My 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame vote, if I had one

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In what has become a New Year’s tradition here on 210Sports, I now post my completely unofficial Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

To be eligible to cast a real ballot a person must be a Baseball Writer’s Association of America member for at least 10 years and cover baseball for 10 consecutive years for an accredited outlet. It goes without saying I have neither qualification, and odds are I’ll never meet either of them.

But I have a blog so I have a spot where I can say who I would have voted for if I had an official vote. And so I shall.

To remind readers how I determine my vote, the method I use to decide is pretty simple. I follow the example set by Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram, and he believes it comes down to one thing: “you would buy a ticket just so you could tell your grandchildren you saw him perform”. That’s about the best criteria I have ever seen, and so I use that.

As it does every year, I expect the subject of PEDs to come up. To be honest this is a real easy decision for me. If a player is eligible, I’ll vote for him if I think he’s worthy.

I understand that some people think they shouldn’t be enshrined. My issue is how do I determine who did them and who didn’t? Now some of the later candidates will have failed tests, and then including them could be an issue for voters. But not for me, because if they’re eligible I’ll consider them.

On to my “ballot”. The easiest part is listing the players I voted for last year that didn’t make the Hall of Fame in 2018 and are still eligible:
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Manny Ramirez
Curt Schilling
Billy Wagner

If they were good enough last year, they’re good enough this year. This is where I usually add that if I didn’t think they were good enough last year then they still aren’t good enough this year. It’s not like any of these people added to their stats.

Only it appears I’ve gotten one of those players wrong.

Edgar Martinez doesn’t pass the “Ballou Test” for me. And, to be honest, even after long conversations about my last two Hall of Fame ballot postings not including him he probably still doesn’t. Before anyone asks it doesn’t have anything to do with him being primarily a designated hitter. I couldn’t care less about that.

What it likely has to do with is him playing in Seattle. The Mariners are seldom very good, making the playoffs just four times in Martínez career, all in a seven year span. And only in 2001 were they truly considered a World Series contender, but then lost 4-1 to the New York Yankees in a series they lead for just 4.5 innings during the five games played.

Just after the 2018 Hall of Fame class was inducted I was asked, for the first time that I can recall, if Martinez had played for one of the traditional baseball powers would my opinion of him be different. I answered that it probably wouldn’t be, but the more I think about it how couldn’t it be.

Put him on the Red Sox or Yankees and MLB’s PR-machine ESPN would have turned him into a player of legendary stature opposed to the “oh, yeah, that guy on the left coast” after thought that he was. Perhaps one of the reasons he’s not on the “I would buy a ticket just so I could tell my grandchildren I saw him perform” for me was because I seldom had the opportunity, even through highlights, to see him perform.

So proving there’s an exception to every rule, I’m adding Martinez to my ballot.

Missing from last year’s ballot are the names of Vladimir Guerrero,
Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, all of whom were elected to the Hall of Fame last season.

Newcomers joining Martinez on my ballot are Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay. I don’t think explanations are needed for either of them.

I know what Ballou wrote about Rivera, and while it’s a well thought out opinion and might eventually be proven true under the way baseball has been played for most of my lifetime Rivera is a no-brainer addition to the Hall of Fame.

I’m not voting for Miguel Tejada, a very good ballplayer with an MVP to his credit. He had a few good seasons but not enough to be Hall of Fame worthy. Same with Andy Pettitte. He was a solid lefty that was always in the “really good” category. But for me that’s not good enough for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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