2017 Hall of Fame Ballot
|2017 Hall of Fame Ballot
Player Won-Lost Records, sorted by pWORL
|Tim Raines Sr.||313.2||275.9||10.7||317.9||274.2||13.9||37.2|
Returning CandidatesThere are 15 players who are appearing on the 2017 Hall-of-Fame ballot who appeared on the 2016 ballot. Their vote totals in 2016 and 2015 are shown in the next table.
|Player||2015 Votes||2016 Votes||2016 Percent|
|Tim Raines Sr.||302||307||69.8%|
New CandidatesThere are a total of 19 candidates appearing on the Hall-of-Fame ballot for the first time. As is usual on Hall-of-Fame ballots, most of these new candidates do not really have a credible Hall-of-Fame case. The honor for most of these players in in simply appearing on the ballot, having managed to play in Major League Baseball for 10 years.
Based purely on statistics, the best player debuting on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot is clearly Manny Ramirez, who batted .312/.411/.585 over his 19-year career with 2,574 career hits, 555 home runs (15th-most all-time), and 1,831 RBI (18th-most all-time). Ramirez's accomplishments were certainly widely recognized at the time. He was named to 12 All-Star teams and received MVP votes in 11 seasons, finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting 9 times, and in the top 5 in MVP voting 4 times. He won the Hank Aaron Award, awarded to the best hitter in each league, twice, and was named World Series MVP in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox ended their 86-year World Championship drought.Manny Ramirez
Vladimir Guerrero strikes me as a unique Hall-of-Fame candidate. He was the last great Montreal Expo and won an MVP award in his first season as an Anaheim Angel. But what really made Guerrero unique was his ability to hit anything hard. Legend has it that he once hit a home run on a ball that bounced in front of the plate.Vlad Guerrero
Guerrero's .318 career batting average is the same as Kirby Puckett. Puckett was elected in his first year of eligibility with 82.1% of the vote. But Puckett was a centerfielder who won six Gold Gloves (Guerrero never won one) and two World Series (Guerrero played in one World Series, in which his team lost in five games). In addition, Puckett's career ended suddenly due to an eye injury, so Puckett may have been given some "what might have been" credit by some voters (i.e., I suspect some voters treated Puckett as a guy who "should have" gotten 3,000 career hits). Guerrero's career ended for the utterly common reason that he became old and not as good. And yet, interestingly, Puckett's last season came at age 35; Guerrero's last season was at age 36. There are some similarities here, but Puckett seems to clearly have a stronger traditional Hall-of-Fame case.So, with all of that, what's my best guess for how well Guerrero will do in voting this year? Just to put some math on it, I decided to go with the simple average of the first-year totals for the five players discussed above, plus 10% based on Vlad's "uniqueness" as the man who could hit anything. Which works out to 63.9%. My best guess is that Vlad Guerrero debuts very strongly but is not elected this year. I would expect him to then be elected within his first three years on the ballot, give or take a year.
Guerrero's 449 career home runs match Jeff Bagwell, who also matches Guerrero in MVP awards (1) and World Series titles (0). Bagwell received 41.7% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. On the other hand, Guerrero's career batting average beat Bagwell .318 - .297, and Bagwell was only named to 4 All-Star games (vs. 9 for Guerrero). Guerrero seems to clearly have a stronger traditional Hall-of-Fame case than Bagwell - although that does not necessarily mean that Guerrero will get more votes this year (his first on the ballot) than Bagwell will this year (his seventh on the ballot).
Also close to Guerrero on the career home run list is Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson, who hit 438 career home runs and received 45.3% of the vote in his first year on the Hall-of-Fame ballot before rising steadily, being elected in his ninth year on the ballot. Dawson's career counting stats were similar to Guerrero's - very good across the board, but short of all of the most well-known milestones. Dawson finished his career with 2,774 hits, 438 home runs, and 1,591 RBI compared to 2,590, 449, and 1,496 for Guerrero. Guerrero beat Dawson in career batting average, .318 to .279, although Dawson beat Guerrero in Gold Gloves 8 - 0. I suspect that Guerrero does better than Dawson did in the "feels like a Hall-of-Famer" category, but overall this may not be a bad comparison.
Going back a couple of generations, a player that Vlad Guerrero reminded me of was Dave Parker. Parker won two batting titles and an MVP award in the late 1970's. He also had a tremendous arm in right field, leading his league in outfield assists once, but, like Guerrero was also error-prone, leading his league in outfield errors five times. Parker was named to 7 All-Star teams (vs. 9 for Guerrero), had five top-5 MVP finishes (including one win), and won three Gold Gloves. The big difference between Parker and Guerrero is that Parker has something of a hole in his career from age 29 - 33 or so (due, at least in part, to cocaine). Because of this, Parker only had 339 career home runs (vs. 449 for Guerrero), although Parker did still manage to amass 2,712 hits and 1,493 RBI (vs. 2,590 and 1,496 for Guerrero). Parker only received 17.5% support in his first year on the Hall-of-Fame ballot. He peaked in his second season at 24.5%, but managed to stay on the ballot for the maximum 15 years. Because of the hole in his career, Parker is not an ideal comparison to Guerrero, but his experience may still be instructive.
It is easiest to compare players to players who played similar positions and had similar skill sets. Hence, the comparisons above of Guerrero to mostly high-average power-hitters and outfielders. One player, though, whose Hall-of-Fame case reminds me somewhat of Vlad Guerrero is John Smoltz. Statistically, John Smoltz is a deserving Hall-of-Famer, but his case isn't that different from the cases of Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina. Smoltz pitched 3,473 innings with a 3.33 ERA (125 ERA+); Schilling pitched 3,261 innings with a 3.46 ERA (127 ERA+); Mussina pitched 3,562.2 innings with a 3.68 ERA (123 ERA+). Smoltz is, however, the only one of the three to win a Cy Young award (in 1996) and Smoltz also differentiated himself from Schilling and Mussina by spending three seasons as a lockdown closer (144 saves over three seasons) in the middle of his career. The result was that, while Schilling and Mussina remain on the Hall-of-Fame ballot in this, their fifth and fourth year, respectively, Smoltz was elected to the Hall-of-Fame in his first year of eligibility, with 82.9% of the vote. To a lot of voters, Smoltz just had the feel of a Hall-of-Famer. And I suspect Vlad Guerrero does, too.
Ivan Rodriguez has a very strong Hall-of-Fame case. He holds the MLB record for games caught (2,427), Gold Glove awards by a catcher (13), and most career hits by a player whose primary position was catcher (2,844). He was named to 14 All-Star games and won one MVP award.Ivan Rodriguez
First, Hall-of-Fame voters tend to be fairly hard on catchers. In fact, only one catcher has ever been elected in his first year of eligibility, 2-time MVP and 10-time Gold Glove winner Johnny Bench. The three most recent catchers elected to the Hall of Fame (working backwards) were Mike Piazza, who debuted at 57.8% and was elected in his fourth year on the ballot; Gary Carter, who debuted at 42.3% and was elected in his sixth year on the ballot; and Carlton Fisk, who debuted at 66.4% and was elected in his second year on the ballot.So, what's my best guess for a debut vote percentage for Rodriguez? The simple average of the first-year vote for Piazza, Carter, and Fisk was 55.5%. Perhaps drop that by 10% for possible anti-steroid votes? That would have Rodriguez debut at 45.5%. But I wouldn't be terribly surprised by a number 20% higher or lower than that.
Second, Ivan Rodriguez was named by Jose Canseco as a teammate (on the 1992-94 Texas Rangers) who Canseco introduced to steroids and personally injected. It's hard to know exactly what voters are likely to make of this. They dropped Rodriguez's and Canseco's teammate, Rafael Palmeiro, from the ballot in his fourth season, but Palmeiro failed a drug test and Rodriguez never did. Rodriguez does not seem to be a drug pariah in the way that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa are, but it's hard to know what that means in terms of Hall-of-Fame voting. I don't really have a good feeling for how, if at all, Canseco's accusation may affect Rodriguez's vote total.
The last player new to the Hall-of-Fame ballot who I think has a chance to stick around for a second ballot is Jorge Posada, who was the primary catcher for 6 AL pennant winners and 4 World Champions. Posada's case is certainly not overwhelming. He was named to five All-Star teams and received MVP votes twice - finishing third in 2003 and sixth in 2007.Jorge Posada
There are several other players debuting on the ballot who had very good careers, but none of whom seem likely to get more than perhaps a handful of courtesy votes.Other Candidates
|Tim Raines Sr.||81.1%|
Performance-Enhancing Drugs and the Hall of FameUnfortunately, lately, it has become impossible to talk about the Hall of Fame without bumping up against the subject of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). This is not a topic that I'm particularly keen on discussing here. My interest is in the data and, as far as the data are concerned, a home run is a home run and a player win is a player win, regardless of what a player did to hit that home run or earn that player win. I gave my opinion on PEDs in baseball in my first Hall-of-Fame ballot article about the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot if anybody cares about my opinion.
The Individual Players on the 2017 Hall of Fame BallotOver the next several weeks, I will write up an article about each of the 34 players on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot. For the most part, these will not be advocacy articles: plenty of other people will post plenty of those. But hopefully, they will be interesting articles that may reveal something new and/or interesting, or at least a little fun, about these players, using Player won-lost records. I hope you enjoy them.
2017 Today's Game Era Hall-of-Fame BallotHarold Baines
2017 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Ballot2017 Hall-of-Fame Vote: How Good Were My Predictions?Jeff Bagwell
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