By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Honestly, with a few exceptions, I don’t believe in secrets. By that, I mean that elections like the one for the Baseball Hall of Fame should be entirely transparent. You vote. You explain. You move on. Sometimes you’re with the winners and sometimes you’re with the losers.
In a little less than three weeks, the results for the 2019 Hall of Fame election will be announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America. By now, we’re all familiar with the process. Inductees need to be named on 75 percent of all ballots – last year, that required 317 votes among the voting body of 422 – and anything short of that leaves you on the outside looking in.
If you care, this was my 16th year of voting.
And here’s who I voted for:
Mariano Rivera, relief pitcher. Pretty simple, right? He was arguably (probably?) the greatest relief pitcher of all-time, a cornerstone of the Yankees dynasty. Will he be the first player named on 100 percent of the ballots? Unlikely, because there are still those who discriminate against relief pitchers despite the fact that relievers are now an integral part of the game – and have been for some time. Don’t you just love that? "Let’s not vote on how the game is. Let’s vote how on the game should be." I think that’s stupid. Rivera is a slam dunk.
Roy Halladay, starting pitcher. During a 10-year run, he was the most dominant starter in the game. From 2002-2011, Halladay ranked first in the majors in wins (170), first in win percentage (.694), second in innings (2204), second in ERA (2.97) and fourth in strikeouts. He won 20 games three times. He won a Cy Young Award in each league. Was it the longest career? No. But guys like Craig Biggio had long careers and shouldn’t be in. I’ll take guys like Halladay over Biggio any day of the week.
Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez, outfielders; Rogers Clemens, starting pitcher. I’ve lumped these three together for obvious reasons. There are those voters – though the number is dwindling – who regard the use of performance enhancers as some sort of moral sin that disqualifies you from anything and everything for the rest of your life. I just don’t feel that way. That said, I don’t believe in the numbers anymore, either, as the steroid era corrupted them. So here’s what I’m left with: my eyes, my brain (however small) and my gut. I saw these guys play. I regarded them all as historic talents and producers. So I vote yes.
Edgar Martinez, designated hitter. Let’s make something clear here: I have voted for Martinez from the very beginning, since 2010, when he received just 36.2 percent of the vote. By 2014, the number was down to 25.2 percent. Now Martinez is at 70.4 percent and rising, and many assume he will be inducted this year. For me, I admit this was something of a crusade, but not for Martinez specifically. I have always felt that designated hitters are discriminated against – again, voters voting on what should be instead of what is and I find that ridiculous. The designated hitter has been in place for roughly 50 years and Martinez is the best DH ever to appear on the ballot. He should be in.
So there you go. Feel free to email me with any thoughts or criticisms at [email protected]. But know ahead of time that the die – or in this case, the ballot – is cast.