Baseball HofF nominations questioned

January 16, 2014
Jeff Brucculeri

It seems like every year the news is not so much about who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame but rather who has been kept out. This year is certainly no different.

It’s really no surprise that pitching aces, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, plus power hitter Frank Thomas, garnered enough votes to be invited to Cooperstown’s hallowed hall. All three were elected in their first year on the ballot.

Falling just two votes short of the 75-percent needed was Craig Biggio. This was Biggio’s second year on the ballot, and barring any major upset or scandal, he should surpass the number of votes needed to be inducted next year.

However, that can’t be said for Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, who both slipped in number of votes this year.

Bagwell was on the ballot for a fourth time and had been gaining support over the past two years, with his percentage of the votes increasing, but this year he dropped back to 54.3-percent.

Raines was on the ballot for a seventh year and while he had been gradually getting more support since 2009, his percentage dropped this year to 46.1-percent.

There could be many reasons why players lose support over the years – including a stacked ballot, where there are so many great choices that some of the middle of the road players get nudged out. The voters can only select 10 players on their ballot. Raines and Bagwell may have simply been pushed off the ballot by the numbers crunch.

This could be just as bad next year as Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will be on the ballot for the first time. All three of those players should be shoe-ins for the Hall of Fame.

Another player who did not get elected this year was Jack Morris, who now will no longer be on the ballot.

The rule is that if a player is on the ballot for 15 years and is not elected, they are removed from the ballot. There is a chance that those players may later be considered for election by the veterans committee. In my opinion, Morris has Hall of Fame numbers – 254 wins, 186 losses, 3.90 ERA, 2,478 strikeouts and 1,390 walks in 3,824 innings pitched.

Someone whom I’ve been rooting for to make it into the Hall of Fame is my friend Larry Walker. He finished his career with 383 home runs, 1,311 runs batted in, and a .313 batting average. Those numbers stack up against many who have already been elected to the hall. This was Walkers’ fourth time on the ballot and I would like to think that someday he will receive the necessary number of votes for election.

There were many players who didn’t receive enough votes to be elected simply based on the implication of possible steroid or PED use. Those players include Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

Some players will be removed from the ballot next year because they did not meet the requirement of being named on 5 percent of the ballots. One of those players is Rafael Palmeiro, who was on the ballot for the fourth time, but he is another player implicated in the steroid scandal. Also, several first-time candidates will not be on the ballot next year (because they didn’t garner that magical 5 percent) but you could make a case for two of them – Luis Gonzalez and Moises Alou.

Gonzalez belted 354 home runs, 1,439 RBIs, and finished with a .283 batting average, in a 19-year career. Alou hit 332 home runs, 1287 RBIs and a .303 average, over 17 seasons. These are respectable numbers.

If I had a vote, this is how my ballot would have looked; 1. Greg Maddux, 2. Frank Thomas, 3. Tom Glavine, 4. Craig Biggio, 5. Mike Piazza, 6. Tim Raines, 7. Fred McGriff, 8. Larry Walker, 9. Curt Schilling, 10. Jack Morris.

REVOLUTION HOME SATURDAY

The Tulsa Revolution (1-9) will take on the Dallas Sidekicks (8-2) this Saturday at the Cox Business Center at 6 p.m. Youth soccer players can purchase a ticket at the door for only $5 if they wear their team uniform jersey.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams, and Dallas leads the series 3-0.

[Jeff Brucculeri is freelance writer and broadcaster. Follow him on Twitter @JeffBTravels. Contact; jeffb@tulsabeacon.com.]