Thursday, January 5, 2017

FN Editor-In-Chief's IBWAA 2017 Hall Of Fame Votes

With the soon-to-come announcement of the MLB Hall of Fame inductees for 2017, we thought it appropriate to share the ballots we cast. As a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association (IBWAA), FenwayNation's Editor-In-Chief has a vote in the organization's choices (as does FN's International Editor Mark Lawrence). While voters are allowed to choose up to 15 names, your E-I-C deemed just three worthy of his vote: Ivan Rodriguez, Curt Schilling, and Lee Smith (Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines have been previously selected by IBWAA voters). While two of our three selections had long stints with The Carmine Hose, that was not the main reason for these votes:

'Pudge' Rodriguez was one of the smartest players at any position in his era—and his role as an elite defensive catcher made him all the more valuable to his teams. And, the guy could hit. Over 21 MLB seasons, Rodriguez hit .296 with 311 HRs and 1,332 RBIs. A 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glover, the 1999 AL MVP was a joy to watch—even as a fan of an opposing team;

Curt Schilling deserves enshrinement for a stellar career—well beyond his 'bloody sock' heroics in Boston. Over his 20-year career, Curt was a workhorse. He led the league in games started three times—making over 30 starts seven times. He struck out 300 batters or more three times—leading the league in that category twice (totaling 3,116 for his career). While his 216 wins may seem wanting by some, this stat has always been a misleading indicator of a pitcher's value. Curt's career ERA is a terrific 3.46—and his career WHIP is even more impressive (1.137). And, his post-season performances alone make him worthy;

Lee Arthur Smith was about as intimidating as a closer can get. Lurking from the mound at 6'5" and 220 pounds, he was no 'walk in the park' for hitters to face. Over 18 MLB seasons, Smith collected 478 saves—and an ERA of 3.03. His 1.256 WHIP insured that he rarely got himself into jams in the ninth inning. He led the league in games finished in three seasons and led the league in saves in four. The 7-time All-Star ended up averaging 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings—compiling 1,251 Ks in his career.