The day has come and gone.The 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame class has been announced. It’s time to analyze the results. Let’s take a look at our big takeaways:
- Mike Mussina did better than expected, and is perfectly set up for a 2019 election: The man of the hour had a huge day, jumping up 11.7 percentage points to a total of 63.5%. If he makes the same jump next year, he’s going to get over that 75% barrier. After going up just 8.8 percentage points last year, Ryan and I were concerned that we’d start to see a slowing down of his support. This is why we were cautiously hoping for him to break 60%, which would represent another 8.2 points. Instead, he picked up steam, and outperformed many projections.
- Mussina is making gains everywhere: This is a very encouraging trend. There are a lot of different groups we can break HOF voters into: Those who go public with their ballots, those who do not, 1st-time voters. And Mussina’s progress with all of them is encouraging.In 2017, he earned 59% of the vote on public ballots revealed before the announcement. This year? 70%. His number on public ballots revealed after the announcement went from 53% to 70% (though this number may change). His private ballot figure went from 37.5% to 53.3%. His number with first-timers went from 80% to 81.8%. He’s gaining from every group there is, which means it’s less likely there will be a block of voters standing in his way for 2018.
- The ballot finally cleared a bit: While my dream of a five-man class fell short, as Edgar Martinez finished at 70.5%, we still got four players elected this year. With only three strong candidates for election coming on the ballot next year, we’re going to see even more voters with an extra space on their ballots. According to the Tracker, 149 of the 257 ballots listed 10 names, and at least three voters claimed they did not have room for Mussina. There’s going to be a lot of free space next year. In fact, our buddies @Vlad4HOF (who are even happier than us right now) said there are going to be more than 100 ballots next year with four or more open spots. These are the ballots we’re going to watch next year
- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are dead in the water: While this website is officially agnostic over whether those two should be in the Hall of Fame, we’re always concerned with their performance, as they take up a lot of space on the ballot. But after two years of progress, they grinded to a near complete standstill. Bonds went up just 2.6 percentage points to 56.4%, while Clemens went up just 3.2 to 57.3%. The raw numbers are even harsher: Bonds got the exact same number of votes he got last year, while Clemens only picked up three. Their increases are due to there being fewer voters this cycle. Barring something monumental happening, those gains will not be enough to get them in over the next four years. We’re stuck with them, it looks like.
Ryan’s Quick Thought:
Five years ago, only one out of five writers voted for Mike Mussina to be elected to the hall of fame. Five years ago, 14 players got more votes than Mussina during his inaugural year on the HOF ballot.
Next year, Mike Mussina will be the second highest vote recipient returning to the ballot. Only Edgar Martinez will have had more previous support. Mussina has more than tripled his initial support level since he appeared on the ballot.
The 2019 ballot will add Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, and Andy Pettitte. Rivera is certain to get elected, while Halladay will likely poll at over 50%. Todd Helton is Larry Walker 2.0 (minus the MVP, but still probably better than Vladimir Guerrero) and will likely receive similar support to Walker when he debuted on the ballot with 20.3% in 2011. Pettitte is a bit more complicated, but a voter would have to create some strange criteria to include Pettitte but not Mussina.
Next year is going to be a nail-biter. Mussina will either just make it over 75% or just miss. It’s going to be a long 12 months to see if this finally happens.