The 2011 Hall of Fame Ballot: Rating the Ex-Diamondbacks' Chances

COOPERSTOWN NY - JULY 24: The Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum is seen during induction weekend on July 24 2010 in Cooperstown New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Results from the 2011 Hall of Fame voting will be announced on January 5th, and there are no less than four former Diamondbacks on this years ballot. Ok, odds of any of them wearing our hat, even if they did get in, are basically zero, but after the jump, we'll take a look at their time spent in the desert, and analyze their changes of making it to Cooperstown. We'll also have a Hall of Fame ballot for you to fill in, listing all thirty-three of this year's nominees, so you can pick those worthy of enshrinement.

However, before clicking through, can you name the four ex-Diamondback players in question?

The Diamondbacks

From To G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Lenny Harris 1999 2000 55 121 114 11 27 2 1 2 20 3 6 .237 .248 .325 .572
Raul Mondesi 2003 2003 45 183 162 27 49 8 1 8 22 18 31 .302 .372 .512 .884
Carlos Baerga 2003 2004 184 325 292 37 91 15 0 6 50 24 32 .312 .370 .425 .795
Roberto Alomar 2004 2004 38 125 110 14 34 5 2 3 16 12 18 .309 .382 .473 .855

Lenny Harris played for half the teams in the National League at one point or other, but arrived in Arizona at the end of August 1999, in a trade with the Rockies, for a minor-leaguer (Belvani Martinez, who never made it above AA). He was part of our push to the NL West pennant, and made the post-season roster, appearing in two games against the Mets off the bench. However, he went 0-for-2, and hit .188 the following year, before being dealt, ironically, to the same New York Mets for another no-impact player. Chances of induction: sub-zero. Seriously, he'll be lucky to get a vote. The guy has a career negative WAR, and quite how he lasted 18 years in the NL escapes me.

Raul Mondesi came to us, with a bagful of cash, from the Yankees in exchange for three players, the most meaningful of whom was David Dellucci. We were second in the NL wild-card race at the time of the trade, just three games back, and it was hoped Mondesi would boost the offense. He did his part, batting .302 with eight HR in 183 PAs down the stretch, for an OPS+ of 121, but it wasn't enough. The Diamondbacks posted a losing record the rest of the way, and Mondesi left as a free agent. Change of induction: zero. One All-Star appearance and a 15th-place finish in the 1997 MVP, doesn't exactly scream "Cooperstown."

Carlos Baerga, a.k.a. the Shetland Pony, for his running style [there's a reason he had only two triples during his last decade in the majors]. But he still holds the franchise record for highest batting average in a season (min. 200 PA's): he hit .343 for AZ in 2003, though regressed to .235 the following season. He was almost exclusively a pinch-hitter for us by that point, starting just six of his 79 games for Arizona in 2004, and less than a quarter overall. Trivia question. What HR feat did Baerga manage that Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds never could? Chance of induction: zero. Had three All-Star seasons with Cleveland, but a career OPS of 100 won't cut it.

Roberto Alomar just missed out last time, falling eight votes short of the 405 necessary for election, so there's a good chance he'll get a few more, from those unconvinced of his merits as a first-ballot HoFer. In that area, he may also have been punished for the 1996 incident where he spat in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck, as ballot instructions tell voters to consider the "integrity, sportsmanship, character", of the candidate, among other things. But that seems a minor blip for a player considered by some as "one of the five greatest second basemen of all time." Chances of induction: excellent, to the point that I'd be very surprised if he doesn't make it.

Outside of those, there are 29 others. All told, fourteen are carried forward from last year, getting more than 5% of the vote, and nineteen are new names, whose hopes range from the possible (and we'll get to those soon) to the "token gesture" (Kirk Rueter? Really?). The fallout from the steroid era continues to grow, with the arrival of Benito Santiago and his somewhat murky past, having been mentioned in both the Mitchell Report and Game of Shadows. But the biggest name there is likely Rafael Palmeiro. Will his 3,000 hits be enough to overcome his positive test for steroids, or does he join Pete Rose as the only eligible member of the 3K club not in the Hall? 

Of the returning players, Bert Blyleven may finally make it in, at the fourteenth attempt, having missed out last time by an even smaller margin than Alomar. It's an amazing feat, given he received only 17.5% in his first year of eligibility, then dropped, to just 14.1% the following season. For Jack Morris and Barry Larkin, this will be their twelfth and second appearances on the ballot respectively; each received more than 50% votes last time, but both men have significant ground to cross to reach the 75% required. It's hard to see anyone else of the ballot "veterans" making much inroad into their shortfall.

Among the newcomers, the two beyond Palmeiro with the best credentials seem to me to be Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker. The former had an impressive career OPS+ of 149, though it ended at a relatively young age of 37. His consistency was remarkable: in his first 13 seasons, he never had an OPS+ below 128, a number ever reached by only five qualifying players in D-backs history (Gonzo got there four times). Walker picked up seven Gold Gloves and five All-Star appearances, but may be hurt by being seen as having benefited from pre-humidor Denver. It's a fair point: over his career, Walker's road OPS was more than two hundred points lower than his home one.

Outside of Blyleven, who could become the first pitcher elected since Goose Gossage in 2008, the arms seem a relatively thin crop - seven of the 33 this year in total, and only four of 19 among the new names. Kevin Brown is likely the best of the latter, while John Franco, fourth on the all-time saves list, may be a useful test of the voters' fondness for relief pitchers. Here are the numbers posted by all the candidates, for you to consider as you fill out the ballot...

Batters

Yrs WAR AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Roberto Alomar 17 63.5 9073 1508 2724 210 1134 474 1032 .300 .371 .443 .814 116
Carlos Baerga 14 16.0 5439 731 1583 134 774 59 291 .291 .332 .423 .754 100
Jeff Bagwell 15 79.9 7797 1517 2314 449 1529 202 1401 .297 .408 .540 .948 149
Harold Baines 22 37.0 9908 1299 2866 384 1628 34 1062 .289 .356 .465 .820 120
Bret Boone 14 21.4 6683 927 1775 252 1021 94 552 .266 .325 .442 .767 101
Juan Gonzalez 17 33.5 6556 1061 1936 434 1404 26 457 .295 .343 .561 .904 132
Lenny Harris 17 -0.9 3924 460
1055 37
369
131
279
.269
.318 .349 .667 80
Marquis Grissom 17 25.6 8275 1187 2251 227 967 429 553 .272 .318 .415 .732 92
Bobby Higginson 11 21.4 4910 736 1336 187 709 91 649 .272 .358 .455 .813 113
Charles Johnson 12 22.0 3836 465 940 167 570 6 475 .245 .330 .433 .762 97
Barry Larkin 19 68.9 7937 1329 2340 198 960 379 939 .295 .371 .444 .815 116
Edgar Martinez 18 67.2 7213 1219 2247 309 1261 49 1283 .312 .418 .515 .933 147
Tino Martinez 16 25.7 7111 1008 1925 339 1271 27 780 .271 .344 .471 .815 112
Don Mattingly 14 39.8 7003 1007 2153 222 1099 14 588 .307 .358 .471 .830 127
Fred McGriff 19 50.5 8757 1349 2490 493 1550 72 1305 .284 .377 .509 .886 134
Mark McGwire 16 63.1 6187 1167 1626 583 1414 12 1317 .263 .394 .588 .982 162
Raul Mondesi 13 27.2 5814 909 1589 271 860 229 475 .273 .331 .485 .815 113
Dale Murphy 18 44.2 7960 1197 2111 398 1266 161 986 .265 .346 .469 .815 121
John Olerud 17 56.8 7592 1139 2239 255 1230 11 1275 .295 .398 .465 .863 128
Rafael Palmeiro 20 66.0 10472 1663 3020 569 1835 97 1353 .288 .371 .515 .885 132
Dave Parker 19 37.8 9358 1272 2712 339 1493 154 683 .290 .339 .471 .810 121
Tim Raines 23 64.6 8872 1571 2605 170 980 808 1330 .294 .385 .425 .810 123
Benito Santiago 20 23.8 6951 755 1830 217 920 91 430 .263 .307 .415 .722 93
B.J. Surhoff 19 34.4 8258 1062 2326 188 1153 141 640 .282 .332 .413 .745 98
Alan Trammell 20 66.9 8288 1231 2365 185 1003 236 850 .285 .352 .415 .767 110
Larry Walker 17 67.3 6907 1355 2160 383 1311 230 913 .313 .400 .565 .965 140

Pitchers

Yrs WAR W L ERA ERA+ WHIP G GS SV IP BB SO
Bert Blyleven 22 87.6 287 250 3.31 118 1.198 692 685 0 4970.0 1322 3701
Kevin Brown 19 64.0 211 144 3.28 127 1.222 486 476 0 3256.1 901 2397
John Franco 21 25.5 90 87 2.89 138 1.333 1119 0 424 1245.2 495 975
Al Leiter 19 36.1 162 132 3.80 113 1.386 419 382 2 2391.0 1163 1974
Jack Morris 18 39.3 254 186 3.90 105 1.296 549 527 0 3824.0 1390 2478
Kirk Rueter 13 11.5 130 92 4.27 98 1.394 340 336 0 1918.0 582 818
Lee Smith 18 29.7 71 92 3.03 132 1.256 1022 6 478 1289.1 486 1251

 

Answer to trivia question: Carlos Baerga is one of the elite club of players to two hit home-runs in the same inning. He did it while with the Indians against the Yankees, in the seventh inning on April 8, 1993. And below, you'll find your ballot for Cooperstown. Who do you think deserves to make it in? You can provide your ballots and any additional thoughts, in the comments...

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