Today the BBWAA Hall of Fame voting results were announced. For the first time since 1996, no player received the 75% of the vote necessary for enshrinement. On December 20th, I posted my predictions. Here is a look at the actual results and how some of my predictions fared.
I missed badly on Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza but came pretty close with everyone else. I’m happy to be wrong with Biggio and Piazza as I think both are deserving Hall of Famers. Even with the super crowded ballot in 2014, historical trends would suggest Biggio is a lock to get in next year. There is no direct proof that Piazza used steroids, however those rumors have dogged him his entire career. Despite his strong debut (57.8%), his enshrinement is not a sure thing next year, or ever.
Everyone seemed to think Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would each come in around 50%. They each fell well short of that mark (36.2%-37.6%). At least 40% of Hall of Fame voters have made it clear they will not vote for anyone merely suspected of using performance enhancing drugs. I know that many writers eventually think at some point those guys will get in, I don’t see it happening. Unless there is a drastic overhaul in the voting process and with the people who are voting, Bonds and Clemens are never getting into the Hall of Fame. I came very close with my predictions on those two, I had Clemens at 43% and Bonds at 38%. I would expect a modest increase for both next year, however I think they will still fall well below 50%.
Jack Morris had the 2nd highest vote total this year (67.7%), but he failed to get any real traction from last year (66.7%). 2014 will be the final year Morris appears on the ballot, his HOF selection which seemed inevitable last year, now seems to have stalled. That’s probably for the best.
Jeff Bagwell saw only a modest increase of 3.6% in his vote total. Like Piazza, there is no direct evidence that Bagwell used steroids, however rumors of his use persist. Like Piazza, Bagwell is no sure thing to ever get elected.
Despite overwhelming support from the sabermetric community, Tim Raines saw only a modest increase of 3.5%. I thought this would be the year Raines made a big jump forward, but that didn’t happen. Raines continues to inch closer, but his enshrinement is looking more and more doubtful, at least by the BBWAA.
Lee Smith‘s Hall of Fame campaign appears to have flat-lined. He lost votes this year (-2.8%), and with even more high end talent coming on the ballot over the next two years, it’s unlikely Smith will ever get the 75% of vote needed from the writers.
I wasn’t surprised Curt Schilling debuted with a relatively low percentage (38.8%) compared to his career accomplishments. Schilling has several things working against his favor: 1) the “sniff test”, 2) his career win total (216), and 3) his reputation as a blowhard and total self promoting douche. None of those things are valid reasons to keep Schilling out of the Hall of Fame. The writers might vote him in at some point, but he has a long road ahead of him, especially when you consider the ballot has never been this stacked. Schilling is looking at the Blyleven path to the Hall.
Edgar Martinez held steady, but that’s not good for him. As the ballot gets more and more crowded Martinez will likely start to drop. He has almost no chance of getting in by the BBWAA. However, the Veterans Committee might view his accomplishment differently. The same is true for Larry Walker who started to fall this year (-1.3).
Alan Trammell lost votes this year (-3.2). Trammell is yet another example of the “sniff test” gone wrong. He has no chance of getting inducted by the BBWAA, however the Veterans Committee will likely put him in the first chance they have.
From a Hall of Fame stand point, perhaps no player was hurt more by the “steroid era” than Fred McGriff (assuming he was clean). His vote total dropped this year (-1.3%). With the flood of more qualified players appearing on the ballot over the next few years, McGriff will soon fall off it altogether.
This was Dale Murphy‘s final year on the ballot, and he received the biggest increase in vote percentage (4.1%) because of that. Murphy will get serious consideration from the Veterans Committee, as will his contemporary Don Mattingly who will likely fall off the ballot in the next few years.
Speaking of falling off the ballot, I predict 2014 will be the last year Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro are on it. The anti-steroid voters are real and not going anywhere. Sosa and Palmeiro are borderline candidates even with their PED use, and McGwire is viewed as a one trick pony whose power source was artificial. They will all drop off.
Bernie Williams had a good career, perhaps if the ballot wasn’t so crowded he would have gotten more of a look. He fell off the ballot this year, his 2nd year on it.
Kenny Lofton‘s departure from the ballot is unfortunate. I made this Hall of Fame case for him. Lofton joins Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Reggie Smith, and David Cone as the best players to fall of the ballot their first year on it.
David Wells had a very similar career to Jack Morris. He fell off the ballot his first year on it receiving less than 1% of the vote. I agree with that decision.
Who I would have voted for: Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, Schilling, Raines, Biggio, Trammell, Walker, Martinez.
Early predictions for 2014. Maddux is a shoo-in, he will definitely get in. Thomas and Glavine will likely (and should) join him although the crowded ballot will hurt both of their causes. I think they each squeak over 75%. Biggio will join them as well. Everyone else will fall short.
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Originally posted 1/9/13