A Early Look at Future Hall of Fame Candidates
By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer) Follow @Nick_Delahanty
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The BBWAA elected four players into the Baseball Hall of Fame for the class of 2015: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. This is the first time that the BBWAA has elected four players in 60 years, as these four players truly exemplify what the MLB Hall of Fame is all about.
Now that the official results have been released, we can now take a look at not only some of the guys who will return on the ballot in the upcoming years, but also some future eligible players who present a very interesting case for their enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.
Notable Players Returning to the Ballot in 2016
This year’s Hall of Fame ballot featured numerous players that definitely made a bold case to be inducted into Cooperstown during their careers. Unfortunately, the writers are limited as to how many players they can vote for on each ballot (only 10 per writer), so it might take a few years for some of these talented individuals to finally get the 75% of the vote needed to be inducted into the hall. Here are some of the players who have a legitimate chance to be inducted in 2016.
Mike Piazza (69.9% of the vote in 2015)- Piazza saw a 7.7% increase in his vote total on his third Hall of Fame ballot, but ultimately still came up short of the 75% needed to get in. With some of the big names coming off the ballot, Piazza should make a strong case to be inducted in 2016, as his vote total should continue to increase until he ultimately gets in.
Jeff Bagwell (55.7% of the vote in 2015)- Bagwell only saw a small increase in vote total, but still finished sixth on a ballot that was loaded with star-studded talent. The question that many writers still have in regards to Bagwell is whether or not he had connections to steroids, but there’s no clear-cut evidence against him, which should ultimately help him continue to increase in votes in the future.
Tim Raines (55% of the vote in 2015)- Raines was the final player on the 2015 ballot to receive at least 55% of the votes (next closest: Curt Schilling– 39.2%). He also had a nice 8.9% increase from his 46.1% vote total in 2014, and when the ballot starts to trim out a bit, Raines is definitely a candidate to watch.
Other Notables (With 2015 vote percentage): Curt Schilling (39.2%), Roger Clemens (37.5%), Barry Bonds (36.8%), Edgar Martinez (27.0%), Mike Mussina (24.6%), Fred McGriff (12.9%), Gary Sheffield (11.7%)
Future First-Ballot Candidates
Ken Griffey Jr. – Ken Griffey Jr. might arguably be considered the best hitter of all-time if injuries didn’t halt his tremendous career. Finishing with 609 HRs, 13 All-Star game appearances, 10 Gold Glove Awards and other numerous accomplishments, “The Kid” is definitely a first-ballot Hall of Famer and should be inducted into Cooperstown in 2016.
Trevor Hoffman– Having finished his 18 seasons with 601 saves (which was the most all-time at the time of his retirement), Hoffman looked as if he secured his spot in the Hall of Fame. With other relievers having difficulty getting the necessary vote totals (such as Goose Gossage), Hoffman might not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, especially because his saves record was broken by Mariano Rivera. Hoffman will eventually be a Hall of Famer, but the question remains as to whether the voters will vote him in right away.
Manny Ramirez– The 2017 first-ballot candidates are very interesting, and the talk will definitely surround Manny Ramirez. Ramirez had an outstanding 19-year career with the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays, as he posted a career .312 batting average with 555 HRs. The 12-time All Star would be a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but the ties to steroids has hurt other players in the voting ballot (see Clemens and Bonds), and most likely will hurt Manny’s chances as well.
Ivan Rodriguez– “Pudge” was not only one of the best catchers of his era, but also of all-time. During his 21-year career, Rodriguez appeared in 2427 games as a catcher, which is the most in MLB history. The 13-time Gold Glove Award winner and 14-time All Star definitely has earned a spot in Cooperstown, and should get a lot of consideration early on in the ballot process.
Vladimir Guerrero– “Vladdy” was one of the overall best players in his era throughout his 16-year career. A career .318 hitter with 449 HRs, Guerrero was always caught the attention of many people when he was on the field, as his laser-type arm in the outfield and powerful swing that connected on almost any pitch (even ones in the dirt) at the plate really added that “wow” factor to his game.
Jim Thome– Throughout his career, Jim Thome truly was one of the undervalued power hitters of his era. In a time where the Steroid Era took control, Thome continued to go about the game in the right way, blasting 612 HRs throughout his 22-year career. Thome should get enough votes to get in on his first ballot, but could face some trouble if the writers factor in that he was mostly a DH for the back-end of his career.
Omar Vizquel–When it comes to playing defense, there aren’t many players in the history of baseball that played shortstop better then Vizquel. Throughout his 24-year career, Vizquel quietly got the job done with the bat as well, as he totaled 2,877 career hits. As other shortstops have had trouble receiving votes in the past (Alan Trammel and Barry Larkin to name a few), don’t expect Vizquel to get in right away, but he should have a seat in Cooperstown eventually.
Chipper Jones– A major reason why the Braves were successful in the late 1990s- 2000 period was because of Chipper Jones. The eight-time All Star and MVP Award winner in 1999 was a main reason why the Braves made some great playoff runs, as his professionalism and consistency at the plate were some of the reasons why Braves fans grew to love their long-time third baseman.
Mariano Rivera- In 2019, “The Sandman” should be entered into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rivera was dominant throughout his 19-year career with the Yankees, as he was one of the main pieces to five World Series championship teams. Rivera is about as sure of a first-ballot Hall of Famer as we will see.
Roy Halladay– “Doc” will always be remembered as one of the best pitchers during his era. Even though his career numbers aren’t up to the normal standard that we are used to seeing, Halladay definitely deserves consideration from the writers, as his accolades and accomplishments should help him gain some votes.
Derek Jeter– After just honoring Jeter throughout the 2015 season for the final time in his illustrious career, there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Jeter will be honored in Cooperstown in 2020 when he becomes eligible for induction for the first time. The numbers speak for themselves, as Jeter not only ranks as one of the best Yankees ever, but also as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Paul Konerko– Konerko will present an interesting case for the writers, as he slugged 439 career HRs throughout his 18-year career. It’s hard to see Konerko as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but it is very possible that he has an opportunity to get in the hall, but it probably will take a few years on the ballot for him to do so.
The Future of the Hall of Fame Ballot
As a credit to the BBWAA writers, they did an excellent job in voting in four well-deserving players into the Hall of Fame. As discussions are constantly brewing about this topic with regards to changes in the ballot style and also what to do with the “Steroid Era” guys, the BBWAA continues to try and put the very best players in that truly exemplify what the Hall of Fame is about.
As the future first-ballot candidates and guys who still haven’t received their call are mixed into future ballots, it will be interesting to see which players ultimately get their call. One thing is definitely for sure: there will be a lot to talk about in regards to future Hall of Fame voting.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thanks goes out to our Featured Writer Nicholas Delahanty for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a current student at Felician College, studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English.
He served as the Broadcast and Media Relations Intern for the New Jersey Jackals in 2013, and currently serves as the Assistant Media Director for the team. He also hosts a radio show on WRFC Felician College Radio Station called ‘Around the Bases.’
Nicholas recently started working as a broadcaster for Felician College Basketball games, and is a student-writer for the college’s monthly magazine.
He volunteers as a baseball and basketball coach in Garfield, New Jersey, and also volunteers as the announcer for the town’s Junior Boilermaker Football program.
You can Follow Nicholas on Twitter Follow @Nick_Delahanty
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Posted on January 8, 2015, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @nick_delahanty on twitter, andruw jones, andy pettitte, arizona diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, baltimore orioles, barry bonds, BBWAA, Billy Wagner, boston red sox, Brad Ausmus, Carlos lee, chipper jones, cooperstown, craig biggio, curt schilling, derek jeter, Derek Lee, detroit tigers, edgar martinez, fred mcGriff, Garret Anderson, gary sheffield, hall of fame, hideki matsui, houston astros, ivan rodriguez, jamie moyer, jason kendall, jason varitek, jeff bagwell, jim edmonds, jim thome, john smoltz, johnny damon, jorge posada, ken griffey jr, kevin youkilis, lance berkman, los angeles angels, los angeles dodgers, magglio ordonez, manny ramirez, mariano rivera, michael young, mike cameron, mike hampton, Mike Lowell, mike mussina, mike piazza, mike sweeney, mlb, mlb reports, montreal expos, National Baseball Hall of Fame, new york mets, nick delahanty, omar vizquel, pat burrell, paul konerko, pedro martinez, pittsburgh pirates, randy johnson, roger clemens, roy halladay, san diego padres, san francisco giants, scott rolen, seattle mariners, tim raines, tim wakefield, todd helton, toronto blue jays, trevor hoffman, troy glaus, vlad guerrero, vladimir guerrero. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on A Early Look at Future Hall of Fame Candidates.