As the Hall of Fame talk kicks up, Ryan and I are excited to announce that we’re re-opening the site, and are excited to chronicle Mike Mussina’s path to the Cooperstown. While the content might not come as regularly, we promise to keep it flowing the best we can.
So, on to the news of the day. If you don’t obsessively follow Baseball Think Factory’s collection and tabulation of the Hall of Fame Ballots, you should start. The site can be found here, and in short, is amazing. The comments section is very useful, as it provides deeper insight to who voted for whom.
What can we take from Mussina’s totals so far? In descending order of importance:
1. He’s not going to fall off the ballot: You laugh, but Kevin Brown was one and done and while he’s probably not a Hall of Famer, he’s a lot better than guys currently in the Hall of Fame, not to mention Jack Morris. Mussina’s garnered roughly 41 votes so far, and based on last year’s ballot, that means he’d be at about 7 percent if he failed to get another vote this year.
2. He’s not going to get elected this year: This should be obvious at this point. There are a ton of qualified candidates, and while we think Mussina’s better than several (Morris, Glavine, possibly Schilling), it’s clear this backlog is going to hurt him.
3. The backlog’s going away, and Mussina’s vote totals are going to skyrocket next year: Joe Posnanski has already written a lengthy post on who he’ll vote for for the Hall of Fame. Mussina is not one of those players. However, Posnanski does think Moose is deserving. There’s just no room on his ballot.
With the current 10-vote limit, this is going to be a bit of a problem for Mussina, who is currently 12th in the “standings” so to speak. While he has not been listed on some 5- and 6-vote ballots, the comments section on the gizmo reports “several” voters who want to vote for Mussina, but can’t, in part because they are voting for Morris (shakes head).
Consider the following vote percentages for the 12th place man on the ballot
2014: 31.6%* (Mussina)
2013: 21.6% (Larry Walker)
2012: 14.5% (Dale Murphy)
2011: 17.9% (Fred McGriff)
While Mussina’s totals could drop, it’s clear so far he’s getting a lot more votes than recent 12th-pace finishers, which coupled with the whole “No room” phenomenon, makes me think his candidacy is much stronger than his place indicates.
So what can we expect in future years? Well take a look at who’s ahead of Mussina. Maddux and Glavine are clearly stone cold locks. and Frank Thomas is almost assuredly in. Biggio is a good possibility as well, with Piazza a possibility. And, even more importantly, one way or the other, Jack Morris is off the ballot.
This means that next year, at leas four, and as many as six of the players ahead of Mussina on the ballot currently are going to be gone. While it’s no guarantee that their votes will go to Mussina, at least some of them are bound to. He’s the 12th man on a 10-man ship right now. You clear off four guys, and suddenly he’s the 8th. If Biggio and Piazza get in, you can bump him up to sixth. Even if they don’t get it, their vote totals will be too high for them to linger.
Now, there’s other math involved on the incoming side, which I’ll detail in my next post. But from the looks of things, the road will clear for Mussina in the next few years.