The 2011 Hall of Fame class is going to be announced on January 5th, so I wanted to take a quick look at who I think will and should make it in. Mark McGwire will be on the ballot again, and Bill Ivey over at I-70 Baseball breaks down why he thinks McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame. It appears Bert Blyleven will make it on his 14th try, as he had 74.2 percent last year (75% needed to get in). It also appears Roberto Alomar will get in. Alomar received 73.7 percent last year, his first year on the ballot. Tim Raines will make his 4th appearance on the ballot, as he received 30.4 percent last year. Those are the 3 I think should make it. I’m not sure Raines will, but after looking at his stats again, I firmly believe he belongs in the HOF. Raines finished his career with 808 stolen bases, 2,605 hits, a .294 AVG, a .385 OBP and a OPS of .810.
I think people forget what a threat Tim Raines was as a leadoff hitter. His 170 HR’s, along with his other stats, should put him in. The only leadoff hitter that I can think of that was more well rounded and dominant in all aspects of the game was Rickey Henderson, at least in my generation. Raines ranks 8th on Henderson’s most similar batters on Baseball-Reference.com. If you take a look at the list, it’s pretty impressive, with names ahead of Raines such as Craig Biggio, Paul Molitor, and Lou Brock, just to name a few. Biggio will join the others in Cooperstown, and Raines should as well. Tim Raines’ career WAR is 64.60, tied for 117th all-time with our own Ozzie Smith. Here’s the list of career WAR leaders. You’ll notice some of the great names both directly ahead and behind Raines and Smith.
That brings me to the next player that I think should get in, Larry Walker. He’s in the top 100 of career WAR leaders of all time with a 67.30. Coors Field will definitely hurt Walker’s chances, but if the voters look at his stats from Montreal before Colorado, it should help some. Walker deserves more attention than some will give him credit for in my opinion. Also, I’m not sure where the line starts and stops with injuries in voter minds. It seems they make the case for some and not others because of them. Walker won’t make it this year, and probably never will, but I think he should at least be considered more than he is.
On to McGwire, I’m not sure he’ll ever make it. You can’t take steroids out of the equation, however, I think the way Big Mac handled it will hurt more than anything. I’m not sure if A-Rod and Andy Pettitte will get in, but all seems to be forgotten with those two. I also hear the case for Barry Bonds being made from time to time, with writers saying how great he was before steroids. That may be true, but the fact is he took them and benefited from them. I just want to see the writers be consistent across the board. For the few who think Bonds didn’t take steroids, I will end this article and leave you with these pictures of Bonds. I think most can figure out which is before and after.