Tag Archives: Larry Walker

My 2019 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’31PqUBGfSIVsaeCdbaiE1g’,sig:’FRGiD69OoJCv2tA-ET1qwc1An7rkJDYnIKFRkNVznc4=’,w:’594px’,h:’445px’,items:’1007392298′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Former Phillies star Jim Thome was among those voted into the HOF last year

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This is my fifth year with a ballot, and my selections were turned in about two weeks ago.

The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow a group of well-informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of the ultimate honor for their baseball career. You can consider it a formal endorsement from baseball writers and bloggers who represent dozens of internet sites.
I had decided over the last couple of years to break my ballot down into three segments. “Hall of Fame” players are those who, for me, are obvious, or whom I evaluated from previous years and decided were worthy.

“Future Consideration” names are not so obvious to me, but are strong enough candidates that I will continue to evaluate them moving forward. Finally, “Not Hall of Famer” guys are those who just don’t make the cut for me and will not in the future.

In 2017, eight players received my IBWAA vote: Barry BondsRoger ClemensTrevor HoffmanMike MussinaManny RamirezIvan RodriguezCurt Schilling, and Larry Walker. Both Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who I had on my “Future Consideration” list that year, were voted in by the full IBWAA membership.
Last year just five returning players received my vote as a “Hall of Fame” player: Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling once again, as well as two newcomers to the ballot: Jim Thome and Chipper Jones.
On my “Future Consideration” list from the 2018 ballot were Hoffman, Mussina, Walker, Ramirez, Scott RolenGary SheffieldBilly WagnerLee SmithJohnny DamonSammy SosaJeff KentFred McGriffOmar VizquelJamie MoyerAndruw Jones, and Johan Santana.
The IBWAA membership honored six players in the final vote a year ago. Bonds and Clemens each finally got in, joined by Thome, CJones, Mussina, and Hoffman.
While the BBWAA only allow their eligible Hall of Fame voters to cast ballots for up to 10 players, the IBWAA has a 15-player limit. I decided after looking over the names to cast a wide ballot this year. Bottom line, I simply felt generous.

MY 2019 IBWAA BALLOT

My list for the 2019 IBWAA ballot was led by Schilling, the only player who has been a definite, no-doubt “Hall of Fame” player for me in both of the last two years but hasn’t made it as yet.
Two newcomers on this year’s ballot were considered by me to be no-doubt “Hall of Fame” players. Both Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay thus received my vote as well.
I had decided early-on to bump up two players from last year’s “Future Consideration” list who were back on the 2019 IBWAA ballot, Walker and Rolen, to receive my vote.
That was originally going to be all for me. And then I got soft. I read a couple of pieces written by respected sources advocating for more players to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and was influenced to send in a full 15-player ballot.
For that reason alone, 10 additional players received my vote this year. These players would have usually found themselves in my “Future Consideration” list: Ramirez, Sheffield, Wagner, Kent, McGriff, and AJones from last year’s ballot. And then newcomers Todd HeltonLance BerkmanRoy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte.
Over the last few days, I have come to regret that expansion of my ballot. If I had it to do over again, just Schilling, Rivera, Halladay, Walker, and Rolen would have received my vote. The rest would have been in the “Future Consideration” category, along with holdovers Sosa and Vizquel and newcomer Miguel Tejada.
A year from now you can expect me to return to my three-tiered system of breaking down the nominees. You can expect that any of my five 2019 no-doubt players doesn’t make it this time around, they will get a vote from me again next year.

Originally published at Phillies Nation asMatt Veasey’s 2019 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

My 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

This past year marked a major change in direction as far as my baseball writing was concerned. For the previous three years, I wrote almost exclusively on the national pastime.

As the Fall of 2017 arrived, I decided to return to writing across the broader spectrum of politics, religion, entertainment, and social issues.

Baseball is always going to hold a special place in my heart and life, especially in regards to my hometown Philadelphia Phillies.

For anyone who has enjoyed my baseball writing in the past, rest easy. I am going to continue writing on the sport here at my website from time to time. You can enjoy those pieces, including all from the past, by clicking on the “Baseball” category from the website toolbar.

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This was my fourth year with a ballot, and my selections were returned just this past week.
The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow another block of informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of that ultimate career honor. You can consider it a formal endorsement from the Internet baseball writers and bloggers.
A year ago for the 2017 IBWAA Hall of Fame voting, I broke down my ballot into three categories: Hall of Famers, Under Future Consideration, and Not Hall of Famer. I am doing the same for this piece on the 2018 ballot, and will continue that process into the future.
There were 31 eligible players on last year’s 2017 ballot. Eight of those players received my vote as a Hall of Famer: Barry BondsRoger ClemensTrevor HoffmanMike MussinaManny RamirezIvan RodriguezCurt Schilling, and Larry Walker.
 
Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who was on my “Future Consideration” list a year ago, were each voted in by the IBWAA in 2017. Both players received 175 votes (84.54%) to gain the honor of our HOF endorsement. Mussina, Hoffman, Bonds, and Clemens all received more than 70% of the vote, falling just short of the 75% requirement for endorsement.
 
This year, I was more frugal with my own vote, casting a ballot for just five players. In doing so, I left off three players who received my vote a year ago: Walker, Ramirez, and Hoffman. 
 
 
 
Frankly, I don’t really enjoy taking a vote away from these players. It’s not that I no longer feel they are worthy. I made a personal decision this year to “tier” my deserving choices. The five players who did receive my vote are, for me, clearly ahead of those three.
 
A year ago there were 31 players on the ballot. After voting for eight, I listed another seven under consideration, and rated 16 as not deserving. You can see here that the number of players who I will be considering in the future has grown considerably.
 
There are three videos accompanying this piece. I would recommend that you view each of them for more information on the HOF 2018 nominees and process. The middle video on Schilling’s worthiness is particularly revealing. 
 
Here is my breakdown of the 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. You will also absolutely have your own opinions, and I would love to hear them. Among the below nominees who were on the 2018 IBWAA ballot, which would receive your vote to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
 
 
 

2018 HALL OF FAME PLAYERS (5)

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome

FUTURE CONSIDERATION (16)

Trevor Hoffman, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Andruw Jones, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel
 

NOT HALL OF FAMER (11)

Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano
 

Colorado Rockies All-Time 25-Man Roster

The Colorado Rockies were born when the city of Denver was granted an expansion franchise by Major League Baseball in 1991. The club then began play in the National League West Division in the 1993 season.
Over the ensuing quarter century the franchise has not experienced very much on-field success. They have yet to capture a division crown, and there have been just three trips to the MLB postseason.
Early in their history, from 1995-97, the Rox treated their fans to three consecutive winning seasons. This has been the only time they have produced that long a stretch of winning baseball.

THE BLAKE STREET BOMBERS

The 1995 team was an offensive juggernaut that finished in second place, just a game short of a division title. But those Rockies captured the NL Wildcard to become the first Colorado team into the playoffs.
Nicknamed the “Blake Street Bombers”, they were led by four men who each cranked more than 30 home runs. The Rockies would lose in that 1995 NLDS by 3-1 to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
After that brief run of success it would be a long decade before Colorado would contend once again.

THRILLING RUN TO THE WORLD SERIES

In 2007, the Rockies set a franchise record by winning 89 games during the regular season. The club finished just a game off the division-winning pace of the Arizona Diamondbacks, tied with the San Diego Padres.
The Rockies then hosted San Diego in a one-game play-in to determine who would get the lone NL Wildcard berth. It would prove to be perhaps the most dramatic game in team history.
Colorado jumped in front early, but the Padres put up a five-run inning in the top of the 3rd to take a 5-3 lead. The hosts kept chipping away, and took a 6-5 lead into the top of the 8th inning. But San Diego tied it up on a two-out RBI double by Brian Giles.
The two teams fought into extra innings before the Padres finally broke through in the top of the 13th with a pair of runs. San Diego then turned the ball over to one of the greatest closers in the history of the game, Trevor Hoffman.
Instead of rolling over, the Rockies fought back. The first three batters got to Hoffman for a pair of doubles and a triple to tie it up, and then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jamey Carroll brought home the game-winner.
Those Rockies rode the excitement and momentum of that rally all the way to a World Series berth. First they swept the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 in the NLDS, then the division rival Dbacks in four straight in the NLCS.
Then in the franchise’ only Fall Classic appearance to date, Colorado was swept out in four straight games by the Boston Red Sox.

TOUGH PLAYOFF LOSS, THEN COLLAPSE

Two years later, the Rockies returned to the postseason. That 2009 club set the franchise record by winning 92 regular season games, finishing three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the NLDS, the Rockies were taken out 3-1 by the defending World Series champion Phillies. It was a bitter defeat. With the series knotted at 1-1, the Phils captured each of the final two games in Colorado by one run, with both games coming down to the final inning.
The Rockies fell to 83 wins the following season, and have not experienced a winning campaign since. Entering the 2017 season, Colorado has experienced six straight losers. However, some exciting young talent has the club and its fans believing that streak of futility is about to end.

TOUGH CHOICES AND APOLOGIES

Putting together the Colorado Rockies All-Time 25-Man Roster was not as difficult as some other teams with a longer, more storied history has been.
Still, there were a few tough decisions at the back-end of the pitching staff and position player lists. In the end, I went with just a 10-man pitching staff. Fact is, that is a generous number when you examine the history of this team.
The usual “apologies” segment includes a bunch of players who were in contention for those back-end roster spots.
Current young stud Jon Gray just hasn’t been around long enough or shown enough yet to crack the list. Other arms left out were Huston StreetJose JimenezBruce Ruffin, and Rafael Betancourt. Also missing are Curt LeskanicRex BrothersChad BettisAdam OttavinoKevin Ritz, and Matt Belisle
So who did make this roster? As you will see and can probably already anticipate, there are a bunch of mediocre arms, but some explosive bats. Let me know who you would have named, and who you would have left off your own roster.

My 2017 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

The Internet Baseball Writer’s Association of America (IBWAA) conducts voting in December of each year for its Baseball Hall of Fame.
This process is conducted in much the same manner as the formal BBWAA voting, which results in players being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
The IBWAA was born on the Fourth of July in 2009. As described at the association website, the organization was formed “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).” 
The BBWAA is made up of writers who have covered the game for “traditional” media. This usually means of the print variety, such as newspapers. 
Meanwhile, coverage of the game has exploded beyond such traditional means over the last two decades.
Baseball coverage has now expanded to purely digital websites and blogs. Due to this expansion, a vibrant and vital new resource is available to all fans of the sport. 
Hence, the IBWAA organizes internet writers, columnists, and bloggers who might otherwise be shut out of the aging print media structure.
The IBWAA was founded and has been managed since its inception by Howard Cole, a writer who primarily covers the Los Angeles Dodgers. 
Cole is now looking to sell the rights to the organization. He can be reached at info@ibwaa.com or @Howard_Cole on Twitter.

IBWAA HALL OF FAME VOTING PROCESS

Each December, the IBWAA conducts its own voting for the Hall of Fame. While this voting process does not get anyone inducted at Cooperstown, it does allow another valuable, educated voice to be heard.
Writers and bloggers on the web often spend just as much time and energy following and writing about the game. Finally, these web writers have been given a voice in the HOF process. As a result, we become part of a collective that serves as an alternative to help honor the greats of the game.
The IBWAA requires that a player receive 75% of the votes from voting members for election to the Hall of Fame. In 2016, the IBWAA selected Ken Griffey Jr with 230 votes. This was a unanimous result. Edgar Martinez received 173 votes (75.22%). As a result, he was also honored.
A few other players were so-called “controversial” nominees on the BBWAA ballot a year ago. Of these, Mike Piazza (2014) had already been elected previously by the IBWAA membership. Likewise, both Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines (both 2015) were already elected.
I am currently a baseball writer for the FanSided organization. This is a respected and growing network of fandom-focused sports, entertainment and lifestyle sites.
Furthermore, I am a lifetime member of the IBWAA. Consequently this will be my third year voting in the IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame process.

2017 IBWAA BALLOT AND MY BREAKDOWN

This year there were 31 players appearing on the IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. Members are permitted to vote for as many as 15 of those nominated. I voted for the full allowance of 15 in each of my first two years as a voter. However, this year I chose to cast a ballot with just eight players on it.
Getting into arguments as to why I voted for this player and not for that player is pointless. Suffice it to say that I have been following this game closely now for over four decades. In this Hall of Fame voting, I have developed my own evaluation process.
I am absolutely certain that many of you would vote differently. As a result, I would love to hear your opinions. Please feel free to share with me in a comment. Maybe you will want to tell me that I’m an idiot. Most of all, I would like you to simply share with me your own vote.
Most noteworthy, the breakdown to follow will show the names of the eight players for whom I voted. Then I will present a list of players who I feel are potentially worthy. I simply feel that my current honorees are more clear-cut. Consequently, I want to evaluate these other players a bit more.
Finally, the last list will show those who had a nice MLB career, but are simply not Hall of Fame worthy.

2017 HALL OF FAME PLAYERS (8)


UNDER FUTURE CONSIDERATION (7)


NOT A HALL OF FAMER IMHO (16)

Nationals / Expos All-Time 25-Man Roster

The Washington Nationals emerged for the 2005 season after the relocation of the original Montreal Expos franchise.
Major League Baseball expanded by four teams and split into a divisional format beginning in 1969. 
The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers) went to the American League. The Expos and San Diego Padres were  assigned to the National League.
The Montreal team was named after the successful World’s Fair “Expo 67” held there in 1967 during the Canadian Centennial celebration.
After a decade of losing, a young core of players emerged in the late 1970’s to turn the team into a contender for the first time. Then from 1979-94 the Expos were consistent winners.
There were 11 winning Expos campaigns and another two .500 seasons during that 16 year stretch. However, Montreal reached the MLB postseason only one time in its history.

EXPOS REACH THE POSTSEASON

A strike in 1981 caused Major League Baseball to split the season into two halves. The teams who finished in first place in each half would then advance to a best-of-five “League Division Series”, a first for baseball.
The defending champion Philadelphia Phillies won the first half, and the Expos won the second half. Montreal then upended the Phils in a dramatic five-game NLDS to move within a step of the franchise’ first World Series.
In the best-of-five NLCS, the Expos took a two games to one lead. The Dodgers tied it up, and the two clubs moved to a decisive Game Five. On a two-out home run by Rick Monday in the top of the 9th, the Dodgers won 2-1 to advance to the World Series.

THE STRIKE OF 1994

In 1993, the Expos re-emerged as a division power. However, the Phillies put together a magical worst-to-first season, holding Montreal off by three games to win the NL East crown.
The following year, the Expos entered the season as favorites, not only in the division, but also to win the World Series.
Montreal won 20 of 22 games beginning on July 18 to take the division lead. With a 74-40 record, the Expos led the Atlanta Braves by six games.
And then it all suddenly ended, not in defeat, but with the longest work stoppage in the history of Major League Baseball. A player strike began on August 12 and would last into the following year, cancelling the rest of the season, including the postseason.

GOODBYE, CANADA

The Expos franchise would never recover. They dropped to 5th place in 1995, recovered to win 88 games and finish in 2nd place in 1996, but then plummeted to five straight losing seasons.
An inability to get funding for a new ballpark led to rumors of a move constantly swirling, and then to MLB purchasing the club in 2002. Those relocation nightmares actually became a reality for Montreal baseball fans when the move to Washington was announced.
In their final year north of the border the club finished a dismal 67-95 and in last place. The first season in D.C. resulted in a .500 finish, but the losing continued with six straight seasons below the .500 mark.
Finally, the new Washington Nationals began to contend with a 98-64 record in 2012, winning the first division title in franchise history.
With a new group of young stars, the Nationals have now become perennial contenders in the National League. The 2016 season resulted in their third NL East crown in the last five years.
One thing continues to elude the franchise in Washington. The club remains one of eight current Major League Baseball teams to never have even reached the World Series.

NOT MAKING THE CUT

Selecting a 25-Man roster for the franchise was a difficult proposition. They have had an abundance of strong, interesting outfielders and first basemen in their history.
Aside from their obvious Hall of Famer, selecting a backup catcher was a tough chore. There are a handful of decent options.
There were a number of players who you won’t find, but who contributed mightily to the history of the organization.
Included among these are shortstops Chris SpeierOrlando Cabrera and Tim Foli. Catchers Brian Schneider and Darrin Fletcher are not selected.
Outfielders Warren CromartieRondell White, and Jayson Werth fell short. So did infielders Larry Parrish and Andres Galarraga. I opted for versatility and projection in the infield.
Since I forced myself to carry at least two relievers, getting down to the 7th-9th best starting pitchers leads to difficult decisions. That was again the situation here.
On the mound, not making the cut were arms such as Steve RenkoBill StonemanBill GullicksonScott SandersonCharlie LeaJeff FasseroChad CorderoUgueth Urbina, and John Wetteland.
So who did make the cut? The Nationals / Expos All-Time 25-Man Roster includes 11 pitchers (two true relievers), two catchers, six infielders, and six outfielders.