The Baseball Hall of Fame has selected its 2019 class. And congratulations to Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina for getting elected. All deserving players, but let's take a look at the overall ballot to see how the BBWAA did this time around.
Mariano Rivera (1st year of eligibility - 100% of the vote)
The name speaks for itself. Mariano is unarguably the greatest reliever in the history of the game, and is arguably the greatest pitcher of the Live Ball Era, including starters. He has accomplished all there is to accomplish in the game of baseball. He was a 13 time All-Star, won the World Series five times with the Yankees, even got an RBI when he drew a walk. Nobody is more deserving of being the first unanimous Hall of Famer. Congrats Mariano, and may Metallica play Enter Sandman at your induction.
Roy Halladay (1st year - 85.4%)
Another deserving pitcher. 16 years with the Blue Jays and Phillies, and nobody was better. Remarkably durable, Doc led the league in complete games seven times, innings pitched four times, and batters faced three times. And this was all while making eight All Star teams and winning two Cy Young awards, one in each league. His finest season was 2010, where he recorded an ERA of 2.44, won the Cy Young, and threw two no hitters. The first was a perfect game. The second was the first postseason no hitter in National League history, and was an iffy 3-2 call away from perfection. RIP Doc, you've earned this.
Edgar Martinez (10th year - 85.4%)
In the last year he was on the ballot, Edgar received a surge in votes to rightfully include him in this class. Probably the best hitter to ever play designated hitter (that's hitting, Ortiz fans. Not slugging. There's a difference) Edgar won two batting titles and hit .312 for his career. While he wasn't the power guy like other DHs he still OPSed a more than good .933 during his career. He was the only guy who could hit Mariano Rivera well. In other words, he was able to shake the unshakeable. While he never got that chance to play for a World Series, he's still the holder of the greatest moment in Mariners history: the walk off double in the 1995 ALDS against the mighty Yankees.
Mike Mussina (6th year - 76.7%)
This is my only problem with this class. Mussina is deserving. The numbers prove it, but my problem isn't with Mussina- it's with Curt Schilling. Schilling is a better pitcher than Mussina. No matter how you look at it- regular season, postseason, eye test -there's no argument for Mussina. Again, if Schilling was already in, or never pitched to begin with, I'd have no problem with electing Mussina before him. But Schilling did pitch. He pitched incredibly. And he's still on the outside. We shouldn't have ever considered Mussina until he got in.
Now that we've looked at the class, let's take a look at some highlights of players who didn't get in.
Curt Schilling (6th year - 60.9%)
The greatest postseason pitcher to ever walk the Earth. Anyone who watched baseball in the 90’s and early 2000's can tell you that. He's the only pitcher who could go out on a bloodied stump of a foot and throw 99 pitches to keep his team alive with their backs against the wall in baseball history. Outside of just that game, he also has three World Series rings, two with the Red Sox and one with the Diamondbacks, and recorded over 3,000 strikeouts in his career. Not including Schilling, every pitcher who has ever struck out 3,000 batters is a Hall of Famer. Well, that is except one. That brings me to…
Roger Clemens (7th year - 59.5%)
Only three pitchers have recorded 4,000 strikeouts. Both Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson were rightfully first ballot Hall of Famers. And then there's Clemens. Just like Ryan, he's a mean, cold-blooded Texan who could crack your head open with a fastball. Just like Johnson, he has numerous teams that could claim him as their all time greatest pitcher. Unlike both of them, he could be the greatest starting pitcher ever. He has seven Cy Youngs, by far a record. He won the award in both leagues. He won an MVP in 1986. The fact that he's not in is a joke.
Barry Bonds (7th year - 59.1%)
Clemens not being in is a joke. Bonds not being in is a travesty. He is the greatest player of all time. He has more home runs than anyone in major league history, more walks than anyone, more intentional walks than anyone, and was one knee injury away from 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBI, breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time WAR record, and breaking Rickey Henderson’s runs scored record. He is the only player with 500 homers and 500 stolen bases. He is the only player with 400 homers and 400 stolen bases. Like Clemens, the only thing keeping him out is the PED boogeyman, despite never failing a test, despite being acquitted of perjury, and despite PEDs saving baseball.
Larry Walker (9th year - 54.6%)
Walker's time is running out. He only has one year left- but his numbers are better than Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez’s. His batting average is one point higher. His OPS is 32 points higher. He has more home runs. He won three batting titles in four years, won the NL MVP in 1997, and had a nine year stretch where .898 was his lowest OPS. Everyone says Coors, but that's part of the game. It has to be valued. Hopefully next year's weak class can get Walker that 75% he deserves.
Fred McGriff (10th year - 39.8%)
McGriff is off the ballot. He's out of time. It was a valiant effort, but ultimately, a lot of the ballots were too stacked for McGriff to stand a chance against a lot of Hall of Fame locks. He had an .886 career OPS, won the 1995 World Series with the Braves, and was a work stoppage away from 500 homers. Fortunately for him though, since Harold Baines was inducted via the Veterans Committee, then McGriff is certainly a lock in that regard.
Manny Ramirez (3rd year - 22.8%)
Manny still has a lot of time, thankfully. It doesn't feel like that long ago when he was a walk-in Hall of Famer, with his 12 All-Star appearances, his two World Series rings (including an MVP), his .312 average, his .996 OPS, and his 555 homers. Unlike Bonds, he actually failed a PED test and was suspended in 2011. Like Bonds though, it shouldn't matter. Manny already locked up his legacy before then. Within the next seven years, hopefully he gets in.