Analyzing the 2013 Hall of Fame Vote
For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America did not elect any players to the Hall of Fame. Craig Biggio, in his first year on the ballot, led the voting with 68.2% of the vote. This is higher than Barry Larkin and Ryne Sandberg received in their first year on the ballot. He should easily get elected in the future, possibly next year. Jack Morris finished second with 67.7%, but picked up only 3 votes more than last year in his next to last year on the ballot. Jeff Bagwell (59.6%) and newcomer, Mike Piazza (57.8%) finished 3rd and 4th and Tim Raines, in his 6th year on the ballot, finally reached the 50% mark with 52.2%.
The voting this year was of particular interest because of the initial appearance on the ballot of two of the greatest players of their generation, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Both are obviously first ballot Hall-of-Famers but are tainted by their association with steroids. Clemens received 37.6% of the votes and Bonds received 36.2%. Both figures are lower than expected and suggest that neither will be elected anytime soon, if ever.
With the exceptionally strong incoming class this year, most of the 12 holdover candidates lost ground. The only significant gainers were Dale Murphy, Bagwell and Raines. It was the 15th and final year on the ballot for Murphy but he was far short with 18.6% of the vote.
Six ballot newcomers received enough votes to remain on the ballot, Biggio, Bagwell, Clemens, Bonds, Curt Schilling (38.8%) and Sammy Sosa (12.5%). Bernie Williams, the only newcomer last year to receive enough votes to remain on the ballot but didn’t make it this year with 3.3%.
|Player||Years on Ballot||2012 Votes||2012 Percent||2013 Votes||2013 Percent||Difference Votes||Difference Percent|
|Sandy Alomar Jr.,||1||16||2.8|
The following players were on the ballot but they did not receive any votes: Ryan Klesko, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Jeff Cirillo, Rondell White, Royce Clayton, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Todd Walker, Woody Williams and Mike Stanton. 569 writers participated in the voting this year, down from 573 in 2012. Participants voted for an average of 6.6 players in 2013, up from 5.1 last year.
The newcomers this year received mixed results. Biggio had a strong showing but his total votes were likely suppressed by voters who didn’t consider him to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Piazza’s showing suggests that he is similar to Bagwell, being held back by a suspicion (without evidence) of steroid use. Both should eventually be elected. Schilling’s total was not surprising and should increase with time. Clemens and Bonds both have HOF credentials but were obviously hurt by their association with steroids. Some of their poor showing might be attributable to writers that didn’t feel they deserved election on the first ballot. Their totals should increase next year. Sosa’s very poor showing suggests that he will never make it.
The remaining holdover candidates do not have enough support to be serious candidates for election in the next few years. Fred McGriff suffers from a comparison with other outstanding first basemen. Larry Walker put up great numbers but some voters discount his performance because of the Coors Field effect. Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro continue to slip. Don Mattingly had a very high peak but his career was not long enough to put up numbers that would gain support from enough voters. Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell all took a step back in 2013 and are not likely to fare well with another strong set of newcomers next year (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent).
The other 18 members of the incoming class didn’t come close to the 5.0% required to remain on the ballot.