Last year, we did our first ever debate on where we tackled the Hall of Fame merit of twenty-four men who are on the Hall of Fame ballot, in what was in our opinion the most loaded ballot in our lifetime.

Since it was so much fun last time, we thought we would do it again!

One thing that has not changed is the number.  We will again debate twenty-four men who are on the ballot.

What has changed are the ones debating.  Last year I had the pleasure of having DDT, the curator of DDT’s Pop Flies blog and D.K. of the Phillies Archivist blog.  This year, Spheniscus, who has participated in past Rock and Roll discussions, will be joining me.

Chairman: Spheniscus, I have to tell you that this is the one I am most looking forward to talking about, but it is not because I am going into this with any strong opinion.  Actually, it is the exact opposite, as here is a guy that I really want to explore his career and haven’t really done so before. 

I give you Jim Edmonds, a four time All Star a World Series Champion with the St. Louis Cardinals but somebody that I have always regarded as an above average player, but not once really thought of as Cooperstown material, but am I wrong?

I know there are a lot of people who groan about sabremetrics but like it or not, this is going to be the litmus test that a lot of decision makers for the Hall will go by and with Edmonds, his case gets stronger.  With a bWAR of 60.3, there are still ten on the ballot that are higher, but this remains a stacked lot so that really shouldn’t be held against him.

Here is what should, that 60.3, is lower by than the average HOF at that position (70.4) as his JAWS (51.4 to the 57.2 average) is also lower. 

If you argue with traditional numbers, he doesn’t hit any real “magic numbers”.  He is shy of 400 Home Runs, did not make 2,000 Hits, though I can argue that his career Slugging Percentage, which is over .500, should be one of those magic numbers and let’s say it is traditional.  I remember that stat on the back of my old baseball cards!

What I think will happen is that Edmonds will fall victim of this group as cases can be made for ten players over Edmonds.  My God, could we see him as a “one and done?”

Spheniscus: We definitely could. He is comparable to Duke Snider who is in the Hall.   The rest are folks who are probably in the Hall of the Very Good. Guys like Dale Murphy (who I would have voted for), Fred Lynn, Ellis Burks and Shawn Green. And interestingly Larry Walker, who I’m sure we’ll get to later.  

Although honestly, the hitting numbers don’t matter to me with him. My mental image of him is superman flying through the air to catch something he had no business getting to in the first place. And that is why I actually think that Edmonds has a chance of being one and done and still making the Hall on what I call the Mazeroski exception. I’m not saying it is a great chance, but it exists for him in a way that it doesn’t for say Sammy Sosa were he to fall off the ballot this year. 

Chairman:  I like that term.  “The Mazeroski Exception”.  Permission to use that in the future?  Before, I go on to Edmonds, can I state that I would used mine on Joe Carter?  I won’t explain that one as I think you know why as a Jays fan I say that!

I think I am more optimistic than you are about Edmonds.  I too remember his athletic feats on defense, but I think his metrics are good enough and I think that run in baseball mad St. Louis where he won a World Series really helps.   He is one of those guys that I could see some of the voters, who might have him placed 12th on their ballot, push him up a couple spots so that he can get past the first year. 

Whether it should happen or not, the human element plays a factor for a lot of the voters.  Honestly, I don’t know that I would be any different.

Spheniscus: Permission granted. And I remember my first baseball game back in 1985 when Joe Carter hit a home run for the Indians that went farther than I could ever imagine a ball going. And he may have hit a more important home run at some point in his career. So you have my vote on Carter as well.

And perception is reality. If you asked folks on the site to pick between Jim Edmonds and Larry Walker for the Hall, my guess is that Edmonds wins that vote. Even though Walker is probably the better player. So we’ll see, but my guess is that we will be seeing Edmonds on the ballot next year. And the year after. And the year after. And the year after. He’ll end up somewhere in the low teens. 

Chairman:  I think there a lot of people who would vote for him, and possibly want to, but I go back to what I said earlier.  It is not that hard to find ten people to put ahead of him.

With my pretend ballot, I am doing just that, and I would pass him over, and feel bad about doing it, but not for very long.  

Still, I think he will just squeak by with a single digit, maybe in the six to seven range, so that we can reevaluate him at least one more year. 

Spheniscus: I agree with you. He may take Nomar’s spot. Let’s say 7.5 to 8 percent. That doesn’t give him much of a cushion not to be a one and done. Which is too bad because he is one of the 15 on this list I would vote for. Just not in the first 10.

While the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot for this year was already known, it is worth noting that the names on the ballot have been made official and have been sent out to prospective voters.

Let’s go through the ballot and take a quick look shall we?

The new headliner is Ken Griffey Jr., who is expected by many (including us) to enter immediately.  He holds the “1C” rank on our baseball list.  It is worth noting that the ineligible Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson hold “1A” and “1B” respectively.

Griffey is not the only major star making his debut on the ballot, though he is the only one we think will get in immediately.  Closer, Trevor Hoffman and Outfielder, Jim Edmonds are also on the ballot for the first time.  Hoffman is second overall in Saves, and Edmonds is a former Silver Slugger and multi-time Gold Glove Winner, and they are ranked #47 and #44 on our baseball list respectively.

Billy Wagner, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein and Mike Hampton are also intriguing candidates who could possibly gain a few votes on their debut ballot, but are not likely to get past this year.

Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Mark Grudzielanek, Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn are also on the ballot, but are not expected to get any votes.

This group joins the following holdovers from last year’s ballot, which are:

Mike Piazza, (69.9%, 4th Year) Ranked #4 on

Jeff Bagwell, (55.7%, 6th Year) Ranked #5 on

Tim Raines, (55.0%, 9th Year) Ranked #7 on

Curt Schilling, (39.2%, 4th Year) Ranked #9 on

Roger Clemens, (37.5%, 4th Year) Ranked #2 on

Barry Bonds, (36.8%, 4th Year) Ranked #3 on

Lee Smith, (30.2%, 14th Year) Ranked #30 on

Edgar Martinez, (27.0%, 7th Year) Ranked #16 on

Alan Trammell, (25.1%, 15th Year) Ranked #13 on

Mike Mussina, (24.6% 3rd Year) Ranked #6 on

Jeff Kent, (14.0 %, 3rd Year) Ranked #45 on

Fred McGriff, (12.9%, 7th Year) Ranked #29 on

Larry Walker, (11.8%, 6th Year) Ranked #15 on

Gary Sheffield, (11.7%, 2nd Year) Ranked #19 on

Mark McGwire (10.0%, 10th Year) Ranked #12 on

Sammy Sosa, (6.6%, 4th Year) Ranked #18 on

Nomar Garciaparra, (5.5%, 2nd Year) Unranked on

As they have reduced the time on the ballot from fifteen years to ten, this will be McGwire’s last crack it.

Lee Smith and Alan Trammell were grandfathered under the previous rule, but this is also Trammell’s last shot as he is entering his fifteenth year on the ballot.

Who do you think will be the class that will be inducted next summer in Cooperstown?

We know this much, debates on who should get in will dominate the sports blogs and countless opinions will be given…including ours!

You know how hard it is to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame? In 2013, with a ballot brimming with qualified candidates, not one player received the 75 percent of the votes needed for admission. (I identified 14 likely Hall of Famers on the 2013 ballot.)

Granted, 2013 was the first year of eligibility for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both poster boys for performance-enhancing drugs (PED), bringing to a head the contentious debate about "cheaters" and their admission into the Hall. But there were certainly several "clean" players on that ballot, and a few of those, such as 3000-hit-club member Craig Biggio, would have been uncontroversial picks in any previous year.

And although 2014 saw the election of three players—Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas—it was merely the tip of a talent-heavy iceberg (I identified 18 likely Hall of Famers for that ballot), while providing a burn to Biggio yet again as not only did he miss election by one vote (he garnered 74.8 percent of the vote), but three first-time candidates leapfrogged him into Cooperstown.
As we gear up for the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting and announcements, the overriding question is: Have we returned to normal?

To put that into perspective, how's this for abnormal? In 2013, with a ballot overstuffed with Hall of Fame-caliber candidates (I counted 14), not one candidate was elected to the Hall. Adding to the debacle was the first appearance on a Hall of Fame ballot by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both of whom brought the bubbling issue of players suspected or confirmed of having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to an apoplectic, moralistic boil.

49. Jim Edmonds

Many who first think of Jim Edmonds and the Hall of Fame may think automatically of what we wrote about Moises Alou and that he is likely a candidate for the “Hall of Very Good”. However the more we really thought about it, the more we like “Jimmy Baseball’s” resume.