Looking ahead – like, WAY ahead – at a crowded Hall of Fame ballot   1 comment

I promised myself that I wouldn’t get worked up about the results of the Hall of Fame balloting last Wednesday.  I don’t know why I did that.  After all, this ballot had been discussed and debated and chewed over since the day it came out – long before it came out, actually.  The holdovers on this year’s ballot – great players like Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Jack Morris, Edgar Martinez, and others – weren’t the primary source of this consternation.

We all know who was.  Barry Bonds, the all-time home run champ.  Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young award winner.  Sammy Sosa, with 609 home runs on his resume.  There were others as well, but these three formed the proverbial three-headed monster that made writers agonize over their ballots and find new ways to interpret the integrity and character “clauses”.  Undeniably talented, yes, but also the poster boys of an era fraught with performance-enhancing drugs.

All three were new to the ballot.  Other newcomers included perennial All-Stars like Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, and Kenny Lofton.  The ballot was, in layman’s terms, pretty damned stacked.

Yet no one was voted in.  Biggio came the closest to induction, receiving 68.2% of the total ballots submitted by the BBWAA.  Of the 569 votes cast (and blanks submitted), he received 388; he needed 427.  To look at the math another way, he did not receive 181 votes.  This essay isn’t to avenge Biggio’s non-induction, but the guy played 20 years for one team, he compiled over 3,000 hits, amassed over 400 steals, just under 300 homers… yet one out of every three voters didn’t think he deserved the nod.

Next year, the ballot gets even more crowded.  Five names are almost guaranteed to get serious consideration in 2014: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, and Mike Mussina.  If voters continue to resist electing star players who played over the last 25 years, picking and choosing one or none at a time, it will get very crowded indeed.

I tried to figure out how crowded.

___________________________________

Using baseball-reference.com, I checked out the top 50 active players in WAR (Wins Above Replacement).  Most of them, in my opinion, will be added to the ballot when they retire.  A few of them, barring a catastrophic statistical collapse or PED-related offense, are stone-cold locks for induction.  Many of the others will get a long look, and stay on the ballot for several years. 

After cherry-picking the best of them, I calculated the year that they would appear on the ballot if they retired at the end of their age-39 season.  You see, I have a crazy theory that guys won’t be slugging .565 when they’re 42, or leading the league in ERA at that age, either.  So 39 is the cut-off, even if they’re playing spectacularly at 38.  If they’re already 39 or older, I’ll give them one more season (Mariano Rivera, I’m looking at you) before cutting their careers off.

I might be missing a name or two, and I might have included someone who you think has no chance at getting in Cooperstown without a ticket.  (I’ve also included the guys that have retired already, whose respective clocks have already started.)  Nonetheless, here is my list.

2014:  Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas

2015:  Carlos Delgado, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz

2016:  Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, Billy Wagner

2017:  Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez

2018:  Jason Giambi, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Omar Vizquel

2019:  Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Ichiro Suzuki, Miguel Tejeda, Jim Thome

2020:  Scott Rolen

2021:  Tim Hudson, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez

2022:  Carlos Beltran, Roy Halladay

2023:  No one, I reckon

2024:  Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley

2025:  Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixiera

2026:  C.C. Sabathia

2027:  No one again, but who knows?

2028:  Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, David Wright

__________________________________

Now onto the next part of the experiment.  I’m going to start adding names to the ballot.  I will start with the 2013 ballot from which no one received 75% of the vote, but did receive 20% or more.  I will also add in their vote percentages, and years on the ballot.  If you don’t get in after 15 years, you’re automatically taken off.

2013:  Craig Biggio (68.2%, 1); Jack Morris (67.7, 14), Jeff Bagwell (59.6, 3), Mike Piazza (57.8, 1), Tim Raines (52.2, 6), Lee Smith (47.8, 11), Curt Schilling (38.8, 1), Roger Clemens (37.6, 1), Barry Bonds (36.2, 1), Edgar Martinez (35.9, 4), Alan Trammell (33.6, 12), Larry Walker (21.6, 3), Fred McGriff (20.7, 4).

Obviously, I won’t be including percentages again, because I’m not psychic.  I just included them here to give us all a starting point.  I included the years simply so I can remove guys from the ballot after (in my opinion) their 15 years of eligibility elapse.  I’ll also color-code (and subsequently remove) the players who I think are getting in, and when.

Deep breath, here we go.  The ballots for the next 15 years, with a few comments:

2014:  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio, Morris, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Smith, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Martinez, Trammell, Walker, McGriff, Thomas, Mussina, Kent – Morris falls off.

2015:  Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Trammell, Walker, McGriff, Thomas, Mussina, Kent, Delgado, Sheffield, Smoltz

2016:  Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Jeff Kent, Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Martinez, Trammell, Walker, McGriff, Thomas, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield, Smoltz, Hoffman, Edmonds, Wagner – Trammell falls off

2017:  Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Martinez, Walker, McGriff, Thomas, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield, Smoltz, Hoffman, Edmonds, Wagner, Guerrero, Posada, Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez – Lee Smith falls off

2018:  Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Tim Raines, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Martinez, Walker, McGriff, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield,  Hoffman, Edmonds, Wagner,  Guerrero,  Posada, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Giambi, Andruw Jones, Vizquel – I predict Edmonds and Andruw Jones fall off

2019:  Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariano Rivera, Abreu, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Tejeda, Thome, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Martinez, Walker, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield, Hoffman, Wagner,  Guerrero, Posada, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Vizquel – I predict Giambi, Ramirez, Tejada, and McGriff fall off

2020:  Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jim Thome, Rolen, Abreu, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Schilling, Martinez, Walker, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield, Smoltz, Hoffman, Wagner,  Guerrero, Posada, Rodriguez, Vizquel – I predict Wagner falls off

2021:  Trevor Hoffman, Rolen, Abreu, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Schilling, Martinez, Walker, Mussina, Delgado, Sheffield, Guerrero, Posada, Ivan Rodriguez, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez

2022:  Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Mussina, Beltran, Halladay, Rolen, Abreu, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Martinez, Walker, Schilling, Delgado, Sheffield, Guerrero, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez – I predict Abreu falls off

2023:  Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, Beltran, Halladay, Rolen, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Martinez, Delgado, Sheffield, Guerrero, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Rodriguez – no rational reason for Walker’s inclusion here; personal favorite, and a gut feeling he becomes the next “fan favorite” to get sabermetric support after Raines’ eventual induction.

2024:  Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero, Rollins, Utley, Beltran, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Delgado, Sheffield, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Rodriguez – I predict Rolen and Martinez fall off the ballot

2025:  Albert Pujols, Holliday, Teixiera, Rollins, Utley, Beltran, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Delgado, Sheffield, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Rodriguez – no one falls off from here on out.  They will all get their 5%, but
I don’t see anyone getting the grass-roots movement going on their behalf, as Blyleven and Raines did.

2026:  Alex Rodriguez, Sabathia, Holliday, Teixiera, Rollins, Utley, Beltran, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Delgado, Sheffield, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz – or A-Rod could get the Sosa treatment.

2027:  Carlos Beltran, Holliday, Teixiera, Rollins, Utley, Sabathia, Damon, Helton, Pettitte, Delgado, Sheffield, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz – no idea.  Beltran, Pettitte, and Vizquel are my best guesses, but I don’t like any of them to get in.  Vizquel might get the anti-PED vote.

2028:  Miguel Cabrera, C.C. Sabathia, Mauer, Wright, Holliday, Teixiera, Rollins, Utley, Damon, Helton, Delgado, Sheffield, Posada, Vizquel , Hudson, Ortiz, Pettitte

Unless the BBWAA writers start putting four or five people a year, the ballot will continue to be backed up for years.   Of course, if you believe the Hall is too inclusive, you don’t have a problem with that.  I’m more of a medium-big Hall guy, myself.  Here’s hoping more players I grew up watching get their due – but I’m not holding my breath for it.

After all, five to ten years is a long time to hold one’s breath.

Biggio

Raines

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Posted January 15, 2013 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

One response to “Looking ahead – like, WAY ahead – at a crowded Hall of Fame ballot

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  1. Thanks for reading, Jared – Hall of Fame season already gets me in a creative mood.

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