Congratulations to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas on gaining induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. All three received more than the 75 percent of the BBWAA votes. Craig Biggio fell just short (two votes) of gaining induction. Many players “lost” votes compared to last year and Rafael Palmeiro fell below the five percent total and is off all future ballots. Jack Morris lost votes compared to last year and his case will be in the Veterans Committee’s hands in 2017 (it was his last year on the ballot).
It was expected that Maddux would break Tom Seaver’s vote percentage record of 98.4 but that didn’t happen. Maddux ended up with 97.2 percent of the vote. There was one blank ballot sent in and one ballot (that was made public) had only Jack Morris’ name on it. 14 other ballots did not include Maddux’s name and we can only guess that the reasons were because of one of the following: “no one makes it first ballot,” “no player from the Steroid Era will ever get my vote,” or due to the 10-player limit, some voters did not vote for Maddux because they knew he’d get in and instead they voted for players like Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, or even Jack Morris just to make sure they received enough votes to remain on the ballot. Because the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame do not require votes to be made public, we’ll never know why those voters left Maddux off their ballots.
We also learned that the voter who gave his vote over to the website Deadspin was Dan LeBatard. The ballot cast by Dan LeBatard (based on voting done on Deadpsin) was actually pretty good and I don’t really have any problems with the players selected (they did select the max of 10): Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martínez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling. While I don’t necessarily agree with the inclusion of Bonds and Clemens, there at least wasn’t a player like JT Snow or Jacque Jones on that ballot (though those players did receive one or more votes on other ballots). I fully expect the BBWAA to strip LeBatard of membership or at least the vote, however, if they continue to let players submit blank ballots, or vote only for Morris and not Maddux based on the fact that Maddux played in the Steroid Era (and totally ignoring the fact that baseball players have admitted to using steroids and HGH back in the 1970s so technically Morris played in the Steroid Era as well), and other assorted idiocted and nonsensical voting reasonings, it would be very hypocritical of the BBWAA to punish LeBatard for doing this.
The 2015 ballot will be just as stacked as the 2014 ballot was. Joining the ballot are Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez (two pitchers who should easily be first-ballot inductees), John Smoltz who just might be, and players like Gary Sheffield who have the magic number of HRs (over 500) however, does have the PED-taint attached. When you add Biggio, Piazza, and Bagwell (along with all the other holdovers from this year’s ballot), you could easily have three players inducted again (Johnson, Martinez, and Biggio) if not four or five and maybe even six (depending on how the votes treat Smoltz, Piazza, and Bagwell – all of whom should be inducted sooner rather than later).
One good thing that may come from all of this is that the BBWAA is going to look into getting rid of the 10-player maximum rule. They are going to consider dropping the maximum completely. They really should do this. With no guidance regarding PEDs for the players on the ballot and the next couple of ballots all having several more-than-worthy players, the backlog with a 10-player limit is only going to get worse. Many voters that made their votes public this year have said they easily could have voted for between 15 and 21 players! Even I who doesn’t have a vote, would vote for at least 14 (or at least consider that many)! Players like Alan Trammel, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, and Lee Smith are the players that are truly affected by a fully stacked ballot as they are the players normally ranked from 11th through 15th so they will continue to lose votes each year when there is no logical reason at all for this to happen. If a player is worthy of receiving a vote one year, they should be able to receive the vote every year they are on the ballot and not have a vote “lost” solely because of a stacked ballot (if a voter simply changes their mind however, that’s a completely legit and understandable reason that a player loses a vote).
Everyone can agree that the voting process needs to be changed and that even the Hall of Fame itself needs to be “tweaked,” however, I think we can all agree that at least this year, the inductees were more than worthy and the city of Cooperstown should finally enjoy a great induction ceremony after last year’s debacle.
About the Author: Rich Stowe
Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com.