This past year marked a major change in direction as far as my baseball writing was concerned. For the previous three years, I wrote almost exclusively on the national pastime.
As the Fall of 2017 arrived, I decided to return to writing across the broader spectrum of politics, religion, entertainment, and social issues.
Baseball is always going to hold a special place in my heart and life, especially in regards to my hometown Philadelphia Phillies.
For anyone who has enjoyed my baseball writing in the past, rest easy. I am going to continue writing on the sport here at my website from time to time. You can enjoy those pieces, including all from the past, by clicking on the “Baseball” category from the website toolbar.
As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association), I have the honor of being involved in the organization’s annual Hall of Fame voting process. This was my fourth year with a ballot, and my selections were returned just this past week.
The IBWAA voting process does not earn a player a plaque at Cooperstown. It does, however, allow another block of informed voters to express their opinion as to which players are deserving of that ultimate career honor. You can consider it a formal endorsement from the Internet baseball writers and bloggers.
A year ago for the 2017 IBWAA Hall of Fame voting, I broke down my ballot into three categories: Hall of Famers, Under Future Consideration, and Not Hall of Famer. I am doing the same for this piece on the 2018 ballot, and will continue that process into the future.
Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, who was on my “Future Consideration” list a year ago, were each voted in by the IBWAA in 2017. Both players received 175 votes (84.54%) to gain the honor of our HOF endorsement. Mussina, Hoffman, Bonds, and Clemens all received more than 70% of the vote, falling just short of the 75% requirement for endorsement.
This year, I was more frugal with my own vote, casting a ballot for just five players. In doing so, I left off three players who received my vote a year ago: Walker, Ramirez, and Hoffman.
Frankly, I don’t really enjoy taking a vote away from these players. It’s not that I no longer feel they are worthy. I made a personal decision this year to “tier” my deserving choices. The five players who did receive my vote are, for me, clearly ahead of those three.
A year ago there were 31 players on the ballot. After voting for eight, I listed another seven under consideration, and rated 16 as not deserving. You can see here that the number of players who I will be considering in the future has grown considerably.
There are three videos accompanying this piece. I would recommend that you view each of them for more information on the HOF 2018 nominees and process. The middle video on Schilling’s worthiness is particularly revealing.
Here is my breakdown of the 2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. You will also absolutely have your own opinions, and I would love to hear them. Among the below nominees who were on the 2018 IBWAA ballot, which would receive your vote to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
2018 HALL OF FAME PLAYERS (5)
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome
FUTURE CONSIDERATION (16)
Trevor Hoffman, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Andruw Jones, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, Omar Vizquel
NOT HALL OF FAMER (11)
Chris Carpenter, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano