In 2013, I created the one-and-done Baseball Hall of Fame All-Stars. While many are praising Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio on their recent election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I prefer to recognize those players who got at least one vote in their first year of eligibility, but not enough votes to pass the 5 percent threshold and stay on the ballot the following year.
Eligible players for the one-and-done Baseball Hall of Fame are those whose candidacy was voted on in 2009 or later. That’s what I decided in 2013. That’s what I’m sticking with. Out of those eligible, a 25-man roster is created. Those eligible from 2015 are Carlos Delgado (21 votes), Troy Percival (4 votes), Tom Gordon (2 votes) and Darin Erstad (1 vote). We’ll also be including those eligible from 2014 – including, mind-bogglingly enough, Jacque Jones who earned 1 vote – because I didn’t update the team last year.
Below is the new one-and-done Baseball Hall of Fame All-Stars. Updates are in italics. You players might not have made the Baseball Hall of Fame, but you made some guy’s imaginary all-star team. A hearty congratulations.
The Batting Order:
1. CF Kenny Lofton (18 votes in 2013): With 622 career stolen bases and a career .299 batting average, Lofton is doing what he did best throughout his career – leading off.
2. 2B Eric Young (1 vote in 2012): An ideal second hitter, Young had speed with 465 stolen bases and could hit the ball with consistency as he had a .283 batting average.
3. DH Mo Vaughn (6 votes in 2009): A tough call for the third spot, but I’m going with Vaughn and his .298 batting average, 328 home runs and 1,064 runs batted in.
4. 3B Matt Williams (7 votes in 2009): What I remember best about Williams was that he – more than any other player – terrified me when I pitched against him in R.B.I. Baseball 3. His 378 home runs and 1,218 runs batted in back up that memory. He moves up to the four slot from past teams.
5. 1B Carlos Delgado (21 votes in 2015): Delgado was a beast in his prime, with more than 30 home runs a season for 10 straight years.
6. RF Shawn Green (2 votes in 2013): Moves down slightly in the order, but those 328 home runs and 1,071 runs batted in keep him on the field.
7. LF Moises Alou (6 votes in 2014): In a very tough decision, Alou replaces Ellis Burks in left field. Their career stats are fairly close and an argument could be made for either one, but any guy who is willing to pee on his hands to advance his career is the type of guy we’re looking for to be on this team.
8. SS Julio Franco (6 votes in 2013): I wanted to make Franco the utility player, but the shortstop position is between him and Jay Bell. I went with Franco and his .298 average and 2,586 hits.
9. C Sandy Alomar Jr. (16 votes in 2013): Alomar was a superb defensive catcher, and I’ve changed my mind and moved him into the starting lineup over Javy Lopez.
3B – Vinny Castilla (6 votes in 2012): A good slugger in his day, but not as good as Williams.
C – Javy Lopez (1 vote in 2012): You’re a fine-hitting catcher, Javy, with 260 home runs and a .287 batting average, but I’d rather have Alomar Jr. behind the plate.
SS/2B – Jay Bell (2 votes in 2009): What can I say? The team still needs a middle infielder and Nomar Garciaparra got just enough votes (30) in his first year of eligibility to remain on the ballot in 2016.
1B – Andres Galarraga (22 votes in 2010): The Big Cat with his 399 home runs and 1,425 runs moves to the bench with the addition of Carlos Delgado, replacing Tino Martinez. Sorry Tino.
OF – Marquis Grissom (4 votes in 2011): Gets to keep the final position over new potential arrival Luis Gonzales as well as over former starter Ellis Burks. Grissom’s speed and 429 stolen bases in case a pinch runner is needed.
The Starting Rotation: (same rotation; sorry Kenny Rogers)
1 – David Cone (21 votes in 2009): Your ace with 194 wins, a 3.46 ERA and 2,688 strikeouts.
2 – Kevin Brown (12 votes in 2011): You could easily consider him 1A, with 211 wins, a 3.28 ERA and 2,397 strikeouts.
3 – David Wells (5 votes in 2013): The ERA was a little high at 4.13, but I’ll take those 239 wins.
4 – Kevin Appier (1 vote in 2010): I enjoyed watching him pitch. Finished his career with a 3.74 ERA and 1,994 strikeouts.
5 – Al Leiter (4 votes in 2011): Not bad for a fifth starter. A 3.80 ERA and 1,974 strikeouts.
Middle relief – Armando Benitez (1 vote in 2014): Replaces starting pitcher Pat Hentgen because he’s a reliever with 289 saves and 3.13 ERA and his name is more fun to say.
Middle relief – Eric Gagne (2 votes in 2014): Replaces starting pitcher Brad Radke. Had maybe the best year ever for a closer in 2013 with his 1.20 ERA and 55 saves.
Middle relief – Tom Gordon (2 votes in 2015): Replaces starting pitcher Aaron Sele. A good reliever in his time and freakin’ Stephen King wrote a book that revolved around him and some kid lost in the woods who idolized him. He’s in.
Middle relief – Jesse Orosco (1 vote in 2009): Orosco with his 3.16 ERA and 144 saves gets to stay on the team, but no longer in the setup role.
Setup – Troy Percival (4 votes in 2015): Replaces Mark Grace on the team, who was on the relief squad solely because there were no more eligible pitchers and because of his Mike Fetters impression. Grace now is the player with the most votes (22) not on the team. Percival with his 3.17 ERA and 358 saves gave Franco a run for the top spot, but he will have to settle for setup man.
Closer – John Franco (27 votes in 2011): Despite the influx of closers, Franco keeps his hold on the top spot with his 2.89 ERA and 424 saves.
Robin Ventura (7 votes in 2010): The former third baseman has been a good coach so far. He’ll continue that role with this team.
The one-and-done Baseball Hall of Fame All-Stars finally have the relief pitching they need. Along with its speed, power and quality pitching, this now is a team truly ready to compete. Sorry, Darin Erstad. You were the only one-and-done from 2015 that didn’t make the cut. But at least you did got a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Something Jermaine Dye and Cliff Floyd can’t say.
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