The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released their Modern Era committee Hall of Fame ballot yesterday. Over the next few weeks Boston Sports Extra will make our case for who should and who shouldn’t, and who will and won’t, get elected.
In order to walk into Cooperstown as anything other than a paid visitor, a player must be on at least 75% of the ballots. Last year, there were 442 ballots cast, so a player must have been on 332 ballots to be inducted.
Voting for induction to baseball’s greatest shrine has no more integrity than voting for homecoming queen at your high school. Writers, who weren’t good enough athletes to actually play baseball, check the box next to the names of the players they like. It’s a popularity contest. Some writers are more objective than others. Some are comically biased.
Last year Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, and Edgar Renteria all received votes for the Hall of Fame. That’s not just ridiculous, it demonstrates that we should reassess who is allowed to vote. Every ballot should be made public. Any writer so obviously out of step with reality should have their voting privileges suspended.
For now, BBWAA Hall voters can keep their ballots private. Those who do simply lack the intellectual integrity to defend their stances on certain players.
2018 Class of Pitchers
This year’s ballot includes fourteen pitchers. Trevor Hoffman, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, and Billy Wagner are all hold-overs from previous years. There are nine pitchers being considered for their first time: Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Jamie Moyer, Chris Carpenter, Livian Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Jason Isringhausen, and Brad Lidge.
Here is how they stack up statistically.
|Rk||Name||YoB||% of Ballots||Yrs||W||L||ERA||ERA+||WHIP||G||GS||SV||IP||H||HR||BB||SO|
|AVERAGE HOF PITCHER||18||253||176||2.98||596||462||39||3801||3500||199||1052||2153|
We will get into the details of a number of candidates in the coming weeks, but it is a safe bet that Hoffman will get the additional 1% he needs for induction. He will be the only pitcher elected this year.
Still Have a Shot
Clemens, Mussina, and Schilling will not only stay on the ballot next year, but should all eventually get elected. By the numbers, Rocket is a no brainer. But, as we’ll discuss later, his situation is more complicated than that.
Moose and Schill don’t have Clemens’ numbers, but they also don’t have his PED baggage. Mussina is safer bet than Schilling. His 270 wins are more in line with starting pitchers already in Cooperstown, and he hasn’t been nearly as controversial off the field. Much more on that later.
Good but Not Great
Of the newbies on the ballot, none of the starting pitchers are likely to make it, though some will stay above the 5% cut line for a couple of years. Moyer has more wins than the average Hall pitcher, but he has 209 loses and a career ERA almost a run and a half higher. Johan Santana was brilliant for a short time, but he wasn’t Pedro Martinez. He will eventually fall well short.
Similarly, none of the other four predominantly relief pitchers on the ballot will make it. This includes Kerry Wood, who due to injuries had his gifted career cut short. Billy Wagner is the most other Hall-worthy candidate, but when judged against Trevor Hoffman’s candidacy you can easily see how far he is below the standard.