The IBWAA Hall of Fame vote: Here’s mine . . .

I-Rod: in by the BBWAA and in by the IBWAA . . .

I-Rod: in by the BBWAA and in by the IBWAA . . .

Now, about the Hall of Fame: Speaking for myself alone it’s about damn time Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines were elected to Cooperstown, and congratulations to Ivan Rodriguez for making it first ballot. But it’s a shame Vladimir Guerrero missed in his first try. Not to worry, he’s going to make it, perhaps next year.

But so far as the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America is concerned, it was a dead heat between Guerrero and Rodriguez as our picks for Hall of Famers. They both got 84.54 percent of the IBWAA vote—including mine—while Mike Mussina came one vote short of his needed 75 percent and Trevor Hoffman fell short by three.

Yes, Vlad the Impaler is a Hall of Famer . . .

Vlad the Impaler, blasting the game-tying grand slam in Game Three, 2004 Division Series, in Fenway Park . . .

Vlad the Impaler, blasting the game-tying grand slam in Game Three, 2004 Division Series, in Fenway Park . . .

Normally, annually, I give a run down on the Hall of Fame ballot newcomers and holdovers separately, but it isn’t every year Vladimir Guerrero makes his debut on the ballot. But it isn’t every year that a newcomer looks like an obvious, no-questions-asked Hall of Famer in spite of his flaws. And, despite the likelihood that he may not make it first ballot because what’s with or ahead of him looks just that good.

So what’s in a retired number? In theory, greatness; in fact, in some places . . .

Bernie Williams accepts the retirement of his uniform number Sunday.

Bernie Williams accepts the retirement of his uniform number Sunday.

This is nothing against Bernie Williams, the former Yankee center fielder whose number 51 was retired at Yankee Stadium Sunday night, before the game against the Rangers. The man played with class, carried himself with class, and set a major league record for postseason RBIs, among other things. Any time there was a touch of insanity around any Yankee season during his career, Williams seemed often enough the most dignified and accessible Yankee.

In 2011, when he entered the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time (even though he wouldn’t make his retirement official until this year), I wrote thus: