As some of you may already be aware if you follow me on Twitter, I am a member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America). Not to be confused with the BBWAA which is a bit more exclusive in its membership and voting privileges, the IBWAA has built up a bit more steam in recent years in that it allows various contributors, such as myself, an opportunity to have a voice in a major sports writing body that we might not otherwise have. Furthermore, many well-respected writers are members of the IBWAA. Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, David Schoenfield, Jerry Crasnick, Joe Hamrahi, Dayn Perry, Ken Rosenthal, and Mark Simon are just a few of the names that come to mind.
In any case, the deadline for IBWAA Hall of Fame ballots is later this evening, and accordingly, I've sent in my ballot. In the name of transparency, I decided to get a post up in which I reveal my ballot and talk about a few of the decisions that went into my thought process.
First, it's important to note that since the IBWAA is an entirely separate entity from the BBWAA, the ballots are different. Whereas the BBWAA members are only able to vote for 10 candidates, we've been given leash to vote for up to 15. Also, names like Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza don't appear on our ballot as they were elected in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Furthermore, Barry Larkin's name does appear as he has not yet reached the 75% voting threshold to be elected by the IBWAA.
With all of that said, the whole reason for this post; my ballot.
- Jeff Bagwell
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Randy Johnson
- Barry Larkin
- Edgar Martinez
- Pedro Martinez
- Mark McGwire
- Mike Mussina
- Tim Raines
- Curt Schilling
- Gary Sheffield
- John Smoltz
- Sammy Sosa
- Larry Walker
The most obvious thing most will notice is that I haven't shied away from voting for PED-era players, or even players that were heavily suspected or proven to have used performance-enhancing substances during their career. In my mind, unfair advantages have long been a part of the game, and will be going forward. Does that make it right? Certainly not, but I'm not a huge fan of playing judge and jury and pretending the accomplishments of those players simply didn't happen.
There are many who will disagree with me, but that's just how I view it. I just can't bring myself to leave the all-time home run leader out, no matter how big of a jerk he may have been or the types of substances that may (or may not, at least as much as some would have us believe) have helped him in the latter parts of his career.
The pitchers were probably among the easier votes to cast, as they all had lengthy careers that stood up to both the eye test and the analytical test. That is, I remember seeing these guys pitch, and in looking back at the numbers, the statistics matched up, mostly, with what I had previously thought about these guys.
So there it is. 15 players got my vote in what is an effort to, hopefully, unclutter the ballot just a bit for future seasons. I'm under no illusion that guys like Bonds or Clemens will actually be elected, but I've voted for them nonetheless. The comments section is open.