Well, the veterans committee showed early evidence of dementia.
Lee Smith - You can go either way on this one. From 1982-1992, he was elite. Big man w big fastball. When he retired, he was MLB saves leader, which is overrated as a stat. Now 3rd on that list. But 1000 IP,[90/YR] of 2.81 ERA [ERA+139] AT > 1K/IP, is worth a lot, and saves were often > 1 IP. Except for the hour it took for him to walk from the dugout to the mound, he was excellent... a top 15 reliever all time. He is HOF worthy. But he was not as good as Quisenberry, Franco, Lyle, or Tekulve who remain out . Good not great choice. If the committees are taking longer looks at and aiming to getting more relievers in, then the grade goes up.
Harold Baines- What?? Can't say I saw this coming. A compiler who had the DH benefit of not ruining his body roaming the OF for most of those 22 years. If use R/HR/RBI/BA/OPS/OPS+/WAR per year. Best consecutive 7500 PA = 65/19/81/.296/.839/126/2 is very good, but not stellar. Reminds me of a lesser version of Dave Parker 78/20/88/.298/.826/127/3 ... who is not in.
Are the compiled numbers worthy? Not when compared to contemporaries like Parker, or Dwight Evans, both who played nearly full time OF. And factoring those top PA years, the Veterans Committee had far better peak players [with less longevity] and they could have chosen Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, or the best choice Will Clark, all 3-4 win players. Even Grinch Albert Belle who was basically a DH type. 65% of Baines career was as a DH after knee injury. Consistent and reliable he was, but just not spectacular. So what happened in that back room? And did Reinsdorf, La Russa [long time owner and manager of ChiSox, Baines team for 14 years] push the vote just over the edge? Food for thought. Fair choice. At best. In my book, CLOSE, BUT NOT a HOF.
The Baseball Writers have gotten their act together lately, throwing out the dead wood. They vote soon for 2019. This year they have 1 new Christmas gift, and several other interesting choices. And last year's tree still has some hanging fruit.
New on Ballot
Mariano Rivera. Best reliever of all time. The Babe Ruth of RP. Only reliever w > 900 IP w ERA+>200. Even better in post season.
IN and the only one from the new ballot
Todd Helton. There's something to be said for a player w 9000 PA for 1 team. Hit for avg, hit for power, fielded, nice guy, face of team. We all love that.
Here's R/HR/RBI/BA/OPS/OPS+/WAR. The best consecutive year run far 7500PA ......15 years 512 PA 101/27/99/.329/.996/141/5.5. Holy Cow. That is a HOF 1B
For 6 years, he was a top 5 MLB player. 4 years Silver Slugger, 3 Gold Gloves, but only once top 5 MVP. And, there's THE LAST 6 years of avg player stats FROM 2008-2013 where he was Joe Mauer at 1B.
AND, OH YEAH, there's the Colorado effect BEFORE THE HUMIDOR. You can sum it up in the next line Overall- Home- 874/227/859/.345/1.048 Away- 527/142/547/.287/.855
That's the difference between an all time superstar and an above average player. Split that and he's still at worst a borderline guy. But its not his fault he was in a hitter's haven. And he is a hometown hero and good guy. In sum, he deserves to get in. He has the same issue as Larry Walker though ; too much of a H/A difference to vote in on the first try. Maybe a less of a backlog in 5 years gets him in. And a realization that he was special. Think he'll get 30-40ish% vote today. 75% in 2-3 years
ON HOLD, but IN soon.
No H/A effect here, but as with Mattingly and Murphy, longevity is a factor. But those same best consecutive seasons are impressive 81/26/87/.294/ .946/ 145/4. Not a good fielder or runner but the bat was special
Hope he gets 5% to stay on. Think 5-10%
ON HOLD, maybe IN later.
The only other position player to really consider is
Tejada is underrated. He played everyday and could hit w OK glove. Most remarkably 6 consecutive seasons of 162 GP, and a 159, 160 before that. The bat was uncommon for a SS then, not now
Hope he gets 5% to stay on. But I doubt it. < 5%
Roy Halladay. This is tough. Arguably the best SP in MLB for 3 or 4 years during the '06-'11 period. But a late and awful start, two years of half years lost from injuries, and early retirement resulted in only 2750 IP and counterbalance the fact that he led the league in HOF worthy IP 4 times. Ultimately, 2 CY Awards, and two no. 2 CY finishes, 3 20 W seasons, 2 no-nos and pitching in the brutal AL Beast IS HOF worthy. So its a case of high peak, not so long compiling. He deserves to get in, sadly posthumously, if not this year then next two or three. Just like Helton maybe sooner
IN [and maybe this year]
Andy Pettitte. A Jim Kaat, Tommy John clone. 3000+ very good IP, BUT only three really outstanding years. 4 top 5 in CY, 2 20 w seasons, but high ERA, WHIP, and low K/BB and ERA+. Yes, it was the brutal AL Beast, but he wasn't better than Mussina in any category, who is still waiting 6 years now. The hall of just missed. No shame in that.
Will he get 5%? It's iffy and I doubt it with all the steroid guys still on.
Roy Oswalt. Very good, but at 2200 IP, you need to be Koufax to get in...He wasn't
The Holdovers- prior discussion last year
Edgar Martinez. IN
Mike Mussina. IN
Curt Schilling. Just miss. 65% His controversial comments still do him no favors. But on numbers alone he should get in.
Larry Walker. 50% Same Colorado H/A problem as Helton, but was on several teams and had less longevity. Voting here may serve as template for Todd
Overall, 86/25/84/.315/.973/142/4.5 but those years in Denver beefed him up big time, Home- 789/215/747/.348/1.068 Away- 566/168/564/.278/.865...worse if you just look at Colorado alone
Fred McGriff. 50% Sadly, this is his last year. This is the biggest miss by the writers. Get a lawyer. True negligence has occurred here. Has the length, the peak, the good character. Being pre steroid era made his numbers less impressive than the inflatables that followed. The climb from 25%-75% is realistically too steep to make up this year. Can only hope the The Veterans committee will get him in next decade. Or he somehow pulls a Blyleven. He made Baines look like a Little Leaguer. 86/31/98/.289/.900/139/4. That's HOF at 1b. Period. End.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. They are tied together in a terrible voting dance. They'll continue to swing to 75% and I believe will get in before they die, maybe by a Veterans Committee, but won't get there this year. Did it to themselves.
Pete Rose Speaking of doing it to themselves...Is there any player more worthy who won't ever get in? Self destruction. Just plain dumb.
Some guys will fall off this year.
Bye bye Sosa, Jones, Rolen.
It's the season for giving. Cooperstown say hello to M. Rivera, E. Martinez, M. Mussina, L. Smith, probably R. Halladay, possibly T. Helton, and controversially H. Baines