The writers of our own blog Reading Between the Seams embarked on the opportunity to evaluate this year’s deep Hall of Fame ballot and see if our thoughts might be an indicator for the final results (to be released on Wednesday, January 8). With our sample size of six voters, it takes five to meet the Hall’s 75% necessary for election. A sample of four (with three positive votes) would have played to the right percentage, but a larger sample size is probably appropriate given the persnickety history of Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters. Our Hall of Fame writing cast had differing opinions on supposed PED users, but came to a consensus that could very well match the BBWAA results.
As for the voting mechanics, all bloggers submitted a private ballot without influence. Once totaled, a brief group discussion took place on our private Facebook page, with a focus on those who didn’t vote for the more popular candidates (which we’ll include in the discussion below). Without further ado…
Greg Maddux (100%)
We vote in Maddux at 100%, he’ll be in for sure
Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson
The question for Maddux isn’t if, but by how much. With 355 wins, an ERA just over 3.00 in a strong hitters era, no ties whatsoever to PEDs (I mean just look at him), “The Professor” is a shoe in. Some rumors are “unanimous”, however if Stan Musial isn’t named on 23 ballots his first year, and Cy Younghad to wait two years to get in, it won’t quite be that way.
Craig Biggio (100%)
Biggio with 3000 hits will get in eventually, probably this year
Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Biggio only needs a bump of 7% over last year’s results and is likely to get it, given the first ballot avoidance given by some writers. With 3,000 hits, he’s in for sure eventually. His total will probably be more like 80% when the dust settles.
Tom Glavine (83%)
Glavine and his 305 wins gets in on our ballot
Glavine accumulated 305 wins and a 3.54 ERA, both worthy. Only one voter did not put in Tom Glavine, and interestingly enough, he did cast a vote for Mike Mussina. Mussina has a better winning percentage and his ERA is about even given the AL/NL DH factor. However, enough voters put in the lefty, we expect Glavine to be voted in by the BBWAA as well.
Frank Thomas (83%)
Nobody on the blog penalized Frank Thomas for being a DH
Thomas is the headline new hitter on the ballot for sure. With over 500 HR and as an ardent critic of PED users, he’s legit. A .301 average, and he reached base over 4,100 times with walks. The only non-voter thought he was close, but didn’t think first ballot worthy in lieu of the huge power numbers of his era.
Missed it by that much, these candidates were one vote shy of election:
Jeff Bagwell (67%)
Bagwell’s defense is probably being overlooked by HoF voters
Bagwell remains an enigma. He has a few detractors who believe he might have used PEDs. Others question straight up whether his numbers are good enough. At 59.6% on the BBWAA ballots last year, he won’t make the leap to 75% and will probably fall short of our 67% tally. One voter who didn’t put him in thought he was just short on career numbers, below 450 HR, below .300 average, and below 2,500 hits. The other non-voter thought McGriff deserves in first based upon HR total. Both fair judgment, neither cited PEDs.
Roger Clemens (67%)
Too many PED questions doomed Clemens on our ballot
Clemens was by far the biggest lightning rod for discussion after the votes were tallied. Two bloggers did not vote him in. One stated:
I have trouble voting for a guy who won 11 games or fewer per season from the age of 29 to 33, then “suddenly” captured youth and dominated again from his mid to late 30′s onward (162 wins after that). With the PED evidence, I have too many questions.
the other stated:
I like Clemens unfortunately, since he was linked to PEDs they would all [steroid users] have to be in.
No question, with 350 wins and an ERA better than Maddux, he’s just as qualified. Much like the real BBWAA voters, enough of our electorate will not put in PED users.
Others getting votes:
Tim Raines 50%
Edgar Martinez 50%
Barry Bonds 50%
Larry Walker 33%
Lee Smith 33%
Mike Piazza 33%
Jeff Kent 33%
Mike Mussina 33%
Fred McGriff 33%
Don Mattingly 17%
Mark McGwire 17%
Jack Morris 17%
Noteworthy who did not get votes: Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Luis Gonzalez, and Moises Alou.
I believe that plus or minus one, this vote will be who really gets in. Frank Thomas may suffer first ballot jitters, Jack Morris may get last ballot sympathy (at 67.7% last year). Nobody below the Bagwell line (<60%) will get in including Bagwell. The next best first ballot guys after Thomas are Jeff Kent, Moises Alou, and Luis Gonzalez, none are clear cut.
Thanks to the guys for pulling this together, I think we are smarter than we get credit for!
– RBTS Staff