For Episode 2 of Call To The Bullpen, I had all 13 baseball writers at CSMN fill out a replica 2021 MLB Hall of Fame ballot, and revealed the results of the vote on the episode. If you haven’t listened to Episode 2: Back To the Future yet, now is the time to do so.
I briefly explained my vote on the episode, but I also want to give more in-depth reasoning behind each of my votes. This post is about who I voted for and why I voted for them, NOT who I didn’t vote for.
I voted for the maximum amount of players allowed, 10. I would have voted for more players if I was allowed more votes, but 10 is the limit and I firmly believe I picked the 10 most deserving players. My votes are as follows:
Bobby Abreu- Bobby Abreu played an 18-year career for the Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets. Over those 18 years, he amassed 2,470 hits, 1,363 RBI, and a .291/.395/.475 stat line. He won a Gold Glove in 2005, a Silver Slugger in 2004, and was an All-Star in both of those years. On the surface, he is a borderline candidate. I tend to value a player’s peak when evaluating their Hall of Fame status, and Bobby Abreu’s peak years included 8 100+ RBI seasons, 6 years with a .300+ avg, and 13 years with 150+ games played. To me, this is a Hall of Fame career.
Barry Bonds- If you don’t like this one, I don’t care. Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer. He is a 7x MVP, 8x Gold Glove winner, 12x Silver Slugger winner, 14x All-Star, and 2x batting champion. Over his 22 years with the Giants and Pirates, he achieved 756 home runs, 2,935 hits, 1996 RBI, 514 stolen bases, and a .298/.444/.607 batting line. He is the sole member of the 500 HR/500 SB club, as well as the 400 HR/400 SB club. He holds MLB career records in home runs, walks, and intentional walks to go along with the single-season home run record and single season-walks and intentional walks records. The day of reckoning will come, and Barry Lamar Bonds will be enshrined in Cooperstown like the baseball God he is.
Roger Clemens- This is another one people will disagree with, and again I don’t care. Clemens’ 7 Cy Young awards are the most of any pitcher in the history of the award, and he is one of only 7 players to win the pitching Triple Crown (wins, era, strikeouts) twice. He also won the ERA title 7 times, 2 World Series, 11 All-Star nominations, and the 1986 AL MVP. He won 354 games and accumulated 4,672 strikeouts while starting 707 of his 709 career appearances. The Rocket is a Hall of Famer.
Todd Helton: Todd Helton’s career spanned 17 years, all with the Colorado Rockies, in which he totaled 369 home runs, 2,519 hits, 1,406 RBI, and a .316/.414/.539 line. This alone earns him my vote. Even more impressive, however, were his peak 7 years from 1998 to 2004. During this 7 year peak period, Helton had 5 100+ RBI seasons and all 7 seasons over 95 RBI. He hit 30+ home runs in 6 of the 7 years and hit .315+ in all 7 years while accumulating 46.6 WAR. This was one of the most dominant peaks in MLB history. Winner of 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, a batting title, and 5 All-Star nominations, Todd Helton is a Hall of Famer.
Andruw Jones- Andruw Jones had a rare combination of stellar defense and unbelievable power. Winner of 10 Gold Gloves, Jones is tied for the 2nd most for an outfielder in MLB history. This alone earns him my vote. The icing on the cake is that Jones had massive pop at the plate, accumulating 434 home runs, 1,289 RBI, 1,933 hits, and a 50+ home run season in 2005. Over his 17 year career, 12 of which were with the Braves, he took 5 trips to the All-Star Game and won a Silver Slugger to go along with his Gold Gloves. All of this makes Andruw Jones a Hall of Famer.
Jeff Kent- Jeff Kent was a great baseball player, and a pretty good Survivor player. Kent’s 377 home runs are the most ever by a second baseman. He also recorded 2,461 hits and 1,518 RBI in his 17-year career with the Giants, Mets, Dodgers, Indians, Blue Jays, and Astros. He had 12 seasons of 20+ home runs and won the 2000 NL MVP, 4 Silver Sluggers, and 5 All-Star nominations. He finished his career with a .290/.356/.500 batting line, and although it doesn’t count towards his Hall of Fame candidacy Jeff’s 6 challenge wins in Survivor after tearing his MCL on day 1 just exemplifies the kind of competitor he was in baseball and life. Jeff Kent belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Manny Ramirez- Once again, I don’t care. Manny absolutely raked. Manny Ramirez is one of the best right-handed hitters to ever play Major League Baseball. Over his controversial 19 year career he totaled 555 home runs, 1,831 RBI, 2,574 hits, and a ridiculous .312/.411/.585 line. Manny won 9 Silver Sluggers, 2 World Series, the 2002 batting title, and was a 12x All-star with 9 top 10 MVP finishes. He had 12 seasons with 30+ home runs, and in 5 of those, he hit over 40. Manny Ramirez should be a Hall of Famer.
Scott Rolen- Rolen’s 8 Gold Gloves at the hot corner has him tied for third-most all-time. He was known as an elite defender, but he could also swing the stick. Rolen hit 316 home runs, recorded 2,077 hits, and drove in 1,287 RBI in his 17-year career with the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Reds. He was the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, winner of the 2002 Silver Slugger, and was selected for 7 All-Star games in addition to being a key piece for the 2006 World Champion Cardinals. Rolen’s superb defense and well above average bat earn him my vote for the Hall of Fame.
Gary Sheffield- I. Do. Not. Care. Gary Sheffield was a force at the plate and showed versatility in the field, appearing at right field, third base, and shortstop in his 22-year career. A member of the 500 home run club, Sheffield also recorded 2,689 hits and 1,676 RBI while posting a slash line of .292/.393/.514. He won the 1992 batting title, along with 5 Silver Sluggers, 9 All-Star nods, and the 1997 World Series title. He had 8 seasons of 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI, and 9 seasons of a .300+ average. Say what you want, Garry Sheffield is a Hall of Famer.
Billy Wagner- This was a tough one. Wagner’s 422 saves ranks 6th all-time, and two of those above him are not Hall of Famers. What makes Billy Wagner different? Wagner was a 7-time All-Star who twice finished top 10 in Cy Young voting as a reliever. In his 16 year career, he had an ERA above 2.85 just once, including 6 seasons with an ERA under 2.00. He saved 30+ games 9 times and even finished in the top 25 for MVP voting twice. Calling a relief pitcher a Hall of Famer is tough, but Billy Wagner’s dominance more than qualifies him for the Hall of Fame.
I believe that these 10 players are the most qualified, and most deserving to be permanently enshrined in Cooperstown. There are several others who I struggled with leaving off my ballot; Torii Hunter, Tim Hudson, Andy Pettitte, and Omar Vizquel to name a few, but at the end of the day I would not have voted any other way. We will not all agree on each of these names, but I believe in being transparent about who I voted for and why, and I hope my fellow baseball bloggers at CSMN will do the same with their ballots.
If you haven’t already, to hear who we elected to the CSMN Hall of Fame listen to Episode 2 of Call To The Bullpen NOW STREAMING.