December 22, 2015

Hall of Fame time - former Red Sox

Who will be the next Red Sox player I'll see in Cooperstown?
That time of year again.  My BBA ballot will be due by New Year's Eve. As in previous years I will start with a post analyzing former Red Sox on the ballot with a detailed explanation for why I will or will not be voting for them. Then I will repeat this exercise with Canadians or those who have played North of the border.  And finally, probably just hours before I partake in this age-old tradition of getting drunk because the earth succesfully spun around the sun another time without deviating course, I will post my ballot which will include the aforementioned Red Sox and Canadian players as well as any others.

There are 32 players on this year's ballot, including seven players who payed in the Boston organization at some point in their career.  These players who I will cover today (in order of years on ballot) are:

Lee Smith (14th season, 30% votes last year)
Jeff Bagwell (6th, 56%)
Curt Schilling (4th, 39%)
Roger Clemens (4th, 37%)
Nomar Garciaparra (2nd, 5%)
Mike Lowell (1st year on ballot)
Billy Wagner (1st year)

Lee Smith:
I made a case for him back in 2013, but when it came time to fill my ballot I had more than 10 deserving players and he had to be removed. Same thing happened last year. I still think he's worthy (he compares favourably to Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers, and about the same as Hoffman who is getting some support in his first year of eligibility), but again will need to wait until my last post to see if he makes the top 10 or gets cut again.

Jeff Bagwell:
I know he didn't actually play with Boston, but I've always included him on my list of former Red Sox. His career OPS+ compares favourably to all time greats such as Willie McCovey and Mike Schmidt, and is better than A-Rod's.  Off the top of your head you'd be hard pressed to name five better right handed hitters all time. He's a no-doubter, he should have been in by now, and he'll make my top 10 list as he has every other year I have voted.

Curt Schilling:
My initial full case for him can be seen here.  The writers who don't vote for him will cite his high career ERA and low win total compared to other pitchers in Cooperstown, but I surmise the real reason he doesn't get more votes is that he doesn't know how to STFU. I suspect if he disappeared from the media spotlight for a year his vote totals would soar. One of the highest K/BB ratios in baseball history and a REAL post-season warrior/hero (i.e., he actually was what Jack Morris fans think Morris was).  Another check box is getting ticked here.

Roger Clemens:
Don't like the guy, but ya, I'm voting for him.

Nomar Garciaparra:
As I mentioned last year,  it hurts just thinking about what could have been. But he did not end up with a Hall of Fame career, and there are so many more deserving candidates that he may not even get the requisite 5% to stay on the ballot for another year.

Mike Lowell:
He came to Boston as a salary dump from the Marlins and the only way they would let us take Josh Beckett of their hands.  Thank you, Mr. Loria! All Lowell did after coming to Boston was give us over five years of above average offense and stellar defense from the hot corner and winning the 2007 World Series MVP.  Pretty good player, a few all star seasons, will never be forgotten by the Fenway Faithful, but not a Hall of Famer.

Billy Wagner:
Best remembered as a long time Astro who also had all-star season with the Mets, Phillies and Braves, he did pitch for the Red Sox for about a month at the end of the 2009 season. He was a seven time all star who finished his career with over 400 saves (5th all time).  His career was actually very similar to Lee Smith who I had voted for above. To be consistent, I will include him in for now, with the caveat that he may be knocked off to trim the list to 10.


My second part of this series where I'll discuss 🇨🇦 related players will be posted shortly.

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