A Baseball Hall Of Fame Voter’s Ballot: Who Should Be In And Why

Without question, it's my most-prized possession – the privilege to vote players into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday at 2 p.m., the Hall of Fame will announce the results of the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame election on the MLB Network.

By far, it's the best HOF in sports because it's so hard to gain entry, and that's a good thing.

This time around, however, it could be the biggest class in years with so many worthy candidates, including Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz. All three are on the ballot for the first time.

And there's Craig Biggio, who missed election last year by just two votes. He should be able to get in on his second try.

There are many controversial players still on the ballot.

For sure, this columnist is in the minority. I'm willing to vote for great players who were caught up in the performance enhancing drug scandal that rocked MLB, while most of my brethren aren't. Some sports writers are so caught up on punishing the Steroid Era that they have overvalued previous players that simply aren't Hall-worthy. Hence, they've blurred the lines, skewed the facts.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all belong.

My way of voting is simple- If there's a debate, based on your numbers, about you being in the Hall of Fame, you AREN'T a Hall of Famer.

Go ahead. Debate me on Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams or even Tom Seaver.

You can't. There is no argument. Their careers weren't just very good. They were great.

It's not the Hall of the Very Good. But that's where some voters have taken it.

The Steroid Era can't be ignored or treated as if it didn't happen.

If we're going to count the number of World Series won and stats and acknowledge the managers of that era that managed teams with suspected players then we have to honor the players themselves.

Check the record book. Bonds is the all-time home run hitter with 762. He also won seven MVPs. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs.

A skinny McGwire still has the rookie record for home runs with 49. The same McGwire who once hit 32 HRs in 67 games in a single college season. Yes, he was a slugger long before he bulked up.

Some writers want to be judge and jury. They want to vote on suspicion, not based on facts.

That's not our job.

With that in mind, here's my ballot for the Class of 2015. There are 34 players on the BBWAA ballot. Each writer can vote for no more than 10 players I voted for 10, the players with stars next to their names. My ballot is broken up into three categories. Shoo-ins, Tainted Shoo-ins and Long shots.


*Randy Johnson – He has that magic number – 300 wins, 303 to be exact. The lefty is the all-time strikeout leader per nine innings at 10.6. Plus, Johnson won five Cy Young awards.

*Pedro Martinez – He won three Cy Young awards. Martinez was dominant from 1997-2003, going 118-36 with a stingy 2.20 ERA.

*John Smoltz – He was both a dominant starter and closer. He won 213 games and saved 154 in his career. He also won a Cy Young.

*Craig Biggio – He has 3,060 hits. It's not easy feat. No one just keeps you around long enough to get there. You have to be productive for a long time. Another magic number for me is 3,000 hits. You get my vote.

Tainted Shoo-ins

*Barry Bonds – All-time HR leader. Never tested positive for PEDS. Why? Because they didn't test for it before 2006.

*Mark McGwire – Has magic number, a whopping 583 HRs. Didn't test positive, just like Bonds.

*Sammy Sosa – Again, a magic number like 609 homers should get you in. Also didn't test positive, just like Bonds and McGwire.

*Roger Clemens – His career record of 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA speaks for itself. And he also never tested positive.

*Gary Sheffield – He has a magic number – 509 homers and walked more times than he struck out in his 22-year career. Sheff's stats match other HOFers, including Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson and Ken Griffey Jr. Sheffield was linked to PEDs, but never tested positive as well.

Long shot

*Lee Smith – Was all-time save leader when he retired. Another example of disrespect for closers. He will get my vote until he falls off the ballot.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.