BASEBALL HALL OF FAME VOTE: VCU EDITION

By Brett Bosley

Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame announced last night, that former MLB players Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez, and Jeff Bagwell would be the 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Class. While the picks of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America have the real implications, let’s take a look at what members of VCU's athletic department and the VCU Baseball team selected yesterday BEFORE the results were released as their picks for greatness in 2017. With nine voters, players need seven votes to be "elected" in by our VCU committee.

Brett Bosley - Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
Chris Kowalczyk - Assistant AD for Athletic Communications
Greg Burton - PR and Communications Manager of the Center of Sports Leadership at VCU
Kurt Elbin - Assistant Coach, VCU Baseball
Steve Hay - Assistant Coach, VCU Baseball
Brooks Vial - Senior, Pitcher, VCU Baseball
Matt Jamer - Senior, Pitcher, VCU Baseball
Sam Donko - Senior, Pitcher, VCU Baseball
Logan Farrar - Senior, Outfielder, VCU Baseball 

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*Rules - Choose up to 10 players, just like the BBWAA

Ivan Rodriguez - 8 (Bosley, Burton, Donko, Vial, Elbin, Hay, Farrar, Kowalczyk)
Trevor Hoffman - 7 (Bosley, Burton, Donko, Vial, Elbin, Hay, Kowalczyk)
Jeff Bagwell - 7 (Bosley, Burton, Donko, Vial, Elbin, Hay, Kowalczyk)

Vladimir Guerrero - 6 (Bosley, Burton, Donko, Vial, Farrar, Kowalczyk)
Barry Bonds - 6 (Bosley, Burton, Jamer, Elbin, Hay, Farrar)
Roger Clemens - 6 (Bosley, Burton, Jamer, Elbin, Hay, Farrar)
Tim Raines - 5 (Bosley, Burton, Vial, Elbin, Farrar)
Curt Schilling - 4 (Donko, Jamer, Vial, Elbin)
Edgar Martinez - 3 (Burton, Donko, Elbin)
Jorge Posada - 3 (Donko, Jamer, Vial)
Billy Wagner - 3 (Bosley, Donko, Jamer)
Manny Ramirez - 3 (Farrar, Elbin, Hay)
Tim Wakefield - 2 (Donko, Jamer)
Mike Mussina - 2 (Burton, Elbin)
Jeff Kent - 1 (Burton)
Jason Varitek - 1 (Jamer)
Orlando Cabrera - 1 (Bosley) 

Everyone else - 0 

Starting with my own (see picture below)

 

Seems unreal that the guys I grew up watching are now apart of the Hall of Fame ballot. I guess this is what happens when you get older. However, addressing the elephant in the room - steroids - and the argument who did or who didn't do them: it shouldn't matter. We've given those players their due. The guys who weren't the greats during the steroid era, are no longer on the ballot. Guys who were the best of the best during that era - aka Bonds & Clemens - will and should get in. But all my Montreal Expos guys - Guerrero and Raines (and Orlando Cabrera) all get votes. Next, most underrated position ever: Closer. Just ask Sam Donko. But Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner get my votes as well.

Let's see what some of the other "voters" had to say:

“My choices are generational players. You have the best hitter (Bonds) and best pitcher (Clemens). Hoffman has the most saves of all time. Ramirez was the best hitter and Rodriguez was the best catcher. So my qualification was being the best of your generation, and being dominant.” – Assistant Coach Steve Hay 

“I thought they were guys who stuck out when I was growing up. Bonds and Clemens were no brainers. Schilling was a big game pitcher. Pudge and Manny…Manny was the best right handed batters and Pudge (Rodriguez) was the best hitter/catcher combo of my generation.” – Assistant Coach Kurt Elbin 

“I thought of household names. Coming from a city with no major league teams you had to be a household name for me. Hoffman has the most saves all time and Schilling was just an absolute gamer. Bagwell was a solid all around player for the Astros and someone that the everyday player could look up to. Vlad was an outstanding hitter and had an absolute laser from right that nobody could run on. Pudge and Jorge are no doubters, the best catchers of my generation.” – Brooks Vial 

“Growing up, those guys were the role models I looked up to. They were the players I wanted to be like. They were always all over the media. It was those guys who really got me into baseball.” – Matt Jamer 

“I picked Vlad because he could straight up hit. He could hit everything. I put Wagner in because he was a great closer, and I thought it was impressive he switched arms when he was younger. Hoffman is second on the all-time saves list so that’s a no-brainer. Posada because he was a big piece of the Yankees dynasty in the 90’s and 2000’s. Rodriguez was one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball. Schilling is in there because of the bloody sock. Wakefield is in because he might be the best knuckleball pitcher in baseball history, and he played a long time. Finally, Edger Martinez because he had some great years and some great numbers. Lastly, Jeff Bagwell because he was the face of the Astros.” – Sam Donko 

“You have to include the steroid guys. I’ve always said when it comes down to explaining their narrative on their plaques, include what they might have an asterisk for. So that puts in Bonds and Clemens easily even though they aren’t my favorite. I’ve come around on Tim Raines, and Trevor Hoffman is one of the best closers ever. Jeff Kent is a go for me because he was the best power hitting second baseman ever, and Ivan Rodriguez was the best hitting catcher for almost 20 years.” – PR and Communications Manager of the Center of Sports Leadership at VCU, Greg Burton


Logan Farrar had a bit more to say when it came to his picks:

"Jeff Bagwell & Tim Raines have picks, but I also chose:

Barry Bonds - I know most wouldn't vote for Bonds and Clemens however I look at is as if someone else or even me was in their position at a young age and was told hey I have a way to improve your game and everyone else around you is taking it so this will allow you to even the playing field I would imagine it is tough to say no and you risk taking those chances hoping not to be caught however to be the sole holder of the home run record is a major accomplishment he still had to make solid contact to drive those balls out of the yard pitching was already hard enough to hit. So in my eyes he should be rewarded for the player that he was not the person. 

Roger Clemens - I am not a pitcher so I do not know much about how to look at him but I know growing up watching this guy was Amazing I felt like every time he stepped on the mound he would win the game or leave his team in the position to win. I dont know many 7 time Cy young award winners so that speaks volumes of him. He was also an 11 time all star who won 2 World Series Rings.

Vladimir Guerrero - As you can see there is a trend most guys who hit over .300 for their career find themselves in the Hall Of Fame before it is all said and done and Vladimir did just that hitting over .300 for his career with over 1,000 RBI's with numerous outfield assist highlights where he showed off his absolute cannon for an arm.  

Ivan Rodriguez - "Pudge" I think he revolutionized the catching position while hitting .296 .004 points away from .300 which is the number we use to determine first ballot hall of famers all while also driving in over 1000 RBI's for his career and 300+ HR's for a position that is mainly known for its defense and lack of offense.

Manny Ramirez - Manny being Manny I am a huge Red Sox fan being from Boston so of course Im going to show Manny some love. Loved watching the guy even though some may not support his antics I think he made the game fun to watch. I will always remember him cutting a ball of from the Center fielder and he was the left fielder!! all while hitting above .300 for his career with over 500 HR's and over 1000 RBI's."

And lastly, from VCU's Around the Horns, Assistant AD for Athletic Communications, Chris Kowalczyk:

Jeff Bagwell
- How is it that Jeff Bagwell has been on the ballot for six years already? Is it because he looks like Popeye? I have no idea, but from 1994-2003 he hit 30-plus homers nine times and drove in 100 runs eight. He won Rookie of the Year, an MVP, a Gold Glove and three Silver Sluggers, all while playing most of his career in the Astrodome, the exact perfect stadium in which to house an indoor amusement park. 

Vladimir Guerrero
- Other than Roberto Clemente, Vlad Guerrero is probably baseball's all-time leader in home runs hit off his shoetops. The only pitch he couldn't pulverize was one that hit the mascot. He batted over .300 13 times and, if not saddled with a chronic case of old man back, would have 500-plus homers. But 449 round-trippers ain't bad. Ask Jeff Bagwell. 

Trevor Hoffman
- The save is baseball's most overblown statistic. It's a little like bringing a substitute teacher in for the last period of the day, and as long as the students don't burn down the school, he gets a free meal voucher. But relievers are a big part of the game, and Hoffman was simply one of the best. Not only do his 601 saves rank second all-time to Mariano Rivera (nobody else even has 500), but Hoffman converted 89 percent of his save chances. 

Ivan Rodriguez
- The best player at his position for about 20 straight years, Pudge played in 13 All-Star games, won an MVP and 13 Gold Gloves, including 10 in a row at one point. He also caught more than 2,400 games at a position where most guys start to fade after 1,000. Jake Taylor didn't make it to 900 before he ended up playing in Mexico. 

Just missed: Mike Mussina, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield

Sorry: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez. 
- Although I think they'll all eventually make the Hall, the cloud of performance enhancers around these guys is still too fresh.
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So all in all, our voters got similar results to what actually happened on Wednesday night. However, in our results, Hoffman is in and Tim Raines doesn't make it. Hoffman did only miss by five total votes in the BBWAA results, but the takeaways here seem to resound what everyone thought of their picks: it's generational. Despite our voters giving more votes to Tim Wakefield (two) than the actual BBWAA vote (one), we can see which ballplayers influenced our voters throughout the years.