2017 Hall of Fame Ballot: Another Busy Year
2017 Hall of Fame Ballot
It has already been announced that Bud Selig will be entering the Hall-of-Fame this year. That has some long-term effects on how the voters will look at any PED-related players going forward. This year that will affect: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez at a minimum.
Below I've recapped all of the holdovers and a few of the first timers who have a legitimate shot at gaining induction to the hall.
Jeff Bagwell's Time Has Come
Tim Raines Time to Fly
Trevor Hoffman: 600 Should be Enough
The Holdovers from Last Year
Jeff Bagwell has been on the ballot for 7 years and achieved a 71.6% vote for induction last year. I think it’s a no-brainer that he goes in this year. This is a long overdue correction that probably happens in relation to Mike Piazza. Just because there is suspicion of PED use does not mean a player should be kept out of the hall. Bagwell was the premier first baseman of his era.
Tim Raines has been on the ballot for ten years, making this one his last. He achieved a 69.8% vote for induction last year and should finally make it in this year. In my opinion, he deserved to go in years ago, he is unfairly compared to Rickey Henderson which hasn’t helped his cause.
Trevor Hoffman is on the ballot for a second year and achieved a 67.3% vote for induction last year. He’s super close so he has a good shot to go in this year. Have to admit, 600+ saves should be an easy decision for voters.
Curt Schilling Is on the ballot for the fifth year and achieved a 53.3% vote for induction last year. I don’t believe he will get a huge push this year. There are a good number of holdovers who need the votes and a few first timers who will pull votes away as well. His erratic behavior the last year or so might also draw voters away from his candidacy.
Roger Clemens Is on the ballot for the fifth year and achieved a 45.2% vote for induction last year. With the induction of Bud Selig by one of the Hall of Fame’s special committee’s this year, I think the voters will have to start really voting for Clemens and other PED-related players who they previously shunned. If Tony La Russa and Joe Torre AND Bud Selig are in, why keep the players who held those guys up, out of the Hall? I don’t think he goes in this year but I bet he goes from 45% into the low 60s which would put him on track for 2018 or 2019.
Barry Bonds Is on the ballot for the fifth year and achieved a 44.3% vote for induction last year. He’s in the same class as Clemens here. I bet he also gets a big push into the low 60% range with a track for induction by 2019.
Edgar Martinez Is on the ballot for the eighth year and achieved a 43.3% vote for induction last year. As much as I like him and he does have an award named after him, I don’t see his percentages moving upward anymore. The only other pure DH I think we’ll ever see on a ballot is David Ortiz whose numbers completely dwarf Edgar’s.
Mike Mussina Is on the ballot for the fourth year and achieved a 43.0% vote for induction last year. I certainly hope he gets a big push because 270 wins, against the toughest league to pitch in, should be more than enough. He didn’t amass numbers due to a lengthy career and he didn’t coast, winning 20 games in his final year. He should have been a no-brainer and for some reason he just isn’t.
Lee Smith Is on the ballot for the fifteenth and final year and achieved a 34.1% vote for induction last year. Closers deserve better appreciation but he won’t get in this year. There are way too many other players who will garner votes and Smith’s career has been completely picked apart for 15 years. If was going to be appreciated for his career it would have been long before Hoffman and Rivera blew past his totals.
Fred McGriff Is on the ballot for the eighth year and achieved a 20.9% vote for induction last year. You know, 493 home runs and over 1500 rbis should get you more than 20%. As a Mets fan, I hated playing against the Crime Dog but I don’t think his percentages significantly change this year.
Jeff Kent Is on the ballot for the fourth year and achieved a 16.6% vote for induction last year. I hate this guy. He wasn’t a great player for the Mets, wasn’t a great teammate and made many blunders during his career but his numbers, while protecting Barry Bonds are impressive and on par with other second baseman already in the Hall. I don’t think his percentages move anywhere but down this year.
Larry Walker Is on the ballot for the seventh year and achieved a 15.5% vote for induction last year. Larry Walker was an amazing hitter. He was always an amazing hitter, just check his numbers with the Expos. He got even better with the Rockies but that gets held against him. I think the elevation of some first timers knocks Walkers numbers down this year.
Gary Sheffield Is on the ballot for the third year and achieved a 11.6% vote for induction last year. He is a 500 Home Run Club member but his relation to PED usage hurts him. Unlike Bonds and Clemens who are considered more complete players, Sheffield’s best claim is the home run power. His numbers won’t be helped this year like the others.
Billy Wagner Is on the ballot for the second year and achieved a 10.5% vote for induction last year. If Lee Smith doesn’t get in, no closer beneath him has a shot (except Bruce Sutter whose 300 saves comes at a different time while he also pioneered the split-finger fastball). Wagner racked up a lot of saves but it won’t be enough for the Hall of Fame.
Sammy Sosa Is on the ballot for the fifth year and achieved a 7.0% vote for induction last year. Being a member of the 600 Home Run Club and part of the Home Run Race in 1998 that put baseball back on the map should count. He is associated with PEDs but I don’t think he was ever proven to have taken them. That said, Sammy has an odd relationship with baseball. I bet his numbers improve slowly, enough to keep him on the ballot.
The First Timers on the ballot
Ivan Rodriguez is on the ballot for the first time and was one of the premier catchers of his era (with Mike Piazza being the other one). He has almost 3000 hits, over 300 home runs and over 1300 runs batted in. He’s a 14 time all star and 5 time Gold Glover so I think he’ll get close if not get in on the first try.
Manny Ramirez is on the ballot for the first time. His numbers are staggering but so was his stupidity. He is a multiple PED offender which should keep him on the outside for several years. He may eventually get in based on his numbers.
Vladimir Guerrero is on the ballot for the first time and his numbers are great. He hit 449 home runs and collected 1496 runs batted in while also batted .318 over a 16-year career. He is also a multiple time All-Star and Silver Slugger. I think he’s a first ballot Hall-of-Famer but he may fall a little short
Of the other first timers (and there are a lot of them, the only other player that might have a shot is Jorge Posada. His numbers are just “OK” by Hall-of-Fame standards. His career numbers include 275 home runs and over 1000 rbis at a very demanding position but he also played well during the post season and he has several rings to prove it. Still, it took Piazza several years and it might take Pudge Rodriguez (see above) a few as well. I don’t see Posada getting in anytime soon but I bet he gets enough to stay on the ballot for a few years.
The rest of the first timers include some really good players but they won’t garner enough votes to stay on the ballot past this year: Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Magglio Ordonez, Derrek Lee, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillen, Casey Blake, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Arthur Rhodes, Matt Stairs
Well, if I've guessed correctly, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Trevor Hoffman go in. I would also like to see Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero go in but I get the feeling they will have to wait until next year. Mike Mussina will also have to wait but shouldn't have to.
I think Bud Selig's induction greatly affects the candidacy of all PED users from his era as Commissioner (too bad for Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro who probably belong in the Hall as well). We'll see over the next few years how that plays out for Bonds, Clemens and Sosa as well as Sheffield and Ramirez.