Let’s get right to the meat here: Mike Mussina was not elected to the Hall of Fame this year. While this is disappointing, we knew it was going to happen folks, and so there’s no sense raging. Instead, let’s analyze what went down by breaking the results into three categories.
1. Mussina picked up some votes: True, he only picked up 19, and his percentage went from 20.3 to just 24.6. But progress is progress. Ask Jeff Bagwell how he’s feeling today if you disagree.
2. Four guys got elected: With Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, and John Smoltz elected, we’ve cleared some of the ballot off. More importantly, by electing three starting pitchers (with no great candidates due on for the next two years), Mussina is now third in the starter pecking order, not sixth.
1. Mussina’s Still Buried: The Moose finished 14th in the voting this season. With four guys ahead of him leaving the ballot next season, but two guys coming on who are likely to outpace him (Griffey and Hoffman), I see a 12th place finish in Mussina’s next time on the ballot. And that’s too far down to make any substantial progress. FWIW, the 12th place finisher on this year’s ballot, Edgar Martinez, got just 27% of the vote.
2. The Ballot’s Still Clogged: Mike Piazza probably made enough progress to get elected next season, but Jeff Bagwell completely stalled, and while Tim Raines thankfully moved up a bit, at 55 percent, he’s simply too far away. I think there’s only going to be one holdover from this ballot elected, and even that will require some help.
We’re Still in the Dark: Jayson Stark and Buster Olney are two of the most prominent examples, but there have been several other voters who have stated that they simply did not have room on their ballot for Mike Mussina. (We’re going to try and develop a semi-comprehensive list in the next week)
This is beyond frustrating. Look, two reasonable people can disagree on the merits of a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Debate and differing opinions make this process great, regardless of if we disagree with a viewpoint or not.
But it’s plainly idiotic for Mike Mussina to have been on the ballot for two years and for us not to even be able to say with a degree of certainty: “This is his level of support.” It’s stupid that voters simply cannot vote for every player they deem worthy. And as I pointed out, I don’t think the issue goes away next year either—though I suspect Mussina’s vote totals will continue to rise, and will post on that next week.
Until next time, keep the faith.