My Hall of Fame Vote
The Hall of Fame voting results are going to be announced on Monday and it's expected that Rickey Henderson and possibly Jim Rice will get in. I'm gonna separate my votes into two different ballots, because I can, and because I don't take this stuff too seriously.
My "Keeping the Hall of Fame Standards At the Highest Levels" Ballot
Rickey's a no-brainer and it helps that his rookie card was the prized possession of my rather pathetic baseball card collection as a kid. I've read enough arguments to convince me Blyleven is being screwed for playing in small markets and bad teams before the Internet and the explosion of media. Raines is in a similar situation, always second fiddle to Rickey Henderson among leadoff hitters and from playing in Montreal; but there wasn't a player I hated seeing more coming up against the Cubs in the 80's. And if you're wondering why I'd put Raines in over Dawson, it's because Raines out-WARP'd Dawson for most of their careers, including - by a a healthy margin - Dawson's 1987 MVP season.
My "There Are Much Worse Players Already In and These Guys Feel Like Hall of Famers" Ballot
I explained myself on the first three, so let's take a look at the extra four I've included.
Alan Trammell - Again, another second fiddle - this time to Ozzie Smith... but an exceptional defender that was the best player on some very good 80's Tigers teams. Maybe if he did back flips when he ran on to the field.
Lee Smith - Led the league in saves four times and retired as the all-time leader before Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera passed him by...neither of which led the league in saves as many times as Smith. I still can't forgive him for '84 though.
Jim Rice - Because Peter Gammons told me so...honestly, I have no feelings either way on Rice, but if Dawson is good enough, I think Rice is as well.
Andre Dawson - The player I'm sure most reading this article are concerned with and I think he's as borderline a candidate as there is out there. As I mentioned above, I always felt Tim Raines was the best player on the Expos when I was watching them...of course, I wasn't even 10 when most of that was happening. Dawson's Cubs career was better than I thought when you look at his stats, and I think I was burned by his rather awful 1989 playoff performance.
In the end, I think he has a lot of good reasons to be in the Hall of Fame, even if something like 400 HR's and 300 SB's is about the most ridiculous made-up cutoff out there. It's a very similar case to Ron Santo's, a player who never hit the big milestones like 3000 hits or 500 home runs, but dominated for a period of time, brought a lot with his defensive abilities that went unnoticed and had his career cut short by injuries (or in Santo's case diabetes). The reason I'm more adamant about Santo deserving a spot over Dawson is that no reasonable person could argue that Ron Santo wasn't one of the top 10 third basemen of all-time, while there's no reasonable person that could argue that Andre Dawson was one of the top 10 center fielders, top 10 right fielders or top 30 outfielders of all-time.
There's my thoughts, I'm sure others have their own and I would love to hear them in the comments.