Note: I originally wrote this note to be posted earlier, but never got around to it. By now, the HOF results have already been announced, with Griffey and Piazza being voted in.
In just a few hours, the BBWAA will unveil the latest inductees into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. As a huge fan, of course, I follow this annual announcement with great interest. In anticipation of the results, here is my completely make believe ballot. (Boy, do I wish I had a vote in these things.) If you have a mind, you can see my completely make believe ballot from last year.
- Ken Griffey, Jr. We may be looking at a record setting vote percentage with Griffey tonight. For some asinine reason, there’s never been a unanimous electee and, so the reasoning goes, if Babe Ruth or Willie Mays weren’t unanimous, nobody should be. As it stands, Tom Seaver’s 98.84 percentage of votes is the highest all-time. I can’t possibly fathom a reason to not vote for Griffey. Just look at the 630 homers, the 10 Gold Gloves, that swing, the infectious smile. “The Kid” is truly one of the all-time greats and, best of all, he resides in a rarefied space without even a hint of performance-enhancing additives. The definition of a slam-dunk first ballot Hall of Famer.
- Jeff Bagwell. I would’ve voted for Bagwell last season, so I’m keeping my pretend vote the same this time around. For 15 years, Bagwell was a dynamic, durable superstar; 400+ homers, over 200 steals, and an MVP. Look at that ’94 season. I’d love to know what his numbers would’ve been if the strike hadn’t shortened his season. I’ll repeat what I wrote last year: without concrete evidence of PED use, I think you’d be hard pressed to keep a player with Bagwell’s numbers from induction. And the numbers are quite staggering. As in the case of the next player I’d vote for…
- Mike Piazza. Simply the greatest hitting catcher ever. Like Bagwell, Piazza suffers from the assumption that he was juicing, but without concrete evidence, voters are in a conundrum. Based on the percentage of votes he garnered last winter, I think Piazza has a great chance of induction this time around, which bodes well for Bagwell’s candidacy as well.
- Tim Raines. Again, I would’ve voted for Raines last year and with his time on the ballot coming to a close next winter, I’ll still think of Raines as a Hall of Fame talent. He’s unfairly remembered as a platoon player late in his career, as if that somehow negates the decade he spent as the most dominant leadoff man in the game not named Rickey Henderson.
- Trevor Hoffman. It’ll be interesting to see what the writers choose to do with Hoffman. Closers are increasingly underappreciated by the new generation of baseball statheads. But I’m of the opinion that it does take a special skill set to get those final three pressure-packed outs. In the modern era of bullpen usage, Mariano Rivera is rightly recognized as the best closer of his generation. But Hoffman is right up there, posting a nearly identical career save percentage (89%). I think Hoffman has a good chance of being inducted as well.
- Fred McGriff. As I said last year, I’ve been on the fence about McGriff. But as we watch other sluggers of his era languish as a result of PED suspicions, I have to think McGriff and his 493 homers (presumably PED-free) are worthy of a second look. I doubt he’ll get in; he seems destined to join fellow 80s and 90s stalwarts Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly in the hall of very good. Just not Cooperstown.
That’s six players. Realistically, I think Griffey is a shoo-in and I think Hoffman and Piazza have a good chance to gain the necessary votes this year, too.