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ESPN's 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

STEVE SCHAEFER/AFP/Getty Images

The Baseball Hall of Fame announced the Baseball Writers' Association of America election results with Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman all getting enough votes for induction. Ten voters from ESPN submitted ballots this year. Their votes are listed below, with a breakdown of whom they had on their ballots and an answer to one question about their picks. Candidates need 75 percent of the total vote to be elected into the Hall.

Jerry Crasnick

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Jim Thome.

You wrote about how hard it was to decide on your 10th player. What made you pick Jeff Kent?

As I wrote before submitting my ballot, my 10th and final selection came down to Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield and Jeff Kent. I decided to go with Kent for both personal and strategic reasons. Walker is polling at about 40 percent, so he'll be around next year. And I'll almost certainly support him because there will be more wiggle room. Kent and Sheffield were both tracking around 10 percent in late December, and they were a little too close for comfort to the 5 percent threshold for staying on the ballot.

Sheffield's numbers are Hall of Fame-worthy, but even though I voted for Bonds and Clemens, Sheffield's alleged steroid links and inclusion in the Mitchell report were a net minus in a tiebreaker-type situation. I realize Kent isn't a popular choice among people who specialize in the metrics. But he was a novel commodity as a middle-of-the-order, power-hitting second baseman, and I don't trust the defensive metrics enough to discount a guy who slugged .500 and remains the career home run leader at his position. I've always thought of Kent as underrated and underappreciated as a Hall candidate, and this year I checked the box beside his name and felt good about it. As I've said before, it's my ballot, and I have to live with it. -- Crasnick

Pedro Gomez

Voted for (6): Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel.

Why did you vote for Fred McGriff?

McGriff would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if only he'd been born 30 or 40 years earlier. There are 23 first basemen in the Hall of Fame, but only seven played their careers after 1950. Of those seven, four hit more home runs than McGriff's 493, and of those four, McGriff was within 28 of three of them. Only Harmon Killebrew's 573 home runs were distant from McGriff's total, which was more than that of Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda and Jeff Bagwell.

It's truly a shame that McGriff probably won't make it, especially considering that he has only two more cracks to get in the conventional way (through the BBWAA voting) after this year. It's also a shame that his consistency isn't appreciated the way it should be. McGriff hit 31 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. He was the catalyst of the Braves' lone World Series title in 1995. His biggest problem was playing during the height of the steroid era, in which his stellar numbers were dwarfed by the cartoonish numbers of the 1990s, when players were reaching 50, 60 and even 70 home runs in a season. McGriff, whose 493 home runs are the same total hit by Lou Gehrig, was never linked to PEDs, and it's a terrible shame that he is being penalized by many voters simply because he was born at the wrong time. -- Gomez

Dan Graziano

Voted for (9): Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Billy Wagner.

Why did you vote for Hideki Matsui?

I find appeal in a guy whose contribution was unique in some way, and Matsui's superstardom in Japan coupled with his performance in MLB feels worthy of recognition to me. I assume that when Ichiro comes up, we're going to consider the combination of his Japanese baseball accomplishments and those from MLB, and so I felt that should apply here. There was no bigger baseball star in Japan than Matsui when he came here, and I think his impact on the way the game is perceived here and there is historic enough to merit attention in this forum. I don't vote for the Bonds/Clemens/Sosa crew, so I have open spots. -- Graziano

Paul Gutierrez

Voted for (7): Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel.

What made you vote for Omar Vizquel in his first year on the ballot?

Vizquel might as well have been pulling rabbits out of a hat the way he was making magic while fielding grounders during batting practice one summer day at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park in 2008. Except ... the smooth-fielding Vizquel was not using a leather glove. Instead, he was wearing a makeshift glove he constructed out of cardboard, much like he fashioned as a kid growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, to better prepare his hands to transfer the ball, which he compared to an egg. And you cannot crack the egg.

In a golden age for shortstops -- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada -- Vizquel was far and away the best fielder. His 11 Gold Gloves are second all time among shortstops, behind Ozzie Smith's 13.

"In a golden age for shortstops -- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada -- Vizquel was far and away the best fielder."

Gutierrez on Omar Vizquel

His 2,709 games played at shortstop and .985 fielding percentage are both the best in baseball history, and his 2,877 hits rank sixth among players whose primary position was shortstop. Quite simply, when you watched Vizquel play, either with leather or cardboard, you felt like you were watching the best fielding shortstop of his era, if not all time. Because you were. And that is a Hall of Famer. -- Gutierrez

Tim Kurkjian

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Jim Thome.

What was the hardest choice you had to make this year?

My toughest decision was whom to leave off my ballot. I count 19 guys that deserve legitimate consideration. It especially hurt not voting for Larry Walker, whom I have voted for at least once. I will vote for him next year, I'm sure, but being limited to 10 makes ballot management very difficult for me. -- Kurkjian

Scott Lauber

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Jim Thome, Billy Wagner.

What was the hardest choice you had to make this year?

Omitting Larry Walker. My initial oversight was not giving Walker more consideration until last year, when Vladimir Guerrero appeared on the ballot for the first time. I had long considered Guerrero to be a Hall of Famer, but in diving deeper into his career, I noticed similarities to Walker, including adjusted OPS+ (140 for Vlad, 141 for Walker), home run rate (20.9 plate appearances per homer for Vlad, 20.1 for Walker) and MVP awards (one apiece). Alas, I ran out of spots on my ballot, so I put a pin in the idea of voting for Walker and decided to revisit it this year.

When this year's ballot arrived, I checked the names of my seven holdovers from last year (Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Martinez, Mussina, Schilling and Wagner). Like most voters, I consider first-timers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome to be sure-fire Hall of Famers. That left one spot for Walker or Hoffman. I believe Hoffman and Wagner are both Cooperstown-worthy closers, but in the past two years, I reserved the final spot on my ballot for Wagner because he's in greater danger of dropping off the ballot than Hoffman, a two-time near-miss for the 75 percent required for enshrinement. This was the year, though, to cast my 10th vote for Hoffman. -- Lauber

Ian O'Connor

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Jim Thome, Larry Walker.

What made you decide to vote for Edgar Martinez for the first time?

I always thought Martinez was right there, but the fact that he was a DH who wasn't in the top 130 all time in homers and RBIs gave me pause. I always had too many candidates ahead of him on my ballot until this year. I was there when he destroyed the Yankees in the '95 playoffs, and Mariano Rivera's ringing career endorsement stayed with me and finally pushed me over the top. -- O'Connor

Nick Pietruszkiewicz

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome.

What was the hardest choice you had to make this year?

The hardest choice for me might have been the easiest choice for others. I have never voted for Mike Mussina. It's something I've wrestled with over the years. But much like my realization when I changed positions on Jeff Bagwell last year and finally voted for him, I realized I have also been wrong on Mussina. The traditional and advanced metrics are there; it just took me too long to realize it. It's time to correct that. -- Pietruszkiewicz

Claire Smith

Voted for (10): Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel.

What was the hardest choice you had to make this year?

My ballot purposely removes steroids from the equation due to the Hall's inclusion of executives who oversaw that era. So, why did I not vote for Manny Ramirez (nor will I down the line for A-Rod)? It is a case of his cynicism trumping mine. He got caught twice using performance enhancers, and that is one too many times for me. -- Smith

Barry Stanton

Voted for (6): Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martinez, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel.

What was the hardest choice you had to make this year?

My two toughest calls were on two players who have caused me to consider and reconsider over the years. I checked the box for Edgar Martinez and not for Fred McGriff.

Martinez was a tremendous hitter, always admired by the guys playing against him, which I have always taken into account. And I don't care that he was "just" a DH. It's an official position, and he was one of the best of his generation. McGriff might be one of the best examples of a player whose case has been hurt by the steroid era. He was a dangerous hitter, with 493 home runs. That number usually puts a player in the Hall. I've voted for McGriff in the past but didn't this time. This was the ninth year on the ballot for both Martinez and McGriff, which means next year is their last shot. I usually feel that if you have to debate this hard on a choice, the player probably isn't a Hall of Famer. But I'm willing to cast my vote and live by the results, as always, on these two. -- Stanton