Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven
Sutter not only compiled 300 saves when they were much tougher to get, but he established the split-finger fastball as a potent weapon. Another superb reliever, the hard-throwing Gossage, was involved in many great moments, notably for the Yankees, and had 72 saves in three Padres seasons. Following Ted and Yaz, Rice was a much-feared Red Sox masher, adept at clearing the Green Monster and a .298 hitter. Another very dangerous right-handed slugger of that era with 438 homers, Dawson conquered tough Olympic Stadium and flourished at friendly Wrigley Field. Bert Blyleven used an excellent curveball for 287 wins, an imposing 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts, fifth most in history.
Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage
I vote exclusively for those who I believe were the best at what they did for an extended period and/or those who have permanent distinction in the game or a combination of the two. Bruce Sutter clearly was an elite reliever, and his development of the split-finger fastball gives him distinction. Rich Gossage was a premier closer for three World Series teams, and a force for an extended period -- for a closer. And he had the image and the nickname. He had the whole package.
Barry M. Bloom
Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Steve Garvey
|MLB.com's 10 eligible writers cast their votes:
This is the year of the reliever and for the second consecutive time I voted for Smith, Sutter and Gossage. Add my annual nod to Garvey and that was it. Smith has the most saves in history and should be in. Sutter basically invented the forkball. And Gossage threw harder and longer than any reliever I've ever seen. This is their year and it will be tough for any of them to make it if they don't get in right now.
Bruce Sutter, Bert Blyleven, Steve Garvey, Lee Smith, Tommy John, Alan Trammell
Bert Blyleven: All-time Top 10 in strikeouts, shutouts. Steve Garvey: Popeye flexed for tough Los Angeles teams. Tommy John: Surgeon on the mound for 26 years. Jim Rice: Most feared American League hitter of his generation. Lee Smith: 478 saves still tops all-time. Bruce Sutter: Blazed closers' trail. Alan Trammell: Face of gilded Motown era.
Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter
This could be the year of the reliever, which bodes well for Smith, Sutter and Gossage. They were tops among their peers in their heyday. Morris and Blyleven were the rocks in their respective rotations for several years, while Garvey (14th year) is long overdue. Dawson and Mattingly always showed class and dignity and had good numbers, to boot.
Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage
It's not the 438 home runs or 1,591 RBIs or the lifetime .279 batting average that make Dawson a Hall of Famer. It's not that he's one of three players with 2,500 career hits, 250 home runs, 250 stolen bases and 1,500 RBIs. It's the way he is respected by his peers. Players know. Dawson's devotion to the game and to playing it the right way, quietly and without fanfare and without ego, make him a Hall of Famer as well as his impressive stats. Writers who didn't cover Dawson on a daily basis need to talk to his teammates. Gossage didn't pick up cheap one-inning saves. He had to work for every one of his 310 saves. His winning percentage (.537) is better than Rollie Fingers or Hoyt Wilhelm, who are both in the Hall of Fame. And it's also the peer factor. In talking to baseball people of his era, Gossage was dominating.
Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Lee Smith, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven
Sutter was a dominant closer, a pioneer closer who revolutionized pitching with the split-fingered fastball. Gossage was, again, a dominant and pioneering closer. He meets the standard test for induction. Smith is the all-time saves leader. He was both highly effective and extraordinarily durable. Rice was a tremendous run-producer during his prime. You don't have to hit 500 home runs to be recognized. Blyleven's fifth all-time in strikeouts, among the leaders in all the pertinent categories. What does a man have to do? People who demean his candidacy say that his numbers are simply a result of longevity. What is the problem with pitching effectively for a very long time?
Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Orel Hershiser
I've been voting for Garvey, Rice and Dawson since they first appeared on the ballot and will continue to do so. Relievers like Gossage, Sutter and Smith helped change the way the game is now played.
Albert Belle, Will Clark, Andre Dawson, Willie McGee, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Goose Gossage
Belle was belligerent, but had great power. Clark was a super hitter, an excellent glove and a good character. Dawson hit 438 homers, and had eight Gold Gloves. Gossage has to be in Hall, period. McGee had all the intangibles ... he was a two-time batting champ and a class person. Rice was a great player and has waited long enough.