All of the votes are in and the Hall of Fame will announce who will be inducted on Wednesday at 5pm, central time. As it stands, Ken Griffey, Jr. appears to be assured of getting elected, with Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines all with a shot at election. While those are the most likely names to be called to the Hall of Fame this week, the Cardinals have a number of former players on the Hall of Fame ballot. Holdovers Lee Smith, Mark McGwire, and Larry Walker all return to the ballot joined by newcomers Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, and David Ecsktein.
David Eckstein, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek
Before getting to the guys with at least a chance of staying on the ballot, a brief word on Glaus, Eckstein, and Grudzielanek. All three fall well short of the standards for the Hall of Fame, but all of them played the requisite ten years to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, which is an accomplishment. Combined, the trio played for the Cardinals a total of six seasons, although a few of those seasons were among the greatest Cardinals' seasons of all-time with Grudzielanek and Eckstein playing for the 2005 team and Eckstein winning World Series MVP on the 2006 Championship team.
Ryan Thibs is tracking the public ballots for the Hall of Fame and posted 146 of them out of an estimated 450 total. Glaus, Eckstein, and Grudzielanek have yet to receive a single vote.
Among the Cardinals' holdover, Mark McGwire is in some serious trouble. McGwire is in his tenth year on the ballot. In the past, McGwire would expect to receive another five years of consideration before finally falling off or gaining election, but a few years ago, the Hall of Fame decided to restrict players to 10 years on the ballot instead of 15 for the very purpose of getting players like McGwire, who have been associated with PEDs, off the ballot as soon as possible.
When McGwire first appeared on the ballot back in 2007, he received 23.5% of the vote, well short of the 75% needed for election. He never got much higher, and last year was down to 10% of the total vote. In his final year on the ballot, the current public ballots have him up to around 15% of public votes, but already eliminated from Hall of Fame contention. With those who refuse to vote for players who have used PEDs combined with a very crowded ballot, McGwire has been left behind just as the Hall of Fame intended him to. He will receive another chance in another half-decade when the veteran's committee is allowed to consider him.
Smith spent a few seasons as the Cardinals closer toward the end of his career after playing his best years in Chicago for the Cubs. In his 14th year on the ballot, Smith's support has been trending in the wrong direction for several years. At one time, he held the all-time saves record and his career bridged the gap between eras of the multi-inning fireman type reliever and the one-inning specialist we see now. Smith has arguably had a better career than Trevor Hoffman, who has received a decent amount of support on this year's ballot, but the writers have not viewed Smith in the same light since his saves record was broken.
Smith debuted with 42.3% of the vote in 2003, ahead of eventual Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage, and he crossed the 50% threshold in 2012, but has lost votes over the past three years, down to about 30% last season. He is at about 30% so far this year, and will have one more year on the ballot next year before his wait to be considered by the veteran's committee.
Walker did not spend a lot of time with the Cardinals, but he was a big part of those 2004 and 2005 teams after coming over in a trade from Colorado. Walker is now in his sixth year on the ballot, never getting more than one quarter of the votes. He has been hurt by an overcrowded ballot in recent seasons as he was down to 11.8% last year. By Jay Jaffe's JAWS metric, Walker is above average for the position among Hall of Fame right-fielders. His era, the current ballot and playing at Coors Field for a good portion of his career have unnecessarily hurt him.
He looks to be safe to make it to another year on the ballot as he has received 12% of the public ballots thus far, but he has tough road to go if he is going to be inducted in his next four years on the ballot.
Not too much more should need to be said about Jim Edmonds from this corner of the internet. He ranks with the greatest center fielders of all time statistically. He has a higher fWAR than many of the recent Hall of Fame outfielders including Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, and Kirby Puckett. I've already discussed how ridiculous it would be for him to fall off the ballot after just one year.
Despite his legitimate candidacy, Edmonds is in danger of falling off the ballot entirely. He has received just four public votes, and needs 19 more to stay alive for next year. From 1972 to 1992, the writers elected 37 players to the Hall of Fame with another 28 former major leaguers gaining election via the veteran's committee. From 1993 to 2013, the writers elected just 29 players with another 20 getting in through the veteran's committee, although just three of those occurring in the last decade. The Hall of Fame's inactivity has caused a full ballot, but hopefully it will not cause Edmonds to fall off the ballot after just one year.