Craig Calcaterra

Hall of Fame: Griffey didn’t make it to 100%, but he is the all-time top vote-getter

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As I argued earlier today, it doesn’t really matter if Ken Griffey Jr. — or anyone else for that matter — got 100% of the Hall of Fame vote. The Hall of Fame is a pass/fail test, with the bogie set at 75%. Beat that and you’re every bit the Hall of Famer everyone else is.

But vote totals are interesting to some, and those who take interest in it are likely quite pleased to see Griffey garner 99.3% of the vote, which is now the all-time high, passing Tom Seaver’s previous record of 98.84. Seaver is now bumped down to number two. Then comes Nolan Ryan with 98.79%, Cal Ripken with 98.53, Ty Cobb with 98.23% and George Brett with 98.19%. Beyond the top 6:

  • Hank Aaron: 97.8
  • Tony Gwynn: 97.6
  • Randy Johnson: 97.3
  • Greg Maddux: 97.2
  • Mike Schmidt: 96.5

How Willie Mays didn’t make the top 10 — he was 16th before this year at 94.68% and is now 17th– is a mystery and an atrocity, but we’ll leave that for another time. Go here for the all-time list through 2014. 2015’s inductees beyond old Randy Johnson up there are here.

Not bad, Junior. Not 100%, but not bad at all.

Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza Elected to the Hall of Fame

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The 2016 induction class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Wednesday evening and we have two inductees: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Two of the greatest players of the 1990s and 2000s are on their way to Cooperstown.

Players must be named on 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballots to get in. Griffey was named on 99.3% of the ballots, which is an all-time record, topping Tom Seaver’s 98.8% in 1992. Piazza was named on 83%. Non-inductees of note include Jeff Bagwell at 71.6% and Tim Raines at 69.8%, each of whom stand an excellent chance of being inducted next year. The full results can be seen here.

Others not making the cut include Trevor Hoffman (67.3%), Curt Schilling (52.3 %), Roger Clemens (45.2%), Barry Bonds (44.3%), Edgar Martinez (43.4 %), Mike Mussina ( 43%), Alan Trammell (40.9%) and Lee Smith (34.1  %). This was Trammell’s last year of eligibility. He will now be the business of the Veterans Committee.

Players who fell off the ballot due to not having the requisite 5% to stay on: Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn.

We’ll have continued updates on today’s Hall of Fame vote throughout the evening and in the coming days. In the meantime, congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza.

You should not care if Ken Griffey Jr. is voted into the Hall of Fame unanimously

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There are not a ton of legitimate reasons to be outraged about the Hall of Fame vote this year. To the extent there will be injustices, they will not be shocking injustices.

Based on the tracking of public votes it’s extraordinarily likely Tim Raines won’t make it in. It’s a certainty that some longer holdovers like Trammell, McGriff and the PED guys won’t make it in. Mike Piazza stands an excellent chance of going from 69.9% of the vote last year to induction and if he doesn’t it will be a surprise. But really, everyone should’ve been outraged that he wasn’t inducted a couple of years ago, so the surprise will be tempered with experience. Same goes for Jeff Bagwell, over whose candidacy we have all battled before.

So, it seems, that leaves us with Ken Griffey Jr., who will certainly be elected today. Of this there is zero question. The sole question many want to raise about him is whether or not he will be elected unanimously.

It’s a dumb question, really, because he almost certainly won’t. No one ever has, for reasons we’ve gone over many times before. The short version: some voters pick nits. Other voters are attention-seekers and submit blank ballots or intentionally omit worthy candidates for silly reasons. Some voters want to vote for the 11th or 12th best candidate and leave a top candidate off strategically, knowing he’ll be elected anyway. There are some voters still left, I suspect, that our Joe Posnanski once compared to “the Brotherhood that protects the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones movie — who think it is their duty to make sure no one gets in unblemished.” If Mickey Mantle wasn’t unanimous NO ONE SHALL BE, they implicitly say, before being chopped up by the prop of that big ship in Venice.

I’d like to think that Griffey could be unanimous and hope that, this year, someone finally is, but I can’t see getting outraged over it if and when he’s not. When Greg Maddux, the best player without PED associations to be up for election in the Internet era, wasn’t selected unanimously, the “honor” lost any small shred of importance it ever had (and yes, “the Internet era” matters, because the Internet has increased scrutiny of voters and has likely tempered some of the worst excesses of voters).

In a larger sense maybe even Maddux’s vote total or Griffey’s or anyone else’s shouldn’t matter at all. As I said in another post recently, what some random voters do today does not truly impact a player’s legacy, especially if what they do isn’t the difference between him being elected or not. I’m not gonna think all the amazng things Griffey did between, say, 1990 and 2000 was somehow diminished because of it. It’ll be a blip to which we should pay no heed. The single worst thing about the Hall of Fame process over the past several years is just how much it has become about the voters as opposed to the candidates. Some of the outrage I’ve pitched around here over the years has certainly contributed to that and that’s a big reason why I have decided to ratchet it back some. I’ve worked hard to remember that, ultimately, it’s about the baseball  and the entertainment it provides. Everything else is secondary.

Will Griffey be unanimous today? I really doubt it. If he is, it’ll be a makeup vote, for all of the other immortals who didn’t get that unanimous election in the past even though they deserved it. Newman’s Oscar for “The Color of Money.” Scorsese’s for “The Departed.” Other performances were more worthy, but it’ll be nice to see this one finally get it, I suppose.

But that’s all it’ll be. Either way, at 6pm this evening, Griffey will be a Hall of Famer. It’s the only thing that matters.