Nine Thoughts on the 2016 Hall of Fame Class

As baseball uses nine men in the field and nine men in the batting order, here’s nine random thoughts on the just concluded Hall of Fame voting:
1. First and foremost, congratulations to both Ken Griffey, Jr, the second best player from Donora, Pennsylvania (behind Stan Musial) and Mike Piazza on election to Cooperstown.

2. Three people didn’t vote for Griffey, but his 99% of the vote is the highest percentage ever. I read a lot of stuff saying Griffey could be the first unanimous selection. Come on, team, Babe Ruth wasn’t unanimous and neither Joe DiMaggio nor Yogi Berra made it on the first ballot so who could possibly believe that anyone was going to be unanimous? It renews my faith in the writers. I’ve said for years that they’re a poor group to pick the Hall of Fame and the three guys proved me right again.

3. Piazza is by far the more interesting choice. There are the steroid rumors around him that are just that, rumors. But there is the possibility that they are true. If, in his induction speech Piazza were to say “Yeah, I used the stuff,” then it becomes much more difficult for voters to keep out players who acknowledge they used stuff (McGwire) or are accused (Clemens, Bonds), or who flunked a test (Palmeiro). It will be interesting to see where this goes. None of this is meant to imply that I believe Piazza used anything but coffee while playing.

4. The culling of the deadweight among the voters allowed for some interesting results. Major jumps by Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Mike Mussina, Curt Shilling, and Edgar Martinez are unthinkable without a change in the voters. It may be a signal that all are on the road to Cooperstown (or maybe not).

5. The loss of the “old guard” type voters helped both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but not a lot. Neither went up as much as 10% and now we have six years left to see if they can continue gaining ground and how much of that ground they’ll gain. I was certain, until this vote, that the writers were going to kick them down the road to the Vets Committee and let them (the Vets Committee) make the hard choices. Maybe that’s changed. Next year will tell us much about how that’s going to work.

6. Jim Edmonds is not a Hall of Famer, the voters said so. OK, maybe he isn’t, but he’s better than 2% of the vote, a lot better. It’s a shame he won’t get another chance until the Veteran’s Committee has its say. Alan Trammell is not a Hall of Famer. At least he had 15 years and got 40% of the vote. I think they’re wrong, but now we get to see what the Veteran’s Committee says. And Mark McGwire is not a Hall of Famer although he had only 10 years to make his case. It appears he will be the test case for my kick it down the road to the Vets Committee theory (Geez, I’m writing about the Vets Committee a lot, aren’t I?).

7. Trevor Hoffman didn’t get in but got enough votes to appear a viable candidate for enshrinement on a later ballot. I think he needed that because I’m not sure he could sustain a long, gradual rise before getting over the 75% threshold. The problem is Mariano Rivera. When Rivera becomes eligible he should get in easily and Hoffman can no longer say he has the most saves of anyone eligible (and saves do seem to matter a lot to the voters). I was stunned Billy Wagner didn’t do better. At least he stayed on the ballot.

8. Next year adds Vlad Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Manny Ramirez (among others) to the ballot, making it again a large ballot. I do wish they’d dump the 10 vote rule. I wonder how much that hurt players like Edmonds?

9. All in all, with the exception of what happened to Edmonds and Trammell, I’m pleased with the results. Two worthy candidates got in, a handful of other candidates made major strides toward possible election. That’s not bad. Again congrats to Griffey and Piazza. Now I wonder which cap Piazza will wear on his plaque.

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12 Responses to “Nine Thoughts on the 2016 Hall of Fame Class”

  1. Miller Says:

    For both better and for worse, I think, Piazza doesn’t get to decide on his cap. The Hall does that. He played more games and hit more homers for the Mets, but his best years were with the Dodgers. I think of him more as a Met, though that may be some east coast bias with me. In the end, I think he should go in as a Dodger.

  2. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    I really appreciate your thoughts on this … because of the way you cull through the old statistics to create your own little hall of fame classes. I think you have an especially experienced and fresh perspective on this.

    I’m good with 2016 — Griffey and Piazza. But, Mike Mussina better be in the class of ’17. 🙂

    • verdun2 Says:

      Thanks, Bloggess. As I’ve buffaloed you so far, how’s about this deal? I’ve got this great bridge in Brooklyn for sale if you’re interested. 🙂
      And, yes, Moose for 2017.
      v

  3. Steve Myers Says:

    Griffey may have garnered the best vote in HOF history but still comes in 2nd when it comes to Donora PA voting. How about that! I like that. You mentioned about the coffee steroids thing and I wonder if voters were so warm to Griffey because all rumors and reports point towards him being a sort of fish out of water, playing during the so called steroids era and supposedly not doping, but that line of logic would have resulted in Pedro Martinez being 100 per cent voted in.

    • verdun2 Says:

      Griffey, Sr. was also born in Donora. If you add him to the mix, you have to have one of the best outfields ever produced by one town that has less than 1,000,000 people (Donora has about 5,000 now and seems to have peaked around 15,000 in the 1930s).
      v

      • Steve Myers Says:

        Mobile came to mind as a possible runner up, Aaron brothers logic, so I looked it up and McCovey was from there too and Amos Otis. I figured he has more numbers than Tommie Aaron, but still short of Musial and the Griffeys for sure, maybe San Pedro Democaris in the future?

  4. Miller Says:

    Well, it seems he’s a Met. Good for him, and good for them.

  5. wkkortas Says:

    Speaking of Donora…when Musial was elected, twenty-three voters left him off their ballots. I’d love to go back in time and have those writers explain what Musial did or didn’t do on and off the field that brought them to the conclusion that he was not Cooperstown-worthy.

    I am still mystified by Larry Walker’s lack of support.

  6. William Miller Says:

    I have to agree with you, V, that I think, overall, the voters did a decent job this year. I was happy to see that Piazza is going in as a Met, only the second Met ever in the HOF. Happy, also, that Bagwell and Raines made significant progress.
    Edmonds getting bumped off the ballot is unfortunate. His career WAR is higher than Stargell, Greenberg, Medwick, Slaughter, Sisler and Terry, to name just a few players in the HOF.
    Finally, I have to second WK regarding Larry Walker. Fantastic player getting nowhere near the recognition he deserves.
    Nice job,
    Bill

    • glen715 Says:

      I think of Piazza as a Dodger. He came out of the Dodger farm system, and, being that they were both from Upper Darby, PA, he was Tom LaSorda’s boy.

      A more likable Met was Gary Carter, and he went in as a Expo. I didn’t like the trade in the first place, being that I was a big Hubie Brooks fan. I still remember where I was when I heard about the trade where the Mets traded Brooks and Mike Fitzgerald and a couple of other guys to Montreal in exchange for Carter. I was at the student union building at Plattsburgh State College (pretty darn near to Montreal), visiting my sister, who was a student there. I was kind of shocked that they would get rid of Hubie, and I wasn’t too excited about it. I truly do think that the Mets would have gotten to and won the World Series in 1986, if not earlier, with Hubie, as well as a platoon of Ron Hodges and Mike Fitzgerald at catcher. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. Yet, I think of Gary as being more of a Met that Piazza. And I think of Hubie Brooks as more of a Met than either of them!

      So far, the only REAL Met who’s been inducted, as far as I’m concerned, is Tom Seaver. Then again, how can anyone take the Hall of Fame seriously, anyway? I think that I like V’s “Own Little Hall of Fame” than the one that has lost a lot of credibility in the last few years, putting Andre Dawson in there (WHY??? Based on one great year with the Cubs????), and not putting Pete Rose(???????). I can’t help it. I think with my heart and not with my brain. I’d also like to see the Spanish version of Jackie Robinson, The Cuban Comet, Senor Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso in there before too long. The voters have made asses of themselves enough. Put Rose and Minoso in there!

      Glen

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