It’s that time of year again. Ballots are slowly trickling in, which means we’ll be taking our first look at the results, and what they might mean. We’ll be using Ryan Thibs’ invaluable ballot tracker for this. A gentle reminder: The most important figures for returning players is not the overall percentage. It’s the number of flipped voters they have, and their percentage among first-time voters. So that’s what we’ll focus on. Let’s handle this is an Q&A format.

  1. How’s Mussina doing? The results are mixed. The bad news is, he’s 0-for-2 with first-time voters. This is especially strange, because he was 12-for-15 with them last year. Hopefully, this is just randomness.The good news is, he’s at +3 (4-1) with returning voters, continuing his strong trend of getting voters to change their mind. Additionally, there’s more opportunity to make up ground this way, because there are about 20 times the number of returning voters compared to first-timers. So if you had to pick one group to do well with, this is the one.
  2. What about our holdovers? Also a mixed bag. Trevor Hoffman, who missed by just five votes last year, is 2-for-2 with first time voters, but a -1 (2-3) with returning voters. I still think he makes it, as it would defy all logic for him to regress after hitting 74%. Vladimir Guerrero, on the other hand, is doing great, at +5 (5-0) and 2-for-2 with first timers. He’s looking like a lock.My personal darkhorse, Edgar Martinez, is +4 (6-2) and 1-for-2, so a bit slower than I’d like. Still good progress. And although he has no shot getting elected this year, Larry Walker is a staggering +7 (7-0), though he’s 0-for-2 with first-timers.

    It might be worth keeping an eye on Billy Wagner. He’s reasonably safe, as he made the cut by about 50 votes last year. But he’s -2 (0-2) with returning voters and 0-for-2 with first-timers.

  3. What about Bonds/Clemens? A reminder: This website is officially Switzerland with regard to whether or not those two should be elected to the Hall of Fame. We will not offer an opinion, so don’t bother asking. Our only concern is that their continued presence on the ballot makes it harder for other players to get elected, thanks to the 10-vote limit. And, it looks like we’re going to be stuck with them for the foreseeable future. Through 39 ballots, Clemens is 0 with retuning voters, and 2-for-2 with first timers. Bonds is -1 (0-1) and 0-for-2. They’re not leaving.
  4. And the newcomers? They’ve got pretty much as I’ve predicted. Chipper Jones is at 94.9% and Jim Thome is at 97.4%. Both look like mortal locks. Omar Vizquel started of 7-for-7 in ballots, but has gone just 10-for-32 since then, and is at 43.6%. He might become the next Jack Morris, but he’s not getting elected.
  5. Is the 10-vote limit still an issue? According to the tracker, yes. Of the 26 voters who listed 10 players, 11 of them had others they’d have listed were there no ballot limit. Two of them indicated they’d have voted for Mussina. Hoffman and Vlad also lose out on votes

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