The BBWAA survived a little website hackeration earlier today but righted the ship in time to announce Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are the 2011 Hall of Fame class. I won't spend much time discussing Blyleven and Alomar because, let's face it, they're both Hall worthy.
Blyleven spent more time sweating it out but his career 90.1 WAR was not to be excluded again. And yes, I realize that only around six voters are spending time pouring over Wins Above Replacement. Fine, I understand that some of these voters are set in their old-school ways and won't embrace the new metrics because they didn't get the typewriter with dial-up access to AOL. To those voters, I submitted his willingness to drop the f-bomb live on air and his awesome beard from his Angels days. So I did my part.
Alomar on his second year on the ballot picked up an extra 126 votes for a whopping 90.0%. Alomar hit .300/.371/.443 over his career while playing overrated defense. That is not to say that Alomar wasn't a very good second baseman but should not be confused as the greatest fielder at his position. But again, I have no qualms over Alomar's selection or deservedness. Even the jump from 73.7% to 90.0% isn't that big of a surprise considering the amount of voters who simply won't consider any player during their first year of eligibility.
HOWEVER, that last point is no excuse for Jeff Bagwell receiving only 41.7% of the "yes box" punches. Bagwell hit 449 home runs and .297/.408/.540 over his career which would make him one of the top five first basemen in the sport's history. For a guy who was never connected to steroids, he sure does have a lot of suspicion surrounding him now. Bags HAS to get in eventually and you should be able to tell how serious I am about this because I used all caps for two words in this paragraph.
Tim Raines fell short again and will immediately become the new Bert Blyleven for all of the crusading, basement-dwelling writers. Raines might be taking a hit for his flirtation with cocaine. I actually hope that's the reason because I can't see a reason to keep the second best leadoff hitter of all time out of the Hall. Yet, I don't understand how cocaine can be condemned on a different level from that of the amphetamine usage during the 70's.
I'm nowhere close to be included in the BBWAA because I believe they have a rule that a writer should have more than four readers to be included in their club. Stupid secret handshake elitists. But I did get a ballot for the BBA. The BBA also recommended just Alomar and Blyleven and you can see the full voting here. Here is my ballot followed by career WAR and the actual BBWAA totals for each player...
1. Bert Blyleven, 90.1 WAR, 463 votes, 79.7%
2. Jeff Bagwell, 83.9 WAR, 242 votes, 41.7%
3. Tim Raines, 71.0 WAR, 218 votes, 37.5%
4. Roberto Alomar, 68.2 WAR, 523 votes, 90.0%
5. Mark McGwire, 70.6 WAR, 115 votes, 19.8% (down from 23.7% from last year)
6. Larry Walker, 72.2 WAR, 118 votes, 20.3%
7. Barry Larkin, 69.8 WAR, 361 votes, 62.1% (3rd best this year, next year's best shot)
8. Edgar Martinez, 71.6 WAR, 191 votes, 32.9%
9. Rafael Palmerio, 75.5 WAR, 64 votes, 11.0% (doesn't look good)
10. Kevin Brown, 77.2 WAR, 12 votes, 2.1%
Kevin Brown receives this year's Price Is Right losing horn for, despite his HOF WAR, not reaching the 5% mark and is one and done in the Hall of Fame voting.