Note: A few differences between the IBWAA and BBWAA.
IBWAA ballot includes 15 votes instead of 10. Vladimir Guerrero and Edgar Martinez were elected in 2017 and therefore not included on this ballot.
The numbering does not indicate any particular order.
- Chipper Jones
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Fred McGriff
- Manny Ramirez
- Trevor Hoffman
- Andruw Jones
- Larry Walker
- Jim Thome
- Curt Schilling
- Sammy Sosa
- Gary Sheffield
- Mike Mussina
- Johan Santana
PED’s. Rumors have surrounded Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa for years. My take on PEDs is simple. It is impossible to quantify the role of PEDs on performance especially in an era that witnessed four expansion teams diluting the pitching, smaller ball parks, harder bats with more whip through the handle, “juiced” balls, better video scouting, and an overall emphasis on weight training and nutrition.
Furthermore, how many bombs did Bonds hit off juiced pitchers? Would clean HRs traveled barely over the fence instead of McCovey’s Cove? His ability to barrel his pitch and his patience at the plate are far more impressive than 73. I remember watching him when teams constantly intentionally walked him. Bonds would see 3-4 hittable pitches PER WEEK and he would not miss them. We may never again see that sort of patience and ability to square balls up in our lifetime.
Speaking of patience and never missing a pitch, I remember Gary Sheffield as one of the deadliest hitters I have ever seen. Sheff walked 300 more times than he struck out. He was 35 years old when he registered a career high 83 strikeouts in a season. In today’s age of swing and miss, we could use more hitters like Sheff.
In regards to Clemens, an argument could be made that PEDs help pitchers more than hitters due to spike in velo and improved recovery time. PEDs do not aid in location, command, and secondary pitches.
Due to the reactionary smear campaigns on BBWAA writers and media, we have seen guys like Fred McGriff punished. The Crime Dog was never linked to any rumors but has been considered guilty by association simply by playing in the steroid era. He has a career slash of .284/.377/.509 and an OPS+ of 134. Had he played the majority of his career in the 80’s, we would remember the Crime Dog as one of the best first baseman to play the game. Alas, he may never make the Hall of Fame.
From 1998-2007, Andruw Jones posted a 23.8 dWAR and 57.5 WAR while hitting 345 HR. While his talent may have trumped his work ethic and he probably peaked too early, he was the best defensive CF in the game with plus power. He ranks 20th all time in dWAR. A lot of writers and fan have soured on his career because while he was great at times, I think we can all agree that his potential and talent were never fully tapped, leaving a poor taste in a lot of fan’s mouths. Regardless, he was better than we remember and should be rewarded for how good he really was.
A bigger debate would be “Who would I leave off this list if I was with the BBWAA and could only vote 10?” I would probably remove Hoffman, Santana, Walker, and Schilling. If I was with the BBWAA, I would definitely vote for Vladimir Guerrero and Edgar Martinez.
Let the debates begin!