Rosenthal: Breaking down my ballot

My 2011 Hall of Fame ballot is not much different than my 2010

ballot, which I detailed at some length

href="http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Rosenthal-Hall-of-Fame">a

year ago.

I did not vote for any first-time candidates this year, for

reasons I explain in

href="http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Steroid-era-changes-voters-picks-MLB-Hall-of-Fame-122710">my

accompanying column. But here are some updated thoughts on the

eight players I checked on my ballot:

Roberto Alomar. Missed by eight votes in his first

year of eligibility, an embarrassment that prompted myself and

others to question whether certain voters — sports editors

and feature writers, in particular — should be voting at all.

Difficult to imagine that he will be snubbed again.

Bert Blyleven. Missed by five votes last year, and

finally figures to surpass the 75-percent threshold in his 15th and

final year on the ballot. Blyleven, in his acceptance speech,

should thank sabermetricians for championing his candidacy so

effectively — and relentlessly.

Barry Larkin. I wrote last year — and still

believe — that Larkin was a more complete player than Ozzie

Smith and perhaps even Cal Ripken Jr., the two preeminent

shortstops of his era. Full disclosure: Larkin is a colleague of

mine on MLB Network. So are many other former players, a good

number of whom (sorry, guys!) will not get my vote.

Edgar Martinez. The anti-DH bias — like the

anti-closer bias — drives me nuts. Sure, everyday players and

starting pitchers carry more value. But the Hall should honor the

best at

every position. Martinez’s peak was short, perhaps

too short, but find me a better right-handed hitter.

Fred McGriff. You get the feeling that he would

garner more support if he had been a more vibrant personality, or

if he had hit seven more homers to reach 500? I do. The two most

similar batters, according to the similarity scores on

Baseball-Reference.com: Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Willie

Stargell.

Tim Raines. No, he wasn’t Rickey Henderson.

But Raines was about as close to Henderson as a player could get.

It’s mind-boggling that in three years on the ballot, he has

yet to receive more than 30.4 percent of the vote.

Lee Smith. I’m wavering. Again. Smith was a

dominant closer for more than a decade, but the appearance of John

Franco on this year’s ballot gives me pause. I did not vote

for Franco and probably will not vote for him in the future. But

really, he is not all that different from Smith. Maybe the Hall

should simply be reserved for the elite: Fingers, Sutter, Gossage,

Ecklersley — and soon, Rivera and Hoffman.

Alan Trammell. Fighting a losing battle here. This

is Trammell’s 10th year on the ballot, and his

“support” actually fell from a high of 18.2 percent in

2009 to 17.4 percent in ’10. As my colleague Jon Paul Morosi

pointed out a year ago, Trammell and Larkin should not be penalized

for playing in the same era as more historic figures at their

position.