Friday, September 27, 2013

Personal Hall of Fame, Part 6: Modern Era

This is the sixth in a series of six posts where I'm revealing my personal Hall of Fame one era at a time.

I've determined era based on when each player's star shined the brightest—although in marginal cases, I've assigned some players based on where they fit best due to the all-era teams format—but their entire careers provide the basis for selection, rather than just time spent in a specific era.

My personal Hall consists exclusively of players (no managers, executives, pioneers or umpires) based on their careers in Major League Baseball only.

For a more complete explanation of this series, and for my 19th Century inductees, please see Part 1. For my Deadball era inductees, please see Part 2. For my Live Ball era inductees, check out Part 3. For my Post-Integration and Designated Hitter era inductees, respectively, see Part 4 and Part 5.

An * denotes an actual Hall of Famer.

Modern Era Personal Hall Inductees (1994- )

C - Mike Piazza (1992-2007)
1B - Jeff Bagwell (1991-2005)
1B - Mark McGwire (1986-2001)
1B - Rafael Palmeiro (1986-2005)
2B - Roberto Alomar* (1988-2004)
2B - Craig Biggio (1988-2007)
SS - Barry Larkin* (1986-2004)
LF - Barry Bonds (1986-2007)
CF - Kenny Lofton (1991-2007)
RF - Larry Walker (1989-2005)
RF - Sammy Sosa (1989-2005, 2007)
DH/1B - Frank Thomas* (1990-2008)
DH - Edgar Martinez (1987-2004)
SP - Roger Clemens (1984-2007)
SP - Greg Maddux* (1986-2008)
SP - Curt Schilling (1988-2007)
SP - Mike Mussina (1991-2008)
SP - Tom Glavine* (1987-2008)
SP - Kevin Brown (1986, 1988-2005)

Obviously, this era is far from complete. I haven't decided if I'll keep updating here as new players become eligible and are added to my personal Hall. As of right now, I'd say that's my intention. 

The non-Hall of Famers I'm inducting here essentially fall into three categories: those who will eventually be inducted into the real Hall of Fame (Piazza, Bagwell, Biggio, Schilling); those who would otherwise be Hall of Famers if not for steroid allegations (McGwire, Palmeiro, Bonds, Sosa, Clemens); and those who truly fall into the underrated category, at least in my opinion. 

There's some overlapPiazza and Bagwell are also kind of in the second categoryand some gray areathere are those who suggest McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa are not slam-dunk Hall of Famers, but take a look at their numbers and ask yourself who those folks are kidding—but those three categories cover all the angles. 

I'm going to talk about the guys in the latter category. 

Kenny Lofton compares more favorably to Tim Raines than I bet a lot of people realize. He wasn't as good a hitter and doesn't quite have Raines' career base-stealing prowess, but his defensive advantage essentially elevates him to virtually Rock's equal. That makes him Hall of Fame worthy in my book. 

I'm not sure what Larry Walker needed to do to compensate for the fact he played a lot of games in the friendly confines of Coors Field to satisfy the voters. His 141 OPS+ and 73 WAR in 16 seasons (not including a cup of coffee as a 22-year old) shows his career was way more than a home-ballpark aided mirage. 

If Edgar Martinez had played the field for most of his career, it probably would've cost him a little career value, but no more than some of the Hall's most one-dimensional players, such as Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew and Willie Stargell. Like those guys, Martinez's offense more than made up for his lack of a defensive resume. It's ludicrous to say he was any less of a complete player because his team decided the role that best suited him was designated hitter. 

Kevin Brown wasn't very well-liked. He played for a bunch of different teams. His brief time on the big stage in New York didn't end well, especially in the ALCS (although his prior postseason performance was solid overall). He was named in the Mitchell Report. Perhaps that's why a guy who compares pretty favorably to Schilling (not that he's received overwhelming Hall support himself), except without the tremendous postseason resume, fell off the ballot after one year. 

I'm also making a few adjustments to my previous selections, adding Clark Griffith, Joe Tinker and Luis Aparicio (all actual Hall of Famers, although Griffith is in as an executive), bringing my personal Hall to 215 players. That's seven more than the actual institution, but it's still a much more select group, in my opinion.

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