As co-editor of Yanks Go Yard, myself and my partner in crime, Jason Evans, tend to lean on our senior staff for topic ideas, and brainstorming sessions that we all think will make for not only solid pieces, but entertaining pieces for you, our audience. While being one of the two editors, it’s rare that one of us ever throws an idea out to the staff, that they will come back and say “No, that sucks.” One of the perks of being the boss.
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At the same time, several of us belong to the IBWAA, or the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. While none of us are voting BBWAA members (perhaps someday), we each were given the honor and the opportunity to vote using our Hall of Fame ballots this winter. I reached out to several members of our staff, and asked them to provide me with one player that they voted for, and why. So now, I get to share those thoughts and feelings with you, and we encourage your thoughts and feelings on our selections, good, bad, or ugly!
- Matt Mirro (Minor League Coverage Coordinator) on :
I am too young to have seen in his prime. I never saw his days with the great Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990’s. I didn’t see him pitch against my favorite team, the New York Yankees, in the 1996 World Series. Sadly, I didn’t see John Smoltz when he was at the top of his game, but I saw him towards the end of his career and even then, he was pretty damn good.
So, when I went to cast my vote for the IBWAA Hall of Fame, I went to ask those who saw him when he was great. The thing that stuck out to me, and everyone I talked to about him, was the fact that Smoltz won 213 games and saved 154 games. My apologies to the Sabrmetric community, who don’t consider “Wins” to be all that important, but winning that many games and saving almost as many games, it needs to be recognized. Very few starting pitchers win over 200 games and very few closers save over 100 games. He did both. That’s special. From a team standpoint, Smoltz gave up being one of the best starters in the game to help his team as one of the best closers in the game.
That’s the type of player any team would be lucky to have. One parting note, how can you ignore those post season numbers? A 15 and 4 win/loss record with a 2.67 ERA? That sounds like the type of player you can count on when that trophy is on the line. Is John Smoltz a Hall of Famer pitcher? Saying yes was one of the easiest decisions I made all year.
- Scott Alfano (Senior Writer) on :
This year’s Hall of Fame potential class is one of the best in the history of baseball. The glaring issue, of course, is that the best of the steroid era are now HOF eligible. Aside from the steroid debate, there were a few picks this year that I found to be intriguing, namely . Martinez doesn’t have the 500 homers or 1,500 RBI that some voters set as a standard for the HOF. However, Martinez completely transformed a position, DH, in a way that no one before him had.
Martinez came up as a third baseman and took over as an everyday DH in 1995. He was a good player as a third baseman, averaging a slash line of .303/.391/.460 with 16 homers and 67 RBI per 162 games during that time. However, from 1995 through the rest of his career, Martinez had a .316/.430/.541 slash line with a 25 homer and 99 RBI average per 162 games. Moving to the DH spot made him one of the best.
Martinez played his entire career in Seattle. He was the face of that franchise as many players came and left through the years. In a career spanning from 1987-2004, he had 2247 hits, 514 doubles, 309 home runs, 1261 RBI, and a .312/.418/.515 slash line. He is one of two eligible players with a slash line over .300/.400/.500 not in the Hall of Fame, the other being . He had a WAR of 65.6, 44.4 of which came when he was primarily only playing on one side of the ball.
A lot of people do not agree with the DH rule. Unfortunately for them, it has been in the game since 1973 and is not going anywhere. Martinez did not invent the DH rule; he simply put his head down and became arguably the best to ever play the position. He needs to be in the Hall.
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- (Fansided MLB Editorial Director) on :
Let us look at the numbers posted in his career, and who these numbers surpass. Trammell’s 63.7 WAR is better than the career mark posted by Hall of Famers , and . His 111 wRC+ is only one point below . His .130 isolated slugging is identical to ‘s career marks. All of those players are already in the Hall of Fame, so why not Alan Trammell?
A player who spent all twenty years with the Tigers, Trammell posted a career .285/.352/.415 batting line, hitting 185 home runs while stealing 236 bases. He was a six-time All-Star, a three-time Sliver Slugger award winner, won four Gold Glove awards and finished in the top ten in the MVP vote three times. He was an excellent offensive player at a time when shortstops weren’t expected to hit, while still playing excellent defense.
Alan Trammell should be in the Hall of Fame. he certainly has my vote.
- Wayne Cavadi (Co-editor, Grading On The Curve/Senior Writer) on :
was nothing flashy or fancy in an era of some of the best home run hitters in history. He was as consistent as they come, and no matter what league or what side of the country he was playing on, you know what you were going to get from the Crime Dog. Steady, smooth play with the ability to win games with a single swing of the bat.
McGriff fell 7 home runs short of the 500 Home Run Club, which would gave surely gained him admittance into the hallowed walls of Cooperstown. Crime Dog was a perennial powerhouse. He has the unique honor of leading both the American League (36 in 1989 for the Blue Jays) and National League (35 in 1992 for the Padres) in home runs. He bashed 30 home runs with 5 different teams, a feat accomplished only by fellow Hall of Fame ballot hopeful, . McGriff was the man, and he has an All Star Game MVP to show for it. If you want further proof of how important Fred McGriff was, think about this. He was the clean-up hitter for the only Atlanta Braves team to win a World Series title in their history.
- Ricky Keeler (Co-editor, District On Deck/Senior Writer) on :
While Yankees’ fans will probably chant “Who’s Your Daddy” at Martinez’s induction speech, there is no doubt that Martinez deserves to be elected into the Hall. Pedro won 219 games during his 18-year career, but Yankees fans know firsthand the dominance he had in Boston. Over his seven years with the Red Sox, he went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA.
Martinez made eight All-Star teams in his career that spanned five teams (Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies). He won the with the Expos in 1997 when he went 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA and threw 13 complete games! The three-time award winner was at his best when the light shone the brightest. He was 6-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 10 postseason games, including a 4-0 record in Division Series play.
Pedro was 11-11 against the Yankees during his career, yet was 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 16 starts at Yankee Stadium. While Yankees’ fans might only remember Martinez giving up the home run to in the 2009 World Series or staying in the game too long in Game 7 of the 2003 ALDS, the former Red Sox’ ace had an outstanding career that even Bronx Bombers’ fans have to respect.
- And Finally, Yours Truly On My Guy, :
I’m not even going to try and tell you that my voting for Donnie Baseball was objective. It was not. I’m not even going to try and tell you that he’s a fringe guy that will perhaps some day get in via the Veteran’s Committee with continued success as a manager. He won’t. However, I wish to share a brief comparison between Mattingly, who has never received more than 28% of the BBWAA vote, to a first ballot Hall of Famer, and you tell me why Mattingly isn’t in:
Mattingly’s Career Numbers: 14 years, .307 batting average, 222 home runs, 1099 RBI, 442 doubles, 3301 total bases, .471 slugging percentage, .358 on-base percentage, a batting title, a league MVP, a six-time All-Star, 9 Gold Gloves, a career fielding percentage of .996 in over 14,000 innings, and over 15,000 chances.
First Ballot Hall of Famer’s Career Numbers: 12 years, .318 batting average, 207 home runs, 1085 RBI, 414 doubles, 3453 total bases, .477 slugging percentage, .360 on-base percentage, one batting title, an All-Star Game MVP, an 11-time All-Star, 6 Gold Gloves, a career fielding percentage of .989 in 14,000 innings, and over 4500 chances.
Is Mr. First Ballot really almost 60% better than Donnie Baseball? The argument that his period of dominance is far too short to be considered a Hall of Famer is laughable. Mattingly finished with just under 200 less hits than Mr. First Ballot, but once again didn’t receive the love from the writers in his 15th and final appearance on the ballot. I’ll even compare Mattingly to a guy that the writers DID vote in back in 2000, that being . Perez played 23 seasons compared to Mattingly’s 14. It took Perez 9 more seasons to compile ONLY 600 or so more career hits, 150 or so more home runs, 63 more doubles, 654 more RBI, and the man NEVER won an MVP, a Gold Glove, or a batting title. Perez never led his league in ANY offensive category. Is the Hall of Fame a contest to see whose career can last the longest, how many teams you can bounce around with to hang on long enough to compile numbers that are no more eye-popping than that of Mattingly’s? Perez was elected on his 9th try on the ballot, and never received less than 50% in any year in which he appeared. Where was his period of dominance? Last time I checked, he wasn’t even the best player on his own team in his PRIME! That distinction could be argued among , , and .
Oh yeah, getting back to Mr. First Ballot, that was if you hadn’t figured it out. The guy who coined the named “Donnie Baseball”. While I hope that Kirby is resting in peace, if isn’t a Hall of Famer, neither should Puckett, and if Puckett IS a first ballot Hall of Fame selection, than Mattingly should’ve gotten more love than he has during these past 15 disappointing years of voting.