Balloting closed on New Year’s Day for the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame voting by members of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), a process that began back in 2010.
As I usually do, let’s begin by stating what the IBWAA does not accomplish. It does not get any player enshrined into the actual Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York. The IBWAA vote can be considered more as the suggestion of who should be enshrined, that suggestion made by a group of educated actual baseball writers and bloggers.
The decision as to who does actually get enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame is decided at present by voting held by another group, the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America), an organization that has come under increasing criticism for many of its members votes in recent years. They are not necessarily actually current baseball writers at all. Some have not covered the game for years.
Here are the BBWAA rules for deciding which of their members gets a vote:
“In order to be eligible for a Hall of Fame vote, a writer must be an active member of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years. Once a writer receives a Hall of Fame vote, he is eligible to continue voting even when he is no longer an active member of the BBWAA, provided he becomes a lifetime honorary member. In 2015, voting privileges were limited to 10 years beyond active membership.”
Alternately, the IBWAA membership is almost exclusively made up of writers and bloggers who are currently covering the game and who are well versed in its history. Our opinion is no less valid, and in fact many believe our vote to have become even more relevant. We simply do not have the stamp of approval from the powers-that-be at the Baseball Hall of Fame – yet.
Now, on to the players who received my vote in the 2022 IBWAA Hall of Fame balloting process. Here is the ballot that I submitted this year:
While I’m a Philadelphia Phillies fan and that team is the subject of the majority of my baseball writing, that my vote went to four players who performed with that team is merely coincidental. I’ve voted for Rolen, Schilling, and Wagner in recent years and now will be voting for Rollins each year in which he is eligible, unless/until he makes it.
After submitting my ballot, I regretted not tossing a vote to a few more players. I’ve usually been a “big ballot” voter, meaning that I give votes to as many as I feel are deserving, up to the allowed limit.
As for those who did receive my vote. Here are their credentials:
Scott Rolen: 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, 2002 NL Silver Slugger, 8x NL Gold Glove Award (third all-time behind only Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson), 7x NL All-Star. Stats: 316 home runs, 517 doubles, 1287 RBIs, 1211 runs. Starting third baseman and a key player when he hit .421 with 1.213 OPS in the 2006 World Series to help lead the Saint Louis Cardinals to a championship.
Rolen is 10th all-time in JAWS at the third base position. The nine ahead of him are all Hall of Famers (or will be in Adrian Beltre‘s case.) He is 10th on the all-time WAR list at the position. His 70.1 WAR makes him one of just nine eligible players in Major League Baseball history at 70+ career WAR not already in the Hall. The others are the controversial cases of Schilling/Bonds/Clemens/Palmeiro, a pair of players in Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich who each deserve serious consideration, and two 19th century players.
Jimmy Rollins: 2007 NL Most Valuable Player, 2007 NL Silver Slugger, 4x NL Gold Glove Award, 3x NL All-Star. Stats: 231 home runs, 511 doubles, 115 triples (led NL 4x), 1421 runs, 470 steals. His 2,306 hits with the Phillies make him the all-time leader for that 139-year-old franchise. He was the unquestioned leader of the 2008 World Series champions and winners of five consecutive NL East crowns 2007-11.
Rollins is just one of seven MLB shortstops with 2,000+ career hits and 700+ extra-base hits. He is one of five with 2,000 hits and 400 stolen bases. Only he and Honus Wagner have 2,000 hits, 700 extra base hits, and 400 stolen bases. Rollins was a switch-hitter and ranks ninth among them in career total bases, fifth in doubles, sixth in extra-base hits.
Among shortstops with at least 10 years of big-league service time, Rollins ranks second in fielding percentage. He is the only shortstop in MLB history to both win a league MVP in addition to four Gold Glove Awards.
Curt Schilling: 2001 World Series MVP, 1993 NLCS MVP, 6x All-Star, 3x Cy Young Award runner-up. Stats: 216 wins, 3116 strikeouts, three 300+ strikeout seasons, 83 complete games, 1.137 career WHIP and 4.38 career K/BB over 3261 innings across 569 games (436 starts). His 80.5 career pitching WAR is 26th all-time in MLB history. All 25 ahead of him are in the Hall except Clemens. JAWS mark of 64 is 28th all-time with only Clemens and 19th century Jim McCormick not in the Hall.
Forget his career ERA, Schilling was affected by pitching many games in hitter’s parks and even more so by the PEDs era. As Chris Bodig of Cooperstown Cred wrote: “Schilling’s career ERA+ is 127, which would put him tied for 22nd best among Hall of Famers…his 127 career ERA+ is better than 42 enshrined starters.”
Schilling received 71.1% of the vote a year ago and was the top vote-getter when no one was elected. His trajectory was clearly on pace to be enshrined in 2022. If Schilling isn’t elected, it will be due to his being frozen out by those unwilling to look past his publicly stated political views. He would then be considered by a veterans committee next December.
Billy Wagner: 1999 NL Rolaids Relief Man Award, 7x NL All-Star. His 422 saves are sixth all-time in MLB and second among left-handers. Stats: 853 games, 903 innings, 1196 strikeouts, 3.99 K:BB, 2.31 ERA.
Wagner’s 187 ERA+ and 0.998 WHIP are both second-best in MLB history among relief pitchers. His 11.9 K/9, 6.0 H/9, 33.2% strikeout rate, and .187 batting average against are the best marks in MLB history among pitchers with 800+ innings.
As Bodig described him, Wagner was “…a pitcher who (among those with at least 750 innings pitched) is the second-best in the last 100 years at run prevention (ERA), the best ever at striking out batters (K per 9 IP), and the best ever at keeping batters from getting hits (BAA)…”.
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