Here’s why, as bad as the sportswriters are, the fans should never control the doors to the HOF. Less than 75% think Ricky Henderson is a HOF player. 10-time all-star, MVP, most runs in history, most steals in history, 2nd most walks in history, 297 HR, 3055 hits. Only 74% think that describes a Hall of Fame player.
I’ll put off my diatribes about Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven until the writers show that they’re only slightly less dumb.
I actually have a spreadsheet on which I record vote totals for the HOF to look at trends and make predictions. For this year:
The argument for Morris boils down to (1) Game 7 of the 1991 series; (2) Morris won the most games between two years that end in 0. Really, that’s it. He was a consistently good pitcher for a while and the HOF wouldn’t be disgraced by his presence. But it’s a simple fact that had Lonnie Smith not lost track of a baseball in game seven, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
Anyway, Morris won’t get any further, I hope.
If I had to put hard numbers on it, I’d go:
Henderson – high 80’s – inducted
Rice – barely over 75% – inducted
Dawson – low 60’s, gets in eventually
Blyleven – mid 60’s, gets in eventually
Smith – low 50’s, gets in eventually
Morris – low 40’s
John – breaks the 30 barrier in his last year
McGwire – about 25%, same as last year
Mattingly, Murphy, Parker, Trammell – low teens
Cone – gets some support in the mid-teens
Baines – drops off the ballot
Grace – polls just over 5% to stay on the ballot for a few years. He got the most hits between two years ending in 0, you know.
Orosco – same deal because he briefly had the career lead in appearances
Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams – might just scrape over 5% as people remember their good year
Bell, Gant, Plesac, Greg Vaughn – below 5%
Things are going to get interesting in the coming years. Look at the future ballots:
2010 – Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff (Alomar and Larkin eventually get in, Martinez and McGriff struggle)
2011 – Jeff Bagwell, Kevin Brown, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Larry Walker (Bagwell gets in, the others fade. Palmeiro pays the price for his Congressional performance).
2012 – Bernie Williams
So lots of space for Dawson, Blyleven, Smith and Raines to move up. Then it gets crazy.
2013 – Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Kenny Lofton, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa
This is assuming Clemens, Bonds, Schilling and Sosa stay retired. The steroid controversy is just going to explode that year. Of more importance, arguably, is that four of the greatest players of all time will be on the ballot. Anyone who hasn’t gotten into the HOF by 2013 isn’t going to.
That class is going to be followed, over the next 1-4 years, by Mike Mussina, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, Ken Griffey, Pudge Rodriguez, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent — clear HOFers all. It would not surprise me if the Hall has to go to a runoff ballot at some point. They’re about to have the same problem they had in the 50’s — too many good names on the ballot.