Hours before the BBWAA was due to come out with its Hall of Fame announcement, I offered my ten picks for Cooperstown on the main page. Well, the BBWAA have released their ballot and the Class of 2015 will represent the largest contigent of players sent to Cooperstown in 60 years.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio got the call. The Big Unit, Pedro and Smoltz were inducted in their first year on the ballot while Biggio made it in his third year on the ballot. Last year, Biggio fell short of induction by two votes. This year Biggio got in with 82.7% of the vote.
The Big Unit did not attain the 98.8% of the vote Tom Seaver received in 1992, but his 97.3% of the vote was marginally better than the 97.2% of the vote Greg Maddux received last year. Pedro got 91.1% while Smoltz received 82.9%.
While Mike Piazza received an increase of 7.7% of the vote, he still falls short at 69.9%. However, he probably has a good chance of getting elected next year. Biggio’s friend Jeff Bagwell saw a marginal increase from 54.3 to 55.7% of the vote. Tim Raines’ vote total jumped nearly 9%, but it only takes him to 55%. Curt Schilling’s vote total jumped 10% to 39.2%.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds saw their vote totals increase modestly from 35.4% to 37.5% and 34.7% to 36.8%, respectively. Meanwhile, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s vote totals fell from 11% to 10% and 7.2% to 6.6%, respectively. Now that the Hall of Fame has reduced the eligibility period from 15 to 10 years, next year will be McGwire’s last year on the ballot. Sosa potentially could stay on the ballot for another seven years, but is dangerously close to getting below 5% of the vote. In which case, he would automatically fall off the ballot.
The 15-year eligibility rule was grandfathered for Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Don Mattingly. Each player saw modest improvements in their vote total. Smith went from 29.9% to 30.2%, Trammell went from 20.8% to 25.1% and Mattingly went from 8.2% to 9.1%. Unfortunately, this was Mattingly’s final year on the ballot. Now his only chance to get into the Hall is through the Expansion Era Veterans Committee. If anything, they are a tougher nut to crack than the BBWAA. Smith has two more years on the ballot while Trammell has one. I’m not holding my breath for either of them though they both would have my vote if I had one to give.
But it will be a fun weekend in Cooperstown during the last weekend of July. The Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz and Biggio represent the largest class since Joe DiMaggio led the Class of 1955. Also to be honored is veterans sportscaster Dick Enberg (who currently broadcasts for the San Diego Padres) with the Ford C. Frick Award while Detroit baseball writer Tom Gage will be honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
Well, now that the Big Unit, Pedro and Biggio have been elected and Mattingly has fallen off the ballot, I will have four new picks to select for the Class of 2016. (No, I did not pick Smoltz. He did not need my vote anyway). Who will those four lucky players be? Find out in my first column of 2016.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://spectatorworld.com/.
The offer renews after one year at the regular price of $79.99.