January 6, 2011

The Obligatory 2011 Hall of Fame Re-cap

Alright, I'll ask the question...now that Bert Blyleven has had his ticket punched, whose cause is the internet going to champion?  Seriously, I'm going to miss the non-stop Blyleven tweets and blog posts eleven months from now.

As it is...by now, you know that the Dutchman, with 79.7% of the vote, will be enshrined in Cooperstown alongside Roberto Alomar this July.

Alomar, who fell eight votes shy last year, tallied, perhaps, the quiestest 90% of the vote ever. I mean, of the 13 guys who have gotten 90% of the vote or more in the last 20 years...can you think of someone who did it with less fanfare?

The guy ended up with the third most votes (behind only Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn) in history!

But I digress.

More interesting than the two who did make it...might be the 31 who didn't.

Barry Larkin (62.1% this year, 51.6%)
Sure, Alomar had the biggest jump (16.3%) of anyone on the ballot...let's not discredit the 10.5% increase in Larkin's totals. With a paper thin crop of potential first ballot nominees next year...all the 1995 National League MVP needs to do is add another 13% to his total from this year, and he's in.

Jack Morris (53.5%, 52.3%)
I'm thinking that Morris fans were hoping for more of an increase in this, the righty's 12th year on the ballot.  Turth be know...it's going to be tough for Morris to make the Hall at this rate.  While no one of note is on the 2012 ballot, a 22% jump is not going to happen.  That said, the 2013 (with Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling) and 2014 ballots (with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine) aren't going to do Morris any favors.  I know it is premature, but see you on the Veterans Committee ballot, Jack...it was a good run!

Jeff Bagwell (41.7%, first year on the ballot)
Bagwell did surprisingly well this year considering the late push by some to try and link him to the steroid era.  A look ahead could see "Bags" in Cooperstown alongside Randy Johnson 2015 or Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016.  Pretty good company considering the Boston Red Sox once traded him for Larry Andersen.
Larry Walker (20.3%, first year)
Another first ballot guy, Walker actually fared worse than I expected.  I kinda thought the former National League MVP would have finished at about 35-40%...but, then again, I've been pimping the cause of Harold Baines for the last five years as well.  But don't fret Walker fans...Joe DiMaggio went in on his fourth try.

Tim Raines (37.5%, 30.4%)
Alright, "Rock" is going to get his due...mark my words.  In 2010,  dude went from 22.6% to 30.4% and this year...added another 7%.  Raines is my prediction to be the darling of the "internet zealots" in the upcoming years.

Alan Trammell (24.3%, 22.4%) and Dale Murphy (12.6%, 11.7%)

Cases can be, and have been made for both of these guys. At times, each represented the best of the best at their respective positions. I'm guessing both will stay around for the duration of their maximum 15 years on the ballot.

Which leads me to...

Dave Parker (15.3%, 15.2%)
"The Cobra" is now, officially, off the Hall of Fame ballot.  After a 15 year stint on the ballot, the iconic Pirate was never really able to catch the voter's eye.  The best he ever fared...24.5% in 1998.  The best case for Parker now is The Badass Hall of Fame...won't you help me in getting this done?

Lee Smith (45.3%, 47.3%), Edgar Martinez (32.9%, 36.2%), Fred McGriff (17.9%, 21.5%) and Don Mattingly (13.6%, 16.1%)
The fact that all four of these guys lost percentage points is a little bit of a shock.  I honestly thought both Smith and Martinez would increase (with Lee Arthu getting over the 50% hump) their totals.  That said, all four are poised for a collective 60 years on the ballot...with Martinez having the best chance to get in.  Alongside former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016 perhaps?  We'll have to wait and see.

Aaaaaah, steroids.

Mark McGwire (19.8%, 23.7%) and Rafael Palmeiro (11.0%, first year)
One admitted to using and lost votes...the other was found guilty of using and could only find 64.  Both players are among the all-time leaders in multiple categories, but both will certainly be continually punished for the era they played.  I've heard, read and made the "level playing field" argument...but, it appears, if you've actually used PEDs (and not just taken the field alongside those who did) you're not going to get the vote of the writers who turned a blind eye to your usage.  Oh well.

Juan Gonzalez (5.2%, first year)
The candidacy for Gonzalez keeps me up at night.  His numbers are incredible and, potentially, Hall-worthy.  The cloud of suspicion that hangs over his head, however, is going to, more than likely, push "Gonzo" off the ballot in a year or two.  It's a shame really...because dude was incredible to watch.

Fifteen guys (John Franco, Kevin Brown, Tino Martinez, Marquis Grissom, Al Leiter, John Olerud, B.J. Surhoff, Bret Boone, Benito Santiago, Carlos Baerga, Charles Johnson, Bobby Higginson, Raul Mondesi, Kirk Rueter and Lenny Harris) got less than the five percent necessary to stick around next year. Suffice it to say, these guys won’t be missed come 2012...but I did think both Franco and Brown would've gotten enough to be there a year from now.

In this, his fifth year of candidacy, legendary DH Harold Baines (4.8%, 6.1%) is now, officially, off the Hall of Fame ballot.  I've been championing the cause for Baines' candidacy for a while now and I can honestly say I'm disappointed.  The idea of the Hall of Fame is to celebrate those that were the best at their position while they played, right?  Well, throughout the late 80s and 90s...Baines was the game's designated hitter of record.  Sure, sure, the named the annual designated hitter award after the afore mentioned Martinez...but it was Baines and his 2866 hits that I'll most remember.

Rant over.


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