With the news of the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame electing four new members last week, many fans of the Braves and Indians find themselves thrilled with the elections of Chipper Jones and Jim Thome. How could you not be? These are two players who excelled on and off the field, had long, successful careers, and are adored by fans throughout the league. They are no doubt Hall of Famers, and I don’t think anyone could make any kind of argument to the contrary. Unfortunately, the other two men to be inducted this summer hit a different note.
Jim Thome: Growing up an Indians fan in the 1990s, Jim Thome was a hero for me. I was heartbroken when he went to Philadelphia. Fortunately, he returned to Cleveland for a short time and gave my adult self a small memento to hold onto. I would vote for Jim Thome for President of the United States, so my opinion is admittedly a bit biased. Having said that, I think this is a slam dunk induction. His numbers speak for themselves. Over 600 Home Runs. Good average. Lots of walks. Exactly what the ideal slugger brings to the table. Even amongst some of the steroid users of the day, Thome stood shoulder to shoulder with the league’s best in an era some see as tainted (a little foreshadowing there…?).
Chipper Jones: I wasn’t old enough to see the Indians lose to the Braves in the World Series in 1995 and have any real lasting memory of the event. I was alive. I probably watched. I don’t remember any of it. It is probably for that reason, and for that reason alone, that I’ve never had an issue with Chipper Jones. He was a great player who always seemed to be doing things the old school way. Always having fun, always with a big smile, whether at Third Base or in the outfield. He was the kind of player who, if you were watching his team play, you’d feel the need to get his jersey or buy his t-shirt. He always had that impact on me, right up until the end of his career. His numbers also look good in the steroid era, and the era that immediately followed it. Had the Braves been a little more consistent, he may have been remembered among the all-time greats.
Vlad Guerrero: This is where I take issue. Vlad was a great ballplayer. He hit well, he fielded alright, and was exciting. But he was a poor man’s Manny Ramirez. I understand that Manny has the steroid stink on him. I get that. I don’t care. We’ve reached a point now, where instead of electing the real stars of the game to the Hall of Fame, it feels like we’re electing these second tier (albeit very good) guys into the Hall to spite them. “This could have been you,” the baseball writers seem to be saying. It’s silly. Its asinine. If Vlad Guerrero is in the Hall of Fame, Manny Ramirez has to be. It’s a travesty of baseball justice otherwise.
Trevor Hoffman: Hoffman is an interesting case as well. As a pitcher, he was dominant in the closing role. As far as pitchers go though, he gets in, but Roger Clemens does not. Again, I get the steroid thing. Fine. Remember a few years back when the pro football HOF had that log jam of WRs who weren’t getting in, and it just took one or two getting in for that dam to break. Baseball should be there now. And the dam breaker should be Clemens. And he should also break the dam for all the alleged and confirmed steroid users. It was part of the game. Get over it, baseball writers.
Here is how my ballot would have looked if anybody cares:
Barry Bonds: Yes
-Is this a serious question? Yes, of course.
Chris Carpenter: Yes
-I mean, he was probably good enough.
Roger Clemens: Yes
-See Barry Bonds
Johnny Damon: No
-Maybe next year? I don’t know. He was good, but maybe not hall of fame good. I’m torn.
Vlad Guerrero: Yes
-But only after some other guys.
Livian Hernandez: No
-Played for the Marlins in 97. So it’s going to be an eternal no from me.
Trevor Hoffman: Yes
-After some other guys but ok.
Orlando Hudson: No
Aubrey Huff: No
-Just not HOF caliber for me.
Jason Isringhausen: No.
-Honestly I don’t even remember this guy playing baseball so???
Andruw Jones: No
-Chipper was better.
Chipper Jones: Yes
Jeff Kent: No
-Maybe another year.
Carlos Lee: No
-Has he really been out of the game that long? Man…
Brad Lidge: No
-I remember his name, but don’t remember him doing anything HOF worthy.
Edgar Martinez: Yes
-Doesn’t get love because he was a DH. Should get love. Should be in. Go Tribe.
Hideki Matsui: No
-Maybe someday. Not today.
Fred McGriff: Yes
-Yeah. Should be in.
Kevin Millwood: No.
Jamie Moyer: No
-Unless it’s the Hall of Fame for playing way longer than you should have.
Mike Mussina: Yes
-Was a dominant pitcher of the era. In.
Manny Ramirez: Yes
-One of the most exciting players ever to do it. Just Manny being Manny. Roll Tribe.
Scott Rolen: No
Johan Santana: No
-Another guy who it doesn’t feel like he’s been gone long enough???
Curt Schilling: Yes
-Political hot takes aside, I have two words: Bloody. Sock.
Gary Sheffield: Yes
-Mostly because I always watch that video of him fighting the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
Sammy Sosa: Yes
-See Barry Bonds
Jim Thome: Yes
-Come on man. Roll Tribe.
Omar Vizquel: No
-For me, just not that top tier. Roll Tribe though.
Billy Wagner: LOL
Larry Walker: No
-See Billy Wagner
Kerry Wood: Yes
-Man I always hated this guy. But yeah. Roll Tribe.
Carlos Zambrano: No
-He was known for being fiery and a jerk. So, nah.