The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed four new members on Wednesday: Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman.
Not that it matters a whit, but I voted for all of them.
With due respect to the work of Ryan Thibodaux - who has turned Hall of Fame tracking into quite an endeavor - I don't like to reveal my ballot before the Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson finishes the official announcement.
If you've listened to "The Drew Olson Show" and it's earlier incarnations, you know my spiel about the "PED guys" on the ballot. Intellectually, I think you have to vote for all of the players from the era or none. I choose to vote for them all, but have no beef with voters (or fans) who disagree.
Here is my ballot (stay tuned for a very brief explanation):
OK, now that you're done telling me I'm an idiot who doesn't deserve a ballot. Let me share a few quick thoughts.
1. I'm happy for the newcomers. Chipper Jones is one of the best third baseman of all time. Jim Thome was a consistently underrated slugger in his era. Vlad Guerrero was a great talent and I'm proud of the voters for recognizing his gifts and Trevor Hoffman, was such a special player/person during his two seasons in Milwaukee that he is still talked about on a regular basis in the home clubhouse at Miller Park.
2. I wish the voting procedures were changed. I hate the fact that we are limited to voting for 10 players. That led me to leave off worthy candidates like Curt Schilling, whom I've voted for routinely in the past, and his former Philadelphia teammate Scott Rolen, who I think was terrific. I also consider Omar Vizquel to be equal, if not superior in some ways, to Ozzie Smith. But, the 10-player limit didn't allow me to reward him or first-timers like Andruw Jones. Some day, I hope the ballot is expanded or we are allowed to vote "Yes" or "No" on players.
3. Part of my opinion on Edgar Martinez is based on talking to players of his era, who revered him. Remember when Jim Rice was called "The Most Feared Hitter in Baseball?" I don't really know what that means, particularly since he didn't draw a lot of walks - intentional or otherwise. But, Martinez was feared by opposing pitchers and managers because he was a pro's pro. The fact that he was "only a DH," can't be weighed against him, in my opinion, because DH is a recognized position. (I also think kickers and punters deserve more consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but I'm not a voter).
4. If there was one vote I wrestled with more than any other on the ballot it was Fred McGriff. I've voted for him in the past - when space on the ballot allowed - and I don't think he's going to get the nod from the writers, though he'll be a candidate to join via the Veteran's Committee like former Detroit stars Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. I know many writers try to adjust their ballots based on what they think is going to happen (i.e. voting for Scott Rolen so he doesn't fall below the 5 percent threshold necessary to have another crack). I've done that in the past and, though I wrestled with the idea of "wasting" (a horrible term) a vote on McGriff, I just decided to put blinders on and vote for my 10 guys and let the chips fall where they may.
5. I didn't bypass Curt Schilling, whom I've voted for in previous elections, because of his controversial political stances. I just felt compelled to vote Mike Mussina ahead of him because I consider Mussina to be better by an eyelash, despite Schilling's post-season record.
6. I'm going to keep voting for Bonds and Clemens until they fall off the ballot. They were two of the best players I saw during my beat-writing days and they belong in the Hall of Fame. As my friend and colleague Buster Olney pointed out, they are eligible to work in baseball and the Hall allows them on the ballot, but the writer's seem to have issued a lifetime ban. That doesn't seem right to me.
7. There are folks who will tell me that Larry Walker doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame because he is a creature of Coors Field. I'm not buying that, plus -- how do you blame a guy for the altitude and dimensions of his home stadium. I spent a lot of time over the years talking about Walker with two of my all-time favorite writers -- Tracy Ringolsby and "Boxer" Bob Elliot. I enjoyed watching Walker play and don't think he'd lower the bar if admitted to the Hall.
If you want to call me an idiot, or tell me I'm smart, e-mail Drew@TheBig920.com.