Hall of Fame Results
My predictions were close in some areas, not so close in others. My biggest success was in predicting upward movement across the board. Of the returning players to the ballot, only one (Harold Baines) failed to improve on his total from last year. That was exactly what I thought would happen, with writers taking a closer look at guys they had previously supported following a stingy 2007 when a lot of players lost support. I was incorrect in suggesting that there would be enough support for Jim Rice to get in this year -- but he was just 14 votes shy, and when he comes up for the final time next year I think that he will get in.
Elsewhere, the best news was Bert Blyleven's surge this year. After steadily increasing for several years (from 29.2% in 2003 to 53.3% in 2006), Blyleven fell last year to 47.7%. This year, he made a big jump to 61.9% -- and while that does not guarantee his eventual election, it does bring him closer than he's ever been and restores my hope that he can get elected. Andre Dawson also is in a comfortable range, at 65.9% -- also his highest total ever.
At the bottom end of the list, Harold Baines surprised me by hanging on with 5.2% of the ballot, so he'll be back next year. On the downside, as I previously mentioned, Baines was the only returning player on the ballot to lose votes from last year, although he dropped only 0.1%. The vast majority of the newcomers received barely a sniff, with only Tim Raines (24.3%) staying on the ballot for next season. The highest vote total for the other newcomers was just 2 votes, or 0.4% of the ballot (Rod Beck, Travis Fryman, and Robb Nen). I didn't think that this class would do very well, but I thought a few guys would get a couple of percentage points. That indicates that there aren't as many foolish writers as I thought there were -- but anyone who voted for Todd Stottlemyre or Chuck Knoblauch or Shawon Dunston (each received 1 vote) should have their right to vote immediately revoked.
Looking ahead to next year, Ricky Henderson will get his first crack at the Hall and should be an easy first ballot Hall of Famer. The rest of the new class will include Steve Avery, Jay Bell, Mike Bordick, John Burkett, David Cone, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Charles Nagy, Denny Neagle, Jesse Orosco, Dean Palmer, Dan Plesac, Rick Reed, Greg Vaughn, Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams, and Mike Williams. Guys like Cone and Grace may have enough support to stay on the ballot for a few years, but I don't see them getting elected, and certainly not on the first ballot. That means the smart money will be on Henderson and Rice going into the Hall together in 2009, and hopefully Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven will continue to move closer to their rightful election as well.
Labels: Hall of Fame