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The "If There's Room" Hall of Famer

Forget "First Ballot" Hall of Famer—it's time to add another term to your baseball lexicon: The "If There's Room" Hall of Famer.

Tom Glavine: "If There's Room" Hall of Famer
Tom Glavine: "If There's Room" Hall of Famer
Mike Zarrilli

We hear it all the time: "first ballot" Hall of Famer.

He's the guy who requires no discussion. You knew it when he was playing. You knew it when he retired. You knew it when he hit the ballot and you looked at his stats again. He's the player that is a Hall of Famer no matter how you look at it.

Unless he's Lou Brock, but that's a different discussion.

In Hall of Fame discussions, there are Hall of Famers, there are "first ballot" Hall of Famers, and there are even "borderline" Hall of Famers. We're going to need to get used to a new term:

The "If There's Room" Hall of Famer.

This year, there were 10–15 excellent Hall of Fame candidates. Nobody got in and just a couple dropped off. Next year, there's an influx of five or so more. There will be several Hall of Fame voters (and bloggers) who would like to support twenty candidates. But there are only ten slots.

The "If There's Room" Hall of Famer will be the players you would support of the Hall of Fame didn't have its ridiculous 10-player limit. This year, for me, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire were "If There's Room" Hall of Famers. In fact, Craig Biggio might have been for me, too—the voting limit will cause "strategic votes" and I would have voted for Kenny Lofton over Biggio because Lofton needed it more.

How would I vote next year, if I could? Here are the candidates I'd like to vote for:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Roger Clemens
  3. Greg Maddux
  4. Curt Schilling
  5. Jeff Bagwell
  6. Mike Mussina
  7. Larry Walker
  8. Tom Glavine
  9. Mike Piazza
  10. Alan Trammell
  11. Frank Thomas
  12. Edgar Martinez
  13. Tim Raines
  14. Craig Biggio
  15. Mark McGwire
  16. Rafael Palmeiro

That's 16 guys, and I could easily convince myself to support Sammy Sosa and Jeff Kent (who are in the Hall of Stats) and even Fred McGriff, if I was feeling Big Hall-ish.

That means my ballot would have at least six "If There's Room" Hall of Famers. McGwire and Palmeiro are the easy ones for me. They're at the bottom by Hall Rating and that doesn't even factor in PEDs. We need four more. And I have no idea where to get them.

I'm not taking Alan Trammell off. He may be a lost cause, but his voting results have been bullshit. If I had one single vote, Trammell's getting it.

I would honestly consider Bonds and Clemens slipping off my list. I kind of can't stand the fact that I'd need to bump (presumably) innocent players so Bonds and Clemens could be on the list. I wouldn't have felt quite as bad this year because I was mostly bumping other PED guys. But am I supposed to leave Tim Raines and Craig Biggio off so that I can vote for Bonds and Clemens?

That said, A Hall of Fame without those two makes no sense. Bonds and Clemens stay. Raines and Biggo are gone. And that one hurts.

For my last two slots, I'm going to drop one hitter and one pitcher. Sorry Tom Glavine. You deserve it, but I can't vote for you over Clemens, Maddux, Schilling, or (likely) Mussina. And the last cut comes down to a pair of DHs. I love Edgar. I adore Edgar. But he wasn't quite Frank Thomas.

My six "If There's Room" Hall of Famers:

  1. Tom Glavine
  2. Edgar Martinez
  3. Tim Raines
  4. Craig Biggio
  5. Mark McGwire
  6. Rafael Palmeiro

Gosh, that felt terrible.