Author: Craig Calcaterra

Flying Ken Griffey

Looking ahead to the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot


Too soon? Sure it is. But who cares.

With Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio being elected today, next year’s Hall of Fame ballot will feature all of the holdovers who received north of 5% of the vote this year apart from Don Mattingly, who will no longer be eligible, and a crop of newbies.

Here is a quick look at the most notable newbies. And it’s a quick look, because after the first two or three, it’s a big falloff to guys who no sane person thinks has a Hall of Fame case.

Ken Griffey, Jr.: The big name. The easy choice. He’ll coast in on the first ballot with no questions asked. While the stats may have favored Barry Bonds most years, Griffey was, for a good time in the 90s, considered the best player in the game by the public at large. And subsequent developments (i.e. Barry Bonds turning PED-heel) turned Griffey into an Avatar for the Clean. That stuff is laden with politics, of course, and in Griffey’s case it is nor really necessary to parse. The dude hit 630 home runs and was about a famous as anyone in baseball, even after his career began to decline due to injuries in the 2000s. Today Joe Posnanski wrote that the Hall of Fame was built specifically for players like Pedro Martinez. The same goes for Ken Griffey, Jr.

Trevor Hoffman: For a brief moment before Mariano Rivera took the title, Hoffman was the all-time saves leader. And he was probably the best in the NL for most of his career. A decade of straight dominance, only one guy — Rivera — who all people can agree was better (though some may think some were better than Hoffman) should do the trick for him. If not in 2016, then eventually.

Jim Edmonds: An eight-time Gold Glove center fielder with 393 career home runs who played for a lot of winning teams makes him a candidate. His legend may loom a bit larger than it should — “did he really need to make all of those diving catches?” some may think — but he was, without question, one of the best all-around players in the game for a good chunk of his career. Indeed, after the Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, Edmonds led all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement between 1995 and 2005. A lot of that is based on defense, of course, and we know what a lot of Hall of Fame voters think of WAR in general and the defensive components of WAR in particular, but Edmonds has a better case than you may first think. He’ll likely inspire the most debate out of any of the newcomers.

Billy Wagner: He’s probably not gonna make it, but he was also better than you think. On a rate basis — strikeouts, walk rates, etc. — he was better than Hoffman in many seasons and is probably one of the more underrated closers of his era. Or maybe any era. The cat could throw.

The rest: Jason Kendall. Mike Hampton. Garret Anderson. Troy Glaus. Mike Sweeney. David Eckstein. You get the idea. All of whom deserve a few moments of remembrance before we dismiss them out of hand. And we’ll give them that at some point over the next year.

Those guys notwithstanding, it looks like next year’s Hall of Fame season will be all about Griffey and top-2015-vote-getter Mike Piazza on one level, and Hoffman, Edmonds and the other holdovers in a totally different and lower tier.

Darin Erstad got a vote. Good for him!


None of this of consequence, but it’s always fun. It’s  . . . . the basement of the BBWAA ballot:



  • I guess it’s good that Larry Walker’s vote total increased over last year’s 10.2%, but it’s a pretty meager bounce. The guy may be borderline for some — maybe even borderline for me — but he gets way less support than he deserves;
  • Frankly, I’m surprised Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa remained above 5%. Between steroids and surliness I’d figure they’d be cast into the abyss. Instead we get to talk about them again next year.
  • Carlos Delgado may have one of the best careers ever for a one-and-done candidate. Him, Lou Whitaker and Kenny Lofton are the beginning of a pretty kickass baseball team.
  • Darin Erstad got a vote. That’s the most special thing about this ballot, I’m pretty sure. I never figured I’d argue over such a nonsense thing, but if you’re going to give ONE of the no-vote guys a sympathy vote, how can it not be Cliff Floyd?

OK, I’m done with that.

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame

Image (1) randy%20johnson%20dbacks.jpg for post 3164

The 2015 induction class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Tuesday afternoon and Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio are on their way to Cooperstown.

Players must be named on 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballots to get in. Johnson was named on 97.3%, Martinez 91.1%, Smoltz 82.9% and Biggio 82.7% The highest total for a non-electee went to Mike Piazza who received 69.9%. The full results can be seen here.

This summer’s induction will mark the first time since 1955 that four players were selected by the baseball writers. That year Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons made it in. Before that, you’d have to go back to the inaugural class of 1936, when Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson made it in.

Not making the cut: Jeff Bagwell, who only inched up from 54.3% last year to 55.7% this year. Tim Raines, who jumped from 46.1% to 55%, Curt Schilling, who went from 29.2% to 39.2%, Lee Smith, who received 30.2%, up from 29.9%, Edgar Martinez, who went up to 27% from 25.2%, Alan Trammell, who went up to 25.1% from 20.8% and Mike Mussina, who went to 24.6% from 20.3%.

The rest of the ballot of was either far down from those totals or were special cases such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, each of whom gained a couple of percentage a points from last year but whom nonetheless are down at 37.5% and 36.8%, respectively. Surprisingly, neither Mark McGwire (10%) nor Sammy Sosa (6.6%) fell off the ballot, as many thought they might.

Players who fell off the ballot due to not having the requisite 5% to stay on: Carlos Delgado, Troy Percival, Aaron Boone, Tom Gordon, Darin Erstad, Rich Aurilia, Tony Clark, Jermaine Dye, Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles, Eddie Guardado and Jason Schmidt.

We’ll have continued updates on today’s Hall of Fame vote throughout the afternoon.