In Honor of the WBC… 2015 Stars and Stripes

The 2017 World Baseball Classic is underway!

 

That got me thinking about the most recent Team USA set, 2015 Stars and Stripes from Panini.  The 100 card base set is absolutely loaded!  Players like Alex Bregman, Blake Swihart, Cory Seager, Dansby Swanson, Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, and Trea Turner are just some of the names in here.  Like all Panini sets, there are also a ton of autos, relics, and auto relics to collect for those that are interested.  For me though, the base set was enough.

Enjoy!

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My 2017 Hall Of Fame Ballot

I love the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Plain and simple.  I’ve been to Cooperstown several times and I can’t wait to go again in July.  What I have started not to like though is the voting process.  Some of these BBWAA writers make it seem like they are trying to cure cancer instead of inducting players into a museum.  They can use whatever stats they want: traditional stats (HRs, RBIs, BA, Wins, ERA etc) or sabermetrics (WAR, wRC+, OPS+, BABIP, etc), or a mix.  That’s one of the awesome things about baseball, everything that has ever happened in the game has been measured and recorded.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like a difficult process.  I took about a half hour to come up with my list…

My 2017 Hall Of Fame ballot (if I was allowed to vote)

Let’s start with the obvious choices…

1) Jeff Bagwell – No brainer!  Impressive 15 yr career cut short by injuries.  449 hrs, 1529 RBIs, .297 avg.

2) Tim Raines – Should be in already.  2nd best leadoff hitter ever.

3) Trevor Hoffman – 2nd All time in Saves.  “Closer” is a real position and “Saves” is a real stat.  Voters need to come to grips with it.

4) Ivan Rodriguez – Best all-around catcher in my lifetime.  Threw out almost half of all base runners who ever tried to steal against him.  13 x Gold Glove

Now some “controversial” choices…

5) Barry Bonds – Most dominant hitter of my lifetime, possibly ever.  7 x MVP.  762 hrs.  Amazing all-around player.

6) Roger Clemens – Most dominant pitcher of my lifetime, possibly ever.  7 x Cy Young.  354 wins, 4672 k’s, 3.12 era

7) Curt Schilling – Great pitcher who pitched on some very bad teams.  Post season machine!  I don’t care about what he tweets or what he collects (unlike some voters!)

8) Sammy Sosa – 18 yr career averaging 42 hrs and 115 RBIs per year.  609 total hrs.  Great overall athlete.  Half the reason 1998 was one of the most exciting seasons ever.

Last two to fill out my ballot…

8) Fred McGriff – Super consistent power hitter who is consistently overlooked.  493 hrs.  30 hrs x 10 seasons.

9) Lee Smith – #3 All-time in Saves.  Career leader when he retired.  He has been all but ignored by voters.

Other players who I think deserve votes:  Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Billy Wagner, Edgar Martinez, and Vladimir Guerrero.

My stance on PEDs… Only players who officially tested positive should be kept out of the Hall.  Guys like Rafael Palmeiro actually tested positive and served a suspension.  To me, that disqualifies him even though he had the numbers to get in.

OK, that’s my ballot.  Feel free to comment here or on Twitter.