Major League Baseball will announce whether or not the Baseball Writers Association of America could agree upon any players worth of joining Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre today at 1 p.m. Voting this year has been highly debated. There are maybe 12 or 13 Hall of Fame calibre players on this year’s ballot but because of voting restrictions (can only vote for up to 10 players), never-ending PED (performance enhancing drugs) scandal, and disagreements on what a Hall of Fame player even is has made the 2014 ballot incredibly difficult to figure out.
You’ll be stunned to know that I do not actually have a HOF vote, but if I did, here is what my ballot would look like.
PREDICTIONS FOR WHO WILL BE ELECTED TODAY
1. Greg Maddux, SP, Atlanta Braves
bWAR: 106.8 (Avg. HOF SP bWAR: 72.6)
Given the era he pitched in and his lack of known connection to PEDs, there is a great case to be made Maddux is the greatest pitcher of his generation. He threw more innings, walked fewer batters, possessed a lower WHIP, and had more wins than Roger Clemens. Totaled a higher WAR than Randy Johnson. And had more sustain success than Pedro Martinez.
There’s probably no other player on this ballot that is more of a sure lock for the Hall of Fame than Maddux.
2. Frank Thomas, 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox
bWAR: 73.6 (Avg. HOF 1B bWAR: 65.7)
If Maddux is the most guaranteed player to be elected to the Hall of Fame today, then Thomas is the most guaranteed position player to be elected today.
The Big Hurt was one of the most dominate players of his era, and started his career in such a way it rivals Albert Pujols‘ start. In his first eight seasons, Thomas was a .330/.452/.600 hitter with 246 home runs and 854 RBI. Only Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx had higher OPS through the first eight years of their career than Thomas.
Thomas won two MVP awards and finished in the top four a total of six times, and ended his career with a .301/.419/.555 slash line, 521 home runs, and more walks (1,667) than strikeouts (1,397).
3. Tom Glavine, SP, Atlanta Braves
bWAR: 81.4 (Avg. HOF SP bWAR: 72.6)
One could debate and win an argument that Glavine was not a better pitcher than Mike Mussina, but the magical 300 win mark (305 career wins) is going to make Glavine’s afternoon far less dramatic than Mussina’s.
This doesn’t mean Glavine does not deserve to be a Hall of Famer. His 3.54 career ERA is better than Mussina’s, for instance. He won two Cy Young Awards and finished in the top three a total of six times. From 1991-1998 Glavine was 140-64 with a 2.96 ERA and totaled 40 WAR, numbers that bested his closest competition – Curt Schilling and Mussina.
4. Craig Biggio, 2B, Houston Astros
bWAR: 64.9 (Avg. HOF 2B bWAR: 69.5)
Like Glavine, his status as would be more up in the air today if it were not for the fact that he collected 3,060 hits in his career.
While he is listed fourth, he was the last player to make it onto my ballot. What set him apart was two things: his extra base hits (one of only 35 players in baseball history to have over 1,000 career base hits) and his peak years at second base.
From 1993-1999, Biggio batted .303/.397/.473 (132 OPS+), won three Gold Gloves, and finished in the top five of the MVP voting twice. His peers, Roberto Alomar and Ryne Sandberg, each of whom is in the Hall of Fame, could not match those numbers over a seven-year stretch at any point in their careers. (Though each won more Gold Gloves and Sandberg won a MVP award.)
There is also an argument to be made that Biggio is one of the 20 best second basemen of all-time, which is something the two players who were bumped off my ballot could not make at their respective positions.