Finally, mercifully, the period of speculation about who will be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame this year will come to an end.
As usual, the voting process been a contentious shitshow in which everyone has an opinion and no one seems to be happy. It’s exhausting, and that’s just my perspective as an outsider. Obviously, voting for who you think should be inducted to sports’ most stringent Hall of Fame is a massive honor, but I do not envy those who have the privilege. It’s clearly a headache, and one that makes the whole process seem like a circus.
There are gonna be a concentration of takes flying around today, as inductees will be announced at 6 p.m. EST. In this blog’s opinion, there are only so many discussions to be had about the various applications of the character clause (though public voting abstainer Buster Olney’s blog about the clause is a pretty good one).
Assuming you’ve got your opinion, and I’ve got mine, here’s how the race to the Hall looks today. Data to follow is pulled from Ryan Thibodaux’s diligent tracking spreadsheet. At the time of writing there are 243 ballots tracked, which Thibodaux estimates as being 55.9 percent of ballots cast this year. For a read about how ballot tracking has changed the nature of the voting process, check out the Wall Street Journal.
- Tim Raines: The former Expo great finally looks poised to make his way into the Hall, and on his final year of eligibility. Currently, Raines is sitting at 88.5 percent after gaining 29 votes from returning voters and 14 votes from the 14 first-time voters. Finally, baseball writers will be freed from Jonah Keri’s violent threats.
- Jeff Bagwell: With 88.1 percent of tracked votes right now, Bagwell looks like he will get to join his pal Craig Biggio in Cooperstown after seven years on the ballot. Bagwell, like last year’s inductee Mike Piazza, has had his chance at the Hall choked by whiffs of steroid use. He came close to induction last year—earning 71.6 percent of the needed 75 percent of votes—but it looks like Astros fans should put in their requests for time off in late July again.
- Ivan Rodriguez: Pudge came out of the gate strong on his first year of eligibility. Currently, he is sitting at 79 percent, though that number stands a good chance at dropping to just below the 75 percent threshold. To break it down quickly: Pudge had 13 Gold Gloves, was the 1999 AL MVP, and was a 14-time All-Star. Yeah, he should be in the Hall.
- Trevor Hoffman: The Hall has been notoriously skittish on relievers, and while Hall of Fame authority Jay Jaffe is “not entirely sold on Hoffman” for induction, his 71.6 percent of support today indicates that he’ll find his way into the Hall within a couple of years.
- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens: Both Bonds and Clemens are in their fifth year of eligibility, are at the center of the steroids/character clause drama, and appear to be making huge gains in voting support. A couple years ago, I’d accepted the idea that I’d only see Bonds in the Hall if he were voted in by a veteran’s committee, but he and Clemens currently sit at 63.8 percent and 63 precent, respectively. They’ve gained a net of 22 and 23 votes—huge gains given their reputations—with 13 votes coming from 14 first-time voters, and the rest coming from long-time voters finding the arguments for steroid-era exclusion weakened by Bud Selig’s induction by committee.
- Edgar Martinez: Mariners fans got a beloved player inducted last year, so they should be good with Martinez sitting at just 65.9 percent, right? Just kidding, Mariners fans are enthusiastic and rabid when it comes to any hope of Martinez making it in. He’s gained a net of 42 tracked votes this year, his eighth of eligibility, so keep your fingers crossed for the next two years, M’s fans.
- Mike Mussina: With just under 60 percent of votes from tracked ballots, Mussina’s not going in this year. He’s gained 30 votes from returning voters, but also lost eight votes from the same pool. It’s only Mussina’s fourth year on the ballot, so there’s a chance voters are passing him up to make room for other dudes on this stuffed ballot.
- Curt Schilling: Sigh. Alleged bloody sock–haver Schilling is the center at some of this year’s biggest Hall of Fame drama, and has lost a substantial number of votes by littering the internet with bad takes. He’s currently at 51.2 percent. Here’s a blog on why Schilling should be in the Hall, and here are a lot of other blogs about his, uh, character.
Just a few more hours and we’ll know for sure if anyone is joining Raines and Bagwell in this year’s class. MLB Network now turns the Hall of Fame reveal into a quaint little television event that shows the inductees getting their calls from the Hall, so get ready to see some grown men getting emotional in their kitchens.