Blog Entry

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:45 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 1:18 pm
By Matt Snyder

One week from today we will learn who -- if anyone -- will join Ron Santo in the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame class. The Baseball Writers Association of America votes have all been mailed in, as a Dec. 31st or earlier postmark is required. Everyone who has been a member of the BBWAA for at least 10 years has a chance to vote. Players receiving 75 percent of the vote will be inducted.

Here's a complete look, in alphabetical order, at who the BBWAA voters were given to consider:

Jeff Bagwell -- He won the Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the MVP in 1994. The four-time All-Star garnered MVP votes in 10 of his 15 seasons. He ended his career with more than 1,500 runs and RBI while hitting 449 homers. His .948 OPS is outstanding, resulting in an OPS-plus of 149. Bagwell received 41.7 percent of the vote last season, his first on the ballot.

Jeromy Burnitz -- The one-time All-Star received MVP votes three times. He hit 315 home runs with an .826 career OPS.

Vinny Castilla -- A two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger, Castilla hit 320 home runs and drove home 1,105 runs in his 16-year career. He hit at least 40 homers three straight seasons, 1996-98.

Juan Gonzalez -- Juan Gone is one of the few players in major-league history to win two MVP awards, as he took home the honors in both 1996 and 1998. He finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three other seasons. He finished with 434 home runs and 1,404 RBI, having accrued at least 35 homers and 100 RBI in seven of his 17 seasons.

Brian Jordan -- The former NFL player hit .282 during his 15-year career, making the All-Star team in 1999. He was also a very good defensive outfielder.

Barry Larkin -- The 12-time All-Star is the most likely player to be inducted this year. He received 62.1 percent of the vote last year and doesn't really face any stiff competition from first-timers this year. He won one MVP, three Gold Gloves and nine Silver Sluggers. He also stole 379 bases while hitting 198 homers, 441 doubles and 76 triples.

Javy Lopez -- The long-time Braves catcher hit 260 home runs in his 15-year career, making three All-Star teams. He finished fifth in MVP voting and garnered a Silver Slugger after his 2003 season, in which he hit 43 homers and drove in 109 runs.

Edgar Martinez -- The seven-time All-Star is one of the greatest designated hitters of all-time. He hit .312 with a .418 OBP and .515 slugging throughout his career, all of which are outstanding. Martinez actually ranks 64th in baseball history with 66.9 offensive Wins Above Replacement (oWAR) and 34th all-time in OPS. His 514 doubles rank him 45th. But Martinez only received 32.9 percent of the vote last season, a step backward from the 36.2 percent he got in his first try. The issue is him not playing defense. We'll see how that shakes out in the coming years, but it's a huge stretch to believe he gets in this year.

Don Mattingly -- Donnie Baseball is just treading water, having received between 9.9 and 28.2 percent of the vote in his 11 years on the ballot. Longevity seems to be the issue, as he played just 14 seasons and was out of baseball by age 35. The six-time All-Star finished in the top seven of MVP voting four straight times and racked up 1,099 RBI and 1,007 runs, along with nine Gold Gloves.

Fred McGriff -- Did Crime Dog fall seven home runs short of induction? He hit 493 in his 19-year career and received only 17.9 percent of the vote last year. The five-time All-Star also racked up 1,550 RBI and a nice .886 OPS (good for a 134 OPS-plus).

Mark McGwire -- Twelve All-Star Games. One Rookie of the Year. A whopping 583 home runs. A staggering .982 OPS and 162 OPS-plus. Five top-10 MVP finishes. A World Series ring and a Gold Glove. And yet Big Mac hasn't been able to top the 23.7 percent barrier in Hall of Fame voting due to his connection to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. The question here isn't anywhere close to performance. It's all about the performance-enhancement. If you believe he should be excluded, that's why. If you don't care about the use, you believe he should be inducted into the Hall. Period.

Jack Morris -- Morris has worked his way up to 53.5 percent of the vote as of last time around, his 12th on the ballot. Players only get 15 chances, so he's running out. Morris won 254 games and three World Series rings in his career. He finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five times and struck out 2,478 hitters. His 3.90 career ERA seems to be hurting him, though.

Bill Mueller -- Mueller won the batting title in 2003 and had a nice 11-year career.

Terry Mulholland -- He stuck around for 20 seasons, racking up over 2,500 innings pitched with 46 complete games and 10 shutouts. He was 124-142 with a 4.41 ERA.

Dale Murphy -- The seven-time All-Star and two-time MVP hit 398 homers and ended with an .815 OPS (121 OPS-plus). He also won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. He hasn't been able to garner strong support with the BBWAA, though, as he had just 12.6 percent of the vote last season, his 13th on the ballot.

Phil Nevin -- The one-time All-Star hit 208 career home runs with an .814 OPS (114 OPS-plus) in his 12-year career.

Rafael Palmeiro -- Much like McGwire, Palmeiro's on-field numbers are surefire Hall material. It's not even a discussion. Unlike McGwire, however, Palmeiro failed a league-sanctioned drug test. He got only 11 percent of the vote last year.

Brad Radke -- In 12 seasons, Radke went 148-139 with a 4.22 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He made the All-Star team in 1998.

Tim Raines -- Raines was a seven-time All-Star who hit .294 with a .385 OBP in his career. He compiled more than 2,500 hits and 1,500 runs in his 23-year career and ranks fifth all-time with 808 stolen bases. Several advanced stats loved Raines, as he ranked in the top 10 in his league in WAR seven times. Raines got 37.5 percent of the vote last season, the third straight season he's made a decent-sized jump in votes (he got 22.6 percent in 2009).

Tim Salmon -- The 1993 Rookie of the Year hit 299 homers in his 14-year career, netting MVP votes three times. He had an .884 OPS (128 OPS-plus).

Ruben Sierra -- In 20 seasons, Sierra racked up 2,152 hits, 306 homers and four All-Star appearances.

Lee Smith -- With 478 career saves, Smith was the all-time leader for a stretch, but both Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera have breezed past him, into the 600s. Smith was a seven-time All-Star and had a career 3.03 ERA.

Alan Trammell -- My colleague Scott Miller made his case for Trammell.

Larry Walker -- A five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glover and the 1997 MVP, Walker hit .313 with a .965 OPS (140 OPS-plus) in his 17-year career. He ended with 383 homers and over 1,300 runs and RBI. He's in the top 100 ever in WAR and 16th of all-time in OPS. Did his 10 years in hitter-friendly Colorado hurt Walker with the voting? Looks like it. He only got 20.3 percent of the vote last year.

Bernie Williams -- Five All-Star games, four Gold Gloves and a career .297 batting average look good for the long-time Yankee center fielder. He hit 287 homers and scored over 1,300 runs to go with an .858 OPS (125 OPS-plus).

Tony Womack -- The one-time All-Star hit .273/.317/.356 in his 13-year career with 363 stolen bases.

Eric Young -- EY lasted 15 seasons, racking up 465 steals and 996 runs with a .359 OBP. He made one All-Star team.

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Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:37 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

I say Tony Womack is a SHOO-IN !!

Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:45 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

I'm curious as to why Dale Murphy doesn't get more support.  Wasn't he considered the star of some great Braves teams?  Seems like he should be in.

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:04 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates


Since: Mar 14, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:30 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

TIM RAINES ....... A MUST ...... Having seen most of this list play , I have to say , this guy was simply the most exciting player to watch play . Once on base , you could hear the stadium mumbling about his comming theft of second , once done , stadium now on the edge of thier seats , the mumbling even louder , some clapping in time , others chanting go! and then as he started on his way to third an eruption of cheers almost to the point you would think they have tipped off the pitcher . Good memories , and , it even got better with the Expos , sometimes Rodney Scott would get on base before Raines and we would all wait for the comming double steal , followed by Andre Dawson and Gary Carter..... good memories .... I guess that is what the HOF is all about ?

Since: Feb 1, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:07 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

Smith, Walker, Raines and Larkin only.  No McGwire, no Palmerio, no Gonzalez.  Too much steroid talk surrounds them.

Since: Oct 31, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:59 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

I totally agree.  Look at Don Mattingly's Gold Gloves, batting average, and offensive performance, especially during his peak years.  Kirby's career ended via glaucoma; the later part of Don's career was impacted because of his back condition.  

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:08 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

Wow, basebll its never without it's excitement and controversy. As much as I loved visiting Cooperstpown during my teenage years, I have to admit that MLB has a long way to go before any respect is given back to the league. I, of course, didn't is aay "game" because baseball in itsellf is a sport.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:47 pm

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

My interpretation of "The Hall of Fame" is a player who dominated at his position, during his era.  I can't stand the Yankees.  Having said that, Don Mattingly dominated the game, at his position, during his era.  His lack of inclusion to the HOF is an insult.  

Another player who is already in The Hall, and deservingly so, is Kirby Puckett.  Compare their numbers and make a case for me how Mattingly isn't in the Hall.  Again, the best overall first baseman in the 80s.  

Since: Nov 25, 2010
Posted on: January 8, 2012 3:47 am

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

My whole point with Dale Murphy is that he ranks MID-RANGE with the CURRENT (outfield) Hall-of-Famers - higher in some categories and lower in others, but not last in any.  Not with the average player, with Hall of Fame outfielders.  There is no way he shouldn't already be in.  Otherwise, clean half of them out.  THEN he might be borderline....but, even then, not a "definite no".  But they aren't going to be cleared out.  And when you combine offense and defense and what he meant to the entire Atlanta Braves franchise he's a first-ballot'er - but he wasn't.  The writers must not like him for some reason.  Maybe he didn't make a big enough spectacle of himself - he just did what any other ball player should do.  He played the game better than everyone else that played when he did and didn't go out and do drugs or try to grab headlines or any of the other things so many were notorious for.  As far as someone's comment about what other players thought about them....pitchers didn't want to pitch against him and managers always had something good to say about him.  Some quotes:

"I don't challenge Murphy, even if he's 0 for 20. Not him, not ever." - Mario Soto

"These days, anytime one of my pitchers keeps Murphy in the ball park, I pat 'em on the fanny" - Pete Rose, former Reds manager

"You can put him in a class with a Mays and an Aaron because he can beat you with his glove, and he can beat you with a home run." - Joe Torre

"The only way to stop him is to throw him balls. Throw away, away, away. Even then he might hurt you." - LaMarr Hoyt 

"The best player I've seen since Willie Mays." - Billy Connors, former Cubs pitching coach

"He's scary. Do they have something above MVP?" - Russ Nixon, former Reds manager

"If you could improve Andre Dawson, he would be Dale Murphy." - Jerry Royster

"There's no doubt he's a great hitter who will get his home runs and RBIs, but the best thing about him is he also plays a great center field. In this age of specialization, when you get some guys who can steal, some who can hit, and some who can field, it's nice to see a guy who can play all the facets." - Ron Darling

"I'd say he is probably the best all-around player in either league, probably the most valuable . . . in baseball right now." - Hank Aaron, in 1982

"Last year he was our league's most valuable player. And this year he may be the most improved player in the league. What does that make him?" - George Bamberger, former Mets manager 

"I've never known anyone like him. God only makes one like Dale every 50 years." - Chuck Tanner

"I can't imagine Joe DiMaggio was a better all-around player than Dale Murphy." - Nolan Ryan
"He's one of the toughest guys I've ever pitched to" - Nolan Ryan  

The fact that Nolan Ryan called him one of the toughest guys he's ever pitched to says something, doesn't it?  Go look up all the players Nolan Ryan has pitched to.  You'll find a few Hall-of-Famers in there.  ;) 

Not only did he statistically dominate an entire decade, he ranks middle-of-the-pack with current Hall-of-Famers.  How the heck does that NOT get you in???????  And that's not even considering that he played great defense!  He wasn't "good", he was great!  Just as great as AT LEAST half of the other outfielders in the Hall of Fame!  He's already in their company as far as greatness.  He should be in their company in the Hall.

Since: May 13, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2012 11:17 am

Getting to know the 2012 Hall of Fame candidates

Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Juan Gonzalez, Jack Morris, Larry Walker, Lee Smith. Is Edgar Martinez being scrutinized because the DH in the American League? He was doing the job he was paid to do. Edgar gets in.

We drift from the concept of HOF. What is the definition of HOF?    "A group of persons judged outstanding, as in a sport or profession." So because a player did not play a defensive position or played for a hitter friendly park? Lee Smith pitched for the CUBS for 8 years? In those terms that should be a plus...right?

Pete Rose bet on baseball AFTER his career. He gets in. McGwire and Palmiero numbers get them in....but, examples have to be made.

Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod when he hangs it up etc.. Science. Mega-dollars, and changes in our society reel players into a different state of mind. It is easy to just SAY NO and call them cheaters. But, the hard work, the sweat, the motivation to be the best comes at a price. Funny how very few doctors are ever mentioned with all of this going on. What is REALLY legal anymore?

Alan Trammell, Bernie Williams, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, were All Star players. Numbers have to be part of the process....a big part. But, going back in time. When alot of the players listed in this article, pitched or stepped to the plate either for your team or against. Were they OUTSTANDING or just a good player?

Every year the debate will live on regarding steroids. Eventually, a little more will get the thumbs up....then a little more...until? You tell me.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or