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Hall of Fame Polls: Sosa, Vizquel, Wagner, Walker

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2018 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation

I’m going to skip Jose Valverde. He was a pretty good reliever. Pitched for 12 years, had a 3.27 ERA in 626 games, with 288 saves. He had over 40 saves three times, made 3 All-Star teams, got Cy Young votes twice (finishing 5th and 6th) and MVP 3 times (how you could give a pitcher an MVP vote but not a Cy Young vote is beyond me). He had a nice 6 season run where he posted 226 saves pitching in 397 games. Had an 11.4 bWAR. Not really Hall of Fame material.


Sammy Sosa is on the ballot of the 8th time. Last year he received 8.5% of the vote (you need to get 5% to stay on the ballot).

You know the Sammy Sosa story. Early in his career, he wasn’t a great player, he chased too many pitchers, didn’t take walks (think Kevin Pillar without the great glove). Then suddenly he started hitting home runs by the dozen. He and Mark McGwire had a great battle to be the one to beat out Roger Maris for the home run record. They were credited with saving the MLB after 2 strike/lockout shortened seasons.

He hit .273/.344/.534 with 609 home runs (8th all time), 1667 RBI (28th all time), in 2354 games over 18 seasons. He was an All-Star 7 times, MVP once, and came in 2nd once, and won the Silver Slugger 6 times. He had a career 58.4 bWAR.

I’ll admit I was never a fan. Mark McGwire had a value before the PEDs, but Sammy didn’t have much value outside of the home runs. And he’s been a bit of a jerk about it all, or at least comes off as one in interviews.

I’m not one that believes players shouldn’t be allowed in the Hall if they used, but, in Sosa’s case, I don’t think he would have come anywhere near Hall of Fame numbers without the drugs. He was also caught with a corked bat (if you are going to cheat, you might as well cheat in all ways). I’ve always wondered about the corked bat thing, would it really help you hit the ball further?

Normally I would say that the guy 8th all-time in home runs should be in the Hall, but in this case, there are so many other deserving players on the ballot, I can’t get behind Sosa. My line is would they have been a great player without the PEDs. Bonds was a great player before using. Sosa was a 4th outfielder/platoon type before he started using.

You can see Sammy’s stats here.

Poll

Would you vote Sammy Sosa into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yes
    (73 votes)
  • 84%
    No
    (398 votes)
471 votes total Vote Now

So we come to a former Blue Jays player again, Omar Viszquel. It is his third time on the ballot. He was on 42.8% of ballots last year. I really don’t understand why. He was good defensively, but not to that degree, at least to me.

Omar played his last MLB season for us. He was 45, in 2012, and he played 60 games in Blue Jays colors, hitting .235/.265/.281 in 163 PA. I have no idea what Alex was thinking in signing him.

Omar played 24 seasons in the MLB. He came up with the Mariners, and played 6 seasons with them, then 11 with Cleveland, 4 with the Giants, 1 with the Rangers, 2 with the White Sox and then the last one with us.

He hit .272/.336/.352 with 404 steals in 2968 games. He made 3 All-Star teams, he got MVP votes once. But his supporters will point to his 11 Gold Gloves as reason for him to go to the Hall of Fame.

Omar has a 45.3 bWAR. But it is his 28.4 defensive WAR (10th all-time) that we will buy him some votes.

I guess we can pretty positively state that he didn’t take PEDs. Or at least didn’t gain a bunch of power from them.

There are other shortstops who were elected because of their defense. Luis Aparicio comes to mind (his stats are here), but then Luis made 13 All-Star teams and was considered the best shortstop of his era. Ozzie Smith was maybe the best defensive player I ever saw (stats here), but he made 15 All-Star teams and was also thought of as the best shortstop of his era. I don’t think anyone ever thought of Vizquel that way.

Anyone that plays 24 seasons is a good player, I guess it is up to you if you think he’s a Hall of Famer, but I don’t remember anyone saying he was a Hall of Famer when he played. I think, if you are going to the Hall, you should have made many All-Star teams.

Poll

Would you vote Omar Viszquel into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Yes
    (130 votes)
  • 71%
    No
    (325 votes)
455 votes total Vote Now

Billy Wagner’s on the Hall of Fame ballot for the fifth time. He was on 15.7% of the ballots last year.

He pitched for 5 different teams, in his 16 year career, spending most of it with the Houston Astros.

Wagner sits 6th on the all-time saves list. He made 7 All-Star teams, won 1 reliever of the year award, got MVP votes twice and Cy Young votes twice.

He pitched in 853 games, had a 2.31 ERA (terrific career number) with 422 saves. He averaged 11.9 strikeouts per 9 innings (that’s a pretty amazing career number).

Billy pitched in the playoffs 7 times, but never made it to the World Series. He has pretty terrible numbers in 14 playoff games.

Comparing him to Hoffman (who made it to the Hall last year), he has about 150 less innings, he about half a run better ERA, he has about 60 more strikeouts (in the 150 less innings) and 7 less walks (in 150 less innings). The argument for Hoffman over Wagner is all the save count (601 for Hoffman, 422 for Wagner). Wagner had 69 blown saves for 86% save percentage. Hoffman 76 for an 89% save percentage. So the difference in the Writers vote is all the save total.

His stats are here.

Poll

Would you vote Billy Wagner into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Yes
    (178 votes)
  • 58%
    No
    (251 votes)
429 votes total Vote Now

It is Larry Walker’s 10th and last time on the Hall of Fame ballot. He’s the one guy on the ballot who I would actively campaign for.

Larry Walker was a favorite of mine. He is Canadian and played for the Expos, how could I not like him. He had a 17 year career, the first 6 with the Expos, then 9 and a half with the Rockies and a season and a half with the Cardinals.

Walker hit 383 home runs, had 1311 RBI, and 230 stolen bases with a very nice slash line of .313/.400/.565. He was the NL MVP in 1997, played on 5 All-Star teams, won 7 Gold Gloves and 3 Silver Slugger awards. He had a 72.6 career WAR, 66th all-time among position players.

His numbers look great, but then he played in Denver, in the pre-humidor years. With the Expos he was a great fielding, doubles hitting outfielder. When he got into the thin air of Colorado he started hitting home runs. His best season with the Rockies he hit 49 homers, had 130 RBI, with 78 walks and 33 stolen bases and a line of .366/.452/.720. The question is how much to do you discount those numbers. It’s entirely possible that he would have found a similar power surge if he had stayed an Expo.

I really liked Larry Walker. He had a lot of range in the outfield, and had a great arm. It is kind of unfortunate that the play that everyone remembers is when Larry handed the fly ball he caught to a kid in the stands and then found out that there was only 2 out.

I think the Writers deduct too many points for playing in the thin air of Denver. For me, his value isn’t all related to his home runs. He got on base 40% of the time. He stole some bases, hit a lot of doubles, and played very good defense.

You can take a look at Walkers stats here.

Poll

Would you vote Larry Walker into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Yes
    (475 votes)
  • 6%
    No
    (35 votes)
510 votes total Vote Now