I can relax this year. After the last two years of wondering if Edgar Martinez would get in as his eligibility ran up, the Mariners will have to wait a few years before Ichiro becomes eligible, and even then, he’ll probably be a first-ballot player. The Braves don’t have any pressure issues either, despite a couple of players from the 14-year division run eligible. So with that, here’s who I’d pick this year.
- Derek Jeter - I hate the Yankees, much like most non-Yankee fans. Still, I’ve always respected Jeter. He gave everything every day. He was consistent. He’s everything you would ask for in a major league ballplayer. He also had a career .310 BA and a 58.7 WAR. He’s probably the only sure-fire guy in this class.
- Barry Bonds - I know, I know. He did PEDs. I understand where many wouldn’t vote this guy in for that reason alone. But, even if you take his career before 2000 when many assume he was clean, he was still a nine-time all-star, a three-time MVP, and a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner. He simply dominated the 90s. Simply put, you cannot tell the story of baseball from the early 90s through the 2000s without mentioning Barry Bonds.
- Roger Clemens - Just like Bonds, if you take his career before 2000, you still have a Hall of Fame-caliber resume. With just that he would be a seven-time all-star, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, a four-time wins leader, 6 time ERA leader, a five-time AL strikeout leader, and he’s a member of the MLB All-Century Team. He should be in the Hall.
- Andruw Jones - Only Ken Griffey Jr. was a better defensive center fielder than Andrew Jones in their respective era. There was rarely a time when a ball was hit to centerfield that I didn’t believe Jones wasn’t going to catch it. If he had a chance, he was there. Those fielding skills won him ten consecutive Gold Gloves. Hitting wise, it took him a little while to really get going, then he tailed off hard once he left the Braves. While in Atlanta, he was typically in the middle of a lineup that included Chipper Jones & Fred McGriff, among others. He was a threat as a Brave.
- Larry Walker - Sure, he was aided by Coors Field, but Walker hit on the road also. His numbers are on par with a majority of hall of famers. Put Walker in.
I have my doubts if this will be the actual class this year. But, if you’re asking me, this is who I’m going with.