Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Iván Rodríguez are in the Hall of Fame!

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Iván ("Pudge") Rodríguez are heading to Cooperstown!!!!

Rodríguez made it (with 4 votes more than the minimum) on the first ballot, becoming the second catcher (the other was Johnny Bench) to do so. It's about damn time that Bagwell and, especially, Raines made it into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. They both should have been inducted years ago. Trevor Hoffmann (5 votes short) and Vladimir Guerrero (15 votes short) both cracked 70% of the vote (at least 75% is needed) and should make it next year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds made good progress and finally seem on their way. (If not for their extracurricular issues, they would have of course been inner-circle Hall of Famers and made it with exceptionally large vote percentages on the first ballot.) Mike Mussina gained enough votes to crack 50% of the vote and should gain more next year and hopefully make it soon. Edgar Martínez gained a very large number of votes, and he (along with Mike Mussina) are who we now need to get behind so that they get their richly deserved enshrinements into the Hall. Curt Schilling's vote total went in the wrong direction, seemingly because of his controversial tweets, but he richly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, so hopefully he'll eventually make it as well.

Larry Walker, in his 7th year on the ballot, surpassed 20% of the vote and made some progress, but it looks like he's going to have to wait until some version of the Veterans Committee selects him for the Hall. In my mind, Walker is a Hall of Famer, and a lot of people don't realize just how good he is. Manny Ramírez, who comes with a particularly enormous performance-enhancing-drug (PED) cloud (with two suspensions to his name), cracked 20% of the vote. Voters are clearly softening on this front, as was expected and as I believe is correct, but a rather large difference between Ramírez and players like Bonds and Clemens is that the cloud is much darker for Ramírez, so it will probably take him a long time to get elected. (I suspect he will make it eventually, perhaps from a Veterans Committee.) His statistics on their own obviously merit induction, but Ramírez's relationship with PEDs is very far beyond the border. Jeff Kent, who also belongs in the Hall, continues to get much less support than he deserves. (Fellow middle infielders Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, and Alan Trammell can commiserate. Whitaker even fell off the ballot, which is ridiculous.)

Former commissioner Bud Selig and executive John Schuerholz were elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this offseason by a Veterans Committee.

You can find more information on the Hall of Fame tracker. has a page detailing who will (and others will likely) appear on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot. Hoffman and Guerrero will surely make it next year. I don't think any of the other holdovers will make it next year, but watch for Martínez, Mussina, Clemens, and Bonds to make further progress. Among the newcomers, Chipper Jones will make it easily, Jim Thome will get a lot of votes (but is unlikely to make it in his first year), Scott Rolen will probably get a lot less support than he deserves (though he may be inducted into the Hall of Fame eventually), Omar Vizquel will get a bunch of votes, and perhaps Johnny Damon and Andruw Jones will get enough votes not to get kicked off the ballot. I suspect Thome will make it in his second or third try, and Vizquel will likely make the Hall eventually as well.

Update (1/19/17): I completely forgot to bring up The Crime Dog, Fred McGriff, whose consistent excellence gets overlooked because of the ridiculous numbers from the PED era. It makes it harder to see how great he was, and I think that he should eventually be enshrined as well. He is getting enough votes to stay on the ballot, but his candidacy isn't really going anyway, so he'll probably eventually be selected by a Veterans Committee. Gary Sheffield is another player with enough support to remain on the ballot but who won't make the Hall any time soon. I am not sure whether he should make it.

No comments: