Explaining my Hall of Fame ballot (cont.)
Below is my ballot (the top six got my vote, the others I listed in my order of preference, with Mark McGwire and David Segui not being considered by me for drug issues -- McGwire for being an unrepentant alleged steroid user who stonewalled Congress, and Segui for being an admitted HGH user who's undeserving on merit, anyway.)
Players I Voted For
1. Roberto Alomar. The 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner is the only one on this year's ballot who makes it without any more than a cursory review of stats and accomplishments. Projected percentage: 84 percent.
2. Barry Larkin. Like Alomar, he's a 12-time All-Star who hit .300 nine times. A superb shortstop with power (first one to reach 30-30) before A-Rod, Nomar and the new era of power-hitting shortstops. Also, a captain, World Champion and Clemente and Lou Gehrig award winner. Projected percentage: 65.
3. Andre Dawson. He's one of only three players with 400 steals and 300 home runs (the others are Willie Mays and Barry Bonds) who was a five-tool guy who did most of it on injury-ravaged knees. Projected percentage: 70 percent.
4. Jack Morris. Dominant bulldog received Cy Young votes seven times, won more games in the '80s than anyone and was a general force in the American League (though his overall stats admittedly aren't as good as Blyleven's). Projected percentage: 45 percent.
5. Dave Parker. Five times he was in the top 10 in MVP votes. Parker was Rice with three more tools (speed, defense and a gun for an arm). Like Dawson, modest on-base percentage (.339) hurts him with newer voters while some older voters may not like the cocaine connection (though that isn't generally believed to be a career performance enhancer). Projected percentage: 18 percent.
6. Don Mattingly. He was one of the handful of greatest players in the game for a half-dozen years and one of the two or three greatest defensive first basemen ever. Career totals hurt him with most voters (but not the ones who notice they are similar to Kirby Puckett's.). Projected percentage: 14.
Close but not quite (at least this year)
7. Tim Raines. The second greatest leadoff hitter of his era is gathering support. Projected percentage: 35.
8. Alan Trammell. Terrific offensive shortstop whose numbers would look better if Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter didn't come along just as he was retiring. Projected percentage: 23.
9. Fred McGriff. Clean and consistent slugger finished only seven home runs shy of 500. Should be fodder for a great debate once Blyleven either gets in or his debate subsides. Projected percentage: 37.
10. Dale Murphy. Consecutive MVP winner had 398 career home runs and was a terrific defender. Tough omission. Projected percentage: 10 percent.
11. Edgar Martinez. Awesome offensive player whose high OBP makes him appear even better now. Career totals probably hurt by Mariners' foolish delay in promoting him to bigs. Projected percentage: 45 percent.
12. Bert Blyleven. See above. Projected percentage: 72 percent.
13. Andres Galarraga. Inspirational leader who beat cancer, won a batting tile, hit 398 homers and was a great two-way player. Hope he stays on ballot for more thought. Projected percentage: 4 percent.
14. Harold Baines. His 1,628 RBIs are the most of anyone on this year's ballot. Projected percentage: 8 percent.
15. Lee Smith. Consistent saver had 13 straight seasons with at least 20 saves and retired with 478, then the most ever and now third. Perhaps he'd have more chance if he had more than 5 1/3 postseason innings. Projected percentage: 48 percent.
Very Good Players, But ...
16. Ellis Burks. Has surprising .510 career slugging percentage but probably benefited by playing in Boston and Colorado. On the numbers, much better than you'd think. Projected percentage: 1 percent.
17. Kevin Appier. Five seasons with 15 or more wins plus five with an ERA in his league's top 10. Projected percentage: 0.
18. Robin Ventura. Great guy with a knack for the grand slam (18, sixth in history). Projected percentage: 1 percent.
19. Pat Hentgen. Durable Blue Jays pitcher who twice led the league in complete games and won the 1996 AL Cy Young. Projected Percent: 0.
20. Eric Karros. Retired as L.A. Dodgers career record holder with 270 home runs. Projected percentage: 0.
21. Todd Zeile. Only player in MLB history to homer for 10 teams. Projected percentage: 0.
22. Ray Lankford. Must have friends on the screening committee. Projected percentage: 0.
23. Shane Reynolds. Ditto. Projected percentage: 0.
24. Mike Jackson. Double ditto. Projected percentage: 0.
Disqualified List (own personal list*)
25. Mark McGwire. Admitted andro use made him into a home run hero before moving into pariah territory. Projected percentage: 28 percent.
26. David Segui. More likely to open his own drug store than make the Hall of Fame. Projected percentage: 0.
Around the majors
It is believed the Cardinals at one point offered a seven-year deal for Matt Holliday, and one league source pegged that bid at $16 million per year, making the proposal worth $112 million. But Holliday appears to be shooting for at least $18 million annually, the figure the Cubs paid Alfonso Soriano two years ago. Cardinals people are expressing faith they will be able to re-sign him. The Orioles have been in the bidding despite comments by their people downplaying their interest and involvement, as one person familiar with their situation says they are "laying in the weeds.''
Jason Bay reportedly passed his Mets physical on Monday.
The Red Sox, Giants and A's are seen as having interest in Adrian Beltre.
While the Giants love Buster Posey long-term, after watching him closely in the Arizona Fall League they aren't absolutely convinced he's ready to do the bulk of their catching to start the season. That has the Giants considering outside alternatives and even whether to move their best hitter, Pablo Sandoval, behind the plate.
Mark DeRosa is a nice pickup for the Giants, and Juan Uribe, whose signing is expected to be announced this week, will help. But the Giants need to add either an outfielder or first baseman, especially if they make the extraordinary move of returning Sandoval to his original position.
Danys Baez is expected to be announced in coming days as the Phillies' new reliever.
Scouts dinner features Lasorda, Selig others
The seventh annual Scouts Foundation dinner, which aids scouts in financial need and features a great dais and one of the best memorabilia opportunities in North America, is Jan. 16 in Los Angeles. The Scouts Foundation, begun by former superagent and current White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert, raises hundreds of thousands of dollars through the annual dinner and this year features honorees Brooks Robinson, Tony La Russa, Robin Roberts, Bill Giles, Manny Mota and many scouts. Commissioner Bud Selig, Tommy Lasorda, Dave Winfield, Pat Gillick, Kevin Towers and Gary Hughes will be among the star presenters, Bob Uecker will be the emcee (which will be hilarious) and Larry King will be a co-host. It is at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. For tickets, call 310-996-1188.
MLB Truth & Rumors