Next Wednesday, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2017. One person following published ballots states that it appears as if Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez (despite steroid allegations against Pudge) will get into the Hall (joining Bud Selig and John Schuerholz) and that Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero are close. Reports are that alleged steroid users Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are getting more votes than before.
Reports are also that Jorge Posada may be dropped off the ballot after just one year. You need 5% to stay on. With some still on the ballot that should have gotten in already (Bonds and Clemens due to the steroid allegations), and the fact that a voter can only vote for 10, this hurts the candidacy of those who are borderline Hall of Famers who maybe should get a second or third look. For example, this is Raines’ 10th and final year on the ballot. Personally, I think Raines should get in. He was one of the greatest leadoff men ever, although he was overshadowed in his time by Rickey Henderson. Raines hit .294 and stole 808 bases. He got on base and stole bases. He averaged 86 walks per 162 games. 2605 hits. What more should a leadoff man do?
I’m not saying Jorge is or isn’t a Hall of Famer. His bat was great for a catcher, .273 with 275 HR. His defense wasn’t as good (no Gold Glove Awards, for example). JAWS (on baseball-reference.com) lists him as the 16th best catcher in baseball history. I don’t know if Thurman Munson would have made the HOF had he not passed away in that tragic plane crash, but he’s ranked #12. One person much like Posada, a catcher with a good bat and who wasn’t known for his D, Ted Simmons, is ranked #10. Simmons isn’t in the Hall.
The point is, Jorge may drop off the ballot after one year, which seems sad. And it’s strange. The 1998 Yankees are probably the greatest team I’ve seen in my lifetime. From 1996-2001 the Yanks were in six WS, winning four and narrowly missing four straight and five out of six.
Yet how many HOFers would you get off that team (Torre is already in as the manager, and the veterans committee bypassed Steinbrenner as owner this past year)? You’d be amazed how many players dropped off the ballot early.
Here is a list of some of the best players on the Yanks from 1996-2006 or so:
Cone 194 wins, 3.46 ERA. 1 year on the ballot. 3.9% and off.
Wells 239 wins, 4.13 ERA. 1 year, .9% and off.
Pettitte not eligible yet. 256 wins, 3.85 ERA but HGH usage may hurt.
Rivera not eligible yet, a sure-fire HOF on the first ballot.
Mussina 270 wins, 3.68 ERA. 20.3%, 24.6% and last year 43% and picking up more steam this year. But it takes 75% to get in.
Clemens 354 wins, 3.12 ERA. Should have been in but for the PEDs. 37.6, 35.4, 37.5 and last year 45.2% Reports are he and Bonds may get over 60% this year.
Kenny Rogers. Yeah, stunk as a Yankee. But 219 wins, 4.27 ERA. .2% and off.
Kevin Brown (yeah, I know, but I am listing him and Rogers because both did have over 200 career wins) 211 wins, 3.28 ERA(!) 2.1% and off.
I won’t list El Duque. His time in Cuba hurts because he got to the USA too late.
Posada looks like 4% and off if the current trend continues.
Tino 339 HR. 1% and off.
Giambi not eligible yet.
Jeter not eligible yet, a sure-fire first ballot HOF.
A-Rod not eligible, we’ll have to see what with the PED usage.
Raines was a part-timer for a few years when he was a Yankee, see above.
Sheffield 509 HR. 11.7 and 11.6% We’ll see where he lands this year. 500 HR isn’t as automatic as it used to be.
O’Neill 2.2% and off.
Bernie Williams 9.6%, 3.3% and off.
Soriano not eligible yet.
Sierra 306 HR and not one vote.
Fielder 319 HR (same as his son Prince, listing him and Sierra only because they had more HR than say O’Neill and Bernie) .2%
Matsui and Damon go on the ballot next year.
Robbie Cano is still playing, obviously. JAWS has him ranked #12 on all-time second baseman. At 34, three more great years could get him in.
I’m not saying all deserved to stay on after one year, esp. in some cases like say Brown, Fielder, Rogers or Sierra for example.
But it’s a bit surprising, to me at least, to see how quickly Cone, Wells, Bernie, Tino, and O’Neill for example, got dropped off the ballot. …. and Jorge may join that list.