Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017

CHICAGO - 1987: Lee Smith of the Chicago Cubs pitches during an MLB game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Smith pitched for the Cubs from 1980-1987.
1987: Lee Smith of the Chicago Cubs pitches during an MLB game at Wrigley Field. Smith pitched for the Cubs from 1980-1987.

No, I don’t have a vote for who gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. Those who do must vote by Saturday, December 31, with the results announced Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Here’s the background about each player eligible.

Last year of eligibility:

1) Lee Smith, 15th year of eligibility (received 34.1% of the votes last year; 75% is the threshold)
A guy in USA Today wrote: “I happened to be a huge Lee Smith fan as a kid, and now the longtime closer’s in his 15th and final year of eligibility (though various Eras Committees will give him more shots).

“Smith seems an unfortunate victim of timing: If [Mariano] Rivera hadn’t come up just as his career was winding down, he might be long enshrined by now. But Rivera, especially, set inhuman standards for closing baseball games, and it doesn’t look like Smith will get elected on BBWAA voting.” And he DIDN’T put Smith on HIS ballot!

2) Tim Raines, 10th year (69.8%)
Probably the second-best leadoff hitter, after Rickey Henderson, with speed and power. I have hope he’ll get in this time.

Someone from the freshman class:

3) Ivan Rodriguez, 1st year
Not only a good hitter in his prime but a fine catcher. I picked him over Manny Ramirez, because of the latter’s 2009 suspension for prohibited Performance Enhancing Drugs, which hurt his team. I also considered Vladimir Guerrero, and he’d probably be on my ballot some other year.

The PED guys

The rules regarding performance-enhancing drugs were not clear before 2004. Moreover, as someone noted, this year they inducted former Brewers owner Bud Selig. “‘Under Selig’s ownership, the Brewers grew into a powerhouse, winning the AL pennant in 1982.'” If Selig was selected for his tenure as Commissioner, then so should every PED player that played while he was Commissioner.”

I won’t go that far – I’m not picking the single-dimension hitter Sammy Sosa – but I would put in the two best players in the past 30 years.

4) Barry Bonds, 5th year (44.3%)
Even by 1998, he had near HoF stats

5) Roger Clemens, 5th year (45.2%)
Seven ERA leading seasons

They were close last time:

6) Trevor Hoffman, 2nd year (67.3%)
One of the greatest save pitchers ever

7) Jeff Bagwell, 7th year (71.6%)
Should have gotten in a couple of years ago.

This category also includes Raines

Other worth candidates:

8) Curt Schilling, 5th year (52.3%)
I find him personally offensive for all sorts of reasons. But he was a fine pitcher, bloody sock and all.

9) Edgar Martinez, 8th year (43.4%)
I guess I’m getting over the fact that he was a designated hitter for most of his career, and I HATE the DH.

10) Mike Mussina, 4th year (43.0%)
He was seldom the best pitcher on his team, just a solid pitcher for a lot of years

If I had an 11th vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, it’d be for Jeff Kent (4th year, 16.6%) who doesn’t get enough love

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