Rozner: HOF vote always good for an argument

'Tis the season for hysterics.

Be it Derrick Rose, Jay Cutler, Jon Lester or Jeff Samardzija, it's the time for screaming and jousting, and one can hardly expect a reasonable discussion.

Seems the perfect moment to trot out the Hall of Fame ballot for 2015.

Votes must be in by the end of the month, with results announced Jan. 6. Until then, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are locks, John Smoltz ought to be and Craig Biggio hopes he reaches 75 percent after falling two votes shy a year ago. Voters may check a box next to 10 names maximum, which is a shame because this ballot could have gone 12 or 13 deep. So here's one writer's selections, minus - for space reasons - the annual PEDs proviso:

Johnson and Martinez

These two are ninth and 17th all-time in WAR for pitchers. Let's not waste time discussing them.


The last of the Braves' Big Three, after Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted in July, Smoltz is a no-brainer. He's 39th all-time in WAR for pitchers, ahead of Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Dennis Eckersley, Juan Marichal, Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning and Whitey Ford, to name just a few.

He's 89th all-time in wins and gave away three years to closing, when he saved 144 games. He's 10th all-time in win probability added and 14th in base-out wins saved.

Smoltz is also among the best ever in the playoffs, pitching an extra season with 209 innings, a 15-4 record, 1.14 WHIP, 2.67 ERA and 4 saves.


One of 14 players with more than 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra basehits, all are in the Hall of Fame except for Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro.

Mike Mussina

Often underrated and overlooked, Mussina is 24th in WAR for pitchers, 33rd in wins, 33rd in games started, 19th in strikeouts, 21st in adjusted-pitching wins, 17th in strikeout-to-walk ratio, 63rd in Cy Young shares and 12 times finished top 10 in WHIP, 10 times top five.

He's 10th all-time in base-out wins saved, and second to Curt Schilling since 1900 in strikeout-to-walk ratio among pitchers with 3,000 innings.


Schilling is No. 26 all-time in WAR for pitchers, was second in Cy Young voting three times, top 14 MVP voting four times, top eight WAR for pitchers 11 times, top 10 ERA nine times, top six WHIP 11 times, top 10 strikeouts-per-9-innings 10 times, top 10 strikeouts-to-walks ratio 11 times (first five times), and is one of four pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Pedro Martinez).

His postseason record is ridiculous, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts and 133 innings. He was 4-1 in the World Series, won three rings, and his "bloody sock" start in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was no myth. He also won Game 4 of the '04 World Series with a temporarily stapled ankle tendon, leading to a medical technique known as the "Schilling Tendon Procedure." Boston won its first World Series in 86 years in 2004.

In the 2001 World Series, he pitched in three games as Arizona beat the Yankees in seven. Schilling and Johnson were named co-MVPs.

Barry Bonds

Bonds was a 400-400 guy before he got on the stuff. If his career ended after 14 years, his 1,455 runs scored would be good for 79th all time, 445 home runs 40th, 460 stolen bases 50th and 1,299 RBI would be 117th. He was MVP three times and won eight Gold Gloves the first 14 years of his career. Bonds' WAR of 103.4 through 1999 is good for 20th among position players.

Tim Raines

He was the second-best leadoff hitter of his generation behind Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and one of the best baserunners/base stealers.

Raines swiped 808 bases (fifth all time) and was caught only 146 times, good for an amazing 84.7 percent success rate. That's better than the four HOFers ahead of him on the stolen base career list (Henderson, Lou Brock, Billy Hamilton and Ty Cobb).

Raines is 53rd all-time in runs (1,571), and nearly every player ahead of him is in the HOF or will be. Raines is 47th all-time in times on base (3,977), and nearly every player ahead of him is in the Hall of Fame or will be.

He's 71st all-time WAR for position players, 57th all-time in runs created and 41st in win probability added.

Mike Piazza

As a catcher, he has the most home runs, highest slugging percentage and best OPS in history. He hit 20 home runs 13 times and dominated offensively for a long stretch of his 16-year career. His first 10 years in pitchers' parks, which began with a Rookie of the Year award, Piazza averaged 35 homers, 107 RBI, 85 runs, 17 stolen bases, a .969 OPS and an OPS-plus of 155.

Lee Smith

Smith retired as the all-time leader in saves (478) and still ranks third in that category behind Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, both of whom are first-ballot locks. He also retired as the all-time leader in games finished (802) and is now third behind Rivera and Hoffman. He owns 169 saves of four outs or more, trailing only HOFers Rollie Fingers, Rich Gossage and Bruce Sutter.

So there's one writer's ballot. Let the screaming commence.

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

  Craig Biggio was two votes from being elected into baseball's Hall of Fame last year. Patrick Kunzer/
Mike Mussina won 17 or more games eight times and finished with a 270-153 record for his career. Associated Press
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