Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza are the only two members of the 2016 Hall of Fame class. Both certainly deserve the honor but there were other candidates who many considered worthy of the recognition.
Jeff Bagwell (71.6%), Tim Raines (69.8%), and Trevor Hoffman (67.3%) fell just shy of the 75% of votes required to be elected into the Hall. All three players will remain on the ballot next season and will almost certainly earn more votes in 2017 than they did in 2016.
Bagwell missed election this year by 15 votes, Raines by 23, and Hoffman by 34. A total of 440 ballots were submitted.
The 2016 class was a deep one. When filling out my own ballot, I had trouble selecting only ten of the worthy candidates. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between “very good” players and “Hall of Fame-worthy” players. Bagwell, Raines, and Hoffman, however, are all certainly Hall of Fame-worthy.
Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame resume includes a Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove award, a Most Valuable Player award, three Silver Slugger awards, four All Star Game appearances, and ten top-20 MVP finishes. His 449 home runs place him in a tie for 38th all-time and are the most in Houston Astros history by over 100. He totaled 79.6 bWAR over his 16-year career and hopes to join longtime teammate Craig Biggio in the Hall of Fame next season.
Tim Raines was an All-Star seven times and led the National League in stolen bases for four consecutive seasons. His 808 career stolen bases are the fourth most all-time and he was successful in 84.7% of his attempts. Arguably one of the best switch hitters baseball has ever seen, Raines has seen his HOF voting percentage increase each of the past three years, setting himself up rather nicely for a potential 2017 election.
Trevor Hoffman is one of two closers in MLB history with over 500 career saves. In fact, he and future first-ballot Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera both have over 600. While many would argue that the save is a “garbage” statistic, there is no denying that Hoffman is one of the greatest to ever play his position. While a 2017 election is certainly not a lock for Hoffman, it is a definite possibility.
Other players on the ballot who made big jumps this year were Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina, who both improved upon last year’s voting tally by over 15%. Those totals should continue to increase as they remain on the ballot. Curt Schilling also made a big jump up, passing 50% for the first time. Schilling was up from 39.2% in 2014. Martinez should see his vote total continue to creep up as David Ortiz‘s retirement comes and goes. Schilling and Mussina are on track to enter the Hall with a few more votes. One very notable name, Jim Edmonds, failed to garner more than 5.0% of the vote. While Edmonds is far from a surefire Hall of Famer, he seemed to have a far better chance to at least remain on the ballot for a few years.
Congratulations to Griffey and Piazza, two of my childhood heroes.