As many (including yours truly) predicted, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Alomar received 90% of the vote, Blyleven nearly 80%. Since this was expected, the bigger stories are those who did not get in. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Larkin finished third with 62.1% in his second year on the ballot. That is an increase from 51.6% from last year. Larkin has an excellent chance of getting in next year, when the list of first-timers is very underwhelming.
Bagwell received just 41.7% of the vote in his first time on the ballot. That was surprisingly low for a player with definite Hall of Fame credentials. Over the past few weeks a lot has been written about Bagwell and steroids, and I think that is what kept his vote total down. There has never been any evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that Bagwell took PEDs, yet he is still being suspected of doing so. Jeff Pearlman wrote a particularly asinine column in which he said even if Bagwell did not take steroids, he did not speak out against it, and that, claims Pearlman’s logic “is why we are allowed to suspect Jeff Bagwell and, if we so choose, not vote for him.”
This does not bode well for Mike Piazza’s candidacy. There have been whispers about Piazza and steroids, and those whispers are sure to grow louder. Piazza’s first appearance on the ballot will be in 2013 along with fellow first-timers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa. So maybe people will leave Piazza alone and concentrate on those other PED suspects — players with actual evidence against them rather than guys like Bagwell and Piazza who are just victims of unsubstantiated rumors.
Speaking of steroids, that brings us to Rafael Palmeiro. The first player to appear on the ballot who actually tested positive for PEDs received just 11% of the vote. Obviously Palmeiro’s numbers make him a first-ballot guy, but voters are rightfully holding that test against him.
After holding steady at nearly 25% of the vote in his first four years, McGwire’s vote total fell to 19.8%. This is the first vote since he admitted using steroids. So much for the sympathy vote.
Gonzalez barely stayed on the ballot for next year, getting 5.2% of the vote. His career numbers make him questionable at best, but throw the steroid accusations in, and Gonzalez will never get a plaque in Cooperstown.
Franco received just 4.6% of the vote, meaning this was his first and last appearance on the ballot. For a guy who is the all-time leader in saves among lefties and retired at number two on the saves list, this is just not fair. I’m not saying Franco deserves to be in the Hall, but he does deserve further consideration.