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Beyond the Box Score Writers Elect 7 Players to Hall of Fame

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It's Hall of Fame day today! Before the BBWAA announces their selections, we here at Beyond the Box Score reveal our choices for Cooperstown, the choices of our readers, and our viewpoints on several important topics.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
And now that the association has voted me into the Baseball Hall of Fame, my journey as a player is complete. I am now in the class of the greatest players of all time and at this moment, I am...very, very humbled.

It's probably been a rough few years for both the BBWAA and Baseball Hall of Fame. Between the steroid question, the 2013 shutout, and the Deadspin Ballot, more negative press has been printed about both these organizations than it has probably ever seen prior. Despite all this, as Rickey reminds us, election to Baseball's Hall of Fame truly is the highest honor the sport has to offer.

Later today, the BBWAA will announce their selections for the July 26th induction ceremonies. Before this happens, we here at Beyond the Box Score would like to announce the results of our own internal and reader elections. In this article, we'll talk about the 7 players that the writers here would've elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In our second article, we'll discuss the players who received a reasonable amount of support, but failed to be elected. Finally, we'll look at the results of the survey that was attached to the ballot, and discuss the various interesting points this brings up.

So, without further ado, we begin our Beyond the Box Score 2015 Hall of Fame inductees with (In order of vote percentage)...

Randy Johnson

Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT

Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT

No matter which statistics you're a fan of, Randy Johnson passes the HOF test in every category. If you're an old school stat lover, he's got 303 wins, 4875 K's, and an ERA of 3.29 over 22 seasons. He and his teammate Curt Schilling were the last pitchers to reach 300 K's in a single season, and Johnson did so 5 times in his career, 4 times consecutively. However since you're reading this on Beyond the Box Score, it's a fair bet that sabermetrics are more to your liking. His career FIP finished up at 3.19, produced a SIERA of 3.13 in his final 8 seasons (that stat didn't exist until 2002, beginning in his age 38 season), and accrued an fWAR of 111.7. He won 6 Cy Young awards in his career, and dominated in an era populated by steroids and over blown sluggers. Randy Johnson is the type of pitcher that kids dream about becoming when they're in the backyard imagining their future. He had longevity, shutdown material, and captured a World Series title and co-MVP against the Yankees (ok maybe kids don't dream about being co-MVP but you get the point). He probably hung around longer than he should have due to chasing 300 wins, but even so, his career numbers are all fantastic. Johnson is the consummate HOFer and will fit perfectly in the pantheon of MLBs immortals.

Matt Goldman

BtBS Writers Vote: 20 votes (100%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 130 votes (97.7%)

Pedro Martinez

Photo Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/ALLSPORT

Photo Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/ALLSPORT

Voting for Pedro Martinez to be in the Hall of Fame is hardly controversial. There is a case to be made for the diminutive right-hander as the best pitcher in baseball history. His dominance came at the height of the highest-scoring era in baseball since the Depression; and his two best seasons, 1999 and 2000, came while pitching in a very hitter-friendly home ballpark. While the batters of Pedro’s time had an average slashline of .267/.336/.423, he was making them look downright pedestrian at .214/.276/.337. Pedro’s pitching prowess essentially reduced offensive opponents into the equivalent of Zack Greinke at the dish. Pedro’s dominance is also reflected in his wonderfully low career ERA- (66) and FIP- (67); the man was just better than almost everyone else. As such, he was recognized as his league’s Cy Young award winner three times; a feat achieved by only eight other pitchers.

In more explicit terms of value added, Pedro’s 87.1 fWAR ranks 16th among pitchers. Now one area where Pedro falls short of conventional hall of fame standards is with pitching wins. His 219 wins may be considered somewhat low, but it surpasses a number of previously elected pitchers, and in 2015 any discussion of pitcher wins as a number of import is best left for those like the hidebound hosts of PTI. Pedro Martinez did his job at an alarmingly high level, making remarkable contributions to his teams’ success, and, as noted, he did it during an era when it was harder to do so. Using the excellent JAWS system, we see that Pedro’s 71.1 JAWS easily surpasses the current level of the average hall of fame starting pitcher (61.8). Thus, if elected, Pedro will actually raise the threshold of enshrinement for future players. To me, Pedro’s case as a Hall of Fame pitcher is obvious.

Christopher Teeter

BtBS Writers Vote: 20 votes (100%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 127 votes 95.5%

Barry Bonds

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

I really can’t tell you anything about Bonds that you don’t already know, but I’ll rehash the pertinent details anyway. By any metric — bWAR, fWAR, WARP, even #dingerz — he’s one of the best players of all time. He also, probably, took performance-enhancing drugs. For a large amount of the Hall of Fame’s voting body, the latter blots the former to such an extent that they can’t vote for him.

At this time last year, I would have agreed with that logic; obviously, that's changed. Because I don't want this to turn into one of those supercilious, Simmons-esque essays on the various sociocultural factors behind that decision, I’ll just say this:

The whole PEDs thing is stupid. Like, really stupid. If you still buy into it, as I once did, I hope you'll one day be able to see that. An institution devoted to commemorating baseball's best players should include the men who fit that description, and Bonds is one of them, no matter what anyone might say.

Ryan Romano

BtBS Writers Vote: 19 votes (95%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 91 votes (68.4%)

Roger Clemens

Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The issue regarding Roger Clemens is based on his PED use. I understand those who want to make a statement by not selecting him, I’m just not one of them, since in my mind, Clemens had established a Hall of Fame career by around 1998.

For generational talent like Clemens, PEDs served two primary functions – a quicker recovery between starts and a delay of the breakdown players undergo sometime in their 30s. PEDs didn’t increase his fastball speed from 85 to 98 or keep him among the best in baseball in strikeout rates, but allowed him to pad counting stats probably two or three years beyond his expected demise.

Absent some completely unforeseen action by the Hall of Fame, Clemens will be inducted someday, either by a BBWAA that makes its peace with the PED Era or a Veterans’ Committee in the future that ignores it. I don’t see the point in waiting.

Scott Lindholm

BtBS Writers Vote: 18 votes (90%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 83 votes (62.4%)

Jeff Bagwell

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

It’s possible that Jeff Bagwell was actually too good to make it into the Hall of Fame. Yeah, writing that is about as weird as it sounds. There’s not much of an arc to the star first baseman’s career: he started off great, winning a Rookie of the Year award and posting a .387 OBP and .437 slugging percentage in his first season. He stayed great, winning an MVP in strike-shortened ’94 while posting one of the greatest offensive years ever, out-hitting the league average by an astonishing 105%. Over the course of his first fourteen seasons, he never posted value less than that of a really good starter, somewhere between three and eight wins above replacement. He even finished his career great, as his fifteenth season, abbreviated by injury, would be his last.

In every full season Bagwell played, he was among the very best hitters in the league. Among first basemen, only five ever accrued more overall value via bWAR or JAWS, and two of those five played before the turn of the 20th century.

Not only were few ballplayers as complete as Bagwell, who complemented the extreme power expected of a first baseman with slick fielding, solid baserunning, and the keenest of batting eyes, but he was incredibly durable, up to and through the shoulder injury that would terminate his career in ’05. His only crimes were playing during the steroid era and for the Astros, both of which remain unforgivable to too many modern HoF voters.

Bryan Grosnick

BtBS Writers Vote: 17 votes (85%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 92 votes (69.2%)

Craig Biggio

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Craig Biggio may not come off as a surefire Hall of Famer to many, but his career is certainly worthy of induction. His consistency and durability were excellent, as he played at least 140 games in 16 of 18 seasons from 1990 to 2007. The first two of those came primarily as a catcher, and Biggio's ability to field second base successfully saw him moved there permanently in 1992. He posted at least 3 fWAR for every season in the 90's, peaking at 9.3 in 1997. Even as his skills declined in the new millennium, he stayed valuable to the Astros until his farewell tour in 2007.

In terms of JAWS, Biggio ranks 15th, coming in between Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar and Joe Gordon. He's 10th all-time in fWAR among second basemen, ahead of such luminaries as Ryne Sandberg and Jackie Robinson. Biggio may have been stuck on a mediocre Astros team for much of his career, diminishing him in the eyes of much of the BBWAA electorate, but here at BtBS we don't hold such things against him. The 3,060 career hits certainly don't hurt, either.

Steven Silverman

BtBS Writers Vote: 15 votes (75%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 92 votes (69.2%)

Mike Mussina

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

It's fair to say that Mussina suffers from a perception problem. The 46.2% from the readers (Resulting in the largest Writer-Reader gap in the ballot) and the publicly expressed opinions of some voters seems to say this. His two votes in ESPN's Hall of Fame ballot (Behind Lee Smith and on par with Fred McGriff) only screams this louder. However, Mussina wasn't just a great career numbers, not a great player type. He's one who fits comfortable right alongside several Hall of Famers. For pitchers with at least 3000 IP, here's where Mussina ranks, along with who falls in the neighborhood near him.

K/BB: 3.58 (4th): Greg Maddux (3.38), Juan Marichal (3.25), Ferguson Jenkins (3.24)

ERA-: 82 (t-25th): Bob Feller (81), Juan Marichal (81), Don Drysdale (83)

FIP-: 81 (t-12th): Cy Young (80), Bob Gibson (81), Tom Seaver (84)

fWAR/150 IP: 3.47 (7th): Lefty Grove (3.60), Bob Gibson (3.56), Greg Maddux (3.42)

Throw those numbers beside a pitcher who put up at least 5.0 fWAR (FanGraphs rule of thumb for a superstar) in seven consecutive seasons from 1995-2001, and nine such seasons in the 12 years between 1992 (His first full MLB season) and 2003. Further, his 82.5 career fWAR stands at 18th all-time, ahead of Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, and Don Drysdale.

"Moose" deserves his spot in Cooperstown. It might take the public a little while to realize it, but they hopefully will.

Stephen Loftus

BtBS Writers Vote: 15 votes (75%)

BtBS Readers Vote: 56 votes (42.1%)

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With that, we conclude the list of players that our staff would've voted into the Hall of Fame. However, there are many individuals who fell a little short in their quest for Cooperstown, and these players will be the subject of Part 2.

2015 HOF Writers Ballot