Our writers' picks for the National Baseball Hall of Fame

 
Posted12/31/2017 1:00 AM
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Over the past four years, the Baseball Writers' Association of America has elected 17 members to the the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Players must appear on 75 percent of all ballots to gain induction, and the results will be announced on Jan. 24. Induction ceremonies areset for July 29, 2018 in Cooperstown, New York. Writers may select up to 10 players. Here is how the Daily Herald's four BBWAA members voted this year:

Scot Gregor, White Sox beat writer:

Vladimir Guerrero; Trevor Hoffman; Chipper Jones ; Edgar Martinez; Mike Mussina; Jim Thome; Omar Vizquel

Scot's comments: They would both go into the HOF representing the Cleveland Indians, but Thome and Vizquel have strong ties to the White Sox. Thome played for the Sox from 2006-09 and had 134 home runs and 369 RBI in 529 games. He's worked as assistant to general manager Rick Hahn since July 2, 2013. Vizquel played in 166 games for the White Sox in 2010-11. On Dec. 4, he was hired to manage high Class A Winston-Salem next season.Thome and Vizquel are both on the ballot for the first time. Thome, along with Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Barry Bonds, is one of only five players in history with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBI and 1,700 walks. You win with defense and pitching, and Vizquel was one of the best to play shortstop, baseball's toughest position. Vizquel also was no slouch with the bat (2,877 hits). He hasn't been HOF worthy on social media, but Jones was a tremendous player for most of his 19 seasons with the Braves. He's one of only nine players in history with at least a .300 career batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage and 400 home runs. Hoffman, who ranks second all-time with 601 saves, got 74 percent of the vote last year. Musina didn't fare well last year with just 51.8 percent of the vote, but the right-hander was in the Top 5 in ERA seven times while going 270-153 in 18 seasons with the Yankees and Orioles. Guerrero had a career .318 bating average with 449 homers and 1,496 RBI. Yes, Martinez was primarily a designated hitter during his 19-year career. But what a hitter he was. Martinez won two American League batting titles and hit .300 or better 10 times.

Bruce Miles, Cubs beat writer:

Barry Bonds; Roger Clemens; Vladimir Guerrero; Trevor Hoffman; Chipper Jones; Edgar Martinez; Mike Mussina; Scott Rolen; Jim Thome; Omar Vizquel

Bruce's comments: The Hall of Fame, or at least one prominent member who speaks for it, is getting worried. Specifically, the Hall is getting worried that known and suspected steroid users are going to gain election and be enshrined in Cooperstown. This past fall, Hall of Famer and vice chairman of the Hall Joe Morgan sent an email to voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America pleading with them that "Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball's investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in." My email even came with a "Dear Bruce" greeting.) Sorry, Joe. I was with you before last year, when former Commissioner Bud Selig was elected by committee. No non-player benefited more from the so-called steroids era than Selig. So, beginning with last year's ballot, I began voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens after previously withholding my vote. If Selig is in, they should be in. On a brighter note, I am pleased this year to vote for good-guy candidate Jim Thome and fielding whiz Omar Vizquel, both of whom have ties to the White Sox.

Mike Imrem, former columnist:

Barry Bonds; Roger Clemens; Vladimir Guerrero; Trevor Hoffman; Chipper Jones; Edgar Martinez; Mike Mussina; Manny Ramirez; Curt Schilling; Sammy Sosa

Mike's comments: Many of you are thinking: Sammy, yes; Thome, no? Sosa gets one last nod because there's a good chance he won't receive enough votes to be back on the Hall of Fame ballot next year. Jim Thome will get in, either this year without my check mark or next year with it. Actually, the final decision on my ballot came down to Thome or Edgar Martinez. Time is running out on Martinez, too, so I went with him. Manny Ramirez was a tough one because he was caught using after testing was in place, but Manny being Manny was too dominant of a player to ignore.

Barry Rozner, columnist:

Barry Bonds; Roger Clemens; Vladimir Guerrero; Trevor Hoffman; Chipper Jones; Jeff Kent; Mike Mussina; Curt Schilling; Jim Thome

Barry's comments: The Hall of Fame voting process becomes more bizarre and politicized with each passing year. Some voters have openly admitted that they won't vote for Curt Schilling because they don't like his post-career politics, but will vote for PEDs users because they don't care about issues of character or sportsmanship during a career, which is one of the rules for voting. As is the case with any election, it's a personal choice that will draw the ire of those who believe you should only agree with their ballot. Barry Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he started using, and Roger Clemens gets my vote because Bud Selig is in the Hall of Fame. Vlad Guerrero should come very close if he misses out this time, and Trevor Hoffman missed by 5 votes last year. In my book, Chipper Jones is a no doubter, and Jeff Kent was one of the best offensive second basemen ever. Mike Mussina is finally starting to get recognized while Curt Schilling's numbers are undeniable. Jim Thome has to get more than 90 percent of vote.

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