With the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame class consisting of two very worthy members in Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, the voters of the BBWAA will have another ballot to cast one year from now.
Griffey Jr. received the highest percentage of the vote in history, left off only three ballots, while Piazza was another worthy member. But, it was just those two and there are some other names that are worthy of consideration in the future and even as soon as 2017.
There were guys like Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell that were knocking on the door of Cooperstown, but could not quite made it through the doors this year which presents a great opportunity for all three of them on the next ballot. That trio seems assured of getting the call to the Hall next year. There were others like Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and Curt Schilling that also saw an increase in votes and seem like they have a decent shot as well.
Bagwell shot up 16 percent to 71.6 percent of the vote and was just shy of the 75 percent needed to be elected. Raines shot up to 69.8 percent from 55 a year ago while Hoffman got 67.3 percent in his first year on the ballot.
Hoffman still has nine years to get there while Bagwell has four, but for Raines, 2017 is his last chance to break down the door of the Hall of Fame and finally get his name in there once and for all. Most players who reach the 50 percent threshold eventually get in, unless you are Gil Hodges or Jack Morris.
With next year’s newcomers consisting of Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Jorge Posada and Ivan Rodriguez. There is not a sure thing like there was with Griffey this year or Randy Johnson a year ago. Rodriguez and Posada will get their warranted support, but Ramirez failed PED tests while Guerrero is up in the air, having failed to reach 500 homers or 3,000 hits.
Raines, Hoffman, and Bagwell will most likely benefit from the weaker 2017 newcomers as will some of the others mentioned above that were down in the 40 and 50 percents. If it doesn’t happen next year for some of these guys, it may never happen because of the strong newcomers to the ballot in 2018 (Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Scott Rolen) and 2019 (Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay along with a host of others). Then in 2020, a guy named Derek Jeter is on the ballot. If Rivera is unable to become the first unanimous selection, Jeter could be the guy to do it.
Time is running out for a some Hall of Fame hopefuls like Raines, which is why 2017 is so vital before the next wave of potential Hall of Famers grace the ballot of the BBWAA.
When it comes down to it, the group mentioned at the top better hope for a pretty big leap in 2017.
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