If you don't know how the Hall of Fame balloting works for baseball, here is the process. Once a player is five years removed from the league, they are placed on the Hall of Fame ballot. A player must receive 75% of the votes to make it into Cooperstown. If no players reach this number, no one gets elected that year (last happened in 2013). If a player receives less than 5% of the votes, they will not be on the ballot next year. A player can stay on the ballot for 10 years (this number used to be 15 years, as shown by several players still on the ballot after more than 10 years that were grandfathered into that system). Voters can put as many as ten players on their ballot, and as few as none.
This system, along with the current players on the ballot, have led to some very interesting times for the Hall of Fame. Some writers refuse to vote for anyone from the "Steroid Era," even the obviously clean ones like Greg Maddux. Others refuse to vote for anyone on their first ballot, which has led to no one ever being a unanimous choice for the Hall. This has led to too many players on the ballot with voters not having enough votes do get everyone in that deserves it. Some voters have recognized the problem and requested the Hall to let them vote for 12 players. This request was denied.
So let's look at this year's ballot. There is really only one player guaranteed to make it this year, but could be up to three. Let's first look at those on the ballot not getting my vote. Those not on their first ballot received at least 5% of the vote last year.
The Rest of the Candidates
* = shot at another ballot
+ = deserves another ballot
Alan Trammell (15th, 25.1% last year)+
Lee Smith (14th, 30.2% last year)*+
Tim Raines (9th, 55% last year)*+
Jeff Bagwell (6th, 55.7% last year)*+
Jeff Kent (3rd, 14% last year)*+
Nomar Garciaparra (2nd, 5.5% last year)*+
Jason Kendall (1st)
Troy Glaus (1st)
Mike Hampton (1st)
Luis Castillo (1st)
Randy Winn (1st)
Garret Anderson (1st)+
Mike Lowell (1st)
Mark Grudzielanek (1st)
Mike Sweeney (1st)+
David Eckstein (1st)
Brad Ausmus (1st)
Honorable MentionsFour of these five are perfect examples of players not getting the attention they deserve when it comes to the Hall. That's because of guys like the fifth one on this list. Sammy Sosa finds himself on the Honorable Mention because of all the PED users, his stellar career achievements seems to be most closely tied to performance enhancers.
Sammy Sosa (4th, 6.6% last year)
Jim Edmonds (1st)
Billy Wagner (1st)
Gary Sheffield (2nd, 11.7% last year)
Fred McGriff (7th, 12.9% last year)
1. Ken Griffey, Jr. (1st)
2. Trevor Hoffman (1st)
3. Roger Clemens (4th, 37.5% last year)
4. Barry Bonds (4th, 36.8% last year)
5. Edgar Martinez (7th, 27% last year)
6. Curt Schilling (4th, 39.2% last year)
7. Mike Piazza (4th, 69.9% last year)
8. Mark McGwire (10th, 10% last year)
9. Larry Walker (6th, 11.8% last year)
10. Mike Mussina (3rd, 24.6% last year)
Mussina seems to have been forgotten the last few seasons due to Hall of Famers like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson getting in. He is not necessarily in that category of player, but that doesn't mean he isn't a Hall of Famer. I heard someone discuss Mike Mussina's candidacy for the Hall of Fame and made an impressive comparison. Mike Mussina's career stats are impressively similar to Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. Look at these stats and try to explain how one is a Hall of Famer and the other isn't.
There is my Hall of Fame ballot. Let me know what you think. Finally, here is my prediction on what will be announced on January 6th. I predict three will be in the Class of 2016.
Ken Griffey, Jr.