Here’s a quick flow chart for all of the criteria one needs to vote for the Hall of Fame:
That’s it. That’s all you need. I don’t give a shit if the player in question was a dick to the press, or if someone thinks they took something illegal (even if they have no proof). Was the player, within the context of his era, great at playing baseball? If yes, he’s a Hall of Famer; if no, he’s not. It’s pretty simple. Self-aggrandizing assholes don’t need to be complicating this.
Anyway, here’s how I’d vote if there were no restrictions on how many players one could vote for: Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Kent, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, McGwire, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Sheffield, Smoltz, Sosa, Trammell, Walker.
That’s a lot of players, and unfortunately you can only vote for ten. If I had a hypothetical ballot, I’d likely go the same route as Twitter-pal-with-an-actual-vote, Mike Berardino, who voted strategically and left off Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson (who were essentially guaranteed entry to the Hall) and used his vote on players in danger of falling off of the ballot.
All of that said, this is probably how I’d vote if I had the privilege of doing so: Bagwell, Biggio, Edgar, Moose, Piazza, Raines, Trammell, Walker (like Mike) and then McGwire and Sosa over Schilling and Smoltz, mostly because Schill will stay on the ballot and eventually get in and Smoltz is getting in this year (why he’s in over Moose and Schilling I’ll never understand), while Sosa and McGwire are in serious danger of falling off the ballot.
Just for good measure, in a world that makes sense, one where I wouldn’t have to game the system, my actual ten-man ballot would be: Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Edgar, Pedro, Moose, Piazza, Raines. (Moose over Schilling simply because of preference; I consider them equals.)
And, just to make a prediction, I’m guessing Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio all make it. Mike Piazza and Tim Raines will both be close, and (I hope, otherwise Jonah will kill everyone) they’ll get in next year.
Okay, now that that’s done, I’m gonna go ahead and mute all Twitter discussion of the Hall of Fame after the announcement on Tuesday.