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BBWAA Will Not Induct Anyone Until 2014

By Mike Silva ~ December 19th, 2011. Filed under: Hall of Fame.

It’s been nearly 15 years since the BBWAA elected to not enshrine someone in Cooperstown. During the 1996 election, Phil Niekro received 68.3% of the vote, followed by Tony Perez (65.7%), and Don Sutton (63.8%). Ironically, all three would be enshrined by 2000.  I believe there is a good chance no one will be inducted by the BBWAA the next two years, however there won’t be corrections to many deserved Hall of Famer’s as there was in the case of Niekro, Perez, and Sutton.

Let’s start with this year. Barry Larkin received 62.1% of the vote in 2011. Despite compiling great numbers at shortstop, those that watched him know he was a very good, but not great player. Injuries probably robbed him of what would have been a career very similar to Derek Jeter. Jack Morris is a polarizing topic, as proponents of modern day stats have campaigned against him as hard as they did for inclusion of Bert Blyleven. Many new voters will look past the 254 wins and historic Game 7 in 1991 and judge him on his peripherals; which are made out to be worse than reality. Morris has three more years on the ballot, but with Maddux and Glavine coming up in 2014, he will need to make his move the next two years. I don’t see him jumping very much from last year’s 53.5%. If Morris ever does get in, it will be with the Veterans Committee.

I see Tim Raines and Alan Trammel falling into that same category as well. It will also be a long time before the Designated Hitter is recognized as a viable position. It took closers till the turn of the century to get their due (Hoyt Wilhelm the rare exception), so it might be 20 years before we see that thought process vetted out. That mean Edgar Martinez shouldn’t hold his breath.

Considering that steroid accusations follow deserved Hall of Famer’s such as Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mark McGwire the odds of anyone collecting 75% of the vote this year are slim. Thus far, in our very own fan tally here at NYBD, the results are all over the map, and it appears no one will come close to the magic number. The biggest shame is Bagwell, who never had concrete proof of steroid use during his career, but for some reason gets tied in with Palmeiro and McGwire. I suspect his 41.7% showing during his first year on the ballot will be a high-water mark.

Fast forward to next year, with the mother of all Hall of Fame ballots that will include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and Mike Piazza for the first time. I believe all deserve induction; however I doubt it will be easy for any- if ever. Over the weekend, Peter Botte of the Daily News polled 21 members of the BBWAA, of which 12 said they would not vote for Bonds. A small sample, but one that’s a fair representation, at least in my opinion, of where Bonds stands with a majority of the writers. Expect 35 to 45 percent support for both Bonds and Roger Clemens. I expect Sosa to get even less, perhaps in the 11-20 percent range like Palmeiro. Mike Piazza may get more, simply because he was good with the media in New York, but if Roberto Alomar didn’t get in on the first ballot, neither will Piazza. It will be the BBWAA’s way of punishing him for back acne. Craig Biggio probably will be the closest because of his 3,000 hits, but will fall just short due to the same first year punishment. Maybe Piazza and Biggo get the call in 2013, but its far from a certainty.

So when will we see the BBWAA elect someone next? 2014 when Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux appear on the ballot. Ironically, Jeff Kent, another deserved Hall of Famer will be on it as well. I expect Cooperstown to be filled with Atlanta Braves hats as two-thirds of the Braves “Big Three” from the nineties will be honored. Perhaps they should erect a statue of home plate and a pitch six inches outside along with them for old time’s sake.

Seriously, both Glavine and Maddux are Hall of Famer’s and deserve election, but the fact that we may see 10 Hall of Fame worthy individuals from the nineties get snubbed because of sanctimonious beliefs, is a crime. I support every member of the BBWAA voting as they wish; it’s their right. I do wish they would vote based on what was achieved on the field without injecting their morality and amateur degree in pharmacology into it.

As a new wave of writers that grew up expanding their knowledge on the internet infiltrates the BBWAA, this should become less of an issue. There will be tradeoffs, as these individuals are far more linear thinkers than their old school brethren, but I can deal with them snubbing guys like Jack Morris, who very well will make it with the Veterans Committee. I can’t deal with seeing some of the greatest players of all-time being denied election over fake morality outrage.

I am never one to advocate more “black and white” thinking into a process. In the case of Hall of Fame voting, the fake outrage of the morality of PED use has forced me to support less creativity in the vote and more cold hard facts.

Want to cast your vote for the Hall of Fame? Tell us who you support in the NYBD Hall of Fame ballot.

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19 Responses to BBWAA Will Not Induct Anyone Until 2014

  1. Jimmy

    “It’s been nearly 15 years since the BBWAA elected to not enshrine someone in Cooperstown. During the 1996 election, Phil Niekro received 68.3% of the vote, followed by Tony Perez (65.7%), and Don Sutton (63.8%). Ironically, all three would be enshrined by 2000. ”

    How is that ironic?

  2. transformer

    why the apostrophe in hall of famers?

  3. Pablo

    I disagree on Piazza. There is no good reason for keeping him out of the HOF on the first ballot. He was clearly the most prolific slugger at his position during his era, and is the all time HR leader for catchers. Alomar should not have been denied entry on the first ballot either, but some writers never got over the spitting incident with the umpire. Piazza never had any kind of negative PR incident like that in which he was clearly culpable. To deny anyone entry into the HOF over back acne, without any proof of steroid use is insane and unfair. Piazza will be inducted into the HOF in 2013 on the first try as he should be.

  4. Chuck Johnson

    “as proponents of modern day stats have campaigned against him as hard as they did for inclusion of Bert Blyleven.”

    “Modern day” stats had nothing to do with Blyleven getting in, and you should be embarrassed for thinking it, much less saying it.

    “The biggest shame is Bagwell, who never had concrete proof of steroid use during his career…”

    That you know of.

    Why do you think he only got 41.7? Because those who vote know.

    Not rocket science.

    “Jeff Kent, another deserved Hall of Famer…”

    Stop, stop, LOL..you’re killing me.

    Morris isn’t a HOFer either.

    Come on, Mike, do you want like a thousand guys in the Hall?

  5. Brien Jackson

    “Why do you think he only got 41.7? Because those who vote know.”

    I’ve heard this before, but it’s absurd. If a baseball writer has good reason to suspect Bagwell used steroids, then why the hell won’t any of them come out and say as much. That no one will actually put a straight forward accusation out there, even given the permissive atmosphere that pervades around such accusations, pretty much says everything you need to know about that.

    I actually think Bagwell might get closer than expected this year, as I suspect a healthy share of his non-votes last year came from those ninnies who think he belongs in the Hall, but not on the first ballot, and so take it upon themselves to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  6. Nate Dunlevy

    Those who saw Larkin didn’t think he was great? I’d say 62% of the Hall voters already disagree with you.

    Larkin was a dominant shortstop, without question one of the top 10 to ever play the game.

    Shocking lack of knowledge and context from you there.

  7. Mike Silva

    Nate, he never played a full season. How can you put a guy in the HOF that played 150+ games only 4 times?

    The problem with Larkin is that he never sustained a period of dominance. He always seemed to have a season (usually caused by injury) that interrupted that string. He also played in an offensive era where other SS (Garciaparra, A-Rod, Jeter, Tejada) were top notch hitters. The ’95 MVP and two Gold Gloves aren’t enough. Some like to point out his numbers compare favorably to Jeter. From 1998 to 2007 Jeter has ten consecutive seasons that I would call “Hall of Fame Worthy.” When you add in 2009 it brings the total to eleven Hall of Fame seasons in his 17 year career. On the other hand, Larkin has, in my estimation, five seasons that are Hall of Fame worthy (’91,’92, ’95, ’96, and ‘98).

    You can read the rest of my ballot below


  8. Mike Silva

    Chuck, while I agree that Jack Morris is certainly a bubble candidate (I won’t go crazy if he doesn’t make it), the point about Blyleven was the advance metric community really pushed for him. Many traditional voters didn’t want to vote for Blyleven. I agree he is a HOF candidate whether you use traditional or advanced metrics, but the internet helped his cause - no doubt about it.

    As for steroids, Victor Conte said he estimates that 50% of players used steroids and 80% used stimulants in an article today. That is pretty high, but Conte is someone that I respect since he comes from BALCO. If you go by the no steroid=don’t get int standard than most 90s players are under suspicion. The late nineties Yankees were a known juicer team (2000), should we suspect Jeter as well? Essentially that is what some (Jeff Pearlman did this on my show) say about Bagwell. Houston is close to Mexico and Ken Caminiti played for the Astros so Bagwell is a juicer. Actually, I think Biggo’s numbers resemble a juicer more than Bagwell, as his power numbers jumped in the middle of his career (in the Dome no less!).

    I will examine Jeff Kent in more detail down the road, but Kent has the most HR and second most RBI for 2b in the history of baseball. Can you honestly say he is worse offensively than Ryne Sandberg? He wasn’t the defensive player that Ryno was, but offensively, Kent was right there, and probably better.

    From 1997-2005 a typical season (at 2b) was .296, 28 HRs, 110 RBI, and a .895 OPS (OPS+ of 136 for what it’s worth)

    He might not be Joe Morgan, but there is a case. The only knock you can make is he was a late bloomer, as he struggled with the Mets. I think if he came up in a different market (and with a less poisonous team) he might have emerged at a younger age.

    Kent was very immature in his early years, so who knows.

  9. Chuck Johnson

    “but Kent has the most HR and second most RBI for 2b in the history of baseball. ”

    So what?

  10. scottso

    2012 Larkin Bagwell should be in.
    2013…Piazza, Biggio, Schilling.
    2014…Maddux, Glavine, Kent, Frank Thomas
    2015…Randy Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz
    2016…Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman

    Those needing more time but will eventually get in: Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Mussina, Sheffield, Pettite

  11. UncleMario

    “the fake outrage of the morality of PED”

    Howell Raines and the New York Times’ 2002 Crusade against the Augusta National Golf Club had MORE fake outrage than this especially spiking a article from Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist Dave Anderson.

  12. tnt1528

    scottso,mussina and pettite are h.o.f.’ers? bonds ,clemens ,sosa, sheffield and pettite are/were steroid users.if mcgwire and palmeiro didnt get in what makes you think these other guys are?

  13. gringoculto

    If we were looking at this objectively, both Bonds and Clemens are first ballot HOFers, based on what they did ON the field before they were involved in PRD allegations.

    I can believe that Bonds, used PEDs, his whole body changed, including the size of his head. But recall that BEFORE the PED era…he was in a class with Frank Robinson if not equal to Mays and Aaron. he hit 445 HRs BEFORE he juiced…multiiple gold gloves hit for power hit for average….. stole bases..

    He was great BEFORE steriods, thats differetn then Sosa and Palmeiro.

    Clemens was a first ballot HOFer AFTER 15 years and Boston and Toronto and before New York and Houston …..he went 233-124, and 5 CYAs…As far as I am concerned he and Grove are the two pre eminent pitchers of the live ball era….Randy Johnson is right there, maybe equal maybe just a smidge under…..

    Clemens legal suit ended in a mistrial…..the government completley screwed up….There is NO reason to keep him out of the HOF, he is a pantheon pitcher.

    and everyone else as great as they are , is just another smidge under…that includes Maddux and Seaver and Spahn.

    For 2012, I would vote for Bagwell and Martinez. and Raines.

    If its going to take 20 years ot put Edgar Martinez into the HOf, there is something wrong with baseball. It took 32 years to put Ron Santo into the HOF, let s not screw over Edgar.

    GREAT players who represent strategy changes in baseball should NOT be penalized.

  14. GregD

    There’s a common misperception that Larkin was hurt too much to gain entry to the HOF. Two years ago, I put together the following chart to show Larkin’s counting and rate stats relative to the other HOF shortstops. Of the 22, Barry was ranked near or above the top 10 in most categories, notably he would rank 11th in games played and 9th in OPS+.


    It’s also a bit inaccurate to consider Larkin as contemporaries with Jeter, A-Rod, and Tejada. When Jeter and Rodriguez got their first fulltime gigs in 1996, Larkin was 32 years old playing in his 11th season. By the time Tejada was the A’s SS, Larkin was 34.

  15. rick

    ““The biggest shame is Bagwell, who never had concrete proof of steroid use during his career…”

    That you know of.”

    Hence the lack of concrete proof. Concrete, as in set in stone. As in solidly proven with fact and evidence. As in no reasonable doubt.

  16. MSE

    “Nate, he never played a full season. How can you put a guy in the HOF that played 150+ games only 4 times?”

    You mean like Joe Morgan? As Mr. Stengel was known to put it, you could look it up:


    Larkin clearly belongs, though I’d prioritize inducting Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell-along with stripping the voting privileges of any writer who is going on the “presumed guilt” approach. The gang of clowns handling the voting these days are going to blow up the whole institution by creating a logjam of candidates because of their prejudices and outright ignorance.

  17. Stu B

    I’ve always wanted to know why it’s still only BBWAA writers who have the vote. Why isn’t the voting pool expanded to include broadcasters like Tim McCarver, Joe Buck et al and members of the electronic media? Can anyody on here explain this? A larger group of voters would reduce the impact of individual biases and inevitably produce better quality results.

  18. MrGJG

    Tim McCarver? Do we really want to hear McCarver pontificate during the off season.

  19. Stu B

    I was just using McCarver as an example, but how is his opinion less valid than that of someone like Jon Heyman or Marty Noble?

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