— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) January 22, 2019
The National Baseball Hall of Fame election results were announced last night and the Class of 2019 is now set. Here are my thoughts on the players who were elected, the players who weren’t, and the process in general:
- Mariano Rivera getting elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility was no surprise, but Rivera becoming the first player ever to get elected unanimously to the Hall was a surprise to me. A pleasant surprise. I thought for sure some crusty old baseball writer would step in and stop it from happening. [More on the crusty old baseball writers later.] Rivera’s Hall of Fame case was an open-and-shut case and it was great to see every voter get it right.
- Edgar Martinez getting elected in his final appearance on the writers’ ballot was no surprise either. It took ten years on the ballot for him to get voted into the Hall of Fame, but his stock had been steadily rising over the last five years and he had momentum on his side. He wouldn’t have been on my ballot, but I’ve got no beef here. He was the greatest DH of all time when he retired.
- Seeing Roy Halladay get elected was not a shock, but I didn’t expect to see him get 85.4% of the vote. I think the writers got this one right too, though. He was one of the best pitchers in the game for more than a decade, winning two Cy Young awards seven years apart (and one in each league).
- Mike Mussina wouldn’t have appeared one my ballot. He was consistently good/very good for two decades, but never one of the handful of best pitchers in the game. It would seem that he got elected on his longevity and durability:
In Year 6 on the ballot for Mike Mussina, the 5-Time All-Star, 7-Time Gold Glove Award winner is in #HOF2019
Mussina’s 82.9 pitching WAR ranks 6th in the DH Era pic.twitter.com/QPn2t70wLm
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2019
Mike Mussina heading to Cooperstown. Only one HOF eligible pitcher has a higher career WAR than Mike Mussina’s 83.0 (that pitcher is the polarizing Roger Clemens). Mussina’s WAR is higher than Nolan Ryan (81.8) and Tom Glavine (80.8), who are both in the Hall. #orioles #yankees
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) January 22, 2019
With that information, I will withhold any further objections to his induction.
- I was disappointed to see how far short Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds fell when the final voting results were released. For the record, I would vote for Clemens and Bonds. Watching the Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker over the last few weeks, I was hopeful both would see jumps similar to what Edgar Martinez saw over the last few years.
In the end, Clemens only jumped about 2% from last year, appearing on 59.5% of the ballots this year. Bonds only jumped about 3% this year, to 59.1%. It would appear that the crusty old baseball writers who prefer not to publicly release their ballots are to blame:
This is staggering.
Of the 232 who revealed ballots to @NotMrTibbs, 71.1 percent voted for Roger Clemens and 70.6 percent for Barry Bonds.
Of the 193 whose ballots remain private, 45.6 percent voted for Roger Clemens and 45.1 percent for Barry Bonds.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 22, 2019
Clemens and Bonds appear to be a package deal for most voters, one way or the other, and it’s getting harder to see them getting elected in the next three years. They don’t seem to have the same “momentum” Martinez had his last few years on the ballot.
- While steroid accusations will probably keep Clemens and Bonds out of the Hall for good, politics and personality may just postpone Curt Schilling’s induction. I say that because his polling jumped about 10% this year to 60.9%. A force in October for 15 years, Schilling deserves a spot in Cooperstown. With comparable contemporary Mussina getting in this year, I think Schilling will eventually get in.
- I don’t think Juan Pierre is a Hall of Famer, but I thought he deserved at least a few votes. He was one of 11 players on the ballot not to receive a single vote, and one of 16 players to receive less than 5% of the vote and fall off next year’s ballot. Pierre played in 162 games for five straight years in the mid-2000s and led his league in stolen bases three times (and caught stealing seven times).