Tim Raines: Simply put, Raines was the second-best leadoff hitter in history behind Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. New metrics showcase his value and by those standards he deserves to be in Cooperstown. Not voting for Raines is not doing your homework.
Curt Schilling: It’s popular to say that Schilling should get in because of his stellar postseason numbers. He was 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts with three rings, after all. But that diminishes his regular season excellence. Schilling’s 3,116 strikeouts are 15th all-time, he averaged 2.0 walks per nine innings and he finished second in the Cy Young voting three times. Schilling won “only” 216 games, but he is indisputably one of the best starters of his time. Take away Schilling and the Red Sox might still be searching for their first title sine 1918. He should get a spot in the Hall for ending all that insufferable angst.
Alan Trammell: Before Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, and all the other hard-hitting shortstops, there was Trammell. He was one of the best all-around shortstops in history and has been overlooked in the voting.
Toughest omissions: Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff. Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker, Bernie Williams.
Martinez, along with David Ortiz, ranks as one of the best DHs ever. But DH is a not a position. Were he a third baseman, Edgar would be a borderline case. It’s hard to reward a guy for not playing a position. ... McGriff, a first baseman in an era of standout first basemen, didn’t make the cut. ... McGwire was very good at hitting home runs and getting on base, two critical skills. But when you compare the duration of his career and the peak of his career to other first baseman, he is not a lock for the Hall, the steroids issue aside. ... Morris had a 3.90 ERA and over the course of his career was just a little better than average (based on ERA+). He was more about great moments than consistent excellence. ... Murphy was a terrific player at times but at other times was just another pretty good one. Like Don Mattingly, there is just not enough there. ... Palmeiro and Sosa were 10th and 11th on my list. Palmeiro compiled a lot of impressive statistics. But when compared to other Hall of Fame first basemen, his marks lose a little luster. He was a product of his era. Palmeiro also faces the stigma of having tested positive after MLB’s drug testing program was put in place. That doesn’t exclude him in my estimation. But it works against him. Sosa had some amazing highs in his career. But he also had a .344 OBP and isn’t in the same league as other Hall of Fame right fielders. Sosa had a .777 OPS over the first nine years of his career, too. Given the state of the game at the time, his 609 home runs are no magic number. ... It’s easy (and not necessarily accurate) to dismiss Walker as a product of Coors Field. He was more than that, but not quite a Hall of Famer. I’d rank him above Sosa, however. ... Williams was a center fielder and a middle-of-the-order hitter on some excellent Yankees teams. But he didn’t do enough to reach Cooperstown.
Please, feel free to post a comment with your thoughts. Hall of Fame discussions are fun to have.