It’s that time of the year again! Now is the time and this is the place to cast your 2018 South Side Sox Hall of Fame ballot.
Lets go over the guidelines.
Enter your South Side Sox username and select up to 10 names to be enshrined in the South Side Sox Hall of Fame. Please don’t vote more than once. If you don’t think anyone should be voted in, select “None” and submit.
There are some strong first year candidates on the ballot including Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Carlos Lee and Andruw Jones among others. Lets look at the candidates.
.298/.444/.607, 2,935 hits, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 514 SB, 162.4 bWAR
The seven-time MVP and 14-time all-star is on the ballot for the sixth time. Last year he jumped to 53.8% of the vote, which was nearly a 10 percent gain. The story is simple. Either you will vote for him because he’s one of the greatest of all-time, or you won’t because of PED’s.
The 2006 NL Cy Young winner and three-time all-star was 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA in six seasons with the Blue Jays. When he was 29 he joined the Cardinals and went 95-44 with a 3.07 ERA and finished in the top three of the Cy Young voting three times. It is an honor to be nominated.
354-184, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strike outs, 118 complete games, 140.3 bWAR
The 1986 AL MVP, seven-time Cy Young winner and 11-time all-star is in the same situation as Barry Bonds. Either you will vote for him because he’s one of the best ever or you won’t because he was in the Mitchell Report. Last year he jumped about nine percent to 54.1% of the vote.
.284/.352/.433, 2,769 hits, 235 HR, 1,139 RBI, 408 SB, 56.0 bWAR
Johnny Damon was not only a two-time all-star, he also had the sweetest ass in the league. Damon had a very solid career. Probably solid enough to warrant future consideration. However, on this crowded ballot he will likely fall off on the first try. Will you save him?
.318/.379/.553, 2,590 H, 449 HR, 1,496 RBI, 181 SB, 59.3 bWAR
Bad Vlad was the 2004 AL MVP and a nine-time all-star. He was an exciting player who finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. This is his second trip on the ballot. Last year he received 71.7% of the vote. Is this the year Vlad makes the trip to immortality?
178-177, 4.44 ERA, 1,976 strikeouts, 31.1 bWAR
Livan burst onto the scene in 1997 with a 9-3 record and a World Series MVP award. From there, it was a roller coaster ride with some highs and some lows. Livan will always be remembered for starting the wave of Cuban defectors showing up in the MLB. That, the 1997 post-season and the fact that he is half-brothers with the Cuban Legend El Duque.
Trevor Hoffman (Marlins, Padres, Brewers)
61-75, 2.87 ERA, 601 saves, 1.058 WHIP, 28.4 bWAR
The seven-time all-star closer finished in the top six in Cy Young voting four times. His 601 saves are good for second all-time only trailing Mariano Rivera. Hoffman didn’t have Rivera’s success in big game situations. He still was one of the best closers ever. This is his third year on the ballot. Last year he fell just short as he totaled 74% of the vote.
.273/.341/.412, 1,319 hits, 93 HR, 542 RBI, 85 SB, 30.9 bWAR
The O-Dog was a two-time all-star and a four-time gold glove. He was a fine player that earned a cool 31 million dollars in his career. He also played on the last winning White Sox team. However, if he’s a Hall of Famer, then I am as well.
Aubrey Huff (Rays, Astros, Orioles, Tigers, Giants)
.278/.342/.464, 1,699 Hits, 242 HR, 904 RBI, 20.2 bWAR
Huff finished in the top 10 of MVP voting once in 2010, when he lead the Giants to a World Series victory. He played a small role in their 2012 championship as well in his final season. He now spends his time offending people.
Jason Isringhausen (Mets, Athletics, Cardinals, Rays, Angels)
51-55, 3.64 ERA, 300 Saves, 13.2 bWAR
Isringhausen was a highly-touted prospect that pitched very well upon his arrival in 1995, when he went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 1995. Poor pitching and injuries derailed his starting career, but he went on to have pretty decent success out of the bullpen. This will be the last time in my life I will remember Jason Isringhausen.
Andruw Jones (Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, Yankees)
.254/.337/.486, 1,933 Hits, 434 HR, 1,289 RBI, 152 SB, 62.8 bWAR
The 10-time Gold Glove winner and five-time all-star was one of the best in the world until he moved on from Atlanta. He was not the same player after that, but in his time in the middle of the Braves lineup, there were very few center fielders that were as good as he was. It would be a shame if he fell off the ballot in one shot.
Chipper Jones (Braves)
.303/.401/.529, 2,726 H, 468 HR, 1,623 RBI, 150 SB, 85 bWAR
The 1997 NL MVP and eight-time all-star played 19 years and his production fell off of a cliff like his teammate mentioned above. He was the cornerstone in the Braves lineup for many of their remarkable teams throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s. I will be shocked if he is not inducted this year.
Jeff Kent (Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros, Dodgres)
.290/.356/.500, 2,461 hits, 377 HR, 1,518 RBI, 55.2 bWAR
The 2000 NL MVP and five-time all-star is on the ballot for the fifth time. Kent is one of the biggest offensive forces to ever play second base. He hit at least 20 home runs 12 times and knocked in 100 plus eight times. Last year he got 16.7% of the vote.
Carlos Lee (White Sox, Brewers, Rangers, Astros, Marlins)
.285/.339/.483, 2,273 hits, 358 HR, 1,363 RBI, 125 SB, 28.2 Million bWAR
One of my favorites, El Caballo hits the ballot for the first time. He was a major stud for the White Sox in their biggest offensive seasons in the early 2000’s. Unfortunately the Sox sent them to the Brewers in a bad trade. The three-time all-star went on to hit many dingers.
Brad Lidge (Astros, Phillies, Nationals)
26-32, 3.54 ERA, 225 saves, 8.2 bWAR
Lidge was one of the most dominant closers in baseball until the 2005 post-season when Albert Pujols and more importantly Scott Podsednik walked off against him. He bounced back in 2008 with the Phillies but success was fleeting after those two blasts. Thanks for always being on the White Sox highlight reel.
Edgar Martinez (Mariners)
.312/.418/.515, 2,247 Hits, 309 HR, 1,261 RBI, 68.3 bWAR
Edgar is on the ballot for the ninth time. Last year he received 58.6% of the vote, which was a 15 point improvement from the year before. The case for him is his rate stats. The case against him is he didn’t do enough compiling of statistics for a guy who only played designated hitter. I agree with the latter, but he is the lightning rod of the times when it comes to the Hall.
Hideki Matsui (Yankees, Angels, Athletics, Rays)
.282/.360/.462, 1,252 Hits, 175 HR, 760 RBI, 21.3 bWAR
Godzilla came to the states courtesy of Japan and was immediately a two-time all-star. He knocked in over 100 runs in four of his first five seasons and had five seasons with over 20 home runs, showing that Japanese power could translate into the MLB. He also was the 2009 World Series MVP when he hit an incredible .615 with 3 home runs for the champion Yankees. He came over as a 29 year old and injuries and age eventually took their toll on him. He may not be a Hall of Famer, but he was definitely one of the most exciting offensive players to come over from Japan.
Fred McGriff (Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs, Dodgers)
.284/.377/.509, 2,490 Hits, 493 HR, 1,550 RBI, 52.4 bWAR
McGriff was a five-time all-star who was a consistent run producer for many years and many good teams. He led the AL in home runs with 36 in 1989 and then the NL in 1992 with 35. He didn’t have the ridiculous numbers as others of his era but McGriff was always a feared hitter. This is his ninth time on the ballot and the Tom Emanski disciple received 21.7% last year, which is a shame.
Kevin Millwood (Braves, Phillies, Indians, Rangers, Orioles, Rockies, Mariners)
169-152, 4.11 ERA, 2,083 strikeouts, 29.4 bWAR
Millwood went 75-46 for the Braves early in his career, then won the AL ERA title in 2005 with a 2.86. But Hall of Fame? You gotta be bleepin’ me.
Jamie Moyer (Cubs, Rangers, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners, Phillies, Rockies)
269-209, 4.25 ERA, 2,441 strikeouts, 50.4 bWAR
The definition of a crafty lefty, Moyer struggled in his first four stops in the Major Leagues. Things started to turn for him at the age of 33, when he went 13-3. For the next 10 years he was good. He was even serviceable five years after that! Moyer lasted until he was 49 years old! He also was very nice to my son when he met him at the Larry Pgofsky camp a couple of years ago. While never dominant, he eventually had a really impressive career.
Mike Mussina (Orioles, Yankees)
270-153, 3.68 ERA, 2,813 strikeouts, 1.19 WHIP, 83 bWAR
Mussina should probably be in the Hall of Fame already. I can’t even really make a case why he isn’t a Hall of Famer. He won a lot of games, he pitched in the best division of his era, he threw fairly well in the post-season and he ended his career still on top of his game with a 20-win season. He didn’t have the ridiculous electric stuff as others in his era, but he won double digit games every year other than his rookie season when he only had 12 starts. Last year he netted 51.8% of the vote, which was an eight percent jump over his previous high.
Manny Ramirez (Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, Rays)
.312/.411/.585, 2,574 Hits, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 69.2 bWAR
Manny was a monster. He was a 12-time all-star, a nine-time silver slugger and a World Series MVP for the Red Sox when they broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. Even though he never won an MVP award he was in the top ten nine times in his career. Things are a little trickier with Ramirez than Bonds and Clemens, since he tested positive for PED’s and was suspended multiple times whereas Bonds and Clemens never were. Last year he received 23.8% in his first year on the ballot.
Scott Rolen (Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Reds)
.281/.364/.490, 2,077 Hits, 316 HR, 1,287 RBI, 70 bWAR
The new age of voters will make a case for Rolen because of his WAR totals. The people that watched him play thought he was a good not great hitter who battled injuries. I see him as the next Larry Walker in terms of Hall of Fame debate. For the record, I don’t believe either will win the battle. We’ll see.
Johan Santana (Twins, Mets)
139-78, 3.20 ERA, 1,988 strikeouts, 51.4 bWAR
Santana was great in his peak years. Unfortunately, those peak years didn’t last long enough to put up eye popping numbers as injuries took their toll on him. He won two Cy Young awards, led the league in wins in 2006 and had three ERA titles in 2004,2006,2008. By the time he went to the Mets in 2009, his innings started taking a hit. He missed the entire 2011 season and came back in 2012 to go 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA. His career then ended at 33 years old. Was his peak strong enough? Up to you.
Curt Schilling (Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox)
216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts, 1.13 WHIP, 79.9 bWAR
Schilling is probably in the same exact boat as Mussina. The one knock I can see is his relatively low win total, but his incredible post season history of going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA more than makes up for that. He also has an iconic moment in baseball with his bloody sock game. Like Aubrey Huff though, Schilling has a knock for offending people which is why his voting took a dip last year to 45% from his previous high of 52.3% in 2016. We’ll see if he can gain back some voters this year.
Gary Sheffield (Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Mets)
.292/.393/.514, 2,689 Hits, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, 253 SB, 60.3 bWAR
Gary Sheffield was an incredibly exciting hitter throughout his career. He finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting six times. This is a case where I have a major problem with WAR as a statistic. There is no way that Scott Rolen was a better player than Gary Sheffield. I watched both of their careers from start to end and never at any time did I think “I’d take that Rolen over Sheffield”. Not once. Unfortunately, Sheffield gets very little support in the voting due to the PED stuff and the fact that he played for a bunch of teams. He is floundering towards the bottom of the ballot with Sammy Sosa, while those two guys were never suspended and they see Manny Ramirez getting more votes than they are. Something fishy going on other than the fact he was a Marlin. Sheff received 13.3% of the vote last year.
Sammy Sosa (Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles)
.273/.344/.534, 2,408 Hits, 609 HRs, 1,667 RBI, 234 SBs, 58.4 bWAR
Slammin’ Sammy was one of the most exciting players ever. Unfortunately, most of that was on the north side, so he won’t be popular in these parts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy so loved become so hated as quickly as Sosa. Not even OJ Simpson. Yet here we are with the Cubs, even last week, taking the ridiculous stance that he owes them some sort of apology before they will acknowledge his existence. Yet they aren’t giving back any of the trucks full of money that people spent to see him play when he was the only thing going on over there, but I digress. Anyway, Sosa shouldn’t get in if Bonds and Clemens don’t. But he shouldn’t fall off the ballot either, which is where we are at. That is nutsy. He had 8.6% of the vote last year. This is his sixth time on the ballot.
Jim Thome (Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins, Orioles)
.276/.402/.554, 2,328 Hits, 612 HR, 1,699 RBI, 72.9 bWAR
It was fun watching Jim Thome demolish balls into the night sky. None more fun than the one he hit in Game 163 in 2008. He finished in the top 10 of MVP voting four times and was a five-time all-star. His enormous power didn’t quit in his older years as he was still banging them out in a part-time roll in his 40’s. It is looking like Thome will take his rightful spot in Cooperstown on his first go around.
Omar Vizquel (Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays)
.272/.336/.352, 2,877 Hits, 80 HR, 951 RBI, 404 SB, 45.3 bWAR
Oh boy here we go. Omar was a flashy defensive player that earned 11 gold glove awards. He stayed around long enough to flirt with 3,000 hits. However, the bat was mostly empty. The battle is a funny one as usually the new school guys back undeserving guys that were good on defense like Scott Rolen, but this seems to be the opposite. The old school guys are supporting Vizquel while the new school is not. We will see how he shows in his first year.
Billy Wagner (Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, Braves)
47-40, 2.31 ERA, 422 saves, 0.99 WHIP, 28.1 bWAR
Wagner was a dominant closer from the left side and recorded 422 saves. He was a seven time all-star. Unfortunately, he is on the ballot with a guy that got 600 saves so Hoffman is going to get more support than Wagner is even though a case can be made that Wagner was the better of the two pitchers. He’s had 10 percent of the vote in each of his first two years on the ballot.
Larry Walker (Expos, Rockies, Cardinals)
.313/.400/.565, 2,160 Hits, 383 HR, 1,311 RBI, 230 SB, 72.6 bWAR
Walker was a stud in Colorado when he was healthy. And that is the problem with Walker’s case for me. The times he was healthy were so far and few between. He only logged 140 games four times in his 17 years. Others will tell you that the bigger problem is that he played in Colorado and that is where he was dominant. That doesn’t really hold much water with me as you can only play where you play and Colorado is a Major League park in a Major League city. So was Walker good enough in his limited play for you?
Kerry Wood (Cubs, Indians, Yankees)
86-75, 3.67 ERA, 1,582 strikeouts, 63 saves, 27.7 bWAR
Kerry Wood had some great stuff when he first hit the majors. I remember watching his 20 strikeout game as I was sick on the couch and being very impressed. However, injuries came quick and zapped his starting career as he only made 30 starts in a season twice. He had a little bit of success out of the bullpen but the ridiculous stuff was long gone. Wood fits nicely in the Hall of what could have been.
Carlos Zambrano (Cubs, Marlins)
132-91, 3.66 ERA, 1,637 strikeouts, 44.6 bWAR
The most successful of the Cubs trio with Wood and Mark Prior, it took longer for Zambrano to burn out. He was a horse early in his career, but soon enough the injuries took their toll on Big Z as well. Besides his cup of coffee in 2001, Zambrano never had an ERA over 4.00 until his last two years in the big leagues when he was toast. I liked watching him pitc. He brought the fire and passion. I liked even more when the Sox would get under his skin and he would have a dugout blow up, but his career ended as a 31-year-old so the Hall of Fame is out.
Go vote and share your ballot in the comments. The ballots will close on Tuesday the 23rd at approximately 9 PM so I can write the results post.