Baseball Hall of Fame season is in full gear as following the announcements of the Today’s Era Finalists last week, Cooperstown has now unveiled the official Hall of Fame ballot.
Let’s take a look at the 35 former players who the Baseball Writers can vote on:
In alphabetical order:
Rick Ankiel: Ankiel is debuting on the ballot and he was the runner-up for the National League Rookie of the Year in 2000 as a Pitcher. Injuries to his pitching arm forced him to abandon that aspect of the game and he would come back as an Outfielder and collect over 400 Hits. This is a great story but just getting on this ballot is a win.
Jason Bay: Bay was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2004 while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and he would be selected for three All Star Games. The Canadian would have 1,200 Hits with 222 Home Runs but he is unlikely to get any votes.
Lance Berkman: Berkman was the third “Killer B” for the Houston Astros and he would later win a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. This is his first time on the ballot and he is a six time All Star with 366 career Home Runs with an OPS at .943. He will struggle to get past the first ballot. Berkman is ranked #89 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Barry Bonds: Bonds returns to the ballot for the seventh time and he had a high vote of 56.4% last year. The All-Time Home Run Leader and 7 time MVP has seen a 20.2% since he debuted and the “PED” guys have gone from “no chance” to “50/50”. Expect another bump this year. Bonds is ranked #2 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Roger Clemens: How fitting that Clemens alphabetically comes after Bonds! Clemens was to pitching what Bonds was hitting and he was a 7 time Cy Young Award winner with 354 career Wins. Like Bonds, he has on his seventh year on the ballot and he had 57.3% of the ballot last year, well up from the 37.6% from his first year. Clemens is ranked #1C on Notinhalloffame.com.
Freddy Garcia: Garcia got off to a good start where he was a two time All Star and he was in the top ten in Cy Young voting twice. The Venezuelan Pitcher won 156 Games and he is on his first ballot but he will likely struggle to get any votes at all.
Jon Garland: Garland was an All Star in 2005, which was the same season he was sixth in Cy Young voting and helped the Chicago White Sox win the World Series. He won 136 Games over his career and he is not expected to receive any votes.
Travis Hafner: Hafner spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians where he would finish in the top ten in MVP voting twice. Over his career he had 1,039 Hits with 213 Home Runs and he would win the American League Slugging Title in 2006. He will be fortunate to get any votes.
Roy Halladay: Halladay is on his first year of eligibility and he has an excellent chance to enter Cooperstown on his first year of eligibility. Over his career, “Doc” was a two time Cy Young winner one in both leagues and he was a top five finisher five times. Halladay had a great record of 203 and 105 with 2,117 Strikeouts. Should he get in, it will be posthumous as he died when he crashed his plane a couple of years ago. Halladay is ranked #5 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Todd Helton: Helton is a five time All Star who spent his entire career with the Colorado Rockies. Helton had 369 Home Runs over 2,519 Hits I n hic career. He is entering his first year of eligibility and while we don’t think he will enter on the first ballot he should receive enough to stay on the ballot. Helton is ranked #10 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Andruw Jones: Jones is on his second year on the Hall of Fame ballot after receiving 7.3 on his debut year. He had great power with 434 Home Runs and he was a ten time Gold Glove winner. Jones had a low vote tally due to a crowded ballot but we think he will see a decent rise this year. Jones is ranked #46 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Jeff Kent: Jeff Kent is on his sixth year of eligibility where he has never escaped the teens, peaking at 16.7% in 2017. The 2000 National League MVP was a five time All Star and he smacked 2,461 Hits with 377 Home Runs. Kent will likely receive the same amount of Hall of Fame support as the previous years. Kent is ranked #52 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Ted Lilly: Lilly had a 15 year career where he was a two time All Star who would have 130 and 113 record. Lilly never received any Cy Young votes and we suspect that he will not receive any Hall of Fame votes either.
Derek Lowe: Lowe was a two time All Star and in 2002 he finished third in Cy Young voting. He would win 176 Games and he helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. Lowe might receive a couple of votes.
Edgar Martinez: The bad news is that this is the last year that former Edgar Martinez is on the ballot. The good news is that he received 70.4% last year and has very solid momentum to get in this year. Arguably the greatest Designated Hitter of all-time had 2,247 Hits with 309 Home Runs and a career Slash Line of .312/.418/.515. He is ranked #14 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Fred McGriff: Like Martinez, Fred McGriff is on his last year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but last year he only had 23.2% of the vote so the odds of him getting another 51.8% seems very unlikely. The five time All Star had 493 Home Runs with 2,490 Hits and will likely have to look at a Veteran’s Committee Induction. He is ranked #32 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Mike Mussina: Mike Mussina is entering his sixth season on the ballot and after a 63.5% finish last year he could gain the support needed to enter this year. Splitting his career between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, Mussina may never been a Cy Young winner but he was in the top six in voting nine times. The Pitcher would have a 270 and 153 record with 2,813 Strikeouts. He is ranked #4 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Darren Oliver: Oliver had a 118 and 98 record over 766 Games. A 20 year veteran, Oliver probably won’t earn a vote but we are glad to see that he was respected enough to earn a spot on the ballot.
Roy Oswalt: This is Roy Oswalt’s first time on the ballot and the three time All Star would finish in the top six in Cy Young in voting six times. He was a two time 20 Game winner who totaled 163 over his career. A win for him this year would to be to make the 5% needed to stay on the ballot next year. He is ranked #104 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Andy Pettitte: In our eyes, the most interesting first ballot vote will be that of Andy Pettitte who amassed a 256 and 135 record with 2,448 Strikeouts. Five times he would finish in the top five in Cy Young voting and he is a five time World Series winner with 19 post-season Wins. He likely won’t get in on the first ballot and he could conceivably finish anywhere between 20% and 55%. Honestly, we can’t pinpoint this one at all. He is ranked #15 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Juan Pierre: Pierre was a speedster who would lead his league in Stolen Bases three times and he had 614 in total. He would have 2,217 Hits with a career Batting Average of .295. Pierre might get a couple of votes but will lucky to get even that.
Placido Polanco: Polanco had a good career with over 2,100 Hits and he was a two time All Star who also won three Gold Gloves. Polanco will be in the same boat as Pierre as they were both good players who will be worth a vote or two.
Manny Ramirez: Manny Ramirez will be on his third ballot but unlike other PED guys he went down last year in his votes. He had 22.0% last year and 23.8% the year before. It has to be remembered that unlike Bonds and Clemens, Ramirez DID test positive. Ramirez is a two time World Series Champion with the Boston Red Sox with four top four MVP votes. He also blasted 555 Home Runs with a career Slash Line of .312/.411/.585. Statistically speaking we know that he meets the criteria but the label of forgiveness hasn’t spread to him…at least not yet. He is ranked #8 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Mariano Rivera: Usually Relief Pitchers are not Hall of Fame locks but there has never been a closer like Mariano Rivera. The Panamanian is the all-time leader in Saves (652) and the career New York Yankee won five World Series titles and his post season record saw him win 8 Games, record 42 Saves and he had a 0.70 ERA and a 0.759 WHIP. It will be a shock if he does not get inducted this year and is the leading vote getter. He is ranked #3 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Scott Rolen: Rolen received 10.2% of the ballot last year and is entering his second year of eligibility. He brings a very balanced resume of eight Gold Gloves, 316 Home Runs, is a World Series Champion (with St. Louis) and in terms of bWAR he is at 70.6. He might see his number increase but not by much. He is ranked #17 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Curt Schilling: Schilling won 216 Games with 3,116 Strikeouts and three times he was the National League Cy Young runner-up but he was even more lights out in the post-season where he was a three time World Series Champion (one with Arizona and two with Boston) with an 11 and 2 record and a 2.23 ERA. Schilling is on his seventh year on the ballot with a 51.2% finish last year, but it is down from where it was two years ago (52.3%). Schilling’s past comments against the media have not helped him, which might explain partially why he is still waiting. He is ranked #7 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Gary Sheffield: Gary Sheffield is another name on the ballot with PED suspicion and has been ballot purgatory for the four years he has been on the ballot finishing anywhere from 11.1% to 13.3%. Sheffield hit 509 Home Runs over his career and perhaps with the less crowded ballot he might increase vote total but it will be difficult to see him rise above the mid-teens. He is ranked #20 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Sammy Sosa: Sammy Sosa has been on the ballot for six years and in his first year on the ballot he received 12.5%. Since that time he never got past 10% and while some PED guys are being forgiven, the former MVP does not seem to be. He had 609 Home Runs with 2,408 Hits over his career, which are incredible numbers yet he will probably struggle to get a double digit vote. He is ranked #30 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Miguel Tejada: Miguel Tejada won the American League MVP in 2002 and over his career he belted 307 Home Runs with 2,407 Hits. For Tejada, a win here would be to get the 5% needed to remain on the ballot but it will be difficult. He is ranked #95 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Omar Vizquel: Omar Vizquel is one of the greatest defensive players ever accumulating 11 Gold Gloves over a 24 year career that also saw him collect 2,877 Hits. This is the second year of eligibility for Vizquel who got 37.0% last year. While many expected Vizquel to get a higher percentage in his ballot debut this is still a good start on the Hall of Fame path. He might increase by ten percent this year. He is ranked #68 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Billy Wagner: Billy Wagner recorded 422 Saves over his career and he is entering his fourth year of eligibility. He received a high of 11.1% last year but it might be hard for him to reach the teens.
Larry Walker: Larry Walker is a former National League MVP who has a career bWAR over 70, a .313 career Batting Average and 383 Home Runs, which overall seems like a Hall of Fame resume on the surface but the former Colorado Rockies star appears to be the victim of what was then the “Coors Field effect” where he had really good home stats. He only has two more chances and he is coming off a high of 34.1%. He will likely see a vote increase but not much. He is ranked #13 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Kevin Youkilis: Youkilis would win two World Series Rings with the Boston Red Sox and was a three time All Star who finished third in MVP voting in 2008. He might get a vote or two but he probably shouldn’t.
Michael Young: Young had a pretty good career where he accumulated 2,375 Hits with an even .300 Batting Average. Young was a seven time All Star and should receive a few votes but it is also possible that we won’t have any.
Jose Contreras, Ryan Dempster, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez, Brad Penny, Yorvit Torrealba and Jake Westbrook played the minimum amount of seasons (10) to qualify for the ballot but they were not included.
The election results will be announced on January 22.
We can guarantee that between now and that time we will have a lot more to write about when it comes to this vote!