So as a card carrying member of the Internet Baseball Writers of America, I got to drop my votes for the Hall of Fame. As with anything, this is so subjective, but, I will list my selections for this year, and reasons why, along with why I did not vote for some other largely worthy nominees.
Made my cut:
Barry Bonds: Yeah, Barry has his HGH issues, but essentially we get to wipe out a decade of sluggers to seriously enforce any kind of control around hitters who did, or didn't use. Not that this justifies a cheater. However, Bonds did win seven MVPs, and if you take 200 of his homers away, assuming they were "enhanced," Bonds still places #14 on the all-time list. He also is the all-time walks and intentional walks leader. I understand that many, if not all of you, might disagree with me on principle, and I don't really have a response aside from what I wrote above. He was, however, the most dangerous and electric offensive player in the game for 15 years, and that is similarly hard to argue, no matter how it happened.
Tim Raines: Players of Raines' skill set are the toughest of all. 2605 hits, 808 steals, a career .294-170-980 with 1571 runs and a .385 OBP and a dominant force on the most competitive (and best) Expos team of all. As with Bonds, you could argue any number of other players--Al Oliver, Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Dwight Evans, Vada Pinson and Darrell Evans to name a few--had equally impressive resumes. And, my rationale for Rock is that he was simply more of a driving force on his team than were any of the other players I just noted.
Alan Trammell: With a .285-185-1003 line, the Tigers shortstop falls within the same realm of logic as does Raines. The arguments I see to support Trammell was he played the key defensive spot on a great team, becoming a starter at age 20, and subsequently spent 20 years and 2293 games, playing his whole career in Motown.
Missed my cut:
Sammy Sosa: You can make the same argument for Sosa and HGH's as for Bonds. But, remember, Sammy also corked his bat, so that makes him a double cheater, which is a bit much. Sammy played 18 years, so take away 200 homers from his total (the net is 409) and both Darrell Evans and Dave Kingman pass him on the all-time list.
Mark McGwire: Much more of the same. 16 years with a .263-583-1414 line, and McGwire didn't cork his bat that we know of, but neither did he appear to be as good when not juiced. In other words, to me, Bonds was so consistent over his career, which cannot be said of Big Mac.
Curt Schilling: I think it was FanGraphs that recently posted a pretty convincing piece, noting how Schilling stacked up against some of the greatest pitchers of all time, so I will have to think about Curt in the future. But, I am a guy who thinks that Tommy John and Jim Kaat deserve to be in the Hall, too. Truth is I don't really like Schilling (as a person, and I feel the same about McGwire), so that probably shades my thoughts. But, I would pull Ty Cobb from the Hall as well, no matter how good he was.
Roger Clemens: Kind of the same as Schilling. In essence, I think he played enhanced, which I can at least accept to an extent. But, I truly believe the Rocket is a smarmy guy.
Mike Piazza: .308-427-1335 over a 16-year career, when he was the power hitting catcher of his era, Piazza, like Schilling, will get some future considerations from me. Worthy of note is that every time I had Piazza on a fantasy team, I won.
Craig Biggio: .281-291-1155 over 20 seasons is pretty good, but the 3060 hits makes Biggio a guy who gets my vote next year.
Edgar Martinez: I like Edgar as much as I dislike Schilling and McGwire, and dude could certainly hit (.312-309-1261 over 18 years), but his 2247 hits for someone who played almost three times as many games as a DH than in the field. One reason I can give the nod to Biggio, Trammell and Piazza is they played positions that traditionally do not register offensive powerhouses. As a DH, Martinez should be one by definition, but his numbers don't stack up against those three, so I will pass.
John Smoltz: 213 wins and then 154 saves tells me Smoltz is up there in Dennis Eckersley territory. He might have come close to 300 wins, had Smoltzie stayed in the rotation, or he would have been among the great closers of the game, had he just done that. Certainly worthy.