2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees
The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their 2022 class of new Hall of Famers today, Tuesday, January 25. It’s always an exciting, yet controversial, topic during the dog days of winter. The HOF announcements are something we’ve addressed in the past back in March of 2017 (almost five years ago) in a two part series with details about the rules and specific players, and we want to touch on it again. (By the way, going back and reading these posts five years later is fun. These might be the best, funniest pieces I’ve ever written.)
This year’s thirteen new nominees are, in alphabetical order:
- Carl Crawford
- Prince Fielder
- Ryan Howard
- Tim Lincecum
- Justin Morneau
- Joe Nathan
- David Ortiz
- Jonathan Papelbon
- Jake Peavy
- A.J. Pierzynski
- Alex Rodriguez
- Jimmy Rollins
- Mark Teixeira
These thirteen are combined with seventeen previous nominees for a total of 30 nominees for 2022. Here are those 17, in alphabetical order, with year on the ballot in parentheses:
- Bobby Abreu (3rd)
- Barry Bonds (10th and last)
- Mark Buehrle (2nd)
- Roger Clemens (10th and last)
- Todd Helton (4th)
- Tim Hudson (2nd)
- Torii Hunter (2nd)
- Andruw Jones (5th)
- Jeff Kent (9th)
- Andy Pettitte (4th)
- Manny Ramirez (6th)
- Scott Rolen (5th)
- Curt Schilling (10th and last)
- Gary Sheffield (8th)
- Sammy Sosa (10th and last)
- Omar Vizquel (5th)
- Billy Wagner (7th)
Here’s who we would vote for, with no limits of ten ballplayers, because, there’s no limit to greatness. If a player deserves to be in the Hall, then we vote him in. If he doesn’t, then we don’t vote him in. It’s actually pretty simple, at least it should be. The current quagmire of voting rules and regulations has left an indelible mark on the entire system. Here’s who we’re voting for in 2022, in alphabetical order:
- Barry Bonds – Bonds was perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time, whether he used PED’s or not. He was never officially caught using them. He never tested positive, as far as I know. Everyone suspected he did PED’s, and maybe he did, but the biggest factor here is the writers hated him. The Baseball Writers in the BBWAA famously hold grudges. Personally, I don’t understand that and I don’t care. Was he a Hall of Fame player or not? Of course he was. Vote him in! You don’t have to like him, but he belongs in the Hall.
- Mark Buehrle – One of my favorite players of all time. Buehrle had a high number of votes last year to stay on the ballot for a second year. He received 11% (need 5% to stay on the ballot). I really hope the voters see Buehrle’s career beyond the numbers. He did it all and he made it work. The longevity, the consistency, the style…. breathtaking really. He did so many things in his career such as winning a World Series, getting a save in a World Series game, winning an All-Star game, hitting a home run, winning five Gold Gloves, throwing two no-hitters including a perfect game, and he pitched 200 innings in 14 consecutive seasons (2001-’14), almost 15 straight years (needed five more outs in his last season in 2015). Forget about the 300 win threshold. That’s a dated number that no starting pitcher can reach anymore in the modern game. He should be in the Hall.
- Roger Clemens – I always disliked Clemens. He seemed like such a jerk. Remember the time he threw the bat at Mike Piazza? “C’mon man!” He probably used steroids. The Piazza incident seemed to confirm it. But was he one of the greatest pitchers ever? You’re darn right he was. Vote him in!
- Todd Helton – Incredible numbers. An amazing athlete. The heart and soul of the Rockies for years.
- Tim Hudson – Huddy was an underrated, awesome part of the A’s and Braves rotations for years. He then finished his career with the Giants, winning a World Series in 2014. He went 222-133 with a 3.49 ERA, 4 All-Star games, and 13 shutouts. Hudson is admittedly more border line than many on our list but in my humble opinion, he deserves it.
- Andruw Jones – Many say he was the greatest defensive center fielder of all time. He was also a quietly awesome hitter and a key piece of many Atlanta Braves division championship teams from 1996-2007. They went to the National League Playoffs ten straight years from ’96-’05. Out of all the players on this year’s ballot, Jones is 7th in WAR (62.7 WAR).
- David Ortiz – One of the most clutch hitters of all time. Maybe I missed something but I don’t understand the rumors that Ortiz used PED’s. He was always a big guy. He was a great left-handed DH. He obviously should be in the HOF. He should be a 1st ballot guy with his resume.
- Andy Pettitte – Similar to Tim Hudson, Pettitte gets my vote despite being a borderline pitcher candidate. In other words, these two are not on the level of Clemens or Schilling. His WAR was 60.2. His career record was 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA. Don’t forget Pettitte pitched most of his years in the hitter-friendly parks and competitors in the AL East division. Also, we can’t discount his postseason success. He was the ace of many of these great Yankees teams. He won five World Series rings with help from his 19-11 postseason career record. Pettitte’s downside was he was an admitted PED user. We don’t care. Vote him in!
- Manny Ramirez – Ken “Hawk” Harrelson used to say on White Sox broadcasts that Manny Ramirez was the best, or at least top five, right handed hitters he had ever seen. Hawk was involved as a player and broadcaster in baseball for over 50 years. I agree with Hawk. Manny was amazing. Like A-Rod, he was indeed caught using PED’s.
- Alex Rodriguez – Very similar to Bonds. He was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. I know what you’re thinking. He’s a tool. He was caught using PED’s officially. He is a strange dude. I know all that. He’s still one of the greatest hitters ever. Enough said.
- Curt Schilling – The Baseball writers hate Curt Schilling for several reasons. Schilling is rough around the edges, opinionated, and conservative. He has said and written mean things about journalists. The writers have been holding that against him. It shouldn’t matter. He deserves to be in the HOF for some of the most clutch pitching ever. His regular season record and statistics are very impressive (15th in strikeouts… ever!). However, it’s his postseason numbers that set him apart. The “bloody sock” game, 11-2 with 2.23 ERA in the Playoffs. 2 postseason shutouts. 3 World Series rings. Only fourteen people on Earth have ever struck out more hitters. Uhh, ’nuff said.
- Gary Sheffield – People don’t seem to talk much about Sheff. However, when you look at Gary Sheffield’s career, he was one of the best. Of all candidates on this year’s ballot, Sheff is 9th in WAR (60.5). He hit .292 with 509 HR, 253 SB, and a .907 OPS. He was a 5 time Silver Slugger, but Sheffield only won one World Series ring, with the 1997 Marlins. I think part of the reason he’s overlooked is because he was on so many different teams (Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, and Mets). Also, his excellent numbers were achieved over 22 years. Sometimes, the numbers just keep piling up because of longevity…. So? Vote him in.
- Sammy Sosa – Maybe the most controversial player on this year’s ballot is Sam Sosa. Personally, we go way back with Sosa to when we loved him as an exciting young player on our beloved White Sox from 1989-’91. Then he was traded to the hated Cuuuu (Cubs). He started using PED’s, acting very modest (doh!), and hitting bombs at Wrigley. He always gets lumped in with Mark McGwire, for obvious reasons. As much as I dislike Sammy and his antics (PED’s, corked bats, standoffish personality, me-first attitude in the clubhouse, etc.), I think I have to vote for Sammy Sosa. This is the hardest vote for me. I don’t really want to vote him into the HOF, but feel like I have to or else it would be contradictory for all my other arguments. In other words, how can I leave him off my list when I won’t hold it against anyone else for using PED’s, being a generally dislikable guy, being a cheater, being a weirdo in his retirement (face whitening?)? Therefore, I reluctantly vote for Sosa. Ugh, I’m not sure I want to. Ugh! Can I take it all back now?
- Billy Wagner – As the years go on, I think we’ll see more closers getting into the Hall (along with DH’s). In the past, the BBWAA writers didn’t want to vote for part-timers or “specialists”. However, they are a huge part of the game. We all know the hardest outs to get in a game are the last three outs, so why wouldn’t we vote in outstanding closers that rack up saves and wins? Wagner earned 422 saves (6th all-time) with a 2.31 ERA. He had 1196 punchouts in 903 career innings. He was a 7 time All-Star. Vote him in!
In addition to these 14 players, I’d also vote in “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, Tommy John, and Pete Rose. Now that’s how you end an article. As Jim Rome used to say, “Have a take and don’t suck”. I hope we lived up to that mantra.