The first book I ever bought was a paperback book about the first Baseball Hall of Fame class. I learned about Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. Since reading that book and others, I developed a great reverence for that institution.
When I took my first trip to the East Coast, I made sure to take a day and visit Cooperstown. I can remember driving a rental car through the countryside as I entered the small town and visited the Hall of Fame. I looked at the plaques, saw the exhibits and really enjoyed that day.
When it comes to who gets into the Hall of Fame, I realize that it can't be the best of the best of the best because there would be 40 guys there. But as time has moved on and we get to guys that I saw play, I feel I can separate the good from the Hall of Fame worthy players.
Of the players on the 2013 official ballot, here are my choices and reasons for them, the following 8 players would get my vote
Barry Bonds - For about 4-5 years, he was the best hitter I ever saw and certainly the one player I thought would a hit a home run on any mistake.
Roger Clemens - Didn't care for the hype at the end of his career but he, Pedro and Maddux were the best right-handed pitchers in the last 20 years.
Jeff Bagwell - Did everything a great hitting first baseman needs to do to make the HOF.
Tim Raines - One of the best outfielders in the 80s, best leadoff man in the NL in the last 30 years.
Alan Trammell - Wasn't Ripken but his production at a defense first position cannot be ignored.
Mark McGwire - How he did it will be questioned but certainly he (along with Sammy Sosa) helped bring baseball back in the late 90s. His home runs per PA was terrific.
Craig Biggio - In some ways, had he stopped playing around 2500 hits, he could have been another Bobby Grich in terms of being ignored for this honor, the 3000 hits and no indication of PEDs makes him an automatic choice for voters but he probably stayed too long for that statistic.No Votes:
Jack Morris - Did I watch or listen to every game he pitched, no. But there are pitchers like him that are not in and he isn't the best of that group.
Lee Smith - Piled up lots of saves but relief pitcher HOF are a very select group and Lee Smith isn't in it
Fred McGriff - The Crime Dog, a very good player but not a HOF.
Larry Walker - Injuries curtailed his second half of his career, playing is early years on Montreal turf may have cost him a HOF plaque.
Don Mattingly - Playing on the Yankees in between World Series visits doesn't bode well for a future induction, if Donnie Baseball had hung on to play on those teams in the late 90s, get some numbers and World Series titles, he might have made it, but not now.
Dale Murphy - No
Rafael Palmeiro - No though his numbers support it.
Bernie Williams - A fine player, a great Yankee but not a HOF
Curt Schilling - A Called Shot gets you in, a bloody sock doesn't it
Sammy Sosa - Better than Dave Kingman but still not worthy
David Wells - He'll always have his perfect game
Is this a subjective ballot, surely. And I don't see a problem with that.