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Vote in the third annual South Side Sox Veterans Committee Hall of Fame election!

Ten players from the loaded 1990s await your decision on their Hall-worthiness

There was a haze cast over Rafael Palmeiro’s playing career, but he has a chance for immortality at SSS, headlining our Veterans ballot.
| Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Last week I previewed our upcoming Hall of Fame elections, and explained in great detail how we are going to approach Veterans voting in years to come. In short, we are creating our own eras by decade, eight in total, which we’ll hop around with from voting year to year.

First up is the loaded (yeah, pun) decade of the 1990s. The list of ignored players is very long, and that doesn’t even include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, who will get a pause after just being dropped from the BBWAA ballot last year.

The methodology is similar to the more novel approach we took a year ago, and that means no off-site, third-party ballot. We are again voting here on site, with a yes/no decision. There are also no limits to your support; vote for all 10 candidates, if you wish.

Not that for our bookkeeping purposes, it is important that you don’t just vote “yes” for the guys you like and ignore the others. Please vote “yes” or “no” for EVERY candidate.

All player bios can be found below, with lots of additional information for context. Note the “closest HOF election” figure ... NONE of these players deserved such harsh treatment as they got from the BBWAA.

On Sunday, we’ll publish the results, although they are available in real time in this story as well. Then on Monday the 16th, we’ll have our regular Cooperstown vote. Following that, in February, will be our fifth annual South Side Sox White Sox Hall of Fame election.

note: bWAR = Baseball-Reference WAR fWAR = FanGraphs WAR WARP = Baseball Prospectus WAR aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism JAWS = Jay Jaffe’s HOF measure of Top 7 seasons vs. Hall average Similar Player = Baseball-Reference/Bill James formula


New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Tokyo - March 31, 2004 Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Kevin Brown

Starting Pitcher
Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles (1977-95)
bWAR: 67.8
fWAR: 76.0
WARP: 81.5
aWAR: 75.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 93
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 33
Most Similar Player: Bob Welch (94.6%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 2.1% (2011)
Core Stats 3.28 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 127 ERA+, 3.33 FIP
Core Accolades Six-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Kevin Brown’s carpetbagger status in the game sullies what is an absolutely potent Hall of Fame resume. A far lesser (but more spectacular, perhaps) candidate in Roy Halladay was elected on his first ballot, while Brown was kicked to the curb.

Poll

Should Kevin Brown be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes
    (43 votes)
  • 61%
    No
    (69 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now
Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Will Clark

First Baseman
San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles (1986-2000)
bWAR: 56.5
fWAR: 52.0
WARP: 41.5
aWAR: 50.0
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 222
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 27
Most Similar Player: Adrián González (91.1%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 4.4% (2006)
Core Stats 2,176 hits, 284 home runs, .303/.384/.497, .880 OPS, 137 OPS+
Core Accolades Six-time All-Star, Gold Glove, two Silver Sluggers, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1989 NLCS MVP

At age 36, in his final season, Will Clark had a .964 OPS in 130 games. So the easiest explanation for why he so quickly fell off of the HOF ballot — that he fell fast into ineffectiveness as a player — is not true. He also was not a fragile player, getting into nearly 2,000 MLB games. And while not exactly a clubber during baseball’s steroid era, Clark put balls in gaps and always had a healthy slugging percentage.

Poll

Should Will Clark be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Yes
    (28 votes)
  • 74%
    No
    (81 votes)
109 votes total Vote Now
New York Yankees’ pitcher David Cone delivers a pi DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images

David Cone

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox (1986-2003)
bWAR: 62.3
fWAR: 56
WARP: 71.5
aWAR: 63.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 119
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 48
Most Similar Player: Dwight Gooden (94.6%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 3.9% (2009)
Core Stats 3.46 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 121 ERA+, 3.57 FIP
Core Accolades 1994 Cy Young, five-time All-Star, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

A dominant arm who perhaps didn’t quite stand out enough in a Roger Clemens-Pedro Martinez era, Cone was a consistently-elite money pitcher, period. In retirement, has embraced the modern world and become a pretty good baseball analyst.

Poll

Should David Cone be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Yes
    (36 votes)
  • 66%
    No
    (71 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now
California / Anaheim Angels (1986-1999) pitcher Chuck Finley Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images

Chuck Finley

Starting Pitcher
Angels, Cleveland, St. Louis Cardinals (1986-2002)
bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 56.9
WARP: 50.1
aWAR: 55.0
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 201
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 67
Most Similar Player: Mark Langston (93.2%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 0.2% (2008)
Core Stats 200 wins, 3.85 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 2,610 K, 115 ERA+, 3.91 FIP
Core Accolades Five-time All-Star

While Finley is not the strongest candidate on this ballot, the notion that 0.2% of voters thought he was worth HOF consideration — that’s ONE vote, or half as many as Rod Beck and Robb Nen got that year — is embarrassing.

Poll

Should Chuck Finley be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Yes
    (7 votes)
  • 93%
    No
    (101 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now
Cleveland Indians Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Kenny Lofton

Center Fielder
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros (1991-2007)
bWAR: 68.4
fWAR: 62.4
WARP: 50.6
aWAR: 60.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 102
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF 10
Most Similar Player: Jimmy Ryan (87.6%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 3.2% (2013)
Core Stats 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish

An elite defender who roamed the challenging turf of center field for a long time. Like Kevin Brown, Lofton’s mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.

Poll

Should Kenny Lofton be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Yes
    (68 votes)
  • 40%
    No
    (47 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now
Chicago Clubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Mark McGwire

First Baseman
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals (1986-2001)
bWAR: 62.1
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 62.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 137
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B 17
Most Similar Player: José Canseco (80.1%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 23.7% (2009)
Core Stats 583 home runs, .263/.394/.588, .982 OPS, 163 OPS+
Core Accolades 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, three Top 5 MVP finishes

PED controversies aside, McGwire put up numbers. There likely remain enough steroid purists out there to keep him far off of the ballot for years to come, but the production and rankings merit inclusion here.

Poll

Should Mark McGwire be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Yes
    (45 votes)
  • 60%
    No
    (68 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now
Baseball: Toronto Blue Jays John Olerud Tom G. Lynn//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

John Olerud

First Baseman
Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox (1989-2005)
bWAR: 58.2
fWAR: 57.3
WARP: 54.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 221
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B 24
Most Similar Player: Will Clark (89.2%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 0.7% (2011)
Core Stats 2,239 hits, 255 home runs, .295/.398/.465, .863 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades Two-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1993 batting title, one Top 5 MVP finish

Certainly not a traditional first baseman thumper bat, Olerud was more or less a hitting machine who contributed to two World Series titles. (Plus, he was touted as a possible two-way player before Shohei Ohtani was born!) While he certainly pales next to his predecessor robots (Rod Carew, George Brett, Wade Boggs), his utter oversight is embarrassing.

Poll

Should John Olerud be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Yes
    (12 votes)
  • 88%
    No
    (95 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now
Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Rafael Palmeiro
First Baseman
Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs (1985-2005)
bWAR: 71.9
fWAR: 70
WARP: 64.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 131
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B 13
Most Similar Player: Frank Robinson (88.8%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 12.6% (2012)
Core Stats 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, .288/.371/.515, .885 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades Four-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

More PED taint and embarrassment, yes, but Palmeiro has an even more compelling case for the Hall than McGwire — in fact, the best WAR case on this ballot. An elite bat, solid glove, and great longevity.

Poll

Should Rafael Palmeiro be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Yes
    (40 votes)
  • 63%
    No
    (71 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now
Houston Astros v New York Mets Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Bret Saberhagen

Starting Pitcher
Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies (1984-2001)
bWAR: 58.8
fWAR: 55.3
WARP: 54.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 147
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP 57
Most Similar Player: Roy Oswalt (94.4%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 1.3% (2007)
Core Stats 3.34 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 126 ERA+, 3.27 FIP
Core Accolades 1985 and 1989 AL Cy Young, three-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 Cy Young finish, 1985 World Series MVP

Saberhagen had runs of elite pitching but a touch less longevity and overall dominance. You’d think he tracks right alongside onetime teammate David Cone, but Cone seems the superior hurler. Oh, and do you want Chicago connections, despite them playing no role in this election? Saberhagen was born in Chicago Heights and threw a no-hitter against the White Sox.

Poll

Should Bret Saberhagen be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes
    (33 votes)
  • 64%
    No
    (61 votes)
94 votes total Vote Now
Chicago White Sox Robin Ventura... Mickey Pfleger/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Robin Ventura

Third Baseman
Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers (1989-2004)
bWAR: 56.1
fWAR: 56.7
WARP: 51.5
aWAR: 54.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank 224
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B 21
Most Similar Player: Ron Cey (96.1%)
Closest to Hall of Fame Election 1.3% (2010)
Core Stats 1,885 hits, 294 home runs, .267/.362/.444, .806 OPS, 114 OPS+
Core Accolades Two-time All-Star, six Gold Gloves

Homer pick? Nope, the numbers make a case for Robin in the Hall, period. Elite glove. Power/on-base bat on par with a typical star corner IF. No, not a four-star general, but a leader with few peers. And, in contrast to his soft-spoken and studious demeanor, and utter badass — case in point, mere weeks of rehab after his hideous Spring Training injury in 1997.

Poll

Should Robin Ventura be in the Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes
    (40 votes)
  • 64%
    No
    (73 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now

Again, please, don’t pick and choose votes, “no” votes of dissent are as important to cast here as “yes” votes of support.

Thanks for participating!

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