Well, after all the posturing and writing about the ballots of the Hall of Fame, the BBWAA released their tallies this morning, and there really weren’t any surprises here. Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were both elected to the Hall this year, and will join Pat Gillick in the class of 2011. Below is the vote total, and how I voted on my BBA ballot:
I find it extremely interesting the year-over-year change for some of these players. Alomar was placed on 133 more ballots this year than last, which resulted in a jump of almost 17% of the total. What did the voters see this year that was missed by so many of them last year? While I think that there are a few among that group who refused to put him on the ballot on his first year because of that reason, that seems unlikely that even a majority of that group did that.
Blyleven also jumped substantially, receiving 63 more votes this year and earning enshrinement in his 14th season on the ballot. He has really been a lightning rod candidate, as much of the debate has surrounded him this year. I am happy to see that he made it, and believe he will truly enjoy it.
Candidates who picked up a higher percentage than last year also included Barry Larkin (who appears likely to make it by 2013), Jack Morris (who has a decent chance of making it before he runs out of eligibility in 2014), Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Dave Parker (who will be removed from the ballot for next year after being on it for 15 years), and Dale Murphy.
The voters do not seem to be in any hurry to put in any of the big name steroid era players, as Mark McGwire received less votes than last year despite over 40 more voters this year. Edgar Martinez saw a drop of 4 votes from last year as well. Harold Baines also finished below the 5% threshold, and will be dropped next year as well.
Of the first year candidates, Jeff Bagwell had the best showing, with 41.7% of the votes received. He seems likely to make it before he runs out of eligibility. Larry Walker received 20%, which seems low, but I would be concerned for him that he may not make it during the 15 years as many slam-dunk candidates start appearing on the ballot.
Rafael Palmeiro is also extremely unlikely to make it in, as he received just 11% of the vote. He is probably going to be the first player with either 3000 hits or 500 home runs (who is eligible) to not be inducted, which is too bad.
Overall, the results seem to be about what everyone expected, and congratulations are definitely in order for both Alomar and Blyleven. Looking at the future classes, here’s how I see it playing out in the next couple of years of balloting:
2012: There aren’t any slam dunk candidates, and this could be the first year since 1996 where no one is selected by the writers. I could see a significant jump in the vote totals of the top level candidates, and my best guess is that Barry Larkin, and possibly Jeff Bagwell will be elected in 2012. Probably the best first year candidate is Bernie Williams, but he seems unlikely to get the 75% next year.
2013: This is the year where we could see a lot of drop off from the previous year’s top candidates, as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, and Craig Biggio are all eligible for the first time. I honestly have no idea how the writers will judge the group of them, but I would estimate that Bonds, Biggio, Clemens, and Piazza all have better than decent chances of getting elected that year.
2014: Another group of high possibility candidates become eligible this year, as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas headline the first year candidates. I think all 3 of them are likely to get in that year, with Maddux likely to receive one of the highest percentages in history.
2015: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez headline this group, with John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield also as likely top candidates. I think we really could be looking at a logjam in the coming years, as voters can only pick a maximum of 10 per year.