Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr., Mark McGwire, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Lee Smith, Goose Gossage, Paul O'Neill, Tony Fernandez, Alan Trammell
The big question this year is McGwire. I voted for him for many reasons: He's innocent until proven guilty; instructions on the ballot are specific about considering his character and behavior while he was active as a player so that should preclude his post-career Congressional testimony. And the use of performancing-drugs was not prohibited in baseball during the course of his career. After all, he did hit 583 home runs.
Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr., Goose Gossage, Jack Morris, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Dale Murphy
Gwynn and Ripken are no-brainers. Why it's taken Gossage, the dominant closer of his era, this long is a bigger mystery than how long it took Bruce Sutter to get in. Gossage was better. Why Morris doesn't get more support is mystifying. He was the ace on three World Series champions and dominated for a good decade. Dawson and Rice are comparable, with Dawson playing more games for more numbers than Rice. Each has better numbers than many HOFers, and played in the pre-inflationary period. Murphy doesn't get much support, but his decade of the '80s and back-to-back MVPs should at least keep him on the ballot.
Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Lee Smith
Sorry, but McGwire and his artificially bloated homer stats will have to wait. Dawson had nearly 3,000 hits and was an RBI machine. Gwynn was the quintessential ballplayer, an eight-time batting champ. Gossage set the tone for future game-finishers, and Smith is among the all-time best closers. Rice deserves honor and Ripken's hits and HRs were significant.
Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Orel Hershiser, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Lee Smith
By the numbers
|Below, a breakdown of how MLB.com's eligible voters cast their ballots for the Hall of Fame.|
| Goose Gossage 13|
|Tony Gwynn 13|
|Cal Ripken Jr. 13|
| Andre Dawson 11|
| Jim Rice 7|
| Lee Smith 7|
| Bert Blyleven 5|
| Steve Garvey 4|
| Jack Morris 4|
| Mark McGwire 3|
| Alan Trammell 3|
| Dave Concepcion 3|
| Tommy John 2|
| Tony Fernandez 1|
| Orel Hershiser 1|
| Dale Murphy 1|
| Paul O'Neill 1|
I don't see why Rice, Gossage or Dawson -- each having received more than 60 percent of the vote last year -- aren't already in. Gwynn and Ripken are easy picks. This will be my 15th and last vote for Garvey -- he'll come off the ballot next year -- but you don't make 10 All-Star Games without being one of the premier (and most famous) players of your generation.
Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Lee Smith
Ripken and Gwynn should be obvious shoo-ins for their remarkable careers. Blyleven, just 13 wins shy of 300, was stunning in many categories. Concepcion was a superb shortstop, a key cog of the Big Red Machine. Gossage personified closing, Smith had 478 saves and both had ERAs barely over 3.00. Dawson and Rice were game-breaking sluggers; Dawson also was a fine fielder, Rice hit over .300 seven times.
Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Tommy John, Jack Morris, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Lee Smith
Gwynn and Ripken should be locks. Gossage was dominating. I don't believe falling 13 wins shy of 300 should keep Blyleven out, or 12 short should exclude Tommy John. Dawson's numbers in spite of bad knees put him over the top. Smith, Morris and Rice were tougher calls, but deserve to make it to Cooperstown.
Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr.
Gwynn and Ripken were no-brainers. Not only do they qualify for Cooperstown because of their stats, but also because of their character. Both are class acts. I hadn't seen Ripken in a few years, and he made an effort to stop and chat with me at the Winter Meetings. Gossage is one of my husband's favorites -- and I can't argue with him. When Gossage got his saves, he'd come in during the seventh and eighth innings, and actually put out the fire. There were no cheap saves. Andre Dawson was revered by his teammates, and I was lucky enough to cover him during his Cubs days. I would've given him my knees if it would've prolonged his career.
Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr.
I voted for these four and then drove to Cooperstown to remind myself of why 'Hall" is the first four letters in "hallowed." These four deserve plaques next to Ty and Cy. I look for candidates who were great players over a great amount of time. No other criteria comes close. I'm not playing Commissioner with Big Mac and the "wait" vote is sophomoric and egocentric. He's on the ballot. If Pete Rose is on it, he's a first-ballot as well.
Dave Concepcion, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr.
Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken essentially are no-brainer selections. Voters would have to search for reasons not to check their names. The image of Gossage's violent, leaning follow-through, his mustache, his nickname, the Yaz at-bat in the Bucky Dent game and the overwhelming results all contribute to his HOF credentials. And there's no such thing as a truly great team without a great shortstop. The Reds of the '70's were an extraordinary team and Concepcion an extraordinary shortstop.
Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Tommy John, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Alan Trammell
Gwynn and Ripken did nothing but honor the game and should be unanimous choices. Gossage was the most dominant closer I've seen. Concepcion was obscured by bigger names in the Big Red Machinery, but he was the glue -- like Trammell in Detroit, great defensively and a clutch run producer. Dawson was awesome in Montreal, the best in the game for a while, and has the numbers, like Rice. Garvey loved the big stage and delivered. Blyleven and John were remarkably durable and thrived under pressure. McGwire? I want to wait a year. I thought Canseco, when they were Bash Brothers, was the more valuable player.
Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Jack Morris, Cal Ripken, Jr., Lee Smith
Voting for Gwynn and Ripken were no-brainers. Not selecting McGwire took some considerable thought. Being a one-dimensional player -- 583 of his 1,626 hits were home runs -- McGwire's overall numbers are not up to Hall of Fame standards. Also, It is high time that both Garvey, who is in his final year of BBWAA eligibility, and Blyleven are selected.
Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire
Ripken and Gwynn are obvious. Dawson is a huge oversight, a great player offensively and defensively. Gossage dominated as a reliever. Morris and Trammell were good enough for long enough. McGwire? All right. With all that's gone on in baseball for the past 15 to 20 years, I just don't feel like singling out McGwire and publicly flogging him and him alone. There are many many others -- pitchers and hitters-- who, let's just say, could also be more forthcoming and honest. Dozens and dozens more, if not hundreds.