Does Bud Selig’s HOF election portend a change in HOF voting?

The commissioner who oversaw baseball’s steroid era will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer. Players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, which he oversaw and are suspected of taking steroids have not been able to approach the magical 75% vote threshold needed for enshrinement. The above tweet from Susan Slusser and statement below from Pete Abraham (both HOF voters) suggest Selig’s election may shift the voting dynamic among some HOF voters. Slusser and Abraham aren’t alone in this sentiment.

Peter Botte wrote in the New York Times that he will now vote for Bonds and Clemens because of Selig’s election. In the New York Post, Ken Davidoff argues that it is intellectually dishonest to bar anyone from a museum that includes Selig’s complicated history of strikes, collusion, and steroid abuse.

When you take illegal PEDs, or cork a bat, you break the rules as you’re trying to win. When you collude to keep salaries down, thereby not fully pursuing talent? You’re breaking the rules as you’re not trying your hardest to win. Which transgression is truly worse?

So go on in, A-Rod. Hop aboard, Manny Ramirez. Steinbrenner, who received fewer than five votes? His two suspensions and involvement in collusion absolutely shouldn’t nullify his massive contributions to the industry.

The game would be nowhere as good without Selig’s resilience, vision or masterful people skills. His black marks are now eternally, rightfully overlooked.

Let’s not end his legacy now. Make him a groundbreaker for the macro view of a Hall candidate’s body of work.

On Friday, Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald wrote that Selig’s election means that he’ll join “The Dark Side” (his words, not ours) and vote for Bonds and Clemens.

Wallace Matthews (who voted for Mussina last year) wrote that with Selig in the hall and the complicated nature of the steriod-era he won’t be sending in his HOF ballot anymore.

Ryan Thibodaux has even started tracking the writers who have said they are switching to vote for Bonds and Clemens because of Selig’s election. He counts five confirmed additions on his vote tracker as of Tuesday, December 13.

What does this mean for Mike Mussina?

In the short-term, this is not good for Mike Mussina’s Hall of Fame chances as it means some writers will add two more eligible names to an already crowded ballot. We will know more when additional ballots come in. Bonds and Clemens have already gained four net votes out of the 37 votes on the tracker.

In the long-run, this might be okay, if it means Bonds and Clemens (and Rodriguez) are going to get elected soon. Let’s face it, Mike Mussina is at least three years away from having a serious chance to break 75%. Anything that helps clear names off the ballot, helps Mussina in the long run if by the time those names come off the ballot he still has enough years of eligibility remaining to make the climb to 75%. I don’t even know if that’s true considering how many names are coming onto the ballot over the next two years. At a minimum, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Jim Thome, Johnny Damon, Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, and Andy Pettitte will get serious HOF consideration and take votes on writer’s ballots.

Patrick’s thoughts: This is a total disaster for Mike Mussina. I mean, there have to be 25.1% of the voters who are “Never PEDs!” voters, right? There are going to be so many guys on the ballot with no hope of getting elected. Bonds, Clemens, Manny, Schilling—who is just bleeding voters left and right. And I’m not even getting into the Trevor Hoffman mess.

I mean, Mussina’s already lost three voters from last year, and all of them voted for 10 guys on this year’s ballot. But none of them are guys who added Bonds or Clemens. If he’s 9th or 10th on someone’s ballot, he’s just going to get pushed out. I think there’s a decent chance that this completely stalls his progress this year. We are so unbelievably screwed. There are twelve different guys getting 40% of the vote right now, and eight of them are probably coming back next year. This backlog was all set to clear, Vooris. I had it all planned.

This thing is never going to get done unless a whole lot of people start voting strategically, and just commit to—when choosing between two players for the final spot—picking the most electable players. Apologies to Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Sammy Sosa, and Jeff Kent, but you guys have got to take one for the team so we can get Edgar, Hoffman, and Vlad off this freaking ballot. We’ll start a page for you to convince the veteran’s committee—or whatever the group is who’ll be voting on you.*

*Well, not McGriff, because, much as I love the Crime Dog, he’s not worthy. But I got your back, Larry.

The best solution for all of this is the solution we’ve advocated for years: KILL THE 10 MAN VOTING LIMIT. It’s arbitrary and absurd in a world of 30 MLB baseball teams. It needs to end.

Leave a Reply