The result of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Hall of Fame vote will be announced on January 8th. In order to gain enshrinement in Cooperstown, the former player listed on the ballot must receive 75% of the votes cast. To be held over for next year’s vote, players must receive at least five percent of the vote.
Among the first-timers on the ballot, Greg Maddux is clearly the standout and should receive over 90% on his initial Hall of Fame try. Longtime Maddux teammate Tom Glavine will certainly see some support, but the southpaw isn’t an obvious selection like his Atlanta chum. Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent stand the best chance among first-time position players. Holdovers from last year, Craig Biggio and Jack Morris netted over 60% of the vote while stars Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza were named on over 55% of the votes.
What follows are my predictions for the vote, with last year’s percentage listed in parentheses.
Greg Maddux 89.2% (first time), Craig Biggio 79.3 (68.2%), Jack Morris 74.0% (67.7%), Mike Piazza 68.8% (57.8%), Jeff Bagwell 64.4% (59.6%), Tim Raines 54.5% (52.2%), Frank Thomas 53.4% (first time), Lee Smith 48.8% (47.8%), Curt Schilling 44.6% (38.8%), Tom Glavine 41.8% (first time), Roger Clemens 40.6% (37.6), Edgar Martinez 39.8% (35.9%), Barry Bonds 36.6% (36.2%), Alan Trammell 35.5% (33.6%), Jeff Kent 30.4% (first time), Larry Walker 23.2% (21.6%), Mike Mussina 20.4% (first time), Fred McGriff 18.8% (20.7%), Mark McGwire 17.1% (16.9%), Don Mattingly 14.2% (13.2%), Sammy Sosa 12.5% (12.5%), Luis Gonzalez 8.6% (first time), Rafael Palmeiro 7.7% (8.8%), Moises Alou 4.0% (first time), Eric Gagne 2.2% (first time), Kenny Rogers 1.4% (first time), Ray Durham 1.2% (first time), Hideo Nomo 0.8% (first time), Armando Benitez 0.2% (first time), Sean Casey 0.2% (first time), Jacque Jones 0.0% (first time), Todd Jones 0.0% (first time), Paul LoDuca 0.0% (first time), J.T. Snow 0.0% (first time), Richie Sexson 0.0% (first time), Mike Timlin 0.0% (first time)
Greg Maddux should receive over 90% but voters are more fickle now than they have ever been. Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza should have made the Hall of Fame last year but were snubbed. The consensus seems that many writers have impugned every player from the Steroid Era, regardless their character, which forces me to speculate that Maddux—who should be a lock for enshrinement—might not receive 90% of the vote. My ballot would have Greg Maddux, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas and Curt Schilling.