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Henderson featured name on smallest HOF ballot ever
2008-12-01 10:59
by Bob Timmermann

There are just 23 players on this year's BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot and Rickey Henderson seems to be the only sure candidate to win induction.

In addition to Henderson, there are nine other first time candidates on the ballot: David Cone, Jesse Orosco, Dan Plesac, Mo Vaughn, Greg Vaughn, Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Jay Bell, and Ron Gant.

There are 13 holdovers including Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Mark McGwire, Jim Rice, and Tommy John. Rice and John are in their last years of eligibility.

To be inducted, a player must receive 75% of the votes. There are about 575 eligible voters (the exact number won't be known until all the ballots are in). Ballots are due by December 31. The results will be announced on January 12, 2009.

The Veterans Commitee will anounce its selction on December 8.

(For the record, the BBWAA ballot is smallest in terms of the number of candidates. I assume the piece of paper it comes on is about the same size as it always is.)

2008-12-01 11:25:18
1.   Gagne55
Do or die time for Rice.
2008-12-01 12:17:00
2.   Humma Kavula

This year: Henderson and Rice
Next year: Blyleven or Dawson
Year after: Blyleven or Dawson (whichever isn't elected next year)

2008-12-01 12:24:05
3.   Eric Enders
Henderson and (ugh) Rice will get in.

Raines, the most underrated player of his generation, will get to sit on his couch watching the ceremony as the most overrated player of that generation is inducted.

2008-12-01 12:24:11
4.   Humma Kavula
I don't know what I was thinking... revised predictions:

This year: Henderson and Rice.
Next year: Blyleven or Dawson.
Year after: Bagwell, Blyleven or Dawson.

Larkin and Alomar both linger on the ballot. Both deserve enshrining, but both have perceived negatives -- Larkin due to the fact that he immediately preceded Jeter/A-Rod/Garciaparra/Tejada showing what shortstops could hit like, and Alomar due to his rapid fade.

Palmeiro will be given the McGwire treatment.

2008-12-01 12:52:20
5.   El Lay Dave
Is the BBWAA paper ballot printed on hideously bright green stock?
2008-12-01 13:03:17
6.   Gagne55
4 How is Alomar not a first ballot no brainer pick? 12 time all-star, 10 time gold glove. He'll make it easily. Larkin, I'm not as sure about.
2008-12-01 13:27:47
7.   El Lay Dave
6 Not immediately associated with a team since he wasn't with one longer than five seasons?

Spitting in an umpire's face will lose you votes with some members of the BBWAA.

2008-12-01 13:29:08
8.   das411
6 , lots of voters will remember Alomar as either a massively over-hyped Met failure, or trying to hang on with the D-backs and Rays...or for that one kind of infamous moment he had...

also, John Smoltz's elbow thinks Tommy John should be in already!

2008-12-01 13:30:52
9.   Humma Kavula
6 Oh, I'd vote for Alomar.

The case against him ventures into the weird and contrived. Herewith:

His last good year was 2001. He was hanging around for three more years after that, but wasn't good. He declined very far very quickly. This, I predict, will overshadow a HOF quality career in the minds of the voters.

Second, while some of his counting stats are impressive, they are not necessarily the ones that voters will be swayed by. 504 doubles, sure, but "only" 210 home runs. 1000 walks, but "only" 1100 RBI. Falls short of 3,000 hits with "only" 2700ish. As for that last one, if they can hold 7 wins against Blyleven ("He's not a 300 game winner") they can hold 300 hits against Alomar, too.

Third, he is a second baseman. I believe that no position is mroe underrepresented in the hall. And if Lou Whitaker can't muster 5% of the vote, why will Alomar be a first balloter? We know how impressive Alomar's rate stats are for his position, but will that sway voters?

Again, I'm making a prediction, not an endorsement. I'd vote for Alomar every day and twice on Sunday. I just fear that he'll get around 40-50% of the vote and hang there for a while... and then we'll see if he sticks there or gathers support. My prediction system -- namely, blind guessing -- doesn't go beyond year after next.

2008-12-01 14:15:23
10.   ToyCannon
Your 3rd argument might be the most compelling. They just don't like 2nd baseman unless they are really elite. Still shocked that Maz got in the backdoor.

The keystone combo of Trammel/Whitaker has to be the most under appreciated duo in my lifetime related to HOF voting.

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