On Wednesday afternoon, the newest members of the Hall of Fame will be announced. It’s an eagerly anticipated event, usually the highlight of the baseball winter.
This year, it’s different. Because it’s the first year for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, the vote totals will be examined more closely.
Polls of voters, which I am not, indicate that none of the three may be elected to the Hall. In fact, this may be the first year since 1996 that no one is elected.
This is one of the reasons why baseball’s voting process is superior to the other halls. In football, between four and six are chosen each year, and basketballs’ is so secretive that their hall won’t even release the voter’s names, let alone the process.
In baseball, a candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith and Tim Raines are the only holdovers who received more than 40 percent on last year’s ballot.
The other returnees are: Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire Don Mattingly, Rafael Palmeiro, Dale Murphy and Bernie Williams.
As long as a candidate receives five percent of the vote, they stay on the ballot for up to 15 years.
Twenty-four new candidates are listed. For most of them, they’ll be fortunate to get a vote or two: Sandy Alomar, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa,Reggie Sanders, Aaron Sele, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White and Woody Williams can keep their afternoon appointments on Wednesday.
So can Steve Finley, Julio Franco and Kenny Lofton, but the latter two could get enough votes to come back next year.
Besides Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling and David Wells are on the ballot.
I couldn’t vote for Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa or Palmeiro because of their steroids taint.
Schilling’s numbers are impressive, but let’s leave him for another year. He did win some big games, but perhaps not enough regular season games (216) for enshrinement.
I’d prefer to wait on Piazza. I’m kind of neutral on Bagwell, too. Perhaps these two are being unfairly penalized for accumulating big numbers in the steroids era, but we can hold off here.
Wells’ 239 wins are impressive, and so is his longevity, but his ERA is well over four runs a game, and he was never a dominant pitcher.
Biggio was never dominant, but he did have 3,000 hits.
Of the holdovers, Morris is the only one who I’d consider. He was the closest to election with 66.7 percent, and pitched for three teams: 1984 Tigers, 1991 Twins and 1992 Blue Jays that won the World Series.
Biggio, Morris and the others will stand by Wednesday afternoon. It will be the most fascinating Hall of Fame vote in years.
-With the reported signing of Adam LaRoche by the Nationals, the Michael Morse to the Orioles rumors can resume.