The 2008 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was announced on Monday. Here is the docket, with my would-be votes in bold:
Rich Gossage, the Goose, defined the closer's role in baseball and was a better pitcher for longer than Bruce Sutter, a first-ballot inductee last year. In 1975, 1977 and 1978 he threw 409 (!) combined relief innings, whiffing just shy of a batter per and posting ERAs of 1.84 (ERA+ of 212), 1.62 (243 ERA+) and 2.01 (180 ERA+). (I left out 1976 because he was a starter all year). Gossage excelled for most of his 22 years, and it's inexplicable that Sutter is somehow remembered as the better pitcher.
Mark McGwire wears the mark of a steroid user despite never testing positive for any banned performance enhancing drugs. He took andro, not banned by baseball at the time. Did he take anabolic steroids? Maybe. Were they banned by baseball and/or did he ever test positive? No. Is he a hall-worthy baseball player? 583 homeruns and a career .263/.394/.588 batting line seem to indicate as much. Hardly the one-dimensional slugger people remember, Mac drew 90 or more walks seven times and 100 or more five times. He is twelfth all time in OPS+ at 162. He was a very, very good baseball player.
Tim Raines is probably the second-best leadoff hitter in baseball history. He has a career .293/.385/.425 batting line with 808 steals in 952 attempts, an 84.9% success rate which is substantially better than Rickey Henderson's 80.8%. He never hit a lot of homeruns but he collected a lot of doubles and triples and was a true four-tool star when that still actually meant something (his throwing arm was bleah).
That's my ballot. What about you guys?