Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame Vote’

One Strong Biggio Consolation

January 9, 2014
Red Ruffing was 1-1 in HOF runoff elections.

Red Ruffing was 1-1 in HOF runoff elections.

Craig Biggio came closer to induction by the writers’ ballot and missed the Hall of Fame by the smallest margin by any candidate, all time. Biggio reached 74.8% this year, 2014; Nellie Fox pulled a 74.7% level of support in 1985; and Pie Traynor hit 73.9% at the close, but failed support level in 1947. – The trouble for all three? The ballot is controlled by some loose cannon, self-important writer egos and you need approval from 75.o% of them to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

But here’s the punchline: Every candidate who has reached 70.0% to 74.9% support and missed induction by a whisker brush-off from some type of writer arrogance has eventually made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. For most, they’ve made it into the HOF on the following year’s ballot. And every player who missed on his final run at the writer’s vote has later been inducted by the Veterans Committee.

Here’s a chart to show how that has worked out for the 25 men who registered 27 lower 70% totals on their ways to induction. The chart shows how each candidate registered in their failed vote years, plus how and when they got in subsequently by either a clear 75% Writers’ support vote or Veterans Committee approval. In two interesting instances, Red Ruffing (1967) and Jim Bunning (1988) won induction by Writers group run-off elections.

The chart only includes candidates who registered sub-par 70-75% vote support prior to induction by writers vote or committee recommendation:

1 Craig    Biggio 2014 74.8% ~ ~
2 Burt  Blyleven 2010 74.2% 2011 79.7%
3 Jim         Rice 2008 72.2% 2009 76.4%
4 Gary    Carter 2002 72.7% 2003 78.0%
5 Goose Gossage 2007 71.2% 2008 85.8%
6 Don     Sutton 1997 73.2% 1998 81.6%
7 Orlando Cepeda 1994 73.5% 1999 Veterans Committee
8 Roberto Alomar 2010 73.7% 2011 90.0%
9 Gaylord Perry 1990 72.1% 1991 77.2%
10 Jim             Bunning 2 1988 74.2% 1996 Veterans Committee
11 Jim             Bunning 1 1987 70.0% See  Jim Bunning 2 See Jim Bunning 2
12 Billy  Williams 1986 74.1% 1987 85.7%
13 Nellie          Fox 1985 74.7% 1997 Veterans Committee
14 Hoyt  Wilhelm 1984 72.0% 1985 83.8%
15 Harmon Killebrew 1983 71.9% 1984 83.1%
16 Juan Marichal 1982 73.5% 1983 83.7%
17 Duke   Snider 1979 71.3% 1980 86.9
18 Robin Roberts 1975 72.7% 1976 86.9%
19 Roy Campanella 1968 72.4% 1969 79.4%
20 Joe   Medwick 1967 72.6% 1968 84.8%
21 Red    Ruffing 2 1967 72.6% 1967 * See Note Below
22 Red    Ruffing 1 1964 70.1 See Red Ruffing 2 See Red Ruffing 2
23 Luke   Appling 1964 70.6% 1964 ** See Note Below
24 Bill        Terry 1953 72.3% 1954 77.4%
25 Paul     Waner 1951 71.7% 1952 83.3%
26 Pie     Traynor 1947 73.9% 1948 76.9%
27 Frank Chance 1945 72.5% 1946 Veterans Committee

* “The balloting of 1967 was Ruffing’s final year of eligibility, as he had retired twenty years prior. Ruffing finished with 212 votes, tied with Joe Medwick for the highest vote count, but was seven votes short of the 219 required for induction.[90] However, a runoff election held the next month saw Ruffing into the Hall of Fame the next month.[91]” – WIKIPEDIA ON CHARLES “RED” RUFFING. …

** In 1964, Luke Appling finished at 70.6% on the ballot in his last time up with the writers and Red Ruffing stopped at 70.1%. With no one qualifying for induction, the writers conducted a runoff and selected Luke Appling for induction.

Keep the faith, Craig! – You deserve to be there – and you will be!

Steroid Sanctimony Bleeding on Bagwell

January 8, 2011

Jeff Bagwell May Have Muscled Way Out of Cooperstown.

I was disappointed that Jeff Bagwell got only 41.7% of the BBWA first ballot vote for the Hall of Fame. After all,  Jeff arrived for eligible voter consideration as the only first baseman in history with over 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases on his career resume. Maybe that’s not good enough for a first try admissions ticket, but he also did a few other things that should have drawn him objectively closer to the 75% that all candidates need for induction into baseball’s temple of highest honor. He also had an adjusted OPS rating of 130 or higher over 12 consecutive seasons. Bagwell and Lou Gehrig are the only first basemen in history to pull that off. Bagwell also stood alone as the only first baseman ever to produce a 30 homer, 30 stolen base season too – and he did that one twice. Thrown in the fact that he also put up six consecutive seasons of at least 30 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored and, for his career, that he drove in more than 1,500 runs and scored more than 1,500 runs.

Based on his honest, measurable numbers of meaningful baseball accomplishment, Jeff Bagwell deserved more votes than he got on his first HOF ballot. I have tried in the days that have passed to put this result aside as OK and not too ominous an omen for the future. Then I read an online article by Bernie Miklasz, a sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I suggest you read it too:

Miklasz makes some great points about the hypocrisy  of our baseball writer culture. Now, without admission, conviction, or clear evidence, the muscular achievers of the so-called steroid era are being shut out of the HOF for moral reasons (the HOF’s integrity clause) by the same group of people who cheered a few of them (notably McGwire) as the resurrection of baseball back in the late 1990s. Miklasz also duly notes that the HOF apparently was able in past years to overlook offenses of racism, vis-a-vis segregation, and past other drug abuse issues, (amphetamines, for example), to clear the way for induction of players who in other ways “may have” violated the so-called integrity clause.

Now comes Jeff Bagwell, unaccused by the Mitchell Commission or the peer likes of any Jose Canseco types – and what does he get? Here’s what 58.3% of the eligible voters of the Baseball Writers of America gave him: (1) Suspicion. (2) Conviction on Suspicion: The man’s never staged his own trial to clear himself. Plus, he had muscles at a time when having muscles was bad. (3) Inaction to Take: What do we do? How about nothing! Until Bagwell, or somebody, clears his name, let’s just sit back and treat Bagwell and a few others as though they never did anything of note in their baseball careers. Let Jeff Bagwell serve as the poster boy for all the great players to come that shall also be stained by  factors of physical, associative, or cultural inference in the shadows of the steroid era. Treat them as though they never existed.

If that happens, I say, “let there be a pox upon the houses of all voters who handle Jeff Bagwell and others in this manner.”