The Hall of Fame ballot came out a few weeks early this year, so I had to move up what had become my Thanksgiving weekend analysts of the ballot. I’ll miss the holiday tradition.
We’ll get to our Mike Piazza in a moment, but first, the first timers.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Griffey will obviously get it. But he has a chance to be the first person ever to be voted in unanimously. That’s because this year the BBWAA trimmed its Hall of Fame voting rolls from about 600 to 450. That likely got rid of most of the old fuddy-duddies who insisted no one should ever get in on their first try.
If anyone deserves it, it is Junior. He hit 630 home runs during the steroid era without a whiff of PED involvement. He was also a solid citizen and all around good guy. The only negative is all the injuries that derailed his quest for the all-time home run crown. But that should not prevent anyone from voting for him.
Former Met Wagner had “only” 422 saves (fifth all-time), but he was actually more dominant than Hoffman. He had a career ERA of 2.31 and struck out 1196 batters in 903 innings.
They were both superb, but neither will get in on the first ballot. Perhaps some day they will get in, but not this time.
Mike Hampton, Luis Castillo
The two ex-Mets will likely fall off the ballot, failing to garner 5%. Hampton actually had a decent career before he left for the Colorado schools. Then the thin air and injuries did him in.
Luis Castillo, ha!
Jim Edmonds, Jason Kendall, Troy Glaus, Garrett Anderson, Mike Lowell, Mike Sweeney
The best of the other first-timers, none is ever getting in. Edmonds has a very outside chance of someday getting into the Hall of Fame, probably on a Veterans ballot, considering his solid offense and incredible defense.
Now, to the holdovers.
Piazza is absolutely, positively getting into the Hall of Fame this year. He got nearly 70% of the vote last time and will easily get the 5% more for enshrinement. Yes, it is four years too late, but we will finally see the best hitter in Mets history get his plaque in Cooperstown.
The only question is whether he goes in as a Met or Dodger. He had his best years in Los Angeles, but he played more for the Mets and made a World Series with them. Given his strong post-career association with the Mets rather than the Dodgers, we can rest assured he will be wearing a Mets cap for eternity.
Bagwell is dogged by the same baseless PED innuendo as Piazza. Bagwell got 55% last year in his fifth time on the ballot. He will get more votes and will probably make it some day, but he won’t make it this year.
Now that the limit for being on the ballot has been reduced from 15 to 10 years, Raines has just two years left. He got 55% last year. He is the favorite of many, but not enough. The Veterans Committee will eventually decide his fate.
Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina
Both are borderline Hall of Famers. They won’t get in this year.
I was a late convert to McGriff. He won’t get in, unfortunately.
Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Nomar Garciaparra
Ex-Met Kent is getting surprisingly little support, considering he is considered the best hitting second baseman of all-time. Smith is in his 14th year (he was grandfathered). Trammell will fall of the ballot this year. None of these guys is getting in.
So Griffey and Piazza in the Hall of Fame this year. It should be a pretty nice induction ceremony.