With the votes in but not yet counted, I thought I'd chime in on my opinion of the current bunch of HOF candidates. I don't have a vote, but if I did...
The 2 most discussed candidates this year are holdovers Jim Rice and Goose Gossage. WW has a perfect SOTD on Rice. I was against a no-defense, slugger who didn't reach 385 home runs making the HOF to begin with; when you factor in the effects of Fenway Park on his numbers the case becomes almost moot - Rice is NOT a Hall of Famer. The only case I can make for Rice is that if he gets in, Bernie (one of my all-time favorite Yankees) should be a shoo-in.
My vote on Rice - NO
Goose is a different story. While I think the fact that he held on too long actually hurt his numbers, Goose was the most dominant, nasty, scary relief pitcher of his time. Fingers and Lyle and Eck and Reardon and Sutter were all very good, but Goose was awesome and scary!
My vote on Goose - YES
Other holdovers on the ballot are Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Tommy John, Dave Concepcion, Alan Trammell, Dave Parker, Donnie BBall, Dale Murphy and Harold Baines.
Both Dawson and Parker were very good players with very good numbers; very good, but not great - not HOF'ers. They both have a case if Rice gets in, though.
Smith was the all-time saves leader for a while, but with a 1.256 career WHIP he was far more a compiler than a dominant closer.
Alan Trammell was the kind of player you want on your team; clutch, consistent, solid D, and a really good guy - just not a HOF player.
TJ, Concepcion, Murphy and Baines simply do not stack up.
My vote on Dawson/Parker/Smith/Trammell/John/Concepcion/Murphy and Baines - NO
I love(d) Donnie, and if the back hadn't gone...
My vote on Mattingly - No
I believe Blyleven should get in. Not only does he have 280 wins, 15 years with an ERA+ of 123 or better and a sub 1.20 career WHIP over 22 seasons, he had, without a doubt, the best curve ball of all time.
My vote on Blyleven - Yes
The only first-time candidate I believe is worthy of the Hall is Tim Raines. The only reason Rock won't be a sure-fire first-ballot is because as a speed-based lead-off hitter he will inevitably (and unfairly) be compared to Rickey Henderson. No one's stats match up to Rickey's. That being said, Rock had 808 stolen bases, an OPS+ for his 23 year career of 123, 12 years of .390 or better OBP, and was one of the most dynamic and exciting players of his time. Having played his prime years in Montreal also tends to diminish people's recollection of how good Rock really was.
My vote on Tim Raines - Yes