Rozner: HOF voting has taken turn for the surreal

  • After Bud Selig's election, anything is possible with the Baseball Hall of Fame voting. In any case, my ballot is on its way to New York and the 10 names are below.

    After Bud Selig's election, anything is possible with the Baseball Hall of Fame voting. In any case, my ballot is on its way to New York and the 10 names are below. Associated Press

Updated 12/17/2016 6:02 PM

So now what?

In the wake of Bud Selig's election to the Hall of Fame, many voters are asking that question and have thrown up their hands, giving up the baseball writers' fight to uphold Rule No. 5.


You have to wonder where Vladimir is in all of this. Not Vladimir Guerrero, who's on the ballot for the first time. Maybe Vladimir Putin is responsible for Selig's election.

Brief digression aside, Rule No. 5 states, "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team."

So we should hold the players to a certain standard, while Selig -- the man who profited more from steroids in baseball than all but a few players -- gets a spot in the building with the greatest players of all time?

Excuse me while I hurl.

Selig consistently acted in the worst interests of the game and he's in the Hall of Fame.

Incredibly, some applauding Selig's election now say they won't vote for Curt Schilling, because of some disturbing post-career comments, to which Rule 5 does not apply.

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So character and integrity don't apply to Selig, but character post-career applies to Schilling.

This has truly taken a turn for the surreal.

In any case, my ballot is on its way to New York and the 10 names are as follows:

Roger Clemens

This is my first time voting for Clemens, whose numbers are obviously staggering. It was never clear exactly when he started chemically-enhancing, but what difference does it make now? Put him in.

Barry Bonds

The vote here was always for Bonds, who was a Hall of Famer before his hat size started growing. He got on the stuff after the Great Steroids Race of 1998, when baseball ignored him in favor of two pharmaceutical monsters.

Ivan Rodriguez

Arguably the best defensive catcher of all time, Rodriguez is 76th all-time in WAR position players, ahead of Carlton Fisk, Eddie Murray, Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Robby Alomar and Duke Snider, to name a few Hall of Famers.


He's eighth all-time in defensive WAR and retired with the most games caught. Offensively, he's the all-time leader at catcher in RBI, hits, total bases and doubles, and is second in triples and stolen bases, and fourth in homers.

Curt Schilling

This one is so obvious it's ridiculous.

Schilling is No. 26 all-time in WAR for pitchers, was second in Cy Young voting three times, top 15 MVP voting four times, top eight WAR for pitchers 11 times (top four eight times), top 10 ERA nine times, top six in WHIP 11 times, top 10 in strikeouts-per-9 innings 10 times, top 10 strikeouts-to-walks ratio 11 times (first five times), and he is one of four pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Pedro Martinez).

His postseason record is brilliant: 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.

Co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, he pitched in three games as Arizona beat the Yankees in seven games.

He got 45 percent a year ago and will likely lose votes.

Mike Mussina

Horribly underrated and almost always overlooked, Mussina is 24th in WAR for pitchers, 33rd in wins, 33rd in games started, 19th in strikeouts and 21st in adjusted-pitching wins. He's 22nd 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, 10th in win probability added and second to Schilling since 1900 in strikeout-to-walk ratio among pitchers with at least 3,000 innings.

Mussina received only 43 percent last year.

Jeff Bagwell

Fell 15 votes shy last year. Will get in this year.

Tim Raines

Missed by 23 votes last year. Final year on the ballot. Should get in this year.

Trevor Hoffman

At 67 percent, missed by 34 votes last year. Might have to wait another year. There's an award named after him. After the 2016 postseason, suddenly people like closers again.

Jeff Kent

When he got on the ballot, Kent -- only 16.6 percent last year -- was top 100 all-time offensive WAR (97th), home runs (73), RBI (51), extra-base hits (41), total bases (67), doubles (26), runs created (88) and sacrifice flies (23rd). Defense will probably keep him from ever getting in.

Lee Smith

Retired as the all-time leader in saves (478) and still ranks third in that category behind Mariano Rivera and Hoffman, both future Hall of Famers. He also retired as the all-time leader in games finished (802) and is currently third behind Rivera and Hoffman.

It's his final year on the ballot and, at 34 percent last year, Smith will have to hope for committee help in years ahead.

So there's 10 for this year. In the next 12 months, there will be time to consider the rest of the PEDs players, newcomers and those who couldn't find room on this ballot, with four or five spots opening up here.

Thanks to Bud Selig, anything's possible now.

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

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