Jim Thome and Chipper Jones highlight my Hall of Fame ballot

Thome and Jones join my Hall of Fame ballot
Every year around the Holidays I'm forced to reconsider my stance on steroid users and their place in baseball history as I submit my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot.

I once thought my view of PEDs would change as time moved on but it hasn't, and so again I've left Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens off my ballot. In my opinion, neither player has adequately addressed their connection to performance-enhancing drugs.

As for my votes, I've selected Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Curt Schilling, and Mike Mussina.

Thome and Jones are two of the greatest sluggers of our generation. Thome a five-time All-Star with a career 147 OPS+ and 612 home runs, and Jones an eight-time All-Star with a career 141 OPS+ and an MVP-Award in 1999.

I'm a big fan of JAWS when comparing Hall of Fame candidates and both Thome and Jones clearly demonstrate they belong. Thome finished his career with a 57.2 JAWS in comparison to the 54.6 JAWS average of the 20 first basemen already enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He also ranks 10th all-time for first basemen in career WAR with 72.9.

Jones demonstrated a similar style of dominance over his career with his 85.0 career WAR ranking sixth all-time among third basemen. His 65.8 JAWS is more than 10 points higher than the average of the 13 third basemen already honored in Cooperstown.

Unlike Thome and Jones, I've been beating the drum for awhile regarding Schilling and Mussina.

Mussina is one of the most underrated hurlers of the past 20 years. He never won a Cy Young Award or a World Series, but he put together an incredible string of 18 seasons in the rough-and-tumble American League East. He pitched through the majority of the PED-era and finished his career with a 123 ERA+ to go along with a 3.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio that's topped by only Schilling when looking at pitchers with 3,000 innings of work dating back to 1893.

As for Schilling, his regular season statistics may not seem overly impressive, but his postseason numbers are legendary - 19 starts with an 11-2 record to go along with a 2.23 ERA. He also sits 15th on baseball's all-time strikeout list.

The IBWAA allows for voting of 15 candidates, but none appeal to me as obvious choices like these four.

Of note, Edgar Martinez would be on my ballot if I had a BBWAA vote (he was honored last year by the IBWAA).

Martinez was arguably the greatest designated hitter ever to play and ranks in the top-100 all-time in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, walks, doubles, extra-base hits and offensive WAR.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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