Since the Hall of Fame ballots were released recently, one of the questions that I was sent yesterday was "If you had a vote for the Hall of Fame, who (on this list) would you vote for?"
I've always considered myself a pretty selective (read: picky) person, so I figured there'd only be a few that I'd choose. The directions said that I could only choose ten players, and I chuckled on the inside. "Ten? No problem. I won't even get halfway there."
Then I looked at the ballot...
The first thing I noticed was that there were some players on the ballot that had no business being there. Two Jeff's, Cirillo (112 HRs, 1,598 hits) and Conine (214 HRs, 1,982 hits) don't have any business being there. Three former Padres (including my all time favorite player) seem out of place as well. I can't imagine Reggie Sanders (305 HRs, 1,666 hits), Rondell White (198 HR, 1,519 hits), or even the great Steve Finley (304 HRs, 2,548 hits) garnering many votes for Cooperstown, if any.
The second thing I noticed was the influx of steroid-boys - Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and Palmiero. They wouldn't be getting my vote, but I've heard the arguments against keeping them out - and I can't say that I totally disagree with them. Still, while I wouldn't put up a fuss about them getting in, I wouldn't play a part in helping to enshrine them.
Then, I found out that - despite the aforementioned groups of players - there were actually a bunch of candidates that I'd be totally fine to see in the Hall. I decided to try to make my case for them in three sentences or less, and then include a little blurb on the cards that I showed.
First up, a couple of guys that have been on the ballot for a little bit.
Dale Murphy: Few players have been on the ballot as long as this two time MVP and seven time All-Star have. They either don't have enough votes and are taken off, or they are elected in. His numbers are close enough to get him to the doorstep of The Hall (between 1979 and 1987, he had a season-average of 155 hits, 32 homers, and 92 RBIs), and I say that his character and reputation get him the rest of the way in - he'd get my vote.
I got the '79 Topps card from the 50 cent bin at a shop in San Diego over the summer.
Tim Raines: If you are one of the best at something, I think you should get in. I would say that Raines is the best leadoff man of all time who isn't named Rickey Henderson. A batting title, 808 steals (4th all time) and a sterling 84.7% stealing percentage (best all time for players with more than 300 steals), should get "Purple" Raines in, despite off the field transgressions.
The only Raines cards that have made it into a binder are the ones that say "Rock" instead of Tim. Here's a better piece on "Rock v. Tim" than I'll be able to write. No use in trying to reinvent the wheel here.
My Fred McGriff man-crush is well documented, but Biggio is also a player I admire.
The Crime Dog was one of my "first" favorite players, during his time in San Diego (1991-mid '93), and the 1993 Topps "Black Gold" card has been one of my favorites since I pulled it out of a pack almost 20 years ago.
Craig Biggio: Maybe I'm a sucker for guys who stayed on one team for their whole career, which is becoming a Hall of Fame feat in and of itself. The fact that he has 3,060 hits, could play catcher and second base, and was a seven time All-Star - you're in. To me, this one is easy.
I have a few Biggio cards, not quite a full page, but I chose this card because of the little pin (?) that he has on his cap, only because I don't have any cards of him in his catcher's gear, from earlier in his career.
Batting third, a few guys who I don't collect, but I found their cards in my almost complete '92 Pinnacle Series 1 set.
Other players that I think should be in would be Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, and Curt Schilling, but I won't get into their cases here - I don't have any cards of theirs.
Overall, I think all these guys should get in, but I'm aware that most of their cases aren't bulletproof. As a fan though, these are my thoughts.
I'll end with a Friar-related plug for Brother Murphy: He has hit more home runs off the Padres (60) than everybody besides Barry Bonds (85). Us Portland, Oregon-born folk gotta stick together - Multnomah County represent!