The following are some thoughts I’ve had about this year’s Hall of Fame voting by the BBWAA but didn’t feel like turning into a full post:
1) I’ve seen a number of articles/commentaries that the Hall process needs to be changed in light of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens not getting selected. Not happening. The HoF did change rules for them—the time for a player on the ballot is now 10 years, not 15 like it used to be, and it worked. They aren’t in, and the Hall is happy. Bonds got 66% and Clemens got 65.2% of the vote. They each tended to up their vote total by about 2% each year—if they had 5 more years on the ballot, they’d get in.
2) Why did Clemens get 3 fewer votes than Bonds? Short answer—3 voters didn’t consider PED use disqualifying but did balk at voting for Clemens over Mindy McCready.
3) Omar Vizquel will still be on the ballot in 2023 (will be his 6th year), but his chances of election is now nil. This past year he has been accused both of physically abusing his ex-wife and sexually harassing a minor league bat boy (and got fired from being a minor league manager). His vote total plummeted from 49.1% last year to 23.9% this year. I personally feel his case for the HoF really isn’t compelling even without finding out about his bad behavior.
4) Speaking of Vizquel…His vote totals on the publicly announced votes prior to yesterday’s HoF announcement were running about 11%. Bonds’ was about 77%; while his numbers dropped 11%, Vizquel’s climbed over 12%. Clearly a number of voters feel using chemicals to try to play better is a worse sin than abusing one’s spouse or sexually harassing a boy. Has to be. Absolutely nobody could say Vizquel was anywhere near as good a player as Bonds with a straight face.
5) Good news for Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner, and Todd Helton…Each climbed to over 50% of the vote (Rolen 63.2%, Wagner 51%, Helton 52%). Thanks to Gil Hodges’ selection by the Golden Days Committee, every player who has received over 50% of the BBWAA vote has eventually gotten into the HoF (not counting Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling). I think Rolen and Helton ultimately do get elected by the BBWAA. Wagner will be in his 8th year next year—he might end up a 10th year inductee like Edgar Martinez was, but he might have to wait for a future Today’s Game Committee. Still, I think he gets there eventually.
6) Curt Schilling now owns the record for highest vote total achieved (71.1% in 2021) by a player ultimately never elected by the BBWAA. Ummmm, congratulations?
7) Still, Gil Hodges’ case is good news for Schilling, Bonds and Clemens, too. First, I don’t think they get in via the Today’s Game Committee this December…but I think they do eventually. It actually wouldn’t be a shock for Schilling to get in that quickly, though—only a couple of members of the Today’s Game Committee will be media members, and his mouth isn’t nearly as offensive to former players as it is to the media. Still, right now I’m predicting some time after 2024 for Schilling.
8) Going nowhere: Gary Sheffield (40.6% last year, 40.6% this year), Jeff Kent (32.4% last year, 32.7% this year), Manny Ramirez (28.2% last year, 28.9% this year), Bobby Abreu (8.7% last year, 8.6% this year). Gary Sheffield will be in his 9th year next year, and Jeff Kent will be in his 10th/final year.
9) Making progress…Andruw Jones (autocorrect really doesn’t like his first name) climbed from 33.9% last year to 41.1% this year. Next year he will be on the ballot for the 6th time. He still has time if he keeps making headway with the voters. See comments above for what to expect if he reaches 50%.
10) Uh oh…besides Vizquel, the following also saw their support slip: Andy Pettite (last year 13.7%, 10.7% this year), Mark Buehrle (11% last year, 5.8% this year), Torii Hunter 9.5% last year, 5.3% this year). Buehrle and Hunter are likely candidates to fall off the ballot next year—Tim Hudson dropped below 5% this year after barely staying on the ballot for this year, having garnered 5.2% last year.
11) Jake Peavy and Carl Crawford got no votes. Joining them in one and done for BBWAA consideration were: Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard, AJ Pierzynski, Prince Fielder, Joe Nathan, Mark Texeira, Jonathan Papelbon, and Justin Morneau. The consolation for them is that not every player who qualified to be on the ballot (10 years in the bigs, retired in 2016) was. Being on the ballot is itself supposed to be an honor.