Barry M. Bloom
Rich Gossage, Mark McGwire, Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, Jack Morris, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell
The Goose is a slam dunk, considering his impact historically as a relief pitcher. But the big question again is McGwire. I can't set myself up as judge and jury about what a player did during his career. I do think that Dawson, who had the courage to play a career on damaged knees, and Murphy, a two-time National League MVP and seven-time All-Star, whose career waned normally at 37 two homers short of 400, probably weren't users. And for that reason alone, they both earned my vote for the first time.
Rich Gossage, Jack Morris, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Dale Murphy, Bert Blyleven
Gossage was the dominant closer of his era, better over a longer period of time than Bruce Sutter, who was elected two years ago. Morris' omission and lack of support is mystifying. Dawson and Rice are comparable, with Dawson playing more games for more numbers than Rice. 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. Blyleven's numbers for strikeouts and shutouts continue to rank near the top in history. It's a shame he didn't pitch for better teams.
Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, Jim Rice, Lee Smith
I don't see why Rice or Gossage -- each having received more than 60 percent of the vote last year -- and Smith aren't already in. I've added Blyleven this year despite the lackluster winning percentage because his bulk numbers put him right there with Hall of Famers from his era like Don Sutton and Ferguson Jenkins.
|Below, a breakdown of how MLB.com's eligible voters cast their ballots for the Hall of
|Rich Gossage 14|
|Andre Dawson 11|
|Bert Blyleven 10|
|Jim Rice 10|
|Lee Smith 8|
|Jack Morris 6|
|Mark McGwire 5|
|Tim Raines 4|
|Dave Concepcion 3|
|Tommy John 3|
|Dale Murphy 3|
|Alan Trammell 2|
|Don Mattingly 1|
Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Lee Smith
I've voted for Gossage and Morris since I became eligible to receive a Hall ballot. Same with Murphy, whose stats are borderline, but did something every day to ennoble the game. If you didn't see Concepcion play, you don't realize how good he was. Raines was a force for a long time. Tough to argue with the sheer presence of Dawson, Rice and Smith. As for Blyleven, consider me a late convert.
Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, Jim Rice, Lee Smith
Blyleven fell just 13 wins short of 300 despite pitching for some mediocre clubs. He struck out a ton of guys on a monster curveball. Gossage and Smith were huge, menacing and hard-to-beat figures out of the bullpen. Rice was a dominant, feared slugger who also hit for average in his Red Sox career.
Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Tommy John
Gossage was one of the most dominating relievers of his era. Smith deserves entry as the all-time saves leader when he retired. I don't believe falling 13 wins shy of 300 should keep Blyleven out, or that 12 short of 300 should keep Tommy John out. Dawson's numbers, despite bad knees, put him over the top in my book. Morris and Rice were tough calls, but there are players with less glittering resumes already in the Hall.
Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Mark McGwire
I don't know who did and who did not take steroids. I have to judge McGwire by what he did on the field. Dawson doesn't have 500 homers, but he is one of three players with 2,500 career hits, 250 home runs, 250 stolen bases and 1,500 RBIs. Gossage didn't pick up cheap one-inning saves, but had to work for every one of his 310 saves.
Mark McGwire, Rich Gossage, Lee Smith
I voted for Big Mac last year and deplore the make-'em-wait concept. If the Commissioner allows him on my ballot, I'm voting. Writers aren't commissioners. Same with Pete Rose if he ever shows up. If Bruce Sutter is in, then Gossage and Smith have to be there.
Dave Concepcion, Rich Gossage
Before Ozzie Smith reinvented the position, Concepcion was the premier shortstop in the National League, playing the critical defensive position on a powerhouse team and acquitting himself nicely with the bat. Defense belongs in the Hall, too. Gossage had so many qualities that made him a strong HOF candidate: his image, the nickname, the mustache, the power arm, the intimidation factor. More importantly, he accumulated most of his 310 saves when saves had to be earned, frequently pitching before the ninth inning.
Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Tommy John, Mark McGwire, Jim Rice, Lee Smith
Contemporaries Blyleven and John had 575 wins between them. Smith was the only career record holder (until passed by Trevor Hoffman in saves) to be kept out of the Hall, and Gossage paved Bruce Sutter's way into Cooperstown. Dawson and Rice dominated their era.
Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Don Mattingly, Jim Rice, Alan Trammell
I'm partial to dominant pitchers (Blyleven, Gossage), consistently great shortstops (Concepcion, Trammell), class athletes with total game (Dawson, Mattingly) and guys who simply mash and produce runs for years (Rice). Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer, but not quite first-ballot caliber in my mind. Next year for Rock. Hopefully, Hawk, his old Montreal buddy, makes it this time with Goose.
Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Lee Smith
During his hey day, Raines was to the National League what Rickey Henderson was to the American League: the premier leadoff hitter. Also, I certainly hope the 11th time is the charm for durable and dependable Blyleven, and Gossage gets my vote for the ninth consecutive year. Almost every game for much of his career was a battle of wounded knees for Andre Dawson, but he still assembled HOF numbers. Morris was his own "closer" in many games he started, while Smith dominated hitters following his ever-so-slow walk to the mound from the bullpen.
Mark McGwire, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris, Rich Gossage, Tim Raines
Yes, I voted for McGwire. I'm not interested in sitting in judgment on players. Dawson was a superb all-around player and Gossage was as dominating as they come as a reliever. Morris is a tough call, but he gets my vote this year. Raines was an excellent leadoff hitter for many years.