With the 2014 election done, what happens next with the Hall of Fame candidates?
Greg Maddux (97.2%, 1st year on ballot), Tom Glavine (91.9%, 1st year), Frank Thomas (83.7%, 1st year) Above all else, let’s remember that three players getting elected is much better than last year’s zero. All three are fantastic players who more than earned this honor and hearty congratulations to them. They’re getting their just dues with the gnashing of teeth, but it'll be more of the former come induction weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, electing these three was the least the BBWAA could do, and it doesn’t really help the backlog given who shows up next year. There’s also the worry that the new precedent is the BBWAA will only elect players on their first ballot if they haven’t been in a PED scandal (or a whisper campaign), and that’s it. For now, at least they didn’t screw up the obvious.
Craig Biggio (74.8%, 2nd year) 2 votes shy. That’s just cruel. It’s actually happened twice before, Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947. That was Fox’s last year on the ballot; he got elected by the VC in 1997. Traynor was elected in 1948, one year after. There are many possible reasons for Biggio just missing, including the idiots like Ken Gurnick, Murray Chass, and the guy who turned in a blank ballot. However, in the end, Biggio was likely squeezed by the 10 vote rule. There are a few voters who voted for 10 and wanted to vote for Biggio too, but ran out of room. Don’t point your ire at them, because that is a defensible position. Point the ire at the stupidity of the rule. As much as it sucks for Biggio he has to wait another year, the odds are very high he’ll get in next year.
Mike Piazza (62.2%, 2nd year) Other than Biggio, Piazza is the only other returnee to gain ground. This bodes well for him getting in soon. Biggio getting elected would’ve really helped, as it would’ve made Piazza the top hitter next year. Still, he should continue and gain and hopefully won’t have to wait too much longer, bacne be damned.
Jack Morris (61.5%, 15th year) So it ends. Morris for now joins Gil Hodges as the only players to have received over 50% of the vote from the BBWAA and not eventually get in (not counting those still eligible on the BBWAA ballot who have eclipsed 50%). Morris had one of the strangest voting patterns ever (it took six years for him to even get a third of the vote) and one of the most contentious debates ever. He now heads to the Veterans Committee as soon as the fall of 2016, the next time the Expansion Era is voted on. Most expect him to get elected via the VC, a view I share as well given the “old school” makeup of that Committee.
Jeff Bagwell (54.3%, 4th year) This is Bagwell’s third straight year with a total in the mid-to-high 50s. In theory, that means he should get elected at some point, but the lack of movement is starting to be a concern. The whisper campaign against him still seems to be working.
Tim Raines (46.1%, 7th year) While it wasn’t as bad a drop as some others, this still hurts for Raines and his fans (self included). After finally getting above 50%, he dropped below just a year later. He can still make it, but time is starting to become a factor.
Roger Clemens (35.4%, 2nd year) and Barry Bonds (34.7%, 2nd year) In the end, they both dropped a little. This indicates that their support and opposition are both fairly entrenched. That means we’re going to be here a while unless something changes or the Hall itself gets involved.
Turn the page for the second half of this crowded ballot.