Sunday, January 22, 2017

Time To Expand The Vote

As you all know, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were all elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday. All three are deserving and worthy Hall of Famers.

Rodriguez made it on his first time out, and just made it by a single percentage point, as he garnered 76% of the vote. This was Bagwell's seventh year on the ballot, and Raines' tenth (and final one of eligibility). Both made it with over 86% of the vote. (Here is the complete vote.)

Trevor Hoffman just missed election with 74% of the vote. If just 5 voters had voted for him who didn't, he would be in as well. First-time candidate Vladimir Guerrero got 71.7% of the vote, or just 15 votes short of induction.

I have been writing for years that it is time for the Hall of Fame voting to be expanded. Right now, Hall of Fame voters have a maximum of ten candidates they can vote for. I've never understood the logic of keeping it at just ten, especially when we are in an era of many quality candidates up for election. Two years, a number of voters revealed they left both Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson off their ballots for the sole reason that they figured both were shoo-ins for election, and wanted to give support to other candidates they felt wouldn't get enough because of the limited number of candidates one could vote for.

I thought the Hall would take action on this matter, and do something to prevent this from happening again. They did nothing.

I am all in favor of expanding the vote to making it unlimited, and one can vote for as many worthy candidates as they see fit. Ryan Thibodaux, on his excellent Hall of Fame Tracker (of the public votes before the announcement), also lists the candidates were left off the ballots by voters but would have voted for should the ballots had been larger, and those that revealed that generally would have voted for 2 of 3 more candidates. So, if unlimited isn't possible, why not expand it to 12 of 15?

An expanded ballot might have put both Hoffman and Guerrero in. Both should make it with no problem next year.

But the case of Jorge Posada is an interesting one.

He was a first-time candidate, and he received just 3.8% of the vote, so he will no longer be considered by the writers. He needed 23 votes, which would have been 5% to have kept him on the ballot next year. He came up six votes short of that. This isn't to say Posada would have gotten my vote, but I would bet with an expanded vote he would have gotten those six votes and maybe more. He was a victim of a loaded field.

I hope the Hall will still consider letting the writers vote for more candidates, as more worthy players will be up for election soon, and the fact that both Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds' numbers continue to increase as the years progress.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's Hall of Fame Time Again

Every person who writes about baseball puts out their own Hall of Fame ballot, so here's mine.

Actually, I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and they sent me a ballot to fill out as they are doing their own voting among the members of the Alliance. So without further ado, here is who I voted for, in no particular order. (I voted for the maximum amount of ten.)

Jeff Bagwell
Tim Raines
Ivan Rodriguez
Vladimir Guerrero

These I think are slam dunks. From the ballots of the actual voters who have made them public, it appears that Bagwell and Raines will get in for sure, and it is Raines' last chance, so there appears to have been a bit of urgency to get him in. He really should have been elected years ago. So should Bagwell, who like Mike Piazza, was a "suspected" PED user, and was kept out until now. It's the first time on the ballot for both Rodriguez and Guerrero, and both are currently on the border. I have no problem voting for both now, and they are both Hall of Fame worthy for sure.

Trevor Hoffman
Edgar Martinez 
Curt Schilling

This is Hoffman's second year on the ballot, and I suspect he won't make it this year. He still put up Hall of Fame numbers, and his time will come. Edgar Martinez was still one of MLB's great designated hitters, and it's about time to honor players at that position. Curt Schilling probably won't make it again this year, and he's not doing himself any favors with his controversial opinons on politics and the messes his mouth gets him in. I would always vote for him for the Hall, but I suspect there are many writers who will always hold his huge ego against him.

Jeff Kent
Fred McGriff
Lee Smith

Here's three guys who will always be overlooked for the Hall. Jeff Kent put up numbers that second basemen in any generation haven't put up, and I'm surprised he gets so little support. Same for Fred McGriff. One of the most feared hitters of his generation, but I am guessing he doesn't get much support because he came up seven home runs short of 500. And Lee Smith was absolutely one of the best closers of the 1980s and 90s, and it's a shame he gets overlooked. This is his final chance at the Hall, and it doesn't appear he'll make it.

No, I didn't vote for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. They are both trending upwards in the 2017 public ballots, and I suspect they may make it by next year. They just won't get my support, and for obvious reasons. And forget about Manny Ramirez. Two failed drug suspensions will forever doom his chance. The question now is will he even get the 5% needed to stay on next year's ballot (and from the current public ballots known, it appears he will).

One beef I have with the Hall of Fame ballot is this rule about only voting for 10 candidates. I'll never understand why it isn't unlimited to as many guys you want to vote for. I would still bet that only a handful would go beyond 10 or 12 on their ballots, but limiting it hurts the chances of those who are borderline Hall of Famers. ( Mike Mussina would be on my ballot if I had more choices.) And a couple of years ago, there were writers who skipped Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson on their ballots because they were assured of election and wanted to put players on the ballot who deserved their support who they otherwise would have left off. That situation has to be rectified.

Anyway, the announcement of the Class of 2017 will be made tonight at 6 PM on MLB Network.