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Rob Parker’s 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

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

By December 31, all voting Baseball Writers’ Association of America members have to have their Hall of Fame ballots postmarked and in the mail.

My ballot is sent and on the way.

Braves show highlights from Chipper’s career

The Braves show a Chipper Jones tribute video which showcases various highlights from his illustrious career

By far, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the best HOF in sports because it’s so hard to gain entry. That’s a good thing.

All you need to know is that Kay Yow is in The Basketball Hall of Fame. Who? Exactly. And the Pro Football Hall of Fame can’t be that special of a place when they let 10 people in at a time. Worse, no one knows the criteria to get into those Halls. 

It’s not the case in MLB. To this columnist, it looks like there are three players with a great shot to go in this time: closer Trevor Hoffman, who just missed a year ago with 74% of the vote. You need 75% to get in.

Trevor Hoffman is a 2018 HOF candidate

Trevor Hoffman recorded 601 saves with a career 2.87 ERA across 18 big league seasons Check out http://MLB.com/video for more! About MLB.com: Former Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.

Then there’s Third baseman Chipper Jones and slugger Jim Thome. Both are on the ballot for the first time.

There are many controversial players still on the ballot, including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

It will be interesting to see what happens this year. Their vote totals continue to go up. Last year, their fifth year on the ballot, Clemens was at 54.1% and Bonds 53.8%.

Thome hits two homers to reach 600 plateau

8/15/11: Jim Thome hits two home runs against the Tigers, the 599th and 600th blasts of his career Check out http://m.mlb.com/video for our full archive of videos, and subscribe on YouTube for the best, exclusive MLB content: http://youtube.com/MLB About MLB.com: Commissioner Allan H.

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan sent a letter to the voting writers telling them not to let in performance-enhancing drug users. He didn’t mention Bonds or Clemens, but the letter was about them. 

For sure, this columnist is in the minority. I’m willing to vote for great players who were caught up in the PED scandal that rocked MLB, while some of my brethren aren’t.

Some sports writers are so caught up in 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 is a 2018 HOF candidate

Barry Bonds won a record 7 MVP awards and amassed a record 762 career home runs across 22 big league seasons Check out http://MLB.com/video for more! About MLB.com: Former Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.

Bonds, Clemens and Sammy Sosa all belong. As did Mark McGwire, who is no longer on the ballot. He got my vote every year.

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 Ken Griffey Jr. , Tony Gwynn, Cal Riken Jr., Dave Winfield, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams or even Tom Seaver.

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

[email protected]: Sosa hits his 600th career home run

6/20/07: Sammy Sosa becomes the fifth player in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs Check out http://MLB.com/video for more! About MLB.com: About MLB.com: Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.

It’s not the Hall of the Very Good. Sadly, in recent years, 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 World Series won and stats and acknowledge the managers – Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre – 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.

Here’s my ballot for the Class of 2018. There are 33 players on the BBWAA ballot. Each writer can vote for no more than 10 players.

2000 ALCS Gm4: Clemens fans 15 in a one-hit shutout

10/14/00: Roger Clemens one-hits the Mariners, striking out 15 for a new ALCS record Check out http://MLB.com/video for more! About MLB.com: About MLB.com: Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.

I voted for seven. 

*Chipper Jones – He was the 1999 NL MVP. Larry, his real name, had 468 HRs, a lifetime .303 batting average and over 2,700 hits.

*Jim Thome – He has a magic number. If you hit 500 homers, you automatically get my vote. Thome hit a whopping 612. Only nine players in MLB history have hit at least 600.

*Trevor Hoffman – He was a dominant closer with 601 career saves. He was the first closer to reach the 500- and 600-save milestones. Only Mariano Rivera (652) has more saves in history of the game.

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

WS Gm3: Sheffield makes an incredible leaping catch

10/21/97: Marlins outfielder Gary Sheffield makes an incredible leaping catch at the wall on Jim Thome’s fly in the bottom of the seventh Check out http://MLB.com/video for more!About MLB.com: Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.

*Sammy Sosa – Again, a magic number like 609 homers should get you in. Also never tested positive, just like Bonds.

*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. 

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