Hall of Fame Debates (95)




Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Running Back, Terrell Davis.

For the first time in eight years, Terrell Davis has made it to the Final Round, a feat inconceivable four years into his career when he had just completed a three year stint as the best Running Back in the National Football League. 

Those first four seasons were among the most impressive by any Running Back in NFL history.  Davis would win the Rushing Title in 1998 and would lead the league in Rushing Touchdowns twice in 1997 and 1998, and is one of the rare people to rush for 2,000 Yards in a NFL season.  More importantly, Davis would be a featured performer taking the Denver Broncos to two consecutive Super Bowls, where he would be named the MVP of his first one, and was the MVP of the NFL in the regular season the year after.

So what happened?

Like so many professional athletes, Terrell Davis succumbed to injuries way to early in his career and in his final three seasons only saw the Running Back play 17 Games.  He just wasn’t the same player and there are many who look at Hall of Fame players for Canton and expect that they should have longer careers than only seven NFL campaigns.

While I can understand that sentiment, a very important fact remains is that Davis WAS at one point the undisputed best Running Back in the NFL and not just for a moment.  That reality makes him a bona fide contender for the Hall of Fame and despite the brevity of his career makes him someone that I would personally vote for, champion for and induct into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Saying that, will he get in?

Not this year, as the patterns we have seen have shown as that those who have “toiled” in the Semis and eventually make it to the Finals never get into the Hall of Fame the year they finally break through. 

Although this is very unlikely to be the year that Davis breaks through…well, we can hope can’t we?  I am sure that there are many in the state of Colorado thinking the same thing.












Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Center, Mick Tingelhoff.

Tingelhoff is part of all four Minnesota Vikings teams in the 1970’s that made it to the Super Bowl, though failed to win the big one.  Saying that, while he was still regarded as an above average Center in the National Football League, it was in the 1960’s that he was an elite performer. 

That decade, Tingelhoff went to six Pro Bowls, five of which saw him named as a First Team All Pro Selection.  His overall durability saw him play 240 consecutive games, all of which as a starter, a mark that at the time of his retirement placed him second overall. 

Tingelhoff, who is already in the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor and has had his number retired by the organization, has long been a player that Vikings fans have been clamoring for to enter the Hall of Fame, and history shows that they will likely get what they want.


Over 65 percent of past Senior Candidates have gotten in, and now with their being only one on the ballot, many, including us think that Tingelhoff will no longer be on the outside looking in, which is how it should have been for years.








Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Offensive Guard, Will Shields.

This is Shields fourth consecutive year as a Finalist, which is also his fourth on the ballot.  The Right Guard started 223 of his 224 Games Played and of his fourteen seasons, he was a Pro Bowl Selection for twelve of them, not to mention a First Team All Pro Selection twice. 

A consistent player, Shields was the steadying force in what was predominantly one of the better Offensive Lines in the NFL and was rarely beat, much to the delight of the his Quarterbacks, Elvis Grbac and Trent Green who both had 4,000 Yard Passing seasons. 

What has kept Shields out thus far is the high amount of Offensive Linemen who have been eligible at the same time, and this year is no exception with Orlando Pace and Senior Candidate Mick Tingelhoff, the latter of which has a great chance of getting in based on the recent frequency in which Senior Candidates have been getting inducted. 

Saying that, I think he will get in (and should) this year, but if he is passed over again, the former Kansas City Chief won’t wait long.




Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Head Coach, Jimmy Johnson.

The former Dallas Cowboy and Miami Dolphin Head Coach has been eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for over a decade but this is the first time he made this far.  The initial question might be why, but it appears that longevity would have to be the answer. 

Johnson would only coach for nine seasons and his 80 and 64 record is well below a lot of other Head Coach’s winning percentage is not in line with others in Canton.  That is something that probably should not matter, but having a win total well under 100 has to be something that has prevented him getting him this far until now. 

Now that being true, he does have three major things going for him, and two of them are Super Bowl Rings.  You pay coaches to win the big one, and his record is skewed a lot from that 1 and 15 inaugural season in Dallas, but ask Cowboys fans if they care about that now?  They don’t and nor should they based on what he built.

What also works in his favor is that Johnson was the architect of putting together the team (he was the head of all those decisions) and through drafts and the brilliant trade of Herschel Walker that netted him a plethora of draft picks, he built a mini-dynasty that would win another Super Bowl under Barry Switzer that largely was due to the personnel decisions by Johnson.

Perhaps the best comparison is John Madden, who like Johnson had a relatively similar career with ten seasons as the Raiders Head Coach and one Super Bowl win, though his regular season record was much better (100-32-7), though wouldn’t he heave traded some wins for a second Super Bowl?  Also, both remained largely in the public eye with their broadcasting career, and make no mistake, that does subconsciously play into the minds of many voters.

For me, the most important thing is the two Super Bowl Bowls, and arguably an assist on the third, which in my mind makes him not only a Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist, but an inductee as well, and he should have been a Finalist long ago.

If it was up to me he will get in this year, but he won’t.  Tony Dungy will likely get that spot instead.







Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Wide Receiver, Marvin Harrison.

The biggest shock last year was that Marvin Harrison did not get in last year on his first year of eligibility, as stat wise he was the most accomplished of the Wide Receivers on the ballot.  Harrison caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 Yards and 128 Touchdowns, career numbers that fit the resume of a Hall of Fame caliber player, even in this inflated era.  He would twice lead the NFL in Receiving Yards, would three times be named a First Team All Pro three times and also was once named the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year.

Those accolades show that not only did Marvin Harrison have the durability, he had a claim at one point as the top Wide Receiver in the game, a “two for two” in what should make a player a Hall of Fame lock. 

So what kept him out last year?

Harrison has had shooting incidents, a couple of which attached to drugs and drug dealers.  Now, it needs to be stated that Marvin Harrison was never convicted on any charge, but it is a stigma that has followed him, as has the fact that he was not always the most cooperative with the media.   

Still, as stated many times in this site, character should not be a factor (unless there is something far more serious) should not keep a man out of the Hall of Fame, and Harrison has every necessary gridiron credential. 

My prediction is that the former Indianapolis Colt gets in this year, and he really should not have to wait another year.  It’s already been too long.






Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Defensive End and Linebacker, Charles Haley.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Charles Haley has been named a Hall of Fame Finalist, and every single time that someone extolls the virtues of Haley for enshrinement they point to the same thing every single time:

Five Super Bowl Rings.

And why shouldn’t they do mention that fact over and over again?  There is no player who ever competed in the National Football League who can make that claim, and why else do you play the game if it isn’t to become a champion?  Haley wasn’t just a bystander, he was a pivotal figure in these championship teams with both the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers and is one of the few players who has over 100 Quarterback Sacks (100.5).  That is the most important stat, and one you can’t not mention when looking at Haley’s Hall of Fame credentials. 

Haley was also someone who had successful seasons at both Defensive End and at Linebacker, and went to the Pro Bowl and had First Team All Pro Selections at both positions, overall accumulating two First Team nods and five Pro Bowl selections, which again are decent numbers, though we have seen many other defensive players with five Pro Bowls who really have not come close to getting into Canton, though that is not what many think has kept him out so far.

As much as you would hear John Madden wax poetic about his skills on Sundays, you would equally hear about character issues that Haley had.  The defensive standout, who would later be diagnosed as bipolar, was absolutely detested by the media and though that should not be a factor for Hall of Fame voting, it is voted on by humans who mostly have interacted with the people they vote on.  The human factor plays a part, right or wrong.

It is not that he also did not ruffle teammates the wrong way as he famously had to be restrained from attacking Quarterback, Steve Young following a loss to the Oakland Raiders and this was not an isolated incident. 

Still, there have been many past teammates, namely Troy Aikman and his former coach, Jimmy Johnson who have been vocal advocates of Haley getting into the Hall.  That kind of support has to help though as much as he has become a finalist over and over, there never seemed to be any year where it felt that he was going to get over that hump.

This year doesn’t feel that much different either and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fall short again. 






Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Linebacker, Kevin Greene.

The Quarterback Sack is the sexiest defensive statistic in Football, and though the Interception is a far bigger game changer, the Sack defines the game.  Despite the changing of the rules designed to protect the Quarterback, it remains an exciting play and the most coveting thing a Linebacker can get.

Kevin Greene recorded 160 of them.

Although the sack statistic is certainly aided by schemes and surrounding personnel, it is an impressive accomplishment and one that places him third overall behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White, both of whom were inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Greene is also a two time leader in that category leading the National Football League in that stat in 1996 and 1998, the latter of which when he was 34 years old.

This bears mentioning, as though he was recording multiple sacks in his 20’s, he was a more complete player in his 30’s and it was this decade of his life where he was also recognized as one of the top defensive players of his time.  Greene would be named the NEA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996, and would also be named the NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year. 

Greene would also be named to five Pro Bowls, two First Team All Pro nods and was also named to the 1990’s All Decade team, decent numbers and though many other Defensive players have been named to more Pro Bowls and All Pro squads, he wasn’t that far off from consideration in his early years.

Entering his fourth consecutive year as a Finalist, Kevin Greene again is not the highest profile Linebacker left and could easily be pushed aside for Junior Seau, and frankly if it comes down to picking only one Linebacker, it should be Seau, though Greene remains the top pass rusher on the ballot, a fact aided by Michael Strahan’s induction last year.

That is another factor that works against him, as he doesn’t have the same star quotient those other defensive players who got in recently, namely Strahan and Warren Sapp who got in the year before.

That shouldn’t matter, but though he did become a more balanced player later in his career, he is measuring up against others that were. 

Kevin Greene should eventually get into the Hall of Fame, and probably should.  Personally, the more I look at his career, the more I am swaying towards inducting him, as originally, I felt he was a bit too one dimensional.  I will revert back to the word “eventually” because I don’t think he is getting in this year, but he won’t have to wait much longer.








Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Wide Receiver/Returner, Tim Brown.

Tim Brown first became eligible for the Football Hall of Fame in 2010, and was named a Finalist that year, and has been every year since.  Brown has some substantial Hall of Fame credentials but has been caught in a logjam of more deserving Wide Receivers namely Cris Carter and Andre Reed who had a bit of a wait themselves. 

Again, Brown is not the highest regarded Wide Receiver who made the Finals as Marvin Harrison, who personally I was shocked when he was not a first ballot inductee last year, did not get in.  Last year, when the Hall of Fame reduced from fifteen to ten names, Harrison made the final ten, and Brown did not, indicating that he is still not on the top of the wideout pecking order. 

This is not to say that he is not a Hall of Famer caliber player, because he does have a lot on his resume.  What he lacks in First Team All Pro Selections (he has none) and Super Bowl Rings, he makes up for in Pro Bowl selections (nine) and Special Teams credentials. 

Brown’s first Pro Bowl was as a Special Team selection and in that rookie campaign he would lead the NFL in Kick Return Yards.  He would later lead the NFL in Punt Return Yards in 1994 and overall would contribute a total of 4,555 Return Yards and 4 Touchdowns; a mark that no other Wide Receiver can state. 

Does that matter?

It should, but as we know, the Pro Football Hall of Fame never has put a lot of premium on Special Teams players, so why should we expect that they will care about a Special Team “add on” to a Wide Receiver career?

Perhaps that is the problem, as Tim Brown’s Wide Receiving was decent, he was never ever considered among the top two in his position, and if he ever was at any given time, he could at least cling to that. 

That does matter, as being considered an elite performer at an offensive skill position he would probably be indicted already.  Just one season, in addition to his career statistical accomplishments would have made him impossible to overlook by this point.

Even with the inflated statistics that exist within Wide Receivers at this time, Tim Brown is still in the top five in Receptions and Receiving Yards and while he was able to successfully to climb the all time stat ladder, he still did so in an era where he had a lot of competition.

With his additional dimensions on Special Teams and his accumulated totals on Offense, he would receive my vote, and has waited long enough.

Saying that, I don’t think he will get the call this year either.






Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Head Coach, Don Coryell.

This is actually the easiest debate as the Hall of Fame case for Don Coryell always comes down to the same question:  Innovation Vs Success.

Seriously, it is that simple.

Coryell was dubbed “Air Coryell” for a putting a higher premium on the passing game, and creating a unique rhythm forcing defenses to cover all parts of the field.  Tight Ends, Running Backs would go in motion, Receivers had no set start point, and the ball would be going to the target before the receiver would get there.  Coryell made deep routes a major part of his offense and altered the way Tight Ends were played, making them a bigger part of offensive targets.  All of this is commonplace today but this was not happening before Coryell literally changed the way the game was played.

He would begin this revolution with the St. Louis Cardinals where he would win two consecutive division titles, but it was in San Diego where he had the Quarterback he wanted (Dan Fouts) that he was really able to bring his vision to light.  His Chargers would win the division three times and would lead the National Football League in passing six consecutive seasons, which remains a record today. 

That’s the positive side of the Hall of Fame ledger, which has been enough to keep him on the ballot for a few years now; here is the negative. 

Coryell did take his teams to the playoffs often but only has a 3 and 6 record and does not have any Super Bowl rings, generally a prerequisite for a Hall of Fame induction.  His regular season record is 111-83-1, which is decent, but is not spectacular. 

However, the biggest and fairest criticism of Don Coryell was his lack of attention to defense, and even past Defensive Coordinators would state that he had limited interest in that side of the ball.  That did show in the teams he coached, as they were routinely on the bottom half of points and yards allowed. 

So there you have it.  The ultimate case of innovation Vs Accomplishment.  

Personally, I am all about innovation, though my glasses are tainted somewhat by looking at other Halls of Fame and how they induct players/musicians and when you are a game changer, I believe you should get in.

Will he this year?  

Probably not.






Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

Next, I take a look at former Place Kicker, Morten Andersen.

I have to admit I was surprised that Morten Andersen was a Hall of Fame Finalist last year.  It isn’t that there are not some serious Canton worthy credentials, he does, but since it’s inception the frequency in which they have elected Special Teams players has not exactly been regular.

Punter, Ray Guy had a long wait to get into the Hall, and had to wait until he was a Senior Nominee before he finally got the Hall; this despite being regarded by every football pundit as the greatest Punter in the history of the game.  It has been a little easier for Place Kickers…but not much. 

There are players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who have a significant amount of PATs and Field Goals made but these were players (George Blanda for example) that had a significant amount of playing time at other positions.  The only full time Kicker in Canton is Norwegian born, Jan Stenerud, so would not seem somewhat fitting that a fellow Scandinavian (Andersen was born in Denmark) join him?  

Andersen is currently the all-time leading scorer in NFL history and is 398 Points ahead of the 42 year old Adam Vinatieri, and if he can’t catch him, he will hold that record for a considerable amount of time.  Normally, the leading scorer in any sport would be a lock for a Hall of Fame, but American Football doesn’t work that way, so that by no means makes him a lock.

The “Great Dane” also is the all-time leader in Games Played, and consecutive Games Played and Field Goals Made and is also the all-time leader for both the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.  In addition, Andersen went to seven Pro Bowls and made three First Team All Pro squads.

Adam Vinatieri had that signature moment when he kicked a forty-five yard Field Goal in the snow to tie a 2002 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders (the infamous “Tuck Rule” Game) and a much shorter one to win the game.  Vinatieri would also kick the game winning in that year’s Super Bowl, and instantly he became the most famous Place Kicker in the NFL and actually received endorsements, unheard for a Kicker.  

Andersen himself had a signature playoff moment while playing for the Atlanta Falcons when his 38 Yard overtime Field Goal in 1999 took Atlanta to the Super Bowl, though unlike Vinatieri, his team was not able to capitalize on the big one. 

Should the fact that Morten Andersen never won a Super Bowl keep him out of the Hall of Fame?  Not at all, Andersen did what was required of him in clutch situations, which is all you can ask of your clutch kicker, but it does make Vinatieri a sexier candidate, and if Andersen is still lingering on the ballot, he could be overlapped.

Saying that I don’t think that Andersen will still be there, but I don’t think that he is getting in this year, though I do predict he will eventually be the second pure Place Kicker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.








Having a lot of fun doing our Baseball debates with two of my bloggers, DDT and the Phillies Archivist, I wanted to repeat the same idea with this year’s Football Finalists, but due to time constraints I will take a deeper look at each candidate myself and offer a few thoughts as to their Hall of Fame candidacy

First up, I take a look at former Offensive Tackle, Orlando Pace.

You had to know that the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” team was going to have multiple names make this year’s finalists.  Along with Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, Pace was one of four members of the Super Bowl XXXIV Championship team that became eligible all in the same year.  Personally, I thought that either Bruce or Holt would join Warner and Pace, but perhaps those deciding the fate of the Finalists thought that two Rams were sufficient or maybe Bruce and Holt cancelled each other out. 

That aside, when you talk about those great Rams teams, the names of Warner, Marshall Faulk, Bruce and Holt received the press, as you would expect; skill positions always do, but would St. Louis have been as good without Orlando Pace helming the Offensive Line? 

Protecting Warner and opening up gaping holes for Faulk, Pace gave the Rams exactly what they hoped for when they selected him first overall from Ohio State in 1997.  In the twelve years that he played for the Rams, they had more gross yards than any other team in the National Football League and he blocked for three consecutive MVPs (Warner twice and Faulk once). 

Legacy wise, Orlando Pace is regarded as one of the three Left Tackles of his era who were considered among the elite; the others being Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden, both of whom just entered the Hall of Fame, leading to a lot of reason to think that Pace should be able to follow them both into Canton.

Trophy wise, Pace has what you want for a Hall of Fame candidate.  His resume brings three First Team All Pro Selections, seven Pro Bowls, a selection to the NFL All Decade Team (2000’s), the 2008 Ed Block Courage Award and of course that Super Bowl Ring.

So what works against him?

Well much like Harrison and Holt may have had a cancelling of each other out, it is possible that the same could happen for Pace and Warner, or that the committee may wish to only one put St. Louis Ram in.  There is no urgency to induct either one of them, and with all due respect to Warner and Pace, there will not be that large of an uproar if either of them do not get in on the first ballot.

What also may play against him is Will Shields, who although played on a different position on the Offensive Line (Right Guard), but nevertheless there is an O-Lineman, and with limited spots available, Shields, who has been a Finalist already for the past three years might get the nod.  Also, Senior Candidate, Mick Tingelhoff, is a Center, and Senior Candidates have had a better than 60 percent chance once they make this round.

So would I cast a vote for Orlando Pace?  Yes, and I do think there is a very good chance that he will get in on his first try, but if he fails I don’t see him waiting a very long time.  I will go on record that I would prefer for him to be first Ram Super Bowl winner over Warner and for the sake of what might be a perceived St. Louis log jam (never underestimate how voters think about things like that), I sincerely hope one of them does, to ease a path for Holt or Bruce, both of which who are deserving of at least an extended look as a Finalist. 

Saying that, I have a sneaky feeling that Warner will get the spot over Pace, and Shields might slide ahead.  My official prediction is that the very deserving and Hall worthy Orlando Pace will enter Canton…but on the second try. 






This is the twenty-fourth and final of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman: Every single time the Baseball Hall of Fame and Larry Walker are in the same sentence together, most bloggers, writers, pundits and fans counter with two words: Coors Field.  While I think there is some legitimacy to that argument, this is a guy who still put up good numbers in Montreal, had good numbers on he road while with Colorado, and by the way these are the same guys (the writers) who talked about the Coors effect and voted him the MVP of the National League in 1997.  Walker is on the 5th ballot, and last year he had his lowest total yet with 10.2%.  On the surface, this is not a path to Cooperstown.

D.K.:  Walker was a .320 career hitter until late in his career. If he had played one more season instead of retiring at age 37 he would have reached the 400 HR plateau. (Like Mussina, he apparently wasn’t interested in establishing a statistical legacy).  Walker had some years where his batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage, plus those two last categories combined were absolutely Crazy Good! However, the voting writers choose to look on this as just an aberration of having Coors Field as his home park.

I think the writers should re-examine Walker’s career rather than just dismissing his numbers as being, the product of having a great park to hit in.

Walker’s inability to attract votes also looms like an ominous dark cloud over the future candidacy of the greatest Colorado Rockie of them all, Todd Helton!

Darryl:  I've been writing about Larry Walker since my first article for this site, and in my 2013 ballot evaluation I went into detail about Walker and the "Coors Effect."  First, Walker played less than 30 percent of all his games at Coors, and his last two seasons of his nine total were after the Colorado Rockies began storing baseballs in a humidor to neutralize the park's altitude effects. Prior to coming to Colorado, Walker played five full seasons in Montreal's Olympic Stadium, and in three of those seasons the stadium was considered to be a pitchers' park.  When Walker won the NL MVP in 1997, he posted a .346/.443/.733 slash line on the road, and he actually slugged better on the road—his home slugging percentage was .709 while he slugged .733 on the road—and he hit 29 of his 49 home runs that year in ballparks other than Coors Field. In short, Larry Walker could hit anywhere, he was a five-tool player, and he ranks 10th all-time among all right fielders according to Jay Jaffe's JAWS system.  The nine ahead of him are all Hall of Famers while Walker is ahead of Hall of Famers Paul Waner, Sam Crawford, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield . . . Every year I repeat myself on this. Not that it will help Walker. The writers won't elect him.

Chairman:  We are all on the same page, beating that dead horse.  Walker could conceivably fall off the ballot this year and hardly anyone would care.  The numbers bear everything out, the Coors advantage was proven statistically not to be as big an impact on his overall career as people think, but again the writer’s just don’t care, and the ones that do don’t seem to have any impact.  He is going to stay on the ballot just so that we have this same discussion every year. 

D.K:  Walker was indeed a 5-tool player as Darryl attests. He could field and had an excellent throwing arm to cut down runners or to make them not even think about trying to stretch those singles into doubles.

The advanced statistics systems that have come into vogue recently bear out what I had always felt in my gut - that Walker could hit no matter where he played or how challenging a park’s dimensions might be.

Here’s hoping he gets a larger share of votes this year. Up to this point he has been about the most underrated and underappreciated candidates in recent writers’ ballots history.

Darryl:  I think Larry Walker is a bellwether for players whose home park was Coors Field, and his fate will have an impact on Todd Helton when he becomes eligible, although Helton played his entire career in Colorado and Walker did not. The larger issue is with the Hall having to come to terms with this condition, as it has had to do so with the designated hitter and relief pitching, but, really, park effects should not be an issue for the Hall. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein raked like a monster in his home park, Philadelphia's Baker Bowl, but was an average hitter elsewhere. Walker was excellent anywhere. And while this closing remark comes from the emotional side, as a Canadian, albeit one long-transplanted to the States, I want to see a guy from British Columbia in the Hall of Fame!

Chairman:  It breaks my heart on a fictional vote to say no (he is my 11B) so I can only imagine how awful I would feel if I had a real ballot; and yes it hurts me more as a Canadian! 

D.K.:  Walker ranked tied with Jeff Kent for 11th - meaning those two are near-misses under the current system. - NO.  These two get my vote if the writers had been successful in getting the rules changed to allow a maximum of 12 votes per writer instead of 10.

Darryl:  This is one of my protest votes, along with those for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, although in Larry Walker's case it was one of his home parks that was on steroids for a while, not he himself. I've been saying this for years: He is an effing Hall of Famer.  My tenth and final Yes vote.




This is the twenty-third of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  Alan Trammellis here on his fourteenth ballot, and based on the voting we have seen thus far, he will be on the ballot next year, fail, and have to look for a Veteran’s Committee induction.  Trammell’s high water mark for voting was 36.8% two years ago and dropped back to 20.8% last year.  I think we can all we agree that he is not getting in this year.  What I want to ask both of you is should he.

D.K.:  Alan Trammell is someone who has never really captured my imagination as being a potential Hall Of Famer. When he came up to the Tigers in 1977 (cup of coffee) & 1978 (first full season).  I think his fielding skills were a little raw, but he worked on that aspect of the game and by the early or mid-1980s he was as smooth at that position as any active MLB shortstop.  He would wind up winning four Gold Gloves.

While he’s not a favorite of mine I’d have to say that he has better stats than a lot of HOF middle infielders.  With over 2,300 hits, a career batting average of .285 that includes seven .300 seasons, 1003 RBI, and 185 home runs, he probably ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack among shortstops who are currently in the Hall of Fame. 

Darryl:  Actually, DK, according to Jay Jaffe's WAR Score system (JAWS), Alan Trammell ranks 11th all-time among all shortstops and 8th all-time among the 21 shortstops already in the Hall of Fame; he is even ranked just ahead of Derek Jeter by JAWS although Jeter's total WAR value is about one and half wins better than Trammell's.  None of which matters because the writers are not going to elect Trammell this year or next year, which will be his final year, and his fate is in the hands of a future Expansion Era Committee.  So, Chairman, to answer your question:  Yes, Alan Trammell is a Hall of Fame shortstop.  He is better than shortstops Joe Tinker, Dave Bancroft, Hughie Jennings, Travis Jackson, Phil Rizzuto, and Rabbit Maranville, all of whom are already in the Hall of Fame.

Chairman:  My thinking is more with Darryl on this one.  I always thought he was one of the better Shortstops of all time, and maybe there is a bit of bias because when I first really to understand baseball, I was twelve years old and that was that dominant team Tigers team that won the World Series in 1984.   Take Cal Ripken out of the picture (or let’s say he played third), Trammell adds a few All Star Games, and he might already be in as the consensus top Shortstop in the AL over that time period.  Hell, we might be arguing Tony Fernandez instead!

I’ll say this, which is completely irrelevant.  Somewhere around that time Trammell and Lou Whitaker also appeared on Magnum P.I., which also adds to the pop culture love for me…and yes that stuff matters far more to me than it should be. 

Randomness aside, it looks like the Veteran Committee will have Trammell (and perhaps Lou Whitaker) on future ballot, and maybe he will get a shot then, because it won’t happen here.

D.K.:  Alan Trammel’s candidacy evokes the question: Is there one Hall of Fame offensive standard for all players, or should voters follow separate standards for each position.  Going by the former standard Trammel wouldn’t have much of a shot, but he becomes a valid, even a strong candidate if you judge him simply by how he’s performed compared to other shortstops. Defensively his reputation is solid and he’s bagged a quarry of Gold Glove Awards, but let’s examine his results as a hitter.

Trammel hit a solid .285 lifetime and enjoyed seven .300 seasons. He’d hit 12 to 15 home runs typically in his peak years, but reached 20 home runs twice, including a career high 28 one year. His final career total was 185 home runs. He’d drive in 60 to 75 runs just about every year in an eleven year peak period of 1980 to 1990. He finished with 1,003 ribbys.

He’d average better than a hit per game over his 20 year career that ended in 1996, with 2365 hits in 2293 games.

He had one off the charts season in 1987 where he and Darrell Evans led the Tigers to an A.L. East championship. Trammel’s numbers that year were 28 home runs, 105 RBI this only 100 RBI season) and a .343 batting average - all career bests!  He wasn’t able to maintain that pace, but he did add three more .300 seasons after ‘87.

In a typical election year Trammel probably gets my vote, because his numbers are better than most HOF shortstops. This year however, is anything but typical and I can see four or five candidates being elected come January 6. It’s an awfully strong field and Trammel probably won’t make it into most writers’ top ten - the maximum number of candidates each writer can vote for. He falls short of my top ten as well.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t support his HOF candidacy in the long run, however.

If the logjam of candidates is eased by the election of a number of players this year then Trammel will have my vote in the 2016 election, his final year on the writers ballot.  My guess is that Trammel will make it to the Hall of Fame by way of the Veterans Committee in the not-too-distant future.

Darryl:  D.K., I would hope that voters are considering positional scarcity in their selections, and I think that they have been, even historically. Ray Schalk, albeit a veterans committee selection in 1955, was voted in based overwhelmingly on his defensive play as a catcher. (Schalk has the dubious distinction of having an on-base percentage higher than his slugging percentage, .340 to .316, and although I'm too lazy to look it up, I suspect that Schalk's 11 home runs are the fewest hit by a position player in the Hall of Fame. But I digress.  More relevant to our discussion here, shortstops Rabbit

Maranville and Ozzie Smith were both voted in by the writers, and both are much better known for their defensive abilities rather than their offensive ones; their respective elections may indicate the evolution of thinking: Maranville was elected on his final ballot in 1954 while Ozzie was a first-ballot inductee in 2002. I swear I've read somewhere recently that if Alan Trammell could have done backflips, he'd already be in the Hall. So, I'm saying it again.

As for Lou Whitaker, I noted his unfair one-and-done in my very first column for the site. He and Bobby Grich are two second basemen who deserve a strong second look. And if there is any justice in a future Expansion Era Committee, both Trammell and Whitaker will be elected in the same year.

Chairman:  I want to vote for Alan, but in this ballot I have to say no.  I hope he gets a real fair look from the Veterans Committee.

D.K.:  Tied for 15th with Don Mattingly - and like Mattingly his HOF fate will soon be decided by the Veterans Committee.  For Trammel and Mattingly to be elected in the future it will take a more enlightened group of voters than the vets committee that just rejected Minoso, Hodges, Oliva, Kaat, Wills and Allen last week.

Darryl:  No.  Alan Trammell is a SABR darling who does not have the Hall of Fame aura. I think he belongs in the Hall, but this is triage time--we need to clear the ballot by electing viable candidates.  I hate to put so callously, but you don't water a dying flower.  Trammell's viability on this ballot is as healthy as an orchid in the middle of the Sahara.  May the Expansion Era Committee who gets to vote him in do so swiftly and mercifully, but the writers ain't gonna do it.  Damn.






This is the twenty-second of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  I think I want to coin a verb: Palmeiro.  As in Sammy Sosa is in his third year of eligibility slumping to only 7.5% last year who is about to be “Palmeiroed” off of the ballot despite having great numbers though associated with a syringe.  How about another verb: Sosa.  As in my bilingual friend travelled to Mexico but was “Sosaing” so that he could pretend not understand Spanish.  Seriously, I remember his complete lack of English recall on Congress more than any of the 600 plus Home Runs he hit.

D.K.:  With his charging out to the field to start games at Wrigley field and his throwing cups of water in his face he was a more entertaining version of Mark McGwire and he probably share McGwire's fate of being ignored by writers.

His 609 career home runs is a HOF-like number, but at what point did he start using PEDs and how much did they help his career. Sammy pleads “No intende Ingles” on that one.

Darryl:  Sammy Sosa is the only man in major-league history to hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times, and yet he never led his league in home runs in those seasons.  That seems to sum up Sosa's career: Splashy highlights that ultimately appear less consequential than they seemed initially.  Chairman and DK, you think of Sosa and think of "I no speaka da Ingles." When I think of Sosa, I think of him striking out with runners on base early in a Cubs game, trying to knock a three-run homer, and then hitting a solo homer later in the game, when it is inconsequential, with Sosa hopping out of the batter's box in his self-aggrandizing manner, having now hit a home run that makes his individual numbers look good but doesn't help his team. It is that as much as the PEDs allegations that makes Sosa's numbers look cheap.

Chairman:  Perfect synopsis Darryl.  Sammy Sosa is the “Big Empty”.  His hollow stats are matched by that hollow character.  There were a few within the media who were saying for years that Sosa was a great guy when the lights were on, but an asshole once the lights were off.  I know we talked about character not mattering, but I always remember what was reported by multiple sources upon Sosa’s demise in Chicago.  He was always playing his stereo loud in the clubhouse to the point where it dominated the audio under Wrigley.  On that final day as a Cub when he bailed early (later denying yet proven to do so by videotape) a Cubs player took a baseball bat to that stereo.  As we know, Sammy was an Oriole the year after. 

This is where I feel character does matter on a ledger.  Sammy was not a team guy and was an individual statistical slut.  I will never question his talent, but his ethics.  Give me a Bonds or a Sheffield over this guy any day.  You will never have to guess where you stand.

D.K.:  It’s been almost a decade since the public watched that news clip of
Sammy Sosa feigning that he didn’t understand questions directed at him by
congressmen back in March 2005.

One thing it showed was that Sosa could be dishonest when it suited his purposes - and that almost certainly extended to PED use over a prolonged period of time to give him an unfair advantage over his contemporaries.

I still applauded his accomplishments when he was already under suspicion and in one instance I even forgave him temporarily and rejoiced when I saw him hit his 600th home run live - courtesy of ESPN.  This was long after his congressional fiasco.  He still had that winning personality that made you want to be in his corner.

Some journalists have speculated that one day there will be a relenting on the part of the writers who withhold votes from Sosa and the rest of the PED crowd.  The key word in that sentence is “Speculated or its root Speculation”.  This may occur decades from now, but it’s not going to help Sosa in 2015 and he might even fail to snare 5% of the vote causing him to slide right off the ballot.  In that event, as long as Sosa is not disqualified and banned by MLB his career could be similar to another Chicago legend, Billy Pierce. The great little lefty only lasted a couple of years before the writers before not getting enough votes to stay on the ballot.  This didn’t exclude him, however from future Veterans Committee consideration and he was a final ten candidate at the Golden Era election earlier this month. Decades from now, Sosa may be in the same situation with his candidacy brought back from the dead and a new generation of writers, historians and even players that make up a future Veterans Committee in a more forgiving mood than the voting writers of present-day America. That will be his only remaining chance at Cooperstown should he fail to get 5% of the votes a few weeks from now.

Darryl:  I remember when Sosa "docked a day's pay" for skipping work, and the penalty amounted to something like $80,000. That is more than most of us make in year.  Sammy Sosa has become the poster boy for something that the anti-PEDs crusaders are trying to get at, and that is this: Is it possible for a player to put up Hall of Fame numbers but not be a Hall of Famer?  The PEDs issue makes that easy because you can say the numbers are artificially inflated through cheating (although near-comparable numbers were put up by players thought to be clean, so there is more it than that), and I realize that if you lean too heavily on the "sportsmanship" and "integrity" aspects of the eligibility statement that you start to veer into "Hall of Morality" territory, but the more I write about Sosa, the harder it is to claim that he is a Hall-worthy player.

Chairman:  I am voting no.  Can someone translate that to Sammy please?

D.K.:  He was charismatic and entertaining, but for many of the same reasons I couldn’t vote for McGwire I can’t vote for Sosa. -   NO.

Darryl:  No.




This is the twenty-first of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  I know that I keep equating last year’s Maddux/Glavine & Thomas to this year’s Randy/Pedro & Smoltz but it seems so much of a given that two of them are going in (Randy Johnson & Pedro Martinez) and John Smoltz, while great is arguably a level below, and not necessarily a first ballot.  I think the biggest comparison has to be Dennis Eckersley who got in on the first ballot, and had successful stints both as a starter and a reliever and they have similar bWARs (Eckersley 62.5 – Smoltz 66.5) but for John to replicate Eck’s 83.2% in his first year is so much harder as the man with the feathered coif did not have this kind of competition. 

For the record, I far prefer the career of Smoltz and do feel his a Hall of Fame inductee; I just don’t know whether he would get in right away like Eckersley. 

D.K.:  I’d have to think that Smoltz is so highly respected by his peers and team beat writers that at worst John Smoltz will be a near-miss for election this year with over 2/3 of the writers casting their ballots for him and he might even get elected in his first year of eligibility.

While his victory total of about 220 wins is not that staggering, Smoltz struck out more than 3,000 batters and helped anchor an Atlanta Braves pitching rotation that was vital towards the team’s drive to a record-setting 14 straight division championships.  He also made an unselfish switch to the bullpen for a few seasons where he notched more than 150 Saves.

Outstanding qualifications!   The only thing that may prevent his election next month is that some writers hold first year eligible candidates to a higher standard than others.

Darryl:  John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley are the only pitchers in major league history to combine 150 wins and 150 saves, while Smoltz is the only one to combine 200 wins and 150 saves, although Eckersley finished three wins shy of 200 and he was a full-time reliever for 12 seasons to Smoltz's three, and Smoltz's period as a closer coincided with higher save totals in the majors as managers brought in the closer in any save situation. In 2011, I labeled Smoltz a "no-brainer" Hall of Famer who will most likely go in on the first ballot.

Frankly, and even though I called him another "no-brainer," I wasn't sure that Tom Glavine was going to be elected last year on his first try. He was, and maybe it was the vestige of the 300-game winner, which Smoltz does not enjoy, and we'll see whether Smoltz's detour into relief pitching will help or hurt him. But I also suspect that part of Glavine's appeal was that he was a pitcher in the Steroids Era, a clean player, and a part of so many winning Braves' teams. Smoltz has that too, and something else besides—he may benefit from a "complete the set" mentality that wants to put him in with Glavine and Greg Maddux with no delays.

Chairman:  So we all see Smoltz as a Hall of Fame entry, and we all think he will get into the Hall immediately.  Yet, here I am putting that word in italics.  Could he somehow slip to next year?  For the longest time I thought that it was possible and I thought of all the reasons why it could happen, so much to the point where I convinced myself they would make him wait a year.

Today I was also thinking about how Smoltz has now become a broadcaster, basically crossing over to media.  I am not saying that he is politicking for votes, but he is in a position where he crossed over somewhat to “part of us” mentality that the writers might like.  What am I saying here?  I am saying that the imaginary fence I had him on, or thought he might be on, I am convinced what side he will fall; and I am totally cool with that, and yes I mean that as a first ballot induction. 

D.K:  I think it’s going to be close, but Smoltz might come up a little short this year. He won 20 games only once and people tend to generalize that he “unselfishly went to the bullpen for a few years to help his team”.  Actually he had an injury that caused him to miss the entire 2000 season. Then when he had recuperated enough he rejoined the team in 2001 and went to the bullpen to build up arm strength to help his team”. He worked out of the pen so well manager Bobby Cox kept him there, because he’s discovered a gem in Smoltz’s work as a Closer.  The move became semi-permanent and he didn’t return to starting until 2005. That cost him a significant number of career wins, but it also made him an attractive candidate as a rare pitcher who could excel both out of the rotation and out of the bullpen.

213 wins, 154 Saves and 3,084 Saves mark Smoltz as one of the toughest pitchers to face of his era but he’ll be competing against 303 game winner and #2 all-time in strikeouts in Randy Johnson who also had a higher winning percentage than Smoltz, Pedro Martinez another 3,000 strikeouts pitcher with the second highest winning percentage of any 200 game winner, plus holdover Curt Schilling whose numbers are very similar to Smoltz’s in wins, win percentage and strikeouts. Smoltz will be a Hall of Famer soon, although perhaps not this year.

Darryl:  I don't know that the move to broadcasting will be that big of a factor, although as I watch him on MLB Network that does cross my mind occasionally. I think the bigger factor is that he is the third of the Braves' starting-pitcher trio, and with both Maddux and Glavine being voted it last year, it may be a "complete the set" mentality to vote for him this year, as I mentioned previously.  Given the ballot logjam, I would not mind seeing him not be voted in this year, but I would hate to see a poor showing. And although I've stated repeatedly that I don't go for the contingency approach that "Player A may be a Hall of Famer, but Player B needs to go in first," it would rankle me if Smoltz gets elected this year while Curt Schilling does not.

Chairman:  Easy one for me here.  A definite yes.

D.K.:  I ranked him at #8.  -  YES.

Darryl:  No. Not this year. I think he is a Hall of Famer, and I think that he will get a lot of support. However, I do not think he is "inner circle" enough to leapfrog over candidates just as deserving as he is who have been on the ballot previously. Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, yes.  John Smoltz, no.  Not this year.




This is the twenteth of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  I don’t know about the two of you, but my biggest turn around over the past ten years has been on Lee Smith, and not for the better.  I was all in on respect for closers and I was taken in by the 478 Saves (retiring with the all time Saves record) and four Saves Titles.  This is still an accomplishment to celebrate, but when compared to a true dominating closer like Mariano Rivera, he doesn’t come close.  Forgetting the Saves, we have Rivera’s 1.000 WHIP to Smith’s 1.242, Rivera’s 205 ERA+ to Smith’s 132, and a bWAR of 56.6 to Smith’s 29.4.  I haven’t even talked about how he shit the bed in his two playoff appearances.  What was I thinking?

Perhaps the writers are thinking the same as this is Lee Smith’s 13th year and like so many others here, he hit his low last year with a 29.9%, down from 50.6 two years ago.  I don’t think it is looking good for Mr. Smith. 

D.K.:  Lee Smith’s case for the Hall of Fame brings up an interesting topic. Should someone who once led a sport in a statistical category be a Hall Of famer if that record has been surpassed or even obliterated?  Smith’s 486 Saves was the record for at least a decade until that total was surpassed by Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.

Well you could say that before Babe Ruth came to prominence a guy named Gavvy Cravath was the all-time home run leader.  No one brings his name up for the Hall of Fame in the Pre integration (1871-1945) category. The same is true for other sports:

In the NFL Philadelphia Eagles 1950s and 1960s receiver/kicker, Bobby Walston was once the NFLs all-time leader in Scoring and Billy Howton another star of the 1950s and early ‘560s was briefly the all-time pass receiving record holder with 503 catches.

Today, however these NFL stars accomplishments have pretty much been forgotten.  Smith is likely to receive the same treatment from writers as sportswriters have given Cravath, Walston and Howton in the past.

To add to the gloom of Smith’s case you have to note that he finished his career 21 games below .500 (71-92), had a significant number of blown Saves (103) and led the league as often in Blown Saves as he did in Saves (four times in each category).

Darryl:  D.K. brings up a good point about pioneers who have since been surpassed, and Lee Smith I think is the prototype of the "one-inning closer." As such, he falls between two stools: One stool has the "firemen" from the previous eras—Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter—the relievers who stepped in to quell the rally and stayed in to finish the game, and the other stool has the lights-out closers who followed Smith including Dennis Eckersley (although technically Eckersley's career began before Smith's, Eck was a starter until 1987), Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera—and Billy Wagner, who I think has a legitimate Hall case, but that is for another time. Smith may have blown 103 saves, but his .823 save percentage is still better than the four Hall of Fame relievers I just named.

And although the Chairman thinks the newly-instituted 10-year rule for ballot appearances is a conspiracy theory to eliminate the PEDs candidates, I think it is also to slough off clean guys like Smith, who have hung around year after year but who are stalled at a voting plateau and show only negative movement. In other words, in each of more than ten ballot appearances, Lee Smith has simply not been impressive enough to garner the three-fourths needed for election. And there is a very good reason why: Lee Smith was very good but not elite.

Chairman:  D.K., I like your analogy about holding an all-time major statistical category for over a year as a huge deal, and one that should be celebrated, but I personally don’t view the Save as a major stat anymore, and I don’t see it anywhere near as important as a Home Run.  A Home Run is not ambiguous, a Save can be obtained so many ways, and you frankly have a lousy two thirds of an inning, let in a run and allow three people on base, and still get a Save. 

At the end of the day, I just don’t see Lee Smith as an elite guy, just like Darryl states.  We have seen some relievers change the game; and Lee just isn’t that guy.

D.K.: If part of the reason that Lee Smith dropped from around 50% of the vote to about30% was because of the competition heating up with three first time eligibleMaddux, Glavine and Thomas reaching the Hall, then things won’t get any easier forhim this year.  Something tells me that the writers will definitely put Craig Biggio over the top after his near-miss last year.  Then you have Randy Johnson, John Smoltzand Pedro Martinez becoming eligible this year and with those factors plus the 10vote maximum per writer and you can see how lesser candidates like Smith could getsqueezed out.

After the rule change was adopted limiting new candidates to 10 years on the
ballot, Smith will be the last candidate to get a full 15-year run on the ballot, ending in 2017. The extra years probably won’t help him much.

Darryl:  Good point, Chairman, and not to put too fine a point on it, but while the game did change during Smith's tenure, to an interventionist bullpen capped by the one-inning closer, it was an institutional change and not as a result of Smith's impact. He was merely an instrument used for that change and not the catalyst for that change.

Chairman:  Here is where I like the extra time to think about it.  If I had a vote seven years ago, I would have said yes.  I would have been wrong, and I vote no.

D.K.:  NOPE

Darryl:  No.













This is the nineteenth of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  I forgot just how much Gary Sheffield accomplished.  9 All Star appearances, 509 Home Runs, a Batting Title, an OPS Title, 6 OPS seasons over 1.000, a 60.2 bWAR and a World Series Ring.  Screams Hall of Fame right?  Here we may have another Rafael Palmeiro (without the wagging finger to congress) but with a more surly attitude.  Here is another difference; I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sheffield hang on the ballot another two years like Raffy did.

D.K.:  Sheffield was sort of a Dick Allen with better numbers and more career longevity.  While 509 home runs is great to put on his HOF resume, like Allen he was one of the more divisive players in any MLB dugout, any time, any place.  Love him or hate him one thing was certain - and Sheff could care less. Yankees beat writers circa 2004-2005 and media found him to be a clubhouse cancer.  Things were never harmonious with Sheff around.  He sometimes seemed to be more interested in proving what a BADASS he was than in winning games.

It’s interesting that now in retirement he’s putting up a lot of his own money to build a baseball stadium and instructional baseball camp in Pasco County, Florida (just North of Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater) to teach the game properly and to develop some future major leaguers.  If this kinder, gentler edition of Sheff had been present during his playing days then he’d have a lot easier time in securing writers’ votes to put him into the Hall of Fame.

Darryl:  The Dick Allen comparison is good, but Gary Sheffield has always reminded me more of Dave Winfield.  Both have reached Cooperstown milestones—Sheffield with 500-plus home runs, and Winfield with 3000-plus hits—both were excellent hitters for whom you put up with their deficient defensive skills (although, surprisingly, Winfield was a designated hitter just over 400 times in a nearly 3000-game career, while Sheffield DH'ed about 300 times in more than 2500 games), and although neither was the superstar in the lineup, you didn't want either one to beat you—because each could.

But, gentlemen, let's make explicit what the Chairman alluded to:  performance-enhancing drugs. Sheffield was named in the Mitchell Report as having received PEDs from the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, and the BALCO scandal has been the biggest bugbear to Barry Bonds—with whom

Sheffield is associated as he worked out with Bonds in 2001, during which time Sheffield's trainer applied "the clear," a topical application reputedly containing steroids and obtained from BALCO, to Sheffield.  Chairman, you may be right about Sheffield hanging on, then disappearing, as did Rafael Palmeiro. In any case, on an overcrowded ballot with a PEDs taint hanging all over him, Gary Sheffield, whom I think is definitely borderline, won't need to book a flight to Cooperstown anytime soon except as an onlooker.

Chairman:  I hate to use the likability card, as I completely agree with you Darryl that this should have absolutely no merit as to whether a candidate gets in or not, but there is always that human element.  The baseball writers have met a lot of these guys and there is no doubt in my mind that many of them have held grudges against certain people and refused to vote for them. 

With Sheffield, this is a guy who ruffled more feathers than Barry Bonds did, and while his numbers are Hall of Fame worthy, they are not Play Station numbers like Bonds.  I only bring this up to add a little fuel to the potential one and done of Sheffield on the ballot.  If you were a writer torn between Sheffield and let’s say for argument sake Mike Mussina as the tenth guy you would pick, maybe you go with the guy who didn’t blow you off for an interview.

Again, that should never be a factor, but it’s like why I keep my mouth shut at the airport; I am not giving anyone with power over me for that brief period of time a reason to use it.

D.K.:  One and done, Darryl? - I don’t think it’s going to play out that way, but who knows how the voters will treat Sheff his first ballot? My guess is he’ll get closer to 25% of the votes than 5% and that he may be stuck in that neighborhood for years to come.

Darryl:  Yes, I can see that if it came down to choosing between two candidates, and you know both of them, and one of them has been more of a jerk than the other, how you might vote for the nicer guy.  Writers are only human, after all. I think Sheffield may play out more like Mark McGwire: Career numbers on the bubble and a PEDs taint although not of the finger-wagging hubris of Rafael Palmeiro. He may survive for several years with percentages in the 20s and 30s.

Chairman:  I think Sheff is going to get “Palmeiro’d”, but in other years he would get my vote.  Here, I have to pass.  Just too much competition, and I vote no.

Darryl: No.

D.K.:  He probably hurt his teams with his attitude as much as he helped them with his talents. - NO.


This is the eighteenth of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.


This is the seventeenth of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  For the record I have always loved Tim Raines and wanted to throttle anyone who ever called him a poor man’s Rickey Henderson.  Although I grant that Henderson had the more impressive career, Raines had one hell of a run, and was overshadowed by a better base stealer.  “The Rock” enters his eighth nomination and with the reduction from fifteen years to ten years on the ballot has potential to be the biggest victim from the change.  

Raines had 46.1% last year, which is down from finally hitting the 50% mark last year.  Gentlemen, if Raines was on for fifteen years, I would bet my house that he would get inducted but in ten years?  I am keeping my deed to the property. 

Darryl:  You'll have to throttle me, then, because I've been calling Tim Raines the poor man's Rickey Henderson for some time now. On the other hand, I've been calling Kenny Loftonthe poor man's Tim Raines, and he was criminally a one-and-done two years ago.

But here's my Raines story: Years ago, I was in a technical writing certification program, and one report-writing course I took included feasibility reports.  I did mine on a fictitious Hall of Fame "Underdog Committee" that looked at bubble candidates who would be retiring soon.  I picked Raines, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, and—don't laugh—Andres Galarraga (hey, he looked pretty good back then), and had to evaluate them and pick one to recommend.  I went in figuring I'd pick Martinez, but after evaluating them, I picked Raines as the best (most feasible) candidate. Funny how that worked out on the real ballots years later, yes?  But you're right—I was pretty sure after last year that Raines would struggle on the ballot, and that'll be even more so now.  Some Expansion Era Committee is going to have to fight to get him in the Hall.

D.K.:  If you think of the Hall Of Fame as the greatest team of players ever assembled then you’re going to need every component of a great team, including you’re speed guys and table setters. With 808 stolen bases and a career .294 hitter hardly any player has filled the bill for that role better than Raines since the late 1970’s except Rickey Henderson.  Lou Brock, Henderson and Raines posted career totals not seen since the dead ball era days when running was a most critical and necessary part of the game.

His seasons of .320, .334 where he led the National League in ‘86 and .330 is a pretty nice career peak that he reached between 1985 and 1987.  He finished his career with 2,605 hits and better than a hit per game average and he reached 70 stolen bases six consecutive years (1981-1986), taking four NL stolen base titles, and reaching a career high of 90 SB in 1983.

A veteran of 2502 games in 23 years he had tremendous longevity also.  With his vote totals of about 50% the last two elections, he’s been a bit underappreciated so far by the writers. I’ll be very interested to see if Raines vote total makes some progress towards election, come January 6th.

Chairman:  So let’s call him a rich man’s Maury Wills then?  If Maury can get solid Veteran’s support, maybe there is a hope for Raines that way, as I have a strong suspicion he will see a percentage decrease again this year, and he is not going to get in by “traditional means”. 

“The Rock” (and is that because of what he liked smoking the best?) has to consider it a win just to get back to where he was two years ago.  I wonder if the Expos deal hinders him a bit.  I know that his teammates Gary Carter and Andre Dawson got in, but Carter had a couple good years with the Mets and was just one of those guys that people loved.  Dawson had the MVP season with the Cubs, and many people associate “the Hawk” with Chicago more than Montreal.  Raines never had a signature season outside of Montreal.  Am I reaching or am I bordering on another conspiracy theory here?

D.K.:  Although the writers have asked the HOF if they may increase the maximum number of players they can vote for in any election to 12.  As far as I know, if 12 votes is approved per writer it won’t go into effect for the election at hand.  Even with only 10 votes I’ll fit “The Rich Man’s Maury Wills (Tim Raines) in there somewhere.

Darryl:  Gary Carter and Andre Dawson may be good examples, and not just because they were also Expos. It took Carter six tries to be elected, and it took Dawson nine tries--and both did it in years that did not have the embarrassment of riches that Raines is facing now.  Shhh! Everyone is trying to forget that Raines was one of several MLB players implicated in the Pittsburgh drug trials of the mid-1980s.  Supposedly, Raines slid head-first into bases so he would not break the cocaine vial in his back pocket.  But given the obvious punishment being meted out to the PEDs guys, you have to wonder whether some writers have not forgotten about Raines's involvement in this quiet, although significant, drug scandal in baseball.

Chairman:  This breaks my heart because I think he is a Hall of Famer.  He is my 11A candidate, but sadly my vote is no.

Darryl:  This is my last speech. Probably. I've been calling Tim Raines a Hall of Famer since 2002.  Yes, that was in his last year before retirement. I've been calling him that ever since.  But based on his voting history, I don't think that he has a chance on the writers' ballot.  My primary approach in this (hypothetical) vote is, with a few exceptions, to clear the ballot by voting for as many candidates who have a good chance of actually being elected and thus enable voters to more seriously consider candidates such as Raines, who is a SABR darling who does not have that Hall of Fame glow about him. (Spoiler alert: I'll be saying the same thing about Alan Trammell.)

Thus, it pains me to say it, but my vote is no. Not this year.

D.K.:  Maybe it’s because I was small in stature in elementary school but I always appreciated baseball’s smaller, pesky, feisty little guys that batted lead off or #2 to set the table...the Richie Ashburns, Curt Floods, Lou Brocks , Luis Aparicios, Maury Wills, Ron Hunts, Pete Roses, Nellie Foxs and Ricky Hendersons of this world ....and Tim Raines.  I see that I think much more highly of Tim than my colleagues.  I ranked Raines as my #3 candidate and that results in an emphatic YES vote!




This is the sixteenth of our series where we here at Notinhalloffame.com, do what else?  Debate the merit of twenty-four men on the most loaded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in our lifetime.

Joining me, the site's Committee Chairman, in this debate are D.K. of the site's Phillies Archivist blog and Darryl Tahirali of the site's DDT's Pop Flies blog.  This looks to be a very important part of our site, and we hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Chairman:  We talked about suspicion keeping Jeff Bagwell out so far, and the same has to be stated for Mike Piazza, who can make a statistical claim as the best offensive Catcher in the history of Baseball.   There has been a bigger cloud over Piazza than Bagwell, though no positive tests or anything of that nature.  With his credentials is there any reason to explain why Mike Piazza has not entered the Baseball Hall of Fame; however all is not lost.  Piazza is on his third year of the ballot, and unlike others, his percentage has gone from 57.8% to 62.2%.  He may not get in this year, but his chances look healthy.

Darryl:  Considering that Mike Piazza did admit to using androstenedione
("andro," most notably associated with Mark McGwire) early in his career, his 2013 debut percentage of 57.8 is impressive, as is the fact that only Piazza and Craig Biggio saw their vote totals increase in 2014.  Jeff Bagwell may not be a great comparison because Bagwell is competing against a number of other high-profile first basemen, but who has Piazza's competition at catcher been on his two ballots so far?  Sandy Alomar, Jr.?  Paul Lo Duca?  And there is really no competition for him this year.  Moreover, you are right: Piazza is the best-hitting catcher in history.  What makes me optimistic is that he debuted at a high percentage and added more votes even with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas added to last year's ballot.

D.K.:  Piazza’s future is looking up and his vote totals should increase as well. The only question is how far up will they go this year.  Enough to get elected? We’ll see.

He hit 396 of his 429 career home runs as a catcher, which is better than any other catcher in history by a large margin. He could have hit over 400 home runs as a catcher, but he foolishly left the San Diego Padres and went to the Oakland Athletics for his final year where he was used exclusively as a designated hitter (when he wasn’t hurt - in an injury plagued final season.)

As a Phillies fan it bothers me that he grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and with better scouting he could have been a career Phillie. Instead he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he made a name for himself with them and the Phillies’ divisional archrival, the New York Mets. Instead of having Piazza as their power-hitting backstop for a decade and a half from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s the Phillies had to settle for Mike Lieberthal.

Chairman:  These are all outstanding points, and I forgot about that andro admission.  For the record, I do think he was on PEDs, but like I have said multiple times before, those people get a pass before the official announcement from MLB, and I do have again state; he never flunked a test, so none of my matters anyway.

I went so glass if half empty with Piazza looking at what I thought was a low debut for him without comparing him to the Bonds of the world.  He is heading in the right direction, which he should be.  I think a small victory for him is to squeak in to that 65 to 67 range, which in my mind is the best he could hope for this year. 

D.K.:  Between 1994 and 1997 Piazza scorched the ball to the tune of a .342 four-year average.  He hit no lower than .328 and had a career high of .362. To his predecessor, an all-star catcher, Mike Scoscia, Piazza was crooning, “Move Over Little dog, ’Cause the Big Dog’s movin’ in”.  Piazza’s impact early in his career was considerable. He managed to hit .308 lifetime despite tailing of in his later years and he’s the all-time leader in home runs as a catcher.  - Pretty indisputable qualifications. I’d vote for Piazza each and every year until he’s giving his induction speech.

Darryl:  Agreed. As long as Piazza keeps adding to his vote, he will be elected in a couple of years. Of course, my wildly optimistic scenario is to see a 13 percent jump that pushes him across the threshold this year. Hey, a fan can dream, can't he?

Chairman:  I will keep it simple.  Yes.

Darryl: Equally simple. Yes.

D.K.: Even if he didn’t have the greatest throwing arm to nab base stealer
Piazza more than made up for it with his bat and is in fact arguably the best hitting Catcher in MLB history.  I ranked him #4 this year.  YES.