Nobody gets the hall call in 2013; a look ahead to 2014

The Baseball Writers Association of America released the results from its hall of fame elections this afternoon and not surprisingly, no one will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.

I wrote at length about the hall of fame voting process in general last week. Check it out here.

Craig Biggio, in his first appearance on the ballot, got the most votes, garnering 68.2 percent. Players need at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected.

For the full table of results, as well as the rules of how it all works, check out the BBWAA page here.

The most interesting cases this year were going to be Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who were also on the ballot for the first time. Clemens got 37.6 percent of the vote. Bonds, 36.2 percent.

Among the players that have been on the ballot for some time, Jack Morris led the way with 67.7 percent. The next ballot will be his last, as players may only stay on the ballot for up to 15 years, as long as they meet the minimum five percent threshold.

Lee Smith (47.8 percent), Alan Trammell (33.6) and Don Mattingly (13.2) have all been on the ballot for at least 10 years. Dale Murphy, who was on the ballot for 15 years, will not wind up in the hall of fame, as he got just 18.6 percent this year.

Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar, Jr., David Wells and Julio Franco did not receive the necessary five percent to remain on the ballot next year.

Aaron Sele, pictured below got one vote from a mystery voter and quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.

Aaron Sele pitching for the Mets, where he ended his career. (Image via Wikipedia Commons)

The 2014 announcement will certainly be interesting. Morris, Smith, Bonds, Clemens, Mike Piazza, Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and others will all be up for election again. Next year’s ballot, however, will be very, very crowded.

Baseball-Reference.com has already put together a potential ballot for the 2014 class. Check it out here.

New to the ballot will be Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent, among many others. Valley Central grad Matt Morris might even get his name on the ballot, but he’s not likely to receive many votes.

Let’s take a look at the 2014 class and how that might complicate voting even more.

Greg Maddux

Maddux is a no-doubt, slam dunk first ballot Hall of Famer. In 23 big league seasons, he went 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA over 5,008 1/3 innings. He won four straight Cy Young awards from 1992 to 1995. He played in eight all-star games. He was also one of the finest in the field at his position, winning 18 Gold Gloves. He won a World Series title with the Braves in 1995. Maddux wasn’t known as a strikeout pitcher, but he made up for that by never walking anyone. He led his league in walks-per-nine innings nine times.

I’m sure there will be at least one dolt out there who won’t vote for him, but Maddux should be as close to a unanimous selection as there is when it comes to Hall voting.

Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine pitching for the Braves in 1993. (Image via Wikipedia Commons)

 

Take away the Gold Gloves and about 600 innings from Maddux and you’ll find that Glavine was a very similar pitcher. He finished with 305 wins, 203 losses and a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons. During the prime of his career, Glavine was as durable as they come, leading the NL in games started six times between 1993 and 2002. He had some injury problems during his final five years with the Mets. Glavine won two Cy Young awards (and finished second twice), played in 10 all-star games and won four silver slugger awards as the NL’s best-hitting pitcher. Glavine appeared in five World’s Series, winning just once in 1995.

Glavine isn’t as much of a slam dunk case as is Maddux, but with 300 wins, his consistent durability should be enough to get him in on the first ballot.

Mike Mussina

Mussina didn’t have a career like Glavine or Maddux – Mussina retired in 2008 after 18 years and probably could have played longer – but certainly has the numbers to at least merit a Hall of Fame discussion. Moose went 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA, spending 10 years in Baltimore before finishing with eight in the Bronx. He won 20 games only once, going 20-9 in 2008, his final season. Mussina never won a Cy Young, but he did play in five all-star games and won seven Gold Gloves. Mussina made 21 career postseason starts but he never won a World Series.

Mussina’s most memorable game was played on Sept. 2, 2001 in the 8 p.m. Sunday game of the week at Fenway Park. Mussina mowed down the Red Sox hitters for 8 2/3 innings and was one out away from a perfect game. Carl Everett pinch-hit for catcher Joe Oliver and singled to left to break up the perfect game and no-hitter. The next batter, Trot Nixon, grounded out to second.

Is Mussina a Hall of Famer? With players such as Jack Morris and Curt Schilling getting fairly serious attention on this past ballot, Mussina will certainly get some votes. I doubt he makes it in on the first ballot, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mussina in the Hall someday.

 

Frank Thomas signs autographs during spring training in 2008. (Image via Wikapedia Commons)

Frank Thomas

There was a reason why they called this guy the Big Hurt back in the early 90s. Thomas was an offensive machine. He hit for average, hit for power, drove in runs and drew walks. Speed wasn’t exactly his forte – he stole 32 bases and had 12 triples in a 19-year career – but he finished with a lifetime .301 average, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI. He also had 495 doubles. Thomas was AL MVP in 1993 and 1994 and played in five straight all-star games from 1993 through 1997. He won the AL batting title in 1997, hitting .347 to go along with 35 home runs and 125 RBI. Thomas was hampered by injuries in 2001, 2004, 2005 and the final year of his career, 2008. He was never a particularly good defender, playing only 971 games, less than half of his career at first base. He was mostly used as a DH.

Thomas does have 500 home runs and a career .300 average, so he’s a solid bet to wind up in the hall someday. Thomas has never been linked to steroids in any serious way, so he should be clear in that regard. What will hold him back the most is his total lack of defensive value. Still, Thomas has the 35th-best offensive WAR in baseball history and his .419 career on-base percentage is 19th all-time. He was one of the best all-around hitters to ever play the game.

Jeff Kent

What defines Kent’s career is the position he played. Kent spent the bulk of this 17-year career, which included stops with six different teams, at second base. He had a prolific run with the bat, finishing with a .280 average, 377 home runs and 1,518 RBI. He was the 2000 NL MVP after hitting .334 with 33 home runs and 125 RBI. Kent played in five all-star games and reached the World Series once, as the Giants lost to the Angels in 2002.

Kent will be an interesting Hall case. His peak wasn’t long enough for him to accumulate the big numbers (3,000 hits, 500 home runs, etc.) and he was overshadowed by others of his generation, including Bonds on his own team. Defensively, Kent was a league average or slightly better for most of his career, but a bad final few years with the Dodgers drag down his metrics in the field. Kent is a long-host in my view, but if the “Kent was the leader of the power-hitting second baseman” movement catches on, he might get in some day.

Obviously, what makes next year’s ballot even more interesting is that all of the key players from this year’s ballot except Dale Murphy will be back. Since voters can pick up to 10 players, there might be some players that get less support than they deserve or fail to meet the five percent threshold because of all the competition on the ballot.

Anyway…your thoughts on the Hall of Fame? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.

I’ll also have a column on the matter in Thursday’s paper.

 

 

 

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    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for Varsity845.com and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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