The always controversial Hall of Fame voting season is nearly over. Tonight, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce this year’s inductees (if there are any, that is). Any player on the ballot that receives votes from at least 75 percent of the electorate will be enshrined as part of the 2023 class.
Last year, just one player made it through by way of BBWAA ballots, in the form of David Ortiz. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each fell about nine percentage points short in their final year of eligibility, clearing the ballot up somewhat.
This time around, there are a couple players with realistic shots in Scott Rolen and Todd Helton. Both made significant pushes toward induction in 2022, and Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker has them both across the threshold, at least on ballots that have thus far been publicly revealed.
This year, as always, we compiled ballots from all of our staff writers, to see if who we would let in, if it were up to us. Historically, those of us at PSA have been far less stingy with our hypothetical HoF votes than the actual electorate.
In 2022, we collectively deemed nine players worthy of enshrinement. Our class this year isn’t quite as packed, but we’d still send a very healthy group to the Hall if we could:
Seven players crossed the 75-percent threshold on our ballots. Interestingly, Carlos Beltrán and Gary Sheffield are in unanimously for us. Beltrán and Sheffield obviously each have solid cases, with Sheffield bashing over 500 homers and consistently ranking among the most feared right-handed sluggers in the game, and Beltrán building a long career based on all-around excellence. That said, neither clears the threshold at their position set by Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric, and Beltrán has his involvement with the Astros sign-stealing scandal hanging over him as his Hall eligibility begins. In any event, both were great players, something none of us sought to deny.
Neither of the public leaders, Helton or Rolen, got in unanimously for us, but each do cross the threshold. Rolen has one of the most straightforward cases in years; a player that rates well by traditional and advanced statistics alike, that has cleared the JAWS threshold, was never implicated in any sort of cheating scandal, and is seemingly well-like among his peers. If he doesn’t get in this year, he should get in soon. Helton too seems like a good bet to get in at some point, if not in 2023.
Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramírez, two of the most polarizing names on the ballot, each get in for us, albeit barely. A-Rod is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players of all time by any statistical measure, but of course admitted to using steroids while with the Rangers, and was suspended for the 2014 season for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. Most of us put him in, but it’s not an unreasonable stance to take to keep him out on the basis that he knowingly took PED’s at a time when they were explicitly banned by MLB.
Ramírez doesn’t have the kind of iron-clad statistical case that A-Rod does, despite Ramírez’s status as one of the most dominant hitters of his generation. He was suspended twice late in his career for PED’s, and also reportedly tested positive in a 2003 survey of players that was supposed to be anonymous. We ultimately found it hard to reject one of the great right-handed hitters of all time.
Our seventh man in is Andruw Jones, a pick that shows an emphasis on peak performance. Jones declined almost the instant he turned 30, but was one of the most sensational players on the planet for most of his 20’s. On the strength of what he was at his best, Jones is in.
Falling just short is Billy Wagner, who needed one more vote on our ballots to go through. This mimics reality, as Wagner’s actual case may go down to the wire. He appeared on 51 percent of ballots last year and has gained support over time, but has just three years left, including this one, to cross the threshold.
Here’s a look at our votes in totality:
How many players would get in on your hypothetical ballot? Let us know in the comments below.