The Verdict on the 2014 Hall of Fame Election

On January 8, 2014, the voting results of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) for Baseball’s Hall of Fame were announced. Unlike 2013 when no player was elected, 2014 elected three new members to the HOF. They are Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. Maddux was the top vote-getter appearing on 555 of the 571 ballots giving him 97.2% of the votes, eighth highest in the history of voting. Maddux had a record of 355-227 and was a 4-time Cy Young winner with 18 gold gloves. Maddux’s teammate in Atlanta for many years Tom Glavine appeared on 91.9% of the ballots. Glavine, a 10-time All-Star and 2-time Cy Young winner, was 305-203.Frank Thomas played most of his career with the White Sox and was a lifetime.300 hitter with 521 home runs. A 2-time MVP he appeared on 83.7% of the ballots. What is interesting about Thomas was for more than 60% of his games he was a designated hitter, which makes him the first player who played more than 50% of his games as a DH to make the HOF. Maybe, this is a good omen for Edgar Martinez. These three players will join the three managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the Expansion-Era Committee, at the July 27 induction ceremony in Cooperstown. Cox was the manager at Atlanta during most of the careers of Maddux and Glavine. You can say this induction will be an Atlanta Braves celebration.

If you read my December Blog on the HOF you will see that these were the three players I predicted had the best chance of making it.

What about those players that received less than the 75% votes needed for election? Unfortunately, there were writers who admitted to leaving any player who played during the Steroid Era off their ballot. Does anyone know when the Steroid Era exactly began? I don’t think so. It can be conjectured that Craig Biggio, who missed being elected by two votes, tying him for the smallest margin to miss election with Nellie Fox (1985), was a victim of the philosophy of these writers. Biggio collected over 3000 hits in his career. His vote percentage increased from 68.2% in 2013 to 74.8%. Since all players eligible for the HOF that belong to the 3000-hit club are in the HOF except for Rose, Biggio, and Palmeiro, I feel he is a lock for next year.  Of course Rose is permanently banned from the HOF. Palmeiro is one of four players in ML history that belong to the 3000-hit club and the 500-home run club. The other three are Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray. Testing positive for PEDs in 2005 clearly accounts for him receiving only 4.4% of the votes. The rules of the HOF say once your vote for a year falls below 5% you will be officially off the ballot next year. Right behind Biggio in the voting was Mike Piazza with 62.2% of the votes in his second year on the ballot. This was 5% higher than his first year’s percentage. Although loosely linked to PEDs, Piazza is on his way to eventually making it. Jack Morris is the second player in the history of Hall of Fame voting to get at least 50% of the votes in a given year and fail to eventually be voted into the HOF; Gil Hodges being the other. This is his 15th and last year of his eligibility. I believe both Morris and Hodges and will eventually make it through the Expansion-Era Committee. This brings us to those players strongly linked to PED use. Roger Clemens (37.6 percent in 2013 to 35.4 percent in 2014),  Barry Bonds (36.2 to 34.7), Mark McGwire (16.9 to 11.0) and  Sammy Sosa (12.5 to 7.2) all saw the vote percentage decline this year.

Frank Thomas in an interview summed up the feelings of many Hall of Famers and voters for the Hall of Fame when he said, “I’ve got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldn’t get in, there shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.”

Future blogs will address any changes made to the voting procedure for the HOF.

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