MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the 2021 ballot

BOSTON - OCTOBER 24: Pitcher Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox pitches during game two of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park on October 24, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-2. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON - OCTOBER 24: Pitcher Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox pitches during game two of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park on October 24, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-2. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by HEATHER HALL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by HEATHER HALL/AFP via Getty Images) /

There are some interesting cases amongst the final five players on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.

Nick Swisher – first year on ballot

Ozzie Guillen’s favorite player finds himself on the ballot. Nick Swisher was adept at getting on base and had decent pop, but his career is relatively underwhelming for consideration for the Hall. The 2010 All Star produced a .249/.351/.477 batting line with 245 homers and 307 doubles in his dozen years in the majors. While those are solid numbers, he is not likely to receive a vote.

Shane Victorino – first year on ballot

When Shane Victorino was healthy, he was a solid player. The problem was that he could not stay on the diamond. A two time All Star and four time Gold Glove winner, he appeared in more than 100 games only eight times in his dozen years. That hurt his numbers, leading to a .275/.340/.425 batting line with 108 homers and 231 steals. Victorino had a solid career, but not one worthy of a vote on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Omar Vizquel – fourth year on ballot

It seems likely that Omar Vizquel will eventually be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. A three time All Star, Vizquel was known for his excellent glove, leading to 11 Gold Glove awards. He developed into a respectable hitter as well, producing a .272/.336/.352 batting line with 456 doubles and 404 steals. Interestingly, despite hitting only 80 homers in his career, Vizquel is one of four players in MLB history to hit a homer in four different decades. The other three are in the MLB Hall of Fame; Vizquel may join them in the near future.

Billy Wagner – sixth year on ballot

One of the best relievers in MLB history, Billy Wagner does not get the recognition he deserves. This may be due to his horrendous postseason numbers, but Wagner was one of the best closers in the regular season. A seven time All Star, he never led the league in saves, but his 422 saves are sixth all time. He produced a 2.31 ERA and a 0.998 WHiP, striking out 1196 batters with 300 walks in his 903 innings. Those numbers deserve a longer look.

Next. The Hall of Fame's doleful year. dark

Barry Zito – first year on ballot

Another pitcher who appeared to be on a Hall of Fame trajectory, Barry Zito saw his career fall off once he left the A’s. He was a three time All Star and the 2002 AL Cy Young winner, but never lived up to the seven year deal he signed with the Giants. Although that contract colors the perception of his career, Zito was a solid pitcher, posting a 165-143 record, along with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.337 WHiP. He struck out 1885 batters with 1064 walks in his 2576.2 innings. Those were respectable numbers, but not enough to be enshrined in the MLB Hall of Fame.