The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) announced the voting results for the 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot on Tuesday.
- Craig broke down his hypothetical ballot earlier in the offseason.
- Joe provided his ten picks on Twitter last night.
- Eric examined the 2015 ballot earlier today and provided his ten picks.
I've avoided writing about the Hall of Fame this year. The voting process is so flawed that it disrespects the game of baseball, which frustrates me. Why limit voters to ten selections when there are more than ten Hall of Famers on the ballot? A player is a Hall of Famer or he isn't and I can't think of a reasonable rationale to arbitrarily and artificially limit the number of votes a writer can cast. (Then again, I also think every player on the ballot should get a "yes" or "no" vote, an excellent proposal put forth by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold.) Also, why are the ballots private? I have no idea. The writers who publish their picks and the thought process behind them deserve our praise. It's really odd to me that the BBWAA Twitter account (@officialBBWAA) doesn't tweet out BBWAA member posts and columns regarding their ballot.
In the end, I view the Hall of Fame more as a museum than a church. I don't see the importance of a "first-ballot" distinction. Nor do I think voters should project their own moral code onto the proceedings. How does one tell the story of baseball without Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's great home run chase following the 1994 strike? I don't think you can.
Barry Bonds is the greatest player I've ever seen and Roger Clemens is one of if not the best pitcher of his generation. Both were, in all likelihood, taking performance enhancing drugs. So were a large number of their peers as Commissioner Bud Selig, owners, managers, trainers, reporters, and teammates looked the other way. How do you tell the story of the Selig Era without PED users who won 300 games, broke the single season homer record, reached 500 career dingers, or set the new career home run mark? I don't think you can.
I've always thought of the Baseball Hall of Fame as more a museum than a church. It shouldn't be idealized with a whitewashed version of any period in the game's history. It should reflect baseball as it was played, warts and all, whether that be the era of segregation, the decades-long period in which amphetamine usage was rampant, or the steroid-fueled Selig Era. For what's it's worth, I'd also allow gamblers of the shoeless and hustling variety in. My ideal Hall of Fame would most resemble the Louvre. I guess I'm a "big Hall" guy.
If I had a ballot, here is who I would vote for, in order of the checks I'd mark: (1) Barry Bonds, (2) Pedro Martinez, (3) Randy Johnson, (4) Roger Clemens, (5) Mark McGwire, (6) Sammy Sosa, (7) Tim Raines, (8) Craig Biggio, (9) Jeff Bagwell, (10) Mike Piazza.
If the ballot weren't limited to ten votes, I'd also vote for: (11) Mike Mussina, (12) Curt Schilling, (13) Alan Trammel, (14) John Smoltz, (15) Larry Walker, (16) Edgar Martinez, and (17) Gary Sheffield.
I'm a Louvre Hall voter. We need all 26 players who hit 500 homers in there. Add an asterisk if you like (and something about a finger wag in front of Congress to Rafael Palmeiro's, for whom I can't vote on my make-believe Hall of Fame ballot this year). It seems the BBWAA voting bloc as a whole has a different philosophy than me.
Moving along. In no particular order, here are my favorite writing pieces on the Hall of Fame ballot:
- Peter Gammons: History awaits the 2015 Hall of Fame class
- Jayson Stark: Explaining my Hall of Fame ballot
- Joe Posnanski: One man's ballot
- Bernie Miklasz: Hall of Fame ballot revealed
- Derrick Goold: A modest proposal to improve Hall of Fame voting
- Lewis Pollis: A vote for transparency; How secret ballots skewed the Hall of Fame election results
- Jay Jaffe: JAWS and the 2015 Hall of Fame series
The ballot contained 34 names, but those current and former baseball writers that the BBWAA allows to vote could only select ten (this is but one problem with the process). A player must receive at least 75% of the vote in order to gain election to the Hall of Fame. 549 voters cast ballots, which means a player needed 412 to win election. Here are the results (former St. Louis Cardinals are in bold face):
- Randy Johnson, 97.3% (534)
- Pedro Martinez, 91.1% (500)
- John Smoltz, 82.9% (455)
- Craig Biggio, 82.7% (454)
- Mike Piazza, 69.9% (384)
- Jeff Bagwell, 55.7% (306)
- Tim Raines, 55.0% (302)
- Curt Schilling, 39.2% (215)
- Roger Clemens, 37.5% (206)
- Barry Bonds, 36.8% (202)
- Lee Smith, 30.2% (166)
- Edgar Martinez, 27.0% (148)
- Alan Trammell, 25.1% (138)
- Mike Mussina, 24.6% (135)
- Jeff Kent, 14.0% (77)
- Fred McGriff, 12.9% (71)
- Larry Walker, 11.8% (65)
- Gary Sheffield, 11.7% (64)
- Mark McGwire, 10.0% (55)
- Don Mattingly, 9.1% (50)
- Sammy Sosa, 6.6% (36)
- Nomar Garciaparra, 5.5% (30)
- Carlos Delgado, 3.8% (21)
- Troy Percival, 0.7% (4)
- Aaron Boone, 0.4% (2)
- Tom Gordon, 0.4% (2)
- Darin Erstad, 0.2% (1)
- Jason Schmidt
- Cliff Floyd
- Jermaine Dye
- Rich Aurilia
- Tony Clark
- Eddie Guardado
- Brian Giles
If you complain that BBWAA's site is slow today, remember, this is what their site looked like *in 2009* pic.twitter.com/L9UhCgEF05— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 6, 2015
Please feel free to discuss the results below.