My 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame vote, if I had one

Welcome to 2023 and the eighth year of 210Sports, and in what has become a New Year’s tradition here on the blog I’ll begin the year off by casting my completely unofficial Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

To be eligible to cast a real ballot a person must be a Baseball Writers’ Association of America member for at least 10 years and cover baseball for 10 consecutive years for an accredited outlet. I, obviously, have neither qualification and will never get to cast an official ballot. But I do watch a lot of baseball and have a blog I can write about sports on, so that must count for something.

Within the rules determined by the Baseball Hall of Fame, BWAA writers can vote for up to 10 players on the ballot and may use any criteria they see fit in selecting which players from the ballot to vote for. I am a huge fan of the way Bill Ballou, formerly of the Worcester Telegram, decides who to vote for: “you would buy a ticket just so you could tell your grandchildren you saw him perform”. That is as great a reason to vote for anyone as I have ever heard.

As it does every year, the subject of performance-enhancing drugs will come up. To be honest, how I deal with that is very easy: if a player is eligible, I’ll vote for him if I think he’s worthy of the Hall of Fame. 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.

The first part of my ballot is easy, it’s the players I voted for last year that are still on the ballot this year. Those players are:
Manny Ramirez
Alex Rodriguez
Billy Wagner

None of those guys got any better or worse on the field, so I’m not sure why a voter wouldn’t just copy over the ballot they had the previous year. I guess you could see voters dropping some players because those players turned out to be really sketchy people since their inclusion on the ballot, but short of being a physical menace to society, I try to let their on-field careers decide if they’re worthy.

For the same reason, I also won’t make any additions to any players I left off before. In order for me to add a player I omitted before someone would have to convince me I got it wrong leaving him off the first year he was eligible. That happened once before when I added Edgar Martinez in 2019. Looking at who is on this year’s official ballot again from previous seasons there’s no chance of it happening for any of those players.

Of the first-time candidates on the 2023 ballot, for the first time ever, none will be getting my vote.

Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodríguez will both be getting a lot of votes, and both are really good ball players. But the Hall of Fame is for great baseball players, and neither one of those two meets my definition of “great”, nor would I buy a ticket ju8st to see either of the play.

All the other new candidates might struggle to get the 5% of the votes they need to stay on the ballot for 2024. It doesn’t matter that much to me, I can’t see any reason most of those guys were on the ballot to begin with other than they met the absolute minimum requirements. The only way any of those guys belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame is if they buy a ticket to visit.

On January 24 the BBWAA will announce the results of its 2023 Hall of Fame balloting, and those that get the required 75% for enshrinement will join Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee pick Fred McGriff at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 23, 2023, in Cooperstown, New York.

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