Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York announced their annual Hall of Fame ballot Monday. There will be 25 names on the ballot, 11 of whom are first-timers. Among the new names is former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez:
The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, as announced by @baseballhall. pic.twitter.com/gBquMDv2hK— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 16, 2020
The other newcomers, as you can see above, are Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.
The smaller ballot — there were 32 players listed a year ago — might make it easier for some holdovers to get more votes. Sammy Sosa is also on the ballot; he received 13.9 percent of the vote last year.
Let’s talk about Ramirez. His offensive numbers — .283/.341/.492 with 386 home runs and 2,303 hits — are comparable to Ron Santo’s (.277/.362/.464, 342 home runs, 2,254 hits). But Santo posted 70.5 career bWAR, while A-Ram had just 32.4 bWAR.
Why is that? Part of it is because Santo put up those numbers in a much worse offensive environment. The 1960s, when Santo had his best years, were a pitchers’ paradise, especially the years from 1963-68, when the mound was raised to 15 inches instead of its current 10. (There’s a good argument right now to lower it again, but that’s another article topic.)
The other difference is that Santo was a premier defender at third base, winning five Gold Gloves. Ramirez? Let’s be charitable and say he wasn’t too good a defensive third baseman.
In the context of his era, too, Ramirez wasn’t among the elite hitters. He led his league in only three categories (sacrifice flies, twice, and he had 50 doubles with the Brewers in 2012).
Third base, though, is an under-represented position in the Hall. There are just 17 players in the Hall whose primary position was third base. Just eight of those can be considered from fairly modern times — Santo, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews, Paul Molitor, Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, and a couple of those (Jones and Molitor) played other positions for significant portions of their careers.
Is Ramirez on the same level as those players? Not really, but I think you can make a case for him one of the best-hitting third baseman of his time.
I haven’t quite thought about which players I’d vote for this year, but you can surely weigh in.
Here are links to bios for all 25 players on this year’s ballot.
Would you vote for Aramis Ramirez for the Hall of Fame?
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