Birds Watcher builds the most correct Hall of Fame ballot
Barry Bonds: 22 years, 12,606 PA, 2,935 H, .298/.444/.607, 762 HR, 182 OPS+, 162.8 bWAR, 7* MVP, 14* All-Star, 8* Gold Glove, 12* Silver Slugger. Barry Bonds is the best baseball player of all time, full stop. Mike Trout still has time to change my mind, but Bonds was on another level. 1.051 career OPS, led the league in walks 12 times, 10 times in OBP.
He won four consecutive MVP awards, he’s the single season and all-time HR leader, all-time walks leader. He had 12 seasons with 8+ bWAR and three with over 10. And we’re not voting him in because, what, he doesn’t have 3,000 hits? The best baseball player ever being left out of the Hall of Fame is an absolute travesty.
Roger Clemens: 24 years, 4,916.2 innings, 3.12 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 4,672 K, 2.96 K/BB, 354 W, 139.6 bWAR, 1* MVP, 7* Cy Young, 11* All-Star. As good as Bonds was at the plate, Clemens was just as good on the mound.
Neck and neck with Pedro Martinez as the best starting pitcher of the modern era, Clemens won 7 ERA titles, five strikeout titles, and led the league in innings twice. He has a career 143 ERA+ and he posted more than 8 bWAR six times. Clemens is a Hall of Famer regardless of whether or not he took steroids or PED’s.
Andruw Jones: 17 years, 8,664 PA, 1,933 H, .254/.337/.486, 434 HR, 111 OPS+, 62.8 bWAR, 5* All-Star, 10* Gold Glove, 1* Silver Slugger. Jones led the league with 51 homers and 128 RBI in ’05, and he was one of the best center fielders in MLB for over a decade. His case is predicated on his total home-run numbers and his peak more so than his overall body of work.
His defense fell off in the latter half of his career and he doesn’t have the cumulative numbers to compensate. The 434 homers look nice, but he doesn’t have a ton outside of that on his side; Jones is just barely on the outside looking in.
Jeff Kent: 17 years, 9,537 PA, 2,461 H, .290/.356/.500, 377 HR, 123 OPS+, 55.4 bWAR, 1* MVP, 5* All-Star, 4* Silver Slugger. Kent won the ’00 MVP despite being the second best player on his own team. The only black ink on his Baseball Reference page are his two league-leading sacrifice fly seasons in ’98 and ’01. Kent was a fine hitter, finishing in the top-10 in MVP voting three times outside of his one victory, and he amassed over 100 RBI seven times. His offensive peak was quite good but he was a zero on defense, leaving him just barely on the outside.
Edgar Martinez: 18 years, 8,674 PA, 2,247 H, .312/.418/.515, 309 HR, 147 OPS+, 68.4 bWAR, 7* All-Star, 5* Silver Slugger. Edgar presents one of the most precarious Hall of Fame cases on the ballot. On one hand, he was an outstanding hitter taking home the batting title two times, twice garnering top-6 MVP finishes and having nine straight seasons in which he posted a 139 OPS+ or higher.
On the other, he was a DH for the majority of his career, providing no defensive value. Based on offensive merits along, Martinez is a borderline candidate, but I have him on the right side of the line.
That’s 6 yes votes total; 3 for Bonds, Clemens, and Martinez in addition to Halladay, Helton and Rivera.