My 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

The 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot came out recently. Here’s my take …

Roberto Alomar—Can’t think of a single reason he didn’t get in last year. A must.

Bert Blyleven—He’s Don Sutton, and even though Sutton cleared 300 wins I just don’t consider him an all-time great. So, ahem, no.

Tim Raines—This one’s a crime. Raines was dominant, and while he wasn’t quite Rickey Henderson, he was the next best thing. He was also a significantly better player than Lou Brock, who entered on the first ballot.

Jeff Bagwell—If Jeff Bagwell didn’t use PED, well—scratch that. I believe he did. Strongly. No way.

Edgar Martinez—Brilliant hitter. But not quite brilliant enough.

Juan Gonzalez—If I’m 99 percent certain about Bagwell, I’m 100 percent certain here.

Carlos Baerga—A nice career, but that’s about all.

Jack Morris—The best starter of the 1980s was also money when the temperature was high. A solid yes for me.

Charles Johnson—C.J. was one of my personal favorites. A wicked defensive catcher who blocked everything. Quiet, mild, lovely. But not a Hall of Famer.

John Franco—I always enjoyed Franco, a loud lockerroom presence who stood up whenever he needed to. Not a Hall of Famer, but a great career.

Lee Smith—He and Franco are the same. Excellent closers, but not legendary. Oh, well.

Rafael Palmeiro—Given the choice between eating my mother’s matzoh lasagna for a year or voting in Raffy, well, I’ll vote in Raffy. But only by force. No way.

Larry Walker—A marvelous player, but not an all-timer.

Benito Santiago—The starting catcher on my all-cheat team.

Bret Boone—True story: the first time I realized PED were a problem in baseball (like, really knew) was when I saw Boone report to camp packing what appeared to be 30 pounds of extra muscle. I know … I know—speculation, just like Bagwell. But the inaction of the players and ownership allows speculation. To me, his career was bullshit.

B.J. Surhoff—Such an ornery man, but a nice player.

John Olerud—Yes to the helmet, no to the player.

Tino Martinez—Not a Hall of Famer, but give him credit for stepping into Don Mattingly’s shoes and emerging as a fan favorite. Terrific career.

Don Mattingly—Every kid in my high school wanted to be Donnie Baseball. Ic0nic. Gritty. Tough. Not a Hall of Famer.

Barry Larkin—Very close … but not quite.

Lenny Harris—Harris would be a fun guy to have as an uncle. Quirky, humorous, chatty. Lasted forever, but obviously no Cooperstown for Lenny.

Marquis Grissom—He became one of the go-to guys when it came to talking about Barry Bonds in San Francisco. Wonderfully engaging … not a Hall of Famer.

Alan Trammell—No, but he was a helluva player.

Harold Baines—A quiet clubhouse leader with a booming bat. One of the better players of his era. But no.

Dave Parker—A female reporter once told me about covering Parker the pig. Said she was in the clubhouse, and he pointed to his penis and said, “You want some of this.” Parker was very fat at the time. Without flinching the woman said, “Maybe, if I could find it.”

Dale Murphy—No, but I hate how people forget how brilliant he was. Back in the 80s, Murphy, Jim Rice and Mike Schmidt were all in the same boat.

Kirk Rueter—Genuinely looks like Woody from Toy Story. Always a fun guy.

Fred McGriff—I suppose no, but if he didn’t use PED his numbers look pretty damn good. Nearly 500 homers.

Mark McGwire—No shot.