Last week, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the 34 players who would be on the ballot for possible election in 2015. There are 17 new players on there, and 17 older ones returning from previous elections, like Craig Biggio, who missed election by just two votes in 2014. Since baseball is usually struggling for news during the wintry months, the Hall of Fame debate takes up a good chunk of the headlines, for better or for worse. If you'd like to see analysis on these players, I highly recommend Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe, who has reviewed each Hall of Fame candidate's case since 2004, and since there are 17 returning players, he went through all of them last year here. He'll be going through the newcomers' cases soon as well, but here's a sneak peak regarding his thoughts on the new players, an impressive batch which includes Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield.
Like with the various MLB awards, I thought that it would be fun if I polled the Pinstripe Alley writing staff to see how many Hall of Famers we would elect from this crop if we were given the vote for some bizarre reason. Sixteen of our writers contributed to the mock election, meaning that if a player received 12 votes, he would meet the 75% minimum for induction. So how did we do?
|Player 1||Player 2||Player 3||Player 4||Player 5||Player 6||Player 7||Player 8||Player 9||Player 10|
So there you have it--in a loaded ballot, the PSA staff would be sending seven players to Cooperstown's doors next July: Johnson, Pedro, Mike Mussina, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, and Biggio. All are deserving names, though I'm sure the fact that this is a Yankees blog gave Mussina extra votes on some ballots ahead of the likes of Schilling and Smoltz. (The three have alarmingly similar stats and are all probably Hall of Famers.)
Considering that the BBWAA hasn't elected even four players in one round since 1955, to say that our hypothetical seven-player induction is unlikely is juuuust a bit of an understatement (especially since the BBWAA tends to not agree with the majority of our opinions regarding players under PED allegations, particularly on Bonds and Clemens, who have yet to poll higher than even 37%). The general consensus seems to be that Johnson and Pedro are shoo-ins for this election, and that both Biggio and Smoltz have good shots as well. If even four names can be removed from future ballots, then that would be extremely helpful for the other candidates slowly approaching the 75% threshold, like Piazza (62.2% in 2014), Bagwell (54.3%), and Raines (46.1%). I'm going to be bold and expect three inductees while hoping for four.
What makes our election even more amusing is that if we did not restrict ourselves to the BBWAA's archaic 10-player limit, we probably would have elected more players. Bagwell missed going in by just one vote and Raines by two. I know that on my ballot, I would have happily added a few more names if the limit didn't cut me off. Alas. Next year is only going to get tighter with Ken Griffey, Jr. and Trevor Hoffman joining the fray.
How would you vote for the Hall of Fame? Which players would make your ballot? Who do you think will actually get elected this year?