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: This should be a no-brainer, with stress on the word “should”.  I have yet to read a publication, a blog, or a smoke signal that says that Ken Griffey Jr. is not a Hall of Famer.   Yet, there is going to be a handful of voters who won’t check his name off and we know why don’t we?

It will be a few of those self-righteous pricks who will say “well, I don’t know who used PEDs or not from that era” and point to the enlarged head that he had when he played for Mr. Burns softball team as evidence that he used HGH. 

It was Brain and Nerve tonic, goddamn it, and it was not on the banned substance list!

Bad Springfield jokes aside, Griffey is this year’s lock, and should be.  My only question is what the second digit is on the vote, because the first one is a nine!

Spheniscus: That’s the thing though, there is no way to know who did and didn’t use at that time. Mike Piazza by practically any measure is the greatest hitting catcher of all time. He should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s now on his 4th time through? Why? Because he was a big guy and played in the steroid era and is therefore part of the whisper campaign.

Why don’t we think Griffey used? Because he was a phenom? Well, so was his teammate Alex Rodriguez, who was a user. Because he was skinny? Have you seen
Ryan Franklin? He’d need to wear a dive belt to hit 150 pounds. He was a user. Because he’s a nice guy? Mike Cameron may be the nicest person ever in baseball. He was a user.

To be fair, I don’t believe that Griffey used. And obviously what my father would have called the Ivory Soap percentage of the voters don’t either. He will most likely end up with 95% plus of the vote. But if people take the stand that no one from the era gets in because they don’t know who used, the stand is stupid but it is at least consistent. I don’t hold it against them. Those guys aren’t the self-righteous pricks in my book. They are dumbasses, but not pricks.

Those who don’t vote for him because it is the first time he is eligible and not even Babe Ruth got 100% of the vote are the self-righteous pricks. Those people can just turn in their ballot privileges.

Although I do wonder if there are a percentage that won’t vote for Griffey knowing that he will skate in and that an extra vote for someone further down the ballot would help someone they think is a worthy candidate. If you truly believe that Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer, but he is 11th on your list, why not leave Griffey blank and vote for Martinez? That may also depress Griffey’s vote percentage while the people who are doing it are actually on the side of the angels.

Chairman:  Griffey will go down in a long list of men who should have received 100 percent of the ballot because of the self-righteous pricks/dumbasses we both spoke of.  Personally, I prefer the term “sanctimonious douchebag”, but maybe that is because how I have been viewing Hawkeye in M*A*S*H reruns last night in a drunken bender watching that show on a marathon. 

While you are right that we don’t know whether Griffey Jr. juiced or not, and I am with you in that he probably didn’t, based mostly on his post 30 numbers as opposed to prior to.  It was a natural decline that made sense, not some Dorian Gray/Benjamin Button statistical increase like some had.

Slight tangent here; looking back it is impossible to believe that the Mariners with Griffey, Martinez, A-Rod and Randy Johnson never made the World Series.  Maybe even more surprising is that Jay Buhner was the most popular of all of them for a time.  If he had hair, half the people outside of Seattle would not know his name, and he wouldn’t have been mentioned in a Seinfeld episode.

Actually that was a really big tangent.

Spheniscus: Funny, I presume that Sanctimonious Douchebag is the name of the band that always opens for Train on every one of their tours.

And the real reason that people remember Buhner is that it is the last good trade the Mariners ever made. Not that they did historically badly in their trades of Griffey or Johnson, but the Mariners have built a reputation as the team you talk to when you want to rebuild your franchise. The 2004 and 2007 World Series never happen if the Mariners don’t exchange Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb. Although to be fair they definitely got the better of us in 1996 when we traded an over-the-hill 34-year-old Jamie Moyer for the seven year younger Right Fielder of the future Darren Bragg. A man who would retire a FULL EIGHT YEARS BEFORE MOYER!

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Griffey. He’s getting in. Easily.

Chairman:  Now you got me thinking…

“Sanctimonious Douchebag” would be a great name for either Coldplay or Nickelback.  The fact that Coldplay is doing the Halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl has made me consider starting a crowdfund to get the Wayans Brothers to bring back their halftime counter on Fox in a “In Living Color” comeback.

Wait, Moyer retired?  Doesn’t he seem like somebody who would be signed by the St. Paul Saints right now?

Anyways, Griffey has my pretend vote, and the real one of most of the voters.  Since, there has never been (and never will be because there are too many writers who enjoy the fact that they have this power) a candidate entering at 100%, I will peg Junior’s tally at 97.3%. 

Although that 2.7% need to have their voting privileges revoked immediately as well as their access to any computer so that they can continue their writing career.

Spheniscus: So with 550 voters, 97.3 means 15 people wouldn’t vote for Griffey. That actually seems too low to me. I’m going to presume there are 25 or 30 people who don’t for one reason or another. 25 means 95.5%. I’ll stick there.

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!

This is one of our favorite days of the year.

Today the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2016 and two former baseball greats will be immortalized in Cooperstown.

As expected, Ken Griffey Jr. breezed through on his first attempt.  Griffey Jr. set a new record for voting percentage, receiving 99.3% of the vote.

Griffey’s Hall of Fame co-entrant will be former Catcher, Mike Piazza who enters on his fourth try with 83.0%.

While Griffey and Piazza are excited today, there are certainly a lot of disappointed former baseball stars that were hoping for a certain Hall of Fame call.

Longtime Houston Astro, Jeff Bagwell, continues to be snubbed.  Like Piazza, Bagwell is on his fourth year of eligibility however like many on this ballot, he received his highest vote total, with 71.6%.

It had been projected that this could have been Tim Raines year, but it was not to be as he finished fourth on the ballot with 69.8%.  Raines only has one more year of eligibility, as next year will be his tenth year on the ballot and under the new rules, the duration on the Hall of Fame ballot reduced from fifteen years to ten.  Still, this is the highest vote tally by far that he has received and this makes his vote next year the one with the biggest story attached to it.

Relief Pitcher, Trevor Hoffman made his Hall of Fame ballot debut and while he was not expected to enter on his first try, his 67.3% shows that he won’t likely have to wait long.

Curt Schilling made a sizable jump to 52.3%

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, the most decorated pitcher and hitter of the last thirty years have been snubbed to their association with Performance Enhancing Drugs.  With the elimination of voters who had not covered baseball over the past ten years, it was believed that both Clemens and Bonds would increase their vote totals, which they did.  Clemens had 45.2% and Bonds had 44.3%.  This is not a major increase for either, but it is the highest that both have posted thus far.

Edgar Martinez remains in DH purgatory at 43.4%, Mike Mussina nearly doubled his total to 43.0, and on his last year on the ballot, Alan Trammell had his largest total by a wide margin in 40.9%.  Veteran’s ballot, here he comes!

Lee Smith continued to tread water at 34.1%.  Considering the emergence of both Hoffman and Billy Wagner to the ballot, this tally is a mild surprise. 

At 20.9%, 16.6% and 15.5% respectively, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent and Larry Walker remained in the same range and appear to be on a course to stay on the ballot for ten seasons without many significant jump to serious contention. 

Mark McGwire ends his ten year run on the ballot with a whimper with 12.3%.  If the reduction of the Hall’s voting to ten years was in fact intended to eliminate the PED users early, they have gotten rid of their first heavyweight in “Big Mac”.

Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa are clinging to the ballot with 11.6% and 7.0%.

A mild surprise occurred with the debuting Billy Wagner remaining on the ballot with 10.5%. 

There were some notable names who did not make the cut.

Jim Edmonds was hopeful to make the second year, but his 2.5% tally takes him off for good.

Nomar Garicaparra who was on the ballot last year, has now been kicked off on his second year with a serious drop off to 1.8%.

Receiving a vote(s) were Mike Sweeney (0.7%), David Eckstein (0.5%), Jason Kendall (0.5%) and Garret Anderson (0.2%).  Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn did not receive any votes.

The ballot will crowd even more next year as Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez will become eligible.

We are in the process now of updating our Rock and Roll list and will begin work on revising our baseball list once the Rock one is complete.

Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, and let’s continue to debate the next wave of immortals from the world of professional baseball!

By know you have noticed that we have finally begun are pieces on all-time 50 players for each major franchise.  Eventually we will take that to the next level where we will examine how they take care of their former players in terms of retired numbers and franchise Hall of Fames, and as such it is major news to us that the Seattle Mariners will be retiring the number of Ken Griffey Jr., who was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in what was the largest percentage ever.

The Seattle Mariners will be retiring the number 24 that Griffey Jr. wore.  This is no small honor as with the exception of the league wide mandatory retirement of Jackie Robinson’s #42 this is the first number retired by the organization.

Ken Griffey Jr. played for Seattle from 1989 to 1999 and finished his career there in 2009 to 2010.  In the 13 seasons he was a Mariner, he accumulated 417 Home Runs, 1,216 RBI, 167 Stolen Bases with a Slash Line of .284/.370/.538 and a bWAR of 63.5.  This included four Home Run Titles, ten All Star Games, seven Silver Sluggers, ten Gold Gloves and one Most Valuable Player Award. 

Griffey Jr. will also become the first to enter Cooprstown wearing a Seattle Mariners hat.

We would like to congratulate Ken Griffey Jr. for his latest and deserved accolade. 

It is time for reflection toward the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is coming off of a weekend where Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were officially enshrined.

For Griffey Jr., this seemed to be almost automatic from the start.  The son of former star, Ken Griffey Sr., was the first ever pick in the 1987 Amateur Draft and became the first overall pick to enter the Hall of Fame.  He would join the Seattle Mariners at 19 years old and was a legitimate five tool player.  His overall 22 year career saw Griffey Jr. smack 630 Home Runs, go to 13 All Star Games and win 10 Gold Gloves.  He made history by receiving 99.3% of the votes, the highest ever by anyone. 

For Catcher, Mike Piazza, the road wasn’t so easy.

Piazza was drafted in 1988, 1,390th overall, making him the lowest drafted player to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was lucky to even be drafted at all, as the choice was based on a good word from Tommy Lasorda, who was a friend of Piazza’s father.  Switching from First Base to Catcher, Mike Piazza would eventually hit 427 Home Runs with a .306 Batting Average and went to 12 All Star Games. 

It would take Piazza four times to make the Hall.

Worth noting, is that over 50,000 people attended the ceremony, the highest amount since 1999.

We here at would like to congratulate Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza for earning this prestigious honor. 
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.
Can I repeat one more time that this isn’t meant to be scientific.

We here at thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.