294 stolen bases
Renteria was a five-time all-star throughout his career. He was best known for his post-season heroics as he ended the 1997 World Series with a walk-off single to bring the Marlins their first title. Thirteen years later, Renteria was the World Series MVP as he hit .412/.444/.765 to lead the Giants past the Rangers in 2010. In between, he always had a very good batting average, usually found his way to double digit home runs and played good defense.
Arthur Rhodes (Orioles, Mariners, Athletics, Indians, Phillies, Marlins, Reds, Rangers, Cardinals)
Career stats: 87-70, 4.08 ERA, 33 saves, 1,152 strikeouts
Rhodes was a lefty out of the pen for a long time. He did some good things. But why he’s on the Hall of Fame ballot and Javier Vazquez is not even though he was eligible, is insulting. Sorry Arthur.
Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, Nationals)
Career stats: .296/.334/.464, 2,844 hits, 311 home runs, 1,332 RBI, 127 stolen bases
Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez were the two stud catchers of my time. Year in and year out they were in the All-Star game. Piazza hit the light tower homers, Rodriguez had the high batting average and rocket for an arm. He shut down the oppositions running game. Teams wouldn’t dare run on “Pudge”. He eventually developed more power at the plate, as he hit over 20 home runs five times, including 35 in 1999. In 2003, Rodriguez signed a one-year deal to play with the Marlins after shockingly having little to no interest in the free agent market. He became the anchor of the team that went on to win the World Series. He was named the LCS MVP against the Cubs. After that season, he signed with the Detroit Tigers. He was an all-star four years in a row before eventually jumping around the league and staying around too long that his career averaged dropped to .296. Jose Canseco named him in his book and Rodriguez showed up noticeably skinnier in 2004, the year that PED testing was allowed. However, the guy was without question one of the best. Will he have to wait like Piazza? Or is it one and done for Pudge?
Freddy Sanchez (Red Sox, Pirates, Giants)
Career stats: .297/.335/.413, 1,012 hits, 48 home runs, 371 RBI
Sanchez was a three-time all-star for some bad Pirate teams. He hit .344 in 2006, which led the league. He had a nice run, but he’d have to triple his stats to have any shot at Cooperstown.
Curt Schilling (Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox)
Career stats: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts, 83 complete games, 20 shutouts, 1.137 WHIP
Schilling had great stats. but he had even greater stats in October. He was a true big game pitcher going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA. He won the NLCS MVP in 1993 for the Phillies and the World Series MVP in 2001 for the Diamondbacks. He won three rings in total and also pitched masterfully in the “bloody sock” game. He has done himself no favors after his career with his political agenda, but on the field, there are very few that could get it done like Schilling did. He received 52.3 percent of the vote last year.
Gary Sheffield (Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Mets)
Career stats: .292/.393/.514, 509 home runs, 1,676 RBI, 2,689 hits, 253 stolen bases
There were very few people on the baseball field that looked as mean and dangerous as Gary Sheffield did. From his bat wiggling to his incredible bat speed and screaming line drives, Sheff was one of a kind. For most of his career he had a high batting average and he was good for at least 25 home runs a year. He’s had 11 percent of the ballot his first two years, and that is pretty damn ridiculous.
Lee Smith (Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds, Expos)
Career stats: 71-92, 3.03 ERA, 478 saves, 1,251 strikeouts
Smith was one of the last of the old school guys that would pitch multiple innings to close out a game, as evidenced by his league leading 29 saves in 103 1⁄3 innings in 1983. When the roles changed to one inning specialist, Smith was up for that task too. He saved 46 games in 58 innings in 2003. He is third in career saves with 478 and was first at the time of his retirement. Lee Smith was one of the guys that changed the game. This is his 15th and final year on the ballot. He’d need a big jump.
Sammy Sosa (Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles)
Career stats: .273/.344/.534, 609 home runs, 1,667 RBI, 2,408 hits, 234 stolen bases
People talk about Sammy only having big power because he was on the gas. I am old enough to watch that little skinny #25 on the White Sox send balls flying into the upper deck at Old Comiskey Park in 1990. He had some pop as a 21-year old. As he got older he harnassed that power to hit 25-40 home runs for five years. Then Sosa went on his Ruthian run hitting 60+ home runs three times. He also led the league twice with 50 and 49 respectively. He closed out his career back where it started, in Texas, with a 21 home run season in 2007. 609 home runs. 60-plus three times. Don’t give me that he’s not a Hall of Famer crap. Get real. The Cubs certainly aren’t doing him any favors either, which is a shame as he is responsible for more Cub fans that are in their 20’s than anyone else. He had 7% of the vote last year. What a travesty.
Matt Stairs (Expos, Red Sox, Athletics, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies, Padres, Nationals)
Career stats: .262/.356/.477, 265 home runs, 899 RBI, 1,366 hits
Stairs could hit righties very hard. He had six 20 home run seasons. He went over 100 RBI two times. When he pinch hit against the White Sox, he would make me nervous as he was always a threat to leave the park. However, he just didn’t get enough at bats most years to warrant even all-star votes yet alone Hall of Fame ones.
Jason Varitek (Red Sox)
Career stats: .256/.341/.435, 193 home runs, 757 RBI, 1,307 hits
Like Posada, Varitek spent his entire career with a storied franchise and won a couple of championships with them. He was a solid player that was a steady force for the Red Sox throughout the 2000s. However, he was never as good as Posada was and nowhere near as good as Rodriguez was. It is going to be hard for him to get any votes.
Billy Wagner (Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, Braves)
Career stats: 47-40, 2.31 ERA, 1,196 strikeouts, 422 saves
Wagner was a good closer for a lot of years. He was a lefty that struck out way more batters than innings pitched. At the end of the day though, he didn’t have the 600 saves like Hoffman or the impact that Smith had. He had 10 percent of the vote last year. I don’t see him making much progress going forward.
Tim Wakefield (Pirates, Red Sox)
Career stats: 200-180, 4.41 ERA, 2,156 strikeouts
Wakefield was a knuckleballer that hung around long enough to get his 200th victory. He took the ball for the BoSox and ate a lot of innings. However, the thing I remember him most for is the Big Hurt hitting it over the monster many times against him. Great career though.
Larry Walker (Expos, Rockies, Cardinals)
Career stats: .313/.400/.565, 383 home runs, 1,311 RBI, 2,160 hits, 230 stolen bases.
Walker has hall worthy rate stats. He also benefited from playing in Denver. He was a three-time batting champ, a five time all-star, but also lost a lot of playing time due to injury. He definitely has a case to be made, however he only received 15.5 percent of the vote last year. I just can’t vote for him over guys like Sosa and Sheffield.
Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Mussina, Magglio Ordonez, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
I’m not the biggest Bagwell fan in the world, but he was neck and neck with Frank Thomas for most of their careers and he is so close, I just want him off the ballot for next year.
Bonds and Clemens are two of the most dominant players in baseball history. I voted for them before, but now I am even more confident in my selections as the guy who oversaw the steroid era, Bud Selig, is getting in. If he gets in, so do his horses. Bonds and Clemens were two of the best.
Vladimir Guerrero had KenWar written all over him. He could do everything on the baseball field. Especially hit.
I figured I have to put another pitcher on the list and Mussina was my favorite of the bunch. He was very consistent in a tough environment.
Magglio Ordonez got the call because I love him. Sue me.
Tim Raines is a top five leadoff hitter of all-time. It should have never taken this long.
Ivan Rodriguez was so fun to watch on defense. His rocket arm was amazing. Throw in the fact that he hit .300 nearly every year makes it even better.
Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa are two guys that are having a tough time getting traction for whatever reason. I’d take those two over the likes of Edgar and Walker any day. So I did.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us who you voted for and why. The results will be announced on January 18th. Lets see how close we come this year. For as much complaining that goes on about the Hall of Fame, we usually are pretty close to the actual voting. Have at it!