Saturday, December 3, 2011

2012 Hall of Fame Sneak Peek

The unofficial kickoff to the Winter Meetings was today, when the Golden Era Veterans Committee submitted their ballots on the Hall of Fame candidacy of ten individuals: former players Ron Santo, Gil Hodges, Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds, Luis Tiant, and executives Charlie Finley and Buzzie Bavasi.

Barry Bloom, of mlb.com, provides background on the ten nominees and lists the members of the voting committee: Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton and Billy Williams; executives Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael, and Al Rosen; and media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck.

The Ron Santo fan club has been
planning a Hall of Fame party
for over 30 years.
It's an honor to simply be considered, but it would be hard to see Ron Santo get overlooked again. As an aficionado of Cuban baseball history, it would be rewarding to see the stories my father told me of Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva immortalized in Cooperstown. The Luis Tiant story also transcends generations from Cuba, but his chances at getting good news tomorrow are between slim and none.

Really, though, who knows? Veteran committees can be unpredictable, considering their voting are often guided by the emotional dynamics of personal relationships.

In last year's Hall of Fame Sneak Peek, we expected Pat Gillick and Marvin Miller would get voted in by a different veterans committee, but they only elected Gillick. He joined the BBWAA ballot inductees Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven.

We found last year's voting interesting, particularly with the new blood of accomplished hitters from the Selig Era.

2011 voting results below:

Batting Stats Pitching Stats
Rk YoB Votes %vote WAR OPS+ ERA+
1 Roberto Alomar 2nd 523 90.0% 63.5 116
2 Bert Blyleven 14th 463 79.7% 87.6 -19 118
3 Barry Larkin 2nd 361 62.1% 68.9 116
4 Jack Morris 12th 311 53.5% 39.3 -100 105
5 Lee Smith 9th 263 45.3% 29.7 -50 132
6 Jeff Bagwell 1st 242 41.7% 79.9 149
7 Tim Raines 4th 218 37.5% 64.6 123
8 Edgar Martinez 2nd 191 32.9% 67.2 147
9 Alan Trammell 10th 141 24.3% 66.9 110
10 Larry Walker 1st 118 20.3% 67.3 140
11 Mark McGwire 5th 115 19.8% 63.1 162
12 Fred McGriff 2nd 104 17.9% 50.5 134
13 Dave Parker 15th 89 15.3% 37.8 121
14 Don Mattingly 11th 79 13.6% 39.8 127
15 Dale Murphy 13th 73 12.6% 44.2 121
16 Rafael Palmeiro 1st 64 11.0% 66.0 132
17 Juan Gonzalez 1st 30 5.2% 33.5 132
18 X-Harold Baines 5th 28 4.8% 37.0 120
19 X-John Franco 1st 27 4.6% 25.5 -52 138
20 X-Kevin Brown 1st 12 2.1% 64.0 -11 127
21 X-Tino Martinez 1st 6 1.0% 25.7 112
22 X-Al Leiter 1st 4 0.7% 36.1 -34 113
23 X-John Olerud 1st 4 0.7% 56.8 128
24 X-Marquis Grissom 1st 4 0.7% 25.6 92
25 X-B.J. Surhoff 1st 2 0.3% 34.4 98
26 X-Bret Boone 1st 1 0.2% 21.4 101
27 X-Benito Santiago 1st 1 0.2% 23.8 93
28 X-Raul Mondesi 1st 0 0.0% 27.2 113
29 X-Carlos Baerga 1st 0 0.0% 16.0 100
30 X-Bobby Higginson 1st 0 0.0% 21.4 113
31 X-Kirk Rueter 1st 0 0.0% 11.5 -6 98
32 X-Charles Johnson 1st 0 0.0% 22.0 97
33 X-Lenny Harris 1st 0 0.0% -0.9 80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/4/2011.

Barry Larkin is knocking on Cooperstown's door, after receiving 62.1% in his second year on the ballot. It will be interesting to see if Jack Morris's case is strengthened or weakened by Bert Blyleven's induction. Lee Smith will likely never get over the 75% hump. Jeff Bagwell should get in this season, or next, as he should have made it last year. Perhaps, a small group of voters are doubting his cleanliness during the Selig Era. For what it's worth, we think Bagwell was clean. Mark MgGwire received the most votes out of any widely suspected steroid user, with 19.8% of the vote, his fifth year of eligibility. Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez barely stayed on the ballot, while Kevin Brown just missed.

Looking ahead to this year's balloting, the Baseball Writers Association of America ballots are due in by December 31st. Players eligible for induction one the ballot are as follows, and voters are able to vote for a maximum of ten players.

Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell should get in.
Jeromy Burnitz
Vinny Castilla
Juan Gonzalez
Brian Jordan
Barry Larkin
Javy Lopez
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Bill Mueller
Terry Mulholland
Dale Murphy
Phil Nevin
East coast bias likes Bernie 
Rafael Palmeiro
Brad Radke
Tim Raines
Tim Salmon
Ruben Sierra
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker
Bernie Williams
Tony Womack
Eric Young

Last year, on our fake ballot, we filled it out, voting for the maximum ten names. Three of the people we voted for are not on the ballot this year. Two of our votes went to Blyleven and Alomar, who got in. John Olerud didn't get enough votes to stay on the ballot, sadly joining a group of players, like Bobby Grich, with excellent Hall of Fame cases but only one year on the ballot.

There's one player we voted for last year, who in retrospect is losing our support this year, Fred McGriff. His rightful place in this discussion deserves more time that we will give it now, as should the debate about changing votes from one year to the next. There is a subtlety there, and I'd be glad to discuss it over a beer with any of you, if you're interested.

No-one in the freshman class gets a vote. Bernie Williams and Tim Salmon had storybook careers, just not ending in Cooperstown.

While I wouldn't vote for him, it would be good to see Dale Murphy get increased support from the voters, in his penultimate vote.

After reviewing baseball-reference's page of 2012 potential Hall of Famers one last time, our final ballot settled on:

Tim Raines should join his former
teammate, Dawson, in the Coop.
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker

What would your ballot look like? Let us know in the comment section; you can vote for up to ten.

Thanks for reading!

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