Seven earn Gammons' Hall vote
Alomar a 'no-brainer' for induction; perspective helps McGwire
Members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America can check the names of up to 10 eligible candidates with their annual Hall of Fame ballots, and I voted for seven this time: Robby Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.
Any candidates who received at least 75 percent of our vote will be announced by Hall president Jeff Idelson at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday during a live show on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com. In the meantime, here is the reasoning behind my own choices:
No-brainer -- one of the six to eight best second basemen who ever played. Twelve All-Star teams, 10 Gold Gloves, one of the best instinctive defenders and baserunners of his generation. Could hit 1-2-3 in the order, and in the 14 years from 1988-2001 was a dominant player: second in hits and runs, third in doubles, fourth in triples and games started, fifth in steals. He was a premier defender who for his career is in the top 80 in runs, hits, doubles, total bases, times on base and steals.
When one thinks about his run support and career 3.31 ERA, the 13 wins he needed for 300 and first-ballot candidacy seem slight. Hats off to Rich Lederer and others who have sponsored his cause. Think about the fact that his 15 1-0 wins are the most in the last 50 years, and he had more career shutouts than the American League has had the past 18 seasons.
HOW THEY VOTED
|Bauman||Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Smith|
|Bloom||Alomar, McGriff, Martinez, Blyleven, Dawson, Morris, Trammell, Smith, McGwire, Ventura|
|Bodley||Dawson, Blyleven, Alomar, Morris|
|Gammons||Alomar, Blyleven, McGwire, Larkin, Trammell, Dawson, Raines|
|Gurnick||Blyleven, Dawson, Smith|
|Haft||Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, Morris, Murphy, Smith|
|Newman||Alomar, McGwire, Smith|
|Singer||Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, Dawson, Smith, Morris, Martinez, Trammell|
|Spencer||Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, Mattingly, Murphy, Raines, Smith, Trammell|
|Street||Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, Martinez, Morris, Raines|
|Sullivan||McGwire, Dawson, Blyleven, Alomar|
If he'd ever been suspended or named in the Mitchell Report, maybe I'd give in to common perception, or the words of Jose Canseco. But other than his name showing up in the respected investigative work of the New York Daily News, McGwire hasn't been proven guilty. Andro was illegal -- three years after he retired. He did hit 49 homers as a rookie, and he's eighth in homers, ninth in slugging, 11th in OPS, 12th in OPS+ and first in homers per at-bat. At this point, I am so convinced that the athletic society so was laced with performance-enhancing drugs from 1985-2005 that unless a player is proven guilty and, more importantly, suspended for violation of the player-owner drug policy -- see Rafael Palmeiro next year, or Manny Ramirez, in time -- then I have to go back to the bold face in the encyclopedia.
Someone said he was Derek Jeter before Jeter came along, minus the durability; he was limited to 121 games a year from 2001-05. He was a 30-30 shortstop, MVP, won three Gold Gloves, played in a dozen All-Star games, is ranked the sixth-best shortstop ever by Bill James, and, like Jeter, was the consummate professional and model for the game.
Darrell Evans used to say that every throw Trammell made was perfect to catch, and amidst the four Gold Gloves, Trammell was the ultimate in consistency in the field. His numbers put him in the top 15-20 shortstops who ever played, he should have been the MVP in 1987, he was the dominant player of the 1984 postseason, and this year Joe Sheehan changed his mind and voted for Trammell. There are times when you have to have seen a player, and Trammell was one of them.
There are strong arguments by baseball scholars that Dawson's numbers are hollow, and that even when he won the MVP with 49 homers for the Cubs in 1987, he batted .246 with a .288 on-base percentage on the road. Yes, and he never was feared enough to be unintentionally walked 40 times in a season. But 1,500 RBIs, 400 homers and 300 steals have been accomplished by The Hawk, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Teammates named kids after him.
The second-best leadoff man of all time, after Rickey Henderson. In the anonymity of Montreal, he hit .320 with an .880 OPS in 1985, won the batting title in '86, and after being restricted by collusion in '87 he stole 50 bases, hit 18 homers and his Wins Above Replacement Player value was more than double that of Dawson, who won the MVP.
Peter Gammons is a columnist for MLB.com and analyst for MLB Network. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.