If there is one thing I love to argue about it is the Hall of Fame. Especially baseball. And it is getting to that time of the year when I get to write endlessly about who is voted in and who is not.
The BBWAA announced the 2012 ballot today and on the ballot are five players who played for the Rockies at some point in the career. Eric Young is on the ballot; the guy who hit the first home run at Mile High for the Rockies. Larry Walker is on the ballot; many say the best athlete to ever play for the Rockies. Vinny Castilla is on the ballot; the best third baseman the Rockies have ever had. Jeromy Burnitz is on the ballot; one of my mom’s all time favorites (for some unknown reason…). And Dale Murphy is on the ballot; only with the Rockies for their inaugural season and maybe the one guy with the best career numbers to make a case for the Hall of Fame.
There are a few names on the ballot that I think are sure fire Hall of Famer’s: Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Tim Raines. There are others who I am starting to think should be in based on arguments I have read or heard: Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammel. And then there is Lee Smith who I think should be in the Hall of Fame with the recent addition of a few relief pitchers.
All of the above names were on last year’s ballot. What about the new additions? I don’t think any of the new additions to the ballot are Hall of Fame worthy. The closest we have this year is Bernie Williams and I wouldn’t vote for him.
Last year Walker received only 118 votes or 20.3%. A former player needs 75% of the vote to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame. With such a small percentage of votes last year it appears Walker will continue to stay on the ballot (requires at least 5% to appear on the next year ballot) for at least a few more years, if not the next 10-15 (cannot appear on more than 15 ballots).
If Walker does not get into the Hall of Fame than the other former Rockies will not either.
In his 13th appearance on the ballot Murphy received 73 votes or 12.6%. Many think he is worthy of the Hall of Fame but it doesn’t look like it will happen. He only has this year and next to get in and it is highly unlikely that he gets an addition 60+% to get in.
Jeromy Burnitz and Eric Young are both likely to be on the ballot for this year only. I doubt either gets enough votes to remain on the ballot in 2013.
Vinny Castilla is a product of Coors Field. His home/road splits are often discussed along with his drop in performance when he played for the Atlanta Braves. Castilla is a proud member of the Blake Street Bombers but his brethren haven’t fared too well before him. When Dante Bichette was on the ballot he received three votes. Three. The Big Cat, Andres Galarraga had a career much more accomplished than Bichette and Castilla outside of Denver and El Gato Grande only received 22 votes (4.1%).
The real question for the Rockies is when Todd Helton becomes Hall of Fame eligible, what will the voters think? (My vote would be no.)
To add to the excitement of the 2012 Hall of Fame induction class there will be a “Golden Era” Hall of Fame vote. This includes players who played between 1947 and 1972 and this group will have its own ballot every three years. Names like Ron Santo, Jim Kaat and Minnie Minoso highlight this ballot.
If players are not inducted in 2012 it might be a few years before they are inducted. Being that some voters choose only one player per ballot or limit themselves in some similar (stupid) fashion it is very rare that more than one or two players are inducted in the same year (excluding special circumstances like the Golden Era group). In 1999 Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount and George Brett were elected. In 1984 Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, Harmon Killebrew and Pee Wee Reese were inducted. It doesn’t happen often that two or more are selected.
In 2013 names like Curt Schilling and Mike Piazza hit the ballot, both with arguments either way. Names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa hit the ballot; all wrapped up the PED mess. And the one name that should be a no-doubt-first-ballot-inductee makes his first appearance: Craig Biggio. Not a lot of room for guys who would normally barely sneak into the Hall of Fame.
It gets more difficult in 2014 when Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina are eligible.
If a player on this year’s ballot doesn’t make it they are not likely to get enough votes for the next few years, either. This doesn’t bode well for a Tim Raines or Jack Morris who will seemingly need to create momentum to get in (Morris is running out of time). Bagwell and Larkin should both get in this year. If Bagwell does not then the entire process needs an overhaul.
What a great time of year to talk baseball! Who do you think should be voted in? What about Helton? Is he worthy?