I’m going to skip a few guys.
A.J. Burnett is on the ballot for the first time. Burnett had a good 17-season MLB career, with a 164-157 line and a 3.99 ERA in 435 games, 430 starts, which included 3 seasons with the Blue Jays. But he never had a season with a bWAR over 4.5, his career high for wins in a season as 18 (with the Jays), he never received a Cy Young vote (Ryan Tepera beats him 1-0 in this game) and made just 1 All-Star team. A good pitcher, but I don’t think any of us would say he should be in the Hall. His career numbers are here.
Michael Cuddyer is also on the ballot for the first time. He had 15 seasons in the MLB, most of them with the Twins. Hit .277/.344/.461 with 197 home runs in 1536 games (if you would have asked me, I’d would have never guess that he played that many games). His best season, by bWAR, was a 3.1 which doesn’t make him a Hall Famer to me. He made 2 All-Star teams and got MVP votes twice, finishing 21st and 20th. He had a really good season with the Rockies, near the end of his career, hitting .331/.389/.530 leading the NL in BA, but that’s the only season of more than 50 games that he hit over .300. His career numbers are here.
Dan Haren had a longer career than I thought, 13 seasons, finishing with a 153-131 record on a 3.75 ERA in 391 games, 380 starts. He was pretty consistent, winning 10 or more games 11 times, topping out at 16 wins. He made 3 All-Star teams and got Cy Young votes twice, finishing 5th and 7th. And pitched over 200 innings 7 times. He had two seasons of bWARs above 6. If he had a couple more good seasons and if his peak was just a little higher, then maybe, but I don’t think anyone would consider him. His career numbers are here.
LaTroy Hawkins played 21 MLB seasons, finishing with the Blue Jays, in 2015, at age 42. He was a fine reliever, setup man for most of his career, getting the odd shot at closer. He had 127 career saves. He pitched in 1042 games (98 starts), putting him 10th on the all-time list. He had a 4.31 ERA. Never made an All-Star team, or got a Cy Young vote. He pitched in the playoffs in four different seasons, including with us in 2015 (but the less said about the results the better). He wasn’t a guy that struck out many but he must have had something to be able to pitch into his 40s. I can’t see him getting Hall of Fame votes. His career numbers are here.
Roger Clemens is the most challenging choice of all for me.
Clemens had the stats of a a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But to vote for him, you have to 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 they caught him 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 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 tough call for me. I don’t think PEDs should necessarily be a reason to keep someone out of the Hall. Nor do I think being a lousy human being is a reason to be excluded from the Hall. There are many terrible 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 award or honor. I wouldn’t vote for him to be a 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 seventh time on the ballot. He was on 57.3% of the ballots last year. He needs to take some giant steps forward if he is to get to the 75% required.
I still fight with myself on the idea of him in the Hall. I believe PEDs shouldn’t be something that 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.
Would you vote Roger Clemens into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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