Thinking about 2017 for the Hall of Fame

11 01 2016

Over the last few posts, I updated for the number of Hall of Famers in each regular Topps set and Topps Traded set.  And I talked about Senior Griffey’s autobiography.  One thing I didn’t do was go through my thoughts on the numbers of the actual voting.  I’ve had a little more time to digest it, which basically means I’ve thought through how future votes might play out.  If you come here just to read about baseball cards, feel free to come back tomorrow for our regularly scheduled programming!

First, I’d like to say only one thing that significantly surprised me was Trevor Hoffman’s vote total.  He got 67.3%, which was shocking to me.  I had him pegged for 30%.  I just read and heard so many baseball guys questioning his candidacy – even if they said they’d vote for him.  The other impactful development was that Raines and Bagwell didn’t get in.  Griffey was a lock and Piazza was pretty close to a sure thing as well.  But Raines and Bagwell were going to be close.  I thought they’d be just short but I hoped one would make it.  They will almost assuredly both get in next year, but what it means is that their votes aren’t coming off the ballot.

What do I mean by that?  Well, the fact is that most HOF voters don’t change their votes much year over year.  So if a voter had Piazza on his ballot last year, he is extremely likely to have him on the ballot this year.  There are 2 reasons a voter will change his vote on a specific player.  The obvious, more traditional, reason is that a writer reconsiders his/her position on a particular player.  The newer “synthesized” reason is that a writer adds a player he/she couldn’t previously vote for because of the “rule of 10”.

The latter has become a significant factor.   The rule of 10 really limits voters, as many voters are forced to pick their top 10 when they feel there are 12-15 Hall of Famers on the ballot.  A quick scan of the ballots made public shows that a little over half featured the maximum 10 players.  It’s pretty fair to assume most of them would have picked 12, 13 or even more guys if they weren’t limited.  This isn’t because the voters are ridiculous, it’s because the ballot has become much

In 2015, there was an average of 8.42 votes per ballot.  In 2014 that number was 8.40.  I don’t need to do a lot of research to be sure those are the top 2 in baseball HOF voting history.  This year it was 7.95, and I would bet my Griffey rookie card that’s the 3rd most ever.  And outside of Griffey, it’s a down year for new candidates!  These “records” are partially driven by extremely strong first ballot classes in 2014 and 2015.  But it’s really due to the strongest holdover classes ever – Biggio, Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Mussina, Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Bonds and Clemens.  The rule of 10 is to blame here.  It is already very difficult to get 400-500 writers from different parts of the country to collectively agree at a 75 percent level, particularly with steroids as a divisive issue.  The rule of 10 makes raises that difficulty up a notch, to a level that the Hall hasn’t really had before.

What does all that mean?  Well – whoever doesn’t get elected this year has an impact on next year’s voting.  Since Bagwell and Raines were really close, but didn’t get in, that means there are 2 guys on 70% of the ballot taking up potential votes for next year’s candidates.  Only Basically, only 2.3 of those 7.9 votes per ballot are coming off the ballot next year (basically from Griffey, Piazza and Trammell).  The previous two years, that was 3.7 and 3.4 coming off.

In short, there aren’t as many carryover votes to spread around.

Next year isn’t a great class of new candidates, but Vlad Guerrero will get a lot of votes, while Pudge Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Manny Ramirez will also take slots on some voters’ 10-player ballots.  I think Bagwell and Raines will still get a bump to get elected.  But I bet you’ll see dips in numbers for Martinez, Schilling, Mussina, Bonds and Clemens.  Hoffman will be interesting.  On one side, he’ll be negatively impacted by the factor I just outlined.  On the other hand, he has to benefit from being in the 2nd year, because some voters have historically kept guys off their ballot in year 1.  I think that’s happening less than it used to after the Hall took out voters who haven’t covered baseball in the last 10 years, so my guess is that Hoffman will go up a bit, but not get to 75%.  So I think it will be a 2 person class next year.

I didn’t mean to get too analytical on a baseball card blog – just kidding, that’s exactly what I wanted to do!  Tomorrow, back to baseball cards!

Oh, and if you stuck around til the end, here’s a baseball card for you.  Consider this a harbinger of things to come.

2011 Topps Heritage Jackie Robinson Special 143




2 responses

12 01 2016

I could see Bonds, Clemens, and perhaps Martinez dipping next year. However, I think Schilling (and to a lesser extent, Mussina) have been gaining momentum and I expect them to see increases next year, although maybe only modest ones.

I think the reason for Hoffman’s large vote total is the fact that he was the first to 600 saves. I can see that becoming a “magic” HOF number, in the same way 300 wins and 3,000 hits are, and 500 home runs used to be. I agree the new candidates will split the vote enough to keep him out one more year, though.

I’m interested to see how some of the new players do. Vlad will get a lot of support, no doubt. Manny’s two suspensions will count against him – I think he will do worse than Bonds and Clemens, but will he do better than McGwire did? He’s certainly got some great numbers on his side beyond just the home runs.

Posada is interesting to me also. I think if he didn’t have 5 rings, he wouldn’t get much of a look. I’m curious to see how some of the voters will value the championships.

Pudge has some similarities with Piazza (good and bad), so I could see him taking a similar path to the hall, although his first year vote total could come in lower than Piazza’s initial 57.8%.

12 01 2016

I think Manny will get about 10 percent. There are alot of media members who would vote for Bonds and Clemens but not Manny. The reason I’ve heard – Manny definitely broke the rules where Bonds and anyone before 2005 effectively didn’t break any rules because there wasn’t testing.

If I had to guess, I’d think Vlad and Hoffman get really close, but don’t get in. And then Bagwell and Raines are the 2 that do get in. I hope all 4 get in next year, just to free the ballot up for Schilling and Mussina, because 2018 and 2019 are better classes.

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