Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hall of Fame Results

Congratulations are in order for Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, who were elected today to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Neither selection is unexpected, although the decision on Rice -- who was on the ballot for the last time -- could have fallen on either side of the 75% line. Here are some thoughts on newsworthy topics from the results:

Henderson's Vote Total
A commenter on my predictions post (where I predicted that Henderson would get 96% of the vote) clearly thought I was overstating Henderson's likely support. While I did go a bit high, Henderson received 94.8% of the vote. That's close enough that I think it justifies my prediction; the point was that Henderson was a well-respected player whose credentials would be clear. I think that's borne out by his total.

Rice's Vote Total
I also overstated Rice's eventual total (this will be a recurring theme). I thought Rice would get 78%, while he ended up with just 76.4%. Nonetheless, that keeps the trend alive -- if you get to 70%, you're going to be elected the next year.

Dawson Next in Line
Andre Dawson reached 67% in this year's election. With no dominant players coming onto the ballot next year, that should put Dawson into a good position to get the 8% bump he needs to get elected next year (the list of players who are eligible starting next year is discussed at the bottom of this post). Dawson should benefit from Rice's election, because they are often discussed as similar players. Just as Bruce Sutter opened the door to Goose Gossage, I suspect Rice will open the door for Dawson.

Blyleven Gains -- But Not Much
I wish the news on Blyleven was a little better. On the plus side, he went from 61.9% to 62.7%, which is at least in the right direction. But he remains over 12% away from election, and he has just three years of eligibility remaining. Still, Blyleven is probably in pretty good shape -- two years ago, Jim Rice was at 63.5%. That means that as Blyleven gets onto his last few years on the ballot he's more likely to be considered. Also, 2010, 2011, and 2012 all seem to be good years for veterans like Dawson and Blyleven -- there aren't dominant players like Henderson to brush the veterans off to the side a bit. It might take a couple more years, but I am now pretty confident that Blyleven will get into the Hall.

No Bump for John
At least not much of one. Tommy John, in his final year of eligibility, garnered 31.7% of the vote. That's up from the 29.1% he received last year, but was obviously nowhere near enough to get him elected. His only shot now will be through the horribly broken Veteran's Committee -- a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Stingy Voters
Somewhat surprisingly, both Tim Raines and Mark McGwire lost support from a year ago. Raines fell from 24.3% to 22.6%, while McGwire went from 23.6% to 21.9%. I suspect that Raines lost some support because a few voters compared him (somewhat unfairly) to Rickey Henderson, and so didn't check him off this year. I don't know why McGwire lost support, after staying steady in his first two years. Neither lost enough support to worry about dropping off the ballot, however, and they still have many years for people to consider their candidacies. A few other players, including Alan Trammell, Dave Parker, Don Mattingly, and Dale Murphy also lost support this year. Harold Baines bucked the trend at the bottom of the ballot, gaining slightly from 5.2% to 5.9%.

Other First Timers
Aside from Rickey Henderson, the voters didn't much care for the new candidates. All of them were booted off the ballot, with Mark Grace (4.1%) and David Cone (3.9%) coming the closest to sticking around. I thought both Grace and Cone would last another year, and that Matt Williams would come close -- guess I was wrong on that count!

New Next Year
Here's the list of eligible players, most of whom will probably end up on the ballot (only to be quickly ushered off after one cycle):
Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Ellis Burks, Dave Burba, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McLemore, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Fernando Vina, Todd Zeile.

There are some interesting names on the list -- I expect to look hard at Roberto Alomar, Andres Galarraga, Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez when I think about it next year. But none of these players have the "without question" quality to them of a Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn, or Cal Ripken, Jr., to name a few from the past couple of years who have been obvious. That could make things interesting next year -- and I hate to say it, but it seems entirely possible that no one could get elected next year. I sincerely hope that's not the case!



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