Tuesday night was the announcement for who would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, ending what always feels like a four-year process (it’s actually a couple months) of ballots trickling in, people grading them and trying to deduce who will actually make it. It is not my favorite time of year, though others like it a lot. Turns out, people are different sometimes! Who’da guessed?
Anyway, the results were announced and Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were the two inductees from the BBWAA ballot this year. They will be joined by the late Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons, both inducted by the Veterans Committee, along with the late Nick Cafardo, winner of the Spink Award, and Hawk Harrelson, winner of the Frick Award.
Jeter is the headliner, of course, and his election was a foregone conclusion. There was some question about whether or not he’d get in unanimously, but he just missed the mark by just one vote. Jeter is the subject of a lot of disagreement that, frankly, just comes down to picking nits. He’s a clear Hall of Famer. Was he overrated? Probably, but who cares? There was never any doubt that he’d make it on the first ballot, nor is there any doubt he deserved it. Also, Nomar was better, as Chad Finn will gladly explain to you.
Walker was more of a surprise, which is not to say he was not deserving. The former Expo and Rockie (Rocky?) had to wait the full ten years, but he finally made it in by the skin of his teeth, getting 76.6 percent of the vote. Walker always had Coors Field held against him to an unfair degree, but he was easily one of the best all-around players of his generation and it would have been a travesty to wait for the Veterans Committee to let him in.
Leading the charge among those not getting in was Curt Schilling, who received 70% of the vote. He has two more years on the ballot, but at this point it would be a surprise if he doesn’t make it next year. Elsewhere, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both missed the cut as well, and they also have to more years before they are also dropped off the ballot. Omar Vizquel also did not make it, and that he was even in the conversation is mystifying to me, but that’s a conversation for another day. Other former Red Sox not to make it include: Josh Beckett, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, Manny Ramírez and Billy Wagner. The first three are dropped from the ballot completely after not receiving at least five percent of the vote.
Looking ahead, there aren’t really any slam dunk candidates who will be added to the ballot next year, which will only help Schilling’s cause. Mark Buehrle will have a better case than I think he’ll get credit for, though I’m not sure he quite makes it over the hump. He and Tim Hudson are probably the top two newcomers expected to hit the ballot.
The only other thing I’ll say is that I have just totally lost interest in all of this stuff. I was into it when I was younger, but the voting process and everything around it has just taken all of the fun out of it for me. I know who was great during my time watching and who was not, and whether or not they get voted in doesn’t really change anything for me. That said, the Hall of Fame itself, as a whole, still rules. If you are like me and have been disengaged from the process for a while, I hope you don’t pass up the chance to get to Cooperstown if you have an opportunity. The room with the plaques is just a small part of the experience, and honestly the least interesting. The museum is incredible, and even if the voting has taken all of the fun out of the most famous part of Cooperstown, the rest is still worth checking out.
Anyway, I look forward to the next ten months of not having to talk about who is and is not worthy of a Hall of Fame plaque. I hope you’ll join me.
You can see the full voting breakdown here.