Takeaways from this year’s Hall of Fame voting

1. Schilling is not a slam dunk to get in

Curt Schilling reached the 70% mark in the BBWAA voting announced Jan. 21. Historical voting patterns indicate that if you get that close and have time left on the ballot, you will get to 75% and make it.

But Schilling is one over-the-top,  pro-Trump tweet or an offensive remark on a podcast from submarining his candidacy.

This is a Presidential-election year. I don’t think he will be able to control himself.

2. Voters who want Bonds and Clemens elected will change tactics

Barry Bonds  and Roger Clemens got slight increases, to 60.7% for Bonds and to 61.0% for Clemens. They have two years left on the ballot and their support is only inching up. Historical voting patterns indicate they are not gonna make it.

But they both surpassed the 70% mark on ballots that were made public. So the pressure will be on for everyone to make their ballot public. The ones who don’t will be called cowards. If these voters (many older writers) do make their ballots public and omit Bonds and Clemens, they will be exposed to the Twitter mob. 

Some think Twitter is a reflection of the public’s opinion. It is not. It skews younger and much angrier than the general public. 

3. Expect a lot more calls to include broadcasters, former players and the public in the voting

The Bonds-Clemens-HOF controversy has already changed the voting process. The folks who run the Hall of Fame sensed that younger writers were more open to voting for the two biggest names, so they cut the time a player is a ballot from 15 years to 10 years. The BBWAA countered by taking away the voting privileges of retired writers (who were more likely to have a problem with anyone from the steroid era).

With Bonds and Clemens unlikely to get in under the current system, I think you will hear a lot of proposals about changing the electorate. 

There is definitely some merit there. As Bill James pointed out in his 1994 book “Politics of Glory,” the BBWAA in the 1930s pretty much represented the media that covered baseball. Even more than 25 years ago, having writers as the only voters seemed antiquated.

Knowledgable baseball fans feel, with justification, that they have as much knowledge as any credentialed media fool and deserve a vote, too. And former MLB  players think they have more knowledge than anyone who didn’t play the game at the highest level.

Don’t expect anything to change for the next two years. But the scars from this battle will remain for a long time.

4. Captain my captain: Jeter’s induction will be treated like a Royal Wedding

 Sure, Mike Trout has already surpassed the Yankees great in career WAR. Yes, Derek Jeter isn’t Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, or even Reggie Jackson. You won’t guess that next summer when the former captain goes into the Hall.

Last weekend, newspapers in New York and New Jersey ran half-page spreads on Jeter’s greatest moments. And that was before the vote. 

Jeter was a player I always admired. Still, I already dread the hype.

5. Speaking of Yankees captains, why no Munson?

The 16-member Modern Baseball Era panel voted Dec. 8 to enshrine catcher Ted Simmons. Good call, but what about his contemporary, Thurman Munson, who was also on the ballot? 

The Yankees catcher and captain, who died in a flying accident at 32, played 11 seasons. He slashed .292/.346/.410 with 46.1 WAR  and 116 OPS-plus. He was considered a much better defender than Simmons.

Simmons was a better hitter with a slash line of .285/.348/.437. He had a career 50.3 WAR and a 118 OPS-plus. But Simmons totals include five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers when he was a league-average hitter (by OPS-plus) and three seasons with the Atlanta Braves when he was below average.

I think both should be in.

6. Some justice for Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller knew that if he lived to be 100, he still wouldn’t get in the Hall of Fame. At one point if he asked to no longer be considered. 

The Modern Baseball Era panel picked him in December.

Miller died in 2012 just before his 96th birthday. If he were alive, he would be 104.

Though justice delayed is justice denied, there is a measure of justice in this.

Miller, the former head of the players union, is simply one of the most influential figures in baseball history.

Leave a Reply