Tomorrow the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2020. Derek Jeter appears headed to Cooperstown. Who else, if anyone, will join him this summer? Before I reveal my unofficial ballot, first let us revisit the rules of Hall of Fame voting.
- Vote for no more than 10 players
- A player is eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame if they meet the following criteria:
- They competed in ten seasons. A single game counts as a season played.
- The player has been retired for at least five seasons. The clock restarts if the player comes back and plays in the Major Leagues.
- The player is not on the ineligible list; banned from baseball.
- The player must receive 5% of the vote in any given year to remain on the ballot.
- The player is considered elected if they receive at least 75% of all ballots cast.
- Any member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) who has been an active member for ten years.
- The BBWAA is limited to writers for newspapers only, including some internet newspapers.
The Winning Run Rules
- Known steroid users are not considered for my ballot.
There are 32 prospective candidates presented to voters for the Class of 2020. Some candidates merit serious consideration, while for others simply making the ballot is a recognition of their career.
Below are the 32 candidates on the 2020 ballot, along with the number of years on the ballot and the highest vote percentage for returning candidates.
- Bobby Abreu– 1
- Josh Beckett– 1
- Heath Bell-1
- Barry Bonds– 8 (59.1%)
- Eric Chavez-1
- Roger Clemens– 8 (59.5%)
- Adam Dunn– 1
- Chone Figgins– 1
- Rafael Furcal– 1
- Jason Giambi– 1
- Todd Helton– 2 (16.5%)
- Raul Ibanez– 1
- Derek Jeter– 1
- Andruw Jones– 3 (7.5%)
- Jeff Kent– 7 (18.1%)
- Paul Konerko– 1
- Cliff Lee– 1
- Carlos Pena– 1
- Brad Penny– 1
- Andy Pettitte– 2 (9.9%)
- J.J. Putz– 1
- Manny Ramirez– 4 (23.8%)
- Brian Roberts– 1
- Scott Rolen– 3 (17.2%)
- Curt Schilling– 8 (60.9%)
- Gary Sheffield– 6 (13.6%)
- Alfonso Soriano– 1
- Sammy Sosa– 8 (12.5%)
- Jose Valverde– 1
- Omar Vizquel– 3 (42.8%)
- Billy Wagner– 5 (16.7%)
- Larry Walker– 10 (54.6%)
Here is my official unofficial ballot for the Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
My reasoning for each of the 10 candidates I voted for, albeit unofficially. Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones were locks on my ballot. Derek Jeter and his 3,000 hits, World Series victories, and overall success on the diamond was an easy choice. Andruw Jones’ play in the outfield should have already landed him in Cooperstown. Gold Glove voting is not perfect, but 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in Centerfield were justified for Jones. Too often voters discount defense. The same goes for Omar Vizquel and his glove work on the infield which produced 11 Gold Gloves, including 9 consecutive at Shortstop.
Voters should not penalize Todd Helton and Larry Walker for playing in Colorado. Both were excellent hitters who happen to play for the Rockies. Altitude does not allow a batter to make better contact. Batters must still hit the ball regardless of where they play.
Paul Konerko and Scott Rolen were solid players who never attracted the cameras as they went about their business. Both men played day after day, and when their careers on the corners of the infield were over their cumulative efforts were evident.
Jeff Kent helped to redefined how a second baseman hit. His power was never eye popping, but for a position with low expectations at the plate, Kent was a force. Alfonso Soriano was a combination of speed and power that baseball had not seen since theBash Brothers. In addition to his 40-40 season in 2006, Soriano maintained both abilities into his 30’s before father time caught up to him.
All but one pitcher on the ballot this year were either not quite good enough or were tied to steroids. Cooperstown is not the Hall of the Very Good. It is reserved for the top 1%.Billy Wagner posted 422 Saves during the Steroid Era. Simply, he got batters out at the end of the game. He averaged 56 games pitched for 16 seasons, while posting a 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, with 1196 SO, and 300 BB. Mariano Rivera helped voters realize the value of relief pitchers, Wagner should benefit.
Several of the other 22 candidates merited serious consideration for Cooperstown. However these 10, in my opinion, are the most deserving. Love my ballot or hate it, it should start discussions of what and who belongs in the Hall of Fame.