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Hall of Fame Polls: Abreu, Bonds, Clemens

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Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

We have been doing Hall of Fame polls for years. We did one player at a time in the past but then SB’s story editor only allowed one poll per post. Now we can do multiple polls in a post, so lets do it three guys at a time this year.

I’m going to skip guys who are on the ballot but who I don’t think anyone would think should be in the Hall:

Josh Beckett had a very nice 14-year career. He won 20 games once, came in second in Cy Young voting that season, made 3 All Star teams and owns two World Series rings. He pitched well in the playoffs, going 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts. He had a strong peak to his career, but the peak didn’t last long enough to make in a Hall of Famer. He finished with a 138-106 record, a 3.88 ERA in 335 games, 332 starts, playing for the Red Sox, Marlins and Dodgers.

Heath Bell (you don’t meet many Heaths these days) had an 11-year MLB career. He had 3 terrific seasons as a closer for the Padres, saving 42, 47 and 43 saves from 2009 to 2011. He had 5-season peak of being a very good reliever. The rest of his career was rather average. He finished with a 3.49 ERa in 590 relief appearances and 168 saves playing for the Padres, Mets, Diamondbacks, Rays and Marlins.

Eric Chavez played 17 seasons. Again he had a terrific peak to his career. From 2000 to 2006 he hit 199 home runs with a .273/.352/.495 line. He also won 6 Gold Gloves over those 7 seasons. The rest of his career was ruined by injuries and inconsistency. In total he hit .268/.342/.475 with 260 home runs in 1615 games, mostly with the A’s but he had a couple of seasons each with of the Diamondbacks and Yankees. Like Beckett, if he could have added a couple more years to his ‘peak’ he’d be a player to consider.


Bobby Abreu is on the ballot for the first time.

Abreu had a very good 18 year career. In total he hit .291/.395/.475 with 288 home runs and 400 steals in 2425 games. The big number, to me, is the 1476 walks (good for 20th all-time). He took over 100 walks in 8 straight seasons. He had OBPs of over .400 in 9 seasons. I’d love the Jays to have a player who could get on base like that.

Bobby received MVP votes in 7 seasons (though his high mark was 14th. He had one Gold Glove, made 2 All-Star teams and one Silver Slugger. Career he had a 60 bWAR.

I don’t think he’ll do well with the writers, he doesn’t have 500 home runs, he doesn’t have 3000 hits (but then 2470 hits isn’t bad), but he did everything well. His career had a high peak but he also had a long stretch of being good after the peak.

He is the type of player I would love to have on my team. Not many thought of him as a Hall of Fame player during his career, but he was a very good player.

You can see his career numbers here.

Poll

Would you vote Bobby Abreu into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Yes
    (81 votes)
  • 77%
    No
    (280 votes)
361 votes total Vote Now

Barry Bonds is on the ballot for the 8th time. He received 59.1% of the vote last year.

There isn’t any doubt that Bonds used PEDs. My feeling is that if I think a player would have made the Hall without PEDs, then I don’t care if he used. In Bond’s case, he was going to be Hall worthy even without the PEDs, in my opinion. He was the NL MVP in 1990, before when most of us think he started juicing. He was, to me, the best player in baseball ever before his head got so big it started getting it’s own gravitational pull.

You all know the numbers, he won the MVP award 7 times (and likely should have won it more), made 14 All-Star teams and has 8 Gold Gloves. Baseball Reference has him number 2 in WAR, among position players in baseball history, at 158.1. He only trails Babe Ruth. He’s the all-time leader in home runs (762), walks (2558) and intentional walks (688).

And he used steroids. And he was (is) a jerk. Not that we don’t have a lot of jerks in the Hall of Fame. If there was a jerk quotient (some way of quantify jerkness), let’s face it, Ty Cobb and several others would have 10 times the number Bonds’ number.

I have a hard time with writers being holy than thou over steroids when they ignored the problem back in the day. And, let’s face it, we all cheered when they were hitting home runs. I think Bonds would have Hall of Fame numbers even if he didn’t use. Ignoring one of the top 2 or 3 players in baseball history seems a stupid thing for the Hall to do.

You can take a look at his numbers here.

Poll

Would you vote Barry Bonds into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Yes
    (320 votes)
  • 33%
    No
    (159 votes)
479 votes total Vote Now

Rogers Clemens is the toughest choice of all for me.

Clemens had the stats of a a first ballot Hall of Famer. But to vote for him you have be ok with the fact that he used PEDs and that he is a giant (what’s the technical term, oh right) asshat.

In 24 seasons, Clemens had a 354-184 record, 3.12 ERA in 707 starts. 1580 walks, 4672 strikeouts (3rd all-time) in 4916 innings. He won 20 games in 6 different seasons.

He won 7 Cy Youngs, including 2 as a Blue Jay. He won 1 AL MVP award and played in 11 All-Star games. Baseball Reference has him at a 133 WAR which is 3rd all-time for pitchers.

His numbers mark him as a Hall of Fame type, but then he’s one of several on the ballot who used PEDs, which, generally, I don’t think should be a deal breaker for making the Hall. Clemens, as is his nature, was a particular jerk about it. When he was caught having human growth hormones delivered to his home, he blamed his wife, trying to tell us that they belonged to her. To me, that’s incredibly scummy. A man should be protecting his wife, not throwing her under the bus. He also lied to congress about it, but then who hasn’t lied to congress?

There really is no end to the examples of his terribleness, including throwing at Mike Piazza, with both a ball and a bat (or part of a bat) and there was the affair with an under-aged, future country singer, Mindy McCready.

Clemens is a very tough call for me. I don’t think PEDs should necessarily be reason for to keep someone out of the Hall. Nor do I think being a lousy human being is reason to be excluded from the Hall. There are many lousy people in the Hall. It doesn’t make sense to me to exclude new candidates from the Hall for being lousy.

But it is Roger Clemens.

I would find it very hard to vote to give Roger Clemens any kind of award or honor. I wouldn’t vote for him to be dogcatcher.

On the other hand, he was a clear Hall of Famer before he started using. He had 3 Cy Young awards and one AL MVP award, before he started using. In 13 seasons, with the Red Sox he had a 192-111 record with a 3.06 ERA in 382 starts. Most of us think that it was after that he started juicing. It seems silly, wrong, dumb that he’s not in the Hall with 354 wins.

This is Roger’s eight time on the ballot. He was on 59.5% of the ballots last year. He needs to take some giant steps forward if he is going to get to the 75% needed.

I still fight with myself on the idea of him in the Hall. I believe PEDs shouldn’t be something keeps someone out of the Hall, and we’ve got many crappy people in the Hall. BUT.......there is a reason his name is a swear word.

If you want to see Roger’s career numbers, go here.

Poll

Would you vote Roger Clemens into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Yes
    (285 votes)
  • 38%
    No
    (177 votes)
462 votes total Vote Now