I don't have a Hall of Fame vote. I will never have a Hall of Fame vote. There are people who make sure people like me don't have a Hall of Fame vote. I don't blame them.
For example, I'm on the fence about Greg Maddux. He's a Hall of Famer, sure, one of the greatest pitchers we'll ever see. I'm not a PED crusader obviously, but I don't feel weird picking Maddux over Roger Clemens if I'm picking an all-time team after the appropriate demerits are assigned. But I had to wait until the last second to make sure I was for Maddux.
My reasoning is this: The ballot is stuffed with players I want in the Hall. I'm scared some of them will fall under five percent. Maddux is never going to fall under five percent, so by eliminating him, it's not like anyone's chances are hurt. The only reason I'd cave in is because I wouldn't want to be the ninny that prevented him from being a unanimous selection.
Tom Glavine, though? Frank Thomas? On the bubble. And I mean that. Mike Mussina should get in on the first ballot, but I wouldn't vote for him. He'll make it eventually, and he's not in danger of falling off the ballot.
My first goal would be to keep deserving players on the ballot. My second would be to make sure deserving players with a real chance at induction this year get extra support. With those two criteria as my priority, here's the start of my ballot:
1. Craig Biggio
2. Jeff Bagwell
3. Mike Piazza
4. Jeff Kent
5. Mark McGwire
6. Edgar Martinez
7. Alan Trammell
Ugh. The first three have a shot. The others might fall off the ballot. And like hell I'm not voting for Barry Bonds.
8. Barry Bonds
Two spots left. After all these years, can I really have a ballot without Tim Raines? And as much as I'm not a fan of Curt Schilling, he's clearly qualified. I've come around on Larry Walker in recent years, and he's in serious danger of being left off the ballot. Same with Rafael Palmeiro. And can I really keep one of the greatest pitchers ever -- seriously, ever -- off a ballot with a straight face?
First things, first. I'm not going to be the ninny who keeps Maddux from being unanimous.
9. Greg Maddux
One spot left unless I throw McGwire to the wolves. He's kind of borderline for me anyway. But for nearly a decade, he was baseball. That should be represented in a museum about baseball, you weirdos. We didn't want to hear the awful truth. We wanted to see him sock some dingers.
Frank Thomas was such a badass, though.
Tom Glavine was like the Kirk Rueter of the South, too. How could I leave him off?
10. Tim Raines
Just in case he got close to 75 percent. He's close to 60 according to The Gizmo. It's pretty unheard of to see a discrepancy of 10 percent or more. But if he got close and I didn't vote for him (in Pretend Land), I'd be crushed. That means more than a symbolic vote for Clemens (who isn't getting in) or Glavine (who wouldn't need my help).
What a weird year. What a weird ballot. It's certainly the weirdest I can remember. The only thing I'm sure of on my ballot would be the top four and Bonds. Kent doesn't get the vote because I'm a homer, but because I'm legitimately afeared he's not going to be on the ballot next year.
This wouldn't be a problem if those weirdos voted Trammell, Raines, and Martinez in a long time ago. But it is a problem, so I'd have to plug my nose and submit a ballot I don't really believe in, even if I believe all of those players are certainly Hall of Famers.
Really, the only wrong answer is a ballot without Bonds on it.