The Hall of Fame voting for major league baseball seems to be shifting towards different trends every year. The most recent and talked about trend has been the public unveiling of ballots. This has certainly affected the results more and more over the years. 2019 showed the affect of this trend the most it ever has, as Mariano Rivera, rightfully so, became the first Hall of Famer to receive 100% of the votes on the first ballot. Although there have been Hall of Famers before whom are also deserving of this prestigious honor, the more publicity of the ballots finally impacted the committee enough to realize that it would be ludicrous not to vote for The Sandman. However, the other debates amongst the Hall are not as clear cut.
The steroid users, speaking mainly of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, have continued to get more and more votes. Their voting percentage reached nearly 60% this year. There are good points on both sides of this debate, but one big factor that continues to shake this debate up is the difference in eras. For example, there are rumors that PED’s were used back in the 60’s and 70’s. According to former Braves pitcher, Tom House (played for Braves in early 70’s), players were popping PED’s just as much if not more back then. However, the 60’s were during the second dead ball era when the pitching was very dominant. So how much of an impact did steroids really make back then, as opposed to the big numbers players produced in the 90’s and early 2000’s? This leads to the belief that there are already steroid users in the Hall of Fame. The case made for Bonds and Clemens, aside from them being legends without steroids in the conversation, is that they are no different. Overall, the steroid debate and the voting percentage debate come down to the same leading impactor, media and publicity.
Aside from these debates, when it comes down to it, the Hall of Fame is about inducting not just the best players based on stats, but the players whom have had a major impact on the game in some way in time. Everyone has different standards and ways of measuring whether a player on the ballot is worthy of the the Hall. Some think longevity and consistent play is a big part of being worthy, while some think big milestone numbers and awards make a player worthy, amongst other reasons. So, just like everybody else I have my reasons for my ballot as well.
Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Billy Wagner, Curt Schilling, Jeff Kent, Todd Helton, Miguel Tejada.
*Although Roy Halladay was clearly one of the best pitchers during a 7-8 year stretch, there were several other pitchers that were just a few ticks behind him in terms of numbers during that stretch. There are also several Hall of Famers with similar career lines as Halladay, but had made a bigger impact in the game and/or won more with their team in the postseason. Lots of great pitchers have put up similar stat lines, but it takes more than just stats to get the call.