Hall of Fame Ballot: Who Gets Your Vote?

Looking at the names on the ballot for the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, a few thoughts came into my head. “Wait, Jeter’s already been retired for five years??” “Who put _______ on that list??” “why are some of these cheaty mccheatertons still on the ballot??”

To be elected to the Hall, a former player must receive votes on at least 75% of the submitted ballots. To remain on the ballot, a player must have appeared on at least 5% of the submitted ballots – and can remain there for up to ten years as long as they keep getting 5% or more. Last year, we saw our first ever unanimous vote for Mariano Rivera, passing up the previous record of a 99.32% vote for Ken Griffey Jr. (There were the three people out of 440 that didn’t vote for Junior, and I’d really love to know why they are the way that they are…) We also saw Edgar Martinez make it in on his last year of eligibility, Mike Mussina, and a posthumous election of the late, great Roy Halliday.

For this year’s newbies, I’m not going to lie… I’m pretty underwhelmed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Derek Jeter is the sole first year entry – and he’ll likely be unanimous. Alfonso Soriano, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Adam Dunn and Cliff Lee are among the best first timers on the ballot this year, but to get 75% of the vote? I’m not seeing it. None of them strike me as definite, hands-down, no-argument Hall of Famers.

Soriano’s stats were definitely above average – but the biggest thing he has going for him in this vote is all of those years he wore pinstripes in New York. Jason Giambi’s numbers while he was in Oakland were so good that he was crowned the AL MVP in 2000, and then he came in second for the award in 2001. The numbers throughout rest his career were also well above average, but as one of the big names thrown around during the Steroid Era, I can see many members of the BBWAA punishing him for a few years before he gains any traction in the vote.

The repeat names that are really hoping that this is their year:

  • Larry Walker: It’s his last year of eligibility. Besides being the 1997 NL MVP, Walker had a seventeen-year career with a .313 average, 383 homers, 2,160 hits, and seven Gold Gloves. But.. is that Hall worthy? Probably not – despite jumping over 20% in votes last year from 34.1% in 2018 to 54.6%, he’s never really gotten much love from the BBWAA voters.
  • Curt Schilling: The six-time all star never earned himself a Cy Young Award (he came in second three times), but there’s no doubt he had HoF worthy numbers throughout his career. He earned 3,116 strikeouts, landing 15th all time in the record books, and amassed 216 wins over his 20 year career. However, like Giambi above, his attachment to the Steroid Era has tarnished his eligibility. Last year, his seventh on the ballot, he gained 9.7% to reach 60.9%, getting 259 of the 425 ballots cast. He’s steadily climbed year after year, but to jump 15% this year would be a pretty big leap.

Have the Steroid Era names been punished long enough to make big gains this year? Will Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds ever make it in? They’ve managed to get over 59% of the voters on their side, but with this being their eighth year on the ballot, it’s looking less likely that they’ll crack 75%. Will the accused (or admitted) cheaters finally start dropping off of the ballot? I could see this being the case with Sammy Sosa, who only got 8.5% of the vote last year, after 7 years on the ballot.

Without further adieu, here’s the full ballot – first timers are in bold:

  • Bobby Abreu
  • Josh Beckett 
  • Heath Bell
  • Barry Bonds
  • Eric Chávez
  • Roger Clemens
  • Adam Dunn
  • Chone Figgins
  • Rafael Furcal
  • Jason Giambi
  • Todd Helton
  • Raúl Ibañez
  • Derek Jeter
  • Andruw Jones
  • Jeff Kent
  • Paul Konerko
  • Cliff Lee
  • Carlos Peña
  • Brad Penny
  • Andy Pettitte
  • J.J. Putz
  • Manny Ramírez
  • Brian Roberts
  • Scott Rolen
  • Curt Schilling
  • Gary Sheffield
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Sammy Sosa
  • José Valverde
  • Omar Vizquel
  • Billy Wagner
  • Larry Walker

So what say you, readers?

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.