The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2012 signing class later today. The last few years, a few of my friends have shared amongst our klatch what we'd do if we had one of those ballots supplied by the BBWAA, and why. Here, for the first time for public consumption outside our consortium, is my 2012 Hall of Fame ballot, in decending order of worthiness ...
I Owned You All in Fantasyball, Beyond That There's Nothing To Say:
Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Juan Gonzalez, Brian Jordan, Javy Lopez, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Phil Nevin, Brad Radke, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Tony Womack, Eric Young.
Fred McGriff -- solid hitter for a while but not enough OSF (Oh Sh!t Factor) when he came to the plate
Rafael Palmeiro -- my lasting memory of him is wagging his finger at Congress, and it turns me off
Lee Smith -- Outside of his longetivity, his stats were underwhelming at an overrated position
Bernie Williams -- Sorry Yankee fans, there just isn't enough there
Don Mattingly -- I had him on my ballot for years as in, probably because he deserved better than he got. I've given up the ghost on him as a HOFer, but still think he had the greatest, silkiest swing for a lefty that I may have ever seen.
Plenty of careful consideration:
Larry Walker -- Wow. So very close. Actually looked up the stats. Hit .353 and averaged 30 HRs and had an OPS of 1.089 from 1997-2002, and it included one season of 83 games due to injury. Had his share of OSF, but did a lot of his damage in Colorado pre-humidor. I will hold him off for consideration next year, when he'll be a strong maybe again.
Alan Trammell -- A lock for the Hall of Very Good. A .297 hitter in his prime years. Good SS, but I just don't find the credentials there.
Barry Larkin -- Everyone seems to think he's a lock to get in this year, but I don't see it. He was a 10-time all star ... hell, Dave Concepcion was a 9-timer. See Trammell, Alan.
Dale Murphy -- If you could delve more into his stats, you might find something here. His RBI numbers don't jump out, but then again he was on some pretty bad '80s Braves teams so he often had nobody to drive in. If he gets in I won't really disagree, but my vote is a hesitatant thumbs down.
Jack Morris -- I've championed him for like the last 10 years. Winningest pitcher of the '80s, but is that like being the surfing champion of Nebraska? I've cooled on him now.
And my 2012 Hall of Famers are ...
Edgar Martinez --
Like and Jason Stark said this year, now that we're getting pure DHs on the list, we have to consider them, and why not start with the greatest one to ever play the "position".
Jeff Bagwell --
Career OPS: .948. Absolute monster in his heyday. 30-30 twice. Not bad for 1B. Had just enough OSF for me. Trying to remember if I voted for him last year.
Tim Raines --
In the '80s only 2 men led the NL in steals -- Raines and Vince Coleman. Greatest leadoff hitter of our era not named Ricky Henderson.
Mark McGwire --
Didn't get my vote the 1st 2 years, but I've changed my tune. He was never asked to run, or bat leadoff, or field his position like a Gold Glover. He was asked to slug. And slug he did over a long enough period. Was held in the same regard from 1996-99 as Barry Bonds in his best era, and guess what, I'm voting for Bonds, too, come that time.