The ballot for the 2014 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced yesterday and included very few former Indians and likely no players that would be wearing Chief Wahoo. In whole, the ballot is stacked, although it is up in the air who will actually be allowed in. The greatest baseball player of all time is on the ballot, but will likely be passed by because he was rude to the media. Also included are the some of the greatest stars of the 1990's including Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as well as Astros' killer bees Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. In addition, the greatest DH of all time, Edgar Martinez is also on the list.
After Kenny Lofton was eliminated after his first year of contention, Indians fans have few players left to root for at the moment. In fact, if Lofton was not of Hall of Fame standards, there will likely not be another Indians Hall of Fame candidate until Omar Vizquel is eligible. Already Lofton, Albert Belle and Sandy Alomar, Jr have been passed by from the powerful 1990's teams and Manny Ramirez is likely to be passed over as well due to steroid allegations. This leaves just Vizquel and Jim Thome as possible Hall of Famers from those teams out of the original expected five or six (Roberto Alomar and Eddie Murray don't count as they were in the twilight of their careers). This year, there are a few former Indians on the ballot, but none are worthy of it's hallowed halls, especially when compared to Lofton and those players listed in the first paragraph.
Indians fans remember Kent as the second baseman who couldn't hit or field that tried to take the place of Carlos Baerga in 1996, but that was just a short part of his career. Showing how important who you bat in front of is, Kent took advantage of batting in front of the greatest hitter of all time, changing from a .777 OPS hitter who had hit 318 RBI in 602 games into a .903 OPS hitter who knocked in 689 runs in his next 900 games. If anything, this can be used as an argument to why the greatest hitter in baseball history should be in the Hall of Fame. Out of fear of facing him with runners on, pitchers turned a terrible utility infielder into an MVP and Hall of Fame contender.
While Lofton was likely kept out of the Hall of Fame due to lack of power (he was the best in the game at everything else), Sexson will be kept out because all he had was power. In 279 games with the Indians, Sexson hit 58 home runs and knocked in almost 200 runs. In Indians history among players with at least 600 at bats, Sexson ranks sixth in at bats per home run (17). Of course, he also ranks ninth among those same hitters in at bats per strike out, K'ing more often than once every four at bats. After his time in Cleveland, he had fair stints in Milwaukee and Seattle, ending his career with 306 home runs, about 300 short of being impressive for a one tool player.
Casey can barely be considered an Indians (like Kent and Jack Morris, who is also on this year's ballot again), but he was drafted by Cleveland and played most of his career for the other Ohio team. Casey was known as a great clubhouse guy and hit 322 doubles in 1,405 career games which could get him into the Good Guy Hall of Fame, but not Cooperstown.
John is on the Expansion Era Ballot for his contributions to the sport along with Joe Torre, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin and everyone else who was every involved with the Yankees. John started his career with the Indians and played there for two years before being traded away to bring back Rocky Colavito. He is most famous for being the first player to have a ligament from his leg inserted into his elbow, a surgery that was then named after him. After his surgery, he ranked in the top ten in Cy Young voting for four straight years, when any previous player would have had to retire. While his numbers are not quite Hall of Fame worthy, but his contribution in being the first guinea pig for the most common surgery in baseball may be enough to get him in. He would likely go into the Hall as a Yankee.
Things aren't looking good for the Indians Hall of Fame chances next year either with just four players eligible (Julian Taverez, Ron Villone, Paul Byrd and Alan Embree), all of whom are slated to be one and done.