November 30, 2005
The class of 2006

The MLB Hall of Fame ballot for 2006 has been announced, and it's remarkable in two ways: One, there's no slamdunk newcomer on the list, and two, it's curtains for Pete Rose until and unless the Veterans Committee takes up his cause.

Pete Rose's eligibility for the baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballot expired Monday when the 2006 candidates were announced, a group that includes Cy Young Award winners Orel Hershiser and Dwight Gooden.

Albert Belle, Will Clark and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen were among 14 first-time candidates on the 29-man ballot. Bruce Sutter is the holdover who came closest to election, falling 43 votes shy last year.


First-year candidates include pitchers Rick Aguilera, Alex Fernandez, Doug Jones and John Wetteland and infielders Gary DiSarcina, Gary Gaetti, Gregg Jefferies, Hal Morris and Walt Weiss.

Doc Gooden is of course a prime candidate for the Hall of What Might Have Been, where he can join his fellow former Met

Albert Belle is an interesting case. In terms of career arc and reputation with the press he strongly parallels Dick Allen, who's getting a bit of career rehab these days. Belle has two slugging percentage titles, three for RBIs, and one for home runs to compare to Allen, but no MVP award. Looking at them side by side and considering the context for offense that each played in, I'd go with Allen slightly before I'd go with Belle, but I don't feel particularly compelled to vote either of them in. Belle will get less support than he deserves due to his bad-boy reputation, and I think Jim Baker is correct to say that the writers will "use [the context of his numbers] as a bludgeon with which to knock him back from election". I expect to see at least one truly egregious piece bashing Belle based on both of those things.

The complete ballot:

Rick Aguilera, Albert Belle, Bert Blyleven, Will Clark, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Gary DiSarcina, Alex Fernandez, Gary Gaetti, Steve Garvey, Dwight Gooden, Rich Gossage, Ozzie Guillen, Orel Hershiser, Gregg Jefferies, Tommy John, Doug Jones, Don Mattingly, Willie McGee, Hal Morris, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Alan Trammell, Walt Weiss, John Wetteland.

As I did last year, I'll stump for Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, and Tommy John. I think I need to take a closer look at Alan Trammell, but not right this minute. Based on last year's vote, I'd guess that Bruce Sutter is the best bet to get enshrined. We'll see.

Also up for consideration are 39 Negro League and pre-Negro League players, who will be voted on by a committee of scholars, chaired by former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent. Minnie Minoso and Buck O'Neil appear to be the leading candidates there.

The nine pre-Negro Leagues candidates are Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Home Run Johnson, Jose Mendez, Spot Poles, Dick Redding, Louis Santop, Ben Taylor and Sol White.

The 30 Negro Leagues candidates are Newt Allen, John Beckwith, William Bell, Chet Brewer, Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Bill Byrd, Andy Cooper, Rap Dixon, John Donaldson, Sammy Hughes, Fats Jenkins, Dick Lundy, Biz Mackey, Effa Manley, Oliver Marcell, Minoso, Dobie Moore, Alejandro Oms, O'Neil, Red Parnell, Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, George Scales, Mile Suttles, Candy Jim Taylor, C.I. Taylor, Cristobal Torriente, JL Wilkinson and Jud Wilson.

Other than the two I mentioned, those names are unfamiliar to me, so I'll be interested to see what the selection committee comes up with. Results will be announced January 10.

UPDATE: Here's Linkmeister's ballot.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 30, 2005 to Baseball | TrackBack

I'm pro trammel, but even more so I'm pro Lou Whitaker. A 117 career OPS+ over a 19 year career at second base is nothing to sneeze at; it's really the impact of the last 5-10 years that has made it impossible for him to get into the hall. Is he even on the ballot any more?

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on November 30, 2005 12:19 PM

Bert "Be Home" Blyleven, Goose, Tommy John "Surgery", and Orel "Not Sexual Relations" Hershiser should be enshrined in the Chris Berman Hall of Fame Nicknames wing, at the very least.

Concepcion and Mattingly, fer sure. And Minnie and Buck.

I got a soft spot for Dave Parker and Bruce Sutter, but they trail the others.

Posted by: PDiddie on November 30, 2005 12:19 PM

Nicholas - Whitaker was on the ballot for one year, in 2001, and for reasons that will never be clear to me, failed to garner 5% of the vote. I agree with you that he deserved much, much better than that.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 30, 2005 12:57 PM

I pinged you, but I guess it hasn't shown up yet. My votes here.

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 30, 2005 2:39 PM

Linkmeister, I think you are just a little too quick to dismiss Jack Morris.

- His career record of 254-187 is a better winning percentage than any of the pitchers that made it through your first screening except Gooden.

- He has more strikeouts and complete games than John despite playing 8 fewer seasons.

- In post season play Morris is 7-4 with 5 CGs including 3 in the WS where his record was 4-2 with an ERA under 3.00.

- He was a 6 time all-star which equals John and Blyleven's selections combined.

- He was in the top 10 in wins in 12 of his 16 seasons. By comparion John was in the top 10 six times in 26 years, Blyleven in 6 of 22 seasons.

- Morris' Career WHIP 1.290 was better than John's 1.387.

This is not to say Jack Morris is a shoo-in but he does deserve more consideration than you've given him IMO.

BTW - In researching this, I'm more convinced that Blyleven is the most deserving player on the ballot. A career 1.198 WHIP is just crazy over 22 seasons.

Posted by: Patrick on November 30, 2005 5:04 PM

Patrick, you may be right. I remember Morris for that 1-0 10-inning WS game and that's about all. I notice that I inadvertently left André Dawson completely out of my screen, so I updated the post.

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 30, 2005 7:34 PM

I think you should vote for Gaetti just because he was the kind of player that deserves at least one vote.

Posted by: miket on December 1, 2005 11:41 AM