So the results are in. The relevant committee of experts met, and made their collective decision. In addition to whoever makes the grade on the regular ballot, the Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome two new members this summer.
Relief pitcher Lee Smith, and…..
It’s nice to know that Major League Baseball has arranged its annual calendar so that we never go more than a week or two without something to talk about. Less than two weeks after the last awards are given out, the Hall of Fame ballot is announced.
This year, we’ve got a couple of no-brainers in the first-timers (Mariano Rivera and Roy Halliday), some likely to make it in this time (Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina). the usual problematic holdovers (e.g. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds), and a whole bunch of other very good players who may or may not get in, but deserve some respect and honor.
Just an aside: Some of the criticism of Edgar Martinez is that he was a designated hitter, and as technically a ‘part-time’ player, he shouldn’t be included among The Greats. But Mariano Rivera, who was also a ‘part-time’ player, is nonetheless one of the All-Time Best? I don’t get it….
Then there are the “one and done” guys, who probably won’t last more than one year on the ballot. They made it to the ballot by being good enough to last ten or more years in the major leagues.
There’s really not much to say about some of them, but let’s give them a salute anyway.
The Baseball Writers Association of America has announced their choices for induction into the Hall of Fame. Add their four choices to the two selected by the Veterans Committee, and there’s a total of six players going in this year. That’s a huge crowd! You can easily look up their stats, and the Hall itself produces and publishes “highlight” films for each of them.
Rather than reiterate all that, I thought I’d post a Fun Fact about each.
Note that I’m not going to make a distinction between those voted in by the writers and those chosen by the committee. The plaques in the actual room don’t care; neither should you.
His older brother Wilton had an eight-year MLB career; the two played together on the Expos for three and a half years.
When he was six weeks old, he had a kidney removed because of an arterial blockage.
Finished his career with more walks (1512) than strikeouts (1409). On a per-season basis, he did that in 12 of his 19 seasons. Only about 30 players have more seasons doing that over their entire career.
Was on the winning side in three World Series, for three different teams. Only four other players can make that claim (John Lackey, Stuffy McInnis, Wally Schang, and Lonnie Smith).
His aunt, Carolyn Thome Hart, is in the National Softball Hall of Fame.
Inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Managed the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games in 2014; went 1-2.
With the announcement of this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductees less than two weeks away, the discussion in the various media has switched from “Who should get inducted” to “Who will (probably) get inducted”. So we’re not seeing much more in the way of JAWS scores or career Wins Above Replacement anymore.
But there are entire groups of people who don’t have any of those numbers who still deserve to belong in any Baseball Hall of Fame you could create. Just because they never played the game shouldn’t disqualify them. There are plenty of non-players who are already enshrined.
So, as an exercise to my handful of readers, if you were starting with a clean slate, which people who never wore a uniform would you have in your Hall of Fame?
Okay, now that we’ve gotten the “one and dones” out of the way, who’s left among the thirty four players on the ballot?
We can pretty much divide the remaining twenty one into three groups:
The Hall of the Really, Really, Really Good:
Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, and Gary Sheffield are holdovers from last year. They are joined by Vladimir Guerrero and Ivan Rodriguez. There’s no one here that stands out as an obvious Hall of Famer like Ken Griffey Jr. did last year. You’ve got to dig into the numbers. They are all potentially worthy; it pretty much comes down to personal opinion. I think closers are overrated – so much for Hoffman. Mussina was never the best pitcher in his league, and really wasn’t that great – he was just very good for a long time. Sheffield never really stood out as a superstar, unlike Guerrero and Rodriguez….
It’s that time again – the Hall of Fame ballot has been released. Fans and writers are already debating the worthiness of holdovers Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, newcomers Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, and the usual arguments over Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
But also on the ballot are a squadron of new names; many of which you’ve never heard of and will probably never hear again. But they have met the minimum requirements for nomination, and might get a vote or two from a friend. And when you’ve been in the Major Leagues for ten years (the required minimum for consideration), it’s kind of hard NOT to pick up a little fame along the way.
So let’s pause and tip our hats to these likely “one and done” candidates, because I’m sure we’d all wish we could at least get as close to Fame as they have.
Today, the Baseball Writers Association of America formally announced the apotheosis of four players: Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. All four are worthy players, deserving of the honor. This is only the fourth time that four or more players have been elected at one time – and one of those was the inaugural class, so that one probably doesn’t count. It is the first time that this many players were selected under the current voting rules, and the first time that seven players (six of them on their first appearance on the ballot) were selected in two consecutive years.
As always, there are a number of writers and a great many commenters who take issue with the voting. Very little has changed since I wrote about the election process last year, so I won’t belabor those points.
There have been a few changes, though….
The Baseball Writers Association of America just released their ballot for the next Hall of Fame election. There are seventeen carryovers from the last balloting, and seventeen first-timers.
The holdovers, with their vote percentage from last year, are: