If there was a baseball sportswriter for the Dodgers named Homer, I bet he would be a homer. A homer is someone that is blatantly biased for his home team. Homer would probably get to vote for the next Hall of Fame inductees. If he got a chance to vote for the next group of members of the Hall of Fame I bet his experience would be as follows:
Homer would be sitting at home after just recently having received a Hall of Fame ballot and then he would get ready to mark all his votes for the next Hall of Fame class. But first, the strategy: Homer who is a Dodger homer would begin by scratching off every single player on the ballot who never played for the Dodgers. If the player played for the Dodgers he would have a chance to get a vote from Homer because he is a homer. It would not even matter if said player had committed to wearing someone else’s uniform if elected to the Hall of Fame. The important part to Homer would be that any player he votes for would have worn the Dodger uniform at some point in his life at any level within the organization.
For example, some players that Homer would have voted on in the past would have been Babe Ruth because he once wore a Dodger jersey as a manager. He would have voted for Mike Piazza even though he went in wearing a Mets cap. He would have definitely voted for Pedro Martinez who played in the minor leagues for the Dodgers. He would have voted for Roberto Clemente who was also traded away before ever playing a game in the majors. Homer would have voted for Greg Maddux who played for the Dodgers at the tail end of his career. Same for Rickey Henderson, Gary Carter, and any other player who passed through would have had a chance to get a vote from Homer.
The reason Homer would vote for these guys is because he probably watched them play at Dodger stadium and understood what it meant for them to be a Dodger while here. Perhaps, he got a chance to talk to them at spring training. There is even a rumor stating that in one particular year, not a single player on the ballot had ever played for the Dodgers at any level and it was said that he called in sick for that vote or something. He might have made up a lie about losing his ballot, or that he never got his ballot from the post office because after all, “they sometimes lose the mail” is what he would say.
So after looking at the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot Homer has narrowed it down to the following names and has decided to isolate all of the best players who had at one point or another played for the Dodgers. His list has been narrowed down as follows from the 25 available nominees, These are the former Dodgers on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2021. They are listed in no particular order:
- Dan Haren
- Manny Ramirez
- Gary Sheffield
- Shane Vittorino
- Jeff Kent
- Bobby Abreu
- Andruw Jones
This year he has a nice list of former Dodgers to vote from. He is not concerned with PED allegations and failed tests or suspensions. His number one criteria is did this player wear the Dodger uniform as well as having a great career? From this list of players he has to narrow it down to his top 5. He then analyzes his top 5.
Right away, the first player that goes to the top of his list is Mannywood. The Manny Ramirez trade to Los Angeles brought electricity to the city of Los Angeles. It is hard to think of more must see TV than Manny Ramirez when he was in LA. You would hold your pee and probably pee in your pants if Manny was coming up to bat because you were not going to miss his turn up to bat. Manny hit 555 Home Runs, 2574 hits, a career batting average of .312 and a WAR of 69.3. Manny has the best chance of getting in despite his PED suspension that prevented him from being a first ballot Hall Of Famer. No matter. On this ballot, Manny is top 3 on this list. On top of that Manny was part of that fun Boston Red Sox team that broke the curse of the Bambino. Manny Ramirez was considered for the MVP 11 times in his career. One year he led the league in Home Runs. Another year he won the batting title, and he was a constant figure in the All-Star game. Finally, he won the Silver Slugger Award 9 times.
Next on the list is Gary Sheffield. Gary put up some great numbers with the Dodgers and ended up hitting 509 HRs, 2689 base hits, with a career average of .292 and a WAR of 60.5. I must say that Sheffield was pretty amazing when you understand that the numbers mentioned were put up across 8 different teams that began with the Brewers and ended up with the Mets. In between all he did was finish in the top 10 for MVP 7 times, he won the batting title once with San Diego, and after being traded to an expansion team the Florida Marlins, he helped that team win their first World Series. During his tenure with the Dodgers, he enjoyed some of his best offensive years in his career averaging over .300 each year and one year he went off with 43 Home Runs and he won the Silver Slugger award on 5 occasions. One writer said that he will never get in the Hall of Fame because of his confrontational nature but I think he is wrong. I believe that Gary Sheffield might actually get a lot closer this year than he got last year. He also got a bad rap towards the end of his career when he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report but other than being mentioned in that report he was never suspended nor did he fail a test. He once claimed to use a cream to apply to his knee and he admitted that he used it but didn’t know what it was. I do not think that is damning to him as it would be had he failed a test and then was suspended as a result. Sheff is a great candidate that gets a bad rap for butting heads with a lot of people but we should be judging him on his ability to excel on the field not on whether you like his personality or not. If that were the case Ty Cobb should have never gotten into the Hall of Fame. Some players fall off after being traded to new teams but Sheff proved to be a solid offensive force no matter where he went. His outspoken nature shouldn’t be a tool used to keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
The next player Homer would select is Jeff Kent. Not only is he the all time home run leader at second base, he also won an MVP award while playing for the San Francisco Giants. In 1992 he was with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Mets before the Blue Jays won the World Series. He played in the World Series with the Giants in 2001 and then again in 2004 with the Houston Astros both times falling short. Jeff Kent was the definition of consistency hitting over 20 home runs or more for 12 different seasons. For 7 seasons he was in the running for the MVP. Jeff Kent was a hard nose, no nonsense type of player that demonstrated the ability to hit for power at a position historically not known for power. At 377 HRs, his home run might last for quite some time. The only guy I can see catching up to him is Robinson Cano but Cano might end up getting stranded at 334 HRs after being suspended from baseball for 2021 for getting caught with PEDs a second time. He is 38. That means when he comes back in 2022 he will be 40 years old and it is more than likely that we start to see a younger player take his playing time and he falls short of Kent’s record. Kent was not the most loved by the media. Like many baseball players, Kent showed up to the field to play baseball and do his job. He was not there to entertain the media. He was there to do his job and help his team win. Kent is Homer’s third pick for the Hall of Fame. He should get more votes this year. He might not get the required votes to get in, but I think he might get a lot closer this year.
The last two players on this list that Homer narrowed it down to are Bobby Abreu and Andruw Jones. Both players were excellent professionals who played in the league for a long time. The one thing that stands out about Andruw Jones is that he won 9 Gold Gloves in a row while playing for the Braves. He falls short of the top 3 because he had the worst season of his career when he came to the Dodgers. He had his worst season as a Dodger and although he did have a Career WAR of 62.7 which was 2 points slightly higher than Sheff, Homer went with Sheff because 1. He put on a show for the Dodgers and 2. He was able to shine with whichever team that he went to. While Andruw Jones was unable to perform in Los Angeles.
Bobby Abreu fell just short because of Manny and Sheff, although you will not find a more loved player and you can definitely say that he is one of the most complete players still on the list. Out of the current 21 nominees Bobby Abreu is top 10 in mostly all categories including WAR 9th best on list, Steals 3rd best on list, hits 6th best on list, walks 2nd on list, RBI 9th on list, career batting average 5th, OBP 4th, Runs 5th, OPS 6th, and Slugging 10th. I mean, pretty much every category that is on that list, with the exception of Home Runs (11th) he is in the top 10 list for all offensive categories. Why did he only get 5% of the votes in 2020? Maybe this commentary will help to elevate the number of votes he gets this year.
These are the 5 players that Homer has selected in chronological order from 1 through 5. The order for Homer goes like this:
#1 Gary Sheffield due to the fact that he raked as a Dodger while he was here and pretty much anywhere else that he went to.
#2 Manny wasn’t here too long but ask anybody who experienced Mannywood and they will tell you that it was electric to witness as a fan.
#3 Jeff Kent gets the third spot because he was truly a Dodger for the final 4 years of his career and we saw him grind day in and day out.
#4 Bobby Abreu was one of the most complete players the league has ever seen. He would have been higher had he played longer for the Dodgers. You can see him shining in all offensive categories. Abreu should get higher on this list this year. I believe his 5% is way too low. He finished his career with 60.2 WAR compared to Kent’s 55.4
#5 Andruw landed the 5th spot because he did so bad as a Dodger hitting only .158 that season. However, he ended up his career with higher WAR number 62.7 than everyone on this top 5 list except Manny.